To celebrate the release of Ark Lost In Time: Broken, coming to Amazon Kindle tomorrow. Here is the first excerpt from Broken. If you enjoy please check out the rest of the book here. Available for pre-order and free through Kindle Unlimited.
If you would like to read excerpts from the first book Ark Lost In Time: Exodus click here for Part 1.
I opened my eyes, I was laying naked on my back in the underbrush. Above me climbed wild trees covered in vines, tall spires of rock towered in the sky overhead. I sat up, I had not woken up before the upload, where was my tribe, where was I supposed to meet them. Which Ark was this, I rubbed my head, trying to clear the fog of cryo sleep. I took in my surroundings, think, I told myself, think. Tropical jungle, the screeching of insects and small dinos filled the air, moist humid air filled my lungs, the tall rock spires, not the towering redwoods of the Island or the orderly mountains. This was the Center, the floating islands, the dangerous active volcano, and the tumultuous ocean. This was not some place I wanted to be alone. Where did we go when we came here? I shook my head to clear it, the crescent island of the Tropical South, I climbed shakily to my feet, brushing the leaf litter from my back side and my shoulder length white hair. I tried to figure out where on the Ark I was, but all I could see were trees. I had to find open air to see the obelisks. I followed the sun, at least if I was heading east or west I would not be getting any further from my goal, just no closer. I hoped I was heading south east, north would lead me to more dangerous terrain. As one got closer to the volcano on the east coast, the animals became more dangerous. I was judging from the temperature that it was late morning, and as such I was headed south, oh I really hoped I was headed south.
I trudged through small creeks and thick underbrush. I picked berries as I went and only stopped long enough to get a drink from one of the less mud filled streams. I finally found a real river and some open air, I looked up river. I could see the mist shrouded floating island far to the west, that meant I was not far from the tropical south. Excitement filled my heart, was I really only a dangerous swim away from home. I looked south, my heart sank as the multitude of little islets filled my view. I was in the Jungles North, as far from my home as I could get, I could see the Half Burnt Island to the northeast, and Tropical North Island beyond the Eastern Islets, the Shadow Knights would be setting up their base there soon, if they had not already gathered there. I looked south, I had to cross the river, then the Jungles Mid, and another river and make it along the beach to prepare for the swim from Jungles South to the Tropical South.
I stood there on the river bank for a while, I stared at the water. If I looked back at the jungle, I could see the smoke for the volcano rising over the trees and spires. I looked back at the swirling waters of the river, the Center Ark was known for having waters full of predators. I had survived the Jungles North, naked and unarmed, hopefully I could continue to survive. First things first, I had to make it across this river, I could follow it to the relative safety of the coast after that. I took a deep breath and dove in. I wanted to turn back the moment I opened my eyes in the river, three mega piranhas had heard my splash and were headed toward me. I kicked as quickly as I could, but the other shore looked so far away. I could not risk looking back, I had to make it. I closed my eyes, and focused on kicking, blue eyes stared back at me. I opened my eyes, Cradix, his death still haunted me, even on the new Ark. My fingers scraped sand, I pulled myself desperately onto the shore, the piranha jumping and snapping in the shallows. I sat there bare naked on the hot sand, gasping for air, amazed I had made it to the shore.
“Firefang?” A female voice came from behind me, I spun. A woman small in stature stood in the trees, three men stood behind her. They all wore hide armor, and carried primitive bows in their hands, a small group of dilos trailed behind them, hissing and chattering to each other. Vixxy was a short woman, only coming up to my shoulder, her ample chest stretched the limits of her hand made armor, as did her hourglass wide hips. What she lacked in height she made up for in attitude, she was the leader of the Shadow Knights for a reason. Her mate Raseth stood menacingly behind her, his head held high his eyes alert for any sign of an attack. To his left was Sneaky, he had earned his name as a thief back in the early days, but now he was a sword for the Shadow Knights. To Raseth’s right was Antonio a onetime Nomad turned Shadow, he smiled at me from over Vixxy’s head.
“Vixxy,” I nodded to her, “I’m sorry, I’m on your turf I am just passing through to get to the south,” She smiled at me and offered a delicate hand to help me up.
