THE CROOKED CITY
by Ryan Whitwam
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Jonah doesn’t want to run–he has to. There’s only so much pain one man can cause before he needs to start over. Unstuck from his tainted past, he craves the anonymity he can only achieve by vanishing like a specter in the night.
Before his new life is even underway, a chance encounter leaves him in possession of a curious object–something the mysterious Keepers of The Oracle will kill to obtain, but there’s more to the Keepers than Jonah could possibly imagine. They have the ability to do much worse than kill, and now he's in their sights.
The Keepers wield power unlike anything Jonah has ever seen, and they’re closing in fast. He’s placed a new group of innocents in danger this time, and he can’t run away again.
GENRE: Sci-fi Thriller
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A pale blue glow, clear as day in the colorlessness around it. Kat felt unease as she approached the light, letting it encompass her being. She awakened to her surroundings, aware of the enormous gulf of time that had passed in the Dark.
She looked down and saw her body. It was hers definitely, or at least a very good reproduction of it. She had no clothing, but it was a step in the right direction. She ran a hand down her stomach and luxuriated in the feeling of her skin for a long moment. Kat almost forgot about the strange blue glow. When she opened her eyes she saw a completely different scene. She stood on a high obsidian cliff. Its edge was barely discernible from the dark field that spread out below. The sky was pitch black with low, ashen clouds floating through it.
The source of the light was before her—a gossamer thread strung from cloud to cloud. It was woven of pale blue light, beautiful and eerie. The end of the strand came down to meet her on the cliff. Kat looked back, seeing only the darkness she had left behind. The thread planted itself on the rock in front of her foot. She marveled at having a foot again.
With only mild hesitation, she stepped onto the glowing thread. It was rigid and unmoving as she pressed down on it with her weight. One more look behind at the darkness and she was set on her path away from it. She would not go back there.
The thread floated through the vast ebony sky. She felt stuck to it, as if she could easily run along its length without the slightest risk of tumbling off. She did not run, though. Kat felt safe as she strolled up through the clouds. The soles of her feet tingled with each step. The presence at the other end of the thread was calling... singing. She had heard it before, a long time ago. Her mind conjured up memories of fear and pain associated with the distant sound. But the flavor of the moment was gone. She trusted the presence. Was it The Oracle?
The glowing path arched up over a wispy cloud and she could make out its terminus. A tall, sheer cliff stood before her—the mirror image of the one she had just left. Atop it stood a city unlike any Kat had ever seen. Tall, gray buildings pressed close together. Each one looked as if a massive hand had reached down from the empty sky and grabbed and twisted it into a bizarre shape. Some pointed toward the heavens, like any self-respecting building should, but many jutted out from the skyline at oblique angles.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Ryan lives in Minnesota with his wife and dogs. He writes words like the ones in this book, as well as some very different words on the internet about technology and science. He likes smartphones, sci-fi, and people who read his book. He's not very good at describing himself.
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