Saturday, 9 November 2013

A Shadow in the Flames (Michael G. Munz) on Sci-fi Saturday

Sci-Fi Saturday is here again and One Thousand Worlds has the pleasure of introducing A Shadow in the Flames, (Book One in the Aeneid Cycle) by Michael G. Munz in One Thousand Words. Michael was interviewed here on One Thousand Worlds in October. Find out more about him here.

A Shadow in the Flames-

There is more behind the fire that took his home than Michael Flynn would ever suspect, and more darkness in his only friend than he could ever admit to himself. Now, three nights tracking a cybernetic vigilante will alter his life forever. As a discovery on the Moon promises to change the future of the world, a conspiracy of light seeking to shape that change has its eyes on Michael...

About this author-

An award-winning writer of speculative fiction, Michael G. Munz was born in Pennsylvania but moved to Washington State at the age of three. Unable to escape the state's gravity, he has spent most of his life there and studied writing at the University of Washington.
Developing his creative bug in college, he wrote and filmed four amateur films before setting his sights on becoming a novelist. Driving this goal is the desire to tell entertaining stories and give to others the same pleasure with those stories as other writers have given to him. He enjoys writing tales that combine the modern world with the futuristic or fantastic.
Munz has traveled to three continents, and has an interest in Celtic and Greco-Roman mythology. He resides in Seattle where he continues his quest to write the most entertaining novel known to humankind and find a really fantastic clam linguini.


A Shadow in the Flames  

Michael Flynn felt naked. The sidewalk outside of a transit station on the edge of The Dirge was far from the safest place to be standing alone at night. Even so, waiting there to rendezvous with his roommate was less risky than walking home into The Dirge alone.

He glanced up and down the street from his vantage point atop the steps that led back down to the transit bay. The other passengers who had left the bus with him dispersed into the night along isolated paths. A homeless woman sat hunched beneath a small overhang, silently begging as they passed without taking notice. Michael supposed he could be in a worse situation than having to stand a few extra minutes waiting for his roommate to meet him. The woman had been in the same spot when he had left that morning. Did she have a place to sleep?

Sleep. He'd welcome it after such a fruitless day. Maybe, if he could just get home and relax, his problems might go away for a bit. They might even look better in the morning.

A soft rain began to fall. It spattered on a fallen poster that proclaimed the arrival of the new 2051 model year Uhatsu sedans. The woman's bare feet pressed on the pavement as she tried to better position herself in the dry spot beneath the overhang. Michael watched her and doubted anyone in the neighborhood was in the market for a new luxury car. Then he noticed something more.

She'd worn shoes that morning.

He cursed under his breath that someone would have stolen them from her, and his wallet was open before he'd really even thought about it. What insignificant cash he had clung to the inside and made the empty space there all the more prominent. He stared at it for a few moments, and then put it away again. Soon he would need to think about from where his own next meal was coming.

Yet there was still no sign of his roommate. After casting a few more glances along the street, he found himself meeting the woman's chance gaze. The resignation in her eyes struck him, devoid of hope and heavy with loss. Michael's heart sank in the brief moment before she turned away, and, once the contact was broken, he looked down at his own shoes: barely six months old. He'd bought them just before coming to Northgate. Though the city had marred them a bit, they were still in solid shape.

He reached for his wallet again and walked the short distance to the homeless woman with the regret that he wasn't better equipped to help. At the very least, he wished he could have caught whoever had taken her shoes.

Her hands were chapped, weathered, and dusted with the grime of street life. She took the few bills he offered, and her dirty fingers briefly brushed Michael's own before withdrawing, almost apologetically, from the contact. After a moment, he took out another five and passed that to her as well. Tired eyes looked up at him and a melancholy smile passed over her worn face before her gaze quickly dropped again.

"Thank you," she whispered.

He opened his mouth to offer some form of comfort, but any words he could think of only sounded hollow. He cast his eyes about in a search for what to say, yet all he managed to find was the sight of his roommate's arrival. The older man kept his distance down the sidewalk, waiting in the evening drizzle. Michael left the woman with a weak smile to cover his loss for words and then hurried to join him.

His roommate turned and began to walk as Michael reached him. "You've found a job, then?"

"Well. . ." Michael shrugged. His search that day had been a bust. "Not really, no."

"You shouldn't be throwing away money on strangers," the other said. "Thought you said your savings are running out."

"Yeah, I know." It was true: he was twenty-two with almost nothing to show for it, and giving her a portion of what little money he had left probably wasn't the smartest thing he could have done. "But. . . she probably had less."

"It won't help her. You might need it." He quickened his pace towards the bridge ahead. "Come on."

Michael looked ahead of them, across the water. The clouds broke along the horizon, and the Moon was just beginning to rise over the degenerating slums where he lived. Most just called it The Dirge, a violent, forgotten section of the city where police seldom went and those elsewhere tried to ignore. Roving gangs had long ago torn down the security cameras that were otherwise common on public streets and the corporate run sectors of the city. Even so, his pace quickened to get there. Meager though their apartment might be, it was a place to call home, and sometimes just the fact that he had a roof over his head was a comfort. At least it was in one of the more subdued quarters of The Dirge. Still dangerous, yes, but there were worse places, and it certainly wasn't expensive.

Yet he still had to eat, and if he didn't find a source of income soon, well, he wasn't exactly sure what he would do then. The small sum he'd given the woman might buy her a meal or two. Even so, his roommate was right. If he wasn't careful, he'd be in the same position.

Yet there were so many like her.

Want to read more? You can get A Shadow in the Flames FREE at:

You can buy Book Two in the Aeneid Cycle, A Memory in the Black here:

Find out more about Michael G. Munz

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