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James Scott DeLane
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A collection of original short stories featuring the science fiction novella Twisted. A bare knuckle fighter is sold into slavery where he is genetically altered into an arena warrior. He and his fighting mate Cheval, struggle to hold on to their lost humanity. The collection features nineteen unique tales, which will linger in your mind long after the last page is turned.
My knuckles throbbed. My right hand was too swollen to close. I hit that guy really hard. He would still be alive if he’d just stayed down. His own people begged him to stay on the canvas, yet somehow, he staggered to his feet. When he stood, I knocked the life out of him. How was I to know he was the governor’s nephew?
“Hey Nyman, where are you taking me?”
“Shut up!” he roared.
The big Nyman stomped toward me with his fist raised threateningly over his head. I didn’t want my face smashed, so I quickly closed my mouth. He snorted yellow mucus from his nose and lowered his fat arm. I and nine other men were chained together in the rear section of a dingy Nyman transport. Nymans were such foul creatures. They never bathed. Their ratty black hair and foul breath made me ill. Two large ugly ones guarded us with their punishment shockers at the ready. Each was over two meters tall and weighed at least two hundred kilograms. There was no chance of breaking free from the heavy metal chains. Even if I did break loose from the shackles, there was no place to run. I was trapped under the fat thumb of these ugly Nymans. I elbowed the prisoner next to me. In a whisper, I asked, “Hey man, where are we going?”
The pasty flesh of this poor guy was white as cotton and he trembled so badly his teeth rattled. The oozing red wound behind his right ear told me he was a bug addict. One of the little black insects had recently been plucked from his skin. What a mess he was. The best he could manage was a weak whisper.
“You were sold,” he gasped. “We were all sold, doomed to hell.”
“Sold? Sold to who?”
The bug addict waited until the Nymans turned their backs. He put his trembling hand over his mouth and spoke in a forced whisper. “Twisters.”
“Twisters?!” I shouted.
For opening my mouth, one of the Nymans zapped me with his red-tipped shocker. “Shut the fuck up!” he roared. A blue electrical arc hit me on the ear. Searing pain jolted my body. When he pulled the tip of the shocker away, he busted me on the chin with his stone hard fist. He lowered his pockmarked face to mine and screamed. “Shut up! You stupid human.”
My muscles quivered and contracted for several minutes. I clenched my teeth and kept my mouth shut. My brain was dazed. The shocker was painful, but the words of the bug addict rattled my soul. I assumed this shuttle was bound for a work colony. I thought I was headed for six months hard labor in an off-world mine. I had no idea the vindictive governor sold me to a Twister. The defeated eyes of my fellow prisoners confirmed my fears. All hope was lost for us.
After a twenty-hour flight, during which we were given no food or water, the shuttle landed on a dusty planet. The rear door opened, and the guards hustled us into the burning sunlight. We waited in a straight line for an hour, standing perfectly still. The big Nyman who punched me waited for me to open my mouth. If I uttered a word, he would have gladly shocked the life out of me. A hundred meters in front of us was a walled citadel. The heavy stone blocks had been laid in place a very long time ago. We faced two closed wooden doors built into the citadel walls. The sky was pink and there were no birds. The baking sun burned my back but we were offered no water. The trembling bug addict could hardly stand.
The two doors swung open. Four well-armed Nymans emerged, followed by a tall, thin man wearing a black cape. This man was more than old. He looked like he’d been dead for a month. His expressionless face stared straight ahead. In his hand, he carried a black whip. One by one the thin man sealed our fates. With his whip, he tapped each prisoner on the shoulder. “Farmer, farmer, farmer, miner.”
I currently have four books with Wings: The Debt Collector, Twisted and Other Tales, Mythradies Boutique, The Blue Orchid and Other Tales, and I currently have one soon to be released science fiction novel: Iceworld
Book Publisher: Wings ePress
No. of Pages: 302
Paper Weight (lb): 12.6