The latest Myla-Lincoln adventure is live! Check out Chapter One below…
Myla – Age Twenty-Nine
I’m about to spend another six months in Purgatory.
Color me happy.
Sure, I like living part-time in Antrum (aka the underground home of the demon-fighting thrax.) Still, I miss Purgatory’s rain… All the ghosts… How the landscape combines the charm of a strip mall with the rusted gloom of an abandoned mine… And, of course, it’s home to my best friend, Cissy, as well as my parents.
What’s not to love?
Happily, I’ll be back there in short order. Which is why my husband, Lincoln, and I step along a fancypants passageway of Arx Hall, our castle in Antrum. Did I mention we’re king and queen down here? We are.
Lincoln’s a tall guy with broad shoulders and loose brown hair that always looks expertly tousled for some reason. We just left a ceremony marking our relocation to Purgatory, so Lincoln sports his formal best as king. In Antrum, that means leather pants, tall boots, chain mail and a velvet tunic.
In case you’re wondering, there are certain advantages to ruling a people who remain stuck in the middle ages. Leather pants on my husband—that’s one of the biggies.
For my part, I wear fitted white robes with a black, medieval-style over-gown. The colors highlight my amber skin, long auburn hair and black dragonscale tail.
All of a sudden, my husband adds a new accessory to his ensemble: a frown. Not that most people can tell this, mind you. My guy is a vault when it comes to emotions. But after a decade together, I know what it means when his lips thin ever-so-slightly.
I whisper from the right side of my mouth. “What’s wrong?”
Quick aside. At this point, you may wonder if it’s totally appropriate for a queen to go around whispering in odd ways to her husband. Here’s my take. Queen or not, I never give a flying fart what other people think. Plus, my husband enjoys my sass. Which is why he answers right away.
“Your tail is at it again.”
Lincoln’s a thrax, meaning a part-angel demon hunter. I’m a quasi-demon from Purgatory, so I’m mostly human with a little demonic DNA. Being a quasi gets me powers across the seven deadly sins (mine are lust and wrath, the two bestest.) Most of all, my quasi-ness results in a tail that’s long, black and covered in dragon scales.
And that tail has a mind of its own.
I glance over my shoulder. Sure enough, my tail’s causing trouble. In this case, it’s alternating between frantically waving at the guards and using its arrowhead-shaped end to point to at the back of my head. Taken as a whole, the movements say, help her, please!
I crook my finger in its direction. “Up here, buddy.”
My tail slinks around so the arrowhead-shaped end points at my face. Yeah?
“Stop scaring the guards,” I state.
My tail dramatically scans from left to right. A pair of warriors in armor stand at every closed door, which means they’re spaced about twenty feet apart. Although most guards have the visor of their helms pulled down, there’s no missing the low rattling noises—they’re literally shaking in their metal coverings.
“Am I right or am I right?” I ask.
In reply, my tail points toward Lincoln. Its question is obvious. Do you think I should stop?
“I agree with Myla. You’re worrying our people.”
My tail gestures to my face before fake-jabbing at my heart.
“Let me guess… you think I’m still at risk?”
My tail bobs up and down its version of, Hells, yes.
This isn’t the first time my tail has gone around my back—literally—to try and convince the guards that I’m in trouble. The last few days, this activity has become my tail’s favorite pastime.
I roll my eyes. “You know, I got the whole ‘arrgh you’re gonna die’ concept the first four hundred times you warned me. But honestly, there’s nothing to worry about.”
My tail loops around my ear in a gesture that says, you, Myla Lewis, are bat crap crazy and about to face mortality. And it won’t stop until I confirm that indeed, I face imminent death.
But I won’t.
Because I’m not.
What I am is the warrior queen of the demon-fighting thrax. Kicking ass and taking names? That’s my bag. Besides, in Purgatory I’m also the Great Scala, meaning the only being who can move souls to Heaven or Hell. I sum it all up to my tail.
“Trouble should worry about me, not the other way around.”
“Huzzah,” agrees Lincoln.
Still, the arrowhead end keeps circling my ear. It’s not giving up.
I roll my eyes. “You’re such a drama tail.”
Lincoln and I round a corner which leads to yet another gilded hallway. All the while, my tail keeps circling my ear, only now it moves at triple speed. It’ll get a kink at this rate.
“Fine,” I state. “I’ll stay open to the idea that I’m in some minor level of effed-up-edness.”
At last, my tail slinks down to hang by my ankle. Success!
Lincoln and I make the last turn in our journey. Before us, there’s a—surprise, surprise!—long gilded hallway, along with more guards. The big difference? This passage ends with a round portico. On the floor of this alcove, there sits a circular metal disc. Once Lincoln and I stand on that spot, we’ll get transported to Purgatory.
All of this is to be expected.
It’s who stands before the metal platform that’s a surprise: our son, Maxon, and Lincoln’s mother, Octavia.
The four of us just left the same ceremony… and at the same time. So how did Maxon and Octavia get here so quickly? There are hidden passages throughout Arx Hall, but some routes trade off stealth—meaning no one knows where you’re going—with the amount of time it takes to reach your destination. Long story longer, these two should not have gotten here first.
I whisper from the side of my mouth once more. “Is there a quick secret passage from BARF to this pulpitum?”
True fact: BARF is the name of the last ceremony we just left, not anything that splattered on the floor.
“Ah, no,” replies Lincoln.
“Then how did Maxon and Octavia arrive first?”
Lincoln replies with two words. “Thumb ring.”
Here’s what that means. The after-realms have five parts: Heaven, Hell, Purgatory, Antrum and the Dark Lands, which are the home to ghoul kind. Of all these realms and peoples, only ghouls can set up portals. A black thumb ring means my honorary older ghoul brother, Walker, set up a permanent transport between two spots inside this palace, enabling Octavia to speed around like a sneakypants.
How very Octavia of Octavia.
And truly Walker of Walker.
Maxon steps closer to his grandmother. He’s ten years old with brown hair and a cherub-like face. His formal tunic hangs loose on his lanky frame. For her part, Octavia looks pristine and lethal in a black gown. She rests her hand on Maxon’s shoulder. As Lincoln and I step closer, we share a long look. There’s no need to speak. We’re already thinking the same thing.
Clearly, there’s a secret scheme between Octavia and Maxon.
Is this plan why my tail’s so worried?
I’ll find out soon enough.
-end of sample-
Check out REAPER GAMES!