Tuesday Teaser: The Last Hero
I picked an excerpt from The Last Hero. There’s two books I’ve written that are VERY dear to me, this being one of them. Maybe newer fans don’t know my attachment to this book. It’s actually the first book I EVER queried to publishers, one of the last books I ever signed (to SCP, they had almost all my books at one time), and it was the first book I had a hard cover of. That’s a HUGE milestone for an author. It made me feel like my dream was real—that I could call myself “an author”.
The Last Hero, in my opinion, is one of my best books, but because it’s fantasy, it never sold very many books, which is unfortunate. I’ve never had any luck with my fantasy novels unless they have a vampire in them. If you haven’t read it, you should 😉
Cole breathed rapidly, his teeth clenched tightly. Thick smoke filled the bullet-strewn hallways. His lungs drew in the tainted air. He could hear the screams of his comrades echoing throughout the tight space. The ceiling was crumpling, and the drywall fell upon his head like a fine snow.
The structure was heavily damaged, the fighting inside leaving it unstable. Even though Sebastian had already retreated, Cole didn’t turn back. He had to save the rest of his team.
Hearing cries from a nearby tunnel, Cole followed the sound to its source. The heavy buckles on his boots bounced steadily as he ran. Before entering the room, he stopped and rested against the wall. He surveyed the area cautiously, making sure to stay perfectly still.
Shadowing his slow gaze with a readied weapon, he was prepared to shoot anything that moved. This mission was anything but routine, and he had been out of his element since he had arrived. This new enemy seemed unstoppable, and Cole had watched helplessly as his friends had been slaughtered.
Swallowing hard, he tried to calm his racing heart. Through his scope, he could see a large mound of bodies. There were hundreds of them, piled up like discarded garbage. These were the men he had grown up with. The horrid sight ignited rage within him.
A greenish smoke rose from the corpses, the room filling with the metallic stench of death. He was about to do another scan of the room, but a low growl made his back stiffen. It was a beast-like sound, definitely not human.
Spinning quickly, Cole unsheathed the sword on his back. He quickly aimed it at the new threat. It was more subtle than his gun, and he hoped not to draw any attention to himself by firing a shot.
But then, he saw the man’s face and recognized his own uniform. Cole’s expression softened. A deep pain filled his chest that felt like a dead weight crushing his every breath.
“Richard?” Taking a swipe at the empty air, Cole’s features hardened. He then readied himself to attack. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you attacking me? It’s me, Cole!”
Richard released a barrage of bullets, but Cole artfully dodged them.
Cole tried to reach out to him one last time. “Get a hold of yourself! Stop this madness right now! Don‘t let it control your mind! Fight it, Richard! Please! Stop!”
But Richard didn’t respond. At this distance, Cole could see the green light reflected in his comrade’s eyes. He knew what he had to do, even though his heart was against it. The virus had contaminated Richard. His friend was gone.
“Cole,” Richard hissed, as a few soldiers came and backed him up. Cole’s eyes quickly darted over their faces. Each one had that hellish green light residing in their eyes. “It’s your turn to die.”
Charging forward, Cole halted Richard’s words with a quick slash of his sword. He fought until they all lay lifeless at his feet.
Wiping his nose roughly, Cole sniffled. Disbelieving, he studied the bodies of his friends. A few seconds of silence passed, as he tried to grasp what was going on. But he didn’t have much time to think. The soldiers he thought he had killed were rising up and preparing to attack him again.
This was impossible. Some were missing limbs. Others pawed at the floor as they dragged their bodies along it. Terror flashed in Cole’s ice blue eyes, his breath quick. He had never seen anything like this before and had no idea how to fight back.
Turning abruptly in the direction of the voice, Cole glared at the man standing behind him. His enemy wore a long, green robe. The flames that ravaged the building illuminated his face. A black dragon cradled his left eye, a dark tattoo that intensified his sparkling blue eyes. He wore a twisted smile, an unnatural expression that bathed his features in an evil light.
“So, you have finally arrived.”
“Who are you?” Cole’s weapon shook in his hands, but he swallowed his fear as he followed the man’s advance through the scope.
“You don’t remember me?” The man’s eyes narrowed on Cole. There was fury seething through his every word. His hands were fisted and trembled slightly.
Cole’s gaze scanned the Virus soldiers that stood behind the man. None of them were attacking him. “You…” He paused, his gun making a quick pass around him. When he saw no one, he pointed it at the man once again. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?” He took a few cautious steps backward.