Posts Tagged ‘Verarde’

Chapter 4.1

Posted: October 12, 2009 in The Epic of Verarde
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I couldn’t resist this, and the whole chapter was taking too long for everyone to wait much longer.


The Epic of Verarde

Chapter 4


            “Be careful today,” Daniel’s mom yelled after them. “We don’t want any collisions with archrivals this game.” She smiled.

            Daniel looked at Rachel.

            “You told her?”

            Rachel looked down. “Mom couldn’t get you to tell her anything, so she asked me. You know how it is.”

            Daniel grinned. “I’ll get you!” She squealed and ran off. Daniel chased her, calling, “Get back here!” Behind them, their mom smiled, then went inside.

*     *     *     *     *


       She immediately went upstairs, almost on a run, to the office. The children’s father was there.

       “What’s the negotiations status?”

        He shook his head. “No luck.”

       “What do they want?” she asked.

        “They won’t say.”

        “We ended that part of our lives 13 years ago, Brian. Why do they need us now?”

       “I don’t know. I suspect they have noticed Daniel and Rachel.”

       She gasped. “Brian, are you thinking — no, they wouldn’t dare.”

      Brian nodded. “I’m sorry, Lisa. But right now your job is to keep watch on them. Look for any move they make on the kids. We can’t let them take Daniel and Rachel.”

       “I’ll pick them up after their soccer game.”

       “Good idea. In fact, I’ll come with you. It’s time to take out what has been put behind. Time to reclaim our rightful position.”

       She nodded and left. When she was gone, Brian sat in his chair and thought. What would he do? How would he and his wife reclaim their rightful positions? How would he protect his children and family? A million questions spun through his mind, each one presenting a fresh challenge needing an answer.

       He jumped up and closed all the curtains in the room. He went to the closet and tapped in a code on the inside right wall. The wall slid open, revealing a room with an old box inside. The box was long and rectangular but wide enough to hold a gun.  He slid it out of the room, out of the closet, and into the office. The box was brown, with two locks. The locks looked new, but in fact the box had come there 13 years prior and hadn’t been opened since.

       Again, he sat in his chair, looked at it, and thought. He knew that if he did this it would be a treasonous action and would likely result in the death penalty — for him and his whole family. Then he stood. He knelt and opened the box, first the two hinges, then the lid. A shine filled the room as he lifted out a radiant sword. The remaining light in the room gleamed off the word on the hilt.


       He took out a leather belt and metal scabbard and strapped them around his waist. He put the sword in the scabbard and then, thinking better of it, took it  out. He opened the curtains and light flooded the room. He drew the sword, the sound ringing throughout the house. He held it straight and pointing forward.

       Then Brian Verarde said, “It is time.”

*     *     *     *     *


Copyright 2009

Fourthmanstanding Publishing


Chapter 3

Posted: August 26, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Chapter 3


            Rachel and Daniel burst into their house.

            “Mom! Dad! Guess what?” Daniel shot Rachel a warning glance. He didn’t want her to broadcast the fact that he had been almost killed by a runaway boulder. She caught his meaning.

            “What happened?” their mom replied.

            Rachel started talking. “Daniel … ,” she began but stopped when she saw another warning glance.

            “Yes, what is it?” their mom pressed. Daniel could tell that she could tell something had gone wrong.

            “Uh … umm … Daniel got the winning assist in the soccer game!”

            “Oh, that’s great! Congratulations, Daniel!” Daniel could tell his mom knew she wasn’t getting the full story. She gave him a look that said, “You’ll tell me later what you don’t want to tell me now.”

            During dinner, Daniel’s father tried patiently to listen to Daniel’s account of the soccer game, but Daniel could tell his dad was worn out. He looked haggard and drawn. After dinner, he walked slowly around the house, thinking to himself. He had obviously received some bad news. That or the work pressure had been getting to him lately.

            Mercifully, Daniel was able to escape the questioning gaze of his mother during the night and escaped up to his room.


*            *          *          *          *


            Later that night, Daniel was just about to fall asleep when he heard a knock on his door.

            “Come in,” he mumbled. Rachel walked in. Daniel sat up.

            “Hey, what’s up?”

            Rachel sat on his bed. “You never told me how you escaped the boulder. I mean, you were frozen one second and tapping me on the shoulder the next.”

            Daniel winced. In the dark, she shouldn’t see his expression. He knew she could tell he was uncomfortable. He debated whether to tell her or not. If I tell her, she may think I’m crazy. But she is my sister, and she should trust me.

