I shared the beginning of the prologue for Surviving the Shadows during an author takeover on Sunday. Now that it’s been a few days, I’m going to share it here. Rewrites are coming along, and it looks like I’ll be able to hit my new deadlines, but again, no official release date until my editor has it. I hope you enjoy this in the meantime!
Copyright Miranda Turner 2019
Gabriel wasn’t sure how long he’d been trapped in this place, but it had been more like weeks than days. The heat and darkness pressed in on him, blinding him to his surroundings as he hung there, miserable and sweaty. He’d been there long enough that his hunger had given way to a deep emptiness in his gut and his lips were cracked from lack of moisture. His long dark hair lay in a tangle down his back, both wet and greasy. It had been so long since he’d properly bathed. To feel the cool touch of water on his skin sounded like heaven. He was lucky if he got water to drink.
The sour, decaying smell of the air here had caused him to gag in disgust when he was newly arrived. Now it had become his normal, invading his pores until his scent matched its foulness. One more sign of how this place was taking him over, fundamentally changing him into something closer to the darkness—at least, trying to. He was too strong to let it win; he had to believe that.
Gabriel gazed down at his once powerful body, now emaciated, frail, and incapable of saving him from his current situation. His captors kept him under control by not providing him with food or allowing him to feed. Every rib in his torso stood out in stark relief, and his mouth was so dry his tongue was swollen. His blood moved through his veins like sludge, pushed by his barely beating heart.
He’d been weakened already when they captured him. Barabbas’s training had to be harsh to be effective. And, as part of that training, he’d brought Gabriel to the Underworld, thinking that being closer to the source of his Daemonic power might help him connect the two halves of his soul. It had worked, at first.
Gabriel, what’s wrong with you? Get up,” Barabbas scolded him as he lay on the floor after having been flattened by a blast of fire.
“I’m trying, Uncle. I’m just so tired. Everything on me hurts. This is what I imagine humans feel like when they’re sick. But I can’t get sick, can I?” Gabriel was baffled. Why did he feel so terrible? The lethargy was bone deep and almost painful. He didn’t even want to get up. Maybe he could just take a nap right here.
Barabbas walked over and kicked the bottom of his foot. “Get up.” With a groan, Gabriel rolled over and got to his knees, but as he tried to stand, his knees gave out and he went crashing back down.
“Fuck. I don’t like this. Something is wrong,” Barabbas said, grabbing Gabriel and pulling him to his feet. “We’re getting out of here.” Barabbas flashed them back to the human realm, and Gabriel was able to take a deep breath for the first time in what felt like days.
Even with the setback, he’d been getting closer to achieving his goals of a cohesive soul, a Daemon side that was comfortably under control, and returning to his team when they’d snatched him. He’d just still been too weak to fight off the sheer numbers they’d sent after him. From what he could tell, the process of integration had completed in this dark place out of self-preservation.
The two halves of his soul had become one mid beating in an effort to help him survive. The merging had stolen his breath and drawn his legs up to his belly as a sharp stabbing sensation assailed his chest. The breath had sawed in and out of his lungs as he regained his equilibrium before Dantalion, his demonic tormentor, could take advantage of his weakness. It was only later he’d realized what had happened.
Now, his captors were keeping him as weak as possible, and the longer he was here, the less fight he had. Something about the atmosphere seemed to suck his powers away just like before.
No…not his powers. It felt like it was ripping out part of the very soul he’d worked so hard to heal.