“We are passing through too, we still haven’t even made it to Tropical North,” She smiled at me, her tone was happy and light. “Do you want to come with us until you can get home?” She asked, I stared at her and thought for a moment. I looked past her to the distance fog filled sky, I could just make out the blue obelisk through the gloom. That was home, their home would be behind me.
“I appreciate the offer Vixxy, I really do, you are a good friend to my tribe, but I need to find them. I don’t remember anything from the Lobby after I slept, I did not have any contact with them before this.” She smiled at me.
“None of us did,” She stated, “We all set our sleep cycles to end an hour before the Ark and none of us woke up. I think something is wrong with the Ark.” Vixxy said, putting her hands on her wide hips, “Well if you will not come with us, we can at least still help you out,” She glanced back at Sneaky and nodded to him. He knelt down and opened up the pack on his back, he pulled out a set of hide clothing, a pick and an ax. “It’s not much but it should help you make it home.” She said as he handed the items to me.
“Thank you Vixxy,” I said, “If there is anything you or your tribe needs let us know.”
“Oh you can bet I will,” She said, as she and her tribe stepped into the water, her men went first spearing the fish as they went. She stayed next to me a moment longer, “I heard about Cradix,” She whispered, I glanced over at her, “He is an Admin, he is stronger than you know, too take on such a burden, he will find you.” She said, putting a hand on my shoulder then followed her men into the water. Her dilos followed after her, snapping at the fish bodies as they went.
I dressed quickly and hooked my tools to my belt. I used the ax and pick to make a spear, which I carried with me the rest of the afternoon as I walked the coast. The clouds cleared as the day progressed and the blue obelisk became clearer to the south. I was almost to the last river when a hissing filled my ears.
That was not the spitting hiss of a dilo, it was low and long. I shuddered and I ducked low to the sands and scuttled closer to the trees, there was a raptor nearby, I could hear it but I could not see it. The hissing died away, had it moved on? I dared to step out of the shadows and look down the beach. It had been that step that saved my life, the serrated jaws snapped closed where my head had been a second earlier. The wicked orange eyes stared squarely into my own. It snapped again but did not get any closer, I leveled my spear at it, before noticing the it was caught between two trees. I let out a heavy sigh, and let my heart beat slow back down. I had two options now, link this creature to me with my beacon or kill it. I glanced down at my beacon, it pulsed green, not the red and blue it usually did. So, this new Ark had not erased whatever had been done to me on the last Ark. I was still missing two weeks of my memory, would I ever know what had happened, or why? I held my spear tightly and decided spur of the moment what to do. I jammed the spear in the raptors mouth lengthwise the animal snapped its mouth closed on the branch. I twisted it up and away from my face, and slid my left arm between its arms. It reached its arms around and clawed at my leather armor, but my beacon touched his, and he stopped struggling to kill me. He was still stuck between the small trees that had trapped him, I cut them down with my ax and used one to make a fresh spear, as his teeth had almost broken the first in half. I had a protector now at least, he looked at me, his orange eyes so like my own, so like those of a wolf I had known long ago. A primal intelligence grew behind those orange eyes, his feathers were black and his scales shown red in the sunlight, he was magnificent, he clicked his claws against the sand impatiently.
“Come on then,” I said, we headed down the beach at a trot. The raptors long powerful legs pushed him along at a faster rate than myself, he would get a few paces ahead of me and circle around waiting for me to catch up. He saved me from a pack of dilos later as we stopped for a rest at the river. I let him have all but a little of the meat, I ate my lunch raw, I would regret it later but now I was too hungry to care. We crossed the river to the Jungles South without any issue. The obelisk was growing larger, as it towered over us now. I could make out the northern beach of my home from where we stood. Now all we had to do was swim. The best option was to swim from islet to islet and pray that we would make it through the shallows between. I looked over at my scale and feather covered companion.
“Are you ready?” I asked, he stretched out his neck and snapped his jaw. “Okay then,” I dove head first into the waves. He followed me, we made it, making quick time between the inlets we got as close as we could to the crescent isle. We rested on the last islet for a while, my raptor tracked down a stray dodo for us to eat and regain our strength. I stared blankly at the open stretch of water between me and my home as I tore into the bloody strip of meat I had taken as my meal. I glanced over at my raptor, a smile on my face as he happily ripped the dodo carcass apart, gulping down whole chunks without chewing. He purred and hissed contently as he settled on to the sun baked sand next to me to preen.
