Today my Steampunk Fantasy Daemon is free on Amazon. As stated in the last two posts, Daemon is a novel about a magical society trapped by their own devices. The world is dying while the magic used by the society sucks the life from the world. Even the still fertile portions of the planet are faded and sickly. Fewer children are being born, more mom’s are dying in child birth, and the population is declining. And most of the people are ignoring the situation as they try to get by the best they can. The world is in a hopeless situation, but there is hope. I won’t spoil the book, but I don’t like to write novels in which everyone dies, and the world is totally screwed, and that won’t happen here either.
The protagonist of the story is Detective Lieutenant Jude Parkinson of the City PD. Jude is a forensic mage, one who talks with the dead to find out what happen to send them into the other world. He solves homicides in this manner. But Jude also served time as an Intelligence Officer in the Army, a military with no other job but to keep the populace under control. He was trained in combat magic while in the service, and participated in some actions of which he is not proud. Parkinson lost his wife as she died in childbirth along with her baby, another victim of the dying world. He has since turned to alcohol to kill his feelings. His job would be in jeopardy if he wasn’t the only forensic mage on the department. And his last remaining companion in the world is the cat his wife loved so much. I had just lost my favorite cat before writing this novel, and I think the emotion of that experience went into the emotions of Jude Parkinson. It’s only a cat, unless it’s your cat. Now Jude is not the kind of man I would want to stake my future on, but he is the only thing that the world has. He must use his abilities to find out what is killing the employees of Daemon Corp. Only problem is Daemon Corp has secrets to hide, and they are the kind to kill over.
I really enjoyed writing this novel, and enjoyed reading it over again through the several rewrites and revisions it went through. While conceived as a stand alone, there is the potential for sequels. Depends on how well it does. Make sure to pick your free copy of Daemon from 12/8 to 12/12. And now for the excerpt:
Jude stiffened a moment as he felt the hard barrel of a gun shoved into his kidney. He shuffled forward, trying to delay while he brought a defensive spell up to his conscious. He could think of something that would take one of them out, maybe even all three if they lined up right. Not that these boys would be that stupid. They would know he was a Mage. And they all had guns.
“Move,” said the third man, shoving Jude in the back.
About forty feet in the alley branched both ways, running down the backs of buildings. Numerous doors opened onto the alley, all locked, Jude was sure. Fire escapes were all locked in place. Not that he would be able to climb to the roof with three men shooting at him.
“Stop right there,” said the man with the amulet, waving his gun in a gesture at what he wanted Jude to do. The three stood with weapons pointed at the Detective, their formation such that he could not line them up for a single burst of power, and they would not endanger themselves with a crossfire.
“What’s this about?” demanded Jude, looking from face to cold face.
“You been sticking your nose places where it shouldn’t be,” said the man with the amulet, the obvious spokesman.
“And where would that be?” said Jude, trying to gather the courage to do something before it was too late, and his body ended up here in a back alley where it might or might not be found for many days. A convenient power outage in this spot tonight and the Shadows might make sure there was no body at all.
“Don’t even think about it, wise guy,” said the smallest man, a guy with roving rodent eyes and the smallest piece. “I’ll put one in your gut and make sure you live till nightfall.”
“Shut up, Pete,” said the leader, glancing over at the small man, his gun never wavering from Jude’s face. “Of course we ain’t gonna leave you in pain, Parkinson. The boss didn’t say anything about leaving you to choke out your life in this damned alley. He just wants you to shut up. So we can make it easy, or hard.”
“And who is the boss?”
“Ah, that’s the rub,” said the amulet bearer with a smile. “It’s questions like that that got you in this mess in the first place. If only you had done what you was supposed to do, and solve the crime. I don’t like killing people. I really don’t. But it’s orders. And I always obey orders.”
“Sounds like typical Magara to me,” said Jude. Seeing the reactions on the faces of the others he knew he was right. “I’m surprised Steiner Stark wasn’t here to do this himself.”
“Enough talk, smart guy,” said rodent eyes, waving his pistol. “Get down on your knees.”
“Fuck you, rat face,” said Jude in a loud voice. His legs felt weak enough to make him fall to the position they wanted him in. But he would be damned if he would die on his knees.
“That’s OK,” said amulet bearer, pulling out a silencer and screwing it on to the end of his pistol. “On your feet, on your knees. Makes no difference to me. Be defiant. In a few seconds you’ll just be meat.”
The man finished attaching the silencer and aimed his pistol at Jude’s stomach. Jude could feel his testicles crawling up into his body. They were going to gut shoot him and leave him here to groan his life out. One of the worst ways he could think of dying, and it was going to happen to him. The energy was built up in his body. He could fling a spell at one of them, knock that man down, and fling himself at one of the remaining. He would still be shot down, but that would force them to shoot to kill. He tensed his muscles as he watched amulet bearer begin to squeeze the trigger of his weapon, a pleasant smile on his face.