A writers job is never ending. Writers spend a lot of time researching and writing to bring the reader a fantastic read. For your reading pleasure, check out the released chapter excerpts from the book ‘Quantum Heights.’ Welcome to the writers cove.
EXCERPT TAKEN FROM “QUANTUM HEIGHTS”
Barons’ breathing was labored; the forest was dark and filled with vines and the hooting of animals. He took refuge behind an evergreen bowmore maple with a trunk as wide as three grown men. He peered from his hiding spot to see Caprius and Calista going in another direction and then he sank to the fetid earth, relieved.
Just out of his line of sight, Caprius paused. He drew his claymore of power and scanned the area with his sword. Calista squinted as she combed the dense forest with her eyes. Suddenly the claymore began to hum a song of sadness.
“This way,” Caprius said.
They darted through the trees. Huddled behind the maple, Barons heard a crash and looked around. The two knights were coming right toward him. He began to run.
“There he is!” called Calista.
They ran toward him. They were faster and more nimble and were soon gaining on him. Dodging the thick trees, it wasn’t long before Barons began to tire. He emerged from the forest into the open and realized with horror he was on a cliff overlooking the bay. He bent over, gasping for air. The knights walked over to him casually, knowing they had him back in their grasp. Barons looked around feebly for escape options and noted a set of stone stairs leading down the cliff to the rocky beach, but he knew he couldn’t outrun his captors.
“It’s over, Bombidus. Come quietly,” said Calista.
Barons knew the Elysian Council would interrogate him. He would be found guilty. There was no escape. Bombidus turned around to face the edge of the cliff. He looked down at the waves crashing against the shore.
“No. Don’t do it!” yelled Caprius.
He broke into a run, but it was too late; Barons spread out his arms, looked over the cliff, and tossed himself off, plummeting to his death. Caprius and Calista stopped at the cliff’s edge and looked down to see Bombidus’ tiny frame sprawled on the rocks in the shallows, dead. Calista ran to the stone stairs, closely followed by Caprius.
Apart from the wrecked corpse on the rocks, it was a beautiful night. The tide had gone out, and small sea birds circled over Barons as if to bear witness. Calista waded into the water towards the body and peered intently into his face.
“No, that can’t be,” she whispered.
She put her hand on Bombidus’ face, her fingers feeling not skin but a loose overlay. She tugged and off came a mask. It was a looking glass. This man, whoever he was, had taken Bombidus Barons’ identity. She looked into Barons’ face, wrinkled and sagging in her hands, before giving it to Caprius.
“He was protecting Bombidus Barons,” said Caprius. “A decoy.” He exhaled. “This mission is over.”
Calista came closer to Caprius and shook her head. “This was no mission. I clearly followed up on a tip I received. And I don’t intend to work with you ever again!”
“You’re still angry with me,” he said.
“That’s an understatement, Caprius Seaton,” she said. “You’ve made it perfectly clear to me that you don’t want me coming between you and your precious wife, Melina Hampshire!” She drew a breath. “You told me how you felt about me!” she yelled. “You called me a snake! But unlike a snake, I have no intention of coming between your bed sheets!” She paused and calmed down. “The only reason I’m in Elysium at all is your father, Confidus. He showed me love. He welcomed me with open arms.” She shook her finger at Caprius. “You don’t deserve my friendship. Dragus and Andromin have no problem talking to me.”
Caprius stayed silent, looking at her with concern.
“If it’s any consolation, I don’t ever intend to work with you again. You’re a low-down son of a bitch!” Her chin trembled. “I’m going back to Castle Elysium now. By myself. Stay away from me!” Calista stormed off and took the stairs two at a time back up to the cliff.
Caprius raised an eyebrow as he watched her run off. “She must really like me,” he said, smirking.
He glared at Bombidus Barons’ face on the looking glass. From the night sky came heavy, mournful laughter, as though Barons were mocking him. Caprius tossed the mask into the water, where it floated for a few seconds before the features became distorted and disappeared, leaving only the band of the looking glass remaining.
EXCERPT TAKEN FROM “QUANTUM HEIGHTS”
In the pit of a dark warehouse stood three of the dark lord’s most notorious henchmen. Cambrozes Genesis, the Dark Lord Makoor’s chief henchman in charge of subsuming the land of Alamptria, was in a heated discussion about his complicated scheme for stealing Caprius Seaton’s claymore of power. The claymore was a sword of power harnessed by the great wizard Grongone and his mighty Vim. The undead feared the Vim over all else: a power so intense, it could cripple the vampires and potentially destroy them.
It was a scheme that had made headway now that they were torturing Caprius’ good friend to get him to cooperate and do Cambrozes’ bidding. He writhed and spat in the corner, and Cambrozes watched, a thick, evil smile smeared across his oily face.
