Wednesday, April 13, 2011
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Breaking Out/In...
Yep. You heard it! I’m published! Destiny’s Fate is now available on a BlackBerry, iPhone, iPod Touch, Droid Phone near you! Check out Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. By next week, it should be up on Borders.com, as well as Kobo, iBooks, and Google eBooks. You can grab these through your Nook, eReader, or Kindle apps!
What’s DF about? Glad you asked!
Fate cannot be changed, Kainoa Ryder’s adoptive parents had always told him. There is a plan, a preordained chain of events that no one can alter. If someone tries, the consequences are grave, for he/she is rebelling against the laws of the Fourth Dimension or Time itself. The Ryders know. As Defenders of the Fourth Dimension, they protect all of Time’s events.
Kainoa only remembers his adoptive parents’ words as lies. Stolen by his biological grandfather—the former Resident Gatekeeper and head of the Defenders—and raised in Medieval Japan, fifteen-year-old Kainoa has harnessed the gift of Destiny, the ability to travel through time. Where others need the help of a device called an Anchron to move between time periods, Kainoa only needs a single thought, and where the Defenders protect Time, Kainoa can rule it.
An assassin who obeys without thought, who kills without guilt, Kainoa has seen his Fate to infiltrate, to assimilate, and to annihilate the Defenders of the Fourth Dimension—and his own family. Forced to return to his original time period—twenty-first century New Jersey—and confront his troubled past, Kainoa struggles against assimilation, for that would mean acceptance. And he can’t accept the truth: even he, the bearer of Destiny, cannot escape his own Fate.
Want to read an excerpt? Click below!
CHAPTER THREE: INTRODUCTION TO REALITY
The small, grainy objects molded Kainoa’s malleable flesh to mold his skin before the aching broke through the depths of sleep. When he moaned and rolled over, the sensation lessened on those parts of his body, but now his face took the brunt of the discomfort. He cracked open one eye, and his vision blurred before the granular spheres became rocks and the once soft cushions of the couch now took the shape of cobblestones.
He slowly raised his head and pushed into a sitting position. As soon as a presence prickled a few feet away, his eyes snapped over his shoulder and narrowed at a girl, younger than him by several years, who stood not too far away. In her hands she held a basket of rolls, which promptly scattered upon the cobblestones. Her glistening blue eyes shook, and gradually, a finger hazarded to point at Kainoa.
Witch? Kainoa glanced down at his wardrobe, a simple T-shirt and sweatpants. Did he really look like a girl—Oh, a hollowing gust through the small village, whisking his hair upon his back freely and cascading it over his shoulders like waterfalls.
Kainoa maneuvered himself into a crouching position as villagers crept closer to him, some rushing out of wooden storefront and homes, while others simply stood in awe. All wore dark suits and dresses, top hats with buckles and white socks pulled to their knees. A few carried pitchforks; others loaded their muskets.
“She truly is a witch and an ugly one at that,” a man claimed before sweeping his hand. “Ready the stake!”
Stake? What did they need a stake for, and was that fire? Why was someone carrying a torch?
As the men sporting pitchforks came to the front of the group and lunged, Kainoa decided not to find out why and shoved his hand into the blue aura surrounding his body, disappearing from the cobblestoned street. Huffing, he landed with a plop on the blue-rose sofa and met the calm eyes of his uncle. Sawyer still wore his Defenders jumpsuit, complete with blaster and Kainoa’s dagger. His red-brimmed eyes conveyed his exhaustion, and an eight o’clock shadow grew upon his chin, which sounded like sandpaper when his uncle’s thumb scraped across it. Did Sawyer stay up all night watching him?
Granting Kainoa a small smile, the uncle asked, “So where were you?”
Kainoa wiped any fear from his face and straightened his back. “I don’t know.”
Sawyer narrowed his eyes so much that they tried to penetrate Kainoa’s soul. The teen glared back noncommittally, not unnerved in the slightest, but never once blinked until Sawyer did. Then, his uncle shifted on the coffee table to reach about his back and pull out his pocket Japanese guide. “Can you repeat that?”
Kainoa fought the urge to roll his eyes. “I do not know where I was.”
“Can you give me a description?”
“Black top hats, buckles, pitchforks and stakes—”
Sawyer let out a brief chuckle. “Salem would be my guess. Must have been scary.”
“There are no emotions if you do not allow them,” Kainoa droned.
Sawyer’s face remained neutral, but less than a moment later, his strong front crumpled. His tired face twisted before he pitched forward, wrapping one hand about the boy’s head and pressing Kainoa’s face into his shoulder. Running a hand over his nephew’s hair, he whispered, “I’m sorry we couldn’t save you.”
Kainoa hung in his uncle’s grip, wondering what the new feeling swarming within him was. He wanted to pull his head back and free himself, but he doubted stealing his knife and stabbing his uncle would pass well with the Ryders. It would probably get him killed before he completed his mission.
