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Authors: Lisa Mangum

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The Golden Spiral

BOOK: The Golden Spiral
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© 2010 Lisa K. Mangum

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher, Shadow Mountain
®
. The views expressed herein are the responsibility of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of Shadow Mountain.

All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Mangum, Lisa.

  The golden spiral / Lisa Mangum.

     p. cm.

  Summary: When Dante, a Master of Time, is sent into the past to find Zo, Tony, and V, Abby knows that he will need her help to prevent the trio from destroying time itself, but soon things start to change as Zo targets Abby's past.

  ISBN 978-1-60641-635-8 (hardbound : alk. paper)

  1. Fantasy fiction, American.  [1. Time travel—Fiction. 2. High schools—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction. 4. Interpersonal relations—Fiction. 5. Good and evil—Fiction.]  I. Title.

  PZ7.M31266537Fol 2010

  [Fic]—dc22                                                                                                  2010003447

Printed in the United States of America     

Worzalla Publishing Company, Stevens Point, WI

10     9       8       7       6       5       4       3       2       1

 

For Tracy

Roll the Bones—track 2

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Acknowledgments

Reading Guide

Prologue

The middle passage. He’s been here before. Once, long ago—no, wait . . . not so long ago. He shakes his head. It’s hard to remember anything, swallowed up in this narrow throat of darkness.

A flash of white obscures his vision and he remembers.

A girl. Brown hair, brown eyes, a mouth sculpted to smile. He sees worry and fear in her eyes. And something else. A locket is fastened securely around her neck like a collar. Or a noose. He knows this girl. He struggles with his memory, forcing it to offer up a name.

Abby.
Of course. Heat like a dying sun scorches through him at the thought of her name, turning the white flash red.

As the redness bleeds into black, he draws a trembling hand across his eyes. He made promises to the girl. To find. To bind. Promises he intends to keep.

Another streak of white flashes through his vision. Another memory. This one of sound.
Is she yours?
A high-pitched banshee wail of music.
We’ll
never
be like them ever again, and the sooner you realize that, the better off you’ll be.
The quiet click of a key turning in a lock.
I couldn’t have done this without you.
A low-throated laugh of success.

This time his memory is more cooperative, comfortable and familiar. His mouth is still heavy with the taste of victory. He savors the sweetness.

He remembers other encounters, other conversations with Dante, but those were the ones that counted. Had he ever truly been a threat? Or merely an annoyance? Dante had certainly done his best to stop him. Though if that was the best he had to offer, well, then there was no need to worry.

He made promises to Dante, too. Of vengeance. Of damna-tion. Promises he intends to keep as well.

Somewhere in the far distance he can hear footsteps. Not his. He hasn’t moved in this middle passage since the door closed behind him—how long ago? He shakes his head again. It doesn’t matter. All that matters now is what waits for him in the darkness.

He counts the steps, easily identifying and discarding the echoes, concentrating on the actual, individual footfalls. There. He tilts his head, listening with his whole body. A second set of footsteps rings through the stillness in a fleeting harmony. Good. Everyone is accounted for.

Words float through his mind:
The gang’s all here.
Something he heard once? Something he has yet to hear?

There is no rush. He knows where they are going. Or perhaps he should say
when.

The footsteps clatter around him; they sound like bones rattling in the wind. He knows exactly who those footsteps
belong to, and he wonders why they don’t take more care to disguise themselves. He wonders why they even bother walking when it’s possible to slide—now
here,
now
there
—with the merest of thoughts. He considers the possibility they haven’t discovered that fact yet.

He remembers the first time the door closed behind him. The stench of his branded flesh. The taste of the cold, empty air. The weight of uncertainty, of limited options. Exiled from the river of time, he was once a prisoner bound to the bank.

But now, the door has closed behind him a second time, and everything is different. He looks down at his hands, marveling that the tattooed chains encircling his wrists have turned from black to gold. They are beautiful. Like the golden torques worn by the kings of old.

He laughs a little at the thought. There is no more
old
or
new;
the words have lost their meaning. There is only
here
and
now.
There is only what he wants. There is only him in this dark place, waiting to be born again into the light. The world is waiting for him to change it like Prometheus bringing down fire from the gods.

