Sunday, April 27, 2008

In the Service of Samurai Excerpt

YA Fantasy set in Feudal Japan

Available at Amazon and other outlets.

He whirled around as he heard something land behind him. He took a step back, stunned by what he found there. A figure dressed in black straightened up before him. A slit in the stranger’s mask showed two dark sockets with points of intense red light shining from within.

A bubbling scream rose up in Toshi’s throat as he recognized the ninja before him. Ninja were hired spies and assassins, people highly skilled at their craft and trained from birth. And this one was the very crewman who had so filled him with fear when he’d first come aboard. Yet, before his scream could cut loose, a black clothed fist rose from nowhere and sent him sprawling across the room.

Blood filled his mouth. He’d bit his cheek upon colliding with the wall. Dizzy, battered, he tried hard to recover enough of his breath to try to yell for help. He attempted to dodge to the side as he saw the black-clothed demon pounce.

He had barely been able to get up on his feet when a steel-like hand clasped itself around his throat. Shoots of numbing cold flooded into him and paralyzed his voice. With horrified eyes, he stared at the ninja’s glowing gaze. He struggled to tear the clamped hand from his throat even as he felt the cold mercilessly sap his strength away.

Helpless and full of despair, he reached out to the wall beside him and pounded on it as hard as his waning strength would allow. He was about to strike the wall a third time when the ninja’s free hand snapped out and latched itself to his wrist. Deep, numbing cold coursed through it, paralyzing it almost instantly.

Toshi struggled to breathe, his insides growing numb from the eerie cold still pouring like water into him. He could no longer move, his gaze frozen on the face of his assailant. His vision blurred even as the thought of his impending death got pushed aside for a moment as the ninja’s red, glowing eyes were replaced by those of a normal, living man. He could see flesh where moments before there had only been dark emptiness. With an odd clarity, he recalled the visions he’d had of both the geisha and her lord. Filled with wonder, he felt his consciousness falling into a great abyss.

A warrior’s yell kept him from going under as the door into the room was kicked open. The ninja shifted, giving Toshi a blurred view of the door. Blinking, he lay amazed as a strong, fierce-looking old man drew a katana from his scabbard. “Traitor.” With another ferocious yell, the bent old man rushed forward, holding his sword in both hands above his head.