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Waking Gods: Enigma of Twilight Falls, #3

Waking Gods: Enigma of Twilight Falls, #3

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Waking Gods: Enigma of Twilight Falls, #3

Length:
374 pages
4 hours
Released:
Jul 3, 2021
ISBN:
9781622537662
Format:
Book

Description

Twilight Falls is just your standard northern California town, right? It's not a playground for anything dark and unfathomable, right?

"A disturbing, bizarre and intensely riveting novel." ~ Leslie Ann Moore, Bestselling Author of "The Griffin's Daughter" Trilogy

"Pick it up and don't put it down. Have patience. Enjoy the poetic quality. Consume this book." ~ Sissy Lu, Book Savvy Reviews

Meet Adrian Foster, a young and reclusive Los Angeles man with an extraordinary gift that has informally brought him the nickname "The Human Master Key." When a new victim of a vicious serial killer turns up in the woods by Twilight Falls, California, Adrian reunites with eccentric detective Derek Adams in probing the occult lore surrounding the town—the town in which Adrian was born and raised, the town in which he left behind many a ghost, the town whose dark central spirit will force him on a harrowing journey through the rugged bottomlands of another's psyche... as well as his own.

EVOLVED PUBLISHING PRESENTS the third and final book in the chilling "Enigma of Twilight Falls" series, completing the dark, terrifying panorama established by The Green-Eyed Monster and Negative Space. [DRM-Free]

BOOKS BY MIKE ROBINSON:

  • ENIGMA OF TWILIGHT FALLS – Book 1: The Green-Eyed Monster
  • ENIGMA OF TWILIGHT FALLS – Book 2: Negative Space
  • ENIGMA OF TWILIGHT FALLS – Book 3: Waking Gods

MORE GREAT HORROR FICTION FROM EVOLVED PUBLISHING:

  • The "Lorestalker" Series by J.P. Barnett
  • The "Writer's Block" Series by A.K. Kuykendall
  • The "Big Sky Terror" Series by D.W. Hitz
  • "The Holocaust Engine" Series by David Rike & Stephen Patrick

 

Released:
Jul 3, 2021
ISBN:
9781622537662
Format:
Book

About the author

A writer since age six and a professional one since nineteen, my initial editing experience came in the swarms of prose I pumped out into the world, only occasionally into the world of actual magazines, anthologies or e-zines. Soon, as I began selling more regularly, and as publishers took note of my longer works, I began freelance editing. In the past eight years, I’ve edited screenplays, memoirs, novels, children’s books and, would you believe it, epic narrative poetry. One of the novels I edited, Under the Tamarind Tree, was shortlisted among nine others for the 2014 Dundee International Book Prize. A charter member of The Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (GLAWS), I am also the managing editor of the organization’s official publication, Literary Landscapes, which features stories, excerpts, articles and poetry (see issues here). In addition, I belong to the editing collective Write For Success, for which I perform manuscript critiques and consultation. As an author, I have published nine novels and almost fifteen short stories.


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Waking Gods - Mike Robinson

Copyright

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~~~

WAKING GODS

Enigma of Twilight Falls – Book

2nd Edition Copyright © 2021 Mike Robinson

(Original 1st Edition © 2015 by Mike Robinson)

~~~

ISBN (EPUB Version): 1622537661

ISBN-13 (EPUB Version): 978-1-62253-766-2

~~~

Editor: Lane Diamond

Cover Artist: Kabir Shah

Interior Designer: Lane Diamond

~~~

PUBLISHER’S NOTE:

At the end of this novel of approximately 68,818 words, you will find two Special Sneak Previews: 1) THE TEMPTATION OF DESTINY by D.M. Earley, the critically-acclaimed, award-winning first novel in the Call of Destiny series of literary suspense thrillers with mystical, American Indian themes, and; 2) JUDITH’S PROPHECY by D.W. Hitz, the first book in the Big Sky Terror series of vampire horror thrillers. We think you’ll enjoy these books, too, and provide these previews as a FREE extra service, which you should in no way consider a part of the price you paid for this book. We hope you will both appreciate and enjoy the opportunity. Thank you.

