New Update!

Hello everyone. All of my Reviews, that I have yet to write, will be posted sporadically during the summer. After the end of this summer, I will not be posting on here anymore, as you will see the info on the right side of the blog.
Thanks for your understanding.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Forbidden Life By: Kimberly Kinrade *Interview, First Chapter & Giveaway*

*Click The Tour Banner To Follow The Tour*

Hey everyone, thank you for stopping by! Today you will see an Interview I had with the Author, the First Chapter from Forbidden Life, and the Tour-Wide Giveaway so here you go! :)


My Interview With Kimberly Kinrade

What inspired you to write this whole trilogy?


KK: The trilogy started as a dream about a girl named Sam who could read minds and was raised in a secret school called "Rent-A-Kid" and rented out as a spy.

I took a few notes on the idea and forgot about it for a long time, then went back to it when I needed an idea for a short story. What started as a short story turned into the first novel, and when I finished it I realized the story wasn't done yet. I knew it would be a trilogy at that point.

Did you have to research, and if yes, how was that process?
KK: I had to some research on pieces of the story. What kind of weapon could take down a plane and be held by hand from someone on the ground? What kinds of para-powers could the teens in my books have?

I researched electrical fences, private jets and planes, Diamond Head in Hawaii (where the climax in Forbidden Life takes place), surfing details and more.

I also did some medical research for Forbidden Life to figure out what kind of research the Big Bad would be doing.

Most of my research was a simple google search and a lot of reading. For the rest, one of my editors, John Allen, was instrumental in answering my questions.

What do you want your readers to get from your novel?
KK: First, I hope they are absorbed by the characters and their plight and feel pulled into this world. I want them to be entertained, but also to be challenged to think about some of the themes present in the books. Themes of good and evil, right and world, morality, the value of human life, love, family.

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
KK: I joke that I was born with ink in my veins and magic in my heart. I've been writing since I was a young girl, and actually started selling my short stories and poetry to family and friends when I ran out of teeth to sell to the Tooth Fairy. (True story!)

I was a journalist while in college, working for pay on the student newspaper and for more pay for a large daily newspaper in Los Angeles, California.

While I did start working on a novel in college, and I wrote a few screenplays and plays, I didn't start focusing exclusively on my fiction until a few years ago. Non-fiction writing, ghostwriting, and journalism always took up all my time and paid the bills more immediately then writing books, but my real passion is writing novels and I'm so glad I can finally do that full time.

What are you currently working on?
KK: I have a few more children's books for my Three Lost Kids series in progress, and my husband, Dmytry Karpov, and I are co-writing a really beautiful historical fantasy romance called Sunrise & Nightfall. A long novella of this book will come out Jan. 15th, and the full novel (much, much longer) will come out in March.

We're also publishing a new trilogy. Blood of the Fallen (The Fallen Trilogy, #1) will launch in May, and will star Luke and Lucy from the Forbidden Trilogy, as well as Andriy Zorin from Sunrise & Nightfall!

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
KK: Study your craft. Practice, practice, practice! Read books on story structure, plotting, characterization, the craft of writing, grammar, etc and never skimp on professional editing. Never!

Which Authors do you look up to?
KK: Neil Gaiman, C.S. Lewis, Patti Larsen, Patrick Rothfuss, Lane Diamond.

Have you ready any books lately? Which ones?
KK: I recently read the thriller Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and really enjoyed it. Also, Blood Song (Raven's Shadow), an epic fantasy that was quite brilliant. 


Some Random Qs

Do you have a favorite film? Which one?
KK: The Princess Bride, if I had to pick one. When I was in Jr. High I competed in fencing and this was our team movie, we used to practice based on the choreography of the epic fencing scene in the movie.

Inconceivable. "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

What film are you most looking forward to coming in Theaters?
KK: I cannot deny that I'm excited about the final Twilight movie. I'm also really excited to see The Hobbit!

Favorite guilty pleasure TV show you watch?
KK: Bones, Pretty Little Liars, The Vampire Diaries and American Horror Story. :)

Thank you very much for your time in answering these Qs!
KK: Thank you for having me on your blog. I so appreciate it! xo


About The Author

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for children, YA and adults and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal novels Forbidden Mind and Forbidden Fire and her illustrated children's fantasy chapter books Lexie World, and Bella World, all on Amazon.

