Arrows of Darkness is an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy adventure thrill ride that is engaging every step of the way. B.I. Woolet is pulling the reader into this world that has strange beasts, magic, and the stuff that legends are born from. For all the fans of Tolkein, the King Arthur tales, and the famed Star Wars-Arrows of Darkness will be your next favorite. So, gear up and get ready to journey into the lands of the Arcas with B.I. Woolet's Arrows of Darkness.
Orlund Johannes looked out at the tumultuous waters swirling twenty feet below the falls. Taking one last breath, he pushed against the rocks to his right with the blade of his paddle. Plunging down, down, down through the liquid vector splashing violently around him, he held his paddle straight alongside the cockpit and tucked his body as close to the deck as he could bend. The riotous waves were deafening, but his mind remained clear and focused. He dove straight down, beneath the rapids. Battle raged against the orange hull of his kayak, flipping him instantly. His paddle’s blade crashed into a hidden rock pile underneath the plunge pool. It broke, sending the half in his left hand flying violently backward into his lip and nose. He was still holding his breath but now tasting blood. Watery vortexes continued pushing Orlund under. Like the gates of Hell, merciless rapids above barred him from reentering the world of the living while the waters below beckoned him like an open portal to enter a new realm. Terror and adrenaline flooded him, but Orlund was used to these sensations. Each time he developed a new method of cellular manipulation within his field of biomedical nanotechnology, he felt the same. One wrong digit could cost him his hold on a groundbreaking experiment; one wrong twist below the rapids could cost him his hold on the breath of life. Orlund felt both powerful and powerless releasing the useless, broken paddle from his right hand. Then, instinct took over. As his chest constricted from the lack of oxygen, he tightened his abdominal muscles and rolled. Orlund’s head and body fought up through the current in the plunge pool. His mouth gasped open, pulling in the taste of moist air and blood as he balanced himself above the water. The rapids pushed him downstream as his friend Zach paddled out to him. “That was a monster!” Orlund yelled out as his friend approached. “Yeah, you look like you got in a fight with a monster.” Zach shook his head, pointing at the blood and bruising. “Dude, I told you to chuck and duck!” Jeff lightly smirked as he threw a rope from the bank, grateful his friend was safe. Orlund grabbed the rope through his gray gloves as Jeff pulled him to the bank. The three buddies set up a quick camp to rest and eat before they continued down the river. The weather this fall was unseasonably warm out west, allowing them to kayak much later than usual. Occasional clusters of trees in this rocky, desert terrain still held the majority of their yellow, red, and orange leaves. Colorful leaves along with tan-and-red-striped rock, and the bright yellow sunlight surrounding them, created a deep sensation of visual and physical warmth. This quick, early-November weekend trip to the wilds of Utah was Orlund’s “last hoorah” before winter’s cold took over. Orlund, a man of action and an innovative genius, typically surrounded himself with sterile environments, precise equipment, top technology, and statistics. The wild outdoors was his mind’s retreat, and adrenaline was his preferred drug. Kayaking every free moment supplied Orlund with a frequent dose. Orlund pulled the rubber wetsuit off his arms and shoulders near the chosen campsite. After sitting to remove his shoes and tugging the suit’s legs off, he rested for a moment and admired the amazing bluffs. Out of nowhere, a silvery, white image appeared in the distance, blazing with a striking contrast to the red-rock landscape. “Guys, look at that!” Orlund anxiously pointed toward a natural rock arch in the distance where the brilliant image was standing. “What’s it this time?” Zach asked, uninterested. Orlund’s antics and jokes wore thin after a while. He wouldn’t fall for his friend’s convincing emotional hype this time. “Dude, quit playing around and help get the fire started,” Jeff added. “No, I’m dead serious. I couldn’t make this up! There is a man with huge white wings up that hill by the arch. He just appeared dragging a kid along with him.” “Your paddle hit you good, huh?” Zach wasn’t buying it and wasn’t looking up. “A man wearing wings. Poor guy just missed trick-or-treating in the desert.” “Ha! Funny, Zach. Let’s see, the storyteller has threatened us with tales of bears and water snakes and cave dragons before, but a drag queen in the desert might be his scariest tale yet!” Rather than laugh or reply