By Wind & Sea – Teasers



By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 10:

“Maxim,” it called out in the darkness. The name echoed loudly for eternity. There was heat. There was burning. There was pain. There was twinkling starlight that appeared faintly in the distance, then exploded like novae. Hot fireballs engulfed him.

“I am the universe,” it said.

He was a baby. Warm, happy, asleep. He was a man. Cold, scared, dying. The novae returned, exploded once again; the fire burned. Maxim, the name echoed in the darkness. Colors swirled around him. Bliss.

“I am the universe,” it said.

The cycle repeated.


Horrifying pain. He screamed. Exploding novae. Color blasts bathed him in warmth, softness, and strawberry scents. A touch of rhythms undulated through him.

“I am the universe,” it said, and it tasted like batteries. He was breathing saltwater that burned his fingertips. Maxim! Maxim! Maxim!

Darkness came for him again. He was bliss.


And then he heard it more clearly, “These are not your thoughts… I am the universe.” Images began to flash around him. Gravity existed. Dirt was underfoot. Walls surrounded him. Gunfire popped. Sulfur filled his lungs. A heartbeat thumped in his chest. Sweat beaded down his neck, and arms. He stepped on something that gave way. He looked down. There was blood. Not his. Not his thoughts. He fought to push them away.

He was back in the darkness. He was bliss. He was the universe. He was infinite.
The thoughts invaded again. They pierced his darkness. They forced him to feel gravity, to breathe the sulfur, to hear the gunfire, to feel his heartbeat, sweat, and footsteps. But now they brought images of men running, screaming; some in pain, some in anger, some in death. Something exploded through his chest. He fell. Back into darkness.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 9:

The lights of a rare southbound car glowed like fireflies half a mile up before dipping around a bend for a few seconds and reappearing nearly on top of him in the next. The undulating road meandered through the coastal cliff face. Its smooth tarmac daring drivers to speed around its treacherous bends. Down at the bottom, the Pacific lapped harshly at the rocks.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 8:

Vasiliy “Lobo” Lobochenkov looked past the man that he held in his hands. The fact that he struggled to break free of Lobo’s crushing grip did not matter. What mattered was that the man’s friends got the message. There were three of them. Each beaten and bloodied, but still not completely out of the fight, at least not yet, not for another few seconds. Lobo crushed his hands tighter. His fingers dug dully into the man’s trachea and vertebrae, and Lobo kept squeezing. The man pushed out a gurgled cry; his last on this Earth, and still Lobo squeezed staring at the three. Lobo saw the most aggressive of them flinch, and he smiled. He released his grip from the now dead man’s neck, and the body crumpled to the floor.

Lobo walked forward toward the three men, stepping on the dead-man’s head, as he closed in. One of them was smart enough to run. The other two were paralyzed by fear. The most aggressive man threw a wild punch that Lobo blocked with ease. Lobo crashed an elbow into the man’s jaw, and the man fell backward onto the pavement. The last man held the tire iron that had cracked Lobo’s skull, but he no longer felt powerful with it in his hand. The tire iron shook freely in the man’s hand almost slipping out. A few minutes ago, he had wielded it bravely behind the ambush of his three other friends; one dead, one unconscious and soon to be dead, the third fleeing for his life and to be dead within a day. He was the fourth, and he would die right now.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 7:

The water simmered around him, and silver flashes streaked on the surface of the bubbles like tinsel strands draped over thousands of tiny snow globes. Aiden smiled with a fleeting nostalgia, until the seagulls swooped down around him, buzzing his head, and plunging hard into the water. The water exploded around him in bursts of cries, caws, and pops of dive-bombing birds. He closed his eyes, and covered his head with his arms to ward off the pecking beaks of the crazed, white-winged attackers. The chaos threatened to toss him from his scull. The school of sardines broiled over, breaking off into lesser and lesser tumults. The gulls followed them relentlessly until they had disappeared back to the relative safety of the deep.

Aiden looked at his watch which was beeping incessantly. His heart rate had spiked. He began to breathe deeply until he could calm himself for the long row back to Berkeley Harbor. Senator Thompson wanted to talk, and though Aiden answered to no one, Thompson was one of the very few that he did not ignore. Aiden took a final deep breath, held it for a ten-count, put his left oar into the water to pick up its drag, and pointed his scull toward the darkening harbor.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 6:

The water boiled with a fiery fury that flowed from one end of the corridor, climbed on top of the ceiling, and cascaded over the other. It was a hellish trap. He would surely drown, but Rafi took a small comfort in the fact that he would be immolated first.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 5:

Ella Kasparian had no time, never did. At least that’s how it felt. Time was a fleeting thing. She was a busy, little worker-bee that buzzed around her firm’s hive. The drones sat at their desks, staring into their consoles, honeycombed by carpeted fiberboard, sipping on their syrupy-sweet, soft-drinks straws half-lipping their mouths as their eyes dilated at the sucks of sugar. Their tasks fed the hive. They were useful as long as the queen was happy. You didn’t want to be a useless bee at Bodner James.


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 4:
“Ella kept diving down toward the Nineveh’s worksite which was bathed in busy light. A couple of divers appeared from the protruding section of the ship, swimming speedily by with their salvaged loot in tow, oblivious to his presence. Debris swirled steadily up and around carried by an undulating vortex of cold current.”

By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 3:

“Rafi slept in the next morning, though this morning was no different than any other in that respect. Courtrooms in Connecticut did not open for business until 10 a.m., and most judges did not wake up until lunch recess when their stomachs reminded them that they only had one foot in the grave.”


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 2:

Another small taste to wet the appetite for my second novel, By Wind & Sea

“The practice of law is a noble thing. The practice of law is a noble thing—well something. Rafael smirked slightly as he stood by the glass, peering through for a sign of it, any sign of it, amid the low-hanging gray sky and downy flake that hung palsied above Hartford. His eyes strained to catch its normally bright glint, but his mind was filling in where there was only mist. A sudden wind cleared just enough of the falling squall from his window’s vantage point, and then there it was—the dome.”


By Wind & Sea: Teaser # 1:

My second novel, By Wind & Sea is coming along well! I love this line:

“The marksman broke into the rain that had begun to cascade from the heavens, off of the slick patchwork rooftops that dotted this hardscrabble part of the city, and onto the myriad of umbrellas that covered the ne’er-do-wells beneath.” ‪#‎amwriting‬

© J. Manuel

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