Written by RJ Seney
Published by ZyLor Books
First release 2013
Second release 2014
Website - http://rjseney.com/
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ZyLeath™, LyZeath™, and YonTathia™ are trademarks of ZyLor Books.
Copyright © 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 by Raymond J. Seney
Cover art copyright © 2014 by Raymond J. Seney All rights reserved.
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Welcome to the 2nd edition of ZyLeath! This edition and all other books in this series have been enhanced with audio and musical capabilities.
ZyLeath is the first volume in the epic three-volume Yeath trilogy. The books in the trilogy should be read in the sequence in which they were written. Each book is not an island unto itself. There is much information and many experiences in each volume that must be understood before the successive volume can be fully appreciated.
There are a few places within the trilogy where the language used by a character can be a bit strong, especially in the first few chapters of ZyLeath. The language used by each character is consistent with the language they would have used in similar real-world situations. All three books convey reality within a fictitious setting.
If a part of the book feels a bit too real, well, it probably reflects real life that you may have seen or lived. Instead of feeling taken aback by the situation or language used, try to gain understanding of why that character behaves as he or she does, and then follow their journey. You will be able to see and feel them grow as the journey progresses.
While the first chapter of ZyLeath begins in the Iraqi war, this book and the rest of the trilogy goes far beyond that scene. Keep that in mind if you read a preview of this book. Readers that are uncomfortable with war novels will be very much rewarded as this amazing adventure unfolds. In-fact, many will be fascinated with the science fiction, while others will be allured by the romance.
Music is used throughout the Yeath trilogy in all three volumes to bring in a new dimension to the readers’ senses. Some like it and some do not. For readers that find the music distracting, simply read right by it and do not open the link. They do not open automatically.
To listen to the music while continuing to read the book, click (or press) on the music link in blue. The music link will be in square brackets like this: [Song: xxxxxxxxx, by xxxxxxxx]. Once the music window comes up and begins to play the music, reselect your eBook reader window to return to the book. The music will continue to play in the background on most devices. Music links on YouTube will not allow you to return to the reader and play simultaneously when accessed with a device other than a computer. This is a limitation of YouTube and not the eBook, reader app, or your device (tablet or phone).
If you are reading this page as a preview from the author's website, you will need to re-select the book preview webpage from your browser when the music begins to play to get back to the book. This is generally accomplished by selecting the browser tab with the previewed book or by selecting the internet web page number using the internet browser on a phone. The preview website page is designed to open a new internet window for the music link and will put you there automatically.
Some music links in the book will suggest that you continue reading while listening to the music and other music links will suggest listening to the music before continuing to read. There are a couple of music links that will have you read for a bit while the music plays and then suggest that you stop reading at another location in the book to finish listening to the music. If the music link is at the end of a chapter, it is suggested to listen to the music before starting the next chapter. An internet connection to your device is required for the music links to work.
The music selected supports the emotion within the story or is music that the character is listening to. Some music is tough to listen to, while other music is very pleasurable. Don’t let the Genre of music dissuade you from reading. It is not there for entertainment purposes like listening to the radio. Some music is purposely dark. Movies use music similarly.
If you decide to skip the music, I STRONGLY suggest listening to the music in the final chapter of the second book of the trilogy called LyZeath. It is truly incredible if listened to in-sync with the text.
An appendix is included that includes audio pronunciations of words to help readers to pronounce some of the unique words and names in the applicable book. Some descriptions are included, but not enough to divulge important aspects of the story. (No spoilers)
Unlike the plethora of books released each year, the Yeath trilogy is not a quick-fix short story. Sit back and enjoy the immense adventure. You will surely get more than your money’s worth and it will give you reading pleasure that you will be able to look forward to for some time. I can’t stress enough that the Yeath trilogy is an adventure to be savored and remembered.