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two dogs who think they're humans and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

For a list of her books, check out: http://Amazon.com/author/kimberlykinrade

For a fun fan experience, join the team at I.P.I. at http://IPIAcademy.com

For kids and parents of young kids, join the Lost Kids at http://ThreeLostKids.com


BUY NOW LINK:
·      Amazon paper book
·      Amazon Kindle copy

ONLINE LINKS:
·      Website  http://KimberlyKinrade.com
·      Twitter: @KimberlyKinrade
·      IPI Twitter: @IPIAcademy
·      Facebook: /KimberlyKinrade
·      IPI Facebook: /IPIAcademy



b
Book Description

The road to redemption begins in darkness. 

A sinister force waits for them in darkness, ready to devour their powers and take their lives.

Sam's baby is the key to a lock that must never be opened. To keep her child safe, Sam will do anything.

Drake might have found a way to get his powers back and save his family, at what cost?

Luke and Lucy uncover secrets in an organization they thought they could trust, and the lives of all Rent-A-Kid children are at stake.

In this last Forbidden Trilogy installment, the secrets to Rent-A-Kid will finally be revealed.


Chapter 1 - Lucy

Twilight descended on the world outside their airplane, casting long grey shadows into the sky. The moon hung heavy in the night, a large glowing orb that looked as if it had been dipped in powdered sugar. Lucy tried to focus on Agent Morrison's briefing, but the pulse of the sphere in her backpack seemed stronger with the full moon present. The power seduced her into quiet reflections.
Luke jabbed her in the ribs with his elbow.
"Ow, that hurt." She rubbed the sore spot and shot mental daggers at her twin brother.
"Sorry, Sis, but pay attention. What's the matter with you?" His blue eyes studied her, and she knew it was a loaded question.
She hadn't told him about the sphere she'd discovered in Russia, before they'd escaped the Rent-A-Kid center.
It just hadn't come up. Normally, they told each other everything, so this omission weighed heavy on her.
His eyes bore into hers, and she turned away, flicking her long brown ponytail at him. "Sorry, just got
distracted by the moon."
Morrison scowled. "You two ready to focus? We have a lot to cover here."
This mission was important. The older kids had escaped Rent-A-Kid's evil clutches, but the babies and young kids remained prisoners, and Luke and Lucy had teamed up with International Paranormal Investigators, IPI, to rescue them. It had taken some strong-arming, but Lucy had obtained the address from a reluctant Mr. Black before she and Luke had escaped. After he'd beaten her near to death, Lucy harbored no warm fuzzies for the man, but at least he'd come through in the end. Also, Lucy and Luke knew more about Rent-A-Kid than any of these agents.
The fact that they were martial arts experts, that she was a computer hacker and human lie detector with some cool shadow powers, and Luke could walk through anything, and now, could change the molecular structure of something—like when he'd saved everyone from a cascade of bullets by thickening the air—made them uniquely qualified.
About to set out on their most important assignment yet, it wasn't the money that drove them and their coworkers this time, it was the mission.
Morrison cleared his throat and flexed his biceps as he adjusted himself in his seat. He'd looked distinctly government when they'd first met after the break out, with his black suit, black tie and black briefcase. Seriously, did he take his wardrobe style from the movies? Now he looked military, in camouflage and combat boots.
"As I was saying, the compound is heavily guarded and we have to be careful. They could use the kids as hostages if we blow our cover too soon." He handed them photos of the perimeter that showed walls, fences, guards and cameras everywhere. "Also, count on some snipers that you can't see. We'll drop the two of you into the water,
where you'll swim past the fence. If you don't see an opening, use the underwater torch in your packs to cut through.
Then, when it's fully dark outside, sneak into the compound and disable guards as needed. Lucy, once you're in, hack their system and take over any surveillance."
Luke flipped through the pictures. "What will I be doing?"
Agent Morrison pointed to a building in the center of the compound. "That's the generator. If Lucy, for some reason, can't get in, you'll need to shut it down manually. But only as a last resort, got it?"
Luke nodded.
