I love sharing with you what’s inspiring, and what can help you to reflect on what’s going on in your life and better understand your situation to find an appropriate resolution. As a transformational teacher and author, I share the wisdom of the ancient Masters, whose teachings I have adapted to our modern lifestyle and way of thinking. As a filmmaker, I’m interested in topics that reflect human journey to self-understanding, self-improvement and freedom from old patterns and limitations.
Chapter 1 below comes from my novel, Shadowland: The Legend, which is based on my original story and feature film (same title). The book was co-written with a British author Roy Fitzsimmonds, and it won two awards, at the New York Book Festival and San Fransisco Book Festival. The book is available worldwide (see links at the bottom of this page).
The story explores the topics of creating one’s own destiny, and the ways of dealing with personal and global Shadows (see trailer HERE).
I have been saying for a long time that we all live in a “Shadowland”, and – yes, it isn’t easy.
If you like fantasy books which reflect what is happening in our reality and can give us inspiration to better understand what’s going on and where to look for solutions – this book is for you. You can read here a short synopsis and Chapter 1.
SHORT SYNOPSIS: Frank and his older sister Caroline arrive by accident in the mythical Attic Town in Shadowland, where the Great Syndicate is ruling and robbing the citizens. An army of Shadows kidnaps anyone who is out after dark and the Patrolling Thieves make the daylight miserable for everyone. Attic Town is a place where the streets have no names and there is no turning back.
Not realizing that they have shifted in space and time, Frank and Caroline split, looking for directions. Wandering the streets, the boy meets Donlore, a young Patrolling Thief, and trusts this somewhat shadowy figure despite his first instincts.
Caroline finds herself on a farm outside of town. She soon sets on a journey to find her brother and help him realize his mistake. She has to find him before dark. When the night falls, he will remain one of the evil rulers forever and there will be no way back.
In the meantime, the underground opposition of Attic Town begins to revolt.
WATCH THE BOOK TRAILER & READ THE FIRST CHAPTER:
THE LEGEND AND THE MYSTIC
ll the windows and doors were being shut for the night: “bang, bang, bang, bang!” The echo carried the sound, like a warning drum, across the streets of Attic Town.
Little Elsa pulled the blanket over her head. Listening to the noise outside, she felt her breath warming her face. The noise grew, together with the darkness and fear. Soon the Shadows would take over, and nobody in their right mind would wander the streets at night. The Shadows didn’t reason or judge. They were taking everyone. No matter who you were, no matter what you were, if it was your turn the Shadows would find you and get you. You could count on that. And that was the only “fair” thing about them.
Mike, Little Elsa’s sixteen-year-old brother, was lying in his bed and staring at the ceiling, alert. Now another sound was rumbling and echoing in the empty streets, cutting through the early summer night, terrifying the worried minds. The Shadows were already there. Cold, ruthless and unforgiving.
Neither Mike or Little Elsa would make a move. There wasn’t really much to do, except wait for the night to be over. With the first morning light, the Shadows would crawl back into their mysterious nests, which nobody had ever seen, and people would come out of their houses. Slowly, looking around, counting their neighbors to make sure that they were still there. The children would play again, and maybe even run around, if the Patrolling Thieves didn’t scold them and chase them off the streets. You never knew with the Patrolling Thieves, they could have better and worse days. Just like anybody else. And just like the Shadows at night, they were simply doing their job in the daylight. Patrolling the streets and keeping strict order in Attic Town, the capital of Shadowland.
Mike was usually the last one to fall asleep. He was also the one who would wake up before the rest of the house did. The boy was the breadwinner for the family after their father’s unexplained disappearance. Everyone thought the Shadows had gotten him, but Mike wasn’t so sure about that. Why didn’t they hear anything that night? Why didn’t the Shadows make their usual howling sound, piercing the darkness each time they kidnapped someone? No, Mike didn’t believe that the Shadows had anything to do with it. And he still hoped for the mystery to be resolved and his father to return home one day.
