In the three-and-a-half years since its release, I am still amazed at the reviews HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS continues to garnesh. Most end with the subtle (as well as not-so-subtle) question as to the release of the second and final installment of the story.
What most do not realize is that I wanted to incorporate the entire storyline into one book but, seeing as that would have been a five-hundred page novel…………..
Honestly folks, being a newcomer to the publishing arena, I didn’t think it wise to put out such a lengthy (as well as expensive) foray into the world of Science-Fiction storytelling.
Not to mention the even more unknown world of Christian Science Fiction (which I have come to call Chri-Fi)
the sequel is coming.
Yeah, I know, I’ve been saying that for about six months now.
So, as not to bore you with the sometimes nightmare world of editing…………..
How about another taste of Book I with the promise of Book II on the not-to-distant horizon?
Many thanks to my fans for their patience……..
SHADOW OF TUNGUSKA is coming.
HILL OF GREAT DARKNESS CHAPTER 36: THE INTERNAL DARKNESS
“I sure hope you’re a good shot professor” was all Martin heard as he sat on the ground with the gun barrel in his mouth. How long had he been here? Who is talking to him anyhow? He realized that he had not been on top of the mound for more than five, maybe ten minutes trying to work up the nerve to pull the trigger, so he slowly opened his eyes and to his left saw a rather imposing, well dressed black man standing holding a large handgun by the barrel.
“I’ve seen the result of people who don’t know how to use guns, let alone use a little pea shooter like you got there. Never know what that tiny bullet will do. Ricochet round in your head, bounce off a metal filling in your mouth and BAM! You’re wounded for life. No sir, if you want to do it right, here. This is a Government Issue .40 caliber handgun. Take most of your head clean off of your shoulders. That’s what ya want, isn’t it Dr. Sherfy?”
Dr. Sherfy; been years since anyone had called him that. He was still sitting with the gun in his mouth and he was beginning to feel a little, oh, stupid.
“Who are you?” he mumbled through the metal barrel in his mouth.
“How ‘bout putting that gun down so we can talk sir. We’re here to talk about your little incident yesterday.”
Then the man put his gun back into a holster under his coat. As he did, Martin saw the glimmer of some kind of badge on the holster. The man was about five feet away and started to squat down so he could talk eye to eye with Martin. Slowly his own .22 caliber came out of his mouth and he simply laid it on the grass before him. Now he could speak English a little better.
“Who are you?”
Taking a deep breath the letting it out in hushed rush the black man spoke as his eyes were clearly surveying his surroundings.
“Professor Sherfy, my name is Daniel Blackstone and this is my associate Mr. Smithton.”
Martin hadn’t even noticed the other man who was on his right. As he looked over to him he saw his .22 handgun in the man’s hands. Smitty simply smiled and said “Howdy.”
Martin sat there and buried his chin into his chest. He had never felt so humiliated in his life!
“I don’t know what you want, but, I don’t think I’m interested.” was all he could say.
“Oh, I don’t know about that, from what I gather you’re one of the top dogs when it comes to this mound. Your friend over at the museum said so, your academic transcripts say so, even your former employer says so.”
“You’ve been at the campus?”
“We’ve been looking for you sir.” Blackstone said as he stood sweeping the grass from his pant legs then offered his hand to Martin.
Looking up into his eyes Martin said “You still haven’t told me who you are.”
“Let’s just say we have a mutual interest sir. We’re standing on it in fact.” Then Daniel Blackstone looked deeply into Martin Sherfy’s eyes and said “There’s a secret under this mound and I need, actually sir your country needs, your help.”
“That’s, without a doubt, the most cliché line I have ever heard in my life.”
At that Blackstone began to laugh then admitted “I know; it’s the best I could do and besides,” he now stopped laughing and slightly raised his eyebrows “It’s true.”
“Who are you guys?”
In the six or seven minute walk from the top of Monks Mound to the parking area on the eastern side, Martin Sherfy had been told the entire story of the Magellan incident and the possibility (or impossibility he thought to himself) of a black hole residing right under his very own feet.
“So what do you want with me?” he asked as they opened the car door for him.
“Think doctor, you’re an archeologist; find us a way in.”
“A way in?”
“Yes sir, a way in. There has to be a way to get into that area underground. A cavern, tunnel, something.”
Martin got into the sedan dumbfounded. These guys can’t be serious. They would have to be a couple drunken idiots to think there was a way to saunter their way one mile down beneath his beloved mound. That’s when he smiled. Something about ‘drunken idiots’ triggered a memory of an old story or, more accurately, a local fable he had heard years ago.
“Do you find something amusing professor?” Daniel Blackstone asked him as he narrowed his gaze in an uncomfortably menacing sort of way.
“Go straight up this road to the left. It will take you to Main Street.”
“And what will we find there professor?”
“Collinsville Public Library, I want to do a little digging. Um, no pun intended guys.”
The two men in the front seat both laughed as they turned east on old business forty and headed back toward Collinsville. In less than ten minutes they were pulling up in front of the library and Daniel looked at Martin and spoke in a hushed, ominous tone.
“May I remind you Dr. Sherfy, the information you are privy to is truly classified. We will be watching and listening to everything you say and do sir.”
“Who are you guys, really?”
“We are your best friends in the whole world sir. Or, we are your worst nightmare. It all depends on you Dr. Sherfy.”
Sitting in the back seat behind the driver, Martin slid over to the passenger side and said “Look fellas, I don’t believe this black hole story of yours for a minute but, I do think you could be on to something here”
“Is that a fact professor? Why is that?”
“Do you know that this area’s main source of income at one time was coal mining?”
At that both men turned their full attention to their new found professor friend. “No, we didn’t know that but, please go on sir.”
“Well, it seems to me that when I was a little guy growin’ up, there was a story about a couple of men that started a mine and then just a couple of days later shut it down and moved to another area of town and started another mine. To this day, no one knows where that original mine shaft was for sure.”
“So, you think this old shaft could be our way in?”
Martin continued, “These two men got drunk one night and told the people at the local tavern that their original shaft led straight to the gates of hell.”
With that, Daniel threw open his door and said “Let’s go visit your library Dr. Sherfy.”