Here is an excerpt from the prologue of my new novel, The Cross’s Key
The Triplet Septfinitude bragged of mountainous peaks and plush grassy meadows. Trees with leaves of several hues of reds, yellows, and greens cascaded own each slope. Between each mountain rested deep blue and turquoise-colored lakes and streams. Living dwellings made of marble peeked out in various areas of the sides of each mountain. Small wooden bridges decorated with leafy vines connected each living dwelling from one to the next and all the way down to the grass below.
Paul and Susan Stevens looked on as their eight-month-old triplet boys lay on their blanket under the Fophawna tree. The Tantis Lake lay several yards away. A gentle breeze touched the furry bark of the tree just right, and the follicles billowed and shimmered. Susan got down on the blanket to play with her boys and moved into a sideways leaning position when the triplets touched each others hands haphazardly clapping them together. She chuckled as she watched. As they continued to do this, their hands became attached to each other. Then the three little bodies moved and melded together and giggled. The end result was one baby, not three. Susan’s mouth gaped open, and her vocal cords refused to work, rendering her silent. She was so horrified and so focused on the one baby that she didn’t see her husband on the blanket across from her trying to do what he could to make the one baby three again. All the while glancing over his shoulder several times to see if anyone else witnessed what just happened. They were alone.
“How do we get them apart?” said Susan now able to speak.
Paul didn’t respond as he poked and prodded the baby in front of him.
“What!” he thrust out. “How in hell should I know? This is the first I’m seeing this myself.”
“You don’t have to be so…..” Susan said with a start. “I didn’t…..damn!”
“You knew there was a possibility this would happen. We both did.”
She opened her mouth to talk but thought better of it. He was right, but she put this possibility behind her never thinking it would happen to her babies. She didn’t want this, not for her children. This kind of ability was dangerous. She knew what it meant for their future and the future of the triplets if anyone found out.
“Paul, what are we going to do?”
“We’ll have to keep them apart as best we can. Then, when they get a little older, we can leave and go to Shir in the Natural Septfinitude.”
He was right.
Fourteen years and Four Months Later
Shir’s early morning dew glistened across the lush grass as Ethan bent over the creek and whisked his fingers through his blond close-cropped curls. He gave himself one last look at his reflection in the still creek water then splashed the cool, wet liquid on his face a couple times and stood. He crossed his long sleeve shirted arm across his face to dry it then turned to face his triplet brothers.
“Why can’t we touch each other? You know, like pat each other on the back for a job well done or something. What’s all the fuss about?” asked Jace.
“Why? Do you need a pat on the back? Are you in need of a compliment? Well, job well done, Jace,” said Ethan with a voice dripping of sarcasm. “How are we supposed to know? We’re in the same situation as you.”
“You’re the oldest, Ethan. You should now,” said Mason with a chuckle. He knelt next to the creek, dunked his close-cropped, straight black hair in the cold water, shook his head several times, then whipped his head back, bringing with it a stream of water heading straight for Jace, who saw it in time and ducked. The splash landed on Ethan’s face.
Ethan gasped then took another swipe at his face to dry it. “I am the oldest by nine minutes,” replied Ethan. “And keep your water to yourself damn it. My being the oldest does not mean squat. Ask dad. Although, I doubt he would say anything. I tried asking once, and he blew me off.”
“Mom and dad never said anything to me either. I asked them once, too. Mom looked away and dad changed the subject. You know how he is. If he doesn’t want to tell you something, no amount of probing or coercion is going to get him to talk,” said Mason.
“So, let’s try it,” said Jace.
Ethan and Mason threw him a blank stare.
“What? It’s not like we’re going to blow up or something.”
“Dude,” said Ethan. “I don’t think we should go against mom’s and dad’s wishes.”
Mason smacked his tongue, then said, “Come on, he’s right. He is the youngest, so we can blame him if something goes wrong. Besides, they’ll never know.”
“Ok, fine,” said Ethan. “But not here in the open. Let’s go in the barn. We have chores to finish up anyways.”
The late July heat rendered the barn an oven of sorts. The three stood inside the main entrance looking around. One of thee horses in one of the distant stalls stamped his hoof and gave a low whinny.
Ethan spied his father’s small office on the far end and walked in that direction. “Come on.”
The three stood in the center of the room and looked at each other. Neither one wanted to go first. Finally, Mason gave Jace a quick poke. Nothing happened. Seeing this, Ethan and Jace did the same to Mason. Again, nothing happened. They started laughing and felt ridiculous. Then they slapped each other the way guys do.
“Damn,” said Ethan. “All this time we’ve been afraid to come in contact with one another. Again, I wonder what the big deal was?”
“He five bros,” said Mason as he put up both of his hands.
Ethan and Jace put up both of their hands. Now standing in a tiny circle, they all smacked each other’s hands at the same time. Then their bodies melded into one. Now they knew.
“What? Who? How? Oh God. What have we done?” asked the brothers who were now one person. What is this person’s name? My name? Our name? Damn! Who is this?” His voice didn’t sound like any one of the three brothers.
He turned to face the corner desk. A small 8″ x 10″ mirror hung on the wall above the section of desk on the right. He peered into it. A different person stared back. In a way he was a compilation of the three, yet different. He touched his mouth, then pulled the skin under his right eye down and let go. He ran his hands through his dark brown hair and exhaled.
“We need to tell dad. Wait, I’m talking to myself. Hey, you guys there?” Nobody answered back. “What’s my name, our name?” Again, no one answered. He didn’t know if he was one person or three.
A translucent green materialized around the frame of the mirror and intensified until it filled the room. He plucked the mirror off the wall and a certain oddness peered back at him….
(If you enjoyed this snippet and would like to continue reading more, follow the link to the book in the book’s title above. It is free on Kindle Unlimited. The Kindle version is $8.99 on Amazon).