[Song: Rain, by Michael Whalen] Click link and then listen while reading
Prepare to embark on a very long adventure that will certainly make you think… think about who we are… who you are. Are we really as we have been told we are for thousands of years? Or are we much more. What truly awaits us?
[Finish listening to the music before continuing]
A Wounded Spirit
Blam! Blam! Two quick shotgun blasts to the right of the doorknob followed by a hard kick flung the door smashing into the wall behind it. The first of three soldiers rushed toward the far side of the room while the other two soldiers quickly ran toward walls to dominate the area. “Inzil! Inzil!” yelled the soldiers to get the people down on the ground as they stormed the house.
Sniper fire and RPGs had been coming from this section of the village for a week and the army continued to suffer many casualties. Their mission that day was to either find the caches of ammunition or to ‘lite up’ the enemy. If it was a good day, they might even find bomb-making materials.
A young boy was standing at the far end of the room, his face frozen in a state of fear. However, something was not right; his hands were not visible. This seriously concerned the soldiers, sending them into an adrenaline rush. Oftentimes children were used to move weapons by keeping them under their robes. Not seeing the boy’s hands was creating a panic as the first soldier moved closer to him.
“Inzil! Inzil!” Yelled the soldier again. The boy was motionless, afraid to move. “GET THE FUCK DOWN!” roared the soldier impatiently, pointing his rifle directly at the boy who continued to be struck voiceless from fear.
The lead soldier’s adrenaline was rising and he had to make a decision quickly. Suddenly the boy began to scream a blood curling “Aaaahhh” mixed with a whaling cry. There was a slight movement under his robe followed immediately by the sound of ‘click-tink’.
“GRENADE!” yelled the soldier closest to the young boy.
The soldiers immediately dove for the ground and tried to scramble behind anything in sight. Nevertheless, the grenade was rigged for near-instant detonation.
Zackary Lester had been in this situation before and he knew it was pure chance as to who would survive. On this day he had the fortune of being the third soldier to enter the room and he thought that this would help his chances of survival. His training taught him to react quickly, so when he heard his buddy yell, there was no hesitation when he dove into the closet next to him. Unfortunately, he could not get his entire body into it.
BLAM! The blast propelled flesh-tearing shrapnel in every direction. Pieces of wood, brick, and pottery rained down on top of him, while the smell of explosives began to sting his eyes, nose, and throat. His leg was burning and he felt warm liquid running down onto the leg closest to the floor. His heart was beating so hard he could feel it in his chest.
“Red… Drew…. are you okay?” yelled Zackary worriedly as he winced in pain.
Zackary maneuvered to get onto his feet but his left leg was injured. He pulled himself up with his rifle and leaned against a wall so he could look for his buddies. “Oh shit, man!” he exclaimed. Red Crawford was decapitated and Drew Sanchez was twitching and lying in a pool of blood. There had been nothing to hide behind and what little furniture there was had impaled the soldiers’ bodies when it too was blasted by the grenade. Parts of the boy were scattered around the room and a red smoky mist lingered in the air. Anger towards the enemy and sadness for his brothers filled his head. He hobbled over to Drew and quickly made the assessment that he too was dead. A voice and a rustling noise were heard in a hallway over his shoulder, making Zackary turn abruptly. Another surge of adrenaline raced through Zackary’s body; the enemy was still there!
Training had taught him to keep fighting even if wounded or he would surely die. I’m not going to die today, thought Zackary. Anger had changed to blinding revenge. Zackary hobbled in pain toward a corner where the hall and wall met. In a motion as quick as he could muster through the pain, he pied around the corner with his rifle aiming down the hallway. A figure of a young girl was immediately in his sights.
“Asre’! Askithou!” echoed from a room behind and to the left of the girl. She had been standing there with an object in her hand and the voices were telling her to quickly throw it down towards Zackary. It was another grenade! She swung her arm up like a baseball player ready to throw a ball. Zackary did not have to think about what to do, as he was war hardened and did not hesitate. He immediately fired a round into the girl’s chest. The bullet piercing through her body knocked her backwards, sending the grenade rolling into the adjacent room. Zackary dove to the floor behind the wall, causing him to grunt in pain. BLAM! Agonizing screams followed.
