When Darkness Fell

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Genre: Sci/Fi Fantasy
Paperback Book:
ISBN: 978-0-9803875-2-0

It is within the dark entity that a horrible nightmare begins for Heinz, a capable windsailor. Exploring the outer reaches of Flatland on a Whopplesop, he is enveloped in an insidious black void that can suck dry the mortal essence of any human caught within its grasp. It is a black hell ruled by Garghost—a semi-transparent spectre—and his five ghoulish disciples. Their goal is to systematically render Heinz senseless and in so doing prepare him for the malevolence of Garghost. “When Darkness Fell” is a sci/fi fantasy about undying love, the power of evil, and one man’s incredible will to survive. But at what cost?

Sample Chapter For WHEN DARKNESS FELL by J.T. Best

Chapter 1 The End

“The sixth hand—it was I it reached for,” the voice proudly proclaimed in agony. The words emptied into thin desert air, unheard. His breathing stuttered, his life force struggling to carry on. He could feel his spirit leaving his body, a heartbeat at a time. With his last bit of anger he managed to point his middle finger in the direction from which he had come; “Jesus,” he said as his voice disappeared, what the hell am I doing here, continued in his mind with what would become his final thought, for at the end of the next breath, death answered the question.

The old man had freed himself from the bonds of the devil and fought his way out of hell, only to die from exposure in friendly territory. It was an unfitting death. There would be no eulogy. Nor was there anyone around to hear his tale of woe. Yet, its telling had been secretly scrolled, to be found and circulated among his kindred if indeed any remained. Now his soul-less body lay baking in the suns on the very edge of Flatland, until a passer-by found him. Neither death, nor heat, nor rain, nor blowing wind could ease the clench of his dominant hand, for held tightly within its grasp was the most magnificent gemstone ever found. But now the hand that had so courageously snatched it from the grip of Hades would begin to wither and continue to do so until the prize it coveted was, yet again, discovered by mortal man.

Chapter 2 Games People Play

“Heinz, come take a look at this,” yelled Fax.

“What’s got your voice so up?” Heinz hollered back from nearby, where he was studying a peculiar rock.

The two had busied themselves with some amateur prospecting along a remote perimeter line of Flatland Central. Just beyond where Fax was standing was the forbidden zone, an area proscribed to nearly all Flatlanders.

“Come, Heinz, come quick!” Fax shouted again. “It looks to be a body tanned to leather by the suns.”

It was a ghastly sight, agony written all over the face of the now mummified corpse. Some strands of its overly long gray hair lay glued together by the crude neglect of time. Others followed the direction of the wind when it happened by.

Heinz studied the macabre scene for the longest time. The body appeared to be that of a man and as far as Heinz could tell, there didn’t seem to have been any struggle associated with his death.

Fax and Heinz looked up at the same time and stood speechless as they stared into each other’s eyes in wonderment. “Waaah,” Fax finally droned as the final moments of the man’s horrible death slowly sifted through the mind. Heinz looked back down and noticed the corner of something wedged within the man’s armpit. He carefully eased the bundle out from where it rested under the lifeless body. It appeared to be a leather rollup whose visible portions had become so cracked from the suns’ rays as to look like the clay at the bottom of a dried-up creek bed.

With tender care Heinz rolled the bundle open to see what the leather so well protected. Heinz noticed the initials ‘O.R.’ had been artfully crafted and positioned in the center of the roll-up’s exterior. After opening the bundle, Heinz discovered several sheets of coarse parchment, each side containing a series of roughly drawn maps.

His youthful crossings not withstanding, Heinz was well on his way to becoming an accomplished explorer, but even so, he didn’t recognize the topography or any of the territorial landmarks that had been charted. After quickly scanning the maps their attention was simultaneously drawn to the cadaver’s clasped right hand. On closer examination Heinz noticed that time and the fierceness of a dying grip had welded the hand shut, so much so it took considerable force to pry it open. The effort to perform the grisly task was greatly rewarded, for contained therein was a huge, multi-faceted, blue stone that sparkled magnificently the instant it was exposed to the rays from the Flatland’s dual suns.

The next puzzle lay with the left hand whose middle finger pointed strangely in the direction of an unexplored region of the forbidden zone. With his last gasp of life what was the old man trying to say to the one who discovered his death gesture, ‘go that way,’ or ‘do not go that way,’ or did it express his opinion about what lies in that direction?

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