Walking Among the Shadows: Belly of the Beast
BOOK 2 of Walking Among the Shadows
AUTHOR: Navi’ Robins
Genre: Young Adult/Action Adventure
Shadows beware! A. Storm is coming……
Aiden Storm, a 17 year old high school student has discovered that he and his girlfriend Jasmine are descendants of two ancient supernatural bloodlines that have been at war for thousands of years, But despite the ongoing war between their factions the two teenagers have fallen deeply in love.
Now the two lovers have been thrust into a war that forces them in a direct conflict with their love for each other and duty to their own bloodlines and families. Can their love survive the ongoing conflict or will either of them be forced to choose a side over their love?
Thirty miles outside the border of Babylon-1994,
Bullets whistled through the night at great speeds with violent intention of penetrating flesh and bone as a platoon of Shadows fired their automatic weapons towards Captain Manuel Storm Sr. He’d positioned himself behind a wall of hardened desert rock, preparing himself for a last stand against an enemy determined to make this hot and humid night his last. There weren’t any orders to bark out, no tasks to delegate because there wasn’t anyone else behind this wall. In an attempt to give those he commanded a fighting chance, the Captain orchestrated their successful escape, but in doing so, his own demise. Someone needed to stay behind, holding off these Shadow soldiers long enough for them to reach the rendezvous point for extraction. The Captain didn’t trust anyone else to carry out this suicide mission, not even his second in command and best friend Ricko Martinez.
Ricko, a very capable man with looks that rivaled the actor Denzel Washington and with the body structure of a professional wrestler, was the closest to anyone the captain trusted to stay behind. But the burden of leaving his best friend behind to die was something Manuel couldn’t live with. So he didn’t give anyone the option of accepting this final mission. Ricko, overcome with grief ragefully protested the captain’s decision, forcing five of the team members to restrain and carry him off against his will.
The captain peeked around the wall just in time to discover two Shadows moving through the darkness towards his right flank. He quickly pulled the trigger, dispatching them both with two quick shots. As he took cover he could hear them in the distance; their lifeless bodies falling heavily onto the hot desert floor.
Conserve ammo, conserve ammo.
Those two words kept running through his head like a popular song on the radio that you initially hate, but after weeks of repetition grow to love.
Left flank, check my left flank, he thought as he willed himself to move closer to the left side of the stone wall in front of him. Manuel was physically and mentally exhausted from having to constantly move and concentrate in the strangling heat. Even without the sun scorching this desert from its throne in the sky, it was still unbelievably hot and the stone wall in front of him gave off a heat that seemed to slowly cook the captain with each passing minute.
Manuel reached the far left side of the wall and pressed himself against it. He grimaced in pain as the heat from the rocks burned his arm. He hesitated for a second; inhaling deeply before sticking his head around the edge of the wall to see if any other Shadows were trying to maneuver on his left flank. The idea of facing death sent his emotions into frenzy, but nothing came close to the guilt of leaving his family behind in this evil world. The images of his two sons and pregnant wife flashed across his mind, causing his heart to shudder in his chest like a car’s engine ready to shut down for the last time.
Glancing from behind the wall he quickly noticed six Shadows moving towards his left, completely exposed, allowing the Captain to aim effectively without wasting ammo. It was an aggressive yet foolish tactic that was an uncharacteristic mistake from his adversaries. But this maneuver wasn’t what alarmed him. What concerned the Captain was if they were sending six to his left, there was a high probability another group of Shadows were also flanking him on the right.
Manuel shook his head and quickly slid to the right side of the wall just in time to catch a couple of Shadows fully morphed; crawling over the top of the wall like two demonic predators. They immediately began hissing and clawing at the Captain with their massive talons, attempting to tear the flesh from his bones. But the top of the wall was too high for them to reach him.
Infuriated, hatred erupted across their disfigured faces that looked like the skin of a dead carcass left in the desert sun; coarse and lifeless. Manuel had fought countless Shadows and sent them all to hell. But no matter how many he’s confronted, their appearance was still terrifying.
Manuel quickly planted two bullets in both their faces and rolled over, reaching the left side of the wall before their evil and lifeless forms slid down to the dirt like dead snakes. He quickly fired towards where he anticipated the other six Shadows were; immediately hearing their frightening screeches of pain filling the night air as his bullets found their targets. The remaining Shadows hiding in the darkness quickly returned fire, hitting the rock next to Manuel’s face. Pieces of the rock flew through the air like shards of glass, cutting the captain under his left eye. He quickly fell back and began moving backwards along the wall towards the two dead Shadows. He frantically began checking them for any weapons or ammo that he could use.
Dammit! Nothing! They were smart to send these two without anything I could use.
The Shadows were still firing towards the left side of the wall, sending more pieces of rock flying through the air at deadly speeds. Manuel could tell they were closing in on him and it would only be a matter of time before he had no other option but to submit to the reality of death. Looking at his gun he noticed he didn’t have many rounds left or additional clips at his disposal. The next few minutes would be very interesting, but he was determined to make each bullet count. As the gunfire intensified, now on both sides of the wall, Manuel readied himself for his last stand. He tried clearing his thoughts, but it was useless. He did what he had to do, but regretted he had to do it.
