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The Solstice Series by John J. Blenkush is an unexpected and exhilarating series #fantasy #99cents



Title Of The Heart

Series Title: Solstice

Author John J Blenkush

Genre Fantasy/magical realism


Book Blurb


Blenkush pens an engaging story of sorrow, courage, and learning how to love by overcoming fear in the Solstice Series. The first-person narrative features a young woman (Julissa) who is desperately trying to pick up the pieces of her shattered life after the death of her boyfriend and the disappearance of her father within a year's time. Amid hardship, Blenkush tightly weaves Julissa and Aaron's slow-building relation within an engaging plot. Replete with a well-developed quasi-dystopian cast, Blenkush manages to throw in light-hearted moments. Of course of key interest—aside from Julissa and Aaron's budding romance, Blenkush spends a great deal of time incorporating within his plot historical information about the mysticism behind Mt. Shasta, the lost city of Telos, Mu (the cradle of mankind), and the Lemurians' connection with another lost city: Atlantis. Blenkush keeps his story constantly flowing by combining all of the above-mentioned literary elements, as well as including un-hackneyed scenarios and cliff-hanging chapter endings. A five-book epic tale, the Solstice Series offers fantasy romance aficionados a unique and unforgettable storyline.


Excerpt


I’m bursting at the seams to share the story of my day. Questions continue to stack up in my head faster than I can remember them. On my walk home I hardly notice how cold and saturated everything has become until I step into a puddle and feel the icy water soak into my socks.


On Aaron’s and my walk to school in the morning the landscape had been inundated with a blanket of white. Now the scenery lies like a well-used doormat, smudged by rain and grime. Rivulets of water gush from the banks of dirt lining the sidewalks. Debris and mud swamp the concrete path home but, after the events of the day, the inconvenience of tromping through this wasteland becomes an afterthought.


I don’t see the Lincoln Continental in the driveway at Cherrie’s place when I arrive.


Of all the luck.


As I cross the road to the cabin, I glance down the road. I see the LC parked down by the intersection. The road, covered with compacted snow, has turned to white ice from the trod of tires.


I step lightly, taking care not to slip on my way across the divide.


I remember Cherrie telling me our road is one of the last ones to be plowed and those who live up here on the hill will often park their vehicles down below during storms. My spirit soars. It’s likely Cherrie is home in bed, curled up with her favorite mentor, Professor Hawking.


I pound on Cherrie’s door. When I don’t get an answer, I let myself in. I find her in bed, asleep. A book lays open on her lap. But this isn’t Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History in Time.


The book cover is blue. A crude hand drawn map of the world takes center stage. Calligraphy symbols beautify the four corners.


I lean in and read: The Lost Land of Lemuria by Sumathi Ramaswamy. I pick up the book and notice the page corners are well worn, some of them even torn. The pages appear yellowed and dry, almost to the point of cracking, as though the book is century’s old. A paragraph has been highlighted in red and underlined. A name is scribbled beside it, Bernard.


I read the paragraph.


Lemuria is a place that is lost until its place makers summon it into existence. If not for them it would remain unknown, vanished, even nonexistent. Because of them it reappears as lost.


Cherrie opens her eyes. She yawns. “Hey Julis.”


“Where’d you get this?” I hold up the book for her to see.


“It was my grandfather’s.”


Was?


“What’s he doing with it?”


“He liked to read that stuff. Leprechauns and trolls.”


I set the book aside. “You’d never believe my day.”


“What time is it?”


It’s dark in Cherrie’s basement. Besides the small decorative pane in the door, there’s only one other window. Which is covered by blinds.


“It’s afternoon, Cherrie. Four o’clock.”


“Is it still snowing?”


“No. Snow’s gone. It’s raining. But there’s a sheet of ice on our road, so I don’t think you’re going to get the LC back up here tonight.”


Cherrie sits up, stretches, and yawns. She crams a cigarette in her mouth. “So what about your day?”


“You wouldn’t believe it.”


“With you, probably not. But go ahead. Hit me.”


“Aaron walked me to school.”


“Really.”


“Yes. And you know how I’m always slipping and falling on ice?


“No, but I believe you.”


“Well, he held my hand, and I didn’t slip or fall or anything.”


“Usually happens. Four legs are better than two on ice.”


“Maybe, but I believe there’s more to it.”


“How so?”


