Aperios

The Mythik Wars - Book One

by B. D. Messick

Zach Morris was just an ordinary man, living an ordinary life in the suburbs of Chicago...except for the fact that he could see monsters.

They don’t come to him in dreams or nightmares. They work in his office, they take tolls on the turnpike, they live next door. They are Mythiks. They’ve always been among us; elves, dwarves, hobbits and all the rest of the creatures from the fantasy novels and movies we thought were nothing more than the creations of our imaginations, but they’re as real as we are. Most of us can't see them, but there are some humans, known as the Aperios, who can pierce the Mythik's outer façade, and see them for what they really are. But being an Aperios is perilous, torn between humans who want to ferret out those living among us and the Mythiks who want to remain hidden. Zach Morris had a secret but now he’s running for his life as the world of the Mythiks collides with our own and the future of the human race hangs in the balance.


Excerpt

“The conference should only last a few days, so we’ll be back on Sunday night,” my mom said as we walked out onto the tiny front porch of our house.

“I know, you already told me.”

“You sure you’re going to be okay by yourself?”

“Mom, I am in college, you know.”

“Lisa, he’ll be fine. Stop treating him like he’s ten,” my father said from the back of the car where he was loading their bags into the trunk.

“I’m sorry, I just worry about you, that’s all,” she said with a warm smile.

“I know,” I replied as she hugged me.

She stepped back and smiled at me again, the sunlight reflecting off her dazzling blue eyes.

“No parties, okay?”

“No parties, I know.”

I looked over at my dad, and he mouthed the words ‘little party’ and nodded his head. I gave him a thumbs-up behind mom’s back.

“I might invite Chloe over, is that okay?” I asked.

“That’s fine. Just be a gentleman.”

“Mom!”

“Sorry, it had to be said.”

She winked at me.

“Come on Lisa, we gotta get on the road.”

“Hold your horses, Tom. Love you, Zach,” she said as she settled into the passenger seat.

“Love you too, Mom.”

“See ya, buddy,” my dad said with a wave. “Behave yourself.”

“And no little parties, either,” my mom lectured as dad backed out of the driveway.

As the car slowed to a stop, he looked at me and shrugged his shoulders. I shook my head and laughed.

Suddenly, a black semi-trailer with mirrored windows appeared out of nowhere, and smashed into my parent’s car, completely obliterating the vehicle.

I woke up, screaming.

Drenched in sweat, my heart raced as my mind tried to figure out where I was. I felt a hand touch my arm and I jumped.

“Honey, it’s me,” my girlfriend Chloe said quietly. “Another one?”

“Yeah,” I replied, inhaling a deep breath to slow my heart-rate.

She sat up, resting her chin on my shoulder.

“They’re happening a lot lately.”

I nodded with a sigh.

“I know,” I replied, trying not to sound too worried about it. “I think I’m gonna go downstairs for a bit.”

“You want me to come?”

“No, go back to sleep. I won’t be long,” I said before leaning over and kissing her on the cheek.

She laid back down, and within a few seconds was fast asleep again. I watched her for a moment before climbing out of bed as carefully and quietly as I could manage. As I descended the stairs to the living room, I passed by the vast collection of family photographs from happier times.

It had been ten years since my parents died, and still, the wound felt as fresh as the day it happened.

I made my way to the couch, sitting down slowly as I tried to banish the last fragments of the nightmare from my mind. If you looked at my life from the outside, you might think I had everything going for me; at twenty-six, I owned my own house, I had a beautiful live-in girlfriend, a great job and everything else anyone would want. If it weren’t for the orphan thing, the nightmares, and the fact that I saw monsters everywhere I went, things would have been great.

* * *

“Wake up, honey,” I heard Chloe say, or maybe it was just a dream.

I forced my eyes open. She was standing over me, dressed for work, her briefcase in her hand.

“Oh God, did I fall asleep down here?” I asked, looking around at the living room.

She smiled at me and nodded, gently stroking my cheek.

“Yeah.”

“Crap! What time is it? I’m gonna be late,” I mumbled, as I started to stand.

Chloe shook her head and pushed me back down.

“I called you off.”

“Thanks, baby.”

I brushed my fingers across the back of her hand. She leaned down and kissed me on the forehead.

“Get some sleep, honey,” she said, with that lovely lilt in her voice.

“Love you.”

“Love you, more,” she replied, and a few moments later, she was out the door.

* * *

Monsters.

That’s what I saw, every day, all day.

Well, that’s not completely accurate, and a little insulting actually. To be more precise, we called them Mythiks, although they seldom referred to themselves with the term. I think we used it out of ignorance, for lack of a better word, or maybe just because we knew they didn’t’ like it.

So, what’s a Mythik? It’s hard to say, exactly. To most people, they looked like humans, but there was a small group of individuals, like myself, who could see them for what they truly were; Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, even Centaurs and Dragons. They ran the gamut from A to Z of every mythological creature from literature and legend.

Logical minds would say that if they had wanted to take over, they could have done so centuries ago when we were still trudging through the dark ages, or at pretty much any other time before or since, but they haven’t, preferring to stay in the background and blend in rather than control. Unfortunately, the human mind is easily swayed by talk of fear and hate and people may do things they might not have otherwise done.  Hitler, Jim Jones, the KKK; history is littered with the bodies of the innocent.

And then, everything changed on January 22nd last year, and not all for the better. That day, a large crowd had gathered in Washington, DC over the course of seventy-two hours. The news had reported that they were there to protest the upcoming State of the Union address by the President, but that wasn’t the case at all.

At exactly noon, a quiet hush spread through the crowd, and then this gathering of men, women, and children transformed into a collection of creatures of all types; beings from Mythology, literature and in some cases, from Xenobiology. There were centaurs, fairies drifting through the air, even huge dragons floating above the pond outside the Washington Monument. There were trolls, hobbits, dwarves, satyrs, elves, and many others that were harder to identify. Why they’d decided to reveal themselves was unknown; maybe they were tired of hiding or maybe they just wanted to be themselves, but whatever the reason, their sudden transformation resulted in worldwide panic.

Similar crowds had gathered outside the main government offices in close to seventy countries, revealing themselves at exactly the same time, and it terrified people. I mean, they’d been living among us for centuries, apparently in peaceful coexistence, but when they showed themselves, a lot of people couldn’t handle it. Many called for their immediate quarantine, as if they carried some disease that a human might catch and transform into one of them. Others said they should be hunted down, rounded up and placed on reservations or worse. Only a few said they should be allowed to live among us as they had been for thousands of years, but their voices were too few and too quiet.

And then something else happened, something that changed everything for me. People started coming forward saying that they could always see these “Mythiks”, as everyone had begun calling them, for what they truly were. They could see through their “human façade” and had been able to do so their entire lives. I started to feel a little better about what had been happening to me since I was a child. I didn’t feel so alone and isolated, but that feeling was short-lived. It wasn’t long after that, that the black cars began showing up in neighborhoods all across the country.

 

 

B. D. Messick "Aperios"

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