IT IS 2020 IN PARADIGM CITY. THE SUN IS OUT, AND ALL SEEMS PEACEFUL IN THIS BUSTLING CITY-EXCEPT FOR ONE HOUSE, WHERE EVIL LURKS. BETHANY ROTHYCHYLD IS A TORTURED WOMAN. ABUSED BY HER HUSBAND ELI FOR YEARS, BETHANY IS AT THE END OF HER ROPE. AS HE HOLDS A GUN TO THE HUSBAND WHO VIEWS HER AS A TROPHY AND NOTHING MORE, SHE SUDDENLY TURNS THE WEAPON ON HERSELF-WITH THE HOPE OF ENDING THE ABUSE FOREVER.
JOHN KNIGHT, THE HEAD OF ULTRA TECH HOSPITAL, IS USED TO SECRETS. A SCIENTIFIC GENIUS GIFTED WITH THE ABILITY TO FORESEE FUTURE EVENTS, JOHN IS ALREADY KNOWN FOR THE MIRACLES HE PERFORMS WITH PROSTHETIC RESEARCH. BUT AS AN EVIL MENACE TERRORIZES PARADIGM CITY, JOHN HURRIES TO CREATE A TEAM OF SUPERHEROES TO DEFEAT THE THREAT. MEANWHILE, BETHANY SURVIVES HER GUNSHOT WOUND BUT SOON REALIZES THAT SHE MAY NEVER ESCAPE ELI AND HIS MISSION TO CONTROL HER.
NO ONE IN PARADIGM CITY KNOWS THE NAMES OF THE TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED HEROES WHO PUT THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE TO SAVE THEIR CITY FROM DESTRUCTION. BUT ONE MAN IS DETERMINED TO STOP THEM-NO MATTER WHAT THE SACRIFICE.
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The Razor's EdgeBook 1: Strength in Unity
By E. L. Randolph
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 E. L. Randolph
All right reserved.
Chapter OneThe Year, 2020
It was a windy day with very few clouds in the sky, and the sun was shining down on a place called Paradigm City, which was bustling with people and technology. In the suburbs, outside of the city, was a street filled with the laughter of children playing in the area, and elegant homes all similar to one another, with shade trees in their front yards and colorful flowers all arrayed against the brick exterior. Everything seemed peaceful and normal. But inside one specific home it was a completely different story.
The blood ran down from Bethany's lip. The drops that had fallen onto the snow white carpet looked like speckles of wine stain. Eli winced at his wife's wild eyes. He had never seen such a distraught look before, not even in his mothers eyes when his father put her in her place. He could remember those times without a blur.
Eli hadn't meant to hit Bethany. Why didn't she just shut-up when he asked her to? But, she just kept nagging him. He loved her, didn't he? She was his wife of ten years. He had first fallen in love with her by looking into her beautiful green eyes. She had seen the good in him when so many saw the malevolence.
But today, those eyes showed a woman in hell.
There was blood on his hand. His arm was as strong now as it was when he was in the military. Thanks to his training routine, he was in decent shape, like the Megaflex commercials promised. He kept up his image, especially his short black hair which was always kept trimmed and neat.
Bethany, on the other hand, was a trophy to him. A prized possession to show off to his friends and colleagues. He assured himself that he loved her. He was manipulating himself. He often thought if people wondered how he ended up with her. Thinking himself to be out of her league.
Eli was staring at the blood stains so he didn't notice Bethany's movement. He should have noticed. She headed over to the bureau. That's were he kept their antique thirty eight caliber pistol. She slowly lifted it and took of the safety. Eli by that time had looked up. What he saw was the barrel of the pistol aimed straight at him.
"Have you lost your mind!" He yells. Then realizes he needs to calm down and speak rational to her just in case she's serious. " Put it away honey, I didn't mean to ..."
Bethany can't believe what she's hearing. " You didn't mean to! YOU DIDN'T MEAN TO!" She calms herself seeing his fear, knowing she finally had the advantage. "What's the matter sweetie?" She taunts. "Feeling helpless?" A cynical smirk forms on her face. Eli takes a step toward her. She raises the gun. " Helpless! Just like I felt all them years." The tears run down her cheek. " Helpless." She repeats, it's the only thought she can focus on. She is losing her mind.
