|Original Cover Idea for DF|
Kainoa Ryder has a mission--be on your computer, in your phone or Kindle/eReader/Kobo/Nook.
Oh, yeah, and to destroy the Defenders of the Fourth Dimension.
The former, though, he's already achieved. Destiny's Fate is now available at Borders.com, Kobo and Google eBooks, as well as Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Need a link? It's right to right hand side of this page.
Click below for exclusive sneak peek of Chapter Six: Critical Point.
Recommended reading music: "A Beautiful Lie" by 30 Seconds to Mars-Kainoa's unofficial theme
-5x-9z+6 = 8
6x+9z+7 = 19
Kainoa steadily worked through the algebraic equation as best he could, adding up the like objects. After all, Mr. Romano made it easy. The z’s already cancelled each other out, which made the equation:
x+13 = 27
He worked out the rest, and when the answer lay on the sheet in a box, he checked the back of the book, finding his answer (14) to be right. He would have smirked, but his arm, still in cast after his trip to the Civil War, itched relentlessly. He never had a cast before; anytime he broke an appendage, Ojiisan simply tied it with gauze. Fighting through the pain was doable to the young assassin, but this—oh, God, did he really have three more weeks in this abomination of healing torture? He could steal velocity and change the Time of moving objects. Why couldn’t he speed up his own healing?
Insanity overcame him, and despite his uncle’s constant reminder not to stick objects down the cast, he snatched his pencil and slipped its point past the plaster. Aaaah. Finally, relief.
The slammed front door shut shook the house, but the subsequent bellow startled the ninja. “Kainoa Akii Ryder! Get your tail end down here! NOW!”
At the mention of his full name, his hand lost its grip on the pencil, and it tumbled down the gap. He growled and peered down the hole in attempt to reclaim it, but alas, the pencil eluded him.
Kainoa made a mental note not to tell his uncle and rolled off his bed. As he headed down the hall, Krisk stuck his head out of his room and said in a singsong voice, “You’re in trouble.”
Kainoa granted the boy the glare he usually saved for those he wanted to kill, and his hand shone blue in a tightly gripped fist. With an eep, Krisk slammed shut the door to his room, allowing Kainoa a small smile.
It lasted until he landed on the last step and his mother ambushed him. “I had to cancel my Medieval European History class today. Care to guess why?”
Kainoa noticed her crossed arms over her suit top, the tapping of her French-manicured fingernails upon her elbow, and her piercing green eyes anything but kind. Her tongue swished a chocolate-covered espresso bean, which helped to increase the speed of her tapping.
He guessed something he did angered her, but his memory only mustered, “Uh…no?”
“I’ll bite. He got expelled again?” Artemis walked out from the kitchen, a hoagie in his hand. He offered a taste to Kainoa, who accepted it with a nod of thanks. Hmm…ham and Swiss with mustard. It always bewildered the teen how his and his father’s likes and dislikes paralleled, though genes played no part.
Steadying her clicking heels, Rena motioned to Kainoa while speaking to her husband. “Your son has been skipping his English and American History classes since he was reinstated. Apparently, his English teacher doesn’t even know what he looks like.”
Artemis snatched back his sandwich. “Why is Kainoa always my son when he does something wrong?”
Did he really need to be here for this?
“Because my son is always good,” Rena snapped before turning her incensed glare once more upon Kainoa, her lips a thin white line. “What do you have to say for yourself?”
Rena’s shock exuded from her agape mouth. “Don’t you care?”
“Son,” Artemis started with an exasperated sigh, dropping his half-eaten sandwich onto the end table, “you have to do better than that.”
“Why?” Kainoa demanded. “Because it’s what you want? Because it’s definitely not what I want.”
“What do you mean?” Rena asked. “You don’t want to graduate high school?”
“I really don’t see the point.” When Rena and Artemis traded horrified expressions, Kainoa stole his father’s sandwich. “Are we done? I have algebra homework to finish.”
“No, we’re nowhere near close.” Artemis clutched his adopted son’s bicep, keeping the teen from the relative sanctuary of his room. “That’s not a good enough answer, Kainoa.”
“Then what is? What do you want me to say?”
Artemis’s hold strengthened, beseeching. “How about you try the truth?”
“The truth?” Kainoa wrenched his arm away with one tug, losing his sandwich. “You want it? Fine. Here it is. I’m not going to need high school.”
“Because you’re going back to Lysander?” asked Rena.
Why did she sound so hurt? “I’m only here because he ordered me to come. My Destiny lies with him.”
“Being an assassin, right? Killing people?”
Kainoa heard the tears in her voice and wanted not to feel responsible, wanted to ignore them. Why couldn’t he? “You can deny it all you want, but it’s who I am. Search, but you’ll see the same thing. I’ve seen war before. I’ve seen death, caused death, on a large scale. You can’t change that.”
Artemis stalked forward, grabbing his son by his shoulders and shaking him fiercely. “T—That is not you.”
“How do you know me? You haven’t seen me in seven years.”
“You’re our son,” Rena said, slipping her hand into Kainoa’s. “That’s how we—”
“You got rid of me!” Tearing out of his parents’ grip, he distanced himself from them, his hands forming fists as he rushed into the living room. He once more saw the mantle, where pictures of Krisk and his parents sat on display. “When I was gone, you erased me from your lives. You didn’t have to worry about my future anymore or what I might do to the Defenders.”
