“Dino 1 is on the move. I say again: Dino 1 is on the move.” This is what my security guy says as he ushers me off stage. Fifteen years have passed since I first published Echo, and since then I’ve scored film and merch deals while making a name for myself as an author/Man Child/sex symbol. Who knew? Anyway, this is the last stop of my country-wide tour where I’ve reciprocated the love of thousands of screaming soccer moms. Due to my popularity, I now require a highly trained personal security detail. Bob is head of security, and he—along with three of his top guys—are the team that manages my actual transitions on and off stage. There are about three dozen plainclothes guys in the crowd, as well as snipers on the roofs. Right now, Bob has a worried look on his face. As we move toward our transport he says, “We’ve received word that attractive females are throwing water onto your look-a-likes, Mr. Wayne. Probably nothing, but just in case…” he turns to the other three guards and says, “SMGs.” They all reach under their jackets and lock out the stocks of their MP9 submachine guns, then take up formation around me, scanning the surrounding area while hustling me toward my ride. Suddenly, a woman with a bandanna tied around her mouth darts in front of us and splashes a bucketful of water on me. My legs are instantly drenched, revealing the outline of my ginormous junk, which damn near reaches to my knee. The bandanna-wearing woman hollers, “IT’S HIM! ATTAAAAAACK!” (Cripes who woulda thought that having a hog between your legs could ever be used to mark you as a target???) I hear gunfire and screaming, and I turn around just in time to see our rear security guy get snatched up and fly backwards into the night. I can’t see what got him but it must have been inhumanly strong; he arcs through the air like Batman had just shot him away using a bat-grapnel. Bob forces my head down and starts pushing me forward while his two remaining guys start firing at shapes in the darkness. He’s on his comms, requesting backup and sniper support, when another one of his guys screams over a burst of rounds. Up ahead of us, I see something straight out of a horror movie: a gaggle of my Exes, all leaping across alley walls, defying gravity by crouching sideways on them like gargoyles. “That’s impossible,” I whisper. One of them hits the ground and gallops toward us on all fours, spitting and snarling. Bob swears, fires off a few shots, and pushes me left. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the charging Ex leap forward and mount the chest of our remaining security guy. The guy falls on his back, squeezing off a burst. The last thing I hear from him is a bloodcurdling scream, then the sound of clothes and flesh getting ripped apart. Bob keeps pushing me forward, saying, “We’re almost there, Kent. Three more turns and then—OH JESUS!” I look back and see two Exes on him; one is kneeling, biting off his nuts while the other is mounted on his back, ripping into his neck with her fangs. He flails and spins, trying to point his weapon at them, but another Ex charges out of the darkness with a black-bladed sword and chops off his right arm. He howls like a dying animal as he collapses under a pile of vengeful claws and fangs. I scrabble backwards, watching something straight out of a zombie or dirty vampire movie (chic vampires are stupid; let’s all admit it): A gaggle of my Exes are crouched above what remains of Bob, and I see that his right leg is poking out from their midst, shaking and spasming as they ravage his organs. I take off running. I make it a dozen yards down a dimly lit street when a silhouette drops from a fire escape, blocking my way forward. I turn to go in the opposite direction and another one somersaults through the air, landing in an anime-style crouch. More of them emerge from the shadows, hissing malevolently. One of them points at me and rasps, “This took years of planning, Kent. Countless blood magick rituals, hundreds of sacrifices, and in the end, we sold our souls to Astaroth so we could have tap unheralded power. I hope you’re looking forward to getting pegged by a space heater.” I’m thinking: NO! No pegging whatsoever! I’m out of options, so I reach in my pocket and open my eReader to Echo. Magic flash. Swirling showers of sparks erupt around me, and my shirt rips open from the sheer rippage of my pecs and delts. He-man’s Power Sword appears in my hand, the badass He-man theme slices through the air, and Bitefighter (my loyal buddy and 10 lb. Terrier Extraordinaire) instantiates below me, only now he’s four feet tall and weighs something close to five hundred pounds. I leap onto him and swing my sword in intricate circles—sideways, up, right, left—then level it at my Exes. “Come and get you some,” I deadpan. They shriek and charge at me, and what happens after that is forever writ in glory as my magic sword and my super-sized War Terrier defeat the foul servants of Astaroth in a harrowing melee.
A trained security detail? Against EXES? GTFO. What you need is an enchanted sword and a giant War Terrier. Get Echo Vol. 1 on Kindle here: Vol. 1 on Kindle. Vol. 2 on Kindle here: Vol.2 on Kindle Vol. 3 on Kindle here: Vol. 3 on Kindle