Both he and Little Elsa had their father’s look, with bushy dark hair that was always unruly, a bit too long, falling over their sparkling dark eyes. The siblings looked so alike that often people could take Little Elsa for a twelve-year-old boy, if she were not wearing her dress.
Mike would have preferred to have a brother. Someone to share all secrets with, wrestle, or chase wild geese on the outskirts of the town. Not that there was anything wrong with girls. The next-door neighbor, seventeen-year-old Paul, had a girlfriend, who was smiley and pretty. Her name was Sheela. Mike knew from Paul that she collected butterflies. But not the real ones, oh no, she wouldn’t kill a thing. Instead, she would make them from peanut shells, feathers, candy paper and anything colorful or shiny she could find. Paul said she had decorated an entire wall with those fake butterflies.
The next morning caught Mike soundly asleep, dreaming that he had a girlfriend, as pretty and nice as Sheela, and that he made the most beautiful butterflies for her wall.
“Thump, thump, thump, thump!” the footsteps outside woke up the boy. He quickly opened his eyes and sat in his bed. It must be late! He looked at the clock, but it was only six. He shrugged his shoulders: someone was out on the street that early.
Mike got up quietly, making sure that he didn’t wake up his mother and sister. Let them sleep as long as needed. He smiled. That’s what his loving father used to do. And now it was Mike’s turn to take care of his family, the best he could. The Great Syndicate, which ruled their country, allowed the minors to work, at half wage, and fill the vacant positions after their parents’ disappearance. Mike thought they were very lucky that he had learned how to operate the machine cutting soles for the Patrolling Thieves’ boots. It was a reasonable job at the nearby factory, and the boy was doing really well.
“Thump, thump, thump, thump!” Another set of footsteps passed by. No, that wasn’t normal at this early hour. Mike walked up to the window and discreetly looked outside. Nothing. The street was empty.
Puzzled, the boy went to the kitchen to have a small breakfast before he left for the factory. He smiled when he opened the fridge. Yes, as always, he would find some special treat waiting for him every morning: strawberry or blueberry pancakes, chocolate chip cookies, or rice and raisin dessert. His sister would always prepare something for him the previous night, to make his days nicer.
While Mike was at work, Little Elsa was spending most of her days wandering the streets alone. She dragged her plush toy-rabbit with her everywhere she went. It was a birthday gift she’d gotten from her father, a long time ago. The house used to be filled with laughter in the old days, but now it was very quiet. Their mother, a beautiful blonde named Rosalya, had been sick for many months, and the doctors hadn’t been able to help her fragile condition. Nobody knew what was wrong with her. Rosalya was losing her strength, and Little Elsa thought that she was simply withering without her beloved husband, just like a flower deprived of sunlight.
The door downstairs was quietly shut, but the sound still woke Little Elsa. She knew that it was Mike, leaving for work, and she quickly got up. With her nose flattened against the window glass, she watched him walk away. She waved her hand, although he couldn’t see her. It was her usual morning ritual, as she used to wave ‘good-bye’ to her father that way before, and now to her brother.
Suddenly some strange commotion, just to the right and not far from their house, caught her full attention. There was a large building on the corner of two intersecting streets. It was a tall, wooden structure painted recently in a rather unique rusty-beige color. Its windows always had their shutters tightly closed. But that was typical in Attic Town. Windows, shutters, doors, even garden gates. They were kept closed most of the time.
Little Elsa narrowed her dark eyes to better see what was going on. To her surprise, she noticed several people enter the house, one after the other, over a few minutes. There was a certain secretive unease about their movements as they approached the door. They looked around quickly, and then knocked gently, as if they didn’t want to be seen or heard by anyone. The door opened moments later, the newcomers entered the house and the door was closed behind them, with a quiet click.
Little Elsa turned her head and carefully glanced up and down the street. She knew that this was no ordinary house, and this was no ordinary gathering of friends. They were the Underground Opposition, and this morning they were meeting in the inner chamber. Little Elsa slowly stepped back, away from the window. In the land ruled by the Great Syndicate, with the Patrolling Thieves watching the streets, it was better not to know anything at all about any secrets, or meetings.
