There’s a LOT of excitement building up for the release of The Yellow Hoods Book 5 – The Day the Sky Fell. Here’s a preview, Chapter 1! The book will release officially on April 22nd.
Chapter 1 – Liddel Problem
The shepherd stretched out his arms and yawned at the cloudy, late summer sky. “Time to go home,” he said to his sheep that were milling about on the grassy mountain plateau.
He pulled his grandfather’s old crook out of the ground and cleaned off the bottom with his hand, just as he had for his father. The hooked staff and the trade that came with it had been passed down for centuries from one Liddel to the next. It was for good reason that they were trusted with all the sheep of the village.
“Go,” he urged a sheep that stared at him blankly. “Can you not see the smoke rising from the chimneys? It means our day is done.” He pointed, but the sheep seemed unconvinced. “This is not one of my stories. Can you not feel it in your belly? Surely you’re full, and I can have my dinner.”
After a look of contemplation, the sheep nodded, turned, and started trotting away.
“Listen to Chikahn, my friends. It is time for us to get home, eat, and rest. We will be back tomorrow.” He used his crook to get the stragglers moving and gradually they all headed down the mountain.
Arriving at the valley floor, he corralled the sheep and counted them quickly. He checked the eyes of two of them, and the hooves of another. The Liddel family was known for their meticulous care of animals in their charge, and their passionate storytelling around the dinner table.
As Chikahn was about to get the sheep moving again, he noticed something in the sky approaching the village in the distance. Putting his free hand over his eyes to block the late afternoon sun, he wrinkled his face at the sight. “Is that an air balloon? I haven’t seen one in years.”
He smiled and patted one of the sheep. “Can you believe that? An air balloon. This is a sign of something. Maybe we will have good fortune on this day! Wait… It looks like two… Two air balloons? Unbelievable. They are strangely close together, though. Something is connecting them like they have one huge basket or… it almost looks like a ship’s body connecting them. This doesn’t look like the one used by the Official Cartographer of Teuton. Maybe it is new?”
Clapping his hands, stirring the sheep to get moving. He glanced up at the sky periodically as they approached the village. “What an odd air balloon ship.”
Bat-like wings came out of the sides of the airship, catching the wind and propelling the ship quickly forward.
“What further strangeness is this? Unbelievable. What a story it will make for dinner: a wind ship. I wonder where it’s…” His heart skipped a beat. “It’s heading for our village.”
Chikahn nudged the sheep anxiously with his crook and swallowed hard as his heart sped up. His eyes fixed on the airship. “There is something evil about. I can feel it. We must go. Go my friends! Go! Go! Go!”
As the airship pulled in its wings and slowed over the village, Chikahn abandoned his position behind the sheep and rushed to the front. His ears filled with the sound of his blood pounding.
“Leave!” he yelled, waving furiously. “Go away!”
Glancing back at the sheep, he threw his crook and bolted down the dirt path. “The sky! Everyone, look at the sky!”
Tripping on a small hole, he slid on his hands and knees. Brushing off his bloody, dusty hands, he watched as fiery streaks fell from the airship onto the unsuspecting village. The pastoral silence shattered as explosions filled the air.
Chikahn fell backwards, his hands over his ears. “What are you doing? Who are you? Leave my village alone!” He scrambled back to his feet and ran for all he was worth.
As he came upon the white post in the road telling him the village was only a half-mile away, the world fell silent. He slowed to a walk and then dropped to his knees. There wasn’t a building left standing. Everything was on fire that hadn’t been destroyed, and he couldn’t hear the cry of a single child. His blood ran cold.
The airship put out its wings again. The wind passed no judgement on it and gave it a strong push.
“No!” he yelled, standing. “You do not get to float away!” He turned about, his hands outstretched. “Where is the justice in this? My village did harm to no one! Who will right this? Who?” He lost his words as he noticed a strange cloud floating the wrong way. Squinting at it, he shook his head. “Am I dreaming?”
The cloud then lowered in the sky and accelerated towards the escaping airship. The air filled with the sounds of a hundred windmills.
“Are you… the god of the sky?” he asked.
The strange cloud maneuvered behind the airship and then two claps of thunder erupted from it. The airship’s balloons and parts of its body blew apart. As pieces tumbled towards the ground, the mysterious cloud sailed up and away, the sound of a hundred windmills going with it.
Chikahn’s hands wouldn’t stop shaking. “What… what miracle of justice have I just seen? An airship destroyed by a cloud…” He glanced at his village and then at the sky again. “Thank you! I shall never forget.”
With a deep breath, he forced himself to look at the smoking remains of his village. “I will seek not vengeance, for as my grandfather said, it only consumes a man. No, instead I will tell the world of this miracle.”
He stared up at the sky, turning about. “Do you hear me?” I shall tell all of this day: the day that a piece of the sky fell to vanquish evil. You have the promise of Chikahn Liddel.”