A few weeks back in the "Share My World" post, I mentioned that I was working on two novels/books/short stories, hell whatever they are right now lol, one of which is a fantasy-based tale about a band of rebels (a.k.a The Omega Squad), fighting against an evil supernatural dictator named Magus Daivat, who took advantage of the people's fragile mental state following the merciless reign and death of Emmanuel, a ruthless, megalomaniac king. Daivat has stolen the essence of humanity--creativity, sensuality, intelligence, diversity etc.,-- away from the world by sucking the life force out of humans in exchange for eternal life. The Squad believes the key to defeating Daivat is finding his counterpart Kidara, a ferociously sensual and powerful counterpart unknowingly created in the wake of his rise to power.
In this excerpt, the heroine Nioma Maxwell has just waken up after a near fatal night of battling Lumina, former humans turned demonic immortals, and encounters some other nightmare creatures on her way to a strategy meeting with the Omega Squad.
Now I may or may not be an artist, but as Ms. Badu once said, I'm sensitive about my shit! So enjoy and be kind:).
The blaring alarm clock woke Nioma up. She groaned and sat up, wiping fresh tears from her eyes as she stumbled her way into the bathroom. Pushing her long black hair away from her face, she studied herself in the mirror. The scar that had almost been her death sentence less than 8 hours before seemed to be healing quite nicely. Her mood lightened, she tied her hair back in a bun and placed a warm towel on her face for a few minutes, then made her way to the kitchen to complete the rest of her morning ritual.
For some, a morning facial is simply a beauty ritual. But for Nioma it was a form of meditation. Holding her face over the now boiling pot, she took in a deep, engulfing breath as if it were her first gasp of air. Filled with the usual ingredients of honey, shea butter, a hint of mint and chamomile--the steam also contained her ecstasies--blessed herbs, charms and ointments that would boost her physical and mental abilities.
As the steam glided over her face, she could feel the ecstasies working their magic, the intoxicating fragrances working into the smallest pores of her skin. Intense feelings of calm and hyper awareness overtook her, while the havoc last night's attack wreaked on her body melted away. Closing her eyes, her body seemed to lift from the small table at which she sat, floating through the upper floors of the complex and out towards the sky. If she concentrated just hard enough, the seemingly endless miles of cracked, desolate earth and run down, grimy buildings almost seemed restored to their former glory. Adding those extra splashes of sensua and coporeal seeds was a wise decision. Besides, even with the strenuous day that lay ahead, it was always good to treat yourself, she figured. "Just because I'm living in this shitshack doesn't mean I have to look like a bag lady," she said to herself while spreading face cream across her cheeks.
The belt of her hot pink silk robe trailing behind her, Nioma settled into bed, flicking on the TV. The usual morning political debates, or rather shouting matches, were on. "There is no way this country is ever gonna move forward unless we stop this abuse of power. Destroying life staves from is unnatural. I don't care what the benefits are. Killing is killing," a bloated, balding representative from the Divina party said, his face practically seething with anger. Liberators want to run this nation into the ground!"
"So you would rather stop advances that have the potential save our children, and your children's children from deadly for the sake of small organs that may never be used," the Liberator said, a smug smirk on his handsome face. "Am I the only who wants to see this guy's high school diploma?"
"Typical elitist, pro-drug, anti-family, pro-choice
"Why do you watch this shit," a groggy voice laying onside of Nioma said. She turned to see the face of Layla, her wild mane of light brown dreadlocks slightly covering her small, soft light brown face, lightly sprinkled with freckles on her cheeks. "You know it's one of his tools."
"I know," Nioma said tensely, her gaze totally focus on the TV. "But it's good to know what everyone else is talking about. It gives clues to what tricks he's got up his sleeve," Nioma said. "Excuse me," Layla said, in an attempt to lighten the mood. "Don't you wanna she what I've got up my sleeve," she asked snuggling closer. Nioma didn't respond, but simply stared at the flickering television screen. Undaunted, Layla planted a small kiss on her full lips, parting them gently with her tongue as she giggled, kissing her hard and passionately.