The air around him is still cold and metallic, but now when he draws a deep breath, it turns his body into a sword, all edges and violence. This time the uncertainty is gone. This time his options are limitless.

Embraced by the river of time, he has broken the bonds of the bank forever.

He can feel the ebb and flow of the river of time
inside
him now. He can see the possibilities unfolding with every breath. The sense of freedom and power is overwhelming.

He knows the others are feeling the same thing. He knows it will make them reckless, unpredictable. They do not have his control or his command. Without his leadership and guidance, they will squander this gift, they will waste this power. He cannot let that happen. He has plans.

He feels a grin slide across his face, and he takes a step forward.

He is surprised at how easy it is. This traveling through time. This effortless movement like flying, like dancing, like music. He is no longer afraid of what he has left behind, or of what might be waiting for him. After all, he knows what is waiting for him ahead in the darkness. The second door. The machine only works in pairs, he remembers. Two banks of the river, two doors. In one and out the other. It is an elegant design. Balanced. Complete. The symmetry of it makes him happy.

It’s been a long time since he’s felt this happy. He pauses. Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe it’ll
be
a long time until he feels this happy again. The past and future are interchangeable now; it’s hard to tell the difference. He does know one thing, though: He was born for this. His previous life seems like nothing so much as a shadow by comparison. He can see from horizon to horizon; better, he can see beyond the curve now. He can hear the smallest droplet of time forming inside the roaring of the river. How had he lived without this power? This awareness?

Now that he has it, he knows he will never let it go.

He was always the brightest, deserving of their loyalty and their devotion.

He will never let those go, either.

He is drawing closer to the footsteps. He can hear voices now, though just fragmented whispers of sound.

 . . . believe it . . . it’s true . . . it’s time . . .

With a rush, the whispers coalesce into solid sentences, individual voices: Tony and V.

He stays back a pace or two. No need to let them know he is so close. Not yet.

“I can’t believe she came with him,” Tony says.

V makes a noise halfway between a growl and a grunt.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad she did. We’d still be stuck there without her help.” Tony laughs, a high note wavering on the edge of hysteria. “I guess I owe Zo an apology. I shouldn’t have doubted him.”

He frowns. Dissension in the ranks is not to be tolerated. Doubt is forbidden. He thought he had made that clear.

“Where is Zo, anyway?” Tony asks, looking around. “I’d have thought he’d be here by now.”

V grunts again. “I’m sure he’s coming. How much farther is it?”

Tony laughs. “Don’t you remember?”

“I just want to go home.” V sighs. “I’m tired of . . . all this.”

His frown deepens. How can V be tired of this already? Things are just getting started.
He
is just getting started.

“Oh, come on,” Tony chides. “Live a little. Or a lot, as the case may be.” His laugh transmutes into a giggle, high and childish.

“What’s wrong with you?” V asks.

“Nothing.”

The lie is loud in the space between them.

He shakes his head. Lies can be useful, but they must be used correctly or else they lose their power. And this is no place for lies. The machine will destroy them, squeeze them into oblivion and leave only the truth in its place. The machine is unforgiving, unrelenting. He admires that.

He wonders if Tony knows he’s lying or if he believes his own words. He wonders if it matters.

The darkness suddenly crackles into life, bright sparks flaring like stars spangled across the sky. The tiniest of golden glows blooms overhead, growing into a complex web of light laced through the shadows above Tony’s head. A second web appears over V’s head.

He looks up in time to see his own golden net hovering over him. Without consciously knowing how, he dampens the light. No need to announce his presence prematurely.

“That’s amazing,” Tony says, looking up at the golden drops. “I don’t remember that from last time.”

“I think it’s new. Things have changed, remember.”

Tony slaps V on the back. “Change is good. It’s a brave new world,
amico mio.
And we will be the masters of it.”

V grunts again; his shoulders hunch under a shrug.

“What? Everything is here for the taking. Don’t tell me you don’t want some of it.” Tony rubs at the golden cuffs around his wrists and laughs.

“I can’t have what I want,” V says, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“That’s no way to think. Listen, we’ll be to the door in no time at all”—Tony giggles again, a mad light flickering in his eyes—“and you’ll see. You’ll feel it.” He circles V, a capering jester laughing at his own unfathomable jokes.

BOOK: The Golden Spiral
9.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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