~~~

eBook License Notes:

You may not use, reproduce or transmit in any manner, any part of this book without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations used in critical articles and reviews, or in accordance with federal Fair Use laws. All rights are reserved.

This eBook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only; it may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, please return to your eBook retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

~~~

Disclaimer:

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or the author has used them fictitiously.

Books by Mike Robinson

~~~

ENIGMA OF TWILIGHT FALLS

Book 1: The Green-Eyed Monster

Book 2: Negative Space

Book 3: Waking Gods

~~~

Dreamshores: Monster Island

Skunk Ape Semester

The Atheist

The Prince of Earth

Too Much Dark Matter, Too Little Gray: A Collection of Weird Fiction

~~~

Dishonor Thy Father (with M.J. Richards)

The Talisman Chronicles #3 – Hurakan’s Chalice (with Aiden James)

~~~

www.Mike-RobinsonAuthor.com

What Others Are Saying about Mike Robinson’s Books

~~~

THE GREEN-EYED MONSTER:

Editor’s Choice at HorrorNovelReviews.com:

Among the Top 10 Horror Novels of All-Time

~~~

Absolutely magnificent.

~ Shannon McGrew, Nightmarish Conjurings

~~~

Literary horror... Every page is full of insight, matched only by the high standard of the writing.

~ Tom Conrad, The Indie Pendant

~~~

NEGATIVE SPACE:

Hauntingly poetic.

~ Jeff Soyer, Alphecca Review

~~~

What a page turner! ... Robinson is a fine writer, with an enviable gift for the poetic turn of phrase.

~ Kitty Burns Florey, author of Solos and The Writing Master

~~~

WAKING GODS:

A disturbing, bizarre and intensely riveting novel.

~ Leslie Ann Moore, Bestselling Author of The Griffin’s Daughter Trilogy

~~~

Pick it up and don’t put it down. Have patience. Enjoy the poetic quality. Consume this book.

~ Sissy Lu, Book Savvy Reviews

~~~

THE PRINCE OF EARTH:

This author has a way of startling even those who think they can’t be surprised by a plot twist or tangle. The subtleties with which he conveys profound images, thoughts or ideas are often so skillfully crafted, readers will find themselves going back to re-read things just so they can enjoy them a second time.

~ DragonCat

~~~

DREAMSHORES: MONSTER ISLAND:

This is a fantastic, nail-biting, fantasy filled, surprise/twists at ever turn book! I can’t say enough of how I loved this book!

~ Montzalee W.

BONUS CONTENT

We’re pleased to offer you not one, but two Special Sneak Previews at the end of this book.

~~~

In the first preview, you’ll enjoy the first chapter of D.M. Earley’s THE TEMPTATION OF DESTINY, the critically-acclaimed, award-winning first book in the Call of Destiny series of literary suspense thrillers with mystical, American Indian themes.

~~~

~~~

Readers’ Favorite Book Reviews says: "Suspenseful, intriguing and powerfully tense, this is a dark fantasy work like no other... a master class in tension and supposition."

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

YOU’LL FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

CALL OF DESTINY Series at Evolved Publishing

In the second preview, you’ll enjoy the prologue and first two chapters of JUDITH’S PROPHECY by D.W. Hitz, the first book in the Big Sky Terror series of vampire horror thrillers.