            He looked at her. “I don’t know,” he said.

            She considered this for a while.

            “You’re lying,” she said.

            Daniel was taken aback. How did she know he wasn’t telling the truth, at least part of it? Fact is, he wasn’t sure what had happened. At least not 100 percent. He had a vague idea of what he needed to do. He just needed a way to put it into action. They sat in silence for several minutes, each harboring their own thoughts.

            Then Daniel broke.

            “Okay, this is what’s going on: I had this weird vision. It was right after Rick Heinwurst collided with me. It involved a few things, like, like …” His voice trailed off. Rachel was staring now. “Yes, go on,” she said, her tone patronizing.

            “And there was this half-man, half-horse guy who leaped down from the cliff, and he stopped the boulder, and then he yelled at me in English.”

            Ouch. Not how he wanted it to go. Rachel stared at him some more and then began to back away.

            “Daniel, are you okay? Do you want me to get Mom and Dad?” Daniel realized she thought he was insane, probably from his close call.

            “I know what you’re thinking. I am not crazy, Rachel. This really happened.”

            She stopped moving.

            “Okay, look,” Daniel said, in as reassuring a tone as he could muster. “Next Saturday, after my game, I want to check something out. Will you come with me? I have to find out if these things mean anything or not.”

            Slowly, she nodded.


*     *     *     *     *

             The rest of the week passed uneventfully. Daniel’s practices went well, and he didn’t notice anything new about the cliff face when he passed it. But he did notice Solomon Marks. He was a constant presence everywhere Daniel went — at school, at soccer, even one night when Daniel accompanied his dad to the hardware store. No matter where Daniel was, sooner or later — and usually sooner — Solomon seemed to wander in. Once, he caught Solomon staring. Solomon quickly glanced away, but after that Daniel felt that he needed to start avoiding him. But Solomon seemed to persist in his presence no matter what changes Daniel made to his routine.

            The breaking point came when Daniel glimpsed Solomon on the street outside his home in the morning. This was getting out of hand. At school, in the hall, Daniel confronted him.

            “Just waiting for you to come out,” Marks offered as an explanation.

            “But how come you were gone by the time I came out?” Daniel pressed.

            “I … grew tired of waiting and almost missed the bus.” It was an obvious lie. Daniel had made the bus with time to spare.  Solomon didn’t even ride the bus — his mom or dad usually drove him.

            “I have to get to class now,” Marks said. Daniel let him go, even though he had other questions, like, Did you see anything odd the other day when the boulders almost crushed me?  

*     *     *     *     *


            Finally, Saturday came. Daniel had been waiting in anticipation the whole week. Today, he would bring Rachel to the cliff face and discover what was happening up there. Right after his game, of course. With the resolve that he could do anything after his close shave, he burst out the door — into pouring rain. Rachel and his mom laughed at his surprised look as he turned back inside the house to grab an umbrella.

            “Why didn’t you tell me it was raining?” he laughed.

            “We thought you knew. That’s why we’re laughing,” Rachel giggled.

            “However,” Daniel’s mom said, narrowing her eyes, “you seem in a big hurry. Where are you headed off to in such a rush?”

            Oops. Daniel thought quickly. Of course.

            “Soccer, mom. Got a big game today.”  He sat back down at the table. His mom nodded.

            “Even in the rain?” she asked.

            “Yes,” he replied. “They don’t cancel unless there’s a hurricane.”

            “Well,” she said, “at least have some breakfast first.”

            As she turned back to the stove, Daniel gave Rachel a kick under the table. She glanced up and gave a knowing nod.  Pleased that his plan was still in action, he leaned back in his chair. Now if only the rain would stop!


Copyright 2009 Santos DeBarros

Fourthmanstanding Publishing

Chapter 2

Posted: July 31, 2009 in The Epic of Verarde
Tags: ,

Continuing the saga of “The Epic of Verarde” … enjoy!


Chapter 2

        Daniel didn’t need a ride home. His house was so close to the field that he was able to walk — or run if he was late — the four blocks back and forth every Monday, Thursday and Saturday for practice and games. Often, his sister Rachel joined him.

            Today was one of those times. They walked slowly, enjoying the calm Saturday afternoon and making sure Daniel was OK after his in-game collision.

            Solomon Marks was walking with them as well. He was a quiet guy, skinny and with only a thin lining of hair atop his head, but as loyal a friend as they came.

