Wolf of the Tesseract (Wolves of the Tesseract #1)
Release Date: July 2016
Black Rose Writing
In a world underneath our own reality, magic & science are two sides of the same coin. After merging with her copy from an alternate reality, college student Claire Jones is thrust into a setting beyond imagine and must fight alongside Zabe, an inter-dimensional guardian. Together they must stop an evil warlock from shattering the laws of existence who, above all else, seeks Claire’s blood as the key to controlling the all-powerful Tesseract.
As they flee his wrath, Claire must decide what her romantic feelings for her protector mean… apocalypse-bringing sorcerers aside, Claire’s mission is to rescue the woman Zabe loves… even if Claire has likewise fallen for the selfless soldier.
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“What am I looking at,” Jackie asked.
Claire took her phone back. “It was the original listing for the property, complete with blueprints, floor plans, photos, you name it. Whoever this Heptobscurantum Group is, they bought the agency, the content, everything, and shut it all down. The records are even unavailable through other channels like public works.” She tapped through a few screens on her device and turned it back to Jackie. “But not before I got this screenshot.”
Jackie cradled the LCD screen and stared at the picture. Clearly, the room had only one door. She handed the phone back. “What does this mean?”
Vivian started walking back. With her almost in range, Claire muttered under her breath, “It means someone is lying to me, and I don’t know who else I can trust anymore.”
Instantly changing her demeanor like a chameleon, Vivian switched from a dour expression to her happy sister-in-law face she’d been wearing since the fiery incident. “I like this spot for the reception,” she gushed. “Lots of natural light and plenty of space for guests. Plus there’s a nearby pavilion for the band to set up in.”
The three ladies simultaneously turned to look at the covered pavilion. A skinny man wearing a hood pulled low over his face sat at one of its shaded picnic tables. Something about him unnerved all three of them.
“He looks more like a washed-up hip hop artist than a band member,” Jackie tried to defuse her nerves with humor.
“Yeah,” said Vivian. “Let’s go check out the other side of the park. Maybe see how far we are from the guests’ parking.”
They moved as a small unit. Claire looked back to the pavilion and spotted the mysterious man. He followed them from a distance, walking intentionally, urgently, as he pursued. All three picked up the pace, speeding to a brisk walk.
Continuing to shoot furtive glances backwards, they barely noticed the other man in the ratty, thrift store poncho. He leaned suspiciously against the concrete block restroom building along the walking path. They rushed past him, almost jogging now, while he ducked around the corner, keeping hidden from the trail.
The skinny hood broke out into a sprint. Jackie squealed and the girls tried to accelerate.
From around the corner of the utility building the second man launched out and tackled the skinny one, dropping him with a shoulder spear. The cowl of his poncho flung back to reveal Rob’s face.
“Run, Claire!” He urged her forward while the lithe stalker grappled him.
None of the girls moved. They stood riveted by the brawl.
The skinny one kicked free from Rob. He pulled his arms back and stiffened, contorted them before clapping his hands together. Flames sprang to life between his palms and he shot a column of fire at the girls’ protector, blasting Rob across the lawn and knocking him over a grassy berm.
Turning back to the girls, the fire in his eyes burned as intensely as the flames flickering between his tightly balled fists. For a moment, his eyes shimmered animalisticaly, like a reptilian blink.
A roar snarled from the other side of the lush knoll where Rob had been thrown. The air seemed to crackle, like the oxygen vibrated at a molecular level under the stress of so much supernatural power colliding in such close proximity.
Streaking across the green like an arrow, the massive lupine charged the slender man who had fixed his evil gaze upon the girls. Seizing him by the torso, he suplexed the fire wielder caught in his massive paw, smashing him into the concrete of the walking path, shattering the cement tiles below. The beast stuck his snout down into his prey’s face and bellowed a warning. His hot breath blew his victim’s hair backwards, flecking him with spittle.
Claire could barely see the skinny one’s face, but she could swear that the cheek where he’d been hit was covered with scales; his pale, pasty makeup had been scraped away by the werewolf’s fist. She cringed as the thin man screamed back at the werewolf’s face, spewing a wave of caustic heat.