~~~

~~~

OR GRAB THE FULL EBOOK TODAY!

FIND LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE RETAILER HERE:

BIG SKY TERROR Series at Evolved Publishing

Table of Contents

Copyright

Books by Mike Robinson

What Others Are Saying

BONUS CONTENT

Table of Contents

WAKING GODS

PREFACE

YOUR GUIDE TO...

PART ONE

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

PART TWO

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

PART THREE

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

About the Author

More from Evolved Publishing

Special Sneak Preview: THE TEMPTATION OF DESTINY by D.M. Earley

Special Sneak Preview: JUDITH’S PROPHECY by D.W. Hitz

PREFACE

On The Enigma of Twilight Falls

The book you’re holding now is, to some degree, older than the series to which it belongs. I suppose the same could be said for its siblings, The Green-Eyed Monster and Negative Space. I wrote those two separate from one another, without direct thought of them belonging to a grander, unifying arc, or, to use the Joycean/Campbellian term, their own Monomyth—until that Monomyth rose up from its subconscious incubator.

As a result, I also originally published those books separately, as I wanted to encourage readers to discover their relationship without the obvious aid of a series header, or without feeling prohibited from reading the second installment if they hadn’t read the first—mainly because the books can be read on their own terms, presenting as they do different windows into the same dark, phenomenological topography that is the town of Twilight Falls, California.

The fictive genes of Waking Gods predate both The Green-Eyed Monster and Negative Space, its character Adrian Foster winning the Mike Robinson Award for Most Patient Protagonist of All Time. The guy’s been in the bullpen for—count ‘em—twelve years, tolerating (surviving) the several literary abortions to which he had the misfortune of being attached.

Finally, though, he’s come to light, in this culmination of the Enigma of Twilight Falls series (yes, with the re-release by Evolved Publishing, the books are now combined in a series). And while I can honestly say that Adrian’s story can also be read on its own terms, I can add with an equal amount of honesty that you won’t get the whole story without The Green-Eyed Monster and Negative Space—though, again, neither is necessary to comprehend what follows. I’ve taken pains to enact what I describe as a non-linear trilogy.

So if you’ve not read the previous two, don’t be afraid of that number 3. My hope is that this book will prompt interest in what for you will become more decorative, if not overly informative, prequels.

YOUR GUIDE TO...

~~~

CULTURE

Downtown

It’s no coincidence that Twilight Falls has been dubbed the artist’s capitol, and you’ll see why when you explore this central hub of town, notably Gallery Walk and Writer’s Block, allegedly named non-ironically, but that’s unlikely. Among coffee shops, bookstores, jazz cafes, antique shops and notable sculptures—including Cosmic Marionette, featured in many postcards—sits the home offices of the acclaimed literary magazine, Food for Thought. Downtown TwiFalls also plays host to the annual, internationally-known Mind Splash Festival, where artists from all disciplines and walks of life congregate to share their work.

~~~

The Clock Tower

Having stopped at exactly 12:12 during the infamous torrential storm in 1971, this small-scale Big Ben, perched atop St. Andrews Cathedral between downtown and Island Park [see Sights], is now purely an aesthetic stop, but it’s worth the detour. Small guided tours take one up the dark, cobwebbed interior to the summit, where the town sprawls elegantly below. As you head up the stairs, be sure to note the odd strokes of vandalism. One of the stranger examples: ‘The church is God’s nursery—the world His school—Chaos His trade.’

~~~

Peters Museum

Since 1953, the renowned Peters Museum has brought art-lovers from all over the globe to its unique walls, which feature a range of exhibits both ancient and modern. Very often you’ll find more have heard of the Peters than have heard of Twilight Falls! Among many events, it’s well-known as the womb of the Neo-Naturalism [sometimes ‘Neo-Cave Art’] movement, generally attributed to Northern California neighbor and artist Clifford Feldman.

~~~

Agra Ruins

Of TwiFalls’ more famous locales and associated lore is the mysterious tribe of Native Americans routinely called the Agras, and nicknamed by some the Anasazi of the coast. While heated scholarly debate has risen over everything from their practices, their beliefs, and even their assumed historicity, there’s no doubt someone was responsible for the small stone village and monoliths standing in the woods only half a mile from town, verified by dating tests as being over 400 years old. Rumor has it one can stand on the central altar-stones and, with enough effort, wish into existence his or her desires. The Agra mythos is the basis for the Agra Circle, a group that regularly visits the ruins for mass meditation and other, allegedly darker, rituals that have led some to dub them occult.

