Snippet #1 for Reprisal
YES!!! Finally, we get to see Akio in his own series! Check out this first snippet of the brand new series, Akio Revelations, on pre-sale now!
Kume Island off the coast of Okinawa, Japan
Just my luck. That idiot Issa forgot to tie the anchor, so I’m stuck minding the boat while he goes ashore. He should have gone over the side with the damn thing, Taka Ogata thought sourly as he held the twenty-meter fishing boat steady in the current fifty meters from shore.
The earthquakes that struck Japan after the day now called the World’s Worst Day Ever, or WWDE, had destroyed the docks on Kume Island and there had been no attempt yet to rebuild. The only way to get there was to take a small craft that could handle the shallow water near the beach.
Ogata watched through binoculars as the ship’s dinghy approached the shore. A man waited with a group of what appeared to be teenagers. When the crewmen stepped onto the sand, the teens surged toward them in a wave. Ogata watched helplessly as they quickly swarmed his crewmates, whose panicked screams echoed across the water as they went down under the onslaught. He stared in horror as the group tore each man to shreds. When an adolescent girl came into focus, Ogata’s blood ran cold as he saw her glowing red eyes.
He shoved the throttle wide open and sharply spun the wheel, racing for safety as the powerful engines carried him away from the island and the demons who lived there.
She watched her opponent warily as he approached, sword held ready and a look of determination on her face. He moved with fluid grace, his feet seeming to glide across the floor as he nonchalantly stalked her. A slight smile played on his lips as he held his blade in a deceptively casual grip.
She struck with the speed of a snake when he came into range. He never slowed as his sword appeared, like magic, to push hers aside. She twisted and quickly leaned back as he reversed his motion in a counterblow, his sword-tip creating a breeze that ruffled her hair in passing.
She circled left, feinted with a strike at his leg, then immediately swept the blade up to slice his sword arm as she pressed the attack. Again, his weapon was there before she connected. He casually pushed her blade down, and she barely avoided his backstroke before it took her in the throat. She kept moving, her eyes never leaving his body as she watched for the slightest hint that would signal another attack.
They continued their deadly dance, both silent except for the clash of steel-on-steel that echoed through the room in a rhythm of strike and counterstrike. Neither gave an inch as they dueled. She defended more than attacked and grew increasingly frustrated each time he effortlessly blocked her. After each failed attempt she changed her form, hoping to catch him off guard with the quick changes. When all her attacks proved unsuccessful, frustration turned to anger. The angrier she became, the faster she moved until their figures were colored blurs as they moved about quicker than the human eye could follow. They came together in a flurry of ringing blows and slid apart before the sound of the first strike died away.
The dance continued for several minutes until her body slammed forcibly into the wall. The impact momentarily disoriented her. The other blur flashed across the room and stopped, revealing a sword that rested lightly against her exposed throat.
“Akio, could you have hit me any harder?” she huffed.
“If you think more pain would help you remember not to let your emotions interfere with your fighting, I will be happy to provide it.” He fought to keep a slight smile from forming as he spoke.
“You must learn to control your anger. The angrier you are, the more you telegraph your intentions. You were so focused on attacking and ending the fight that you failed to see the ruse that allowed me to take you, again,” he calmly explained as he pulled the blade back.
She stepped away from the wall with a groan. A slight indentation marked where her body had impacted.
“Hai, Akio. I saw you commit to dodge the feint and thought you had taken the bait. I should know by now that you do not fall for such things,” she replied disgustedly.
“Your form and instincts are good, Yuko. You simply allow yourself to see what you want, instead of what is. You can’t let your frustration and anger blind you. Against a less-skilled adversary, you would have been successful. Unfortunately, one seldom has the luxury to pick their foes based on known skills. Shall we continue?”
Yuko was about to reply when Eve’s voice came through their implants.
“Akio, Yuko, please come to the operations center? I have received a message from the Japanese government liaison. I think you both need to see this.”
They placed their practice swords on the rack and walked down the hall into the operations center. Eve stood in front of a large monitor on the wall with an e-mail message displayed.
“There have been some strange occurrences on an island located off the coast of Okinawa. The information indicates that there may be Forsaken operating there. They sent two police inspectors to check on a report of missing people. The Inspectors called in after they arrived, but the transmission halted. There is an audio file attached.” As she finished, the speakers in the room came to life.
A panicked voice babbled, “Hiroso is dead! A monster, a monster with, with red eyes came from nowhere and tore his throat out. I shot—NO! NO! STAY BACK!” Rapid-fire gunshots, followed by a blood-chilling scream that abruptly ended in a gurgle, signaled the last of the frantic recording.
“The Okinawa police plan to send a larger group to investigate. Our contact in the ministry requested your input based on this discovery.”
Akio grimaced and glanced at Yuko. “Please contact the liaison and ask them to have the police wait. I do not believe they should risk more lives if this is what it sounds like.”
“Yes, I believe you are right,” she agreed as she reached for the phone.
“Eve, what island is this?” Akio inquired. “See if you can locate more information. Also, what was that about missing people?”
Eve was silent for a few seconds, and then additional documents appeared on the screen. “Its Kume Island, off the coast of Okinawa. They were investigating a report that a fisherman went there when he couldn’t contact a family member for several weeks. His boat was found adrift days later. No one has heard from him since. I’ve discovered other instances of boats found in that area. The reports date back for several months. There are rumors that pirates are operating there, but this is the first official report I have found where the authorities are involved.”
“Yuko, please let me know if your source has any additional information. I will need a Pod,” Akio called as he stepped out of the room.
And you thought the Forsaken had been dealt with! Ha! This is going to be a great ride! Don’t miss out on the Akio Revelations. Reprisal, Book 1, is on pre-order now and will go live on June 26th!