“I felt empowered. Charged. I think I could have done cartwheels on the ice and still not have fallen down. That’s how confident I was. I felt invincible.”


I see Cherrie stiffening. She shoves her back against the wall. She mangles the end of her cigarette. Gears grind in her head. I brace for the next blitz.


“Aaron’s a skull worshiper. You do know that don’t you?”


“That’s not true!”


“You’ve heard of the thirteen crystal skulls, haven’t you?”


“Maybe. I don’t know.”


“High priests used it to will death.”


“So what’re you trying to say? You telling me Aaron can will death?”


“Course not, silly. But anyone who worships skulls is a bit twisted, don’t you think?”


“How do you know he worships skulls?”


“What’d you think the Delmons were praying to on Shasta?”


“You saw a skull?”


“Couldn’t really tell. The light from it was too bright.”


I sit down next to Cherrie. “So you don’t know that it was a crystal skull.”


“That’s the word around school.”


“Since when does the scientist believe gossip?”


“Okay. You tell me what I should believe. You know the Mayan lore. When the thirteen skulls are found and reunited, we’re all going to die. So they say. Going to happen soon. During the Winter Solstice on December 21st.”


“C’mon. You don’t believe that.”


“Doesn’t matter what I believe. You shouldn’t be traipsing around in the woods with a doomster.”


“He didn’t say he was taking me to the woods.”


“You said, hiking.”


“I assumed. Because he said to wear hiking shoes.”


“And what? You think he’s taking you to a fashion show?”


“Course not. But I’m not afraid of him.”


“You should be. Didn’t your mom ever teach you stranger-danger?”


“For god sakes, Cherrie. He’s not a stranger. We’ve talked.”


“Oh, good. Now I can sleep easy, knowing you’re out there hiking who knows where with a guy who sits on a mountain ledge, naked, with his legs crossed, worshipping the Skull of Doom, because you guys talked. You don’t find any of this at least a little bit strange? What about the picture of the skeleton you saw in his locker? How do you know he’s not taking you to the woods to add your bones to the pile?”


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Author Biography


John J Blenkush is the author of the critically acclaimed thrillers REDDITION and STACY’S STORY, (Kirkus) SANDMAN OF CAYE CAULKER, THE DOTHORIAN DOOR and the epic SOLSTICE SERIES. A varied professional career in aeronautics, engineering, construction, and IT security requiring extensive travel has instilled in John a wide-angle view of the world and its diverse inhabitants, stirred his imagination, and jump-started his foray into penning stories. Besides writing, John loves the great outdoors, running marathons, and recreational mountain climbing, which inspired the SOLSTICE SERIES. He lives with his wife, Nancy, in Northern California, and loves to spend time with his family.


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Title Sacrifice

Author John J Blenkush

Genre Fantasy/magical realism


Book Blurb


In volume two of the SOLSTICE SERIES, SACRIFICE, Julissa faces challenges and threats on all sides. Aaron is identified as the prime suspect in Louk Hollingsworth's death. Questions linger as to Aaron's sexual preference, age, and superhuman skills. Cherrie, a nymphomaniac, becomes sexually entwined with Jason Chavez, who seeks to revenge Louk's death. Nani Doris, an Atlantean and the leader of the Sons and Daughters of Belial, with comparable skills to Aaron, befriends Julissa while making advances on Aaron. Dierdra, Julissa's mother, accepts a job in Minnesota. Julissa's principal, head-hunter and Godzog, sanctions her for kissing Joe Leach, her teacher.


As the tension builds with others feeling the same negativity toward Aaron, Julissa is torn between loving or hating Aaron, even as she learns profound details about the ancient Lemurians. Aaron gifts Julissa a Lemurian communication crystal, which alters her physical and emotional being, triggering clarity and chaos. Julissa learns Aaron recharges from the energy centers of Bennu and Mount Shastina, that he can walk on snow, is an expert in Aikido, and often deploys an invisible shield for protection.


Without realizing it, Julissa steps into the direct path of a centuries old Atlantean/Lemurian ideological conflict.


When Julissa finds out that she'll be leaving California and moving back home to Minnesota, she revolts, choosing to climb the perilous Mt. Shasta with Aaron. But at what cost?

Excerpt


Aaron’s perceived ability to bring things back to life shakes the foundations of my beliefs, namely those taught to me by the Catholic Church. If one possesses the ability to resurrect, then, without question—I had been taught—that person is a deity. I can’t help but wonder; if Aaron is truly some type of true-blood Lemurian divine being, where’s that going to leave me?