"Once you've done that, you need to plant sleeping gas in the ventilation system. This will knock out everyone inside and, hopefully, give us a chance to rescue the children while also keeping them safe. Luke, you'll open the gate and our backup team will arrive to extricate the children and take the staff and guards into custody."
It sounded simple enough, but Lucy's field experience had taught her that plans often went awry in the
trenches. "I thought sleeping gas is dangerous, and hasn't been used since that 2002 Moscow theater hostage crisis."
Morrison looked up from his file, surprised.
Lucy didn't know if she should be flattered or insulted. "We have been doing this awhile, Agent Morrison.
Rent-A-Kid may be a lot of things, but they aren't stupid. We're well trained and well educated."
He put the files back into his backpack and zipped it up. "I can see that. And you're right, that form of sleeping gas hasn't been used in a long time, but our organization created a substitute a few years ago. It's completely safe and top secret. The gas will be visible, and most will think it's smoke from a fire. We need to shut down the fire alarm before it goes off and they start to evacuate."
What other top secret weapons and gadgets does IPI have? Lucy's thoughts were cut short when Morrison handed her and Luke black backpacks.
"These are waterproof. Inside you'll find the sleeping gas grenades, computers, a change of clothes and
supplies, and a tank-less breathing system that will attach to your vests and allow you to breathe the oxygen directly
from the water."
"From the water?" Luke appeared puzzled.
Morrison looked at her brother as if he were a student not paying attention in class. "Yes, from the water. You know... two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen."
It was Lucy's turn to be impressed. She examined the device and then attached it to her wet suit. They'd
provided her with a top-of-the-line laptop for hacking, but she pulled it out and set it aside. "I need to use my own computer. I can't risk working on a new system while in the middle of an assignment."
"That goes against regulation. We know the quality of our own tools. I'm not comfortable sending you into a hostile situation with an unknown."
Lucy rolled her eyes and pulled out her own computer from her backpack. The sphere pulsed softly and she palmed it and dropped it into her new pack before showing the agent her computer. "This is top-of-the-line. Even you don't have a better model with more power. It's fully customized and programmed for me, specifically. I'm not going in without it. And for the record, I'm not under your regulation. I'm not your agent. You and your agency are working with us. Let's keep that clear."
Luke snickered beside her, and Morrison made a face as if he'd bit into a lemon.
Lucy didn't say another word, just waited for the agent to make a move. How far would he push her?
He opened his mouth to speak, but his phone buzzed. "Yeah...... oh, yes, sir....... I understand, sir.... Goodbye."
His face twitched in annoyance, and he grabbed the IPI-issued laptop and put it in his own pack.
Interesting. Had someone just given him an order to allow her to use her own computer? She'd been certain he was going to make an issue of this. That meant the higher-ups had them bugged and were keeping an eye on them.
Based on Luke's expression, he'd made the same connections. They'd have to talk about this later.
Morrison handed them parachutes. "We can't get too close to the base without revealing ourselves, so you'll have to jump. Once you've completed your mission, use the orange flair gun provided to alert us. Agent Simmons will bring a task force through the gate and get everyone out. If you run into problems, use the red flare gun, and her team will bust through the gate and attempt to offer aid."
Attempt to offer aid. That sounded so reassuring. Not the most foolproof plan. They'd tried to negotiate, but couldn't make contact with the head of Rent-a-Kid—Sam's father. They'd even captured a hostage—the leader of the compound—but still, no one responded to them.
Luke tightened a strap around his chest and stood to make sure all his equipment was secured properly. "What if we're captured, what's Plan B?"
Lucy wondered that as well, as she readied herself for the jump and the mission.
"We have the compound's leader. We're hoping they will trade, if you're caught."
Lucy stood, mouth agape. "Your big plan is to try to trade a guy no one appears to want, to rescue two
powerful paranormals? And you think this is a good plan?" She couldn't believe this lamest plan ever. If they were captured, it would never work.
"I never said it was a good plan, but it's the plan we have. Moral of the story? Don't get caught."
Right, don't get caught. "Let me talk to him."
