In a white room, a girl stands before God. As He shows her visions in an hourglass, Caroline knows His purpose is to enlighten her with the shocking truth'"her beautiful world is in danger of total destruction. As she stares into the hourglass and watches her beloved planet of Evelin begin to burn before her eyes, she suddenly realizes that Evelin is the final front for humanity. Not much time is left before God will flip the hourglass and begin the countdown to the end of the world. Caroline must save Evelin and the universe'"before it is too late.
A spiritual battle begins as Lucifer attempts to carry out his evil plans to destroy humanity. His victims include Jamie, the wife of a scientist named Nikolas who has transformed Nolen into the most superior country on Evelin. After Jamie dies, Satan holds her captive and threatens more harm if she does not give him what he needs. Meanwhile, Nikolas is tortured by a dream where a woman delivers a notepad that lists the ingredients for a secret formula. When Nikolas creates the formula in his lab and leaves it in a beaker overnight, he has no idea that by morning, the mysterious solution will hold the power to affect everything that exists in his universe.
As the countdown begins, an unlikely pair of heroes must partner together to fight in an unforgettable battle between good and evil in order to save their world.
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By Brian Elnakib
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Brian Elnakib
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Scientist
Once upon a time, there lived a man named Nikolas, a.k.a. "the scientist," in the northeastern part of a country called Nolen. He lived deep in the forest in a decently big house and had a very big orange tree in his front yard. Nikolas was tall and skinny with salt and pepper hair. Although he was only fifty years old, he had deep wrinkles on his face from long years of hard work in his profession. He lived with his wife, Jamie, who was five years younger, a short woman who had managed to retain her beauty even though her hair was completely white. When Jamie stood next to Nikolas, her head reached right above his belt buckle. They lived what many would call the perfect retirement, not to say that this luxury was by luck—it was well earned, a gift from his ruler, King Cameron. It had come after years of difficult service, creating formulas that advanced Nolen in its technology, providing a better future for the nation's citizens in terms of healthy lifestyles and better crops that made the country's economy boom. His inventions had made Nolen the most superior country on the planet Evelin. Nikolas and Jamie had moved out of Nalen, the crowded capital of Nolen, to the forest home where he'd promised they'd spend the rest of their years together.
However, without the scientist's service, Nolen's economy went soft, and Nolen ceased being superior to other countries on Evelin. Within a year of Nikolas's retirement, King Cameron started writing letters, begging him to come back to the capital and continue his work. As much as Nikolas felt the burn of responsibility and commitment, he intended to keep his promise to stay in retirement because he loved Jamie. He chose his wife over his country.
Jamie was a giving person. She volunteered at the Nolen orphan home, helping children cope with emotional stress and leading social activities. She read to all the little children who lived there and took them on walks, and Nikolas volunteered to help the orphans with their academic studies. With such a perfect life, they felt as if nothing could possibly go wrong.
The mail would pile up, and Nikolas would throw all the letters into the fireplace. One day while Nikolas sat on his porch reading a chemistry book, he heard a radio report about an approaching storm, but he shrugged it off because the weather was so beautiful. It won't come anytime soon, he thought. Jamie was planting flowers in the front yard. "How's it going, honey?" asked Nikolas, as he licked his finger and flipped the page.
"Everything is great, sweetheart," she responded with a smile. Then, out of nowhere, the clouds began to get dark. Nikolas sensed something very bad was about to happen. It took only seconds. The wind started blowing, and rain followed. The wind blew so hard it knocked Jamie on her back, taking the flowers right out of her hands.
"Jamie!" yelled Nikolas as he hurried down the porch, but the wind knocked him off the stairs, causing him to lose balance and fall face-forward onto the concrete sidewalk. He looked up with blood on his face and saw Jamie trying in vain to stand up against the strong wind. Nikolas was able to stand up, but he had trouble keeping his balance. The wind and rain washed the blood from his face, but it made his vision blurry. "Jamie!" Nikolas yelled again. Just then, a lightning bolt struck the orange tree in the front yard, breaking it so that it fell across Jamie's stomach and left her flat on the ground. Nikolas got up and ran toward Jamie, and when he saw the blood gushing from her body, he began to feel weak and fell to his knees. He shivered as a cold shock went up his spine. He put his arms forward, wanting to touch her, but he was afraid he might cause further injury. Instead, his hands trembled over her body. He began to cry. Jamie reached her hand out to her husband, and Nikolas grabbed it, surrendering to the gravity of the situation. "I, I, I love—" Jamie said, but Nikolas cut her off.
"Shhh, shhh, baby, don't talk. Save your energy. I'm going to get some help." But Jamie's eyes closed. She was dead. "No!" Nikolas shouted to the sky.
The following week, King Cameron planned a funeral for Jamie, and people from all over the country came to pay their respects. Nikolas appreciated the chaplain the king sent, but he wished everyone else would go away. Throughout their marriage, he and Jamie had stuck mostly to themselves, preferring each other's company to that of a crowd. As soon as her body was lowered into the ground, all his good memories flashed into his mind. "Good-bye, my dear," he said as he dropped roses into her grave.