Knowing he could be killed quickly if he didn’t get up immediately, Zackary pushed through the pain to get to his feet, clenching his teeth when he put too much pressure on his injured leg. He quickly limped down the hallway, wincing and catching his breath each time his weight shifted. It was imperative to find the enemy before they found him. After stepping around the girl, he turned quickly into the room where he had heard the voices and where the grenade had exploded. His rifle was drawn and ready to shoot as he quickly scanned the room. Two men were spotted lying on the floor near the far wall in blood stained robes. One moved slightly, prompting Zackary to fire a quick set of rounds into him. To ensure that the other man was dead, he fired a bullet into his head, sending fragments of his skull and brains into the wall. Zackary was in survival mode and he knew these people would kill him at any opportunity. He rushed back into the hallway to be sure nobody else had followed him in. Nobody was there… except for the little girl at his feet.
Zackary always tried to look away from the eyes of dying enemy casualties. They were worm dirt as far as he was concerned. He hated Iraqis and they hated him. However, the little girl made a faint painful sigh, causing him to look down at her. Tears were running down her cheeks and blood was coming from her mouth and nose. He knew her lungs were filling with blood and that she would soon drown in her own blood. The other side of her body would be torn apart and she would have absolutely no chance of survival. Then he saw her eyes and noticed that they were following him. A chill went down his spine, and for a brief second she reminded him of a little girl that he played with when he was a kid. That flashback to his childhood made him pause long enough over her to look deeper into her eyes. A wave of sympathy and sadness began to replace his rage. This little girl was too young and innocent. How could she ever be an enemy of his, he asked himself.
With the building now secured, he sat down and pulled her onto his lap; holding her head in the crotch of his arm, enabling him to see her face. She was so pretty and tiny in his arms. A tear began to seep from his eye, but he tried desperately to resist crying. The little girl began to whisper something to him, “Ana Asfa”. She was telling him that she was sorry. Tingles swept through his body and up through his head. The little girl had touched his spirit as hers was leaving her broken body. He grabbed her blood soaked hand, put it between his hands to comfort her, and then spoke in her native language. “Assalam alaikum”; ‘peace be upon you.’ Her face, that had been wrenched in agonizing pain, relaxed and was replaced with a look of contentment. She gasped one last breath and her little body went limp while her arm fell toward the ground.
Zackary looked around and saw that he was sitting in a pool of blood that had come from the girl and his leg. He was beginning to feel faint. It was then that he realized that he needed to stop the bleeding from his leg. Reaching into one of his vest pockets, he pulled out the standard issued black tourniquet to curb the flow of blood. Fastening the strap proved to be difficult because he did not want to let go of the little girl. Zackary was shaking and desperately trying to contain his emotions. Fellow comrades would be coming to find him at any moment and he could not have them see him in his present state. He had to suck it up. If he could not, they would make his life a living hell. Zackary told himself to be strong repeatedly as he wrestled with the tourniquet and wiped tears from his soiled face, smearing the girl’s blood onto his cheek.
It was not until he started to get up that he was aware of gunshots and yelling coming from outside the building. His squad must be in the midst of a firefight with insurgents. Zackary pushed through the pain again to stand up while continuing to hold the girl. As he finally straightened himself, the body of the girl shifted, causing him to grab for her quickly and to fall against the wall with a thud. He let out a yelp as he put weight on his injured leg for support. For a moment, he was close to hyperventilating, but he forced himself to stay calm.
Why was he still holding onto this little girl, he asked himself as he contemplated dropping her. Did she have a family, he wondered. Maybe they would be looking for her and they might want to bury her. Again, he looked at the little girl’s face. His chest tightened and he had to catch himself from crying aloud. He had taken this beautiful little girl’s life from her. Zackary turned abruptly to look away, hoping it would help him to deal with it.
