collapsed. How and why are the least of the wizard killer’s
flex my cramped fingers. With a renewed grip on the mana-pistol, I
steal a quick breath. The others better wake up fast, otherwise we’re
all going to burn.
episodes, and is an all new side to best-selling YA author, Adam
fantasy world. I freaking LOVED this story! I loved the cinematic
feel, I loved the action scenes, I loved the characters. It is like
Harry Potter meets Die Hard” — M Bybee, WereBooks.org, 5 Stars
knows exactly how to build and then neatly tie up each episode, while
leaving the reader wanting more…. highly recommended.”
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite, 5 Stars
and try to burn me alive? You got me thinking.
it to two friends of mine: pain and vengeance.
“Hey!” yells a deep voice, followed by a hard shove.
I stumble backwards, disoriented, knocking over the chair I must have been in. I hit the wall and slump down. My head feels two sizes too small. Where am I? Why’s my heart racing?
The smell of stale and rancid beer immediately assaults my nose, clearing some of the fog in my mind and waking me up.
Looking down at what’s on my hands, I’m distracted by the floor’s shiny, orange-and-brown sheen. Half my brain tells me the stuff on my hands feels like sandpaper; the other half, like dried snot.
My eyes go from the floor to my sleeve, and then to how I’m dressed. I’m wearing matching brown pants, vest, and long coat—all neatly pressed. On the uneven table in front of me sits a brown, bowl-shaped hat.
After a momentary debate of whether to rub my eyes, I decide against it and gaze about the rest of the bar, ignoring the figure standing beside me.
The tavern has ‘rock bottom’ written all over it. The dingy walls and bowing ceiling don’t do it any favors. There are a few high windows, though I suspect they’ve never been cleaned, and thankfully they’re keeping most of the morning light at bay.
The man standing beside me goes to flick my ear, and I slap his hand, glaring at him.
He clears his throat and glares back at me. He’s got a tall, stocky frame and a big, bushy beard that is dark brown with a white streak from lip to chin. In one of his meaty hands is a black bowl hat, his wiry hair showing that he’s been wearing it for a good part of the day already.
Under his dark long coat is a red-and-silver vest with the chain of a pocket watch showing. Most importantly, he’s got a two-bar, tin rectangle pinned on the outside of his coat and the scowl of authority to accompany it.
“Sheriff,” I say grudgingly.
His face relaxes a touch. “I’ve had to look all over town for you. You’ve almost missed your time to meet with the librarian, and if you miss this one, there ain’t going to be another. Now get up and get moving. She doesn’t stay in one place long. And if a Scourge patrol finds her? You’re going to be looking over both shoulders every minute of every day until you’re having a dirt nap.”
I put a hand out.
He reluctantly grabs it and hauls me to my feet. My head’s throbbing, and the empty beer mugs on the table tell me why. Rolling my other shoulder, it barks at me painfully.
“Mother of Mercy,” I say under my breath. I must have done something to it when I fell off my chair… or last night. All that remains of what happened is a vague hint, nothing more. I can’t remember walking into this place or drinking a thing. All the consequences and none of the fun, that’s no way to live.
“I know that look,” he grumbles, a disapproving smirk on his face. “When you strolled into town yesterday, I told you to stay away from the black beer. That stuff will knock the smile off a horse. I also told you not to play cards with the three sisters who run the place. From what I heard this morning, you’re lucky they left you with your dignity, never mind your clothes.”
I grimace as the shoulder pain subsides a bit. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“Good. Now put some gloves on,” he says pointing at my bare hands.
I pull my sleeves up and stare at my arms. “Where are my tattoos?”
The sheriff raises an eyebrow. “I was talking about your hands.” He takes one of my hands and turns it sideways. There’s a blue line that runs along the edge, disappearing up my sleeve. I look at my other hand, it’s there too.
“Unlike most folk, I don’t care where you came from, and I care even less what horrible things happened to you to put that on you. I’m sure it’s why the librarian will meet with you, but I don’t want to know.”
He bends down and picks up a pair of gloves from under the table. “Put these on.” He then hands me my hat. “Keep your head down, and no one should notice the line at your neck.” He leans in. “You remember that much, don’t you?”
I nod and put the gloves and hat on.
“You all good?”
“Yeah,” I reply.
We step out of the bar and into the blinding, dusty outdoors. The sky’s got a familiar red haze to it. My fingers start rubbing together like they’re pulling on a fishing line with an unwilling memory on the end of it.
There’s about two dozen people walking about, all of them dressed up beyond what I’d expect for an outskirts town. Most of the women have shiny dresses and parasols, and most of the men long coats and hats. Either this place is rich in something, or it’s got a secret that some pay handsomely for.
