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Dark Horse

By Jay Swanson All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Fantasy

Dark Horse

Chakra circled with the monster, his sword so heavy now he feared he would drop it. The wounds along his arms throbbed, distracting him from the necessary focus that would keep him alive through this night. And he must stay alive, for if he failed, Melina would die.

The monster itself was the size of a bear, though in the darkness it looked and sounded much more like a wolf.Like everything else he’d encountered in this place, it didn’t fit his knowledge of the beasts of the world. Its eyes glowed yellow in the moonlight, as did the slobber [CG1] dripping from its jowls. It circled with a hunger not driven by food, and kept its distance not from fear but for caution. No one had made it this far, Chakra knew now. The monster was not going to take him lightly.

The still pool in the center of the clearing glistened, the water maintaining a natural barrier between the predator and the prey.

Chakra adjusted his grip. The notched blade barely reflected the moonlight any longer, its lower half dull beyond sharpening. The only thing that gave him any solace against the black stench of the place was the light blue glow emanating from the topaz in his armband.

The ancient piece of armor seemed to whisper to him, to warn him of tree roots and broken stone. It hadn't been so clear to him before, but its voice had grown more real the longer he had worn it, its presence a constant comfort. The greatest comfort it brought was the simple hope that he could save Melina.

Melina... Her name gave him hope. Her plight gave him focus. I’m coming. I won’t let you die.

The monster roared and lunged over the pool, clearing the twenty feet between them in a single bound. Chakra rolled to his left, stabbing back the way he had come as the monster landed with a snarl. Its claws batted his blade away, forcing him to spin as it snapped at him with long jaws.

He whipped the blade back around. The monster recoiled to avoid the whistling steel. Chakra kicked out. He caught the monster's next strike with his foot to its nose and saved himself the bite, but was thrown by the impact onto his back. He scrambled as he slid, bracing his shoulders with his arms out and using his momentum to kick back up and over. He was on his knees and ready before the monster had left the ground.

It came at him from above, eyes glowing bright. He rolled forward this time, thrusting up with the blade to catch its belly on the descent. He caught enough flesh to draw blood, but its claws flailed to block and knocked his blade to the side. The tail struck him on the side of the head as it came down, sending Chakra spinning back towards the pool.

He got to his feet and staggered into the water. At its deepest it barely rose above his waist. For that he was grateful as the monstrous bear-wolf followed him in. What are you? How do I kill you?

Chakra grit his teeth against the chill of the water and continued to back slowly towards the other side. The bear-wolf entered tentatively, its long tail skimming the surface as its bear chest barely entered the water.

I’ve been in worse situations over the last day, Chakra thought, but this isn’t going well. Melina. Her name came to him, lending him strength. Lending him urgency.

The bear-wolf howled and leaped straight up out of the water. A thousand strings of glistening pearls flew out behind it in the moonlight. Chakra howled his own cry and rose his blade to meet the beast head on.


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Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...

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ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?

Olivia N J Hamel: I want this book. I love it so much. It is so enjoyable to read and to have a copy of this always, I would be very happy, to always be able to come back and look at it again.

colt: i love your books! all of them! i am so happy for you! when i first read your book i thought "this seems really interesting" and i just got hooked had to have more, i wondered if you had a sequel to the first one, and you did, i was so excited that i had to start reading it. your series left me t...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

taosgw74: If this is the authors first attempt at writing, I'm floored. I was engrossed in the plot from the get go.

ElNachoWOTC: The grammar is tight and easy too read while packing a great vocabulary and you use a lot of vivid imagery with your words. One of the biggest things I noticed right away is the gritty realism you managed to cram into this book while going into a lot of exotic fantasy material. Including issue...

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