More gunshots erupted from outside the building and the soldiers continued to yell in desperation. His comrades needed him immediately. Thoughts of more of his buddies being ambushed when they entered one of the buildings raced through his mind. He had to warn them that the insurgents were using local children as shields. Maybe it would save the soldiers… maybe it would save the children.
Zackary continued to hold the child and shuffled to the front door where he had entered. A loud explosion in the house next door jarred his nerves and made him crouch down behind the wall next to the door. His stomach was in knots thinking that he was too late to save everyone. He grabbed his rifle in preparation for what might come next. At that point, he still did not know the outcome of the blast.
The gunshots suddenly stopped and some men began to yell inside of a house. They were speaking broken Arabic and good English. That was a good sign. Sliding out of the doorway, he moved to a spot where he could get a better view of what was happening. It was then that he saw soldiers coming out of a house. From what he could tell, they had smoked the insurgents with a grenade. Other soldiers from his platoon began to appear out of nowhere and ran alongside of the buildings, making their way closer to him. Zackary managed to slip-slide along the outside wall of the house and placed the girl on the ground. Two feet away from where he was, he noticed a dusty cloth doll. He reached over to pick it up, dusted it off, and placed it over the girl’s chest wound, folding her arms over the doll.
A soldier spotted Zackary leaning against the building in his blood soaked clothes and quickly ran over to him. When he saw the seriousness of Zackary’s wound he turned around and yelled for support, “Doc, come quick! We have a casualty over here!”
Zackary looked over at the soldier andrecognized that he was from his own platoon. He and the other soldier never associated with each other much. The soldier was new and the hardened soldiers tended to stick together. He crouched down to look at Zackary’s leg and began to rip his pant leg open to get a better look at the wound. The medic arrived within seconds and threw down a medical pack next to them. With the medic taking over, the soldier quickly got out of the way and stood up to assess the safety of the area.
“Sergeant; where’s the rest of your squad?” asked the soldier anxiously as he jerked his head from place to place looking for snipers.
“We took a grenade in the first room of this house. Two of my buddies didn’t make it and are dead in the first room as you go through the front entrance. Insurgents are using – AAAAHHH, SHIT THAT HURT!” screamed Zackary suddenly. The medic had pulled on his leg to straighten it out for a splint. They were immobilizing the leg so further damage would not occur during the trip to the Forward Surgical Team.
“Suck it up, buddy!” said the soldier egotistically.
Zackary felt faint, but he wanted to finish what he was telling his comrades. In a broken voice and through heavy breathing, Zackary continued. “The insurgents were using kids as shields to throw grenades at us. I lit up two coward scumbags in the back room. There wasn’t time for me to check for weapon caches, but they have to be in there. Otherwise, they would have let us in so we would leave quickly. The house is secured for entry.”
“Is that one of the fucking rats that grenaded the place?” asked the soldier as he briefly looked at the girl and then quickly jerked his rifle up, staring intently at the top of a building.
“She isn’t a rat!” said Zackary defensively, “The kids didn’t want to be in this situation any more than we did.”
The soldier paused, staring at the corner of a building through his scope like a cat waiting for a mouse to move in the grass.
“So, how did she get wasted? It sure doesn’t look like a grenade got her,” inquired the medic as he taped a large pad over Zackary’s wound.
“I uh… I shot her.”
The soldier never dropped his intense glare at the building, but managed a comment, “Good man sarg! ...Good man. You saved some lives today.”
Zackary could see soldiers taking boxes out of the house he had been in. He was right; it was a weapons storage building. He wondered how many men he saved by going into that house. His face turned toward the little girl and he asked himself if it was worth killing that innocent little girl who hadn’t even started a real life. That conflict in his mind confused his thinking and a large aching knot continued to grow deep in his chest. How could it be that there was no wrong or right to this stupid life, he asked himself. More concerning to him was… what had just changed to make him suddenly care?