with a sly remark, Orlund continued to stare at the arch. Faint voices echoed off the canyon lands until Jeff and Zach casually looked up to see where the noises were coming from. “What the!” Jeff exclaimed. “I told you. That man has wings.” Orlund scrambled to his feet and grabbed his dry pack concealing his pistol and phone. “I’m going up there. I think the kid is injured.” The arch faded out of sight as they climbed the steep bank. When the huge, curved landmark came back into view, no one was there. “Where are they?” Zach scanned the uneven terrain. “Maybe it was just a large bird?” Jeff reasoned. “No. That man definitely had hands and legs. Feathers, yes, but no beak.” Orlund continued, unraveling his black .44 Magnum and phone from the waterproof layers. “Dude, seriously?” Jeff looked at his armed friend, preparing to fight the vanished villain. “It could have been a Native American ritual costume! Maybe the boy was starting a coming-of-age ceremony. There’s a reservation up north.” Zach would often bring up Native American culture. He claimed to be some sort of expert because his great-great grandfather was supposedly a full-blooded Cherokee. “No way, that bird man was even whiter than you are,” Orlund teased. “Hey, I’m not totally white,” Zach protested. “Believe what you want, man, but one-sixteenth Native American wasn’t enough to get you a scholarship, and it really isn’t enough to claim you’re a minority,” Jeff jumped in. “Whatever. You’d both claim me as a Native American in a second if it got us another research grant.” “That’s right, Tonto,” Orlund agreed with a smile. The three reached the base of the huge arch towering before them. The canyons lay quiet. A few birds flew high in the distance and several rodents scurried in the valleys below, but no humans moved within sight. “There’s nothing here. We’re just hungry.” Jeff turned to walk back to the river. “Let’s go eat.” “Wait! We walked all this way. Let’s at least get a picture under the arch.” “I’ll take one of you guys first.” Orlund replaced his pistol in the dry pack and grabbed his phone. “Step back a little so you’re right under it.” The young scientist took several rapid shots with the tap of his finger. Suddenly, Jeff and Zach disappeared from the frame on his phone. When he looked up, the arch appeared empty, though strange, colorful heat waves seemed to be dancing within it. “Did you guys find something?” Orlund walked under the arch expecting to see his friends on the other side of the natural rock columns, but he saw much more. Orlund joined his paralyzed companions as they witnessed a black horse and rider gallop, then dive off a cliff to their left into the ocean below. A bear, woman, and man ran from the scene and climbed up and over the white fortress walls. “Someone is hurt!” Jeff alerted. As a former battlefield surgeon, he instinctively ran forward followed by the other two. Nothing could prepare them to see the dead body in front of them. Blood pooled around and on top of the corpse with a severed stump at the end of his arm and a large hole through his chest. A second lifeless body was lying nearby. “What is this place?” Orlund grabbed his .44. White-winged flags waved in the sunlight on top of the fortress while the sound of horns and shouting echoed beyond the walls. Suddenly, soldiers, wearing red tunics with white wings and three suns, streamed into the large courtyard in front of the seaside peninsula. “There! At The Bridge!” Soldiers shouted. “Those Earthians killed Sulafat! Find White Wings!” Threats, commands, and accusations exploded through the air as otherworldly troops stampeded toward the confused travelers. Orlund dropped his gun in alarm, terrified they would arrest him for murder. Dead bodies, angry allegations, and sword-wielding soldiers devoured the three friends with panic. They bolted frantically back through The Bridge. In moments, they were in the familiar canyons just past the arch. They raced over rocky mounds and down steep valleys. Stopping to breathe or look behind weren’t luxuries they couldn’t afford. Frenzied upon reaching the campsite, they threw together only essential gear, grabbed their kayaks, and slid back into the safety of the white rapids. The vivid visions of the dead, the strange creatures, and the great white fortress haunted their well-educated minds while riding away on the river. For their safety and sanity, the friends swore each other to secrecy. Once safely back in the company’s private jet, they headed to the Pacific Coast. A quick medical-tech innovations seminar and then a day of calm ocean kayaking would clear their troubled thoughts. But the extraordinary world they had wandered into was going to collide again with them soon, for the ocean tides were slowly pushing a creature to shore, a creature that didn’t belong to Earth.