Two years they had been together. It was Layla, one of those who decided to runaway with the rebels that fateful day, who'd helped Nioma climb out of the deep depression she found herself in when they first arrived in Razion. For the first few months, she had nightmares about her mother's death, trying in vain to turn away at the moment she saw her life end and always waking up in a cold sweat. Layla too knew about loss, with her father Jared, general of Memora's army, being killed by Emmanuel. The two young women bonded over grieving fathers they'd barely begun to know.
Layla's hands were now making their way up Nioma's slinky nightgown, the tips of her fingers grazing her inner thigh. Nioma moaned as she felt her lover's warm mouth kiss her neck and her breasts, opening her eyes slightly to catch a glimpse of her tongue cascading over her now erect nipples. "Baby we gotta get ready for the strategy meeting," Nioma said in a breathy tone, just as Layla was about take her exploration further south, "C'mon Ni-Ni," she replied. "We got time for a quickie." Suddenly she felt two slender fingers enter her. Slowly they worked their way in and out, each stroke deeper than the last. Nioma felt like her body was on fire, rolling her head back in absolute pleasure. She couldn't believe what came out of her mouth next. "Layla, we can't be late for this one....this is Operation Alpha."
Suddenly the exploration stopped. She opened her eyes to see Layla with a slight scowl, arching her eyebrow as she shook her head. "It's always the same deal. Omega Squad comes first. How ironic," she said sarcastically.
"But you know we've been planning this for months. It's gonna to take all of us being on our A-game if we're gonna pull this off. Including you. Remember that."
"And need I remind you that your ass almost got snuffed out last night," Layla said, her anger rising. "I heard all of that moaning and writhing in the bathroom. If it wasn't for Clarkeil's antidote I'd be looking down at the dirt instead of up at your face. Does that ever cross your mind?"
"We all put our lives in danger everytime we step out the door," Nioma shot back. "It could just as easily be me at your funeral." "But you're the only one who goes on these fucking midnight suicide missions, looking for lumina." Layla was standing up now at the edge of the bed, her hands positioned at her small, curvy hips, tugging slightly at her dark sweat pants. "For all I know you've could've been captured, or worse, turned! You ever think about that shit warrior princess?
"I think about it all the time! Every fuckin' time I step out the door," Nioma shouted. A crystal clear silence engulfed the room. "But I don't care. Because every one of those things I kill, everytime I see the life drain out of their ugly faces, I just I just....." Her voice faltered and her anger gave way to sadness.
Layla's stern expression softened as she walked slowly over to her lover. She gently pushed her hair away from her cheek, cupping her face in her hands. "How long are you going to keep blaming yourself for what he did?" she asked, looking directly into Nioma's watery steel-gray eyes. "You were a child. You didn't know what was going on." It wasn't your fault Ni-Ni. None of this is."
"I know that. In my head I can accept that part," she said, her voice now barely above a whisper. "But I always think back to that day. Thinking if I'd done something differently, or moved just a little bit faster...
"You had another dream didn't you?" Nioma simply nodded. "Baby, did you do everything you could to try to save her? Would you have done anything"
"Yes. Of course. Emmanuel took so much from me. My father. My family. And even though he was already dead, it felt like he stole something else from me. Like that bastard got the last laugh."
"But you saw that smile she gave you right before, well, you know?
"It sounds to me like she accepted what happened to her. She knew the risk and was willing to take it. She understood that.You gotta let that mess go before it eats you alive. Promise me that. Okay?"
Nioma gave a small smile. "I know. I'm sorry baby. You're right."
"Aren't I always," Layla teased. "Whatever," Nioma said, her mood lightened. "Let's get dressed. We don't want to be late."
"Bitch, do you always have to be so responsible," Layla laughed. Nioma planted a small kiss on her. "You know I'm worth the wait La La," she whispered lustfully as she made her way to bathroom, looking back and winking flirtatiously. "Fine," she said. "But you owe me."
An hour later they found themselves walking the streets of Razion, searching for today's meeting place. Ivana's old palace was out of the question from the start:too obvious. Instead the empty mansions and houses had been ideal, especially when their numbers were small. But as everyday citizens, now refugees, came to city and filled vacant spaces, the spot changed often, as the daystalkers--Daivat spies that were second in command, under the lumina--would sometimes breach the city gates and disguise themselves as vagrants, stalking them to their destination by blending in with the crowds. While not as powerful as their immortal bretheren, daystalkers did possess extraordinary skill and cunning, as the Omega Squad knew all too well.