The inner chamber was already filled with people, and there were still more coming in. The Underground Opposition were holding an important meeting this morning, and they were all gathered here, around a large polished mahogany table. On its surface stood a bowl filled with water, and many were glancing at it, curious and guessing.
The shutters were shut tight and the chamber was lit by greasy tallow candles that spat and flickered, causing dark shapes to flee and dance across the walls. Everything and everyone looked taller in the dim light, as if it were a gathering of silent giants. They were eyeing each other thoroughly, perhaps mentally recognizing faces. Though it was better not to know anyone. It was better not to know too much at all. Just in case. So that if the Patrolling Thieves were to question them, they wouldn’t be able to reveal any important details.
They only knew their leader, Centres, and he was the only one who knew them well. They all trusted him. He too trusted himself enough to be sure, that even if tortured by the Shadows, he’d sooner cut off his own tongue than betray his people. That’s what he called them in his mind: “his people”. He felt responsible for them, and they were the only “family” he had ever had. Nothing was more important to him than his people, and his cause.
Centres stepped forward and looked around. All eyes were on him now, waiting, admiring the powerful man. Clean cut, with well-groomed hair that was greying slightly at the temples, Centres gave the impression of a peaceful and distinguished man at first glance. His eyes, however, told a different story. Deep set, with a steely penetrating gaze, they revealed someone who’d better not be crossed, and should be obeyed without question. His eyes were cold and sharp like daggers.
Quilee, a young and dark-haired man standing by the leader’s side, looked fit and alert like a wild cat. He was both Centres’ confidant and his bodyguard. Centres discreetly nodded to him, and Quilee quietly left the room. Yes, he did move like a wild cat, with a natural sleekness honed to perfection: tense and precise.
The leader turned to the table and stared down into the bowl of water. A palpable silence filled the air. Centres smirked to himself, enjoying the dramatic effect he had on the gathering. He kept silent for a moment before he spoke.
“The Secret Council of Attic Town has asked me to acknowledge your loyalty, and to assure you that your dedication to the cause will not be forgotten. Not today, not tomorrow, and not in all to come.”
The others murmured and nodded in agreement.
“And all to come will soon become!” Like a well-trained choir they repeated a learned sentence, and their powerful chant in unison bounced off the walls.
The main door opened again, and Quilee slid quietly back into the room. Centres raised one eyebrow, questioningly. Quilee nodded in return, with an equally discreet tilt of the head. Centres’ mouth curled briefly on one side with a grin of acknowledgement.
“And so it will be,” he continued his oration. “Soon, the chaos, and all the suffering in our land will stop. The evil will be gone and happiness will return to Attic Town. Soon. Brothers, Sisters…”
He looked briefly down at the children standing nearby and staring wide-eyed up at him.
“Soon we will be reunited.”
The children’s eyes lit up with excitement. Muttering and murmuring broke out among the gathering until Centres, with a flicker of the hand, regained silence. He knew how to control crowds. Like a true showman, he knew how to “put them on fire”, silence them, or take them on a ride, from one emotion to the other. And now he took a slow, significant breath, as if emphasizing his deep thought.
“I have news for you.”
With a sudden sharp, stabbing movement that made several of the children and adults jump, Centres pointed a long bony finger at a narrow side door to his left.
“I give you…”
Everyone looked at the door and took a tentative step back.
“I give you… Moona!” he finished his sentence with a dramatic gesture.
Everyone gasped, as the side door opened slowly and a tall woman of indeterminate age entered. Not young, and not old, she had an unusually soft and somewhat playful disposition about her. Long dark hair, void of any hint of grey, cascaded over her shoulders, presenting a natural and perfect frame for her beautiful face and large emerald eyes. She looked almost vacantly at the gathering in the room, as she gracefully moved over to the table, while her silky, pastel clothes sighed around her body.