The little girl from Minnesota, who had been led to believe Paul Bunyan, Santa Claus, and the Easter Bunny are real, but since learned they are nothing but fabrications invented by adults to spur the imaginations of little children, no longer accepts blind faith. And what about my dad, Simon, and Chuck, real people who now lay dead? Where’s God? Where’s the Catholic Church? Where are the miracles to save them! Or bring them back to life? Who wouldn’t, at the age of sixteen, become cynical in all things after having lived through what I have suffered?


Do I believe Aaron is gifted? Yes! Can I believe he is a divine being? I hold reservation. More so, I don’t want to believe he’s capable of resurrecting anything. Yet, here I stand, looking down on the incarnate proof of his ability to raise flowers from the dead.


It’s also true I felt invigorated in the hospital when Aaron touched me. The pig—although I firmly believed it had been dead and would stay dead forever—nevertheless showed signs of life when Aaron accidentally touched it. And now the flowers, blossoming in all their glory, as if it were springtime on the Crags, continue to mount a come-back-to-life transformation, even as I stand and stare.


I ask myself: At what point does Aaron’s transference of life-force energy no longer have an effect? Minutes, hours, days after something or someone dies? How long had the flowers been dead or dying?


I understand summer comes late in the mountains, which includes the Crags, so I think it is possible Aaron picked the flowers recently, maybe even on the first day I saw him looking down at us from Crown Dome while Cherrie and I were boy hunting.


So, I wonder, is his ability any different from, say, someone’s skill in the medical profession? Who, under the right conditions, possesses the expertise to resurrect a person back from the dead? You hear about it now and again; the person who floats underwater for twenty minutes or more, and due to the slowing hypothermic effect the medical mavens miraculously revive them. I witnessed this with my friend, Chuck Segovia. He was believed dead, yet came back to life for a few more days before dying. Is this all Aaron is doing? Using his superior knowledge and honed skills to impart a medical healing of the body? Even when it comes to reviving flowers?


I gaze at the flowers. How odd, I think, I’m looking for answers through the flower’s transformation instead of basking in the romanticism of the age old tradition of a boy gifting a girl flowers.


“Where are you?” I hear Dierdra say this from the living room. I make one last attempt to arrange the flowers in the mountaineering glass before answering.


“Coming.”


As I enter the living room, I see Dierdra and officer Scheeler sitting on the couch, twisted a bit, facing each other. I hear Louk Hollingsworth’s name mentioned in their conversation.


“What about Louk?” I ask.


Dierdra slides over and pats the couch in the space between her and the officer. “Come. Sit,” she says. “Officer Scheeler would like to ask you some questions.”


“I’m okay here.” I stand tall. I fold my arms across my chest, bracing for the questions officer Scheeler seems bent on asking.


“Just a few,” officer Scheeler says as he readies his notebook and pen, “questions. You were with Aaron Delmon in the park today. That correct?”


I nod. “Yes. Castle Crags’ park.”


“Mind telling me what you two were doing up there?”


“Hiking?” I say with a non-voiced duh attached.


In the back of my mind, I wonder if there’s a regulation or law against stripping down and sitting in one’s underwear in the park.


“Just how well do you know Aaron Delmon?”


I look to Dierdra. She sits with a stoic look on her face, almost too prim and proper. Her hands lay folded in her lap. She holds her head erect, as though giving the two of us her undivided attention. Yet I can see it in her eyes; her thoughts roam elsewhere.


How am I to answer the officer? How well do I know Aaron Delmon? I can only guess, so far, I have just scratched the surface of the boy. After all, isn’t it me who said, quiet waters run deep. If you want to explore them, you have to jump in. And jump in I had, yet I had also resisted swimming to the deep end. So, do I really know Aaron?


In my opinion, not at all.


What can I tell the officer? Aaron goes to school. He works a job. He has a family, bit unusual, yes, but nonetheless, he lives with a father-figure and the equivalent of two brothers. (I know I’m ignoring the female component, but, secretly and, maybe even egotistically, I hope I can fill the void)


Aaron possesses skills, yes. But doesn’t everyone? Maybe his are a bit more advanced, but so are the talents of elite athletes. Aaron’s a whiz kid in some ways. In others, I find him lacking. Socially, he seems but a child. I find him aloof, awkward in his interaction with others, as if he must mull over his words before speaking, as though he’s raised apart from those of his own age. I believe he’s struggling to align at his peer’s level, as though—and I know most of his classmates would agree—he doesn’t fit in. He’s more than just an outsider. He’s been outcast.