When Sawyer allowed him reprieve, morose tears coursed his flushed cheeks. He wiped them quickly before hauling the boy to his feet. “Come. Your mother has made breakfast.”
Kainoa would have disputed—When would they realize Rena wasn’t his mother?—but he forwent the argument and allowed Sawyer to push him through the doorway. A rush of emotion and bananas overwhelmed him, the smell submerging him in the past. During the weekdays, his parents worked, and on Saturday, they lounged around in bed until he cannonball-ed into the pool of blankets. But on Sunday, his mother always woke up early, and by the time he reached the table, a heaping pile of banana pancakes waited.
When Sawyer forced him down into a seat, Rena offered Kainoa a tender smile and placed the plate down in front of him. His father dropped the paper onto the table and surprised Kainoa with his red robe and ruffled hair. Other than the gray strands, he remained the same, even in his warm greeting, “Good morning, son. Did you sleep well?”
“He found himself in Salem this morning,” Sawyer offered.
Rena dropped her spatula into the sink. “S—Salem, you say.” She rinsed it off and fought with a stubborn pancake in the pan. “That must have been…um…”
“—interesting,” Artemis finished with a sigh. He met Kainoa’s eyes and dipped his fork. “Do you move through the time stream a lot?”
Kainoa shrugged and tried to hide the wince attempting to twist his face. “Not often but enough.”
“What was that, honey?” Rena asked, taking a sip of coffee from Artemis’s cup.
Artemis translated for her, though he fixated his entire, querying gaze upon Kainoa. “Without an Anachron?”
Kainoa quirked an eyebrow. “What’s an Anachron?” He conjectured that was the name of the instruments Edge and Ravage used to move through the time stream, but Ojiisan never called them that.
Sighing, Artemis shook his head and waved toward his plate. “What are you waiting for? Eat until you’re stuffed, Kainoa.”
The name still grated on him, but he allowed it. The entire scene seemed so surreal. Like every Sunday, Uncle Sawyer fell to the seat next to him and accepted the plate his mother offered with a smile. “Hmmm…Rena, you have outdone yourself again.”
Slapping him across the back of the head, she gave Artemis a plate as well. “You always say that, Sawyer.”
Artemis shook his head and laid his napkin across his lap. “And he’s always right.”
“It’s about time you get yourself someone to do this,” Rena replied.
“Why? He has you.”
Kainoa followed his father’s example, placed the napkin across his lap, and grabbed his fork. Flipping it about his hand, he tried to remember how he ate with it prior with the fork’s unfamiliar weight. Chopsticks seemed so much lighter.
After watching Sawyer and Artemis, he positioned it over his plate and waited. His mother, after serving everyone else, would always come to sit next to him and with a pat on his head, begin to eat her own stack with her third cup of coffee. She came to his side and patted his head but didn’t sit after laying another pile next to him.
The door swung open.
Kainoa’s fork clanged to his plate, and his eyes darkened at the little boy who stood just inside the doorway. His head rose above Rena’s waist, while his bright jade eyes shown through Kainoa’s. Strands of his short blonde hair brushed over those eyes as the boy cocked his head to the side to survey Kainoa, curiosity mingling with irritation in his uncertain gaze.
“Who are you, and what are you doing in my seat?”
Kainoa remained captive by those eyes. He knew them, had seen them every day for eight years when his mother woke him up in the morning.
They replaced him. His parents replaced him.
Ojiisan, why didn’t you tell me?
He knew the mission would be difficult when Ojiisan explained it, but his guardian never said anything about a kid. Of course, maybe his grandfather thought this would just make it easier. This boy wasn’t just any kid. This boy was his little—no. He wasn’t. They weren’t related, just like he wasn’t related to the Ryders.
Rena hurried gracefully across the room and placed a gentle hand on her son’s head. “Krisk, is that anyway to speak to your brother?”
“Brother?” Krisk scoffed and glanced back at Kainoa. “I thought he left.”
Reclaimed, Kainoa corrected in his head, and now he thanked God he was. If not, he would have had to deal with this runt.
“It’s a long story,” Artemis said, wiping his face with his napkin before coming over to his son and wife. Heaving the boy into his arms, he smiled tentatively as he approached. “Kainoa, I’ll like you to meet your little brother, Krisk. Krisk, this is Kainoa.”
The boy couldn’t have been older than seven, which made him conceived just about the time Kainoa disappeared.
Krisk sighed, looking Kainoa up and down before replying, “Hey.”
When he found himself barefoot in the cold dew of the grass behind the house, Kainoa decided not to question. He found himself in stranger places without more than a thought before, though he usually appeared in the practice area of Ojiisan’s manor. It wasn’t as dirty as grass and soil, so he didn’t shiver and could rationalize his clean feet. Now, his toes squished against the mud, and he forced away a cringe to begin his calming exercises.
