The Zero Equation–Snippet II

28 Dec

Not sure if I’ll go with this.  But it was running through my head.

Prologue II

The night I returned to the school, after the kidnap and our escape, I dreamed of the dragons.

Not the nasty beasts that inhabit the Desolation, the dull creatures we hunt for potions and alchemical supplies, but the Great Drakes of legend. Giant golden creatures, their wings shining in the sun as they flew. I dreamed I flew beside them, sharing the ancient wisdom in their eyes. I knew I was dreaming. And yet, it felt so real.

I could see more than just dragons. I could see castles built of clouds and giant floating cities, so large that they plunged the land below into permanent darkness. I could see huge buildings reaching up to the skies, great machines glowing with power as they transformed the land. I could see giants and genies and sprites and elementals and so many other legendary creatures; I could see magicians, flying through the air as if they were light as birds. Wizards walked through the clouds, taking their ease; witches rode on brooms, laughing as they soared above the clouds.

And I could see the magic.

I’d often dreamed of having magic – and then awakened to stare down at my powerless fingers – but this was different. The magic pulsed like a living thing, wrapping the entire world in its embrace. Colourless light seemed to shimmer around me – around everyone, giving them power. It looked as if it would last forever …

And then it was gone.

The genies and elementals winked out, as if someone had blown out a candle. They were gone before I quite realised what had happened. And then everyone – everything – was falling. The cloud-buildings dissolved into mist, their occupants falling to the ground far below; the flying cities plummeted, hitting the ground with terrifying force. Flying witches and wizards screamed as they fell, roaring and chanting spells in a desperate – and futile – attempt to save their lives. The magic was gone.

I saw it all. The giants, suddenly collapsing under their own weight; the great machines, flickering and failing. The population panicking, looking around in numb horror, utterly unable to comprehend what had happened. The most powerful amongst them, the ones who had lived amongst the clouds, were already dead. And none of the survivors knew how to live without magic. They couldn’t do anything without magic. I floated high above them and watched their world die.

And then I found myself beside the largest of the Great Drakes. It was lying on the ground, its wings flapping helplessly as it tried to return to the skies. But it was hopeless. A creature that size simply couldn’t survive, let alone fly, without magic. It’s eyes stared at me pleadingly, as if it knew I was there, then finally started to close. Pity tore at my heart as it died. The creature had been majestic, a true being of magic. And yet, the age of magic was over.

I awoke, screaming. Sweat ran down my forehead as I gasped for breath. It had been a dream, just a dream. I’d never had a True Dream in my life. The talent had been lost so long ago that some scholars believed it had never existed. And yet, I could still hear the screaming as I wiped sweat from my brow, still see the dead and the dying when I closed my eyes …

It felt so real.

9 Responses to “The Zero Equation–Snippet II”

  1. Jack Hudler December 28, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

    Sounds like chapter 1 ☺

    • chrishanger December 30, 2017 at 6:44 pm #

      I thought it was too different in tone.


  2. Stephen Hullott December 28, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

    Very intriguing!

  3. Ann December 29, 2017 at 1:41 am #

    Use unless you decide magic is a constant in the universe so it doesn’t run out but even if it is Cat might not know it and assume it isn’t constant.

  4. Anarchymedes December 29, 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    That should be for something titled The Zero Apocalypse, followed by Revenge of the Zeroes, or Zeroes Strike Back. 😉

  5. Aleisha January 1, 2018 at 4:15 am #

    Out of the two options, I must say that I liked the first one better. It’s much closer in tone to the openings of the first two books in the series (both of which I loved by the way) and it reminds the reader of why they invest themselves in your characters and their adventures. The second dream snippet, while interesting and certainly sets up a larger world, does not have the same emotional impact at all. It just reads too much like one of those Child of Prophesy set-ups that never seem to pay off quite as well as they should. Your characterizations are some of the best I’ve read, and I particularly like the slightly cynical heroine of the Zero books. Having a start of the book that reminds the reader why they love Cat so much is the way to go in my opinion.

    • chrishanger January 8, 2018 at 2:30 pm #

      It’s really Cat’s nightmare .


  6. ESB January 8, 2018 at 12:35 am #

    Very interesting. The first prologue was good, but this is a good start for the actual time of the story, and after the zero letter from book 2, this shows a continuation of that as well as a new ability of Cat’s.

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