In the haloed halls of a Facebook Group called Iron Sharpening Iron, several Christian speculative fiction authors worked to create an anthology utilizing characters drawn from the well of our imaginations. All the authors would then write a short story with all the characters submitted. In essence, we built a multiverse.
It was a simple idea and yet it took two years for it to come to fruition. I thoroughly enjoyed this project although it took every bit of life out of me. For one thing, not all the characters submitted were of the same race. Some were werewolves, animal hybrids, gender neutral, and humans with powers. I chose to be a bit more conservative with my character. Her name is Natasha Genesis and she is a the black female version of Samuel Jackson’s Mr. Glass in M. Knight Shalaman’s Unbreakable.
Through many ups and downs, twists and turns, the Realms of Our Own Anthology is available. Each multiverse story is .99 and are short reads. I don’t believe any of the stories go over 55 pages.
To read the impressions from all the contributing authors, visit Christian Fiction Review where Christian speculative fiction guru Peter Younghusband hosts our interview and his reviews of the published anthology.
Enjoy this excerpt from my contribution to the ISI Multiverse collaboration entitled “Godforsaken” and feel free to download the multiverse collection.
Weebles’ grave marker, a cross fashioned from ore 44-15B, began to glow like a miniature beacon in the small plot of cracked, dry earth. With an almost ethereal quality, the light flooded the mound and then drew itself away from the grave. As it slithered along the ground at a leisurely pace, the grave was once more cast into the opaque darkness.
Cathair stared out toward Weebles’ grave. It had been four years since they’d been sent to this penal world called Godforsaken. His crime, officially, was treason against the Milky Way Planetary Alliance. The real reason for his imprisonment was a political backstab against his people because they refused to align their powers of chi-sensory for defensive means.
Weebles, his pet and confidant who refused to leave him, died within two weeks of their arrival. Cathair’s fist curled. The High Chancellor had known this world would not be compatible with Weebles’ survival, and yet the woman allowed them to come here. He should have insisted Weebles travel back to Cathair’s home on Venus. She’d still be alive in the artificial aquarium his godfather had made for her.
But he hadn’t, and now every day before his shift started in the mine, he paid homage to his pet. It made his exile bearable.
He turned to begin his work of mining fragments of ore 44-15B when a faint hint of blue light illuminated the cross on Weebles’ grave.
Cathair froze as the heat drained from his body, shutting off the heat-activated flesh-sensor equipment he wore to do his work. His lips trembled and his hands turned into icy appendages.
Stealthily, the blue ivy slithered its way toward him. Godforsaken was the only penal world in the Alliance with no sun or moon. The only source of natural light came from the harbinger of death drawing closer and closer to the mouth of the mine.
His feet remained glued to the rocky surface and his lungs screamed for air. Trapped by his fear like an old Earth deer in the glare of headlights.
Then the thought leapt at him. You have to get to Hawkins!
The mental command loosened his feet and he twisted from the opening and ran. He had to find Hawkins.
Molon Hawkins rested his head against the hard surface of the wall that Jesse, Natasha’s archangel minion, had chained him to. He’d been locked in solitary confinement for two days. Depending on her mood, she’d probably leave him in here for another two days. After all, the Vice Warden didn’t want his death.
She wanted his submission to her.
He blew out a breath in agitation and settled against the wall, prepared to wait it out, when the first scream pierced the silence.
Only one type of scream was that distinctive on this dark world—a blue ivy victim.
“Natasha!” he yelled out into the darkness as he fought the hold of the chains. He had to break free. Had to be the first to reach the control room where all the inmates would be safe.
With his teeth clenched, he balled his fist and yanked the chain. It wrenched him back against the jagged wall and the rocky surface scratched his back. The cords along his necktightened as he repeated the action. The bonds plastered him against the wall. Blood raced through his veins.
Another scream pierced the darkness.
“Natasha, you scum!” The words echoed in the small cavern, and he struggled more. He had to get out there. Blue ivy didn’t just kill the victim. It chewed on them. Wrapped in the flowing, sparkling light, their bodies were eaten layer by layer. Natasha could save them, but she didn’t want to.
Unless he got to the control room first.
As the chains dragged him once more against the wall, more screams exploded, closer now. His blood boiled, hot and searing. It rushed through him with the ferocity of a wildfire. Sweat trailed down the side of his face as he continued to try to break the hold of the chains. His lips snarled. The adrenaline pumped through him and interacted with his dormant canine genetics.
Human grunts soon turned into animal-like growls. Hair lengthened on his skin and his nails grew longer and tapered. A small twinge of pain in the middle of his face told him his nose had grown into a snout. His ears twitched and stretched while his tongue elongated and flattened. His chest broadened as the muscles expanded, and with one last violent tug, he ripped the chains from the wall and bounced onto his paws.
A moment later he sent a large, furry fist through the wall, giving him an avenue of escape. Without a backward glance, Molon ran out on all fours. He encountered the mash of bodies running along the tunnel way, the metallic smell of the prisoners’ fear invading his nostrils. He raced among them, his powerful legs giving him an advantage over the others.
The aura from blue ivy stretched several feet before the telltale sparkle of the luminescent bacteria arrived. It brightened the tunnel as it made its way down the narrow passage. Molon raced down the pathway, scattering rocks and dirt everywhere, pressing forward.
Someone screamed to his right, and he dodged a hand wrapped in the death grasp of blue ivy. A howl of agony pierced his ears as the body fell and a saw blade used to cut into the rock clattered to the ground. He stopped long enough to pick it up with his teeth and took off again.
The soft chewing sound assaulted his ears louder than the wail from the victim. Once the ivy got a complete hold, there wasn’t a thing anyone could do. He hardened his heart against the pain echoing through the tunnel. If he didn’t get to the control room first, many more would die.
BUY NOW: GODFORSAKEN