The Last Hero Excerpt

 

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Book Description: An evil sorcerer, and his impossible to kill zombie soldiers overwhelm Cole and his squad. When the sorcerer mistakes Cole for his dead son, Nero, Cole becomes the only one who can stop him. But after the encounter, Nero’s ghost possesses Cole. This sparks blackouts, and dangerous hallucinations Cole can’t control as Nero tries to take over Cole’s body.
Will Cole learn to tame the ghost trapped inside him and enlist Nero’s help to defeat the sorcerer? Or will the ghost in his head drive him insane first?

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Excerpt from The Last Hero: Dad

Fairway Laboratories

Cole’s breath was rapid, and he clenched his teeth as he ran. The heavy buckles on his boots bounced and sounded off each step with a click.

Even though Cole’s friend, Sebastian retreated, Cole didn’t turn back and vowed to save the rest of his team. He followed the screams from his comrades echoing throughout the tight corridor.

Thick smoke filled the bullet-strewn hallways and his lungs drew in the tainted air. The ceiling crumbled, and the drywall fell upon his head like a fine snow.

Cole followed the cries to its source. Before entering the room, he stopped and rested against the wall. He surveyed the area ahead with caution.

Shadowing his slow gaze with a readied rifle, he prepared to shoot anything moving. This mission wasn’t routine, and he was out of his element since he arrived. This new enemy seemed unstoppable and slaughtered his friends.

Cole tried to calm his racing heart. Through his scope, he noted a mound of bodies through the smoke. There were hundreds of fallen soldiers gathered here. Tossed in those piles like trash were the men he grew up with. The sight ignited a boiling rage within him.

A greenish smoke rose from the corpses, the room filling with the metallic stench of death. As he did another scan of the room, a low growl behind him made his back stiffen. It wasn’t human.

Spinning, Cole unsheathed the sword on his back. He pointed it at the new threat. More subtle than his gun, he hoped not to draw any attention to himself by firing a shot.

He recognized his own uniform on the enemy, and Cole’s expression softened. Pain filled his chest like a dead weight, crushing his every breath.

“Richard?” Taking a swipe at the empty air, Cole’s features hardened. He readied to attack. “What’s wrong with you? Why are you attacking me? It’s me, Cole!”

Richard released a barrage of bullets from his gun, but Cole 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, and Cole saw the green light reflected in his comrade’s eyes. Cole knew what to do, even though his heart was against it. The virus contaminated Richard and took his friend’s sanity.

“Cole,” Richard hissed, as a few infected soldiers came to back him up. Cole’s gaze darted over their faces. Each one had a hellish green light in their eyes. “It’s your turn to die.”

Charging forward, Cole halted Richard’s words with a slash of his sword. He fought until all obstacles lay lifeless at his feet.

Wiping his nose with a rough hand, Cole sniffled. He studied the bodies of his friends with wet eyes. A few seconds of silence passed as he tried to grasp what went on. But he had little time to think. The soldiers he thought he killed rose and attacked him again.

This was impossible. A few were missing limbs and others pawed at the floor as they dragged their bodies along it. Cole saw nothing like this before and didn’t know how to fight back.

“Nero,” a man said from behind him.

Cole spun and glared at the man. His enemy wore a long, green robe, and the flames ravaging the building illuminated his face. A black dragon cradled his left eye and intensified his sparkling blue eyes.

“So, you have finally arrived.”

“Who are you?” Cole’s gun shook in his hands as he followed the man’s advance through the scope.

“You don’t remember me?” The man’s eyes narrowed on Cole and he appeared angry.

Cole scanned the Virus soldiers standing behind the cloaked man. None attacked. “You—” He paused, his gun making a quick pass around the group. When he saw no one advance, he pointed it at the man once again. “You’re one of them, aren’t you?” He took a few cautious steps backward.

“No.” The man chuckled and spoke in a calm tone.

“Why aren’t they attacking?” Cole motioned with the barrel of his gun toward the Virus soldiers. “You! You did this?” Cole hissed. When the man didn’t answer, he spoke again, “Answer me!”

“Me?” Placing a hand over his heart, the cloaked man laughed. “I only command them.”

“You’re the one who brought Virus here, aren’t you?” Even though outnumbered, Cole didn’t stand down. “Why are you doing this? Why are you killing innocent people?”

“Because I want to.” Matter-of-fact, his joking reaction didn’t fit the situation. “What better reason is there than that?”

“You monster!” Cole yelled.

“Monster?” The man scowled, and Cole’s words infuriated him. “Me?” He took a step closer, but halted when Cole took one back. The man huffed as he studied Cole. “Now, is that any way to describe me, Nero? So, you think it’s my Virus, huh?”

The man raised his hands. The long sleeves of his robe fell back and revealed the tattered black suit he wore underneath. Behind him, more Virus soldiers appeared, but Cole wasn’t sure from where.