He fought with every muscle in his body not to allow himself to despair at the thought of never seeing his loved ones again. He knew his family would not take his passing well and their safety would now be in the hands of Ricko. He prayed that Ricko was up for the challenge because he wasn’t a Baraqu. Ricko was one hundred percent human and as skilled as he was in combat, going up against the Shadows would be a daunting task even for him. But the captain knew he must trust in his best friend, because tonight they had been betrayed and there was only one person who knew of this mission and that was—
Suddenly, a sound like a metal can hitting the ground echoed behind the wall. Manuel didn’t turn to see what had made that sound because he knew he only had time to dive out from behind the wall of desert rock before the heat and metal fragments of the grenade were propelled through the air, tearing his body to pieces. Even though he had moved far enough to avoid getting killed by the shrapnel, the concussive power from the blast flung him through the air; slamming the left side of his body against the edge of the wall and tossing him to the ground like a rag doll. The blast created a dust cloud that seemed to stick to the Shadows’ dark figures as they moved in closer.
Like a saw grinding up against a piece of wood, Manuel could feel his broken ribs scraping against the flesh on his side. The pain was so intense it caused him to cough uncontrollably as he tried to pick his body up from the dirt.
Get up! Get your ass up! This fight isn’t over yet. You still have a few rounds left in this gun and two machetes at your side; you will not die until you use them all!
The Shadows seeing an opportunity, decided to sweep in for the kill. Five Shadows rushed in through the dust cloud like black cloaked phantoms, moving so fast that they pulled a trail of dust behind them as they glided with talons outstretched, ready to split their enemy in two.
Ignoring the pain of his broken ribs, Manuel sat up and fired at the two Shadows closest to him. The shots rang out with an echo that seemed to enhance the atmosphere of death throughout this dark field of battle. The Shadows screamed, twisting and clawing at the air as the bullets tore into their dark forms, slamming them into the ground. With an amazing resolve few men alive have inside them, the captain managed to get to his feet and started moving forward towards the attacking Shadows. His aim was flawless and his concentration unwavering. He was determined to take out as many of these abominations as his wounded body and limited ammunition would allow.
One, two, three, four shots rang out and four Shadows fell to the dirt as the cloud created by the grenade began to clear, revealing more Shadows whisking through the night trying to be the one to take out this highly skilled and valuable target. While he dispatched one Shadow after another, Manuel kept note of how much ammunition he had left. He knew the Shadows wouldn’t give him time to discover he was empty before they pounced on him. Every step forward caused Manuel more pain as his broken ribs began to cut through his side. The pain after each step made it difficult to keep his balance, but it seemed like an unseen force kept him standing and moving forward, taking down one Shadow after another.
Without warning a Shadow attempted to attack him from behind. Like a well-rehearsed dance routine Manuel spun around, switching positions with the unsuspecting Shadow and ended the deadly ballet with the nozzle of his gun directly below the twisted and deformed chin of his assailant. He pulled the trigger, releasing his final bullet. The Shadow’s face exploded into a black mist of dark matter as its sinister form fell to the ground.
The other Shadows hesitated while watching their comrade die in such a flamboyant way. Manuel wasn’t sure if they were admiring his handiwork or terrified. Either way, he had more tricks and horrible things in store for them. He slowly reached down on either side of him and pulled out his favorite weapons. Two custom machetes made by a very powerful Warlock that once sided with the Baraqu many years ago. Each machete was about two and a half feet long with a leather handle that seemed much older than the steel it held. The blades sparkled as they reflected the glow of the moon that lit up the night sky in this barren desert. Each blade was inscribed with a powerful spell that was like a deadly poison to a Shadow. Death by these machetes was painful and the legend of their death count was well known to everyone fighting this war between the Shadows and the Baraqu.
At the sight of these two legendary blades the Shadows slowly backed away from Manuel. None of them wanted to be the first to feel the sting of the cut, the deep hellish pain of the poison infecting their dark bodies. The captain smiled. He could see the fear in the hollow void where their eyes should be. But he also knew that even though they feared the blades he held tightly in his hands, eventually one of these abominations would get the best of him. But until then, he aimed to become the nightmare of nightmares. His final thoughts before readying himself were of his two sons, his wife Alexia, and the unborn child he would never meet. He longed to see them and suffered at the thought of never holding them in his arms again. But there was no sense in feeling regret. He was alone in this desert facing down a multitude of enemies.
This is going to be a wonderful death.
Without fear and forgetting the pain of his injuries; Manuel Storm charged into the ranks of the Shadows who stood before him. Disappearing into a cloud of dark matter…
Bestselling author Navi’ Robins was born in Chicago, IL and comes from a family as diverse as the characters in his novels. At the young age of 10 his family relocated to the West African country of Liberia and while living abroad for 7 years he found and nourished his immersive imagination. Learning and living with different cultures and languages gave Navi’ a unique prospective on life and self expression that can be experienced while reading one of his novels.
After several years at attempting to complete a novel; in 2012 Navi’ was able to complete his first novel entitled Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening, which is the first book in a planned 7 book series. Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening was officially published in May of 2013 to rave reviews with a small yet dedicated following. Wanting to push himself to write in different genres Navi’ Robins pinned 3 short stories in another series entitled Article 88: Jericho’s Revenge. On October 23rd 2014 Navi’ Robins released a revised edition of his first novel Walking Among the Shadows: Awakening debuting at # 18 in the top 100 bestsellers in the Thriller/Paranormal genre. Since then Awakening has remained a top 100 bestseller on Amazon.com and peaked at #4 in March 2015. On March 24th 2015 Navi’ Robins released his first romance novel Tragedy, Lust & Destiny to rave reviews from book bloggers and readers alike becoming an Amazon.com bestseller two days after its release.