~~~

World Cinema

Oftentimes, ‘classic cinema’ is a subjective term, and the World Multiplex Cinema near Midland and Pine Street certainly plays to that angle. On permanent reserve is one screen where you can catch the latest releases. More often than not, though, the World’s other screens are busy showing prints of films as varied as Citizen Kane and The Perils of Perseus. As only the second theater in Twilight Falls, it wins for its eccentricity, and for its communal outreach: several times a year, the theater encourages votes on what kinds of movie festivals or marathons its neighbors would like to see. The continual joke, of course, goes that men, women, seniors, and children, demographics of generally varying tastes, race to outvote one another. Somehow, though, no festival has yet to miss a beat, regardless. The name World is an admitted tongue-in-cheek homage to the Shakespearean Globe Theater.

~~~

TwiFalls Public Library

Refurbished in 1971 after the storm, the new Twilight Falls Public Library, located three blocks from downtown, sports remarkable classical architecture inspired by the long-lost, fabled Library of Alexandria. Note the interior northern wall, on which is painted floor-to-ceiling an image of rolled parchments, stored in their individual compartments as they must have been those thousands of years ago. The inner courtyard, complete with a chattering fountain and shaded tables ideal for reading, is a great place to spend a sunny, leisurely afternoon. If books transport you partially to another place, the library will push you the rest of the way there.

~~~

SIGHTS

The Dirty Shoelace Trail / Falls Hike

Tracing the entire circumference of the town is what the locals call the Dirty Shoelace Trail. Origin stories of this term vary. Some attribute it to the trail’s oft-narrow passages through high evergreens and imposing redwoods. Others say it came from a time when the TwiFalls woods were inhabited by a rough-living beatnik community, and hikers would sometimes find old shoes and other items on the trail. Whatever the history or strangeness of the name, the hike offers beautiful strolls through dense forest and is punctuated by several impressive views of the town and westward hills. It connects also with the Ruins Hike and the shorter Falls Hike, which takes explorers to the area’s namesake waterfalls, a well-worn place that to this day still feels like a pristine paradise.

~~~

Feldman Mansion (a.k.a. Geppetto’s Mansion)

Nestled high in the thick forests above Twilight Falls rests this abandoned manor, popular with occultists, amateur historians, Halloween pranksters, and weekend-blooded teenagers. The nickname ‘Geppetto’ comes from the house’s prodigious and downright bizarre collection of aged dolls, antique clocks, moldy ventriloquist’s dummies, and canvases depicting everything from Mayan sacrifices to the circles of Dante’s Inferno. The attic, perhaps predictably, offers even weirder treats, including a human fetus in a jar. Records show the house once belonged to Dr. Arthur Feldman, uncle to the aforementioned artist Clifford Feldman. A psychologist in the 1920s, he was known around town for his morbid humor and affiliation with Madame Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society.

~~~

Keller Avenue / Becker & Smith Museum

Along this stretch of road lies what are anachronistically called the nest of golden eggs, an array of the first half-million- to million-dollar homes in Twilight Falls. The town’s most famous residents, the bestselling novelists John Becker and Martin Smith, grew up on this block, separated only by one house. While the Becker home is under new, private ownership, the Smith household at 3562 Keller Avenue has been converted to a small museum displaying memorabilia of the writers’ lives. In the gift shop, look for The Complete Becker and The Complete Smith, both of which are comprehensive anthologies of the authors’ rarer works. Published by the museum imprint, neither volume is available anywhere else.

~~~

The Author Apartments

While popular destination spots, especially come Halloween, it was only recently verified publicly that the late novelists John Becker and Martin Smith owned and operated out of these apartments, which they kept strictly to themselves, and have never rented out. Despite their apparent isolation, numerous reports have long circulated of noise and movement in the buildings, though it is not recorded nor understood that anyone else officially lived in either. Rarely were Becker or Smith themselves seen outside these walls.

~~~

The Fleckman Home

The scene of one of the greatest tragedies in modern-day California, not to mention Twilight Falls, this ostensibly quaint two-story art deco home currently sits unoccupied, and, as indicated by the surrounding fence, is closed to visitors. It was here in 1986 where a local high school student named Harold Zwieg entered a party thrown by peer Max Fleckman and unleashed a hail of fatal bullets into 16 of his fellow students. The sheer carnage of the crime was nearly matched by its strangeness. Despite his death at the scene, Zwieg’s murder weapon was never found, and several witnesses, including police officers, described shadowy accomplices in large coats, none of whom were positively identified. Perhaps not surprisingly, the subsequent owners left within a year, disturbed by odd activity in the house. That was in 1991. Since then, whatever walks there, walks alone.

~~~

Island Park

Not far from downtown lies this smaller answer to Central Park [or perhaps Vancouver, BC’s Stanley Park], a wooded vicinity offering leisurely, streamside strolls and two playgrounds for children. Towards the middle is a sizable manmade lake, where limited fishing is permitted, and the Butterfly Garden. Many a young couple you’ll find here, topping off their dinner and movie with a romantic walk. Like many stops in Twilight Falls, this dapple of serenity has its own surprises: in 2001, an early-morning jogger encountered a curious, 250-lb. mountain lion on its own jaunt down from the hills.

