Take Another Sneak Peek Into “The Pass” If You Dare…

Greetings one and all. And welcome back to the blog. Sorry to keep you all waiting, but last weekend got a bit crazy around here. Nevertheless, we're back with another Sneak Peek Saturday edition for you.  Continuing with "The Pass" coming next month, we realized that last time we'd introduced you all to a couple of our protagonists, so it's only fair this week we introduce you to two the villains of this piece.  So, without further ado, sit back and meet two very unsavory, and disturbing men who each has their own secret agenda in this story. Enjoy...

        Some five hundred yards away, a man bundled in furs, lowered his still smoking Mississippi rifle. “Sorry, Jake, old boy. But business is business. And if you made it out of here alive, you’d be able to claim cousin Amanda’s inheritance which would’ve been bad business for me,” he sighed. In the distance, he could hear the baby’s wail.  

          Immediately he began reloading.  

          From out of the swirling snow, a figure seemingly materialized beside him. Ornate, colorful robes peeked out from beneath a great fur coat. From within the folds of the hood, peered eyes filled with dark wisdom. “You will kill the child, as well?” he asked in a thick oriental accent. “But she is only a girl. Why bother with her? She cannot stand in your way.”

          “That may be true over in China, but in this country inheritances are passed down through the family bloodline.  Doesn’t matter if that means it goes to a boy or a girl,” the shooter replied, “Which means if she lives, the money will be held in a trust until she comes of age, and I need it more than she does.  Besides, it ain’t going to do her no good out here.  Not with her mom and dad dead.”

          “My creations will take care of her,” his companion replied with confidence.

          “Like they did with Jake?” the man in furs replied. “He reaches a stream and your boys stop dead in their tracks. Took ‘em days to catch up with him and look how many he took down before I shot him. I’m not so sure your ‘army’ is all that you said it would be.”

          “Sever the head and they fall,” the Asian admitted. “But unlike your soldiers, he fights with axes. How many of your countrymen fight like that, Hastings?”

          The gunman paused. “Not many, but some use swords.”

          “And how many aim for the neck? Your people stab rather than slice,” his ally pointed out. “And if they slice, they aim for the arm or leg.”

          “Which ain’t gonna do your boys much good if they can’t hop,” the gunman retorted.

          “My soldiers can pick up their lost limbs and reattach them without needle or thread,” the Oriental figure smiled. “And even while severed, they attack.  Behold…”

          One of the wolves who had fled was passing off to their right.

          As the pair watched, the animal began to stumble and fell. Drawing closer he could see a hand attached to a severed forearm, clutching the animal’s neck. He stared in horror as the animal’s breathing was cut off until it became limp. Only then did the hand release its grip.  

          “You may wish to step back. My minions do not always recognize friend from victim,” his colleague remarked.

          Out of the corner of his eye, the assassin saw a figure leaping in his direction. Despite the awe he felt as the approaching shape covered yards in a single hop, he noted its lower right arm was missing. Quickly, he scurried back to his companion’s side and watched as the dead man reached the fallen wolf. The figure’s movements were somewhat jerky, reminding him of an automaton he had seen at the fair some years before. Only this was not a mechanical figure, but a dead thing that had suffered the loss of a limb. It reached down, retrieved its severed forearm, and reattached it without any apparent discomfort.

          Even at this distance, Hastings could see the tissues reattaching themselves in a way nature never intended. Immediately, he looked away. Only to have his attention drawn back to the creature as it grabbed the wolf’s limp form and held it up. A slight whimper escaped the animal’s mouth, indicating it was still alive. But not for long, for now it’s attacker forced the animal’s jaws wide open and began to inhale. Soon a mist-like substance seemed to be drawn from the animal and into the dead man’s mouth. Immediately, the wolf’s body slackened even more, indicating the last vestiges of life had left it forever.

“Impressive,” he managed to say at last.

          “That is nothing,” his cohort chortled, “Keep watching.”  

          As the rifleman watched, the wolf began to twitch and move in the same jerky fashion as its killer. Soon it rose up and began hopping in a disconcerting manner.  

          “You… you made it one of your…”

          “Servants,” the Oriental finished with an evil smile, “Undead, unstoppable, and completely under my control.”

So there you have it folks. Another peek into this exciting world of history and myths. Next time we’ll introduce you to another key player in this novel, who will play a crucial role in this exciting new tale. Until then, stay safe and keep writing and reading my friends.


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