He pushed his hands out in front of him, then whisked them about his head. He ignored the back door creaking open and the swishes of slippers and the clicks of boots across the deck. Rena tied Artemis’s robe about her body as she came down the small flight of stairs to the grass, Sawyer trailing behind her.
Kainoa turned away from her approach and balanced upon his hands. He bit the inside of his lower lip to redirect his focus from the pain in his shoulder to his mouth and flicked his legs out in a split.
“Kainoa,” she bridged.
He ignored her.
“We didn’t replace you, my little angel. Please see…I know this must be hard.”
“It’s not hard,” he replied, his tone freezing her in its wake.
Swallowing hard, she pushed her long hair out of her tense face and blew a distraught sigh. “Kainoa, please. It’s okay to tell me how you feel.”
Breathing out himself, he brought his legs straight upward, then bent one. “There are no emotions if you train yourself not to feel them.”
“Now who’s the one just spouting phrases?” Rena combated before her tone softened. “Kainoa, this isn’t you.”
He dropped his feet to the ground and felt the cold dew squish between his toes. Standing, his posture inconceivably poised from his training, Kainoa met her gaze with emotionless eyes. “Do not assume.”
“I’m not assuming!” she burst. “I remember every Sunday you thumping down the stairs and bolting into your father’s arms to watch the Jets’ game on his lap. I remember when we used to tickle you before your stomach burst and your giggles being the most wonderful sound in the world. That is not assuming, Kainoa. That’s knowing who you are and who you should be. And this—” Standing slightly taller, she gazed down to see his eyes and shivered at the dull sage staring back at her. If they had been blue, they would have been ice. “—this is not my Kainoa.”
He listened to her without a word in exchange, though he wanted to reply he was never hers. She pulled a tissue from her robe and took his hands to clean them of the dirt and dew. Then, stepping out of her slippers, she headed inside the house, her eyes never meeting Sawyer’s.
Kainoa waited for another attack, this time from his uncle, but Sawyer shook his head. He strode forward, his hands behind his back. When he finally spoke, his eyes, like his voice, lacked emotion. “Why were you there yesterday, Kainoa? What were you doing in the sixth century?”
Kainoa looked at his uncle, then away. “I heard voices at the Sogas’ compound and went to see what was going on.”
The leader gestured toward Kainoa’s shoulder. “Then how’d you get that?”
“One of your Defenders hit me.”
“Your shirt wasn’t even torn, so that’s physically impossible.”
Kainoa scowled. Apparently, Sawyer succeeded Ojiisan as Resident Gatekeeper for a reason. The man pushed his emotions away to see the truth.
“Kainoa, allow me to explain the circumstances to you,” the uncle began. “Ten of my people were killed two nights ago in cold blood. I have no witnesses other than a prince and his aunt, and since I can’t disturb the time stream, I’m forbidden to speak to them. You’re my only source of information. Give me something, huh?”
“I saw the fight,” he muttered in English, but his Japanese accent remained thick, despite his years growing up in America. “Two people, a girl with black hair and a boy with red, attacked Soga Iruka and his clansmen. When people wearing suits identical to yours came, the assassins took care of them, too. I had watched the battle too close, and one of your people’s lasers hit me. I would have moved, but I was afraid the others would hear me. I waited until they left then went, too. I remembered one of them dropped that knife, and I thought Ojiisan could use another one. He has a…—vast?— collection, and I came back for it.” He sighed. “That’s all I know.”
“Why didn’t you say that earlier? Why did you fight our men and your father?” Sawyer pressed, his voice distrusting as was his glare.
Kainoa blinked but somehow managed to keep his face neutral.
“You weren’t there by accident, were you, Kainoa?” Sawyer pressed. “You came to find us. The question is: why?”
He hadn’t expected that question or Sawyer to put it together, but he remembered what Ojiisan had said. Tell the truth. “To put the past behind me, so I may move toward my Fate.”
“And what exactly is that Fate?” Sawyer leaned closer to whisper, “What do you see when you see the future?”
Narrowing his eyes, Kainoa cocked his head to the side. There was only one real answer to his uncle’s question, though he doubted the man wanted it. “Death.”
Sawyer tensed. “Destiny is not an easy bale to carry, is it, Kainoa?”
He didn’t wait for an answer. He grinned a rather lowly smile, perhaps closer to a half-frown, then called over his shoulder as he headed back into the house, “I’m sure your mother will keep the pancakes warm until you come in.”
Once Kainoa was alone, he looked down at his semi-clean hands and the slippers his mother left him. Though he did not want to take things from her, his socialization taught him the value of cleanliness of the house inside and outside and made a note of her gesture. Slipping his feet into the shoes, he continued to work through his motions until his concentration broke, and he tumbled to the ground.
If his uncle knew why he came back, then Sawyer knew what he did.
To read the rest, check out Amazon.com, etc.!