            “That was a close one. It’s a good thing that the Raptors didn’t pursue the ball,” Daniel said.

            “I agree. If they had attacked you, it surely would have been a tie. I did think that you were going to make the penalty kick. But I got over my surprise — and got in position for that great pass,” Solomon said.

            “Thanks. You know, we can’t forget Heinwurst. He got us that penalty kick. Wherever you are, Rick, thanks!”

            They all cracked up. Daniel thought to himself, “And thanks again for that odd vision I saw, Rick.” For the time being, Daniel had made up his mind to not tell anyone about what he had seen.

            He looked towards the sky. It had darkened considerably.

            “We had better speed up. I don’t want to get caught in the storm.”

            Solomon nodded, and they quickened their steps. Eventually, they came to the  park near their block. By now, the storm was almost on top of them. Lightning was starting to flash. Thunder rumbled, and dark grey clouds shot past. It was close to 8 p.m., and it was harder to see. They began jogging then broke into a run, which turned into a sprint. The lightning flashed more and now the thunder roared, sounding unnervingly closer each time.

            The sidewalk passed a rock face, which stretched up about 50 feet. As they passed the face, lightning struck. Daniel glanced up and gasped. A boulder was perched precariously atop the cliff’s edge. The lightning had struck it, making the boulder rock forward and slowly begin tumbling down towards Daniel, Rachel and Solomon.

            Rachel screamed and ran. Daniel was stuck in slow motion. So was Solomon.

            “Daniel!” screamed Rachel, turning back towards them. Solomon broke from his stupor and ran towards Daniel, intending to knock him out of the way. Just as he was about to hit him, Solomon tripped. 

            The boulder rolled closer, sounding like continuous machine-gun fire. Closer and closer it came, with nothing to stop it from crushing Daniel and snuffing his life out like a candle.

            Then the most wonderful yet strangest thing happened. A lone man — or was it a horse? — loomed on top of the cliff. It bounded down with amazing agility and speed. Solomon and Rachel had taken no notice, for each had either covered their eyes or had turned away, leaving Daniel to his fate. The man-horse continued on his way down. Now the boulder was closer to Daniel, rolling and rolling. Just as it was about to crush him, the man-horse put on a great burst of speed.

            The boulder landed on him, but instead of falling underneath its weight, the man-horse lifted it off him. It then did the strangest thing. It yelled at Daniel in English.

            “Go!” it cried and ran off.

            Daniel scrambled to his feet and got away just as a second boulder landed right where he had been a moment before. Daniel made it to his friend and sister and shook Rachel on the shoulder. She jumped around, screamed for happiness, and started to hug him. Daniel gently disengaged her and glanced at Solomon. He was looking off like there was something he was watching. Daniel followed his gaze. A cloud of dust was off in the distance. Daniel turned around, certain Solomon hadn’t seen it.

            They walked off, with Rachel’s continuous asking of how he got away in one ear, and the cryptic stare of Solomon in the other.

            Daniel took one last glance at the cliffside. What appeared to be a door in the top had just closed! Daniel quickly turned around, pretending he hadn’t seen anything. He stole a look at Solomon. He didn’t appear to have seen anything. But you could never tell with him.   