The following days felt odd to Nikolas. He was alone. The only person that had ever kept him company was dead. He dreamed about his wife at night and had nightmares about the way she died. Without anyone to keep him company, he grew into a mean and grumpy old man. He did not notice this until one day he looked at himself in the mirror and saw what he had become. He knew he needed something to keep him busy and get his wife out his head. So he decided to take the king's offer and head back to the city of Nalen, but first he walked to Jamie's grave to tell her good-bye one last time. "Jamie, I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to break my promise. I have to move on. One day, my time will end, and I will join you. Please forgive me," Nikolas said. He placed a bouquet of roses in front of her tombstone, as tears poured down his cheeks. He left, knowing that would be the last time he would ever visit her grave.
That night, King Cameron's carriage pulled into Nikolas's front yard. The driver took Nikolas's bags and opened the door for him. "The king said you were special and to take special care of you, and that's what I intend to do," he said with a smile. Then he closed the carriage door and drove off. Nikolas looked behind him and said good-bye to his home and all his good memories as they rode off into the night.
Three days later, he arrived at Nalen, and when he stepped out of the wagon onto the castle grounds, the king was there waiting for him with open arms. "Nikolas, is that you, old friend?" he asked.
"Yes, it's me, Cameron. Have I changed that much? Thank you for sending the carriage."
King Cameron gave Nikolas a lab of his own where he could conduct experiments. The king had hired a group of the best chemists and scientists in Nolen to assist him with anything he needed.
Chapter TwoThe Devil's Intervention
Jamie sighed as she lay on the damp earth and began to open eyes. Her eyelids were heavy, as if they had been sealed shut for eons, but they finally opened fully. She woke to find that she was lying on what felt like wet dirt; a little bit wetter, and she would classify it as mud. As she slowly began to recover her vision, she saw only vague images in the darkness around her. She wondered if she had gone blind or was in another dimension or if she was in a comma and this was just a dream. For all she knew, she could have been lying in a hospital bed with Nikolas sitting beside her, but for some reason, she did not feel like she was awakening to reality.
As she slowly tried to sit up, something stopped her. She felt an odd pain in her abdominal area, as if something in her lower stomach was slipping out. As her vision slowly returned, she began investigating that pain with her hand. She started at her hip and felt something wet and sticky and realized her dress was torn. She slowly worked her way to the core of the pain, guiding her hand to the center of her stomach. Her eyes widened and began to water when she felt her broken skin, for what she was touching was far more than what she'd bargained for.
She could feel her guts crawling out of her stomach, creeping through the spaces between her fingers like worms crawling out the dirt, almost covering her entire hand. She dragged her other hand along the surface of the dirt where she lay until her fingers bumped into something. It felt like a wall, except it had fingers that interacted with hers. "Ahhhh!" she screamed upon the interaction.
Boom! A loud sound echoed from a distance, followed by a light that crept down into the darkness like white milk slipping down a black bowl. Within a matter of seconds, this mysterious light uncovered all of Jamie's surroundings, and what she discovered brought chills up her spine. Her face grew pale with fear, and her heartbeat raced. She realized this was not a dream. She was in a tunnel, and human beings were skewered to its walls. They're all alive, suffering unimaginable misery and pain. They did not scream because spiders had crawled over them, webbing their mouths shut.
Jamie opened her mouth with such fear that saliva dripped past her lips. For a moment, she could not close her hanging jaw because the horror she was witnessing froze her entire body. She looked at the light and felt it could be her salvation out of this nightmare. If I don't hurry, I'll be doomed. It's my passageway back to my bed where Nikolas will be next to me, smothering me with kisses. As quickly as she could, she made her way to her feet while using one hand to keep her guts from falling out of her stomach. Once she was up, she began to limp toward the light, keeping her distance from the human walls. She could feel the cold, wet dirt squishing beneath her toes as she worked her way closer to the light at the end of the tunnel. When she got within twenty yards of it, a man on the wall began to move wildly until he freed himself. It looked almost too easy. The stranger stopped in his tracks and turned to look at Jamie. His eyes slowly rolled to the back of his head.
She began to wonder if she should charge at him while trying to make a break for the light. "Jamie, baby, ha ha ha," said the stranger. His voice sounded like that of Nikolas. It can't be Nikolas. It's some evil enigma that wants to keep me here. She wanted to run, but her legs grew weak with fear, and she knew that running was no use because she was not in her world but another, where humanity's laws did not apply.
"What?" she asked with a trembling voice.
"I want you, Jamie. Can I have you?"
"No," Jamie said, weeping tears of fear.
"What about your husband? Do you want him? Do you want to be with him again?" the stranger asked.
"Then you're going to have to do something for me," he said, tossing a green notepad on the ground. "If you refuse, Jamie, well, we're going to get to know each other very well. You could almost say I will get to know you from the inside out."
"Who are you?" Jamie asked.
"I'm you're ticket out of here," he said laughing, but then she noticed something on his back. It looked like he had feathered bones sticking out of his back, as if he'd once had wings there.