~~~

DINING & ACCOMMODATIONS

Morning Light Bed & Breakfast

The cozy home of Maggie and Dennis Johnson has been operating for over 30 years, standing even through a grisly crime that occurred in one of the bedrooms in 1977. That room has since been closed to the public, and not for purely historical reasons: while there, some have claimed to experience odd voices, moving furniture, and other eerie phenomena. For whatever reason, many of the most poignant reports have come from pregnant women. The room was featured on the show True Hauntings.

~~~

Hotel Nebula

A worthy, independent (if slightly higher-priced) alternative to the Holiday Inn, Hotel Nebula opened its doors in 1939, the brainchild of business mogul and amateur astronomer Frances Gerhard, whose quote, "The sly stars wink brighter over Twilight Falls; they know more," is immortalized in the plaque by the entrance. The hotel offers homey lodging, a pool, a conference center, a miniature golf course, the popular patty melts fired up at the properly-named Nova Bar & Grill, and, most uniquely, a small planetarium where visitors can educate themselves on the surprisingly rich history of astronomy in the region. Some evidence suggests the enigmatic Agra Tribe were seasoned star-watchers. Of course, it didn’t take much for some fringe contemporary researchers to put two and two together and attribute their later disappearance to UFOs.

~~~

Hu’s Schezwan Kitchen

As the only authentic Chinese restaurant in town, it might be a tad disingenuous to say it’s the best, but considering Hu’s was once listed #6 on Zagat’s Top Ten San Francisco Eateries, we think it’s appropriate. Edward Hu, who spent much of his life in the city, transplanted himself and his business to Twilight Falls because, quote, I’d never been here before, but something pulled at my spirit. I felt replenished. Creatively, energetically, I was a child again. Our recommendation? The dim sum brunch. Yum.

~~~

Rosie’s Diner

In the mood for a big, greasy cheeseburger? How about quirky Shakes of the Day? 50s diner Rosie’s is a favorite among locals and tourists. Competitive eaters may want to pit their appetites against Mount Frysuvius, an enormous plate of steak fries topped with a pound of chili, multiple cheeses, sour cream, onions, garlic, and jalapenos. Those of literary tastes will appreciate the somber portrait of none other than Sheriff Gabriel North, rugged protagonist of John Becker’s crime-noir novel Brute Force, greeting them by the cashier.

~~~

Rainbow Ice Cream Parlor

While its facade indicates a classic old-time ice cream parlor, one look at the unique—or, to the scholarly, ‘postmodern’—flavors arrayed for sampling or scooping and you’ll bounce back to the 21st century. Or maybe the 22nd, with choices like Galactic Gorgonzola, Cinnamon Bagel, Berry-Apple, and—hold yourself—Fireball Whiskey. Their signature is the Butterfly Swirl, which contains famously secret ingredients.

~~~

TESTIMONIALS

The town of Twilight Falls is known for being a well of inspiration for artists working in all media. And not just artists, either—the likes of doctors, lawyers, scientists, even plumbers have all reported feeling heightened here, whether on a spiritual, intellectual, creative, or emotional level. Inevitably, speculation on the phenomenon has touched on esoteric as well as empirical explanations. God flexes a little more here, says one local. Power of suggestion, says another. Yet others take to the old copout of, Something in the water supply. Our take: couldn’t it be all these things?

Here is what some have had to say:

~~~

This place has been called the ‘Valley of the Muse,’ and with good reason. As a composer, my head is normally swimming with music, defined or not, but in the presence of Twilight Falls and the majestic embrace of its wilderness, every sound is a note. Wind snakes through the trees in a whistling symphony. For the musically-inclined, it is simply more than a town and forest; it is a birth place of inspiration, a fountain of youth for the imagination, where creativity is as endless as the flowing river and falls. Sitting amongst the trees and the rolling hills, watching butterflies and the glistening plane of the distant sea conjures feelings only relatable through music. I am Beethoven in the countryside, coming to terms with his deafness as he pens the opening to his Sixth.

