Hello THOG Fans and future THOG Fans! I am so excited that the rough draft of Book Three “The Control” is finished and sent off to be final edited!! Since I know I have kept you all in suspense for over a year now, I wanted to share the first chapter of the latest book with you all. Hoping to have this latest book of The Hypothesis of Giants series published by May of 2017 and will keep you all updated along the way. Let me know your thoughts and enjoy!!
Chapter One: The Nightmare
A gunshot rang out to signal the start of the Independence Day of the Last Straw parade. Participants marched with great pandemonium and ponce and circumstance. Baton twirlers and the High School marching band blew trumpets and trombones with the constant steady heartbeat of the drums leading the pack. Onlookers proudly waved the orange and indigo flags inscribed with the slogan “IDEAL for Unity” as Common Good soldiers, clad in those same colors, marched in rhythm with the pounding drums. The parade was making its way down the side streets of Candlewick and toward Main Street where the Candlewick Government Building rose high into the sky like a beacon of hope and fear.
Jake Fray stood tall and proud riding in an opulent float at the tail end of the parade alongside the leader of this young nation, Inspector Herald. Jake observed neighbors and students he had gone to school with eye him with admiration and envy, saluting him and the Inspector as they rode past. Jake was honored to represent the Common Good Army as the First Lieutenant, the highest honor bestowed by Inspector Herald and the IDEAL. An honor that came with great responsibility. The badge with the crisscrossed swords, the symbol of being the First Lieutenant, was proudly sewn onto his uniform sleeve and a tattoo of the same symbol was burned into his skin beneath the fabric.
The float was making its way past his childhood home on Wishbone Avenue, where his younger sister Mary stood on the front stoop. He still pictured her as the annoying baby sister who tended to follow him around and annoy him when he was preoccupied with training for the Common Good Army. Now at fourteen, she was like a stranger to him with her cropped black hair and dressed in indigo jeans and a white tank top exposing her rose tattoo on her shoulder blade. Her big owl eyes glared back at him, mad that he had missed her birthday party earlier that week. She didn’t understand, nor his parents, how important it was for him to be First Lieutenant. None of them understood or were happy for him in his new role. All of them wanting to carry on with their Jewish faith and customs. They were lucky he didn’t turn them in, more for fear of how it would extradite him to be associated with believers. He cursed under his breath as Mary clutched a Star of David necklace in her hands, exposing it just so he could see it, having completely ignored his warnings.
Beside Mary stood his mother, standing tall yet fragile, holding Mary tightly in her arms, staring at her son like she didn’t even recognize him. She mouthed the words, “I love you” but he marched right past, head held high, not daring to appear weak in front of the Inspector. The Common Good was his family now, drilled into his brain through the countless trainings and missions he had already mastered. He was now the Inspector’s right hand man- and he wouldn’t let him down.
Inspector Herald patted him on the arm protectively and whispered to his young protégé, “This is our world now. No one will stand in our way.”
The drums beat on as Jake stole a quick glance back at his mother and sister but they were gone — engulfed into darkness. A pool of blood was where they once stood. The parade vanished and the Inspector tore the First Lieutenant badge off his uniform and flung it into the pool of blood, pointing the gun at him.
Jake awoke, shaking and shivering, catching his breath. He rubbed his eyes, awakening to a different kind of nightmare. He was no longer outside on Wishbone Avenue but instead a prisoner within the confines of Candlewick Prison. He wrapped his arms around his feeble body, being allowed only meager rations to keep him alive- barely. Inspector Herald didn’t want him dead- he made it very clear at their last encounter a month before- when everything had changed.
He tried to stand up but his leg was still healing and a sharp pain escalated up his femur when he put pressure on it. His makeshift splint from the plank on his bed was giving it the support it needed to heal, even if it meant he would never be the same. Nor could he be the same again.
His mother was dead, killed at the hand of Inspector Herald right before his eyes. Her final words to him saying “I forgive you” continued to haunt him. If only he could forgive himself for not saving her when he had the chance. Instead he was unmasked as the traitor, stripped of the First Lieutenant title, deemed enemy of the state, and wasting away at the Inspector’s bidding within the prison cell. Now his only hope was to save his sister Mary who was still at the hands of the Inspector in a prison out west. If she wasn’t already dead…
The alarm for his cell beeped and he scrambled to the far corner of the cell, shielding his eyes from the light as the door slowly slid open. A shadowy figure walked in and the door slammed shut behind her, the alarm re-activated. A lone lantern illuminated her beautiful features and Analise Jones stood before him, looking weary and tired, but still the confident journalist and childhood friend he knew. Her black hair had grown in the past month and now it was tied back in a ponytail. She wore a maroon pant suit like she had just come from a TV interview and the red ruby necklace, the gift from the Inspector, hung loosely down her neckline. Her deep auburn eyes stared at him with such pity that he had to turn away and stare at the wall.
