Blaze (The High-Born Epic)

BOOK: Blaze (The High-Born Epic)
9.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub






















A Superhero Origin Story




Jason Woodham













































No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher.  For information regarding permission, write to Atlas Publications:

43 Cty.
Rd. 335, Ozark, AL 36360


Copyright © by Jason Woodham

All right reserved.
  Published by Atlas Publications.


Cover art by Bello Regno by L’Oreal (Christy Knowles and Terry Dedrick) and Jason Woodham

Book design by Jason Woodham




















Thanks is due to so many people that I have trouble knowing who to thank first, but a good place to start is with God for the imagination necessary to bring
to life.  Next, I wish to thank my sister, Madison, and that moment of serendipity in which Harold was born.  A great deal of gratitude goes out to Thomas (TJ) Farmer (United States Marine Corps) for the many conversations that helped mold

I also wish to thank Brian Young of for the numerous brainstorming sessions that greatly enhanced this novel.  If people enjoy this story, then they need to know that it would not be the story it is without you.  To Professor Jim Davis, Marcie Stokes, and Tara Hughes thanks is due for the amount of time you all devoted in helping me get this book edited.  I also wish to thank Mandi Walker; Nicki Hamm; Joanne Hicks; Jamie Deloney; Nancy Gresco, and Brian Johnson ( for your encouragement and advice.  Thank you so much.

Thanks to Bello Regno by L’Oreal and her assistant Terry Dedrick for the fantastic work you did on the promotional poster, book cover, and series of posters.  To Brett Brooks (
Dust Bunny
) thanks for the spectacular camera work in the mini-featurette.  Appreciation is due to Justin Bingham for props to help with the photoshoot.  I also wish to recognize the embodiment of Sarah and Gabby and their respective models, Jessica Lovett Cumuze, and Bruk Hancock Patterson.

I would like to thank my parents, Angie and David.  You two have put up with a great deal from me, and I hope I’ve made you proud.  And to Cooper; Ollie; Willie; Annie-Jane; Jim; Lewie; Joe; Nene; Elton, and the many other inspirations throughout this novel, may your names be immortalized within these pages.




























Part I

The Farm”

























He pulled on the left strap of his overalls then hooked it into its front button.  Putting on his straw hat, he walked towards the barn.  His dirty feet stepped quickly and lightly and his eyes swept the ground for nails, glass, and other debris.  It was a rather encouraging morning.  The dawning sun shone brightly in the eastern sky, but it had not fully crested the horizon.  Purplish clouds dotted the heavens, and he even thought that he heard a couple of birds chirping.

When he walked into the barn, he saw the mule glaring at him.

“Well good morning to you too, Sunshine,” he said sarcastically.  “You’re almost as happy as Colonel Foxx and them other High-Born folk.”

The mule looked away from him.

“I think that will be your name today, mule,” he smiled as the mule looked at him.  “Sunshine.  And I don’t care if you don’t like it,” he said as he opened her stable.

He reached into the grain bin and threw some dried corn cobs into her trough.  She quickly began gnawing, and he put the collar and plow on her in quick order.

“We’ve got a lot to plow up today, Sunshine,” he said.  “Colonel Foxx said that he would be reducing the
whole town’s rations and taking more of our crops if we didn’t up our production.  We need to get this field done by tomorrow because I reckon them High-Born folk are all pretty hungry for Low-Born crops.”

The morning was cool, and as he started plowing the mule his thoughts drifted.  His family’s weekly rations were already dangerously low.  There was probably only two days’
worth remaining.  If his trap lines and hooks could just catch something today, then his aunt might be able to stretch the food another day or two.  She was good at that.  Maybe she could even make it last three days if they all skipped lunch.  He could raid the corn bin again, but the mule needed that food.

The morning lingered as he plowed row after row.  The soil was not terrible and had some moisture in it, so he felt that crops would grow quickly once planted.  Especially, with Colonel Foxx’s supply of High-Born manufactured fertilizer. 

