“I came here,” I told the cat, “to get away from my life. Why did it have to find me?”
The cat’s emerald eyes sparkled with silent laughter. He seemed to know how stupid that sounded, and a thin, brittle smile came to my lips.
“You think I’m an idiot, huh?” I asked. The cat responded with a sharp meow. “Well, so do I.”
I sat up and stretched my neck. “I’m an idiot for throwing the glass,” I told him. “That was some premium Tennessee whiskey.”
The cat meowed again. “As for you,” I said, “you need a name.” The animal wore a dark blue collar I had missed when he came in. There wasn’t an ID, but the strip of cloth had a word printed on the front: Walker.
“OK,” I said, “Walker it is.” I scratched the cat behind his ears, and a rumbling purr vibrated my fingers.
Suddenly Walker’s ears perked up and he sprang from the bed. The hairs on my arms stood to attention, and I swung my legs over the side. My eyes searched the room, seeking a sign in the afternoon gloom of what was crawling across my senses.
That’s when the phone rang. “The Hall of the Mountain King,” made up of singular electronic notes, echoed through the apartment. I leaped out of bed and stood at the edge of the protective circle. The melody repeated itself three times and went silent.
I stood there at the edge of the circle, my heart racing. I strained to hear any movement, and my nose searched for a hint of sulfur. Nothing looked out of the ordinary.
The song blasted the silence again, the tones as simple as a child’s keyboard. With a deep breath, I stepped out of the circle and crept toward the bedroom door. Sensing nothing, I walked into the living room.
The cell phone became silent again, but only for a moment. I managed to snag it on the last ring with an annoyed, “Hello?” Away from the circle I was vulnerable, and I turned to go back to the bed, but the fearful breathing on the other end of the line stopped me.
“Nick?” Caitlin called, as if from a long tunnel. Static overpowered her voice, like energy on a high-voltage wire.
“Cate? I can barely hear you.”
“Nick! Thank God. I need your help!”
I sighed. I came away from my protection for this? “Look, Cate,” I said as I walked back into the bedroom and toward the circle, “we talked about this. You know my—”
“Just shut up and listen!” she yelled. I stopped again as a roaring filled the phone. Screams pierced the background. “I’m in a penthouse at One-Fifty-Five Second Street. Downtown. Get your ass down here!”
“Please, Nick!” Gunshots cracked the phone. “Jesus, the thing has no eyes, how can it see—”
The line went dead.
You can run all you want, but the game's in your blood. And blood never forgets… Nick St. James was born different. His extraordinary gifts have saved him time and time again, but they couldn't save the one thing he loved most: his wife. Now he just wants to forget his old life, but more importantly, he wants to forget the magical underworld that lives beneath the "real" world. A place where a man's faith can determine the very fabric of reality. Where ancient forgotten gods walk hidden among us, and angels and demons fight for our very souls. But nothing stays hidden forever. Nick's peaceful world is ripped apart when a demon slaughters his ex-partner and marks him for death. Now he must use all his gifts to find the one who summoned the nightmarish creature, but more importantly, he needs to find the one thing he lost long ago. Himself.
Brian Freyermuth, an 18 year veteran in the gaming industry, started his career at Interplay Entertainment, serving as designer and writer on a number of titles including the award-winning post-apocalyptic role playing game Fallout, where he helped craft the story and create some of its most recognizable settings.
Brian was also granted the pleasure of writing the missions and dialog for the best-selling game, Star Trek: Starfleet Academy. Working alongside William Shatner, George Takai and Walter Koenig gave Brian a new perspective on voice acting and dialog that influences his renowned style to this day.
In 2004, Brian ventured to the Pacific Northwest where he spent two years honing his design skills at Midway Games in Seattle. He then returned to Southern California, where he spent five years working on various influential brands under the THQ umbrella such as SpongeBob: SquarePants and WWE.
Brian's passion for storytelling would eventually lead to a wonderful opportunity to get back to his writing roots by joining Disney and Junction Point in 2011. During his time there, he co-wrote the story and dialog for the WGA Award Nominee Disney Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two, where he worked with comic book writer Marv Wolfman and industry legend Warren Spector to give Oswald the Lucky Rabbit a voice at Disney for the first time in 80 years.
Born in the quaint town of Manitou Spring, Colorado, where he grew up in the shadow of Pikes Peak, Brian moved to California as a teenager, eventually graduating from UC Irvine with a major in Comparative Literature and a minor in Computer Science, both of which he uses in his professional and personal careers. Brian is also a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and loves to write and play video games in his free time. He currently lives in Atlanta with his wife, Juliet, and their son, Kyle.