The final tweaks have been submitted to FriesenPress, meaning A Light from Below is well on its way to completion! I have decided that, to celebrate this exciting time, I will be sharing the prologue of the book: Visions. This will be spread over three blog posts, so please be sure to keep your eye out for parts 2 & 3!
The monster looked down on Helyan, its eyes glowing like stars in the night as it stood beside his bed in the darkness.
Outside the window, twinkling lights appeared and disappeared in the sky, each one a portal to the monster’s world, releasing more monsters and their evil. Thousands were spread out on the ground in well-rehearsed military formations. Behind them a city lay in flames.
Visfirth will burn. The invasion has begun.
Screaming, Helyan’s eyes flew open. He was covered in sweat and shaking uncontrollably. The pain that came after a vision left him temporarily paralyzed as his body convulsed, each breath like a bolt of lightning.
He tried to make sense of what he’d seen, hoping to remember every detail, needing to remember the warning.
The city was Visfirth; he’d recognized that, but all those monsters on the ground . . .
It has begun, hasn’t it? The invasion is here.
He’d been dreaming of the monsters for years, visions he felt were warnings from the gods of something dangerous to come, but he had never experienced anything as concrete as what he’d just seen.
Please, I need more time. They still think I’m broken. No one will believe me if I try to warn them.
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” he reassured himself out loud, which always made Helyan feel better.
It was lonely being the only one who cared, the only one who believed him and didn’t silently judge. Sadly, that was the only life he knew these days. His father was too busy for him, too busy for a son who had supposedly gone insane long ago, leaving only mad ramblings and impossible tales of woe.
This time things would have to be different. His father would have to believe him. He had a location, something real that they could test and prove! Never before had a vision been so specific, showing him the monsters’ plan. Every other vision had taken place in a strange world with unfamiliar creatures and plant life in the background as the monsters trained and prepared. Helyan had no idea why it had taken so long for them to attack, but he couldn’t let them get away with it.
His internal seizing began to subside, and he was able to sit up in bed, gasping for air and wiping the sweat from his face with his bedsheet. He allowed himself a few moments to catch his breath before getting up and going to his desk. It was still late at night, making his room almost pitch black. The thick wool hanging over his window kept out even the brightest moonlight, but he had no issues getting from his bed to his desk. He knew the room well and had taken the same blind, late-night steps many times, seeking to immortalize what he had seen in case it was needed later.
He lit the small lamp on his desk, and the flickering flame burst to life, illuminating the pages lining his walls. They were visions, warnings of the threat the monsters were to his world. He had cataloged each one, keeping track of when it occurred and capturing every detail he could remember, despite the painful flashbacks looking at them caused. The smallest piece could make the difference between his people living and dying.
He pulled out a well-worn sketchpad thicker than his wrist, the pages identical to those lining the walls, and prepared to record his latest vision, as he had the rest. He needed no time to prepare. After almost ten years of visions, he knew which details would fade first and which would stay with him forever, turning his once-peaceful dreams into the nightmares they had become.
Helyan had never been an artist. When he was younger, his lack of talent had been a source of amusement for his friends. Archiving his visions was easier than breathing though, some details virtually jumping onto the page.
The eyes, they never leave me.
He pushed on after a shudder, trying to grasp the vastness of the creatures’ numbers. He knew the lights he’d seen in the sky would be important. He didn’t know why or how, only that they would be.
The monsters were unlike anything he’d ever seen or heard of before. They resembled a cross between an elf and a goblin, unusually tall and slim compared to either of the other races though, with small, corded muscles that made it impossible to call them anything but lanky. Their hairless skin was a yellowgreen color that made them appear perpetually sick. Their bodies were covered with piercings and tattoos of symbols and animals that he didn’t recognize, which he assumed represented their hierarchy. From what Helyan could tell, the more complicated the tattoos, the more authority a monster had.
Their eyes glowed a deep yellow that refused to leave him. Everywhere he turned, he could see those eyes watching him, taunting him. The creatures’ ears had distinct points, some drooping at the top and others rigid. Their weapons bore unusual glyphs and runes which, unlike the tattoos, seemed to have no connection to rank, perhaps representing personal preferences. He had heard snippets of conversation in his visions, but try as he might, he had never found a language expert who could make sense of it.
“Maybe that’s why no one believes me.”
A stupid reason.
Either way, it wasn’t something he could worry about at the moment. Why people didn’t believe him wasn’t nearly as important as convincing them that this time, they had to.
Helyan spent the next few hours working on his sketch, careful not to miss any details. He finished before dawn and started to prepare what he would say, how he could express the urgency of what was coming, passing the time until morning when he could warn his father and save the world.