Morrison looked up from his own preparations. "Who?"
"The hostage. If he's on the plane, let me talk to him. I have some experience with interrogation. Maybe I can get him to tell us more."
No one could lie to her without her knowing. Surely she could break this guy and remove some of the risk from their mission—make it more likely she and Luke would survive.
The IPI agent pressed his lips together and scowled. "Technically, since you're not an agent, you're not allowed near the prisoner."
She crossed her arms and glared at him. "This is our mission. We're the ones risking our asses to save these kids. We're the ones who will be left behind if it tanks. I don't give a damn about protocol. I want to talk to this guy,
now. If you want our help on this, that is."
IPI's plan could not succeed without her and her brother, and the agent knew it. They could do things no one else could. It wasn't even just their para-powers, though that gave them an edge no one could compete with. They'd been in training for this, or completing these types of missions, their whole lives.
Lucy didn't back down as Morrison struggled between towing the company line and blowing the mission, versus giving her what she wanted. She wished she could borrow Sam's power for just a moment and read the guy's mind.
Sam. Is she okay? Is the baby okay? Lucy couldn't afford too many thoughts for her best friend. She had to focus on the mission, and on getting home safely, so that she could be there for the birth. If she wasn't already too late.
Morrison stood and walked to the back of the plane. "You coming?"
Score! She winked at Luke, who grinned like a fool, and followed Morrison to a locked bathroom.
"You've got him locked up in there?" She hoped it wasn't like in the movies—the captive sitting on the toilet without pants, chained to the plumbing. Not that she wanted the guy crapping his pants, but she didn't need to see his junk, either.
Morrison waved his hand around and laid on the sarcasm. "Do you see many options for a secure containment here?"
"Guess not. He's got clothes on, right?"
The agent rolled his eyes and opened the bathroom door to reveal a bald man with tribal black tattoos over his head and around his eyes—fully clothed—on the toilet. His hands and feet were handcuffed together and a rope around his waist secured him to the plumbing. His black eyes bore into hers over a silver strip of duct tape.
Lucy reached over and yanked it off, pulling more than a few whiskers from his short black beard and
mustache. She spoke before Morrison could throw a fit. "I can't question him if he can't talk. Now, if you'll excuse us, I don't think we have room for a party in here."
She shouldn't push so many of Morrison's buttons, but it was just too easy—an ...entertaining distraction.
Morrison left and Luke took his place. He gave her the look, the one that said, "Shut up, Sis, I'm not leaving you alone with this guy."
Luke had her back, and there was no one in the world she trusted more.
Time to get this party started. "Hello, and welcome to the hostage tour. I'm Lucy, your tour guide. And this is Luke. What's your name?"
Her attempt at levity fell flat on the man whose eyes looked dead.
"Beleth." His voice came out like black oil, low and deep.
Lucy knew enough mythology to know that name. "Beleth... that's the name of a demon or fallen angel. What? Parents didn't like you?"
The power of the large man, a block of solid muscle, surrounded Lucy and pushed against her almost
viscerally. It wasn't a para-power, just his physical presence and energy holding her in its grip. She tried to shake it by baiting him. To no avail.
"Okay, no chit chat. Fine by me. Look, we can help you. We can offer you security, freedom, even protection,
if you help us free those kids. I just need to know what we're up against. Who's guarding them? How many? Does anyone have para-powers? What's the best way in? That kind of thing. Just information. You don't need to do anything else."
Drake would have been mighty useful about then. He could just compel the guy to tell them everything, if he hadn't been stripped of his powers and then abandoned Sam and their baby. Damn him.
Beleth didn't twitch a muscle as he spoke, his face and body as solid and still as granite. "You're a fool if you think that you can stop what is happening, if you think you can stop paranormals—those gifted with power. We won't let you destroy us."
Lucy listened with her own power and knew he believed everything he was saying. To him, it was the truth. "My brother and I both have para-powers, and yet we're working with IPI to help these kids. Would I be working with them if they were trying to destroy paranormals? We're trying to help, to give people a fair life, to give them freedom. The children in that facility don't deserve to be kept prisoner and used."