~ Joseph Willard, Composer

~~~

Stopping off at the small town of Twilight Falls during a road-trip up north, I felt an onslaught of ideas pour through my head as I parked at a tiny L-shaped motel. A passion had been ignited in me. I suddenly needed to write, which was strange given I hadn’t written since my junior year of high school, after my father, a semi-renowned literary professor, had blisteringly critiqued a short story of mine. Yet never before have the words flowed so seamlessly from my mind to my fingertips to the page. The place reunited me with my craft. A whole novella poured from me that night. Rough, but it was there.

~ Douglas Merner, Author, Lighthouse Eyes

~~~

I’d been in San Francisco for an art exhibition, and soon after crossed the bridge to Berkeley. All the while I was suffering from an artist’s despair I thought would never end. Yet as I made my drive back south, I ran across a small town, about ninety-miles southeast of Berkeley (although, to be honest, it felt timeless and spaceless, like this was an extraordinary, one-time opportunity). For some reason, I had the compelling urge to stop and break out my water and brushes and hot-pressed watercolor block. Within two hours, I finished what is today one of my most prized pieces. It now hangs in my studio, always displayed, never to move, reminding me of that brief affair I had with that place called Twilight Falls. Muses live there.

~ Camilla Huizar, Painter/Illustrator

~~~

From an interview with Gary Short, author of Lone Shark, August 1996:

Q: A prolific writer, you’ve been suspected of never knowing writer’s block. Is that true?

GS: [Laughs] It’s hard to say. Like everyone, my brain gets cobwebs. There are times when I’m writing and I come to a spot where I simply can’t write anymore—a complete burnout. It’s as though the entire English language has been kidnapped from my brain. As far as a blockage of ideas, it thankfully happens very rarely, but when I’m feeling as though no recent thought has been worth my time, I usually drive down to a place called Twilight Falls. Not many people have heard of it, but it’s a great place to just let your mind rest and wander.

~~~

CHORUS:

The gods have many shapes

The gods bring many things

to their accomplishment.

And what was most expected

has not been accomplished.

But god has found his way

for what no man expected.

~ Euripides, Bacchae

~~~

The cosmos abounds with background radiation, heated echoes of the Word. Is the Artist, then, and the artistic spirit, that very heat driving us to make, not an echo of Creation within the soul of man?

~ Martin Smith, Dream Spirits

PART ONE

Chapter 1

On coming into this world, he became aware that he was aware, that he was a thing, an occupier of space.

From where he’d come, the Surgeon could not say. Nor did he fully realize why he knew himself by that name. Behind him stretched a void. Before him, straightening and shaping, rose a place of life.

Yes, life: that was the ripe scent on the wind, the coarse sound in his ears and the constant, energetic thrum trembling in and through all things, including him.

Waking from a dream.

But what was this place? The Surgeon strode forward, grass crunching beneath his soles. He was in an open area, a park. A sprawling city, draped in evening, encompassed this park. High-rises winked in light and coiled neon snakes hissed names of taverns and shops, and slick smoky roads lay dappled by burning lamplight. Nothing else moved. Past the height of the tallest visible building, the Surgeon saw only blackness—for all intents and purposes, another void.

I’m dressed.

Yes. A long, unbuttoned raincoat hung to his shins, the only clothing on his upper half. A sliver of pale bare torso peeked out, above black slacks belted to his thin waist. The Surgeon recognized that he was too thin. Bones ridged his chest. He could not intimidate or fight his enemies in such an emaciated condition.

Enemies?

Slowly, he felt his own truth growing, filtering into him something revelatory. A purpose had brought him here. Right now, though, he didn’t know the exact nature of that purpose, only its mounting and nameless portent.

Something was strapped to his chin. He touched it: soft,

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