The close calls had been costly. Now the gatherings took place in decrepit areas like rundown apartment complexes, abandoned hotels or office buildings.
They turned a corner, passing a battered restaurant with windows blown out, the glass scattered across the empty parking lot.Suddenly Layla felt an ice cold chill slide down her spine, slithering over each vertebrae before making a U-turn straight into her gut. She had special gift for recognizing that smell-a rancid odor that was sickly sweet. Nioma soon caught a whiff as well, twisting her nose so much that it looked like it could pop off. Her senses on overdrive due to the ecstasies. They were being followed.
Both women moved swiftly on the cracked sidewalk, slipping by citizens at a brisk pace. Nioma looked back to catch the eye of a brawny man clad in a heavy coat, flannel shirt and ripped jeans, his face covered with thick hair. A black skull cap conceal the rest of his visage, but not enough that she couldn't miss his pupils betray the knowledge he'd been spotted. His partner in crime was more conspicuous: black combat boots covered her feet, while fishnet stockings criss-crossed her legs, traveling up to a tight, patent leather skirt and tattered wifebeater ripped at the waist. Rings and other assorted trinkets covered her hands and neck, while her porcelain face was slathered with dark, garish makeup that almost drew attention away from her long, dark hair, accentuated by shocking bursts of purple streaks.
Nioma's novala glowed with a bright orange light, telling to them make a sharp right. They were close. They looked back once again. I guess we lost them they both thought as they made a sharp right into a grimy back alley. Around them were a few dumpsters teeming with trash and cockroaches, while the building looked like someone had taken a blowtorch to its side. The rusty stairway seemed covered in some congealed slime that was probably a combination of rust, oil and bird droppings. Suddenly the novala flashed, projected a stream of light towards the door at the top of the steps, revealing the secret OS symbol.
"Damn girl, we need a serious upgrade on these meeting places. Screw the greater good," Nioma chuckled. She didn't hear a response. "Layla?" she said as she turned around. All she saw was pedestrians strolling the sidewalk. "Layla...c'mon now this isn't funny."
'That depends on your definition of funny," a deep, raspy voice said. Nioma spun around to meet the brawny daystalker face to face. "Well ain't this my lucky day," he said, his grin revealing yellow teeth and gold caps.
"Princess Nioma I presume," he exclaimed, the smell of his sickly breath become more pronounced with each step he took towards her. "Magus will be pleased once he hears of your, how should I say.... unseemly demise."
"I have to give it to you. You're smarter than most daystalkers," Nioma said while slowly sliding her hand down her back pocket to reach for her Decadon. "Most of the others don't even know my name. But then again," she said feeling the top of the dagger, "They never live long enough to learn it."
But before she could strike, she heard Layla scream in a panicked voice "Nioma!" She turned a saw the female stalker holding her by the neck, her jagged, razor sharp nails at the ready to slash her neck. Unfortunately the split second diversion was all her male accomplice needed. She felt the violent force of his fist slam against her cheek like a block of cement, sending her flying into the brick wall. "Let's see if you live up to your legend," he roared as he charged toward her like a rabid animal.
Nioma rebounded quickly, side-stepping a punch and giving him roundhouse kick square in the jaw, knocking him off his balance. Seizing the opportunity, she ran and lept into the air, punching him in the face. He gave her a quick backhand, knocking her back a few steps. "You'll have to come better than that wench!"
With that he zipped toward her, swinging his massive arms in flurry of punches and jabs. Nioma blocked most of them and dodged others, but the blows were beginning to take their toll. Meanwhile the female stalker gripped Layla by her neck. "Are you ready to watch your lover die?" she cackled. "Damion can go on like that for hours. He'll pummel her!"
"Then we better get started," Layla said, giving her a sharp headbutt and an elbow to the chest. "Show me what you got bitch!" Layla's opponent's three-inch nails grew to three times their length, the edges gleaming like a ginsu knife. She moved fast, clawing at Layla with a feline quickness, faking her out with false strikes before laying into her with quick stabs, striking her a few times and leaving small trails of blood in her wake as she slowly backed her into a corner. Layla surprised her with a quicky uppercut to the stomach. She did a backflip onto the wall, and with a powerful push of her legs lunged at the stalker, slamming her own the ground. She tried to claw her again, but Layla caught on to her game, grabbing her hands and bending them backward until she heard the snap, crackle and pop of bones. She let loose a flurry of screams that sounded like the last gasps of a dying bird getting its throat slashed. Her defenses down, Layla proceeded to make good on her promise, blackening her eyes, nose and lips.
