Arkana Archaeology Thriller Mysteries #1
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Myth Of History
Myth Of History
Archaeological Thrillers That Defy History
"Think 'MEDIUM meets THE LOST SYMBOL' and it only begins to describe the pleasures of
THE GRANITE KEY - 5 Stars." (Kindle Nation)
A Wake-Up Call
In a nightmare, nineteen year old Cassie Forsythe sees her sister attacked by a man in a cowboy hat who demands something called "the key." Her nightmare mutates into reality before the night is over. Cassie is called to identify her sister's body--murdered exactly as her dream foretold.
Cassie dismisses her vision as a fluke and fights to get on with her life. Disconnected and aimless now that her only family is gone, she drifts until the evening when she catches the man in the cowboy hat ransacking her sister's apartment. He bolts with an odd-looking stone cylinder--the granite key. From that moment, Cassie's normal world evaporates.
A Secret Society
She learns that her sister led a double life--retrieving artifacts for a secret organization called the Arkana. The Arkana's leader, an elder named Faye, explains that her group performs alternative archaeology--the kind that defies mainstream history. They uncover proof of peace-loving lost civilizations which predate patriarchy, salvaging the vestiges of divine mother goddess cultures around the globe.
Cassie's sister had the psychic ability to touch an artifact and relive its past. Cassie has now inherited this gift. Faye wants the girl to take over her sister's role in the organization. Cassie doubts her powers but agrees. Now an insider, she is transported to the Arkana's mysterious underground vault in the countryside outside Chicago where the group tackles the mystery of her sister's murder.
A Dangerous Cult
The Arkana learns that the man in the cowboy hat is a mercenary named Leroy Hunt and that he is working for a fundamentalist religious cult known as the Blessed Nephilim. He takes his orders directly from the cult's domineering prophet--Abraham Metcalf.
The granite key which Leroy stole is inscribed with hieroglyphics revealing the location of an artifact of immense power--the sage stone. The Arkana is afraid to allow the relic to fall into the cult's hands. They suspect Abraham would use it to launch a global war of religious genocide.
Unlocking The Key
Before she died, Cassie's sister took photos of the strange markings on the granite key. The Arkana decodes the hieroglyphics which point to the ancient ruins of Minoan Crete as the hiding place of the sage stone. Faye hastily assembles a retrieval team including Cassie, her newly-appointed bodyguard Erik, and a British researcher named Griffin.
The team is mismatched and wildly dysfunctional from the start. Griffin has never gone on a field mission, Erik treats his inexperienced colleagues with contempt, and Cassie second-guesses her psychic hunches. She battles to prove herself to Erik at every turn. Their internal clashes rival the bigger crisis of what to do when they come face to face with their enemies.
A Matter Of Life Or Death
Even as they scour megalithic tombs and Minoan palaces for clues, Abraham dispatches his son Daniel and hired gun Leroy Hunt to fly to Crete and recover the sage stone. The Nephilim operatives won't hesitate to kill anyone standing in their way. Will Cassie and her teammates avert global disaster or find themselves casualties of Abraham's mania to exterminate the world of unbelievers? The Granite Key holds the answer.
Chapter 1 – Night Vision
Cassie felt herself sinking. She tried to drag herself to the surface. “Wake up stupid! It’s just a dream. This can’t be real. Wake up!”
She was standing in the shadows in her sister’s antique shop. It was late. Long past midnight. The room was dimly lit by a green banker’s lamp near the cash register. Sybil was standing in front of the glass showcase with a cell phone in her hand. There was a man standing near the door. A man wearing a Stetson hat and he was pointing a gun at her sister.
“Where’s the key, sugar?” His voice sounded lazy, casual. He had a southern drawl.
“I…I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sybil stammered. Her sister put the phone down and started inching her way along the showcase toward the rear storeroom.
The man shrugged. “Don’t make no difference to me but you don’t want me tearin’ up your neat little shop just to find it, now do you?”
“I told you I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Sybil’s reply was shrill, unconvincing.
Cassie wanted to rush forward to pull her sister away from the man with the gun. Her feet were glued to the floor. She couldn’t move. She tried to scream a warning. “Get out of here, Sybil. Run!” but all she felt was a rasp in her throat where the words should be.
The man advanced out of the shadows. He was close to six feet tall, maybe in his late twenties or early thirties. Cassie knew this had to be a dream because of his strange outfit. Aside from the cowboy hat, he wore a short denim jacket, a string tie around his neck, jeans and snakeskin cowboy boots.
The gun flicked slightly in his hand. “I tell you what. The service in this establishment ain’t very friendly.” He flipped his hat aside and it landed on an oak sideboard. His dark brown hair was combed back in a high wave. “I guess if you don’t want to help me, I’ll have to roll up my sleeves and help myself.” He moved forward toward the glass case.
Sybil darted past him and ran toward the front door. He was faster. He grabbed her by the arm. “Now that’s no way to treat your clientele, honey. Tryin’ to run off and shirk your responsibilities like that.” He twisted her arm behind her back.
Cassie could see Sybil wince in pain. Her sister looked around wildly for some other way out. The man tightened his grip with one hand and pointed the gun to her head with the other. Sybil struggled but he only wrenched her arm harder behind her back until she stopped struggling.
“It seems to me like you can’t hear what I’m sayin’.” The man cocked his head slightly, considering the matter. “Maybe we should go someplace private where I can get through to you better.”
He shoved her toward the door but she twisted out of his grip, running toward the back of the shop. He lunged after her, tackling her. She fell hard against the showcase, head first. Glass shattered and she lay still, face down on the floor.
Cassie could feel a cry of despair rising in her throat but no sound came out. She willed her feet to move. They seemed to twitch slightly but nothing more. All she could do was watch.
The man raised himself to a crouch position. A look of annoyance crossed his face. He reached forward to check Sybil’s pulse and frowned.
He stood back up, shaking bits of broken glass from his jacket. “Well, that ain’t no help at all,” he said in disgust.
In a flash, the scene changed and Cassie was back in her dorm room. She could feel the mattress beneath her. “Wake up, dammit!” she commanded herself. This time when she clawed her way up to the surface of consciousness, her mind obeyed her. She sat up shakily. Her skin felt clammy. She tossed off the covers and sat forward rocking, holding her head.
On impulse she grabbed her cell phone and started to call her sister. “It was just a nightmare, stupid! What are you going to do? Wake her up in the middle of the night to tell her you had a bad dream?” She snapped the phone shut and tossed it on the nightstand.
Gradually her breathing slowed and she lay back down. Curling herself into a fetal position, she drew the covers up to her chin. “It wasn’t real. It was just a bad dream… Just a bad dream... Just a bad dream...” She chanted the words like a mantra for several minutes until she started to dose off.
Then the phone rang.