Eli sees her confusion and regains a little bit of confidence. " Your not going to shoot me, give me the gun. You love me."
His words cause Bethany to wake from her self induced trance. "What!" Her eyes grow stormy. "No I don't love you! Every time you hit me, you lost that love! You tore it away!" The tears continue flowing down her distraught face. " You don't deserve my love."
Eli forces himself to smile but his eyes can't hide his fear. "Come on Bethie, I promise, I'll change."
To his surprise, Bethany walks quickly over to him placing the gun onto his forehead.
Eli begins to shake. Tears fill his eyes finally, as he looks up at the barrel. His lip quivering.
"Get down on your knees!" She commands.
He listens and obeys, hesitantly.
"What? Are you scared for your life?"
He hears her say as he closes his eyes.
"Now you know how I feel." She walks away for a moment realizing what she's done, turning her glance toward the gun. "I had to turn to this. It was my only means of stopping you. But now you can't hurt me anymore."
Eli pleads. "I won't. I promise Bethie! You're my life! I don't know why I hit you. Its just that sometimes..... Come on, put that thing away! You could kill someone!"
She lowers her head. " That's my intention. When I married you, you were everything to me. My calm in the storms. But then you started working at that corporation, and you changed. You turned violent. I thought I could help you somehow. But you would come home drunk and...." She raises her head looking directly at him. "Slap me around, for no reason."
Eli saw the hurt in her eyes. There was no doubt he had put it there.
"Sweetie, remember that time in Vermont. When we went to the little cabin in the hills. We had such a wonderful time and we could go again."
Bethany wipes her eyes with her sleeve. "We can't go anywhere. You hurt me! You always hurt me! You pushed me to do what I'm about to do!"
Eli looked at his wife's hand on the gun. Her grip was so tight her knuckles were turning white.
The red fingernail polish was chipping. She only picked at her fingernail polish when she was thinking seriously. He had seen her do it. Why didn't he ask her what was so wrong? Then he remembered. He was what was wrong.
"Eli, you can't hurt me anymore!" She began to shake. Her eyes bloodshot from the crying.
Eli gets up and walks toward her. "Please don't. Hand me the gun and we'll talk this time. I promise, I won't interrupt you." He was confident that his smooth talk was finally paying off.
For a moment Bethany considered it. Then a somber look crossed her face. "Get back down on your knees. Did I tell you to get up?" When he didn't move fast enough, she came up beside him and pistol whipped him in the head, causing him to fall to the floor.
"Get up!" He slowly gets up on his knees holding his hands up in the air.
"Ok, Bethany." He takes a deep breath and closes his eyes, ready for the impact of the bullet.
"Oh, God please!" He can barely hold himself up he's so terrified.
That was when he heard it. So loud, deafening. He puts his hands to his chest searching for the bullet wound. But couldn't find it. He couldn't feel it. "She missed" he thought to himself. "She was just trying to scare me straight"
He then opened his eyes to find his wife's body lying on the floor in the fetal position, blood flowing freely from the wound.
"What the hell!" He crawls over to her. " Why did you do that?" He cried to her. "Why did you do that?" He then embraces her in shock and completely lost. He forces his mind to go blank to guard himself from the mental anguish. His eyes seem lifeless. He then wishes she would have shot him. It would have hurt less.
Chapter TwoSomewhere in the deserts of the middle east......
War rages on in the midst of a sand storm.
The heat is unbearable.
Bullets stream overhead with bombs exploding in the distance.
Chaos consumes this land and all inhabitants within it.
"Jackson! I'm going to cut up behind the building so we can get out of this storm! Cover me!" He yells to his brother .
"Ok, Zach! Hurry up then! Its getting worse out here!"
Zach Keller takes off toward the building with as much speed as his legs could accumulate.
A grenade gets thrown into his path. Jackson sees it, his brother doesn't
"Move! Move! Move!" He runs over flinging himself atop the grenade saving his brothers life. It explodes underneath him, throwing shards of metal into his arms and legs. Thanks to the military armor, his major organs didn't take a hit.
