- Author: J Kiefer
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Copyright © 2021 Jason W Kiefer
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. For permission requests, contact JW Kiefer at email@example.com.
Any references to historical events, real people, or real places are used fictitiously. Names, characters, and places are products of the author’s imagination.
Front cover image by Jamie Glover.
Edited by Lauren Moore
This book is dedicated to the people who have had the most impact on its creation, My Armor Bearers. Steve Caponey (Flatline), Jon-Mark Menta (Hollow Point), Sean Nemi (Sgt. Edge), Jeremy Wagner (Flash), Josh Strunk (Fortress) and David Devigili (Sidewinder). The time we spent running around upstate NY creating worlds, characters and stories will always be some of my fondest memories.
Like most things worth doing in life, this book took me a long time to write. Even though it is my first, it rises off of the backs of many failed manuscripts that have since been lost to crashing computers, the beguiling of new ideas or simply to the ever-moving sands of time and neglect.
J R R Tolkien once replied when asked why it took him so long to write the Lord of the Rings, "Life happens." I have found this to be the case. Like all humans my time is extremely limited, and the pressures of work, family, church, and much needed personal time seem to always be vying for its attention. This is still the case for me, but I decided once my kids grew up and started their own adult lives, that it was time for me to seriously pursue the one thing I had always wanted to do since childhood, become a writer.
This novel is the result of that decision. My life is still filled with many distractions and I would like to say that I have mastered the discipline of writing every day, but that would be a lie. I have, however, found that continual small steps forward produce bigger results in the end then great leaps on occasions. For those of you who read this book I hope you are inspired to keep moving forward in your journey no matter how small the steps may be; and you will find as I have, that in time, you too will accomplish your dreams.
J W Kiefer
About The Author
Books By This Author
Binghamton New York
It was an unusually chilly October evening, even for upstate New York. A cold front from northern Canada had blown through, bringing with it rain, a bitter wind, and temperatures that dropped into the forties. According to the radio meteorologist, this night would be the worst of it. Dismal and forbidding, the stormy evening fit the mood of the lone figure making his way down the empty streets.
The man was hunched and weather-beaten, his long black trench coat flapping wildly in the wind. He made no attempt to draw the coat around himself, but let the wind have its way. Drenched as he was, any normal man would’ve been shivering, but he was no ordinary man. Ever since he had been chosen, his body had become impervious to the elements of the mortal world.
He was short and lithe of build, with jet-black hair pulled tight into a long ponytail. He appeared to be of Asian descent, and most people would not have given him a second glance, except for his haunting eyes. He’d once had beautiful dark brown eyes that had charmed many a young lady with a glance. Now those eyes were gone, replaced by shadowy black holes of darkness that seemed to writhe and twist with a life of their own.
He missed his old eyes, that used to see the joys of life and love. Eyes that looked on the world with such innocence. Nothing escaped his gaze now, nothing at all. It saw everything, even the hearts of men. No action escaped his notice. He saw every sin, no matter how big or small. He saw the hidden and the veiled, those things which men thought they had concealed and would never be held accountable for.
It was a dreadful power that his heart had grown weary of. He understood what that meant, and he welcomed it. The end was near; he could sense it. He would soon be free of his burden. It would pass to another.
The man turned down a narrow alleyway, leaving behind the brightly lit streets for the shelter of the shadows. He shied away from the light, preferring to travel in the darkness away from prying eyes. He missed the sun and its warmth. This nocturnal existence was poetic, he supposed, as most evil deeds did take place in the dark of night. But it grew old.
He passed a few scattered silhouettes lying on the cold, wet ground and felt a twinge of pity. It had been years since he’d felt anything at all, so the feeling came as a shock. It was nothing more than a small stirring in his heart, but to someone who had felt nothing for so long, it struck like a bolt of lightning.
A single tear tracked down his cheek. He reached up and touched it, wondering at the wetness on his fingers. He’d been incapable of crying for so long that he’d forgotten what it felt like.
The homeless man closest to him stirred and mumbled something in his sleep. He was filthy, dressed in tattered rags, his white hair gnarled