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Title Black Moon Rising

Author John J Blenkush

Genre Fantasy/magical realism


Book Blurb


In Black Moon Rising, the 3rd volume in the epic Solstice Series, sixteen-year-old Julissa's life bursts sideways when it's discovered she possesses the Holy Grail of life, whereas her cells are not only replicating, but reprogramming. The Lemurian gift allows her to manipulate life-force energy, leading to physical prowess and mental clarity. But Julissa lacks training and the wisdom to control her newfound skill, leading to adverse consequences.


In seeking guidance, Julissa learns through Bernard, the Godfather, the dilemma the Lemurians face. Unless their race is infused with DNA variant, they will become extinct. By chance, Julissa has become the Lemurian's last hope. But the choice, as Bernard instructs Julissa, "must be hers."


With Aaron gone 'below' to heal, Dierdra distracted with an energy therapist, and Julissa experiencing transformation, Nani Doris, the Atlantean leader of the mysterious order of the Sons and Daughters of Belial, steps in to fill the void of mentor. Adopting her into the fold, Nani spirits Julissa away to Sedona, Arizona. Recognizing Julissa is being groomed as the surface-equal to Aaron Delmon, Nani seeks to derail the Lemurian's plan to escape extinction, either through defilement or death of their chosen one.


Julissa must choose between light and dark, spirituality and materialism, and wisdom and power. Battered, confused, disenfranchised, she returns home to decide, only to be met with tragedy.


Excerpt


“I’ll take that as a, no,” Dr. Z says. He points to an adjacent wall, which houses a bank of windows. Behind the sheen of glass lays darkness, as there are no lights on in the next room. Dr. Z reaches over and flips a switch.


As the lights come on, Dierdra and I move forward to get a better view. Dierdra raises a hand and points. “What is it?”


I answer for Dr. Z. “They’re petri dishes.”


Dr. Z steps to the windows. “Good girl,” he says. “I see you’ve been paying attention in your biology class.”


“Why are there so many?” I look on in amazement at the rows and stacks of petri dishes. “What is it you’re growing?”


Dr. Z trains his eyes on me. “You.”


Both Dierdra and I look at Dr. Z as though he is some crazy man who has just stepped in off the street and is talking gibberish.


“Your cells,” Dr. Z says, his thumb jabbing toward the window, “are replicating so fast we can’t keep up with them. It started with the one culture Dr. Oakly sent over and, in a week, this is where we’re at. Now we have hundreds of cultures.”


Dierdra moves to the glass enclosure. She raises her hand and lays it on the window, as if she can feel the part of me that lives inside the room. “What does this mean?”


“We don’t know at this point. It could simply mean Julissa has unique DNA which, when extremely traumatized, allows the JAK2 to stay switched on until she is fully healed. Or it could mean, as I’ve already suggested, she has chronic leukemia.”


“But you don’t believe that, do you?” Dierdra says. “That she has chronic leukemia.”


“I’ve never seen a case of rapid-onset chronic leukemia triggered by trauma. It’s unheard of.” Dr. Z quickly adds, “We’re going to need to keep her here for observation.”


“Why?” I ask, fumbling my way forward and wedging myself in between Dierdra and Dr. Z. “If I’m healing, why do I need to stay here? Why can’t I just go home?” And I add, “I’m missing out on schoolwork,” as if I really care, but I assume it will give leverage to my argument.


Seconds tick by. Both of us can see Dr. Z struggling to come up with an answer. I think I’ve won my argument. He can’t come up with a good reason for me not to heal at home. I couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not that Dr. Z can’t come up with justification for me to stay in the hospital; he’s sensitive to our fragile emotions. But I’ve backed him into a corner. And now I’m about to pay. Dearly.


“We don’t believe the replication is sustainable.”


“And?” Dierdra urges.


Dr. Z doesn’t answer.


Dierdra lowers even more in her stature, as if the weight of the world has been hoisted onto her shoulders. “What is it you’re not telling us?”


“It’s called blast-cell burn-out. Once the JAK2 runs its course and shuts off, it may not come back on again. That’s our concern.”


I can see fear surging through Dierdra’s face as she questions Dr. Z. “Is Jewels...is she going to die?”