Centres, with a self-satisfied smirk on his face, stepped to one side. Moona, taking the central position, raised her palms up over the bowl of water.
Whether it was just a trick of the light, or even clouds moving past outside, the room darkened suddenly. The bowl began to glow with a bluish light. Faint fireflies, splinters of energy flickered above the water which now began to bubble and churn.
The gathered crowd gasped again in amazement.
There were many stories about Moona, passed from one to another around the town. People were saying that nobody knew exactly how and when she had arrived in Attic Town. They only knew that she seemed to have always been there, as if eternal. Even their parents’ parents remembered the mysterious beauty wandering around her rose garden, which nobody ever entered without permission, and very few were ever invited to explore.
Many wondered how much influence Moona had had over Rosalya, Mike and Little Elsa’s mother, who used to spend most of her time in Moona’s garden when she was a young girl. But something must have happened to change everything, as the visits surprisingly stopped. No one ever saw Rosalya near Moona’s garden again.
Rosalya had married quite early, and she soon started her family. And then she planted many rose bushes in her own backyard. She was often seen tending and talking to the roses, just as Moona always had. Some even said that Rosalya’s daughter, Little Elsa, was spending a lot of time with Moona, just like her mother a long time ago. However, nobody was sure, and the rumors quickly stopped when Rosalya entirely denied it, saying that her daughter had nothing whatsoever to do with Moona.
Now at the secret gathering, the statuesque and royally postured Moona had the full attention of the crowd. As always.
“Beware,” she intoned slowly, “Beware Attic Town. You have waited long for all to come, and now it’s time. It has begun.”
Silent stillness, like a heavy coat, covered the entire room.
“But the evil… oh the evil won’t just give in. It raises its head higher, biting into the night! And it will devour your flesh. And swallow your souls.”
The gathering began an uneasy muttering. They were quickly silenced by Centres, and Moona continued.
“Beware now. As not all of you shall see the end.”
The people exchanged concerned looks, muttering loud now, both puzzled and frightened.
She looked at them, calmly but firmly, as if dissecting their hearts and minds with her eyes. Then she continued, softly, yet the quietness of her voice was more terrifying than loud thunder.
“But those who will survive, will soon enjoy happiness and freedom in Attic Town.”
Moona fell silent and lowered her eyes. The water in the bowl was bubbling fiercely now, rapidly changing color. The halo of flickering sparks radiated further outwards, stretching out with ghostly illuminated fingers.
Everyone leaned forward, some holding their breath.
But Moona kept still, as if lost in a deep meditation. Or maybe even departed, travelling somewhere in an invisible world where she feasted with tricky spirits, perhaps stealing from them the secrets of the future that nobody else knew.
“Tell us more,” Centres finally whispered.
She slowly raised her eyes and gently waved her long-fingered palms over the glass bowl.
“A stranger, from a foreign land, will arrive with his sister,” she began. “And he will be powerful enough to destroy the evil!”
All at once the gathering burst out with questions. “Who is it? Where is he from? Tell us more! What do you see?”
“Quiet!” Centres barked, spreading his arms in a dramatic gesture. “Never interrupt Moona! You understand?!”
They all fell silent again and Moona, closing her eyes, continued with her mysterious vision.
“He will be strong, this hero. Although he will not know it, he will not suspect… His courage grows inside him like a rising sun. Yet his powers are still asleep, as if waiting, not ready to come out. He must beware though. He does not, will not, know right from wrong. And he can go either way. But…what will become of him, will become of us.”
She paused. And the wait felt awfully long, like an ice age imprisoning their lives. Finally, she opened her eyes. They were different now, frosty. She glanced around, as if she were unaware of what she had been saying. But then she smiled, softly, and added, “Just as the Legend foretells.”
No one dared to speak. And nobody noticed a Shadow outside, as if glued to the wall, listening to what was going on in the inner chamber.
When the Shadow departed from the building, he became a dark-dressed man. He disappeared quickly down the street.
END OF CHAPTER 1
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