“So, you are alive.”
She said it so abruptly that he had to laugh breaking the uneasy silence.
“Nice of you to check in on me. Or were you hoping I was dead?”
She proceeded with unpacking the bag she had brought with her. “The camera that is spying on you…it can see us but I fidgeted with the audio before I came down here so they can’t hear us. Only static.”
She handed him a bowl of warm soup and for a second their hands touched and Analise felt the emotions run through her just from that momentary interaction. Jake quickly took the bowl and drank it heartily, welcoming the warm broth. The bowl alone brought feeling back into his fingers.
“A lot has changed since you were arrested,” she said, rubbing her arms from the damp coldness and scrutinizing Jake’s accommodations with horror. “Henry Stockington, Boreas’s father, is now the first advisor. No one has replaced your role, or probably the Inspector wants to keep it vacated…for obvious reasons.”
Jake wiped his mouth. “Because I tried to kill him.”
Analise nodded. “That took a lot of courage to turn on him.”
“Courage!” Jake laughed, throwing the bowl and it ricocheted against the wall. A guard banged on the door and Analise called out that everything was fine. She glared at Jake who didn’t answer, slumping off into a corner, putting his head in his hands. She walked over to his feeble form, and wanted to touch him, hold him, but then feared the camera pointing in their direction. So she just sat next to him, hoping her presence would help give him strength.
He took a deep breath and wiped his eyes. “I failed, Analise. I had to watch my own mother die in front of my eyes.”
“I’m so sorry Jake,” she said slowly.
“I had the gun on Herald. I had the chance to end this, to end him. And he played me. He knew there was no bullet in the gun he handed to me. He knew I was the traitor.”
Analise took a deep breath. “Herald and his Common Good Army killed your mother, my father and countless others. We can’t let him destroy any more lives.”
Jake tried to stand up but then failed as his leg faltered. “There is no fight in me… not anymore.”
Analise leaned in close so that her lips were nearly against his ear. She whispered, “Don’t give up on me. I’m still on the inside, as is Miss. Thompson. We are recruiting more day by day, secretly of course. We are going to save you.”
Jake shook his head, “There is no saving me! I already watched my mother die. I will not watch my sister die. I have to do what Herald wants.”
Analise handed him a cup of water, nearly feeding it to his lips until he gulped it down. She couldn’t believe this man before her used to be the First Lieutenant, the 2nd most feared man in the United States of the Common Good. A man who used to be a killer, a leader of hundreds of soldiers, and now he was like a crumbling edifice before her eyes, defeated and empty. She couldn’t believe that there was no fight left in him. She couldn’t believe that he would give up on their cause.
“I came down here against my own better judgment to warn you. That the Inspector believes he knows where Aurora and Boreas have been hiding this past month. Somewhere up in the Catskill Mountains. He is going to force you to gain their trust. But you can’t do it, Jake.
“I have to.”
“He is never going to live up to his side of the bargain. You know him well enough to realize that. Mary is probably already dead.”
Jake continued staring down at the empty cup shaking in his hands. “No! Herald wouldn’t kill his only leverage to force me help him. And the one reason he kept me alive is because he wants one thing more and that is to stop the prophecy.”
Analise stood up abruptly, facing the wall and not wanting to face the man she had believed in. The man who had recruited her 3 months earlier to be the Common Good Media spokesperson, a role that brought more danger than she had anticipated. She clasped her hand onto the ruby red necklace and wanted to tear it off her neck and throw it at the man who had gotten her mixed into this crusade to begin with. She whirled around to face him. “If you turn against Aurora and Boreas, more people than just Mary are going to perish! You understand the Geometric Storm is coming!”
Jake looked up and, for the first time since being reunited, Analise saw a glimmer of the Jake she knew buried deep down in his pain- that there was still fight left in his soul.
“Storm or no storm, one thing is certain,” he stated fiercely. “Mary is going to live, even if that means Aurora and Boreas have to die in the process.”