Yes, this is the last free preview you’re going to get of Braden Bell’s “Luminescence,” which was released on March 11. When you want more — and let’s face it, after reading a little of this book, who wouldn’t want more? — you’ll have to journey to your local bookstore to buy a copy. Online retailers are an option, too.
During his middle school years, Braden Bell was the least-stable, lowest-achieving student in the history of the world. He shocked every former teacher by graduating from high school and college, and then going on to earn both a Master’s degree as well as a Ph.D. A teacher by day and a parent by night, he is around teenagers 24/7. He teaches music and directs plays at a private school, much like Marion Academy in The Middle School Magic series. Whether he fights evil after hours or not is something he cannot disclose.
Something like a cold kiss grabbed his attention. The shadows had slithered up his arm and now brushed against his face. As he brushed them away, Conner struggled again to understand the difference between shadows and Darkness.
Shadows were simply the absence of light. Darkness, on the other hand, was alive; a real power; an evil intelligence of some kind. Shadows were smooth and subtle, but not evil or bad. Not like the sharp, sizzling Darkness the Darkhands hurled. They had to be related, but Conner didn’t understand how, and until he did, his new powers couldn’t help Dr. Timberi or anyone else.
Somehow the Darkhands twisted shadows into something that could kill.
Conner clenched his eyes shut, trying to squash the images of Dark flames lancing from Lady Nightwing’s fingers into Dr. Timberi’s body.
Assuming Dr. Timberi was still alive, what was Lady Nightwing doing to him now? Conner had been her prisoner. He understood exactly the ways she could inflict pain on a body, mind, and spirit. And Dr. Timberi had been at her mercy for three weeks. So while everyone else worried that Dr. Timberi might be dead, a quiet part of Conner worried that Dr. Timberi might still be alive—but wishing for a quick, merciful death.
Conner whispered yet another silent prayer for Dr. Timberi’s safety as a warm tear snuck out of his eye.
The shadows in Conner’s hand shifted again, gliding into a perfect representation of Lady Nightwing. Tall, and regal, she carried the hypnotic beauty of a deadly snake.
His stomach clenched with bitter, stewing hatred. How many lives had this evil woman destroyed? How many spirits had she maimed and crippled?
Driven by growing fury, Conner flung the shadows away. They scattered, but came flowing back, oozing into a different shape now: a pale man who’s long hair hung down over eyes that burned with hate .
The Stalker. That was what they’d called him at first. But his real name was Timothy. Timothy Timberi. They’d just discovered that he was Dr. Timberi’s son.
Conner’s anger screamed inside of him. How could any son be like that? Conner had seen Timothy fight Dr. Timberi multiple times, trying to kill his father. Those attempts had all failed, but Timothy had tried. Again and again. But after all that, when Lady Nightwing turned on Timothy, Dr. Timberi had bargained with his own life, giving himself in exchange for his worthless son—and the safety of his students.
The shadows divided now, taking three shapes: Lady Nightwing, cackling with triumph on her smug face. Timothy looking sneaky and evil. And Lexa, striking her tragic-martyr-drama-queen pose.
As Conner’s anger exploded into a raging fury, the combustion propelled his fist forward, and he threw a punch at the shadowy images.
The chilly tingle of shadows cooled his hand as his fist connected with Lady Nightwing, but then, sparks appeared in the air, hot, black sparks that sizzled around his clenched fingers. As his fist continued through Lady Nightwing and into Timothy, the sparks grew and spread, merging with strands of shadow. By the time his fist crashed through Lexa’s image, shadows and sparks had blended into a ball of black fire in his hand, burning like flames wrapped inside of dry ice.
The momentum of Conner’s punch hurled the ball of black flames across the room, drawing in more shadows and consuming them like gasoline. By the time the fireball crashed into his window, it had doubled in size. It vaporized the glass, flew outside, and collided with the power lines.