A pocket of turbulence shook the plane and jerked Lucy from her feet. Before she could crash into the wall of the small bathroom, Luke used his para-power to solidify the air around her and catch her.
Once steady, she smiled at him. "Thanks, Bro. Owe ya one. Guess we're getting some weather. Great."
Beleth seemed unaffected, and continued speaking in his commanding voice. "What will happen to them once they are free? Will you release them into a world that would reject them as freaks and use them to test and experiment on? And what will happen to the powerless? Children with no control will create chaos everywhere they go. Some have powers that are benign and harmless, but what of those who are dangerous? Can you imagine the headlines? Angry ten-year-old sets fire to entire class. Overactive toddler freezes her teacher to death. Three-yearold
throws temper tantrum and destroys an entire apartment complex. You really want to be responsible for that kind of damage?"
The Seeker had given Lucy a similar speech before they revolted and broke free of Rent-A-Kid. Before he'd died saving Sam. He, like Beleth, truly believed that paranormals needed guidance and protection, for the safety of everyone. Lucy didn't disagree with the premise, merely their methods. They'd
impregnated her best friend without her consent, and experimented with genetics, not to mention drugging them into compliance.
Luke shifted behind her until he stood next to her—a cozy arrangement in the cramped quarters. He spoke to Beleth. "They will be protected, and given a new home. They won't be a threat to themselves or others and they won't be used and experimented on. We will protect them."
Beleth's laugh came out bitter and harsh. "So that's it? Those kids are just trading one facility for another. IPI just wants them for their own experiments. With you, they'll be lab rats. With us, they have purpose, a greater mission in life. We do what we must, and make the hard choices for the greater good of our kind. You're being used and you don't even know it."
Lucy's blood pressure spiked as she thought of all the ways Rent-A-Kid had manipulated them. "Your
organization ruined my best friend's life. You killed our mother, killed one of our guards, and destroyed so many lives I can't even count. People, good people, are dead because of your 'greater good.' How dare you claim that you're better than IPI or anyone else. How dare you stand behind some grand purpose to justify the abuse you perpetrate. The ends, even if I agreed with them, do not justify the means you use to obtain them." She stepped closer, fighting the urge to beat the crap out of this guy.
He finally moved his head, just enough to stare into her eyes. "Those deaths mean nothing compared to what we fight for."
Her hand flew at him as if powered by its own force. Her palm stung at the force of the slap. His head didn't even budge at the force, nor did his skin show signs of the impact. He remained unflappable, and Lucy burned with anger.
In the same cold voice, Beleth spoke. "Aren't you the reckless one? Certain times call for being still. If you can't quench the flames that burn within you, they will consume you."
Is this guy seriously giving me Zen advice? Whatever. If he wouldn't give her the information she needed, they'd do it the hard way.
They'd had tougher assignments. Like their recent Russian adventure—genetic experiments, shootings, and... Adam. He'd been one of their mutations—part man, part beast, but the heart of a true friend. He'd run into a spray of bullets to save her.
She didn't need crap from this guy. She'd do it her own way.
She turned to walk away, but Beleth's next words stopped her. "You're not so different from us. When the time comes, you'll do what it takes. When hard decisions have to be made, you'll make them."
Lucy whipped her head around. "No. I'm nothing like you and your kind. I'll make the right decision, or none at all."
Beleth dropped his head. "Sometimes there are no right decisions, and you are left with the lesser of two evils."
More turbulence threw Lucy off balance once again. Before Luke could use his para-power to steady her, Beleth's arms reached out, his hard muscles stopping her fall against the sink. Thunder shook the plane and flashes of lightning lit up the windows. Lucy used Beleth's body to balance herself and stand again. His skin was cool under her hands, his gaze unwavering, and with each flex of his muscles, his tattoos came alive and seemed to crawl over his skin like living ink.
Lucy removed her hands from his body and nodded her head. "Thank you."
