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Fire And Steel
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ISBN-10: 1-77115-138-2
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Science Fiction/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Length: 129 Pages
Published: November 2013



From inside the flap

Night after night, Adam dreams of a woman he has never seen. She is beautiful, but sad, and has a name Adam seems to know, but only in the depths of the night. As a leading scientist working under a totalitarian regime in a not too distant future, Adam will soon learn that his dreams are memories, and the world’s bleak future exists with no memory of the past from which it came. Through his fragmented memories, Adam embarks on a dangerous and emotional journey. He will soon discover the past of a world plagued by chaos and fear, instilled by a ruthless dictator who robbed the world of not only its freedom, but of any world before it. As Adam works to uncover the truth of his past, he is met with resistance from both outside forces and the depths of his own mind.

Fire And Steel (Excerpt)


Chapter One

Marie's screams were silenced as her lungs filled with freezing cold water. Pumping her arms, she writhed, pleading for her suffering to end. Pleading for anyone to answer her call, knowing there was no one left to respond. Decency had perished; now there was nothing, only emptiness. Existence was nil, pleasant sensations erased from memory, compassion chained to the fringes of what once was. A kind thought, a generous action, all relegated to a distant past. And now, on the barren remnants of Earth, Marie struggled helplessly, lost in pain and isolation. Death was hope, a beautiful state one could only dream of attaining, offering a rush of overwhelming peace.


***

The streets were lined with people silently shuffling along, avoiding any eye contact with one another. The massive Ministry skyscraper towered above the City, a dominating symbol easily visible from any location within the City boundaries. Its unmistakable message, embalmed across its drab concrete structure, read "In Fire and Steel We Trust." A huge glass prism, lying on top of the building, reflected what little sunlight penetrated the lifeless black sky. Shades of desolate grey shrouded the outside landscape. Only the City itself was warmed with glistening rays of light from the prism, betraying a false glimmer of hope; all else was waste and wreckage.

The Colonel, a tall, bulky man with ice-cold, soulless eyes, strode past the throngs of inhabitants going about their daily routines, eliciting nervous glances as people hurriedly moved aside. His polished beige uniform was decorated with the Star of the Grand Cross of Fire, the regime's highest military distinction. His golden eagle collar signified his rank within the state's most feared paramilitary organization. The guards snapped to attention as he entered the Ministry, greeted by white marble pillars and impressive busts of ancient heroes. An official sat at the front desk, behind an advanced computer and telescreen that beamed images across the room. The Colonel inhaled, savoring the fresh scent of victory. The official looked up, acknowledging the Colonel's presence with a vigorous salute.

"The Minister has been expecting you, sir. Please follow me." The Colonel smiled and nodded as he was ushered into a secluded meeting room. A slightly hunched, elderly man sat at the solid oak table, his balding head and wispy, grizzled features lending him an ancient appearance. Immediately behind the table was a gold-framed oil painting of the Supreme Leader. It loomed grimly, an expressionist depiction of a stern mustached figure, seemingly staring at the Colonel. The Colonel removed his cap and sat across from the Minister, who flashed a cold smile.

"I trust the incident has been taken care of?" he asked the Colonel gravely.

"Of course, sir. The traitors have been purged. The secret is safe," replied the Colonel, his steely blue eyes filled with satisfaction. The Minister faintly grinned, folding his arms as he leaned forward.

"Great. The Master will be happy to know."

"I wouldn't concern yourself with the Master, your Excellency. He has personally seen to the two traitors." The Minister shot the Colonel a curious glance.

"They, they... saw the Master?" The Colonel replied in the affirmative. "They aren't still alive, are they?" the Minister inquired carefully.

"Oh, I suppose you could say they are. But only a cynical man would call what they have lives... " The Minister nodded knowingly.

"Well Colonel, I am gratified by your success. I trust in our Master's wisdom." The Colonel stood and shook hands with the Minister before exiting the room.


***

On a remote street in the City, a man huddled alone. Death and decay gripped his thoughts as his mind spiraled further and further into the psychological abyss. Bizarre shapes and sounds appeared and disappeared, seemingly taunting him yet fading away before he could grasp their physical manifestations. He could perceive the faint outlines of a dungeon, wrought with rusting steel spikes. Experiencing tunnel vision, he was led into the dungeon, which featured a massive, circular pit. Torches lit up its surface. With a bang and crunch, the man was hurtled into the pit, fiery hell raging below.

Adam jerked awake from his dream, screaming in fear. Sweating profusely, a thrill of apprehension ran down his spine. He rose from his bed and gazed out the window at the omnipresent security cameras. A patrol truck drove along, filled with masked paramilitaries clad in dreaded Fire and Steel uniforms. The dimly lit street lamps radiated a misty glow, hovering like an apparition over the worn pavement. Suddenly frightened, Adam rushed under his covers, cowering like a helpless child. Shaking uncontrollably, he struggled to contain his visions, but they only worsened. He thrust himself forward, releasing a cry that boomed across the hushed neighborhood. The horror refused to subside. His punishment was not complete.