PROLOGUE: JEMADARI (Excerpt)
Hell’s Gate • 90 kms NW of Nairobi, Kenya. Friday, October 24 – 5:00 a.m. EAT
Crouched at the entrance of a gorge, a hunter studied fissures in the obsidian rock. Steam spit and hissed through the cracks as his companions, two men and one woman, gathered samples of the smooth black rock and placed them in a cloth pouch.
“The damage was discovered two days ago.” The guide gestured toward a towering black cloud overhead. “How long before . . .”
“Eight days,” the hunter answered, his voice barely above a whisper. Something had changed. Some variable. The timetable had been reduced from four years to —
— eight days.
“Let’s get to work,” the hunter said, sprinting towards a predator stirring in the tall dry grass. He raised a hollow tube to his lips and blew a dart fifty feet across the plain. The lion was down in an instant.
“How are you able to do such a thing from this distance?” asked the guide, struggling to keep up with the hunter’s long strides.
The hunter shrugged as he slowed to inspect his prize. The lion growled and swiped his meaty paw, slicing the hunter’s leg. Expressionless, the hunter pulled another dart from his pack, bit off the cap, and stabbed it into the rear flank of the beast. The lion fell silent.
“I’ll need thirty more. My team will supply the needed materials.”
“That is impossible!” the guide protested. “The authorities will have my head if I am caught!”
The woman opened a silk-lined box filled with uncut gems. The hunter selected the largest — a twenty-carat diamond — paused and then placed the entire box in the guide’s hand. “More will be sent if you complete the transaction.”
“You are bleeding,” said the guide. “We have medical supplies in the Jeep.”
Limping, the hunter waved him off. “No time. I’m overdue for dinner.”
“Dinner?” asked the guide. “It is barely dawn.”
The hunter glanced at his watch and frowned. “Not in California.”
The Lost Tribes – Text copyright: C. Taylor-Butler 2014