Dr. Z shakes his head. “We’re not going to let that happen. That’s why I need her to stay here. What’s taking place in there,” he says nodding to the room full of petri dishes, “is what man has been chasing since the day of his inception. The fountain of youth. You see, what’s keeping those cells propagating without becoming senescent is they have an active version of telomerase, which prevents the incremental shortening of telomeres.”


Dierdra looks confused. “I don’t know what any of that means.”


But I do. I remember back to when Cherrie and I had the conversation about aging and, when she asked me the question of whether or not I knew what telomeres were, I told her they’re the clock that controls aging. They’re like the caps on our shoelaces, I had said. They protect our chromosomes from deterioration. I explain this to Dierdra as best I can.


“Mom, every time one of our cells divides and our chromosomes replicate, they get shorter and pretty soon our cells can’t divide anymore. That’s why we die of old age. But if,” and I say this with trepidation, “we could control the enzyme telomerase, we’d be immortal. We’d never die.”


“That’s not possible. Is it?” Dierdra says, as she turns her question on Dr. Z.


Dr. Z gives me it’s-okay-nod-to-answer. “I think Julissa knows.”


“It happens all the time.” I look down at my belly. “Eggs and sperm never age. If they did, we’d have babies the same age as us.”


Dierdra’s face grows dark. She stares at me. At the same time, she levels a gut-punching question at Dr. Z. “You’re not telling us Julissa is going to be immortal!”


Dr. Z moves to within an arm’s length away from us. “Let’s not rush into any assumptions. But immortality is not as farfetched as it might seem. Have either of you ever heard of Henrietta Lacks?”


We both look at each other as if the other has the answer. I remember, vaguely, reading something about this woman in my biology class, who had died, and they were using her cultured cells for research.


“Henrietta Lacks died in October of 1951.”


Dierdra is quick to interrupt. “How is that a case for immortality? She died.”


“But her culled cells,” Dr. Z says, nodding to my room full of growing cultures, “didn’t. They became immortal, continuing to be remarkably durable and prolific. They live in laboratories around the world. Even today. And they’ve had an incalculable, profound impact on medical research.


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Title Songline

Author John J Blenkush

Genre Fantasy/magical realism


Book Blurb


In Telos, the city buried beneath Mount Shastina, the remnant DNA strain of the Lemurian race is at its end. On the earth's surface, world apocalypse looms. A surface-equal – a virgin with virtuous heart and pure blood – must be found to stave off extinction of the Lemurian race before life on earth is obliterated. The Lemurians believe they have found her – sixteen-year-old Julissa Grant.


With nothing left topside to hold her, the maligned and shamed Julissa makes her choice and follows the cousins into Telos. As of yet, she is unproven and considered by many of the Lemurian council a mismatch for Aaron. To prove otherwise, Julissa and Aaron are tested as avatars, walking Songline to see if they're compatible and capable of working together. Burdened with three serious flaws, greed, anger, and ignorance, Julissa fails miserably with detriment to Aaron. Julissa reluctantly agrees to return topside. But Paragon, the leader of the Lemurians offers her a chance to redeem herself by entering the Discovery Tunnel. Here she's challenged by a series of self-discovery tasks by Jungo, the last of the little people. While learning singlemindedness and with time ticking down before Armageddon's Killshot is fired, will Julissa conquer her inner demons? Or lose her place in the New World to one of her competitors?


Excerpt


“But it wasn’t him who I destroyed. It was me. With the boar.”


Kriss’shon’s face turns to one of disbelief. She lowers back into her chair. “Oh child. You’re so lost. To think you are not one with the world. To think you believe your actions have no bearing on those around you. Aaron saw the boar rip you apart. It tore his heart out. And now he lays on the verge of death. Because he cares for you. Because he’s willing to give his life for you.”


“As I did him! On Casaval Ridge. I love him. I want to be with him. Please let me go back to Songline. I’ll make it right. Think happy thoughts.”


A ripple of conferring runs the gamut through the council, ending with Paragon. “Child, to place you back in Songline now is a risk we cannot afford. Aaron is weak. Near death’s door. What good is it to have a surface-equal if we do not have the equal?”


“But I won’t harm him. Truly, I love him.”


“And so you did before. And look what happened. You’re correct. There is no other whose blood is pure-Lemurian, who is a virgin, and who can prolong our DNA strain. You are more than what we had hoped for, less than what we desire. Time is short. We cannot find another, in kind. So we must reach beyond our present hope, accept one who can deliver a child into the New World, so that HeIs may become our leader.”


