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The Rekhaz
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ISBN-10: 1-55404-981-4
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Fantasy/SF/Science Fiction
eBook Length: 192 Pages
Published: June 2012
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

Beth, Matthew and Luke live a hundred kilometres or so inland from the coast of the Arabian Gulf, in an oasis town dominated by a craggy mountain called Jebel Lafeet. Unknown to them, Asheraj, a vast dragon-like creature has been encased in the mountain for aeons, clutching in her claws a pebble-like object called a Rehkaz. This is one half of a fearsome weapon that she has been appointed to guard, but the Rekhaz has slipped out of her grasp.

The other half of the weapon lies buried in a layer of volcanic rock in Cappadocia in Turkey. The Rekhaz’ one aim is to unite and destroy the world to which it has been banished.

The one that has escaped starts to seek out ways to bring about union - and destruction. It begins by giving Matthew the power of flight. The little stone he finds has magical properties. If he holds it tight he can fly. He thinks it is wonderful, but the Rekhaz knows exactly where it wants him to go..

The Rekhaz (Excerpt)


1. Some Huge Animal

On his first day in the Arabian Gulf, Matthew stood at the window of his new home and stared through it disappointedly at the scene outside. It wasn’t at all how he had imagined it. He had been expecting a great sea of sandy desert stretching to the horizon, with half-buried sun-bleached skeletons, and huge vultures drifting ominously on the hot, dry wind. But all he could see through the window was an untidy patch of wasteland and a few scrubby thorn bushes. Beyond the wasteland was a row of dusty apartment blocks just like theirs. And behind them was a big rocky hill with what looked like a radio mast on the top of it. There seemed to be a road snaking its way up the side of the hill, but it was difficult to see clearly because the whole mass was shimmering in the heat haze. He could just make out some sort of factory at its foot from which smoke or dust was swirling upward, making the mountain’s outline even more indistinct and fuzzy.

Matthew yawned. It had taken all day yesterday to fly from England, and he was tired. He squinted out into the bright light of the early August afternoon. Either his eyes were getting used to the glare, or the smoke that had wreathed the mountain before was clearing. It was more distinct all of a sudden, crouching beast-like behind a row of cowering apartment blocks. He could almost imagine that it was about to pounce on them. He shook his head, surprised at the vivid picture his mind had somehow conjured up. Then he moved away from the window and his thoughts turned back to the events of the night before.

The plane had arrived at what his mother had called "the witching hour" and, more asleep than awake, Matthew, his older sister Beth, and his little brother Luke, had trailed after their parents into the hot darkness outside the aircraft. How strange the midnight warmth had felt when he’d stepped out onto the tarmac. The hot, damp, dusty breeze had lapped at him like the breath of some huge animal, and it had been a relief to go through the automatic doors into the artificial coolness of the airport arrivals lounge.


***

Under the mountain the dragon slept, clutching her treasure between her fearsome claws...

No, that’s not right. For one thing, she wasn’t a dragon. Not really. Not like you think. Not the sort you’ve read about. For another thing, whatever she might be doing, it wasn’t sleeping. Not what you’d call sleeping anyway. Not the sort of sleeping that you do every night in your comfortable, cozy bed. For a third thing, what she was holding was anything but a treasure. And lastly, you could hardly call Jebel Lafeet a mountain. In fact, it was little more than a naked, bony hill on the edge of a vast and empty desert.

Whether Jebel Lafeet was a mountain or a hill, there was something under it, or rather inside it, and there had been for a very, very long time. In fact, if this doesn’t seem too homely an image for something which turned out to be much more frightening than almost anything you can imagine, Jebel Lafeet was more like a huge pie than a mountain. What you could see if you stood in the oasis at its foot was a sort of limestone crust covering ... what? Yes, that’s the question, covering what? Whatever she was, she had been there in her limestone tomb for untold millennia: a huge, muscular coil of menace that didn’t stir and didn’t breathe, though she had limbs and claws and lungs, and wide, flaring nostrils. She could hardly be said to be alive at all really, except for the fact that she didn’t decay. Unlike other creatures gripped with her within that arid rock, she had not died and fossilized.

Tough, dry flesh clung tenaciously to her great long bones; interlocking, shield-like scales enclosed her sinewy muscles, and vast leathery wings were folded over her broad, armour-plated back. And somewhere, deep in the convoluted, frozen lobes of her still and silenced brain, a small, a very small, spark of awareness flickered intermittently. Like an occasional lazy lighthouse beam, it swept through the darkness of her unconscious mind. The Creature - whatever she was - was alive. Or rather, she wasn’t dead.