The wolf snarled, his face singed, and he flung the man the entire distance back to the pavilion. Skinny heat-miser crashed into the wooden structure and it collapsed upon him while the beast turned his face to the girls. He bellowed again and launched into a sprint towards their position.
Vivian drew a semi-automatic handgun and began firing rounds into the lycanthrope. Claire watched in horror as the beast closed the gap; Vivian practiced her marksmanship with cold, hard precision. Claire spotted something in the monster’s eyes and she instantly knew that he was Rob—not a doubt remained in her—but his eyes contracted with terror, and not from the hollow point rounds which barely seemed to phase the beast. A split second later, Claire was yanked off her feet from behind!
Claire could barely hear her own screams over the ringing gunshots and the sounds of the other fleeing park-goers. Tipped sideways, before she could spot her attackers, she saw the rubble of the pavilion explode in flames and the skinny man walking from the pyre.
Rob, the wolf, peeled off in another direction, crashing through the brush nearby. Vivian leaned into a shooters stance and squinted down her sights, firing hot lead at the fleeing lycan.
Jackie shrieked, pointing to the approaching pyromancer.
Vivian paid him no mind, but pushed Jackie back. “We’ve got to go!”
“But where’s Claire?” She turned and spotted two burly, well dressed men in the distance. One had Claire under an arm, barely containing her as she fought and writhed to escape. The other held a pump action shotgun in his grasp. He looked ready for anything; walking backwards, he provided cover for his occupied partner.
“They’ve got her!” Jackie insisted.
“Yeah. I see them.” She paid them little attention, instead focused on retreating to the car. In a rare display of bravery, Jackie broke with Vivian and rushed towards her friend.
Rob burst out of the underbrush nearby. He leapt over the first blast of shotgun fire and pounced towards the backpedaling mercenary. He ducked under a second blast that tore through the space above his head. The acrid, sulfuric smell of gunfire hung in the air; Rob leapt past his enemy, dragging his razor-sharp claws across the man’s midsection as he pursued Claire’s handler. They’d almost made it to the white cargo van that waited for them in the parking lot with doors open.
Claire screamed for help just as Rob caught her kidnapper and dashed him to the ground with a sickening thud. He gingerly lifted Claire to her feet, even as he shielded her from the small arms fire: Vivian continued to approach with extreme prejudice.
Jackie shrieked as she almost reached her friend, but both were thrust to the ground under the shockwave from a nearby explosion. The white van detonated with a colossal fireball, throwing flame and broken glass everywhere.
Rob turned and growled. Vivian stood only fifty yards in the distance, another fifty beyond was the skinny pyro fiend. He dashed forward as Jackie helped her friend to her feet. They fled to the parking lot, watching over their shoulders.
The werewolf slugged Vivian as he sped by. The force of the blow tossed her twenty feet away where she crumpled like a ragdoll. Jackie was in shock and barely managed to find her car keys while tracking the battle just beyond the lot.
As she watched their lupine savior fall upon the fire wielding maniac she tore out of the parking lot, spraying gravel behind her as she turned the corner faster than common sense dictated. Both girls hyperventilated uncontrollably; tears streamed down their faces as they hit the freeway. Neither had any plan beyond simply drawing their next breath.
About the Author
Christopher D. Schmitz is the traditionally published and self-published author of both fiction and nonfiction. When he is not writing or working with teenagers he might be found at comic conventions as a panelist or guest. He has been featured on cable access television broadcasts, metro area podcasts, and runs a blog for indie authors.
Always interested in stories, media such as comic books, movies, 80s cartoons, and books called to him at a young age—especially sci-fi and fantasy. He lives in rural Minnesota with his family where he drinks unsafe amounts of coffee. The caffeine shakes keeps the cold from killing them. His entire family is musically gifted, although he is, sadly, their only bagpiper.
Education: Schmitz also holds a Master’s Degree in Religion and freelances for local newspapers. He is available for speaking engagements, interviews, etc. via the contact form and links on his website or via social media.
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