The Silver Sphere

The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich

Book: The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich Read Free Book Online
Authors: Michael Dadich
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    He stared at his hands, which were bound by handcuffs. A trickle
of blood and sore skin made his head spin. The manacles chafed his wrists. They
didn't resemble the sort of cuffs he'd seen on television or that police officers
carried. Thick, heavy rust covered the shackles.
    "Wake up, outlander. A fog is upon us, and this is not natural. Thieves' fog and we must bolt," Spiro bellowed.
    Nick recalled saving the young woman, Emily Lawson. The name
rang loud and clear as memories flooded his mind. He'd awakened on the grass and
stumbled over a strange campsite.
    He rubbed his head. Chains clanked when he moved.
    "Wha-what do you mean 'thieves' fog'?"
    "What I mean is this mist is manmade or, more precisely,
Nightlander-made."
    Something about the way he talked made it sound like Spiro himself
didn't believe their plight. "Now, we need to hasten." Spiro grabbed Nick
by the arms and hoisted him to his feet.
    Nick stumbled forward, trying to follow the captain. Spiro stopped
abruptly and stared into Nick's eyes. The glare made Nick's blood run cold.
    "Outlander, I am going to unshackle you. I'm doing this
because you may be easy prey if I do not." He leaned in and whispered in his
ear, "Stay close behind now."
    Nick wanted to ask where the rest of the soldiers were, but decided
not to. The captain was already on edge, and Nick didn't want to risk upsetting
him more. He was content to be rid of the heavy cuffs and chains.
    He stumbled as if wearing two left shoes behind Spiro, in an
effort to keep pace. Although he considered running, Nick had no intention of losing
his former captor. The idea of being alone out in the mist—with Nightlanders, thieves,
and the fog—didn't sound appealing.
    Nick's heart beat hard in his chest, as he glimpsed a shape out
of the corner of his eye. Sprinting and panting behind Spiro, the figures emerged
with greater frequency. He wondered at first if they were Clayborn and the other
soldiers.
    Something was not right with the shadows. They darted in and
out of the gloom around him.
    Spiro turned to check if he kept up, but hunger and thirst made
it hard to follow. Exhaustion clouded his mind as the awful shapes contorted at
close range in the dark mist. His ribcage tightened and a head rush overcame him,
and he fell.
    He rolled a few feet and settled onto his back. Chest heaving,
Nick tried in vain to stand. Spots danced in his vision and his head swam.
    "Outlander, Outlander!" Spiro cried in his booming
voice, lost somewhere in the woods.
    Nick strived to respond, tried desperately to call out to Spiro,
but his tongue was thick and dry.
    A shadow moved toward him. His vision blurred and, even squinting,
he couldn't focus on the murky shape.
    "S-Spiro?" he murmured.
    The figure drew closer—a foreboding man wearing charcoal armor
with the emblem of a skull on his chest. The dark form stalked him, sizing him up.
A gleaming blade raised high in preparation to smash upon him. A black cape fluttered
behind the soldier.
    Nick compressed to the fetal position. How many times could one
person die in a day? Had he actually died after being stabbed with that ice pick?
Was this some strange afterlife? Perhaps he'd go home now. He shut his eyes, expecting
the painful deathblow.
    The strike never came.
    He heard a crash and a yelp. Someone moaned in pain. When Nick
opened his eyes, the dark man-thing curled recumbent on the ground a few feet away.
His sword lay nearby.
    Another shape stood close by and peered down at him. The figure
walked over, reached behind Nick, and hauled him up.
    Nick exhaled, the tightness in his chest and the throbbing in
his head both gone.
    "Thank y-you." He doubled over, panting.
    "Shh, Nick, be silent and travel this way. This way is safe.
Now go," the man whispered, and then walked off.
    Nick stared at the back of the mysterious figure as he disappeared
into the thieves' fog. A strange shock of recognition struck him. The man who'd
saved him was famous—Nick couldn't

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