“This part will be the hardest,” I whispered to him, he paid me no mind, just continued to clean himself. I stared at the waves as they lapped at the sand in front of me. I could not give up now, not when I was so close. “Let’s go,” I said, jumping to my feet, the raptor purred and watched me. I stepped out into the cold salt water, and pushed myself further in, the island was right there, just a short swim away.
I dove in, I opened my eyes the water looked clear. I propelled myself forward, holding my head above the water as I went. Halfway there. Fifty feet left. Thirty. Twenty. I could see the shells littering the shore I was so close. Something brushed my leg, just my raptor I told myself.
I panicked as something pulled me under the water, the surface shimmered overhead like clouds. I turned to look, a megalodon was circling away from me, to come back in for another attack. I beat my arms against the water trying to get back to the surface, I had to get to shore. The giant shark hit me again, knocking me deeper under the water. This time, it took a bite, pain seared up my right leg, as flesh was rent from bone. No, I screamed in my mind, I was so close I had to make it. I stabbed at it with my spear and I kicked out with my other leg, landing a hit in the shark’s eye. It reeled away, as blood filled the water, it would be back in a moment. I kicked towards the shore, and screamed in pain as my leg moved and more muscle tore. I reached the surface and gasped for air. I saw the fin breach the water to my right and my heart stopped. I was going to die, this soon, so close to my home. Then a blur of red and black. My raptor was there, clinging to the shark’s back with his claws. He bit at the monster with all his strength. The shark whirled and bucked trying to free itself. The raptor looked over at me, its eyes were blue, steel blue, kind and loving. I blinked the raptors eyes were orange and it was attacking the shark with all of its rage.
I pulled myself to the shore and onto the sand, blood flowing freely from my leg and pooling into the sand. I looked back at the water, in time to see my raptor disappear below the waves with the shark, the shark would dive to dislodge my raptor. A scaled red head breached the water a moment later, his mouth open and panting for breath, he was paddling towards me. Fresh pain shot through me. From my beacon this time, as my raptor shot skyward in the jaws of the megalodon, the giant shark hit the water with a massive wave before disappearing with my raptor into the darkness.
I screamed, it was a sound full of rage and pain. I buried my face in my hands, and let the tears come, I had made it home, but at what cost. I pushed myself to my feet using what was left of my spear to support myself. I limped along the beach leaving a trail of blood in my wake.
I was fortunate not to run into any predators, as I trekked around the island to the bay where the Nomads made their home. I pushed through the underbrush along the cliff and emerged on the beach overlooking the bay. A weak smile came to my lips as I saw a ramshackle thatch hut on the beach. The temporary housing of the Nomads. Two figures moved around the structure, they had not taken notice of me yet.
I limped forward, onto the sand. “Cradix?” I called, the figures turned to face me, judging by the gray hair one was the oldest member of the Nomads, Squirrel. The other had a mop of dark hair and broad shoulders. The dark haired man ran towards me, Cradix, I thought.
I collapsed, I felt my cheek hit the sand, then arms lifting me. I opened my eyes, expecting blue eyes to be looking down at me, but the eyes were green, the face rounder, less worn. Steven, I thought as the darkness closed in on me. My eyes shot open as a cold wave overtook me, Squirrel was there, his beacon touching my own, he had linked me to the tribe, allowing me to respawn back with them since I was going to die. He gave me a sad smile and let me go, Steven buried his face in my shoulder and held me while the darkness closed back in around me. But all I could remember was blue eyes.
Cold filled my veins, I opened my eyes to crystalline fog covered glass in front of me. Blue eyes floated on the other side of the glass, was the Host smiling at me? I took a deep breath, the cold dry air sang over my tongue and made my chest ache. The eyes dimmed and brightened as the fog in the lobby shifted around the Host.
“Good luck Survivor,” It said, it’s voice a husky hummed over the creaking and whirling of the machinery in the lobby.
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