Carcass Doom, the other henchman helping administer the torture, grabbed the prisoner by his bloodied and torn shirt, and threw him into a nearby chair. Henry Hudson, who had been captured and was being forced to watch the other man’s suffering, was restrained by the third of the group, Lavender Frikiseed. Henry noticed a tattoo of a snake on the man’s wrist as he pinned him down. He gathered from the conversation that Lavender was going to be the one responsible for obtaining the claymore of power.
“Look up,” hissed Lavender, who grabbed Henry’s head and forced him to watch. “Your good friend here is about to die.”
Lavender pushed him into a chair, and two Droge creatures scurried forward and began tying him to the chair with rope. They bound his torso but mistakenly left his arms free. Henry smiled to himself, but clasped his hands behind his back and said nothing.
Carcass Doom walked over to a chain wound around a wheel attached to a steel beam. He hooked one end to the chair.
“I don’t know what you want from me,” said the man.
Carcass Doom glanced at the stagnant pool of freezing water that lay beneath an opening in the wooden floor before grabbing the chain and pulling it so the man was lifted off the ground. The Droges helped position the chair and the screaming man over the water before Carcass Doom lowered him into it. Down he went, deep, deeper into the cold water. The man struggled to get a last breath of air, but he was submerged too quickly, his eyes bulging with fear. There was nothing he could do. Carcass Doom’s strength was no match for any mortal.
“Carcass!” yelled Cambrozes. “That’s enough!”
Carcass rolled his eyes and pulled the man out of the water. He lifted him in his chair, sputtering, his head lolling about on his neck, and put him brusquely back onto the dry floor.
“Why are you doing this to me?” the man said between coughing fits.
“Now, Mr. Brandon Peasley, we’re going to have a little talk,” said Cambrozes.
“But I don’t know anything!” Peasley yelled.
“It’s not what you know that we’re interested in; rather, it’s what you’re going to do for us.” Cambrozes took a step closer to him. “I want you to write a letter instructing Caprius Seaton to meet you in the dining lounge of Hotel Quantum Heights.”
“Why would Caprius Seaton want to meet with me there?” asked Brandon. “It’s way out of the way.”
Cambrozes slapped Brandon in the face so hard it knocked him and his chair to the ground. Carcass pulled on the chain and lifted him gently back up.
“Don’t talk to me like I’m stupid!” Cambrozes peered into Brandon’s eyes. “I know all about the work you do for him. I also happen to know that he trusts you. This is why I know Caprius will show up.”
“Take heart, Peasley. Soon, we Goncools will run all of Alamptria,” said Lavender.
Cambrozes stared intently into Brandon’s eyes. “Now, write the letter.”
Carcass and the Droges moved the chair in front of a small writing desk.
“What’s the letter for? What is it exactly that you want?” asked Brandon.
“That isn’t any of your concern. All you need to know is what you already know and nothing more,” said Cambrozes.
“Well, I won’t write it!” yelled Brandon. “You’re going to kill me anyway.”
“Write the fucking letter!” yelled Cambrozes.
“I won’t do it. You’ll just have to kill me,” said Brandon.
EXCERPT TAKEN FROM “QUANTUM HEIGHTS”
“Is everything all right, sir?” the waiter asked, looking around.
“Could you bring me a bottle of bourbon? And don’t open it.”
“You want a whole bottle of bourbon, sir?” the waiter said, puzzled.
“Yes, an unopened bottle,” Caprius said.
The waiter returned momentarily. Caprius chuckled to himself at the good service.
“Your bottle of bourbon,” said the waiter. “Sir, you hardly touched your meal.”
“I’m afraid this meal won’t do. It stinks. Like your aftershave,” said Caprius.
The man sneered at Caprius, and Caprius, tired of the games, got up and met the man’s eyes. He said nothing but swept up his bourbon by the neck of the bottle and walked calmly from the entertainment lounge.
When Caprius approached his suite, a cold vibration erupted from his claymore of power. He took another puff from his cigar and shook the bottle of bourbon thoroughly. He entered his suite. There, seated on chairs, were the four men from the entertainment lounge. Caprius’ hand instantly went to his sword, but before he could grasp the hilt, a man standing behind the door hit Caprius over the head. Caprius fell to the floor, dazed and bleeding. The man took Caprius’ claymore from its sheath. Caprius struggled to regain his focus and stand. Behind him, the door opened and another man came in. Caprius’ vision was fuzzy, but he could smell that it was his second waiter. That made it six men against Caprius, and he didn’t have his sword of power. The fake waiter bent down to Caprius and drove his fist into his stomach.
