Book One of the Omega Trilogy
What People are Saying:
“The Da Vinci Code meets The Hunger Games meets Left Behind.” Hugh Hewitt, national radio host and author
“It pulls you in and doesn’t let you go.”
Ryan Paige Howard, Realm of Hearts
“In the top few books of the year for me. Highly recommend!”
I Hope You Dance Blog
“Impressed. . . . It’s a quick, clean read that leaves you intrigued.”
Nadine Brandes, author, A Time to Die
“Sharp, smart and compelling.”
Darcie J. Gudger, author
He must be released for a little while.
But the one who sees doesn’t believe.
Elijah Goldsmith has nightmares he needs to ignore. Why would a rich kid from Manhattan dream three straight nights about a dragon and the destruction of St. Peter’s Basilica? He’s never even been to Rome.
It’s bad timing, too. He’s graduating soon and applying to be a spy in the International Security Agency. That’s where he meets Naomi. She’s the kind of girl who makes boys like Elijah want to share their secrets. Were they brought together to learn what his secrets mean? There’s more to their sparks than they think.
This is 2066, the year the world ends.
Below is the opening chapter. Enjoy!
I stood in the piazza facing St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Bodies pressed around me and a pope’s voice boomed in my ears. The ground began to tremble, as if aching under the crowd’s weight. The cobblestones lurched under my feet. I staggered, tripped over someone, and fell flat on my back. People started running and screaming.
The sky darkened like nothing I’d ever seen. Lightning rolled through black clouds that were not there a moment before. A bolt struck the center of the piazza, hitting the cross atop the towering obelisk. The thunderclap was deafening. The obelisk tilted and fell, taking the cross down with it. Just as it crashed on the ground, the piazza split open—as if a giant had grabbed the colonnades on either side and ripped them apart. Hundreds of people plummeted into the chasm as I scrambled away to the piazza’s far edge.
The splitting earth spread to the Basilica. Spider-web cracks splintered over the dome. The ancient stone groaned, swayed, and then imploded on itself. An enormous cloud of dust and debris billowed out into the chaos.
Then a shape rose from the chasm. Where the obelisk had been, a creature hovered low in the sky. It was like a dragon, but no storybook dragon. Ribbons of shadow and smoke coiled and danced around its long, slender form. Above its sentient face, onyx horns the size of trees stabbed into the sky. Its wings covered the entire width of the piazza.
A man walked toward the creature and paused at the chasm’s edge. The creature fixed its red eyes on him as if seeing an old friend. He was a stunning man, with a flawless face and dark hair to his shoulders. His gray suit showed no blemish or wrinkle, despite the wind and the chaos. I knew him, but I could not name him. I couldn’t say anything. I couldn’t move. I could only feel the blackness, feel the end. It had to end.
And then it did. I woke up covered in sweat.
This was three nights in a row. Three nights of the same stupid nightmare. It had come from nowhere. I’d never even been to Rome.
I sat up, rubbed my eyes, and ran my hands through my hair. Today of all days, I could not have these visions in my head. Maybe I would try the new pill. If it let me control my dreams as they promised, I’d program my mind for more productive nights. I’d dream of breaking a code to stop the next attack on America, while finding a smart girl who’d appreciate it. That’s what I needed: a smart girl, not a freakin’ dragon.
I activated my precept’s morning report. The four screens projected in my vision, showing it was 6:33 am, January 4, 2066. There were no major attacks last night. No news of Rome or of dragons.
I had seven minutes until my wake-up alarm, but I started my morning routine anyway. Thirty seconds in the shower chamber, one minute to slip on my black suit, and then my food arrived. Real eggs and coffee. My mouth watered. There had been too many mornings of pills and smoothies. This was a day for real food. I took my time with each bite while watching the video briefings.
The news focused on Iran again. The Persian nation had bought another piece of desert, while its leader denounced the United Nations for buying another robotics company. Apparently Iran didn’t like the UN drones saving starving kids in Africa and trying to grow plants in the south Asia wastelands. But it didn’t matter much, because China and the U.S. approved. Drones were as American as apple pies and precepts. Another briefing showed officials rounding up more fanatics who would not comply with the new global precept mandate.
These people were so weird. Precepts had been around long enough now. Besides, who would turn down a standard implant to be smarter, sharper, stronger? I called my precept “V.” She was far from standard. She was the best my dad’s money could buy, and he could buy anything. Life without V would be like earth without the sun.
One of the screens drew my attention. It was a video of the police hauling a fanatic into a van. The man was holding a cross and flapping insanely, as if he had wings. I lifted my hand for V to raise the volume. The man was yelling something about an earthquake and a dragon from a pit. As the police slammed the van’s door shut, I heard the man’s last word: Rome.
My mouth fell open. No way that guy had seen what I’d seen. It was just a dream. I shuddered and shut off the screens.
“Order for delivery tonight,” I told V. “Research report on dream pills, and a sample of three leading brands.”
I finished the last of my eggs and downed the coffee. I stepped to the closet. V suggested the red, white, and blue tie, so I put it on. I walked out and left the hotel.
The sky was clear over the nation’s capital. It would have been frigid back at school, but D.C.’s shield kept it warm. That shield and every other defense could soon be my responsibility.
This would be my first day as a spy.