A small smile touched Beleth's lips, and Lucy wondered what secrets lurked behind his dark eyes.
The plane shuddered again, and as Luke and Lucy turned to leave, Morrison approached them. "We have a problem. The plane is slowing down... on its own. The pilot can't do anything about it."
With a skipping heart, Lucy looked out the window. The storm that caused the turbulence was in full rage and the plane appeared to have stalled in midair. The power of the sphere pulsed like her own heartbeat, faster and faster as Mother Nature whipped them around. The increased frenzy of the sphere was Lucy's only warning that powers beyond nature had hold of the plane. She gasped as the tail of the plane tilted up as if on a string that someone jerked.
"Hold on!" Her warning was too late, as everyone on board slid toward the front of the plane. She held tight to a chair, but gravity forced her to let go and she crashed into Luke.
Morrison looked almost comical as he tried to right himself and regain control of his team. "Everyone, just stay calm as we figure out what's going on."
Before the agent could follow through on his plan, the back hatch of the plane, where they would have
parachuted from, screeched open as metal twisted and snapped apart. The cabin pressure quickly changed and pulled at them.
A panicked pilot hollered from the cockpit. "I've lost all control of the plane and there's a helicopter hovering above us."
Everything clicked for Lucy as she looked into Bethel's eyes. "Paranormals. They're attacking the plane."
Bethel's head dipped slightly to acknowledge her words. "Now is the time for stillness."
As if on command, men in black poured into the cabin, some carrying guns, and others... she guessed they didn't need guns. That worried her even more.
Agent Morrison pulled his own gun and aimed it at Beleth's head. "This is what you're here for, right? Him? Don't move or I'll blast his brains out, I swear."
One man stepped forward from the group, a baseball cap on his head, and raised his hands.
Lucy felt the sphere pulse as energy flowed off of him. His pale eyes took in the group, and she knew he was the true threat. "Be careful. He's the telepath that brought down the plane. He's very powerful."
The man's eyebrow twitched. "Perceptive."
Morrison didn't waiver, and Lucy found herself finally impressed by the man. "Don't even think about it. As soon as I feel this gun budge, I'll pull the trigger."
Lucy pushed through the wind assault to face the man directly. "What's your name?"
He looked almost amused as he answered. "Robert. And you?"
"I'm Lucy," she said, then gestured to her brother. "This is Luke. We're paranormals too. There's no need to attack us. We're not your enemies. But I can assure you, Agent Morrison will pull the trigger if you use your power.
Are you willing to risk Beleth's life?"
Robert hesitated, then waved his hand. The room tensed in anticipation, and beads of sweat dripped down Morrison's face, but his hand held steady. Lucy prepped for the onslaught of power, but instead, the other soldiers lowered their weapons.
The room let out a collective sigh. At least, those on the receiving end of the weapons and power.
Lucy looked over to Beleth, relieved that his life had been worth something to these men. A glint of black, something shiny like oil, caught her eye. The transformation happened so fast. One second, his tattooed hand rested by his side, the next, it extended into some kind of blade.
"No!" Lucy tried to dive toward Beleth, to stop him, but the cabin pressure did not allow for a fast response. At least not for her.
Beleth had no problem navigating the space. No problem using his sword-hand thing to slice through the air, and into flesh and blood and bone. No problem slicing Agent Morrison's gun hand clean off.
Time moved in slow motion as Morrison stood, stunned, not seeming to realize his hand had been amputated. He looked down, his face paling, and clutched his wrist. Bright red blood poured from the space where his hand used to live, and he slumped to the floor.
Lucy couldn't make sense of what she was seeing. Breaking out of Rent-A-Kid had resulted in plenty of bloodshed, but this... this looked almost fake. So much blood, so bright and sticky, like the stuff they use for movies.
Beleth, unfazed, walked to Robert, his black sword changing back into a hand. "What's our location?"
Robert handed him a gun. "We're near the base, Sir."
Lucy couldn't believe they could have a conversation like a man wasn't bleeding to death in the corner. She pushed through the cabin, ignoring the threatening glares of the soldiers, and reached for Morrison. She pulled off her belt and tied it around his wrist. He didn't speak, but stared at her with eyes that were losing their spark.