To be continued…

FourthManStanding Publishing

Copyright 2009 Santos DeBarros

Chapter 1.5-2

Posted: July 6, 2009 in The Epic of Verarde
Tags: ,

Then again, Daniel saw something strange. Light slowly formed a hole in his eyes as he woke to the world around him. In an instant, the world was revealed. Except everyone looked strange. There was a female with pointy ears clenching a dagger between her teeth and holding two more, one in each hand. An older person, also with pointy ears, stood over him with a look of concern. He held a sword. Daniel blinked and blinked again. The older one bent over and spoke something to him in a strange language. Amazingly, Daniel understood it.
“We are waiting,” he said. And that was it. The vision faded, like the others, and Daniel found himself looking into the faces of the referee and his coach. Except the referee was holding a whistle in his mouth, and a red card and booklet in his hands. His coach wasn’t holding a sword, but was holding a clipboard. Daniel sat up and rubbed his eyes.
“Easy there, son.” The coach laid him back down.
“I’m okay. I really am.” Daniel hopped up. “What happened?”
The referee spoke. “As the ball hit your head, Rick Heinwurst tackled you in the back and landed on top of you. I gave him a red card for the foul and now you have a penalty kick to take.”
Daniel grinned. “What are we waiting for, then?”
As Daniel walked to the penalty area, the crowd applauded. Daniel saw Rachel in the stands, looking concerned. He gave her a wave to show he was okay, and she grinned and waved back
From then on, it was all business. Daniel set the ball on the marker and readied himself for the biggest kick of the season. He stole a quick glance at the goalie, who had taken a few steps to his right, thinking Daniel would kick it there. Daniel grinned. The whistle blew and he ran forward. Immediately he realized that the goalie had crossed him up, diving left. Daniel forgot the soft kick he was planning and kicked as hard as he could. The ball flew towards the top corner — and bounced off the hands of the goalie and back into play.
The Raptors celebrated, thinking that a tie was as good as a win and certainly better than a loss. But what they had forgotten was that time was still left on the clock. Daniel flew towards the bouncing ball, now traveling down the line, and brought it under his control. He sized up his angles and saw Marks waving for a pass. He made up his mind quickly and passed, praying for the pass and successive shot to strike true. The ball gave a little hook, and Marks headed it past the goalie’s desperate lunge. Goal! The whole Nighthawks team mobbed Daniel and Marks, yelling at the top of their lungs. The crowd stood and applauded. As they trotted off the field, they slapped five with their coach and friends, and went to find their rides home.

Chapter 1-1.5

Posted: June 29, 2009 in The Epic of Verarde
Tags: ,

The Epic of Verarde

Chapter 1


Daniel slowly got up, rubbing his head. The referee came over to him.

“You okay, son?” he said.

“Yeah, I’ll be fine.” He looked over in disgust at the player who had just tripped him.

“Got you, man, you’re too slow.”

Daniel got up. “Rick, will you just stop?”

“Rick, will you just stop?” Rick imitated.

“Watch it, Heinwurst,” the referee warned. Rick smirked. “Whatever,” he said, and walked off nonchalant.

Daniel’s coach motioned him to take a break. As he came to the sidelines, he heard his sister say from the stands, “What happened, Daniel?”

Daniel looked toward his younger sister, Rachel, and walked over.

“Nothing really. Rick just tripped me.”

“He’s been beating you up a lot lately,” Rachel observed.

“Yeah, I know,” Daniel remarked sarcastically. “He never pushes anyone around.”

In the distance, thunder sounded. “I think that’ll come up on the way home,” said Rachel.

“I hope not,” Daniel said.

Daniel’s coach yelled, “Get back out there, Daniel! You’re in for Singleman!”

As Singleman came out, they slapped five.

“Watch out for Rick. He’s nasty today,” Singleman warned.

“Thanks, I will.”

Daniel took up his position at right striker and made sure his laces were tight. He looked at the scoreboard. His team, the Nighthawks, was tied 2-2 with its rival, the Raptors, with 10 minutes left. “Gotta focus, gotta focus,” he thought.

The ball was kicked and the game restarted. A scuffle began for the ball as five players converged on it, then it squirted out towards the Nighthawks’ left defenseman. He took it and ran with it, then passed to Daniel’s friend, Solomon Marks. Daniel looked around for a spot to get open for a pass. There! In between the two Raptor defenders was a wide-open spot in the goal box. Marks had advanced the ball past the opposing midfield and done some fancy moves to get past a defender. Now he was heading down the sideline, looking for someone to cross the ball to.

Daniel made his move. He sprinted past the two defenders and got in the clear, waving frantically to his teammate. Fortunately, Marks spotted him and crossed it perfectly, straight and low. Daniel tensed, waiting for his moment, then jumped.

As his forehead met the ball, several things happened. First, his body was knocked to the ground by some unseen force. Then, he saw something strange. Actually, a few things. A creature with a sword jumping over rocks. Someone who looked like his father smashing a medieval-looking weapon into someone. And a body with no face making a strange, unearthly laughing sound.

Other things he could not immediately recall flashed in his mind’s eye. Himself standing in the middle of a forest. A rope bridge with tens of hundreds of people on it falling down, down, down into a great abyss, with himself unable to do anything about it. As he watched it fall, the vision faded and he realized he was blacking out. He saw the soccer ball fall down and miss the goal wide. He heard the whistle of a referee, but it sounded so far off.

Then, and only then, did Daniel give in to the darkness encroaching upon him, and sank unconscious with the feeling of failure resting deep inside him.

To be continued…

Copyright 2009 Santos DeBarros