SAMPLE CHAPTERS & ARTWORK UPDATES

Escaping the Sphere

Snippet from “Mierna & the Keeper of Nightmares”

At a high-pitched screech of something raking against glass, she turned to find Wexel dragging his nails down the side. She quickly covered her ears.

He halted and glanced over at her with scrunched-up nose. “This thing won’t even dent!” He gaze traveled around the globe, searching for a door but there was none. It was as though the opening they came through had completely meshed with the globe itself. “If we could roll this thing out, but it’s stuck in the floor.”

Both attempted to throw their weight up against the side, if just to get it to shift. However, the sphere would not budge.

“We have to keep trying.” Mierna backed up as much as space allowed, then charged the wall with all her might. Her shoulder hit first, the impact causing the sphere to jiggle, but nothing more. She tried again, with Wexel timing a flying kick. The impact jolted the tracking system holding it in place. Something clicked underneath and the globe started to rotate. “Was that it? Did we do it?”

Excited, Mierna kept up with the pace of the spin at a brisk walk.

“Uh… we’re not really going anywhere.” Wexel trotted in place with perplexed expression.

“Maybe it needs more speed.” Mierna began to jog, each step increasing the the number of rotations. She could almost hear Vlanders laughing at their attempts and wondered what he would have done in this situation. From below, they heard the creak of device straining to lock the sphere in place. “I think it’s working!”

By now, Wexel was scrambling to keep up. “Uh, you sure?” he huffed.

A snap of metal causing the púca to lose his balance, stumbling over his hooves into Mierna. At this point the globe was spinning at an unusually high rate that even Mierna could not keep up. The blunder, however, caused both of them to topple over one another. With the pull of the rotating sphere too great, they found themselves being carried around its interior like an amusement park ride. This offset the sphere from its track and began hurling down the corridor at a rapid pace.

It crashed into the two dung beetle faeries, who, after hearing much clanging and banging, came to investigate. Their lumbering sways and hefty armored shells were no match. Bug juice plastered along its clear surface as they were squashed against the corridor’s walls while the globe kept going. Bits of rock shattered on impact. Long stalactites hung like jail bars around certain corners, meant to help steer the globes away from sheer drop-offs. This, however, did little to deflect the path of the fast-approaching sphere. It burst through, flying over the cliff’s edge and down into darkness with Mierna and Wexel’s screams echoing into the depths.

It was a set of sharp ridges along the opposite cliff face that cracked the outer surface. Mierna could see nothing in the smothering darkness, but felt each hit as it continued falling. Uneven surface shifted beneath her fingers until at last they broke through a thin ceiling of draping fabric that cushioned their their breaking cell. At last, the cracked sphere burst open, releasing its two captives into a nest of pillows and soft bedding below. There came an unmistakable sound of glass shattering across stone floor.

All was still, save for the heavy breathing of two dizzy individuals trying to come to their senses.

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