A soldier raised his gun and aimed it at Lucy.
Luke screamed. "No!"
Beleth put his hand up. "Not those two," he said, pointing to Luke and Lucy. "Kill the rest."
The sound of bullets filled the small space. Lucy screamed. Luke stood very still, channeling his power. The sphere pulsed stronger.
And the bullets stopped in mid-air.
The soldiers ceased fire and Beleth turned his attention to Luke. "Interesting."
Luke seized the moment. "Why kill them? Just leave. You have what you came for. There's no need for more bloodshed."
Beleth commanded that stillness as he stared at Luke. "Someday you will understand. One can never leave a cancer to spread." He flicked his wrist and the soldiers open fired on the IPI agents and crew, carefully avoiding
Luke and Lucy.
Luke threw up another shield, and the bullets once again stopped mid-air, even as more joined them.
The pow-pow-pow of a hundred bullets deafened Lucy's ears. More and more bullets cluttered the air, stopping at Luke's shield point, but Lucy could tell Luke's energy was draining. The bullets shook, wavered, pushed forward
as if fighting against the shield. Luke wouldn't win the fight for long, she knew.
With another flick of Beleth's fingers, the shooting stopped as suddenly as it had started. He addressed Luke.
"Join us. If you come peacefully, we'll let the crew live."
Agent Morrison stirred under Lucy's hands. His eyes sharpened to focus. "No! Luke, Lucy, don't go with them."
Before Lucy could register the movement, Beleth raised his gun and shot Morrison in the head, silencing him.
Lucy choked back a sob. "No. What did you do?"
Beleth spoke as if she hadn't said anything, as if he hadn't just killed a man. "What is your answer?"
Seriously? He thinks we'll go with him now?
Luke had the same idea. "We're not going anywhere with you scumbags. Ever."
Beleth sighed without any melodrama, then nodded once. Robert lifted his hand. The sphere thrummed again and Luke flew through the air and was pushed into the airplane wall. His limbs spread apart and Lucy could hear cracking.
"Leave my brother alone!" She looked to Beleth, then Robert, but they did nothing to stop.
She looked back to her brother. His mouth opened in a scream of pure agony, but no sound emerged.
Beleth gestured to Luke. "Your brother's lungs are collapsing. If Robert releases him soon, he will not suffer permanent damage, but wait too long and he won't recover. Consider your choices carefully, Lucy."
His fingers bent back, pushed to near breaking by the invisible force that controlled him. His limbs twisted in unnatural ways. Lucy tried to run to him, to help him, but a force stopped her, paralyzing her and forcing her to watch her brother be tortured to death.
She couldn't move toward Luke, so she moved to the side, grabbing Morrison's gun from his detached hand, fingers slipping on the blood. She lifted it, aimed and shot Robert in the chest.
Luke collapsed to the ground and groaned in pain.
Lucy shook and dropped the gun as her body went into shock. The plane shifted down, and Lucy slid across the floor.
Robert was dying and could no longer suspend the plane in the sky.
Beleth and his men grabbed onto seats to steady themselves. Soldiers and IPI Agents fell. Everyone drew guns, shooting at each other. Lucy knew Luke was too exhausted to stop the bullets. More people died as the plane tilted in the sky, suspended by metal cables attached to the helicopter above.
Robert writhed on the floor, the bullet to his chest killing him slowly. Lucy didn't want to watch, but couldn't seem to pull her eyes from the scene.
Beleth knelt next to his dying friend, his voice low but still commanding. "Robert, you have served us well and now, your mission has come to an end. Rest assured, your family will be well cared for, and you will be missed."
Robert grunted, unable to speak, but nodded his consent to a fast death.
Beleth placed his gun under his friend's chin. A tear, shiny and black, leaked from Beleth's eye as he pulled the trigger, and that one bullet sounded louder than the hundreds that had come before.
Lucy's stomach lodged in her throat as the plane plunged forward more, the cables attaching it to the helicopter above stretched beyond capacity. Bethel looked at her, not with anger or despair, as she'd expected, but with that same stillness that so aggravated her.
His voice boomed in the cabin. "You've made your decision."
A flicker of doubt plagued her. Had it been the right one? She looked around at the dead men, agents and soldiers piling up at the back of the plane as it hung from the sky. How could this have been the right choice? But giving in, going with them, that wouldn't have been right either.
