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Welcome to Alternative-Read.com
Gateway to Dark Stars
by Kate Haley
Genre: Horror, Action, Adventure
Here is an excerpt from the book!
He sat back slowly. Once he was comfortable on the floor he took up the vial, uncorked it, and downed the contents. He placed the drained vial back on the floor and sat with his hands empty and his eyes closed. Through his lids he could sense the flickering light of the candles as he sat and meditated. The light steadied. Vincent opened his eyes.
In this world his eyes were a swirl of darkness. It was the only way to see the things that lurked in the shadows of the Dreamland. All of eternity spun out as though he could see the galaxy. Strange horrors and creatures swirled at the edge of the void he waited in. He felt no fear. The Dreamland was a realm of shadows. It was the world that belonged to the darkness and all that lived within. From out of the void a stranger approached. Vincent wasn’t certain what they looked like. Humanoid. Shadowy. Even with the eyes of the dreamers he couldn’t focus on the man he met in the darkness. The man of many names. The stranger sat opposite Vincent and addressed him.
“Doctor Vincent Temple,” he spoke in a voice as smooth and rich as black coffee. “You have returned.”
Vincent met his gaze. “Our deal isn’t over…”
With one deft swipe of his sword he cut through the slime. It was thick and heavy like gel. The ooze coated his blade in a dull, sticky mess. Lucy fell away. She was dripping with the stuff. It weighed down her limbs and left her sticky and slow. The monster could see them now. She raised her gun to fire. The slime jammed it.
“Oh shit.” It was not the way a lady was supposed to talk, but Vincent appreciated it. It summed up the situation well. He had spent those seconds reloading his shotgun, and shaking his head against the illusions creeping at the edge of his vision. He fired. Once. Twice. Three times. The beast took the shots and rose to strike. Its thick giant body bled and oozed, but they hadn’t even slowed it down. It bared its fangs.
Lucy screamed in fury and fear and grief. She snatched the torch from the altar and threw it with all her strength. It hit the snake full in the chest. Against its massive form it looked like a mere match. For a second nothing happened. Then flames exploded across it.
Vincent grabbed Lucy. He tackled her away from the slime trail. They hit the ground and he pinned himself protectively over her. The creature’s slime proved extremely flammable. It shrieked and writhed as every pore caught alight. The slime trail down the cave caught fire. Vincent kept Lucy down and covered. They hugged the ground, breathing shallowly as all the oxygen was sucked from the cave.
The thugs, because no matter how they presented themselves Lucy knew they were thugs, gave polite half-nods of agreement. Ferro turned back to her. “Your father’s been a thorn in my side for years, signorina. He should have taken better care to make sure we never met.”
“She’s helping Vincent!” Tony interrupted. “She’s here because she was trying to help sort– ugh!” Tony doubled over and sank to his knees as one of the thugs punched him in the gut.
“Manners, Antony,” Ferro warned him against further interruptions. He shook his head. “My sister’s boy. You’d think she would have raised him better.” He spoke as if by way of an apology, and then shrugged away the inconvenience. A slight smile teased the corner of his thin lips as he saw the way Lucy flinched to look at the young man groaning on the ground. “Unfortunately, signorina, these docks are terribly unsafe. You’re going to have to come with us.”
“No,” Lucy tightened her grip on the rifle. “You don’t want that.”
“It’s my obligation as a gentleman to make sure you get home safely, child.”
“I don’t need help to go anywhere,” she retorted. “But you’re going to need mine. I’m the only one of us that can kill what’s sneaking up behind you.”
Ferro laughed. “Signorina, you do me a disservice if you think I’d fall for that.”
Lucy just waited. It was almost upon them now. One of Ferro’s goons screamed as he was suddenly hauled into the air. The imp that had snatched him was snarling hungrily. The gangsters turned as one with shouts of fear and alarm.
“Get it!” Ferro roared.
All of them drew their guns and fired straight into the ugly monster’s chest. It didn’t even flinch. It shrieked at them and then hauled its struggling captive closer. Lucy took aim. She wanted to prove a point, but she wasn’t going to let someone get eaten to make it. She fired. Imp brains exploded in a bloody cloud over the gangsters. They all turned to her. She stared down their wild eyes and slack jaws from behind the barrel.
Everything shifted. Beneath him, the ground cracked. It began to slide apart. He staggered up. Not fast enough. He slipped into the crack. The sole of his boot hit something hot and wet. The rocky ground rushed away from him on either side. Hot ooze pooled around his ankles. The ground looked up at him. He stood on an eyeball. Its sickly iris swiveled to find him. The rocks rushed back at alarming speed. Vincent leapt. He cleared the edge and crashed onto the rough earth. The world beneath was blinking at him. He rested on the eyelid. It moved back and forward as the veiny eyeball searched for him.
He stayed kneeling as he caught his breath. The air was like needles in his lungs. It prickled and stung like poison. The shock was getting to him more than anything. The universe of the Darkness assaulted his senses – assaulted his mind. It was impossible to stay focused. The grace of the Prince was all that saved him most visits, and this time he had no allies.
He had to do it alone. He pulled himself to his feet. He always did. The eyelid still wavered back and forth under him, but he drove himself on. The knowledge that he was alone in this world kept him strong. It kept him going. There was no one else to worry about here. There was no one else to fear for. That fear had dictated so much of his life. That fear of loss.
A ghostly silhouette waited for him in the shadows ahead. He knew what it was instantly. His thoughts had drawn it here. His fears and desires and the deepest guilt-ridden parts of his nightmares. The figure in the Darkness turned. Vincent felt his heart stop. His blood froze.
Slaying monsters. It ain’t much, but it’s honest work.
In the age of jazz and bootleg liquor, black magic is making a big comeback. Luckily, the scourge of demons and cultists are keeping Doctor Vincent Temple in business. Even the Mafia are having trouble with monsters, and they’ve hired Temple to sort it out. Cash is cash, and the old Doctor has never been one to turn his nose up at a job, no matter who’s paying. This time luck is smiling on him. The gangsters are tangling with a cult Doctor Temple has been stalking over a personal matter, but when reconnaissance turns into rescue can he save the world before things become too personal?
The Witcher meets Cthulhu in this gruesome, high-octane adventure. Snatch up your copy now and get ready to slay some demons!
Kate Haley is a speculative fiction author who works predominantly in fantasy and horror.
While currently content to fill her days with writing and table-top RPGs, her grander plans involve world domination. Something akin to the tyranny of the greatest city atop the Disc would be an acceptable standard. She believes a super-villainous overlord would be an upgrade, given that our current villains lack style and imagination.
After all, super-villainy requires Presentation.
If you like her references, consider reading her books. Peruse the website for short fictions and merchandise, and join the mailing list for early access and exclusive cool stuff.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
Personalized signed copy of the book & an art print of the lead character by the illustrator,
$10 Amazon giftcard
-1 winner each!
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