New Release Giveaway!
Enemy of the Gods by Christian Hofsetz
Winner #1 to receive: Ebook version of Book 1, The Challenge of the Gods, plus $10 Amazon gift cert
Winner #2 to receive: $5 Amazon gift cert
**Giveaway Eligible in US Only**
March 22 thru March 28, 2020
Primavera brings me tweezers from a hidden cabinet in the bathroom and leaves me to it. Several hours later, the sun is already rising, and we’re standing outside looking at each other in amusement.
While she was out, I plucked hairs from my five-o’clock shadow in equally spaced spots. It hurt like hell, but the pain helped me map part of my body—in this case, my beard—in my brain. Then, I worked on those neurons until I had a respectable beard that would’ve taken me more than a month to grow naturally.
Despite all my work, Primavera doesn’t even flinch when she sees me. Perhaps my idea isn’t going to work. Meanwhile, she has a towering surprise of her own following behind her.
Primavera puts her hands on her hips. “I see you’ve been busy.” She grins.
“And how about you?” I gesture at the creature she brought with her. “Don’t you ever sleep?”
A majestic chestnut horse, about a meter and a half tall, trots exaggeratedly behind her. Primavera herself can’t be more than one meter and thirty centimeters tall, and her head doesn’t even reach the back of the horse. The large animal has fluffy white fur below its knees and a patch of white on its face between muzzle and forehead.
She doesn’t have to lead the horse; it happily follows her as she gets nearer. “I don’t need to sleep,” she says. “I just move between hyperspheres and dreamspheres.” She chuckles. “I can go skiing, meet new people, and play-fight with giant grasshoppers. Don’t you?”
I grin back. “No one fights with grasshoppers, Primavera. You’re… special.”
But it does make a little sense that she doesn’t need sleep. When this all started years ago, I’d spend the day on Earth and the night in Pangea, and still wake up rested. But jumping between hyperspheres is unheard of, and I had no idea dreamspheres existed until Dooria told me about them.
The mare behind Primavera kneels down on one leg and gently headbutts Primavera, reminding us of its—of her—presence.
I put my hands on my hips. “I didn’t even know we could have horses here.”
Primavera turns and pets the horse. “Her name’s Dorothy. You can keep her for a while, as long as you take good care of her.”
Dorothy lies down and begins rubbing her head on Primavera like a cat. The little girl grooms the horse’s hair happily and absent-mindedly.
Scratching my nose, I try to hide my face from the girl. “She’ll be in good hands,” I tell her, but in truth, I have no idea how to take care of horses. Considering my luck with the people closest to me, Dorothy’s chances of surviving the week are pretty low.
Trying to avoid thoughts of Jane, I walk over to the mare and raise my hand to touch her. Dorothy lowers her head, letting me caress her crest and forehead.
“Good girl!” I say, feeling the warmth of her skin below her coat. She nickers softly at me and twitches her tail.
“She likes you.” Primavera giggles. “Even though you have this silly beard. Why did you do it?”
“I’m hoping the others won’t know who I am. They’re mad about something, and I still don’t know why.”
My facial hair is completely different now, not just the beard. The eyebrows are thinner and delineated after more careful, painful plucking. This is all I can do, considering the circumstances. I hope this hare-brained plan works.
“It won’t work,” Primavera says. “Your aura is brighter than the sun.” She points her small index finger at my beard. “As you know, Bob,” she jokes, “we recognize people here by their auras, not their faces.”
She’s right—I forgot I had an aura. Closing my eyes for a second, I focus on myself for a change. The brightness around me is like a flare. This is how I visualized people in Pangea in my mind map in the old days. Everyone had a bright light, including the messengers. So, mine, at least, is still there.
And how interesting. When I follow the path of my auras into my head, they converge into a small cluster of neurons. I’m pretty sure this is what connects us to Pangea. Maybe I can use this knowledge to send people there and back.
And yet, neither Louise nor Primavera has an aura I can detect. Someone must’ve deliberately changed my perceptions and abilities in the hypersphere, making my job harder.
“Primavera, most people can’t see auras.” I chuckle. “And even if they did, I doubt they’d know it was me.”
It’s clear that spending her whole life here has probably made her aware of auras and how they differ. But humans live on planets, not in magic holodecks and wandering houses. Other than the two of us, I don’t know anyone else who can see auras.
“Oh, well.” She shoots a worried look at Dorothy. “Don’t let anyone hurt her.”
The rest of the morning, Primavera spends some time teaching me how to ride a horse. Although I own a cowboy hat, I’ve only seen a horse once in my life in what was a very awkward wakeup call the day after my twenty-first birthday. During the practice, Primavera looks so disappointed in me. I tell myself this should be a good lesson for her. Adults often don’t know what they’re doing.
About the Author:
After working for several years as a professor in Brazil, C. Hofsetz moved to the United States and changed careers. Currently, he is a Software Engineer Manager by day, and a writer by night.
Software engineering and computers have been his passion since he was a teenager, but he’s been reading novels for longer than writing code. One day, he couldn’t help it anymore. He wrote the first chapter of a book. How bad could it be? But things escalated quickly. Next thing he knew, he was writing yet another chapter, and then the next. He tried to hide it, but his family knew he was up to something.
When they figured out what he was doing, it was too late–he accidentally had written a whole book.
The result of this journey is Challenges of The Gods, a story about a fantastic world of gods meddling with humans.