Bethel's words from earlier haunted her. "Sometimes there are no right decisions."
The plane shook and strained against the cables, until one snapped, jerking the plane into a twisted limbo in the sky.
Bethel let go of his seat and allowed himself to fall toward Lucy, grabbing her. He yelled to the only soldier who survived the massacre. "Get the boy."
Lucy shoved against his rock hard chest. She might as well have pushed against a brick wall. He wrapped his arms around her and locked her in a death-like grip, a mockery of a loving embrace. She couldn't move, couldn't fight him, couldn't escape. He pulled her to the hatch, presumably trying to get her onto the helicopter above them before this plane crashed and burned.
Luke struggled with his own captor. He made more headway than her, marginally. Their circumstances didn't allow for much in the way of true fighting, and Luke remained exhausted after his torture.
The men made it to the hatch, cables hanging and waiting for them to attach themselves so they could be pulled to the helicopter.
Lucy couldn't let them capture her and her brother. This could be the only chance they had to escape; once they were onboard the helicopter, it would be near impossible with the level of para-power and manpower Beleth controlled. She thought fast, assessing her tools. Their parachutes were still attached, as were their tank-less breathing systems and backpacks. Below them, the ocean swirled and consumed the world. The dark sky beckoned like a black hole into nothing.
Still, better than the alternative. With her crazy-suicidal-probably-will-die-trying plan in place, Lucy waited until Bethel released her in order to hook her to the cables. When his partner did the same with Luke, Lucy tackled her brother... and pushed him out of the plane.
She held him tightly as they dropped into the night. Luke returned her grip and smiled. Such a guy!
"Hope you have a plan here, Luce. Not that I don't love a good adrenaline high," he said through the rush of wind and the sting of rain.
Breaths came in small, shallow pulses, but at least they were free.
"Um, Sis, we've got company."
Lucy looked up, and nearly choked on the rain when her mouth fell open in shock. Bethel had jumped out of the plane in pursuit. Head first like a rocket, and gaining ground. What the hell? He isn't wearing a parachute. Is he insane?
He sliced through the sky as fluidly as his sword had sliced through Morrison's hand. How could he catch up so fast?
Lucy's heart raced as she tried to think of something, anything to slow his pursuit. She caught Luke's eyes, and he nodded, understanding.
Lucy counted. "One...."
She could see Bethel's face, but not his eyes. Something black, like small wings, sprouted from his back.
"Two...."
Closer.
And... when the whites of his eyes came into view....
"Three!" Lucy clutched Luke tighter.
Luke's body stiffened as he focused his power. The sphere pulsed frenetically. Luke put up one hand and.... 
Beleth slammed into the field Luke had created, and ricocheted off it like a bouncy ball against a wall.
Luke and Lucy continued to fall. If they hadn't been in a race for their lives, Lucy would have enjoyed the descent. She loved skydiving and parachuting, but this was not for sport. Still, she couldn't help but embrace the freedom of soaring through the sky, unfettered from reality. She'd have given anything to have this para-power: the power of flight.
Lightning flashed, tearing Lucy from her joy and illuminating the bright sky with another vision: one of a black silhouette with wings.
She acted fast, flipping downwards while Luke helped open her parachute. It slowed them down, temporarily.
A current of wind drove through them, sending the parachute in conflicting directions. They began to fall too fast. The water beneath them rose up like a giant mouth. If they hit it going this fast, they would drown, pulled down by the ocean and their parachute.
"Luke, make a wall of air beneath us, but not thick. To slow us, not stop us."
Luke nodded and held out his hand. He looked so tried, so weak, but he raised his hand and focused his power.
Panic filled her even as she pushed it away. Oh-my-God-oh-my-God-oh-my-God... the ocean rushed up to them, water sprayed them, and Lucy prepared for what could be the end. 

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5 comments:

  1. Thank you both for stopping by :)

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  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to feature me on your site. I really appreciate it!

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