Trapped, Book One of the Shadow Shaman Saga

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Events

Alright, this one is actually a complete work and therefore I can only share the first three or four chapters with you guys (gotta make my pennies somehow). If you're interested in reading more of the work, it's available on Amazon or if you're lucky and ask nicely, I'll share the rest for free.

Without further adieu, I hope you all enjoy Shawn's adventures in The Shadow Shaman Saga, book one, Trapped!

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Chapter One

Dreams are power.

Shawn Mendez had heard his aunt mentioning it more than once since he’d revealed that he’d begun having dreams of the past, the present and the future. That he’d seen shadows begin to dance upon the walls, beckoning him to come and join them. His aunt had quickly given him a crash course in the history of their family. She told of how they had migrated to the United States from Europe around the age of the Industrial Revolution, settling in the far south, where magic still held sway and was respected. His aunt had quickly plied her trade as a witch.

Yeah, you heard me. A witch.

Not the kind that you think of that constantly is on television commercials, promising to read your fortune or tell your fortune through a reading of her crystal ball. No, she was a genuine witch. Complete with hexes, curses and bones. She said bones and blood were old magic, very powerful. She explained that every third generation, a male was born with the gift. A shaman. It was his job to keep watch against the nightmares of the Shadow Realm through dreams.

Shawn had laughed at her.

It wasn’t very funny now though, he mused, as he struggled against the ropes binding his wrists and ankles, causing them to dig painfully into his skin. He couldn’t tell where he was or when he was. Time passed differently here. He’d learn that the first few times he’d ventured in his dreams or ‘traveled’ as his aunt called it. He’d thought it pretty cool at first, a sort of ‘bragging right’ to his friends. She’d warned him that this was no game and that he needed to treat his gift with respect or he would soon find himself in a predicament because with great power, comes greater dangers.


“You need to respect your gift Shawn,” Aunt Agatha had warned, her beautiful features frowning at him as he struggled against her vice-like grip on his hand. “It is a rare and powerful thing. Your dreams hold more power than you know. You can travel the past, the present the future. See what is and what is not. You are able to travel through dimensions, across worlds. You are not bound to the physical realm.”

Shawn merely grumbled and muttered that he understood. Now, he was wishing he’d heeded her advice more closely and accepted her multiple offerings to tutor him. How could anyone blame a high school student for not wanting to take things seriously? He was more concerned with what was happening the next, upcoming weekend, girls and sports. His friends felt the same way and seemed supportive. He wasn’t sure if they really understood what he was talking about though.

Now though, he wished for company, any company at all. Anything but the awful silence of the shadows around him. He’d heard the sound of footsteps and had yelled out for help several times. It only earned him a gag for his trouble. The fabric smelled of old, gym socks and he didn’t think he wanted to know just whose socks they were. The floor he lay on looked to be made of wood; but, it sounded wrong when the creatures moved across it, all give and no creaking.

The world around him was composed of shadows and light that reflected nothing, his eyesight straining to see farther than the few feet in front of him. It proved fruitless and he settled back against the wall behind him. Despite the utter bleakness and lack of color, he felt no chill, no change in the temperature. It would have been strange if he hadn’t been distracted by everything else currently going on at the moment. He shuffled his feet, bringing his knees up to his chest so that he could rest his chin on them. He felt tears begin to brim on the edges of his eyelids and wondered if anyone was even aware that he was trapped here, trapped in his dreams.

I have to thank you Shawn… the voice echoed through the shadows, startling him out of his self-pity party. He glanced around, looking for the source of the voice and heard only a dark, drawn out chuckle.

Looking for something?

Come out and fight me!

You don’t even know what I am. It replied, matter of factly. Shawn realized, the voice was right and that he probably shouldn’t be encouraging some unknown entity to ‘fight’ him.

Point taken. Still, what do you want with me?

The fact that you’re asking shows how little you really know. The voice chuckled again, though there was anything but mirth in it. The voice faded into silence and Shawn found himself left to his thoughts. He wondered why the voice had decided to speak with him at all. There was always a purpose. He’d learned that much from the countless action movies he’d watched growing up with his best friends. The thought of his friends twisted a knife deep in his gut and he wished more than ever he could go home. He didn’t even know if they knew he was gone, trapped in this hellish nightmare.