Zach turns around to see his brothers body, or what's left of it. Lying on the ground covered in blood.
He runs to his brothers aide.
Natives all around them yelling.
everything seemed as it were moving in slow motion.
He seen the movement of his chest going up and down, again all in slow motion.
Zach took the deepest breath of his life.
He's a good soldier keeping his emotions in check.
"Ok, Zack keep it together." he told himself.
Then met his brothers half opened eyes.
"Jackson, I'm here and not going anywhere." He grabbed his brothers maimed body to drag him out of the storm. He felt the tears coming to the surface.
Jackson forces himself to ask, painfully.
"How ... bad .. is it." Zack rips his sleeves off to take a closer look.
"Not, that bad. I'm sure you'll survive." Jack knows his brother all too well.
"You ... liar."
Zach try's to smile to ease his mind.
"Is that any way to talk to your older brother?"
Jack smiles back at him.
"Tell mom and dad I love them."
"No, your going to tell them yourself, you hear me? What were you thinking throwing your body on that grenade?"
Jackson grins slightly. "saved you didn't I?" Jackson's eyes grew heavy and his breathing grew shallow.
"I love you man." His eyes closed.
Zach looked up to see the medical team coming.
"HURRY!" He backed out of the way. Almost falling backwards.
"No soldier, he has a pulse, weak but its there."
Zach looked at his little brothers body losing all ability to hide his emotions.
One of the medical team members came over to him as they put Jackson in the medical evacuation vehicle.
"Listen Zach, I'm not going to lie to you. It's bad, and we may have to amputate. This is war, you know what happens. We'll do everything we can. Your brother is a member of this family, this unit. Let us do our jobs."
"Its my fault, He was trying to save me." He wallows in guilt.
"Where you taking him?"
The medic put his hand on Zach's shoulder.
"We're going to get him to base and then, fly him out. Follow us to base for debriefing." He then hopped in one of the trucks.
Zach didn't say a word on the way back. He had always been the more impulsive of the two. They looked almost exactly alike, both had chestnut hair with dark brown eyes. But, personality wise, they were night and day. Zach tended to live life on the edge, and he really did live each moment the same way.
Jackson would be the one to make a list of pros and cons, and then decide. Jackson was also the one who would think of others before himself. It used to drive Zach crazy, but then he realized that Jackson just saved his life because of that.
The other soldiers tried to talk to him but he remained silent.
As soon as they arrived, Zach ran to the medic tent.
"Where is he?" He asked the leutenant. He surveyed the area. Nothing.
Lt. Marco took his arm. " Come with me Zach." Zach shook it off.
"No sir! I'm not going any where! Where's my brother?" The urgency in his voice was growing.
"Zach." Lt. Marco said calmly. " Come with me."
"Did he....?" He couldn't finish the thought.
"No." He grabbed his arm again, this time harder and led Zach into his office. He shut the door behind him.
"Have a seat."
"Have a seat? My brothers struggling for his life and you want me to have a seat!" Zach struggled to control his anger, "What the hell is going on here?"
Lt. Marco leaned against his desk crossing his arms.
"They are delivering him to one of Ultra Techs best hospitals. They have the capabilities other hospitals do not. I've met with the head of Ultra Tech a while back, his name is Dr. John Knight. Amazing doctor. He's conducting research on prosthetic limbs and that's what Jackson's going to need if he wants to live a halfway normal life."
He looks Zach square in the eyes.
"Zach, you know you guys are like family out here, I wouldn't have
Jackson go if I didn't think it best. The thing is, it's a top-secret facility. No one will be able to see him or talk to him until he's out."
He puts his hand of Zach's shoulder. "I know this is hard son, but it's the best thing for your brother. I've already notified your parents.
Zach didn't know how to process all the information he had just received. Lt. Marco handed him his dismissal papers.
"You, need to go home. Your tour of duty is over in just a few weeks anyway. You'll receive your discharge papers immediately."
Zach stood there, silent. "So this is how it feels" he thought. "Those life changing moments"
He could remember when he told his family he was joining the army. He remembered looking at his younger brother, and telling him everything the recruiter had told him.
