Today we’re continuing the Halloween Blog hop, and author Weston Kincade has come back for round 2! In addition to writing urban fantasy, Weston also writes YA fantasy. If you missed my interview with him earlier this month, check it out here. Today we’re going to learn a bit about his novel, INVISIBLE DAWN.
INVISIBLE DAWN Blurb
To keep a promise and save his long-lost goddaughter, computer programmer Jedd Altran sacrificed everything, including his wife and newborn son. Now, they must pass through worlds far different than their own to escape the clutches of government killers.
In a world where rare individuals have evolved, the government kidnaps specific children to study and utilize their abilities. Madelin has been imprisoned in such a facility for thirteen years and suffers from medically induced amnesia. Facing a hopeless future, haunted dreams, and an invisible past, each morning is an Invisible Dawn and life holds no meaning, until she meets Jedd. Her newly discovered godfather becomes her beacon in tumultuous seas as they strive to find answers and allies.
For the first few seconds of consciousness, Daniel Robertson sat on the edge of his bed staring at a ghastly image in the full length mirror. A child stared back through eyeless sockets, its skin seared to a charred remnant of its former self. Even in his waking moments, he saw the same nightmarish memory. It was as though sleep had not found him.
His digital clock glowed red, 5:04 a.m. The nightmares never let him sleep through the night. He groped for the most recent bottle he had haphazardly tossed aside the night before, but gave up when he spotted it on the floor.
His eyes returned to the wooden stand, but the phantom child was nowhere to be seen. Instead, his own depressed reflection peered back through aged eyes. A large X marred his cheek, long ago healed, but it was a reminder of his inescapable past. Sweat swelled from nowhere and grudgingly streamed down his forty-three-year-old, leathered face. At each wrinkle there was a split-second hesitation.
Fragments of his past flickered through his mind in a jumbled mess. Piecing them together while semi-conscious was like constructing a jigsaw puzzle. But suddenly the sequence of horrific events snapped into place like snapshots from someone else’s travels. Glimpses of unwanted memories returned that even alcohol could not drive away.
“As though I could ever forget,” he muttered, thinking back to the horrifying visage.
The dim glow of a streetlamp streamed through the window and cast tall shadows across the room. His yellow complexion melded with the aged bed sheets like a sickly chameleon. Even in El Paso, a heat wave like this was unusual.
A slight breeze startled the curtains to life and newspaper clippings fluttered on the wall before resigning to the push pins’ insistence. The sound drew his attention and he flicked on the nearest table lamp. It did little to illuminate the room, but was enough to see by. The victims stared out at him, their lives amounting to a small blurb. Above their heads, the articles announced, ‘Man Found Dead in Car Explosion’, and ‘Woman Killed in Foiled Carjacking’, among others.
He knew them by heart. Each represented a failed attempt to save his ex-employer’s targets. They were all that remained of his recent pursuit for salvation. He sniffed at the stale tobacco odor that permeated the apartment. It was as though the small space could never get clean; a feeling he was quite familiar with.
Lifting himself from the bed, he straightened and listened to the crack of his joints. He stretched his arms and crept over to the open window, his dark skin masking the muscular build beneath. With each footstep, the floor announced to his neighbors that he was awake. It was a reminder of the innocent lives he put in jeopardy by staying here for two months. Black Force was after him, and they were just as well trained as he. His old mercenary friends would not take hostages, and they had no qualms with eliminating witnesses.
He needed to move on before he was found, but it was difficult to give up such an ideal location. One reason he chose this dilapidated part of the city was the unfriendliness of the people. His weathered complexion helped him to blend in, and the fact that he spoke not a word of Spanish afforded him his solitude.
Daniel smiled as another faint breeze drifted through the window. Seeing an oncoming car, he stepped out of the moonlight and alongside the curtains. There was no need to broadcast his presence. Watching the sidewalk below, his attention was drawn to an interesting individual.
The man was different from other street inhabitants headed to work. He casually strode under the streetlamps holding an AK-47, but no one took notice. It was like the armed man was invisible. He passed the taco vendor Daniel frequented and even Marco failed to greet him. The old food salesman greeted everyone while grilling his morning breakfast burritos, but somehow he overlooked this man.
The oddity was barely visible at this distance, but the early risers on the streets should have spotted the gun. His clothes made him stand out like a leopard at a zebra party. Through the sporadic flow of traffic, Daniel watched the man’s russet coat and fedora bob behind passing cars. His checkered golf pants shone under the streetlamps and he walked with a slight spring in his step. He was like an armed ostrich bobbing down the city street, ready to go hunting.
Could he be with Black Force?
He doubted it, but what if his old employer had hired someone new? It was odd for a mercenary group to hire out to a competitor, but he might have eluded them too many times. Either way he needed answers to his questions, and this guy might be his key. They were questions that had plagued him for years, like ‘What could he do to stop Black Force or at least get them off his back?’ He just wanted a chance at redemption before he died. The pain he had caused was unforgettable, especially in his dreams.
His hand unconsciously went to the three scars crisscrossing his large bicep. He ran calloused fingers along the smooth skin. It was not until the last few years that he came to care about others. Up to then, he did what he wanted and what he was told without question. The scars were just a reminder of one of his father’s early lessons on obedience; something his old boss and good-old dad had in common. They did not take ‘no’ for an answer.
Losing sight of the man behind a group of chatting women, Daniel was startled into action. He needed answers, and this guy was his best chance. He searched the sidewalk for the bounding pedestrian. Seconds later, the man appeared without having lost a step. Anticipating another disappearance, Daniel gave the street a cursory glance.
