Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Free Featured Fiction: "Twilight of the Gods, Chapter 7," by D.J. Gelner

Another week, still no Free Featured Fiction submissions. It doesn't even have to be a whole story--we're happy to feature excerpts from books, chapters, etc. I'm warning you, if we don't get anything else, I'm going to be forced to start serializing the first part of my novel, Hack: The Complete Game, and it's filled with all kinds of baseball and hootin' and hollerin' and cussin'. You've been warned...

In all seriousness, though, we'd love to feature your fiction samples or stories here on the Hunt to Read Blog, along with links to your books on Hunt to Read and links to any other sites (social media, etc.) you might want us to include. It's simple enough--here are the guidelines one more time.

Okay, okay--I get it. To those of you who have been along for the ride thus far, I appreciate your continued interest. TotG is now available on Amazon, Nook, and Kobo if you
juuuust can't bear to wait for the exciting conclusion--links at the end.

If you've missed the earlier installments in the series, here are the links:

Chapters 1 & 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5Chapter 6


Without further delay, I'm pleased to give you Twilight of the Gods: Chapter 7, by yours truly. Enjoy!

-D.J.


Twilight of the Godsby D.J. Gelner

Chapter 7


Hermes arrived at the Pantheon a short time thereafter, beaming at the chaos he had wrought.
“Father! Artemis! Come quickly! See what I have done! It is time to reveal ourselves to the masses!”
Zeus snapped out of a hunger-induced nap, eyes initially bearing down on the interloper who had roused him before his ears caught up.
“Wha…Hermes? Back already?”
Hermes winced; his father’s off-the-cuff remark bristled the hairs on the back of the messenger god’s neck. Had Hermes been working so hard for so many years just so his father and the rest of their ilk could continue napping, “resting” for mortals-know what kind of opportunity in the future?
And yet, Hermes had created such an opportunity! His annoyance was replaced by the sly grin of impending triumph, and surely, a higher position among his comrades in the Pantheon once all was said and done.
“Dear half-brother, have you news?” Artemis asked.
“Do I have news? Do I have news? Only that I have succeeded in single-handedly bringing the mortals’ capital markets to their knees before me! That I have caused the values of their corporations to shrivel and wither on the vine like grapes left in the heat of the sun. Do I have news? I am the news!”
Zeus, Artemis, and the now-yawning Poseidon exchanged curious glances; though they knew they wanted to bring all of humanity to monetary ruin, they hadn’t the faintest clue about just how the puny creatures’ financial system operated.
Hermes sighed and rolled his eyes, “It is done.
“Uh…good,” Zeus let the bulk of Hermes’s words flow over him before the relevant kernel caught the King of the gods square on, “Good. So hope is lost among them?”
“They cast themselves off of tall buildings so as to hasten arrival upon uncle Hades’s doorstep,” Hermes replied.
“And they are ready to embrace a new way of worship? A new faith?” Artemis asked, eyebrow arched.
“If not now, then I fear they never will be,” Hermes answered honestly.
“Then it is settled!” Zeus rubbed his eyes even as he bellowed the words too-loudly, still half-dreaming, “Whence shall I reclaim my earthly throne?”
“A city across the great Atlantean crater-sea called ‘New York,’” Hermes said, “the world’s trade capital, and home to an…interesting…selection of individuals, to say the least.”
Without so much as a “thank you,” Zeus rose from his throne and took long, measured steps down the mountaintop as he motioned for Poseidon to join him. The sea god shrugged, grabbed his trident, and followed his brother without a word.
Hermes initially followed close behind, but was stopped short of the exit by Artemis.
“What?” it was all the messenger god could do to muffle the annoyance in his voice.
“Noble half-brother, if what you say is true, if you have truly brought human commerce to its knees, then I owe you a debt of greatest gratitude.”
Hermes initially wanted nothing more than to waive his half-sister away, but instead gazed into her eyes. They were the eyes of a deity, sure as sunshine, but they were fiery, driven, as if propelling her toward an eventuality she had foreseen long ago.
“Oh?” The messenger of the gods asked coyly.
Artemis nodded, “Indeed.” She placed an arm on his forearm and looked around the Pantheon to confirm that all of the other gods had left, “I suppose I have yet to disclose my true motivation for all of these schemes, but as the second most agile mind in the entire Pantheon, I suppose that you of all gods and goddesses could appreciate the intricacies of plotting and silver-tipped tongue such machinations required.”
Hermes arched an eyebrow, “Indeed I can. Pray tell, fair Artemis, though I may be only a mere intellectual lightweight, a fool able to trick humans but not gods, what has your plan been all this time, provided my meager faculties are sufficient enough to process such a brilliant scheme?”
Artemis grinned, “Why, dear Hermes, isn’t it obvious? For years, human ‘industry’ has leveled forests, choked streams and rivers, and fouled the very air we breathe, all in the name of ‘progress.’ In striving to be more like us, emulate our powers, they have spoiled the entire landscape that I hold sacred, the very life-giving forces that they so take for granted.”
She raised a knowing finger, “Ah, but if industry is forced to stop, if the machines belching thick smoke no longer can run, if the pipes spewing filth into the rivers and streams suddenly go dry, my planet can begin to heal itself once more. Great forests will grow again, sheltering herds of animals that will claim the ruins of overgrown cities once more! In short,” she licked her lips, “balance will be restored to the great planet. Then, once father is suitably impressed, he will leave me as the second-in-command of all of Olympus, fit to rule far and wide as he’s off on his more ‘rambunctious’ pursuits.”
Hermes’s eyes bulged. He could barely contain himself as he began first to tremble, then finally convulse with laughter.
“What? What is it?” Artemis’s face went ashen.
That was your master plan? To reduce the human population so that some of your precious animals could roam ‘pristine’ forests once more?”
“You were little more than my pawn!”
“A pawn that, I fear, has caught you in check!” Hermes yelled back.
“Do tell, dear half-brother,” Artemis crossed her arms.
“When the humans come crawling back to worship us once more, don’t you think that father will realize that I am the more capable and cunning child? Fit to rule over these mortals as a god-king, no longer spending miserable stretches squiring their shadows to Hades’ dark doorstep?”
“I suppose we shall see then,” Artemis raised her nose skyward with contempt.
“Indeed we shall,” the two deities rushed to catch up with Zeus as he made his way to the center of the global crisis.

What thrilling surprises await the gods as they storm New York to reclaim their former glory? Find out in Chapter 8 of Twilight of the Gods. Or, if you can't wait, it's now available for $0.99 at the following retailers:

Kindle

Nook

Kobo

Happy Hunting!

D.J. Gelner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. Check out his books on his Hunt to Read Profile. Contact him directly at djgelner@hunttoread.com.

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