You could always give in. The voice whispered against his ear, all silk and honey.

**** you. The words seemed stronger than he expected as they whispered off his lips, a sign of his inner strength and desire to get out of his predicament, no matter how difficult it might be before then.

Realizing there was little else he could do at this current point in time, he rolled on to his side, his knees tugged tightly against his chest, arms circled around them as he closed his eyes. He didn’t know how you could dream in a dream; but, somehow he was falling, his mind traveling through a blur of space and time until the world came slowly into focus and he realized he was in his room. Yet, somehow, he wasn’t. He reached out to touch one of the posters of his favorite sports team on the wall and frowned as his hand passed clean through.

“I warned you,” His Aunt’s voice was amused and mischievous. “I told you that your gift was not something to be taken lightly and as any adolescent, you ignored my advice because, let me guess, you know everything.”

He turned to see his Aunt, her long auburn hair in a braid over her shoulder, sitting on the edge of the bed, her eyes closed, her fingers rubbing small circles over his hand where they lay, motionless, on top of his covers. “You didn’t tell me you meant this!” He cried, trying to reach out and touch her and growling when his hands passed through her as well.

“You can’t touch this reality while you’re a shadow,” She murmured, lifting his hands to clasp upon his chest. “You would have known this had you listened to me. Alas, we have little time, child.”

“Little time?”

“We don’t have time for pointless questions,” She replied, her voice rising slightly, her eyes flitting back and forth quickly beneath her eyelashes. “Our link grows weaker and I do not know how much longer I can maintain it. Ask your questions before it fails because I do not know if I can do it again.”

“Where am I?”

She chuckled. “You do not know?”

He growled in response.

“Fair enough,” She murmured, standing and walking to the window, somehow avoiding the piles of strewn clothing and toys on the floor. “You are in the Shadow World. Do you remember it from the few lessons you allowed?

“Yes.”

“What do you remember?” A test then.

“That it mirrors our own, a world of gray and white, outlines, vague shapes. A world lacking substance, a world of darkness and bleak despair.”

“Yes, yes. Go on.”

“This world is as old as ours, created in a fit of jealousy by the Shadow King. Jealousy at his brothers for their creation of man and his perfection. The Shadow King, mocked by his siblings for his disfigured face, had long ago adorned a mask and his deformity in shadows, preferring the solace and company of darkness. He hated man and his perfection, wanted to destroy it.”

“Yes.”

“The siblings sacrificed themselves to bind their sibling in his world, denying him a bridge to ours until our ancestors were born, the first shamans, dream walkers.”

She chuckled. “Close enough, continue.”

“I don’t see what this has to do with anything,” Shawn grumbled, rubbing his temples where a migraine was beginning to develop and the world began to shimmer and blur. “Wait!”

His aunt’s voice sounded far away, disappearing down a long, dark tunnel. “Remember your power, Shawn.”

My power? He mused quietly to no one in particular. My power to dream? This power hasn’t caused me anything but trouble. I mean, I’m trapped in the very dimension that our elders imprisoned the Shadow King. Perhaps…no, he moaned in despair.

I see you’re as wise as your aunt gives you credit for! The voice whispered, surrounding and enveloping him. Now that you know who I am, what are you going to do to stop me?

Why are you asking me?

The voice laughed mockingly and faded away again, leaving him to his silent reflection. He wondered at the passing of time until his stomach rumbled and he curled tighter into a ball. He forced his eyes closed and let his mind drift, though instead of traveling this time, he found himself fading into the welcome embrace of sleep and he allowed himself to be enveloped by the welcoming darkness.

Tick tock, Shawn, tick tock. The time of the eclipse is nearly upon and when the time comes, you’re going to help me shroud the world in shadow and in the darkness then, I shall finally bring an end to my sibling’s perfections. So sleep tight and wake, you have work to do when the time comes. So much work.


 
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Events

Chapter Two

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The sound was odd, insistent as he fought his way up and out of the sleep-induced coma he was in. He struggled awake, bright, green eyes blinking against the sun’s rays peeking through the gaps in curtains as glanced over to the right of his bed to see a table with a small device that was repeatedly making loud, insistent beeping noises. He reached a hand over, curious at the ability to move now as he realized there were no ropes binding his wrists and he shifted, rolling on to his side and noticing there were no ropes binding his ankles either. Odd, he mused.