“But what about your species? Won’t you die without new DNA?”


“Likely. But that will be our destiny, not yours.”


This can only mean that they are sending me back topside. I search the chamber for sympathetic eyes. I do not find any until I see the old lady who had spoken in my favor the last time I was at council. She had stood up for me, told everyone the choice as to what happened to me must be mine. I grab ahold of this thought with everything I have.


“The choice is mine, is it not? Where I go?”


“It is,” Paragon says. “But not to the extent of options.”


“I can choose, but you get to say what I can choose?”


“It is the way it must be.”


“Then what are my choices?”


“You can stay in Telos. But you do so at the sacrifice of another. Or you can go back topside.”


“And I will die if I choose topside.”


“As is foretold.”


It seems an easy choice, death or life, topside or Telos. Who wouldn’t choose life? But isn’t this Kriss’shon’s point? I’ve chosen self over the greater good, and look what happened? Aaron lying on his death bed. My self-serving heart has put the Lemurian species on the verge of extinction. And now I’m to do it again? At the death of another? This is a guilt the sanctimonious Catholic Church girl cannot shoulder.

“Then,” I say, rising to my feet, “I choose topside.”


I can tell this is not what the council expected. They wait in anticipation of me changing my mind, until Paragon speaks.


“You are certain this is your decision.”


“Yes. It’s the choice I must make.”


“Or...there may be another.”


All of us look to the speaker of these words. It is the old lady, the lady of choices. I stare at her with fervent hope. She stares right back.


“Give her to Jungo.”


Murmur runs rampant through the room.


Paragon holds up his hands to quiet the din. “Time is not our friend.”


“What misfortune occurs without opportunity? Telos exists only because Mu died. A New World will rise from the ashes of the old, as the Foretold prophesizes. The surface-equal, if we are to survive generation-to-generation, must be given the opportunity. Our equal lies on his deathbed. Time is his healer. We have no choice but to wait. Let Jungo have her. We have nothing to lose.”


Paragon turns to me. “But you do. You can choose to live out the rest of what remains of your life topside with your family and friends, live in harmony here in Telos until its end at the death of another, or,” Paragon looks to the choices’ lady, “choose Jungo.”


I have no idea what Jungo is, but I do know that if I go topside I will perish right alongside 7 billion other people. To stay in Telos at the expense of another means carrying that guilt to my deathbed, which, if I’m understanding the implication, Telos will not survive the apocalypse and I’ll die anyway.


I turn to the old lady and say – perhaps too fast, “I choose Jungo.”


Paragon leans forward. He studies me with a discerning eye. “Not many survive solipsism. Discovering one’s true self over a lifetime tempers and allows for adjustment. To do so in a matter of days one must become brutally egotisticallyself-absorbed. The person you are now will not be the person you will become, or the person you may want to be. Some of those who have gone there, psychologically, have not returned. You certain this is what you want? To change hearts? For better or for worse?”


I remember a verse from the bible; For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. I know what Paragon is trying to tell me. What if I discover I am nothing? That I don’t have anything to offer the Lemurians? What then? Or, for that matter, anyone else? After all, I have abandoned all those above, including my best friend Cherrie. But I have to know. What choice do I have? I can’t continue living not knowing if I’ve been deceiving myself. And, after all, how is solipsism much different than baring one’s soul to God to forego eternal damnation? I think I can handle a change of heart.


I nod my head. “I choose Jungo.”


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Title New World

Author John J Blenkush

Genre Fantasy/magical realism


Book Blurb


Julissa Grant emerges from suspended animation decades after her launch from Telos, the Lemurian city within the hollows of Mount Shastina. Life on earth is all but decimated during Armageddon, but remnants of humankind survived by taking shelter underground and are slowly establishing a New World. Julissa, having been chosen the surface-equal, is carrying the child of her newlywed husband, pure-blood Lemurian, Aaron Delmon. As prophesized by the Foretold, the child (HeIs) is to be the sire of future Lemurians, and Julissa’s Holy-Grail blood will add critical DNA, strengthening the deteriorating genetics of the Lemurian race, which is about to go extinct. Only now – 75 years later – is Julissa’s pod melting out from an ice cave.


