Thin, pale, awkward, bullied, Sam Every is a thirteen-year-old who finds
comfort among his friends and his days at the beach. The ocean
beckons to him. It is where he feels safest. Fitting in no longer
matters when he is near the Pacific’s rolling waves. Gazing toward
the endless blue where it touches the horizon, he imagines the ports
he might someday reach and ponders his future.
Little does he know an apparition—a hauntingly beautiful girl from the
sea—will lead him farther from his home than he could ever dream,
for destiny has given him a dangerous legacy
Thunder erupted again in the distance. The splash of a second cannonball, closer than the first, rocked The Mutineer. But had the cannon fire come from Fog Island or another vessel? “Who’s after us?” Sam shouted.
The man who had saved them sprinted to the tiller to take control of the sloop before he bothered to answer Sam’s question. He pulled sharply on the tiller. The sloop lurched to the right until the deck nearly touched water. Sam fell and rolled against a crate. Seawater spilled into the boat and drenched him. His back tingled again.
The burning blade! Did it call to him? If so, he ignored it. A fire sword magically embedded in his back would not stop The Mutineer from capsizing, which the boat was about to do. It didn’t. Instead, the sloop’s speed doubled as the man brought the craft in line with a stronger windstream.
“Look!” the man pointed to the right of The Mutineer. Sam, now back on his feet, stared in the direction he pointed. Through the darkness was the outline of a large craft three stories high. “The way I see it,” the man shouted over the crash of water against his ship’s hull, “if Maximilian Black is after you, you must have angered Captain Jem Slayer. Slayer is a bloodthirsty pirate with his own fleet and enough wealth to command an army of pirates; and Black is Slayer’s right hand.”
Sam held onto the railing for balance and inched closer to Sarah. She watched the mystery man from the side as if… as if she doesn’t want to make eye contact. Maybe she doesn’t trust him as much as she said. Maybe she senses something.
Sarah grasped his hand and gently squeezed.
He nodded to her. “It’s going to be all right,” he lied.
The man continued to shout his explanation. “Since Black failed, I assume Slayer has sent a warship to do what Black could not. Kill you!” He looked at the sails of his sloop. “Hang on, young ones! We are going to race the wind!”
One more explosion cut through the night. A cannonball screamed as it hurtled toward them. “No!” Sam mouthed moments before the cannonball splashed into the sea yards from the hull. Water sprayed onto the deck.
“Ha, you bloody heathens! You shall not catch The Mutineer tonight!” The man held the tiller with one hand and shook a fist with the other.
As they pushed farther out to sea, the moon emerged from behind a cloud and revealed the pursuing ship. The glow showed a vessel with three masts topped with squared sails.
Two rows of dark squares dotted the length of her hull— gunports. So this is what a warship looks like. We’re dead. A cloud began to eclipse the moon, but before it did, Sam saw the mark emblazoned on the flag that soared above the ship— a skull and bones. “Pirates!”
Thirteen-year-old Sam Every has traveled back in time to the Golden Age of Piracy to
face Captain Jem Slayer, master of the dark arts. Deceived into
handing Slayer the ultimate weapon, the Sword of Zel-Kar, Sam has
lost his hands, sliced off in his first clash with the evil pirate.
But all is not lost.
Sam’s friends have found their way back in time, and with the help of the
pirate hunter, Benjamin Hornigold, have rescued him from the island
where Slayer marooned him. Now, aided by a new band of rogues and a
mystery friend, Sam must rise above his injuries and find the
strength to again face Slayer before it is too late—before the
future is forever shattered.
Come on, you bastard. Show yourself!
He’d had enough of this world pushing him around. Enough of Slayer. Enough death. Enough of being scared of the next threat. No more! The time had come to start kicking some ass. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on the magic within him. He had to figure a way to control his powers. To command them to life… now.
Think, Sam! Words flashed though his mind. Ancient words. An incantation. Atamou Runfora Tananou. He knew what the words meant. Serve me now. His arms and wrists vibrated. His eyes shot open. A crimson glow surrounded his stumps. Yes!
“Captain, three points off bow,” a young crewman shouted from the bow. “Looks like mountains rising from the sea.”
“What say you?” Rackham whipped out his spyglass and held it to his eye. He climbed atop a railing, grasping a shroud with one hand. “Hell’s bells. I’ve never seen the like. Devil boy, you best see this. Me thinks this be our destination.”
Sam joined Rackham at the bow. The glow around his stumps vanished. The pirate captain leaped from the railing and held the spyglass up to Sam’s eye. Peering through the telescope, Sam gaped at the discovery.
Actually, stone pillars— maybe ten in all— towered over the sea, like rows of skyscrapers along a city block. How was such a thing possible in the middle of the ocean with no shore— no island— visible in any direction? The pillars shouldn’t be there, but they were. As if by magic. “That’s where we have to go.” Sam again thought of the incantation. His stumps ignited. “Get us there, Captain. Leave the beast to me.”
A terrible roar bellowed, rocking the ship to the starboard side.
Sam stumbled against a chest. The icy touch of fear rose up his back, threatening to steal his courage. Men around him grabbed onto lines, the long guns— anything to keep from falling. When the ship righted itself, he crossed to the port side. No way was he going to cower.
This showdown was going to happen. “I’m waiting for you.”
The monster rose from the deep off the port side. A massive serpent with two reptilian heads. A serpentine body, covered with diamond-shaped scales towered over the ship’s sails. Two necks branched off, each with a dragon head and snout filled with dagger-length teeth. A line of spikes stretched from the top of each head like Mohawks.
Sam’s chest burned. His heart beat like a horse’s hooves charging over a dirt road. “Come on, you filthy snake. You want me. Here I am. Come and get me.”
Darren Simon is a former longtime newspaper journalist who now works in
government affairs on California water issues and teaches college
English. In his spare time, he is a freelance magazine writer.
Guardian’s Nightmare is his first novel. The second book in the
series is also under contract with Divertir Publishing. He resides in
California’s desert southwest with his wife, two sons and two crazy dogs.
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