Title: Shadow Bender
Author: Fay E. Simon
Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 3
BLURB: Shadow Bender
Thomas Franklin is involved in an experiment to control the darkness and command shadows, but far within his soul, he harbors a deeper darkness that may consume him. This secret is tearing him apart from Francie DeWitt, the woman he loves. As Franklin gains control of the darkness and shadows, he begins a physical change where he evolves into an unstoppable creature. Will he be able to adjust to this change and use it for good? Will he ever have the woman he loves or will Lewis Avery take everything away from him as his forefather had many years ago?
Sudicorp Research Center, known for its long-standing reputation as a place for scientific research for the betterment of humankind, was nestled in the heart of East Los Angeles where a bunch of grungy warehouses rested. The Sudicorp building looked deserted and quiet, except for the dim light in a window on the tenth floor.
Dr. Thomas Franklin, dressed in a white lab coat, stood in a large room within the building.
A ruggedly handsome fellow in his late forties, he wrestled with a machine oddly similar to a futuristic rifle with the look and feel of metal. The lens, which sat at the end of the metallic barrel, held a dark blue crystal, the size of a golf ball. The lights in the room gave off enough radiance to cast shadows.
"Haven't you got that crystal situated yet?" came the angry words of Drake Carver, CEO of the Research Center. Carver squinted behind his horn-rimmed glasses. They had been working on this experiment since five in the morning. The clock on the wall now said two minutes to midnight.
After readjusting the crystal, Franklin looked up. "It did work. Three times in a row, but the crystal has to be aligned just right," he said in a British accent. "Now that I've programmed the prototype to my brain waves, this thing will tear away any shadow from its origin."
"Why? So you can tear shadows apart?" Carver paced around Franklin and the gun bearing the crystal.
"You don't understand. I'm not tearing the shadows apart; I am separating them from the object of origin. For example, I will separate that chair from its shadow. From there, I will be able to command it. The theory is to remove the shadows away from what makes them. These lone shadows become a living entity. They can be controlled and given orders," Franklin looked to Carver.
"So this is what you dragged me in here for? You're trying to make shadow people?"
"No. A new kind of army; shadow soldiers at my command," explained Franklin, pushing back a few strands of light brown hair from his eyes. "It's all in bending the photons or using negatively charged photons. That's where the crystal comes in. We've discussed this before."
Carver looked around the lab, there were a number of tables with bits and pieces of metal parts and clear lenses scattered over them. On a table nearest Franklin was set a framed photo of a pretty, young woman with shoulder length dark hair and dark eyes. The smell of burning wires drifted about in the stale air. Drake Carver wrinkled up his nose then looked back at Franklin and the metallic gun holding the dark crystal.
"The cute girl in the photo, your girlfriend?" asked Carver, as Franklin adjusted the crystal for the umpteenth time.
"That's Francie, my future wife."
Carver lifted an eyebrow and smiled at the photo. "Frances DeWitt?"
Franklin stopped what he was doing and stared at his boss in disbelief. "You know her?"
"In another lifetime, my friend. Don't let me distract you."
Franklin went back to adjusting the crystal and said, "There. That should do it. Now watch!" Franklin lifted the gun and pointed it at a nearby office chair. When he pulled the trigger, a loud whirring noise exploded the silence and something began to happen. Its projected shadow on the floor began to stir without any movement from the chair. Had this been a cartoon, it would have been amusing, but to witness the shadow peeling itself up from the floor and pull away from the chair made Carver gasp and shudder. A creepy tearing sound, like the ripping of fabric, echoed throughout the room.
"What the crap was that?" Carver took a step back and looked around.
"That was the sound of the shadow tearing itself from the chair," replied Franklin with a grin. "Fantastic, isn't it?"
Slowly, the chair's shadow crept toward them. "The shadow is moving. Stop it! Stop it now!" Carver demanded as he took several more steps back.
The shadow grew taller and moved across the tiled floor menacingly.
"No worries. Watch this," Franklin turned to the shadow and with great authority said, "Desine movment. Sustine me mandato. 'Cease movement. Wait for my command'." Instantly, the shadow stopped advancing.
"What the crap was that?" Carver's eyebrows knitted together.
"Latin. The commands work best in Latin." Franklin grinned at Carver.
"Ancient language, I suppose. Greek works sometimes. Watch!" Again, Franklin looked to the shadow and said, "Μετακίνηση προς τα εμπρός δύο βήματα και στη συνέχεια να σταματήσουν, 'Move forward two steps and then stop'." As before, the shadow obeyed, taking two steps forward before stopping.
"That's incredible!" This time Carver moved to the stationary shadow. It looked as if he stood next to a black mass from a haunted house or some CGI from a horror movie. "Can I touch it?"
Franklin shrugged. "Go ahead. Try it."
Gingerly, Carver reached out to the shadow. As he did, his hand went right through it as if it were a spirit. Yet, he flinched.
"I feel something, but nothing solid. Like a spider's web, thin and fragile. That's creepy." Carver moved away from the thing and sat on a chair that had a shadow.
"Latin seems to work the best. There're a number of times that Greek commands are not understood. Can you imagine what we can do with the power to control shadows? No terrorist or any foreign power would ever know what hit them if they tried to invade the US."
"So, this is what you've been looking to do all these years, create a weapon?"
"No, not just a weapon, acquire more power. Wait until you see what I can do with the darkness…" but Franklin's voice trailed as the chair's shadow attacked him. Viciously, the thing lashed out, ripping the sleeves of his lab coat.
Quickly he gave the command in Latin, "Desine movment. Sustine me mandato." The shadow froze.
Carver stood up and stumbled back. "Wh…What happened?"
"That's what I was saying. Latin commands are better."
"This thing nearly killed you. It's too dangerous," Carver straightened his self. His hands shook and he desperately gasped to catch his breath.