After a few hours, Sunshine was beginning to slow down.

“Well, mule,” he smiled, “I guess I’ll call you Partly Sunny for the rest of the day.”

The mule flicked an ear his way but kept trudging along.

He finished plowing the row he was working on and stopped Partly Sunny in the shade of a large oak tree.  He pulled a dried corn cob out of his pocket and threw it to the mule.

“You’ll be Sunshine again soon, old girl,” he grinned while the mule gobbled on the corn cob and paid him no attention.

He looked back toward his aunt’s house.  Her house was nearly as far south as you could get and still be in the village of Foxx Hole.  The wooden planks were in good shape, and Colonel Foxx had even let them use some water sealant on them.  Their shotgun house was fairing better than the surrounding houses.  He could see Ben patching the roof of his house, while his son pumped water from the well.  Back to his right, he could see Henry plowing his field with his ornery old mule.

“I think that mule is older than me, Partly Sunny,” he smiled as his mule looked away from him.

He took a deep breath and looked to his left out across a large stretch of green trees.  On top of a gentle rise a few miles away, and several hundred yards outside the detection grid, he could see Colonel Foxx’s mansion.  Its white walls gleamed in the sunlight as about a half-dozen workers went about various yard chores.  One of them was even using a lawn mower to trim the brilliantly green grass.

“Colonel Foxx must be getting lax if he’s letting a Low-Born operate machinery,” he said to Partly Sunny.

Then, he looked to the right side of the mansion.  The water of a sparkling pond rippled there.  It was not a very large pond, maybe five or six times as large as the mansion itself, but a small island sat in middle of it.  Both the pond and island were man made, and on that small island was a hulking, twisted, black mass.  It glistened slightly in the sunlight, and a shiver ran down his spine every time he saw it.  It was sunning at the moment, but often times the hybrid snake would slither around and swim through the water, especially during feeding time.  He had heard that the snake was part python and part eel, so most folks called it a pytheel, and Colonel Foxx had a strange fancy for creatures like it.  He was thankful that a ten foot high chain-link fence surrounded the entire pond.

“You reckon that Colonel Foxx really feeds young ‘uns to that thing, Partly Sunny?”

The mule puffed in response.

He had heard stories about it, and they seemed real enough.  Supposedly, if someone disobeyed or tried to leave Foxx Hole without permission by trying to slip through the detection grid, Colonel Foxx would kill them, and if they had children, the children would be thrown to it.  But it had been a long time since that had happened, if it had even happened at all.  In fact, it had never happened in his life. 

“I think them stories are kinda’ like the stories about them Mid-Night Stalkers that used to steal bad young ‘uns in the middle of the night all those years ago.  The old folks just tell them stories about that pytheel eatin’ young ‘uns to make sure young ‘uns listen to their ma and pa.”

He plowed for a few more minutes.

“You know something, Partly Sunny,” he shook his head as he looked at the colonel’s mansion, “those High-Born folk must be pretty smart if they can make things like those pytheels in those labs of theirs.  What do you think, Partly Sunny?”

He looked beyond the mansion, to the structures lingering on the horizon.  They towered into the sky, some much taller than others.  The shorter buildings contrasted starkly to the taller ones.  The tops of the smaller buildings were jagged and misshapen.

“It is easy to understand why they call them skyscrapers, huh, Partly Sunny,” he glared at the buildings.  “The new ones look like they could pop clouds.  I guess they’re never going to fix the ones that have been all shot up?”

There were green specks zipping back and forth between the buildings.  Other specks of red and orange seemingly circled the city.

“Partly Sunny, you reckon we’ll ever be able to ride in one of those air taxis?”

The mule flicked its ear and made a loud puff.

“Yeah, probably not,” he said.  “High-Born folk ain’t too keen on us operatin’ machinery, are they?”

He lightly popped the mule and began plowing another row.







BOOK: Blaze (The High-Born Epic)
9.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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