KEY OF MYSTERY (Night Angel Chronicles, #1)
by K. H. Mezek
“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”
When Sera’s father is killed in a horrific accident, all he leaves behind is a mysterious key. Sera places the key on a chain around her neck and vows to avenge her father. Strange characters arrive in town including the otherworldly Night Angels, who claim to be sent for her protection.
Sera falls hard for one of them—exotic, arrogant Peter. But what if his promise of love is only a ruse to gain access to the key? As Sera’s connection to the key grows, so do her supernatural powers. Guided by clues left by her father, Sera searches for the hidden chamber beneath the city, hoping to save what lies within before the sinister mayor and his deadly followers drown humanity in a bloodbath.
Two white feet came to stand next to my head, just inches from my eyes. Toenails, long and sharp as daggers, gripped the dirt, curling in and out, digging into the ground. Then, one foot lifted and came to rest on my shoulder, the nails scraping the length of my arm, making a bloody trail.
“We meet again, Sera,” said a voice from above.
I couldn’t move my head to look up, didn’t want to. I knew who it was. The ancient denizen who sought to possess me.
Gore bent down, his breath so cold that the blood from my wounds froze on my cheeks. “I want to save you, Sera,” he said, softly and reasonably. “And your brother. Give me the key. It is all you must do. Here, in my hand.” His own extended toward me, palm open, paper white.
“No.” I gasped weakly, and with great effort closed my fingers around the key.
“You're not a hero, Sera. You're just an ordinary girl with a promising life ahead of you. You don’t want to die like this, throwing it all away for a silly key. You want to go home, don’t you? I can make everything as it was before. I promise I can. And I keep my promises.”
“Bring back my dad?” I whispered.
“Yes! Everything as it was before.”
Could it be true? How wonderful!
But somewhere in a distant corner of my mind, doubt fluttered just like those butterflies. I grabbed at the thought. Everything as it was before? Did I want that?
Before my dad’s death and the move to Cliffside, I had known only lies. I hadn’t seen the truth about myself, my family, or my friends. But here on the ground, covered in blood and dirt, and most likely dying, I knew I didn’t want to go back there. I wanted to stay with the truth. The truth hurt like hell, but it was better than being numbed by ignorance.
“No.” I think I said it out loud, but it sounded more like a gurgle. I tried harder. “Never give you the key.” I gasped. “Never.”
Gore howled like he had on the plateau, and the nail raked across my face, penetrating deep into my skin. He reached down and licked the blood with his long snake tongue, a poison so painful seeping into my flesh that I almost passed out again.
When he spoke next, his tone was venomous, each syllable biting as if they were his teeth. “You will give it to me now. Or else your brother will end up like this.” He grabbed one of the undead and pulled the grotesque, dead-eyed face down next to mine. Then, he tossed it away like a stick.
This was the end, then. Gore had won. I had to at least try to save my brother, even if Gore's promises were lies. With unbearable effort, I reached up and tried to undo the chain. I couldn’t. I tried to pull it up over my head but somehow, it became tangled in my torn clothes. I was too weak and the problem of removing the key from around my neck overwhelmingly impossible.
“Come, little bitch, quickly.” Gore’s fingers dangled in front of my face, as if itching to undo the chain for me. But he was powerless to do so.
A growing uneasiness rippled through the undead standing in a circle behind him. Low moans rose from cavernous mouths. Any second now, surely Gore would unleash the hoard upon my brother to devour him. Why, oh why, couldn’t I undo the chain?
I grabbed the key and pulled with all my remaining strength, whispering, “I want this. I want to give him the key. I do.”
Incredibly, I felt the clasp of the chain come undone.
A howl of triumph rose from Gore’s lips. Answering howls filled the night air, echoing all around the moonlit park. Gore reached greedily for the key. I tried with all my might to hold it up to him, but it was so heavy. Just as I succeeded in raising my hand almost to his, a dagger of light fell from the sky, landing beside me in an explosion that shook the earth. I couldn’t see who it was, but I knew.
Peter, the Night Angel...
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ABOUT K. H.
My name is Karen Hunt, aka KH Mezek. My YA Urban Fantasy novel, Key of Mystery, #1 in the NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, was published in February 2016 with Evernight Teen. Hurray! I have nineteen children's books published, most of which I also illustrated. I am the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth, and the founder of My World Project, connecting children in remote areas around the world. So far, we have connected kids in Amazonian Ecuador, the Sahara Desert in Morocco and the Hoopa Reservation in Northern California. My essay 'Reflections from Istanbul,' an excerpt from my childhood memoir INTO THE WORLD, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. My essay 'Why I Choose to Remember My 50th Blood-Bath of a Birthday Instead of Trying to Forget It' was an editor's pick in the 2015 Pooled Ink journal. I've lived in England, France, Switzerland and Slovenia.
I love nothing more than hopping on a plane and going someplace far away from Los Angeles. One of my favorites is Istanbul! If I'm not traveling to exotic locales and having adventures, you can find me teaching boxing, kick-boxing and self-defense in a boxing gym. I am a second degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and have trained extensively in Eskrima and Okinawan weapons and boxing and kickboxing.
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