He hoped they would join together. He couldn't think of anyone having his back more than his own brother. He kept harping on it, until Jackson graduated and signed the dotted line. They went to the same place for boot camp. Fort Campbell Kentucky.
Then went to the same place for war. They were only a year apart, and not only brothers, but best friends.
Their sister Sarah always joked about them being two peas in a pod. Of course, that was usually after they gave the guy she was dating a hard time.
Zach pulls up at his parents house in a taxi. The house looks exactly the same. His parents beautiful two story home set on the edge of Saline lake, had a boathouse in back, and a yard that was too big to keep cut.
He gets out of the taxi cab and begins to walk toward the front door, head down in shame.
The closer he got the more he thought about turning around and leaving. He hesitantly presses the doorbell.
The door is opened by his mother Samantha. She smiles, tears form in her eyes.
He drops his duffle bag.
doesn't say a word. She comes out slowly and wraps her arms around him crying.
"I'm sorry mom." he says softly.
Then his sister sees him. "Zach!" She runs out to get herself a hug also. They head indoors. His dad Peter sits at the kitchen table playing solitaire.
"Good to see you son." Zach walks to his room feeling like his parents are blaming him for what happened to Jackson. Throws his bag on the floor, jumps in his old bed and begins to think. "Now what am I supposed to do. I been in the service so long I feel out of touch."
John Knight opens his eyes from the latest of many comas he's subjected to. He's within his own top-secret Ultra Tech hospital. He looks around the room having a bit of memory lapse. Then turns over to see another man occupying the room with him sleeping silently. He stares at him briefly.
His doctor enters the hospital room.
"John, how are we doing this morning?" He sits up in his bed.
"Ok, I suppose. How long was I out this time?" The doctor looks at his clip board.
"have you found what's causing these episodes?"
"Yes, it appears as though you have an enlarged gland in your frontal lobe."
"Is it serious?"
The doctor laughs, "Your not going to die if that's what you mean. I would keep from driving though, Its hard to tell when you'll have another episode." the doctor then turns to leave.
"Sorry John, I need to see to these other patients and I don't have much time today, but you can go whenever you decide."
The man in the bed next to him begins to awaken.
"Where am I?"
John gets out of his bed and leans in towards the man. "It's okay, Jackson. Don't be frightened." He tells him in a calming voice.
He turns to John, still groggy from the medicine, "Who are.... How do you know my name?" He then gets a flash of remembrance of his accident. Terrified, he looks at this stranger, "Where the hell are my arms? Oh my God!"
John grabs the chair to sit next to him He knows that Jackson will soon recognize his legs are missing as well. He wants to be near to comfort him.
Jackson turns an angry eye to John. "Why are you sitting there? To get a look at the freak?"
"No, son, I'm not here to belittle you. Just wait, everything happens for a reason."
John's voice is very reassuring to Jackson, as he feels a calm overcome him.
Jackson's doctor enters the room, followed closely by a woman. The doctor motions toward Jackson, "Here he is, mam."
The woman takes the other empty seat next to Jack. She takes out a brochure, looks over it, and then turns her attention to Jack. "Sir, I think we'll be able to help you. We have quite a few options with prosthetic limbs." She puts the brochure in front of him.
Jackson's eyes widen. "What?" He feels the rage coming over him. "Lady, get the hell out of here. Now!" He shuts his eyes hoping everyone will be gone.
"Sir," she softly says.
Jackson opens eyes. He was always taught to treat women with respect, but this was pushing it. Trying to control his voice, he turns his face towards her, "Mam, I am asking you to leave."
"But......" the women tries again.
John clears his throat. "Jackson," he puts a supportive hand on his shoulder. "I know this isn't what you want to do right now." Once again, John's voice soothes his nerves.
John looks at the woman with authority. "I believe the gentleman asked you to leave."
Excerpted from The Razor's Edge by E. L. Randolph Copyright © 2011 by E. L. Randolph. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The synopsis has misspellings in it that I'm sure do nothing but hurt the sales of this book. Its an outstanding book! A job well done for Mr. Randolph. I have no doubt this story will be seen over and over through different mediums. The first thing I thought after reading it was Ninja Turtles! The next fad, although theres no similarity except originality and style. Is it worth reading? Absolutely! And its worth reading twice!