Sunset brought a hangover, a beautiful woman, and the thirst for… blood? Eric didn’t ask to be a vampire. In fact, he didn’t even believe in them. Then he meets a beautiful woman, wakes up with a hangover, and bites his tongue with his own fangs. Which pretty much settles the question. Now he’s trying to hold down his day job while learning the rules of the Undead — the most important being that bloodthirsty urges and predatory instincts are a real bitch. Upside; Eric has the beautiful Sasha to teach him the ropes, including the magic he’ll need to survive. Downside; it turns out being a vampire is the least of his problems. When Sasha is killed, Eric is thrust into an alternate world in his quest to avenge her death. There he becomes a Nightlord, fights a dragon with the help of his magical steed, Bronze, and upchucks a sword named Firebrand. But things get really interesting when Eric finally finds Tobias, head of the Church of Light. Soon Eric finds himself at the center of an epic battle at the literal edge of the world in a fight to keep a terrible darkness at bay.
I ignored the susurrus of voices, dashed up the avenue between the ruined monuments, and took the broad stairs before the door in three skipping jumps. The door itself was a carefully-balanced block of stone. It stood about eight feet tall and was perhaps twice that in width. Opening it required it to pivot around the center, its balance. Judging by the scrapes along the dusty portico, Tobias had found it no trouble at all. I, however, shoved on each side of the block in turn without result. Maybe he locked it.
I backed off, got a running start, and jumped. I kicked it with both feet, as high up as I could manage. Something snapped in the wall as I hit the door. I came to a sudden halt, thudding into the stone like a cannonball, then fell heavily to the dusty floor. I rolled to my feet awkwardly—Firebrand can be an annoyingly large chunk of metal—and was in time to watch the whole block of stone finish a slow, majestic topple inward. It landed flat with an echoing, tomb-door thud and sent up a huge cloud of white dust.
I was over that stone and past the cloud in an instant, dashing down a long tunnel before the echoes had finished. Directly ahead, far distant, I could see Tobias out in the open air. I came out of the mouth of the tunnel like the bullet from a gun.
The plaza was large. Two football games and a cricket match could have been held concurrently in that space—complete with spectators. The tunnel I exited was at the floor level of a grandly-curving amphitheater facing Tobias. All of this was scoured from rock and worn by years of use. The floor was also natural stone, cut only to smooth it down and level it. There was no roof at all.
Perhaps a quarter-mile away, the radius of the half-circle, Tobias had his back to me. Shada was lying naked on a slab of rock just beyond him. And beyond her…
The world ended.
I once wondered about the nature of the world I’m in. Is it round? Is it flat? Does it go around the Sun or vice versa?
The world is flat. Sure, it may be round—like a coin. But it has an edge, very real, and sharply defined. I know. I’ve seen it. At least that explained why my compass never found north.
Beyond that edge exists a gulf of yawning blackness, speckled here and there by the distant stars—or are they stars? I don’t know what they are. Maybe they’re just lights on the inside of a great sphere of crystal, or holes in that sphere to an even greater space that happens to be better illuminated. Maybe the stars are really angels with flaming swords and glowing halos.
Maybe they really are distant suns… but I doubt it.
Right up near the edge live the Things. I recognized a few from having seen them before. The rubbery monstrosity from the lab in Baret, along with the multi-tentacled creature that tried to eat me outside the gata camp. They had a bunch of brothers with them, along with a whole lot of more distant relations. There were hundreds, no, thousands of the Things in every shape and size imaginable—and many I wouldn’t choose to imagine without serious drugs. They seemed to have no gravity out there. They weren’t a flat crowd, but a wall, extending up and to the sides, as though they were all pressing against a barrier of glass, trying to get in. They were clustered most thickly near Tobias, thinner out away from him. All of them were fairly frothing at the mouth to pour from the outer darkness onto the stone floor of the world. They chattered and chittered, hissed and clacked and moaned. Their sounds were muted, as though there really was a barrier, but there was nothing to be seen holding them at bay.
Tobias was chanting. He had some tools in his hands—I couldn’t tell quite what, but one seemed to be a knife.
Garon Whited was born in Wichita, Kansas in 1969 or 1970; the original birth certificate is suspiciously unavailable and other records do not agree. After following his parents around the South for several years, he finally caught up to them and settled somewhere in Texarkana.
Garon attended Texarkana College, the University of Fayetteville, and Texas A&M. While he was in college, he studied physics, math, robotics, religion, philosophy, psychology, and of course, girls. Sadly, his grades were excellent in all but one of those categories.. He is presently single.
When he’s not “vomiting words onto the page and then going back to clean it up”, Garon is a fan of Dungeons & Dragons and has been playing since he started 5th grade, with a box of paper booklets. He’s also a fan of running games when he has the time. Garon loves to read, usually science fiction and fantasy. His favorite authors include Robert Heinlein, Roger Zelazny, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Steven Brust, Spider Robinson, David Drake and E.E. “Doc” Smith. Garon has a particularly soft spot for Tolkien; his first copy of “The Lord of the Rings” fell apart because he was too young to take proper care of it — he read it to death.
Garon Whited has written novels and various short stories and shows no signs of stopping. Having fought zombie dolphins, quasi-corporeal spirits, and brain-sucking mole rats, he is uniquely qualified to write fantastic fiction. His first book, “Nightlord: Sunset,” features a human physics teacher who is turned into a vampire against his will and proceeds to go on fantastical adventures.