More soldiers ran over to Zackary and they quickly surrounded him. One wrote a note describing his wound on a white tag and attached it to his vest while two more hurriedly placed a stretcher next to his side. In one synchronous sweeping motion, they lifted him over and onto it.
The soldiers scurried around quickly and looked in all directions around them. A couple of soldiers had their rifles out to use their mounted scopes as telescopes to spot insurgents on rooftops or next to corners. Their mission now was to patch-up the casualties quickly, bag up the dead, and exit the scene before other insurgents tried to come back for the weapons. Zackary heard a vehicle approaching and then the sound of squeaky brakes as it came to an abrupt stop. Dust kicked up from the sliding tires, causing a dust cloud to pass over him.
As they lifted his stretcher, he grabbed the arm of one of the men to ask him a question, “Will you do me a favor?”
“All depends,” remarked the soldier impatiently.
“Will you contact who’s responsible for communicating with the communities to see if they can find that little girl’s family?”
“You know I can’t make promises, sir. I’ll see what I can do. My priority is to get everyone ta-hell out of here!”
“I would sure appreciate it if it’s possible… thanks buddy,” sighed Zackary.
As his stretcher touched down onto the bed of the truck, the soldiers were blown into the truck in pieces. Zackary was thrown further into the truck, lying face-down with the stretcher still strapped to his back. Blood dripped from his motionless face.
[Song: Death, Come Near Me, by Draconian] Begin reading again after music plays for 1 minute.
While unconscious, images flashed through Zackary’s mind like a circus merry-go-round. The carnage of war seared his mind like a red-hot branding iron. Babies cried as they died in puddles of blood on the floor, women were being blown from houses in pieces, and a child on a bicycle was shot through the head, crumpling in a heap on top of the bike. Machine gun fire was continuous and explosions ripped apart everything around him. Parts of his body burned as if they were on fire while he hovered above the atrocities. He wanted to scream in agony and sorrow, but he had no voice. As the people died, their spirits emerged from their bodies as a silver spiraling thread that pierced through his body and continued upwards. Suddenly a deep coldness seeped into his body as if he were being submerged in freezing water. Zackary was sure he was nearing hell. His own spirit began to pull from his body as he watched in horror.
[Finish listening to music before continuing.]
Zackary resisted being pulled away using whatever spiritual strength he had left. Somehow, the little girl had touched his spirit and made him feel something deep within him that felt familiar and warm, yet lost. There was more to his life than he understood and he must be strong to not let it go.
[Song: A Breath Away, by Bekki Williams] Read while listening
Slowly, the horrid images faded and he found himself aboard an ancient wooden ark, drifting slowly and smoothly through a misty fog. Zackary no longer felt any pain as he looked around from the upper deck of the vessel. In the distance was a glow that grew larger and brighter as the ship approached. Once the ark was directly in front of the light, an intensely bright area of light encroached upon the lower deck in front of him like a brilliant glowing mist. He understood that he had to walk down the steps into the light and proceeded without hesitation or fear.
Upon entering the light, he became warm and gained understanding of what is and what has to be. While there were no audible voices, the communication with him was very clear. There was a complete absence of worry and a feeling of contentment, within him and around him, as he became part of the light. Everything material that he previously thought was important now had absolutely no significance. Zackary clearly was no longer as one, but of many and it felt incredibly peaceful. He understood that he could stay within the light and things that had happened in his life, and what would happen to others, must be. However, he could not stop thinking about the atrocities he experienced in his life and the pain and suffering of innocent people. The understanding that those that remained would need to bear burdens to make them strong and true entered his thoughts. Yes, he clearly understood this to be, however, he willed himself to go back. Zackary was resolved to help those that did not understand… as he now did.
[Finish listening to music before continuing]