Glancing about at the two-storey buildings and dirt-road nature of the town, knots start to form in my stomach. I’m not sure if I’m paranoid, or I remember something, but I’ve got a bad feeling about the place.
I nudge the sheriff and point at the red haze. “What’s that?”
He gives me a wide-eyed glare. “You stupid or something?”
I frown at him.
Leaning in, he whispers. “It ain’t smart to bring up the affairs of wizards and the like.”
I’m tempted to ask something else, but am interrupted by the image of a floating city being built. Mana leaks… it’s one of the things that can lead to this haze, I remember. Looking again, my stomach turns as I’m sure there’s something far worse going on than building a floating city.
“Come on, people’ll start staring,” he says, leading the way.
I keep my head tilted down as people walk by. “They’re building that pretty close to a town, aren’t they? I thought they were always paranoid about that type of thing.”
He gives me a sharp glare and gets right in my face, his hand resting atop the pistol on his hip. “I believe in upsetting the apple cart a bit every now and then. That’s why I’m helping you. There are things most unnatural happening, and they’ve got to stop. But I need you to understand; I ain’t going to risk my life or this town.”
I slowly nod. Everyone likes to be a little bit of a rebel.
“Wizards have eyes and ears everywhere. I’ve heard a man mention a certain one, and then out of nowhere appears a hot-headed acolyte with the powers of a god and trigger-happy soldiers with something to prove.” He pulls back and straightens his vest. “Now, shut up or I’ll shoot you. We clear?” He flashes a politician’s smile and starts moving.
Across the street’s a two-storey building with a sign reading General Store. There’s an old man, bald, staring at me.
I stare back. There’s something about him, like he’s a person standing among paintings, something that makes him more real than the rest.
Taking a step into the road, the sheriff immediately gets in front of me and shoves me back. “I think we’re having a communication problem.”
I point at the general store, but there’s no one there. “I thought I saw someone I know.”
“Doubt it,” he replies with a scoff.
I look first at the store’s door, which doesn’t look like it’s closing, and then around, but there’s no sign of him. The only thing out of place is a faint buzzing in my head. Strange. I can remember every detail of the man’s face. I swear I’ve seen him before… just not here.
Shaking it off, I follow the sheriff for a few blocks before tapping him on the shoulder.
He turns around, his face showing his frustration.
I raise a finger. “Do you hear that? There’s like— a clicking.”
He listens for a moment. “Might be coming from the trailer house,” he says gesturing at a long building coming up. “That’s where we have the levi-cars. A few horses, too. Sometimes those levis make funny noises when people are working on them.”
As we continue walking, I keep glancing about, unable to shake the feeling of being watched.
I perch my sweaty hands on my belt, feel something. Looking down, I see I’ve got an empty holster on one side. On the other, I’ve got an empty place for a knife. Yig, maybe there was something to that three sisters thing.
Finally, he stops and turns around, leaning towards the light-blue door of the white-washed two-storey building. Glancing around the main street, I’m sure that clicking sound is not coming from the levi’s place.
The sheriff takes his hat off and taps twice on the door with his knuckles. He listens for a second, then straightens up and puts his hat back on. “Go on in. You’ve got five minutes, and then you need to get out of here.”
I narrow my eyes at him, tempted to ask why.
He rolls his shoulders and scans the street, his hands resting on his pistols. Glancing at me, he’s got an anxious look in his eye. “Go on. Clock’s ticking.”
I start to push on the door and stop. “You hear it too, don’t you? It’s like… like hollow bone being hit on hollow bone.”
“Doesn’t matter. Scourge spies are going to know something’s up soon and I’m not going to have this town known as the place where the only free librarian died.”
My palms are sweaty, my heart’s racing. Something bad is about to happen. I just don’t know what.
steampunk meets fairy tale series, The Yellow Hoods, which struck a
chord with kids 9-15 and adults. After four books in the series, the
former software architect put out two more young adult books, the
post-apocalyptic fantasy book The Wizard Killer – Season One, and
then his science fiction novel, The Man of Cloud 9. The first two
novels in The Yellow Hoods series, as well as The Wizard Killer, have
been finalists for Book of the Year awards from the Independent
at schools, libraries, associations, as well as comic-con type events
like CalgaryExpo and FanExpoCanada on subjects from how to get one’s
ideas out and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, to how to
give a successful book signing.
Dyslexia (reading and writing disorder), and needing to be ruthless
with his time and energy in face of his severe asthma and chronic
abdominal scar pain. He’s become an inspiration to some, and a
symbol of tenacious hard work to others.
an active online mentor at adamdreece.com, and is a busy public
speaker, panelist, and author in Canada and the Pacific Northwest.
Author Page * Twitter Instagram * Youtube * Goodreads * Amazon