“You really don’t remember, do you?” Cocking his head to the side, the cloaked man’s gaze narrowed. “Don’t worry, you will soon. I’ll help you. I’ve been looking for you for so long I almost gave up hope.” He sighed as if relieved. “But you’re still alive. I knew you would be. I’m so glad I finally found you.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you,” Cole snapped

The man’s glare burned with an intensity matching Cole’s, their eyes the same unique shade of ice blue. “What’s wrong with you? You look terrified—like a child.” Moving closer, the man turned his head and studied Cole from a different angle. “What did they do to you? My son—” His bottom lip quivered, as if he were about to cry. “You are so—” He paused when Cole took a leap back and wouldn’t let the cloaked man close. He released a sigh with his next word, “—scared.”

“I’m not afraid of you.” Speaking through gritted teeth, Cole’s response was firm. He pulled the trigger, but nothing happened. Fear flashed in his eyes as he tried several times more.

“Oh, no?” The man smirked as he opened his palm. He dropped a handful of bullets at his feet. “You’re scared,” he assured in a playful tone.

Cole checked the magazine and realized his shells were missing. But instead of examining it further, Cole stowed his gun and bared his sword.

“What are you going to do with that toy?” The man pointed to the blade. He made a fist, and the metal twisted. Cole dropped it and hopped backward. “I don’t wish to hurt you, so please—” He motioned with his head toward the broken weapon. “—stop trying to use your useless toys. Only magic works against a sorcerer.”

“A sorcerer?” Speaking through heavy breath, Cole tried not to show his alarm. “There are no sorcerers left except for the Sacred Family.”

“You really forgot, didn’t you?” The man crossed his arms and spoke with a cheery tone.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. What are you doing here? And why are you creating the Virus soldiers?”

“This isn’t going to work.” Palming his forehead, the man grunted to vent his frustration. “You don’t remember anything.”

“How do you know me?” Cole put up his gloved fists now that he found his weapons useless.

“I made you,” the cloaked man answered in a sarcastic tone.

Made me?” Cole spat the words, and the notion repulsed him.

The cloaked man’s anger returned. “They have made you soft—took away the perfect son I raised you to be.”

“What are you talking about?” A scowl darkened Cole’s features, his tanned skin covered in a thick blanket of white ash. “I’ve never met you before in my life.”

Changing the subject, the man pulled a pendant from beneath his robes. “Do you remember this?”

“No.” Cole’s hand rested on the hilt of a second sword he carried on his back. Though smaller, it was better than fighting this guy bare-handed if it came down to it.

“This is a powerful pendant.” The man admired the green gem for a few seconds and let it slip back under his robes. “It allows me to steal the life energy from people and turn it into magic.” He laughed at Cole’s horrified expression. “Isn’t that a marvelous invention?”

It’s sick.” Cole’s grip tightened around the handle.

“No,” the man said in a disappointed tone. “You’re sick, my son.”

“I’m not your son!” Cole screamed, his anger at its breaking point.

“You’re not?” The man advanced, forcing Cole to take a few steps backward again. “Who are you, then?”

“I’m—” Cole paused, an image flashing in his head. His breath quickened as he put his palm to his forehead. Pain shot through him as if someone injected acid into his veins.

Visions of the man flew through his brain. It felt like a movie being projected over his sight, dizziness trying to force him unconscious. “Stop,” Cole begged in a shaky tone. Holding back tears, Cole held his head. A loud buzz filled his ears, and the sound of laughter echoed in his brain.

“My poor boy,” the cloaked man’s voice cut through the visions. “What have they done to you?”

Cole shook his head, and the visions subsided. “Why are you doing this?” Standing on shaky legs, Cole pulled out the sword and tried to fight. He held it in front of him in defense. “What do you want from me?”

“Come with me,” the man begged, his tone showing his desperation.

“I will never surrender myself to you!” Cole’s expression hardened, the chains on his jacket bouncing as he readied himself for a fight.

“So, you’ve decided to fight me? I see.” The man raised his arms, and his army advanced toward Cole. “So, that’s how it is? Then, get ready to fight, my boy.”

Gladly.” The surface of Cole’s sword gleamed under the light and though his head spun, he tried to push it back.

“You’re coming with me, even if I have to drag you kicking and screaming!” A green wind rose from under the man, making his robes fly upward as the air thickened with magic. “Lay down your sword and surrender! You are no match for my army of Virus soldiers! Come to me, Nero!”

“Come to me, Nero.” Cole heard the man’s words in his head, even if he hadn’t said them a second time. It was a hallucination and as the seconds ticked off with each beat of his heart, the real world faded. The voice spoke again. “Lay down your sword and surrender, or I’ll kill her!”

“Stop!” Cole’s head buzzed so loud the deafening sound brought him to his knees. His vision blurred, and he felt like this man tried to control his thoughts.

But it wasn’t the man. “Are you all right?” the man yelled, but his voice sounded distant.

As if responding to Cole’s anger, the Virus soldiers advanced without the sorcerer’s command.

“I’ll kill you!” Cole heard his own voice ring in his ears. “Don’t hurt her!” Letting out a blood-curdling scream, Cole held his swimming head.

A green light pulsed from Cole. With each wave, it became stronger and when its beams hit the soldiers, they turned to dust.

Nero, stop!” the cloaked man yelled and appeared frantic. “Stop! Don’t do this again. Fight the visions! Don’t give in to the madness! Listen to me! Stop!”

After those words, Cole blacked out.

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