“The past is open for us to see,” Rena claimed. “Our future is undetermined.”
Kainoa whirled, fury burning his eyes and consuming his tightened fists in blue flames. “Undetermined? You control all of Time—”
“We protect, not—”
“—and you’re telling me you never went back to see what happened to me or looked at my future to see what would? Didn’t you care at all, or was Ojiisan right? You knew this whole time what I’m Destined to do, and you tried to change it.”
Artemis’s face paled as he collapsed to the couch. He knotted his fingers and rested his elbows on his knees, staring at the floor. Rena lunged forward to snatch at his forearm. He didn’t turn toward her persist tugging.
“There was a fire—”
“Don’t lie to me,” he shrieked. “I heard you! They burned during my candlelight vigil, right?”
Artemis squeezed his eyes shut, but Rena screamed through her bubbling tears, “We took them down when we lost hope. It hurt too much. Don’t you see that? It should never have been this way.”
“A parent should never lose a child, and it hurts, Kainoa. It’s a pain so unbearable no one should ever have to endure it—to think we would never see you again, would never hold you—”
“Bullshit! If you really wanted me, you would’ve—”
“Would’ve what?” Rena asked softly as she rubbed his good forearm. “Kainoa, your father and I have never seen our future or yours. We’re forbidden by the Defenders’ codes. If we would’ve seen your abduction, we would’ve never…” Her voice failed her, and she swallowed the sobs constricting her throat. “W—We would never have let you go out alone and the consequences…”
Kainoa glared back at the mantle. If he mattered so damn much, then why didn’t they save him? They never came. They even replaced him.
“Why are you here, Kainoa?” Sawyer emerged from the kitchen, still dressed in his Defenders’ uniform, dark circles outlining his exhausted eyes. “Why did you really come back?”
Sawyer knew his mission; he must have. Unlike Rena and Artemis claimed, as Gatekeeper, he must have looked at the future. Then why did he even ask? Sawyer should just kill him and stop the future from ever occurring.
Kainoa grabbed a picture in the middle of the mantle—the one with Krisk and Rena and Artemis. They appeared so happy, so carefree. His parents seemed the same way with him all those years ago, before Ojiisan, before his sight of the future. Kainoa missed them for years, wanted them, waited for them, knew they would come for him and save him, but eventually, he accepted Ojiisan’s truth. The Ryders didn’t want him, and even now—no. Those were tears, true and bright. Rena cried. Then why didn’t they—
Infiltrate, assimilate, annihilate.
One fist shaking with blue fire, he crashed the picture frame against the mantle, breaking the glass into a thousand pieces. He grabbed another and shattered it on the soot-darkened brick, and another, and another—
The teen wrestled away from his mother’s grip on his arm to snag another frame and throw it to the ground. He grunted through the shards of glass digging into his feet, and the remnants of frames cracked under his weight. He didn’t care. Annihilate everything—that was his Destiny. He might as well start fulfilling it now.
He moved to throw another frame when strong arms wrapped around his torso, pinioning his arms against his body. Their force knocked his shoulder into the end table, and he hissed when he slammed to the ground. Glass shreds dug through his shirt and into his vulnerable flesh. He gnashed his teeth as Sawyer held him down.
“Get off me!”
“Artemis, get the Anachron!” His uncle straddled his waist and pressed his hands down upon Kainoa’s shoulders. Sawyer’s voice became calm, unnervingly soothing, “Why are you fighting me, Kainoa? What have we done?”
The frightened inquiry drew every person’s attention to Krisk. The boy stood in the doorway, his eyes the size of tennis balls, his hands fidgeting with themselves. Kainoa took the moment to unhitch his surprised uncle and throw him off. Flicking his body to his feet, Kainoa whirled his leg to connect with Sawyer’s stomach. His uncle’s back crashed into the plasma TV, sending a shattering reverberation through the room. As he collapsed to the ground, glass showered his hunched shoulders, and blood seeped through the back of his shirt.
“Rena, go… now.”
Rena dove for her younger son, but Kainoa acted faster. He leapt, grabbing hold of the couch’s spine and vaulting himself in front of the boy. His body overshadowed Krisk’s by almost a full torso, and he relished his own power. Krisk stared up at him with the huge, terrified eyes he gained when Kainoa hung him over the Titanic’s railing, and Kainoa only heightened the boy’s fear by kicking him in the solar plexus. The boy’s back smacked into the stairs, and as he crumbled, Kainoa seized him by the shirt to keep him from the ground.
Despite the boy’s kicking legs and desperate whines, Kainoa’s face was expressionless as he extended his hand. “They love you more than anything.”
How they used to love him.
Krisk sniveled; Kainoa pressed his fingers right between the boy’s eyes.
The words replayed in his head, and he cringed, pulling his hand back to touch his own forehead. The words, he heard his father’s shout them years ago, and the boy’s eyes…they looked so familiar. The eyes were older but still just as innocent. Abruptly, a sharp pain contorted his body. Every nerve burned as if on fire, and before he even screamed, the wooden floor rushed to greet him.
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