Then he noticed the thirst. His throat felt parched, his lips cracked and he felt very, very dehydrated. He climbed out of bed, pushing the covers with images of elk and mountains back, as he swung his legs up and over the side of the bed. His bare feet met plush carpet and he wiggled his toes against the feeling before rising to his feet. He wavered a moment, dizziness threatening to send him sprawling back in bed.

Beep. Beep. Beep.

The alarm clock again, more insistent, louder, making sure he was aware that it wasn’t happy being ignored and he slapped a hand down on the off button, bringing his room back to a pleasing silence. His head ached; but, he ignored the throbbing pain as he made his way over to the bathroom, turning the cold water on and cupping his hands beneath the fountain and lifting them to his lips, draining the contents. The cool, refreshing liquid felt heavenly against his parched, dry throat and he repeated the process three more times before lifting another cupped handful and splashing his face, wiping the remnants of sleep away.

Ping.

The new sound echoed from his bedroom, on the nightstand. He toweled off his face as his phone chimed three more times. Ping. Ping. Ping. He replaced the towel on the rack to dry and walked over to his phone, swiping up and typing in his code. There, waiting for him, was a group text with his two friends.

Where are you? Joey punctuated his text with a smiley face.

Yeah, man. Trevor’s sad face was a stark contrast, hinting at the distinct yin and yang contrast between his best friends.

Joey Todd, high school athlete, jock and rising football defensive lineman star. He looked like a giant in comparison to his teammates and his friends though he was a gentle giant with an easy smile and interesting sense of humor. Trevor Bates, on the other hand, was anything but athletic. He was thin, wore the classic goth-like clothing complete with neck choker and was more of a realist, grounded in reality. Shawn realized that he fit somewhere, comfortably, in between his two friends. He had as much of a sense of humor as Joey; but, he also knew when to keep his head from getting too far up in the clouds.

Earth to Shawn.

Paging Dr. Dork.

What? Shawn finally texted in reply, adding a squinting emote to show his displeasure at their apparent lack of patience with him.

Where are you? Did you forget what today was?

There were the blinking dots as a reply or message was being typed and instead loaded a picture of Joey and Trevor, standing up against one of the pinball machines in their favorite arcade.

Crap.

Hurry up. Renee is here.

Shawn groaned and ran a hand over his face, suddenly very aware that he hadn’t had a shower since yesterday nor brushed his teeth. Nearly overwhelmed with the sudden realization that his friends were waiting on him and that his crush was at his favorite arcade was nearly more than he could bear. He took several, deep, calming breaths, the dream, if it could be called a dream, nearly forgotten for the moment as he scurried out of his clothes, tossing them into the continuously growing pile there. Need to do laundry later, he added as a mental afterthought as he turned the water on in the shower and darted beneath the spray before backing out with a wince when the scalding water nearly burned him. He took the time to adjust the temperature to something less than scalding, jumped back in, did the best he could to clean himself up and jumped back out. He rushed to the sink, brushing his teeth in a hurried yet what he hoped effective manner.

He shrugged into a pair of loose-fitting, faded jeans, a t-shirt with Skeletor saying ‘Bad to the Bone’ and pulled on his tennis shoes. He slipped his backpack over his shoulders, scooping his change for the arcade into one of the pockets before he did and then hopping down the steps two at a time until he reached the ground floor, swinging around the balustrade and nearly rushing out the door before pausing to grab one of the freshly made pieces of toast with jelly and shoving it into his mouth and clamping down with his teeth to hold it in place. He grabbed his bicycle from where it rested on its side in the yard and pedaled hurriedly down the street of his cul-de-sac and out on to the main sidewalk, heading toward town.

He slid to a stop, rolling his bicycle up on the curb and parking it in one of the bike racks, securing it with his chain and then walking into the building. Pushing open the doors, he was greeted with the usual sounds of an arcade: bells, whistles, dings, pings and an assortment of voices raised in frustration, triumph and laughter. Overall, one of his favorite places to be. He spotted Joey’s massive form and weaved his way through the crowd, muttering hurried apologies as he bumped into this person or that.

“Hey, watch it!” A young woman muttered angrily, turning to glare at him with eyes the color of emeralds, her fiery hair settling again on her shoulders. “You could have injured someone….oh, it’s you.”

