Kav stared at the fireflies whirling around the otherworldly tree. Their light strengthened as they whirled, more luminous than the sun. Fixated by their motion, Kav began to wonder.
When did I get here?
The grass was muddy and soft. The dew was cool, wetting his lips and eyelids. The breeze seemed to be whispering.
Then the otherworldly tree groaned and opened its mouth. The garden shook with fury, the tree parted, and a path to its insides appeared.
The wind told him to go.
It was dark inside the tree, until a firefly fluttered next to him. Kav followed its light as it zigged and zagged its way through the tree’s innards, toward its swarm, where hundreds of fireflies lit the end of a hallway. They glowed around a throne made of shadows, upon which someone was sitting. From the shadows grew snakes, and they slithered across the one on the throne, holding him in place. No, it was a she. Her pale skin sank beneath the snakes, strangled by their coils. Her blue hair was slowly devoured.
Kav pulled at a snake, but their mouths were inside her flesh. He feared he would hurt her by yanking them out.
“Nur, help me save her!”
More snakes bit her. There was hardly a spot on her that wasn’t bloody. Then a message appeared in Kav’s mind.
Do you want to see her again?
Who sent it? There was no frequency, but he could still respond.
Can you help?
And hundreds of snakes grew out of the throne and bit Layla, until she was entirely eaten. Another message hit Kav.
Soon, I will come to you with an offer. Accept it if you wish to save the one person who ever mattered to you.
Title: Song of a Dead Star
Author: Zamil Akhtar
Genre: Science-Fiction / Fantasy
When Kav sleeps, a firefly whispers in his ear that his wife is not dead. But to find her he has to kill the three Magi that protect the land of Eden.
The same Magi destroyed Kav’s hometown four years ago to crush a rebellion, and he hasn’t seen his wife since.
As Kav plots to kill the Magi, a flying armada bent on conquest and destruction invades Eden. Only the Magi and their ability to turn sunshine into magical energy can stop them.
Granted the same power by the firefly, Kav must either kill the Magi to reunite with his wife, or let go of his longing for the sake of Eden and its people.
Zamil Akhtar is an indie science fantasy author and blogger living a location-free lifestyle. He can be found in Boston, Dubai, or Manila depending on the time of year. Of Pakistani-heritage, he grew up in the Middle East and moved to Western Massachusetts when he was thirteen, and his varied upbringing colors his fiction. He has a BBA in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts and an MA in International Relations from Johns Hopkins University. His loves are videogames, science-fiction and fantasy novels, HBO dramas, and Southeast Asia.
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