Chapter ThreeAn Excogitation
While Nikolas lay in bed the following night, he heard a crack. The closet door unlocked itself, and then it opened and something came out. His heart began to race. It was dark, but Nikolas could see the outline of a woman. She was missing the fingers on her left hand, as if they had been cut off. She didn't say anything but just stood there in the darkness staring at him. The woman tossed a small notepad on his bed. Nikolas was too scared to say anything, so he just lay in bed shivering in fear. The woman turned and went back into the closet and closed the door.
After twenty minutes of trying process what had happened, Nikolas got out of bed and slowly walked to his closet. Calm down and go back to sleep. It was just a dream. He put his hands on the doorknob and slowly began to turn it, acting by instinct. He opened the door, but there was no one there. He touched the walls and found they were solid, so he closed the door. He turned to go back to bed and saw the notepad lying on the coverlet. It couldn't have been my imagination. He picked it up and began to flip through the pages and saw it contained a list of ingredients for some sort of scientific formula, but not the exact proportions. At the bottom of the page, "Drink!" was scrawled in handwriting that looked like a child's. Chromium sulfate, silver nitrate, sodium chloride, and a trace of nitroglycerin, pure ethanol. Sounds like a formula a total idiot would concoct, he thought. After staring at it for a long time, trying to make sense of it, he finally went back to bed. He tried to sleep, but it was impossible.
The next morning, a Saturday, he got up early and headed straight to his lab with the notepad. He started playing around, mixing the prescribed chemicals in various proportions. He didn't know what the outcome would be, but he worked on it by himself for hours because the crew of chemists had the weekend off.
By Sunday night, he was exhausted. He tried to tell himself it was all just a dream. Certain things just can't be accomplished over the span of one weekend. He left the lab, leaving his last version of the formula in a beaker in a refrigeration unit. At his carriage, he told the driver, "Take me home. It's been a long weekend, and I've wasted it on some nonsense."
"Yes, sir," the driver said.
Nikolas sat in the carriage reviewing his work. Maybe I missed something. He heard rain on the carriage roof and opened the curtain to look out at it. Maybe the whole thing was a stupid dream—but then there's the notepad. How did it get there?
When he got home, he went straight to sleep. Little did he know that the mixture in the beaker he had left in the lab would by morning contain a mysterious solution that would affect the course of history—not only for Evelin, but for everything that existed in his universe.
Chapter FourThe Darkness
Nikolas got up on Monday, showered, got dressed, and rode back to the lab. When he got there, the contents of the beaker had changed. There was a slight bluish glow to the solution inside. His hands trembled as he reached for the beaker and poured a sample into a vial. He sealed the vial and slipped it into his pocket. His staff was there, but Nikolas shoved the beaker to the back of the refrigeration unit and said nothing about it. "I'm going home for a couple of hours," he muttered to one of his assistants.
Once home, he took the vial out of his pocket and placed on the kitchen table. He sat and stared at it for a moment. He remembered the notepad's imperative: "Drink!" Tapping his fingers on the table, he considered what he should do. With my precious wife dead, I have nothing to lose. Maybe if I die I'll be with her again.
He grabbed the vial, unsealed it, and put it to his lips, and his hands began to shake. He closed his eyes, and in one quick movement, he gulped it all down. When he opened his eyes, he felt nothing, so he waited for some sort of reaction to take place. After sitting around for a minute, he lost it. "This was a waste of time!" he yelled as he stood up so fast his chair hit the floor. He threw the vial against the wall.
Days passed, and slowly he began to notice that his gray hair was turning black. The wrinkles in his skin began to fade away. Every day, he looked younger and younger. Even his coworkers noticed the difference, and one morning when he got out of bed and looked at himself in the mirror, it was hard to ignore what was going on. I'm getting younger-looking by the day. That formula is a fountain of youth! And I destroyed it. No, wait. I have more of it in the refrigeration unit, and I still have the formula. He followed up with more experiments, and after two months of testing, he found it effective on everything from crops to countless diseases, including cancer and leprosy. This could end all of humanity's problems. He gave the formula the name "Darkness" because it made all of Nolen's problems disappear in the dark. Nikolas ordered a meeting with the king, his council, and the departments of drug administration, health, and agriculture.
Darkness was approved, and soon it was offered for sale on shelves all over Nolen—well, everywhere except Carson City, because it was surrounded by steep mountains that made it hard for them to receive shipments. The city was also nearly impossible to approach by sea because an underwater mountain range made the water too shallow for big ships to draw near it. The city was practically an independent ecosystem that grew and developed its own crops and supplies.
Of course, Darkness was a big hit and saved many lives, but before long, Nikolas heard rumors that there were resistance cells in Carson City, groups of people that didn't want to allow the Darkness in. He didn't put much stock in that because with Darkness there was no such thing as getting old, and all diseases could be cured. Darkness was the answer to everything.
Within months of the release of Darkness, Nolen became the second most powerful country in all of Evelin. However, Emberia still had the lead because the education there was unmatched, and their ingenuity was far above that of other countries. Other nations soon became envious of Nolen's great success, and it was all thanks to the scientist.
Excerpted from PLANET EVELIN by Brian Elnakib Copyright © 2012 by Brian Elnakib. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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