“Hey Renee.” Shawn’s hands suddenly felt clammy and he shoved them into his pockets, not really sure what to do with them anymore. “I, uh, didn’t expect to see you here.”

“It’s a free country,” She sniffed, lifting a manicured brow. “I go where I please. What has you in such a rush anyway?”

“Uh, uhm, Joey and Trevor are waiting for me.”

“Oh.” She lifted a hand to brush a lock of red hair, the color of fall leaves, behind an ear. “I guess I’ll see you around then?”

“Come on lover boy-“ Shawn winced as a powerful hand closed on his shoulder, like a vice, turning him around to reveal the smiling face of his best friend. “Sorry about him bumping into you Renee, sometimes Shawn just can’t help running into pretty women. He’s a hazard.”

“It’s okay Joey,” Renee replied with a small smile, giving him a slow wave of the hand. “Just make sure he doesn’t hurt someone?”

“Can’t promise anything.” Joey replied with a smug nod of the head, pulling him along behind him as he turned and began walking toward Trevor. “Smooth moves there, lover boy.”

Shawn ignored his friend and instead turned to glance over his shoulder as Renee turned back to talking to her friend, glancing up at him once; giving a wave and then it was like he didn’t even exist.

“Earth to Shawn.” Joey clapped his hands to Shawn’s shoulders, startling him out of his reverie. “Thought we lost you to the clouds there man.”

“Huh. Oh, no.” Shawn muttered in reply. “Guys, I had the strangest dream last night.”

He realized the poor choice of words when Joey’s face split into a grin. “Not that kind of dream, Joey. It was weird, felt so life-like.”

“What happened?” His words seemed to have piqued Trevor’s interest because he’d stopped focusing on the pinball machine in front of him and was glancing at him, one dark eyebrow raised.

Shawn swallowed the massive lump in his throat and tried to begin, paused, swallowed and tried again. “You remember how my aunt always used to tell me that my family had a history of magic. You know, witches, shamans, spells, curses, that kind of stuff?”

“Yeah.”

“Well,” Shawn ran a hand through his unruly, brown locks. “This dream felt like one of those. I was tied up.” He raised a hand at Joey’s raised eyebrow and purse of lips, halting him before he could get off a joke. “I was bound wrist and ankle, gagged and laying on this floor that wasn’t a floor.”

“Floor that wasn’t a floor?” Trevor asked, ever the realist. At Shawn’s exasperated look, he motioned for him to continue.

“It was like a floor but not. It felt smooth, like polished, sanded wood; but, it didn’t sound like wood. You know how when you walk across a wood floor there’s a distinct sound that it makes?” The two nodded again. “Well, it was like that; but, it felt different. The sound was all wrong, it sounded more like a sigh and less like the creak of aged wood. The world was different too, all grays and whites, shadows upon shadows upon shadows. Little light, little warmth. It sounded a lot like the Shadow World that my aunt used to tell me about in her stories all the time when I was younger. Anyway, I was struggling as much as the rope would allow to free myself; but, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do after. I mean, I didn’t even know where there was. Then…”

“Go on, don’t stop at the best part!” His two friends whined like young children having their favorite toy taken away at his pause. “Go on!”

“This voice, it sounded ancient, old as time itself, a whisper upon the breeze that wasn’t a breeze. It whispered that it had a purpose for me. It felt like the voice was toying with me, like it could have ended me at any moment and didn’t, as a show of power, I guess.”

“Then what happened?”

“I fell asleep, which was weird, considering I was already in what had to be a dream. Then I woke up this morning, in my own bed, my throat dry and parched like I’d finished running a marathon in the desert.”

“Did it say anything else?” Joey asked, his usual joking set aside. “Anything important?”

“Something about the upcoming eclipse, I think, why?”

“I just remembered that your aunt said dreams are power, maybe it means
something?” Joey pressed, rubbing the faint, dark stubble on his chin. “Have you talked to her yet?”

Shawn shook his head. “No, you’re the first two I’ve even told about my dream from last night.”

“Sounds like you should talk to your aunt about it; but, first, you’re going to lose!” Joey chimed cheerfully, the momentary seriousness washed away as he turned back to watch Trevor at the pinball machine.

“You’re on.” Shawn replied haughtily, though his mind was anywhere but the arcade at that moment.


 
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