The Marenon Chronicles Collection - By Jason D. Morrow

Chapter One

A bullet shattered the back window of the flatbed truck nearly sending Silas Ainsley to his death two days early. It also allowed his grandfather, Garland, the opening to aim his double-barrel shotgun at the driver on their tail.

With a pull of the trigger he hit the front end of the pursuing vehicle, shattering the left headlight into a thousand tiny pieces. Silas glanced at the rearview mirror and saw the passenger bring his arm out to spit another flurry of bullets toward them. He swerved just as Garland let off another round from the shotgun, shooting wide.

“Silas!” the old man spat.

“What? They’re shooting faster than you can load!” Silas said as he sped along the clouded dirt road. The blood-red sun was setting all too quickly. Another bullet split the rearview mirror and they both ducked low.

“We’ve only got two shells left and they aren’t letting up on the trigger,” Garland yelled.

Silas frantically scanned the edges of the highway, searching for an alternate route where they could lose their trackers. If the sun went down before he could find a spot, they wouldn't have a chance. Silas' attention snapped to the right when his grandfather pointed.

“Over there, you see that?” The road kept straight, but there was a small trail veering off to the right.

“Is it a path?” Silas asked.

“Yes, take it!” Garland said as he loaded his last two shells.

The dirt path seemed to go straight up the mountainside and Silas pressed the pedal to the floor. Trees obscured the direction the path took so he had no clue where it would lead them. For all Silas knew, they were headed off a cliff.

At seventeen, Silas had plenty of experience driving his grandfather's truck, but recent events placed him behind the wheel having to maneuver like a professional. The truck behind them carried two men as well, but it was much heavier. The pursuers could stay behind Silas and Garland all day on the flat terrain, but going up the steep mountain would slow them considerably.

“Just don’t let up on the gas,” Garland said, daring to peer over the back of his seat at their pursuers.

Silas glanced at the fuel gauge and winced.

“We can't make it far. Gas is leaking.”

Garland bit his lip. “Well, we'll just have to keep going until this thing shuts off. The more we drive, the more distance we put between us and them.” Garland's mouth curled into a devious grin as he reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a blue-jeweled medallion. “The more distance we put between us, the smaller the chance they have of ever seeing this thing.” He stroked the precious metal as the blue sapphire in its center sparkled in the fading sunlight.

“When are you planning on telling me what that thing is anyway?”

“It’s something that doesn't need to be in the hands of someone like Marcus or Theron.”

Silas shook his head. The old man had never told him what was so important about the medallion. In fact, Silas knew nothing about the medallion until the two pale-skinned men named Marcus and Theron appeared at their door in dark trench coats, demanding that Silas and Garland hand it over to them. They had threatened to use force if Garland and Silas didn’t cooperate. Silas, of course, had no idea what they were talking about. He left them standing on the porch of their home, and when Silas went to get Garland, he found his grandfather with two swords and a shotgun. From there it was a mad dash to the truck and a hot pursuit by Marcus and Theron. At some point they lost their pursuers, but continued heading west to a place that Garland said he had prepared for such a day. For three days they traveled with little rest and few answers to Silas’ questions.

It had been only a couple of hours since Marcus and Theron had somehow found them again and Silas had not let up on the gas since. Garland asserted that they were near his hiding place.

The truck began to quiver to a dull purr as it trudged up the side of the mountain. The path crawled around the mountain instead of over it. With the tank spilling the last bit of precious fuel, he knew it would only be moments before he would have to pull the brake and leave the truck behind.

Marcus and Theron slowly faded out of sight with their heavy vehicle, but Silas stayed wary. The cliff’s edge was

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