"...masterful young-adult novel...It’s high adventure, great entertainment, and a highly recommended introduction to the Gatehouse series... a classic clash between good and evil, Jones’ well-plotted story has wonderful twists and turns to catch and hold a reader’s interest... The battles and confrontations are as riveting as they are page-turning..."
Okay, that's enough patting myself on the back... it's time for today's #SampleSunday entry! And today, for the first time, I'm posting a revised, final version of an excerpt from Book 2, The Door to Justice. (Please let there be no typos! LOL) So for your appreciation, here it is... Gatehouse: The Door to Justice, the prologue!
Beamer panted with exertion as she skidded around the corner into the shadowed alcove. Without pausing, she squeezed herself between a pair of drainage pipes and huddled back into the darkness. The sound of booted feet was loud on the street behind her.
She cringed as the squad rounded the corner, and held her breath as the squad leader divided his men into two groups. The man gestured silently, the light from the single streetlamp reflecting from his visored helmet. And then the men were gone, off in search of the so-called “dangerous runaway”. With a gasp of pure relief, Beamer pushed her way back into the alley and started toward the street.
Breaking curfew was stupid, and she knew it. But what choice did she have? The Conclave had her scans; she was on the grid now. She’d hidden her abilities for as long as she could, but the sixteen year examination couldn’t be avoided. Her only choice now was flight, or being sent off to the Conclave satellite for training. And she’d made the only choice she could, skipping her indoctrination meeting and going to ground.
But a ray of hope had finally come. The message had been very explicit. This was her one and only chance to escape. The rebels wanted her, and despite what most people thought, she knew that the only safety to be had lay with them. And the only chance to fight back. The only chance to get a little bit of payback for her family…
They’d taken her sister two years ago. Her abilities had been minor, they said, but it didn’t matter… metas joined the Conclave. Period. And then, just six months later, the letter came explaining that Dierdre had died in a training accident.
No apologies, no condolences. Just a note, and a reminder that Beamer must submit to her sixteen year examination to determine if she had also inherited a meta ability.
Beamer’s mind raced as she made her way through the back alleys of New Utopia. What kind of idiot would join the Conclave willingly? There were some, of course. People who thought it would be some kind of adventure to become a state-sponsored hero. People who were overjoyed to discover some hidden talent that would get them into the Conclave, get them a better life than all the normals in the world. But they were the blind ones, the ones who didn’t really understand what was going on.
They were the ones who hadn’t heard the rumors…
Beamer halted and pressed herself against the wall. Had she heard a footstep off to her left? Were they narrowing the search, about to corner her? She waited for what seemed an eternity, but the sound didn’t come again. She glanced left and right, getting her bearings. Unless she was mistaken, she was about two blocks from the rendezvous.
She had to be there, and on time, or else the rebels would disappear. She’d never get a second chance. Moving away from the wall, Beamer trotted toward the end of the alley, planning a circuitous route to her meeting.
,” said a deep voice from above and behind her, and Beamer whirled in surprise. “You failed to appear for your indoctrination. Stay where you are, and this will go much easier for you.” Jessica Bemen
Beamer’s gaze rose slowly to the figure hovering above the grimy alley. Her heart beat a stuttering rhythm in her chest as she realized this was no mere Home Guard thug. It wasn’t even a simple Enforcer, bad as that would have been. As recognition dawned, she found herself unable to think, unable to control herself, as she unconsciously backed away from the hovering form. For his own part, the man calmly began to descend to ground level, a stern look on his face, his arms crossed over his chest.
“I… I won’t go,” squeaked Beamer, and was instantly ashamed of her fear. She squared her shoulders, summoning up all her courage. “I don’t want to go!”
“You have no choice,
Jessica,” said the man. His uniform fit snugly, the leather padding tight across the chest, the shining silver buttons up one side of the breast sparkling in the dim light. Unlike most of the Conclave, he wore no mask. He didn’t need one. Overlord had no need to hide his true identity. Overlord was his true identity. He kept his voice soft and level, approaching Beamer slowly. “It’s for the best, you know. You’ll be happier once you have a chance to think about it. And you’ll be useful, Jessica. You’ll be important.” He held out his hand to her.
“It’s Beamer,” she replied, unable to keep her voice from trembling. She cleared her throat, straightening to her full height, and started again. “I don’t know why you came after me yourself, why you’re here and not some Enforcer. But you people killed my sister. You don't get to call me
Jessica! I’m Beamer, and I won’t go with you!” With that, Beamer turned and leaped for the light of the nearest streetlamp. As soon as she crossed the threshold, her body seemed to transform, becoming a part of the light itself, and then a brilliant streak shot off toward the east like a laser.
Her escape had taken only seconds. She came to rest, kneeling, and let the glow fade away around her. She hoped that she’d been fast enough, and that she’d been able to get far enough away. She couldn’t suppress a thrill of triumph. She’d escaped from Overlord! He was… he was… well, he was the greatest of the Conclave, the most powerful. He was Overlord!
But even he couldn’t follow her at the speed of light, halfway around the world. There was no way he could! Rising to her feet, she began to run quickly down the street from where she’d landed, trying to judge her surroundings. She wasn’t sure where she was, but she knew it was farther than she’d ever gone before. She had landed between two buildings in a city she didn't recognize. Many of the structures looked very old fashioned and… what was the word her mother used so often? Quaint, that was it. Some of the buildings looked quaint, but there was a strange sense of ultra-modern to others. Her best guess was that she’d left New Utopia far behind. For all she knew, her panicked flight had taken her to another country, maybe even overseas! She glanced at her watch, and realized that her rendezvous was already past. She’d missed it.
It didn’t matter. She’d have to do without the rebels, at least for now. The important thing was not to be found, not to be taken away. The important thing was simply to escape.
And she’d gotten away from Overlord!
Without warning, a hand shot out of the shadows and grabbed her wrist.
“It’s no use,
Jessica,” said Overlord, his voice soft, almost kind. “You know you’ve got to come with me. You can’t escape. I’ll always find you. We have to teach you how to use your powers, and how not to. You’re going to be a hero.”
Overlord pulled her closer to him, forcing her to look into his eyes. “Be calm,” he said, forcing his way into her thoughts. “Be calm. Don’t resist.” Beamer’s struggles weakened as his eyes bored into hers. “
. When you wake, all that came before this will have been a bad dream, and everything will finally make sense to you.” Beamer’s struggles finally ceased, and her body went limp. Overlord gently lifted her into his arms, stepping out into the open. Sleep, Jessica
“Skywatch,” he said, thumbing the communications toggle in his glove. “One for transport, my current coordinates. Immediate stasis upon arrival.” He laid Beamer’s limp form at his feet, and then stepped away as her body began to glow. With a shimmer, she faded from sight. “Get her registered in the system Code name…” He hesitated. “Code name Beamer. She picked it, let’s at least give her that much respect.”
“Target retrieved,” said a rasping voice in Overlord’s ear. “Want me to beam you up too?”
“Negative,” Overlord replied. “I want to take a patrol lap before I head back. I haven’t put in enough live appearances lately, and I think it’s best if I’m seen every once in a while. Besides," he said, glancing at his surroundings with a smile, "I haven't been to
Europe in ages. I’ll fly up in half an hour or so. For now, just make sure her stasis is secure, and that she’s not exposed to light. I really don’t want to have to catch her again.” And with a quick leap, Overlord sped off through the air, the roar of his passage rattling the windows of as he flew. Cardiff