Excerpt


Billions of humans, whether right or wrong, will perish, if not today, in the morrows when the radiation takes its toll. And the animals, and the birds, too. I don’t know about the fish, whether they will remain safe beneath the waters. But at the surface of this newborn lake, all things (except us) appear to be dying or are already dead. What I see are exceedingly large flotillas of fowl as they drift on by. Small plumes of smoke sift from their feathers, as though they have been roasted alive. As our convoy of pods, strapped together in the grid by an invisible force, rides up the hundred-foot or more water-wall and tops out at its apex, I’m given a bird’s eye view of the devastation afoot. The sky is raining down debris, including, as I come to see, human bodies. One lands not more than a few feet in front of me. Thankfully, it submerges before the pod runs it over. Still, I feel a slight bump beneath me. Could this be Cherrie, or anyone of the many inhabitants of Shasta City? Maybe one of my teachers, or one of the four-hundred students, or Principal Hertzog, the Headhunter himself? And Bernard, the dear uncle of Aaron? What has come of him? Who solicitously gave up his slot to Telos so that I may go in his stead?


I close my eyes. Shut them tight. Attempt to erase what I’ve just seen. To have talked about it, to have believed, partially or otherwise, that Armageddon would indeed happen, is not the same as witnessing it firsthand. And even though Armageddon is prophesized in the Bible – And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring; Men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. Luke 21:25-33) therecan be no preparation for world destruction. Not in this, my feeble mind and perforated heart. Here, even hope succumbs. Even though I know I am to be that expectation, the one chosen to carry a child, who one day would become the leader of the Lemurians, I cannot, at this juncture, relish in the thought. It seems sacrilegious to do so, given the absolute obliteration taking place in my midst.


The twenty-five pods ride as one, down into the troughs and up and over the swells, banking precariously as we float vertically for a time on the walls. How prescient it was for the engineers of the pods to recognize we would capsize if not for the invisible grid that binds us together. I fight to block out the images I’ve seen, to look forward, to know that Aaron and the other twenty-three girls are at my side, that they, too, are suffering as I am from the onslaught of devastation. For how can one’s heart not go out to the many that are lost?


I remember 9/11. So does the world. The twin towers collapsed under the innocents who were flown into the buildings by terrorists. Heart rendering to be sure. But time had dampened the hurt, raised hope, and refocused the future. Will time heal after the Apocalypse? I wonder. I think yes. After all, seventy-thousand years ago humans were nearly wiped out when a super volcano in Sumatra in Indonesia triggered a global volcanic winter in what was called the Toba event. It was only one of four volcanic eruptions during that time. Apocalypse, as the Delmons so succinctly demonstrated, would include many super volcano eruptions. All life, topside, would die out. Many more would succumb to starvation, freezing, disease, and radiation.


No one today feels for those lost in the Toba event, even though they were our ancestors. But I know, as I lay here in my pod, watching the world implode, watching people die, that the memory of those lost in Armageddon will not be forgotten by me until I perish.


I can no longer bear to watch.


I close my eyes. Try to think happy thoughts, just as Kriss’shon had taught me to do during my forays into Songline. I focus on the cabana on the beach; me lying on the mat on the floor, staring out the doorway, seeing Aaron pull from the crashing waves of the ocean on the beach, his naked body wet, rippling with sinew muscle as he strides forward over the sand. He combs his fingers through his long, blond hair, lacing it into hanging locks behind his ears, and then cuts an angle toward the cabana. His gaze is intense, his stride filled with purpose. I rise up off the floor, feel the coolness of the fan’s breeze as it gently washes over my body. Parts of me harden, rise in anticipation. Into this rarified ecstasy I wander, my mind laid to rest, my body saturated with lust.


*****


The nerve-shattering screech jolts me from my dream-state. I see Cherrie diving from her cubicle. She’s halfway across the cavern floor before I can wipe the mucus from my eyes. As I gather myself and make my way to the encircled group, I hear Cherrie’s voice mixed in with the screaming.


“How many times did I tell you, Wilda, not to go outside without me!”


I elbow my way through the onlookers. Crumbled on the rock floor of the cave is one of the young girls. She is writhing in pain. Her face is plastered with dirt. Streaks, created by the flood of tears, run the length of her cheeks. I look for physical damage – a broken arm, leg, bruises, head trauma – but don’t see anything abnormal. Cherrie is squatting next to her, holding her as a mother would a child who had just witnessed life at its worse.


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