Satisfied, he threw a blue button-up over his sweat-stained undershirt. It trailed behind him like a cape as he crossed the room. His hand automatically grabbed his 9-millimeter off the end-table and tucked it into his pants before bringing the door to a close. He had to catch up before the guy vanished again.
Taking the stairs two at a time, he swept through the first floor foyer and onto the sidewalk. He searched the opposing walkway for the brown fedora. The hat materialized over a taxicab, and the yellow lamplight overhead illuminated its creases like the golden eyes of an animal peering through the shadows.
Daniel bolted across the busy road and narrowly avoided a rusted-out farm truck. The only warning of its approach was a deep, male voice crooning through its open windows “… oh, mi amor,” while a salsa melody plucked along in the background.
At least I won’t be the latest obituary in the Sun Herald, he thought as the guitar melody faded.
He leapt over the last car-length of asphalt and rushed up the sidewalk. Sidestepping the barrage of pedestrians, he weaved through more oncoming groups and attempted to gain on the odd man. Daniel pumped his muscled legs harder. He threaded his way through the sporadic traffic while keeping the man in sight. It still surprised him how many people walked to work on this side of town. He felt like a running-back for the local Panthers football team, dodging moving targets. Unfortunately, he could not remember a game they had won, and his progress was worthy of the same praise. Somehow, the bobbing fedora was still drifting further away. Daniel broke into a run. Passing men and women gave him sidelong glances. A few locals cursed as he shoved them aside, attempting to close the gap with his prey.
The loud shouts did not bother the man in the fedora. He never turned or glanced back. He just continued down the packed street, his dark hat bobbing over-top the crowd. As Daniel closed the distance, the unusual man walked directly into a father and daughter walking hand-in-hand. The stranger faded into a misty existence and phased through them. Without anyone realizing, the anomaly solidified on the other side and continued as though nothing had happened.
Daniel halted mid-step as his heart skipped a beat. “Whoa, this guy can’t be Black Force,” he muttered. “He’s like their hopped-up crooked cousin.”
The possibilities tumbled through his mind. Either way, this guy’s looking for trouble.
He was tired of waiting for them to find him. He had to act. “There’s no such thing as coincidence,” he whispered with renewed confidence.
The retired mercenary redoubled his pace and began gaining on the fedora. The old courthouse was around the next bend, and the sidewalk grew more congested. His broad shoulders cowed some people, but others he cast aside like scattered chess pieces. Faces whizzed by in a blur, man … man … woman … man … child, but his attention remained on the armed stranger.
Daniel made his way to the corner, but was unable to reach his prey before the man entered the busy street. Stepping out of the packed sidewalk, the ex-mercenary stopped at the curb edge to watch the man cross. The armed apparition passed through cars undetected, heading for the municipal building. The muzzle of his rapid-fire gun came up as he approached the building front, but still no one reacted.
The veteran’s gaze followed the apparition across as the sun peaked over the mountainous horizon. But his eyes stopped abruptly when the courthouse came into view. Around it was a dimly outlined building, much larger than the courthouse of his reality. It stood over-top the historic building like a spectral shadow. He tilted his head, attempting to find the pinnacle, but its towering peak disappeared into the dawn sky. The building was enormous, like those in larger cities. It was a phantom skyscraper attempting to exist in an already occupied space. Its edges stood out against the stone structure of the courthouse, glistening blue like the threads of shimmering spider webs.
He stood motionless, in awe of the sight. Much like the man he had followed, it gave no one else reason for pause. He looked around, but even the fedora in the distance did not break its casual stride. A moment later, the man disappeared into the miasmic building.
“How could such a thing exist?”
At the base of one luminescent thread appeared a woman dressed in an outlandish, white-belted kimono. She finished thumbing the wall before turning around. Daniel peered at the block wall, searching for what she had been holding, but nothing was there. He could have sworn something had moved under her hand, but it was gone. Unlike the man in the fedora and the spectral building, her presence did not go unnoticed. She stood out in her tattered, oriental gown. The shredded kimono swirled about her with every intention of hiding her graceful curves, but failed utterly.
Her auburn hair shone in the sun’s morning rays, framing a pale face and wild eyes. Over the years, Daniel had come to know the look of fear in others. Judging by her face and the way people avoided her, she was in full flight. His brain went into overdrive as he remembered that people were looking for him. He had made a huge display and left disgruntled pedestrians in his wake. They would have no problem identifying him now.
“Dammit!” he spat. He had to do something … He had to move. And right now, this woman needed his help.
Entering the road, Daniel allowed morality to guide his search for redemption.
* * * * *
Here’s a bit about Weston
Creative writing has always been a passion, and I have helped invest in future writers throughout my teaching career at the middle and high school level. In my spare time I write poetry, short stories, and have completed two novels: A Life of Death and Invisible Dawn: Book One of Altered Realities. I am currently working on the sequel in the Altered Realities Series and am about to complete a short story anthology of twisted tales and flash fiction in cooperation with two other authors. Look for the anthology titled Strange Circumstances in early 2012. I also edit novels and technical documents for those interested in my services.
As the wordsmithing process continues, I find great ideas in the oddities of mundane life and take them to new heights.
Stalk Weston on:
Twitter – @WestonKincade
Buy INVISIBLE DAWN at these locations:
Amazon – http://ow.ly/6B2Am
Barnes & Noble – http://ow.ly/6B2XM
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/48842
Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/InvisibleDawn
Remember, you can enter to win a copy of INVISIBLE DAWN over on Angel Haze’s blog. Just head on over here and leave a comment – http://angel-haze.blogspot.com/2011/09/halloween-blog-hop.html