Welcome to my tour stop for “IA: Initiate” by John Darryl Winston. This tour runs from March 21 to 25. Please refer the tour page for the full list of bloggers who are participating in this tour.
Name: IA: Initiate
Author: John Darryl Winston
Publisher: Purple Ash Press
Release Date: April 19, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction
Buy @ Amazon
IA: Initiate is origin story and a hero’s journey that follows thirteen-year-old orphan Naz Andersen and his nine-year-old sister, Meri. They live in a present day alternate Detroit/Chicago-like city known as the Exclave where they are surrounded by poverty, gang violence threatens every corner, and drug dealers rule the streets. Naz thinks he is ordinary except that he hears voices, has nightmares, and walks in his sleep.
The most important thing in the world to Naz is protecting Meri and getting her out of the Exclave and into the prestigious International Academy. But Naz has a secret, one that he is oblivious to, and only Meri knows. When Naz becomes the target of a notorious street gang he begins to discover the voices in his head, the nightmares, and sleepwalking are actually telekinesis and telepathy at play, a gift from his father of whom he has no memory.
Naz watched the two boys as they continued to approach. They were a block away. Why would they be here in this section … today … so early in the morning? If they’re new to this section and on their way to Union High School—a half mile away—they should have been long gone by now. He had seen them only twenty minutes ago two blocks away. Why are they still here? Something’s wrong. It doesn’t feel right.
Ham continued. “I think they call it—”
“Let’s cross here.” Naz began to nudge Ham.
Ham nudged back and said, “Like I was saying, I think they call it lucid dreaming.”
“Enough about dreams. Let’s cross here.”
“Why? Lincoln’s on this side.”
“I know, but …” He didn’t know what else to say to persuade Ham to cross the street. But something was definitely wrong. He could somehow sense the emergence of danger. He could feel it, and he knew now he wasn’t going to be able to get Ham to cross. Ham was no coward. Naz had never seen it for himself, but had heard fromothers in Section 31 that Ham was good in a fight and had the scars, including a nasty one under his right eye, to prove that he had been in wars. Naz had never been in a fight, at least not one that he could remember.Ham now noticed the two boys in front of them and caught on, only he had a different reaction. “Cross for them? This is our section. We ain’t goin’ nowhere.” Ham’s whole attitude and body language changed, and instead of slowing, he sped up a bit. It was another side of him that Naz had only heard about, but had never seen.
“What are you gonna do?” Naz asked nervously.
“Nothin’. We’re just on our way to school talking about dreams is all, right?”
The boys were now within a half block of each other. “Have you ever had a lucid dream?” Ham asked, as he slowly reached into his back pocket.
“A what?” Naz asked in confusion.
Ham continued the conversation as if nothing had changed. “A lucid dream, you know, when you actually know you’re dreaming.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Naz saw Ham pull a black object out of his back pocket and hold it behind his back. Naz and Ham were now about fifty feet from the two boys. They were even bigger and possibly older than Naz first thought, but that didn’t seem to bother Ham.
“I don’t … I … I don’t think I ever had that dream … before.” Naz struggled to speak not even knowing what he was saying.
When the boys were within thirty feet of each other, Ham said something in Spanish, something that came out very fast that Naz didn’t understand. His hope that it was a peaceful greeting faded when he saw the reflection off a shining blade—a blade from the black object Ham was concealing behind his back. The husky boy in front of Ham said something back in Spanish—something Naz remembered the taller boy saying earlier.
“Únete a nosotros,” said the husky boy.
Then, as if on cue, like something out of a Western, they all stopped about fifteen feet from each other. The two strange boys and Ham were smiling at one another, and Naz hoped that it was because they knew each other. But he was soon certain that wasn’t the case, especially when the taller boy, who was also concealing something behind his back, began to taunt Naz and started moving slowly from facing him to Naz’s side. His voice was unusually gruff, as he was laughing and speaking in Spanish. Naz was confused. Is this a robbery? He didn’t have a whole lot of money. He didn’t understand what this was all about.
Naz said, “No habloespañol.”
It was something he remembered Ham teaching him, but the boy just continued to laugh. The taller boy was obviously trying to angle around and get behind Naz, but with the boy’s every move, Naz turned to face him.Suddenly Ham and the husky boy with the Mohawk pulled their knives and crouched in what looked to Naz like some sort of attack position. They were still smiling and still making verbal exchanges in Spanish.
That’s when it happened. Naz hadn’t heard the voices in almost two months and now they were back.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Darryl Winston is a recording artist, turned educator, turned author. He dates his love of storytelling back to reading the bible with his father and sisters and later when he first saw Superman The Movie as an 11th grader in his high school auditorium. He got the idea for his debut series while piloted a Boys’ Read program as a Detroit Public School teacher. He is the founder of the Adopt an Author program, which has as its mission to create an atmosphere where boys and girls learn to love reading and writing.
He has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis. He has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, and has written and/or produced songs for Gerald Levert, Jordan Hill, Gerald Alston, and many others.
He’s a graduate of the Recording Institute of Detroit, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, and Wayne State University. He has his MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University and will be graduating, June 2016 with his MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes. He lives in Detroit with daughter, Marquette and plans to buy an African Grey Parrot when he conquers his irrational fear of birds and name him or her Tony or Toni.
John is offering ecopies of IA: Initiate to the 5 winners of the below Rafflecopter.