“Incidentally, I happen to like this aftershave.”
The waiter spied Caprius’ bottle of bourbon and grabbed it before joining the others.
“You won’t be needing this anymore,” the waiter laughed and grasped the bottle to his chest.
The man who had hit Caprius from behind came around to join his cronies. Caprius saw his face.
“Lavender Frikiseed. Are you behind all this? What does a Koriston Taughtenslotte soldier want with the Goncools? When I get out of this, I’m going to apprehend you, bring you back to Elysium, and make sure you see a cell of Zaderack prison.”
The Goncools laughed.
“Immortality, my dear Caprius, immortality,” said Lavender.
Caprius peered into their eyes. Then, his gaze fell to their tattooed wrists. “The Goncools have new followers, I see,” said Caprius.
“Yes, but soon they’ll be joining us,” said Lavender.
“They are in prison, and there they’ll stay,” said Caprius. “And you intend to continue where they left off? If so, you know that their fate will soon be yours. And God will condemn you for what you do.”
“My fate is to serve Makoor. And your belief in your religion is what makes you weak,” said Lavender. “Your God is a very poor advisor. Do you think such prayers and worship will protect you from what you are about to face?” He smiled. “But I am a kind man. I will give you your moment of prayer.” He leaned in so Caprius could smell the man’s fetid breath. “In the end, you will see that the dark powers are the only real religion. But please, go ahead, have your senseless prayer, Caprius.”
Caprius hadn’t waited until he was told; he’d been silently in prayer since his arrival, knowing he’d need all his resources to get out of this.
“I gather you’re responsible for Brandon Peasley’s death,” said Caprius.
“I know nothing of what you speak; I only requested he write to you, and I took the liberty of sending the letter on his behalf.” Lavender smiled.
“What do you want with me?” asked Caprius.
“All we need is your claymore of power. Beyond that, how we get rid of you is entirely up to me,” said Lavender.
“My claymore is of no use to you. It only works for me,” said Caprius.
Lavender took the claymore and balanced it on his open palm. “This sword of power is what we need to bring the Prince of Darkness to life again.” His eyes misted over in reverie.
“You think you can harness the sword’s power and bring Titanis Clore back from the dead? It will never work. The power comes from Petoshine. And the Vim cannot be forced to work against it,” said Caprius.
“Well, Caprius, I’m not going to tell you how it will be done. But I assure you it will work,” said Lavender. “Nick! Malory!” Two large men approached Caprius and grabbed his arms. “Pray to your God now, foolish mortal.”
“You do realize that killing me won’t stop the rest of the Seatons,” said Caprius.
Lavender gave the sword to one of the men. “Take the claymore of power down to the stables. We will meet you there as soon as we take care of Mr. Seaton.” The man took the claymore and left the suite.
“Mind if I open the bottle of bourbon for a final drink?” asked Caprius.
“Not a chance,” said Lavender.
“At least let a condemned man finish his smoke?” asked Caprius, holding up his cigar. Lavender nodded to the men. They let go of Caprius. He put the cigar in his mouth and puffed on it slowly. “Say, this may take a while. Why don’t you gentlemen pour yourselves a drink? The bottle’s on me.”
Lavender looked skeptically at Caprius but nodded to the man who had posed as the waiter. “Go ahead, Ronen.”
Caprius chuckled. “You’re good at waiting on people. The drink is on you, Ronen.”
He puffed on his cigar. Ronen pulled on the cork, but it didn’t budge. He pulled harder, and he stumbled backward, bourbon splashing all over his face and torso. Caprius took a last hard puff of his cigar before throwing it at Ronen, who promptly burst into flames. He screamed and ran about the room, crashing into paintings and knocking them off the walls.
While the horrified men were stunned, watching their comrade, Caprius punched the man closest to him and grabbed his dagger from inside his boot. He got a running start and crashed through the large window across the living room, landing on the awning outside. It bounced gently, and two men leaned out through the shards, preparing to go after Caprius. He punched his fist through the fabric, and it tore in half. He grabbed the two sides and leaped like a parachute glider down the mountainside.
Up above, Ronen, still aflame and running in circles, fell out the window and smashed into the rock face. His body fell heavily to the gorge beneath.
Caprius had his eye on the man running to the stables with his claymore. The man turned, saw Caprius approaching from above, and ran faster. He entered the stable and went to his horse. It was tethered firmly to a post. He struggled with the knot, clearly aware he didn’t have much time.
He made it out, mounted, and began galloping down the mountain through the forest. Caprius landed quietly, got on a stallion, and gave chase. The man, who got on his horse, had fled. The snow was thick; sodden tree branches slapped at their faces. The canopy was dense, blocking out the sun and shrouding them in semi-darkness.