"Marlana," Damion screamed,pushing Nioma aside as he ran towards Layla. Nioma was in hot pursuit, sprinting before she lept into the air, Decadon in hand. Just as he ripped Layla off of Marlana, Nioma landed on his back, giving him a stab straight through the neck, . She gave a double fisted blow to the back as he fell his knees. Nioma leaned into Damion's ear, holding the handle of the Decadon. "Did I live up to the hype?" she taunted before pulling it out, sending blood gushing from the gaping wound. Damion's large frame collapsed to the ground as his skin bubbled and curdled, slowly disentegrating into the gravel.
Nioma and Layla made their way toward her. "Deluded fools, you think you've won, " she said. Several blue orbs began to spin around her, picking up speed until they obscured her completely. Nioma and Layla turned to each other and said "Awww hell." The orbs dispersed, revealing her pale skin sans any wounds. She slowly made her way toward them, "Unlike Damion, I can't be stopped by little knives. In a flash she sped to them and back to where she stood, unloading all of their weapons and tossing them to the ground. Or guns," she said with a sinister laugh. You'll have to vanquish me."
"Shit what's that spell," Nioma said.
"You better remember, and fast!" Layla said.
"Tame the evil that disturbs our peace," she began. "Destroy her essence, cause her existence to cease. Annihilate her, mind, body and soul."
"Womp womp, wrong answer!," Marlana said as she made her way towards them.
"Tame the evil that disturbs our peace," a rich, commanding female voice boomed. All three of them looked up to see Ivana, descending the stair way like she was walking down the palace steps. Her dark brunette hair, parted in the center and styled in ringlet curls, fell to her shoulders, blending into her dark ensemble of a chocolate brown coat with fur trim buttoned at the waist, a matching blouse and a pair of dark blue jeans leading to a pair of spiked boots. An inner light seemed to emit from her dark olive skin as her hazel eyes gazed at the object of her rage.
"Destroy her essence, her existence shall cease. Relinquish her power, the spirit blackened by infernal control. Annihilate her mind, body and soul!"
Marlana's limbs suddenly grew stiff. She began gasping for air as her lungs shriveled to the size of mustard seeds, while her eyes began to cry tears of blood, replaced by a steady flow of purplish-green puss. Nioma and Layla took a few steps back as she started to convulse violently, foam erupting from her mouth like a geyser ready to explode. Her eyes popped and flashed like two burnt out bulbs as she regurgitated the full contents of her insides, a hole in her neck becoming visible due to the acid rapidly flowing past her throat. Finally when she had no more to give, the shell of skin that once encased her body crumbled to the ground in a gooey pile.
"I think that was the incantation you were trying to cast," Ivana said sternly as the two women turned to face her. "You two need to brush up on your spells, especially the vanquishing curses."
"I almost had it" Nioma protested. "I just missed a line."
"Precisely my point Nioma," she said in a clipped, impatient manner. "A line that could've cost you and Layla your lives. What would've happened if I didn't overhear the ruckus going on out here?" Never underestimate your enemies' capacity for surprise. Ever!"
"Alright, Ivana we get it," Layla sighed, exasperated by being on the receiving end of yet another one of Ivana's lectures. "Almost doesn't count and all that jazz."
"We're going to need all the curses, incantations and potions we can muster if we're going to pull this off. And you are two of strongest in the bunch. Get it together!"
"Don't worry, by we'll be in tip top sorcery shape soon enough," Nioma said. "And for the record, we've never encountered self-healing daystalkers before. You need to update the Inferna list. I'm just sayin.'"
"I did. If you'd check your copy more often, you'd have known all about daystalkers and their latest tricks. I'm just sayin'," she said mockingly, narrowing her eyes and practically stomping towards them, kicking up bits of rock until she stood chest to chest with the two women. "You little girls best start bleeding soon. Now let's get inside. Clarkeil loathes tardiness."