Monday, March 4, 2024

Double Vision Blitz

Double Vision
Shaolin Poe
Publication date: July 24th 2023
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy

Magic gifts are rare, and they’re a closely guarded secret for mystos—the name for those who possess such abilities. Wyatt Glasson’s talent is speculomancy—an uncommon type of magic that grants him the ability to see any reflected image. Modern civilization and its reflective surfaces mean people are always in view of Wyatt’s magic. And he’s used that advantage to create a wealthy, insulated existence for himself, tucked safely away from magical society. After all, being powerful offers little protection when you’re part of a tiny minority who would rather cut your throat to protect themselves than back you up and risk their safety. But Wyatt’s comfortable life is about to be turned upside down.

When the Arcane building is attacked by a team of rogue mystos, Wyatt is forced to choose between maintaining his anonymity or displaying his unique and powerful ability. Unfortunately for Wyatt, both choices come with grave consequences.

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EXCERPT:

The sun shone like a beacon in the brilliant blue sky, casting shimmering rays of light that made everything on the café patio appear vibrant. Mulched areas around the patio boasted pockets of colorful flowers. Carefully placed trees lent their shade to tables on the outskirts of the dining area. The setting was picture-perfect, as if it had captured life in full bloom.

A dark-featured, handsome man in a sleek business suit smiled wolfishly. He stood up from his seat at the outdoor café table and shook hands with the short, overweight, balding man standing across from him. The handsome man’s smile faltered and his features fell slack as a bullet ripped out of his forehead and sprayed blood all over his lunch companion’s face.

The short man sputtered, backing away from the scene. He stumbled into a nearby table, knocking over drinks as he tried to regain his balance. Diners around him stopped talking to gawk, while others looked in shock at the spilled spaghetti dinner that was the other man’s forehead. The balding man’s ruddy face went pale, and tiny droplets of cold sweat coated his face as comprehension clicked. Baldy stood frozen for a few precious seconds. Maybe baldy thought the hit was complete. Maybe terror was replaced by hope. Maybe he thought he could outrun the next bullet. Whatever the fleeting thought was, baldy snapped out of his stillness, turned, and ran.

His movements were jerky and uncoordinated. It looked like he was trying to rev his out-of-shape body from zero to sixty miles per hour, and his current configuration wouldn’t allow it. He made it exactly four steps before a bullet pierced the back of his skull, adding to his forward momentum and throwing him to the ground like a limp, overstuffed doll. The diners, who hadn’t screamed at the initial hit, finally seemed to realize what was happening. They howled and ran for their lives almost in unison.

Wow. Whoever the operator was on this job was a special kind of sick bastard. Instead of putting a bullet in the first target and immediately moving to the second, he (or she, because girls can be messed up too) waited a couple of seconds. It’s like the sniper wanted to give baldy time for the dark realization to dawn that he was going to die. Someone definitely missed out on a few hugs as a child.

With sick fascination, I changed the scene I was viewing on Horus. I captured the reflection of a single, squinting, green eye looking into a high-powered rifle scope. As if the eye saw me back, it jerked away and its owner snapped the scope cover shut. This eye was new. I’d have to keep an “eye” on it in the future. I chuckled at my pun, then sighed. I needed to get out more.

I often watched the assassinations on a wall-sized plate of tinted glass I’d nick-named “Horus.” The name had Egyptian roots. It referred to what people now knew as the All-Seeing Eye. The nickname kept me from accidentally giving away my little secret. They said clothes made the man, but it had been my experience that careful habits made the man. Horus was my “source,” and I was an information broker, of sorts. It rolled off the tongue to say I needed to check with “Horus.” And people assumed Horus was the name of my contact or a cover name for my network of contacts. Honestly, that wasn’t too far from the truth.

I switched the view back to the outdoor patio scene and watched the remaining diners scatter like gazelles. I had no qualms about enabling the deaths of those men. They’d sown enough evil to earn their bloody ending several times over.

A moral compass was important when wielding the type of power I had, or at least that’s what I told myself. I refused to deliberately use my gift against people unless they had proven their guilt. Work of this nature usually waded in the waters of moral ambiguity and often swam out to the depths of moral depravity. I’d learned that lesson the hard way, so I was unbending when it came to rules. I did have a half-depleted case of scotch in the pantry, just in case the lines became “grayer” than usual while I was working a job. But my regular clients usually toed the line, or at least lied convincingly.


Author Bio:

Shaolin Poe is the pen name for a husband and wife writing duo. Shaolin is a combination of their first names, and Poe is an homage to Edgar Allen Poe. They met in the military while flying on the same spy plane. They love to transport readers to unexpected places and showcase the humor of situations. When they aren’t creating make believe worlds, they enjoy music, traveling, board games, stand-up comedy, and posting to their blog shaolinpoe.com.

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