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Hiding Hand
a science fiction novel by

Lee Denning


Chapter Three


Castle O'Donnell, Coulagh Bay, Ireland | Monday 0900 GMT

They rounded the crag below the castle and walked into an errant shaft of morning sun. Eva looked back at her brother as he spoke.

"Maybe the clouds will break, kiddo, and it won't rain on us for once."

Eva stopped, staring at him. The color of his blue-green eyes mirrored the color of the waves offshore. Strange memories flooded in, not hers, but caring and cocooning. The love in her brother's eyes transfixed her and shadowy figures formed behind his shoulder. A gateway seemed to open in her mind.

He holds the light for you, child. One day you will hold it for him.

"Eva? What is it? That's a strange look." Joshua glanced over his shoulder at the open water then back at her quizzically. A gull wheeled in the sky behind him, brilliant white in the sun. A vision of her mother formed in its place: white-robed, a goddess. She wore exactly the same smile as Joshua.

A genetic thing, dear.

The shadowy images shifted shape, brightening, flying on gull wings. Diffuse and unformed, inexact images of her mother, they played softly across her mind.

We are with you, always.

The light on her brother's face faded as the break in the clouds moved northward. Sun shone briefly on the dark castle behind them. She smiled back at him.

"I love you, Josh-wa."

"I love you too, kiddo. But what was that about? You left me for a moment, I think."

She struggled, but hadn't the language. "Dreams," she said finally.

"Your nightmares? Of last night?" He looked worried.

"No, good dreams. Mom. Grandma. Lots of Grandmas."

"Ah. Too bad your Grandmas aren't still alive, kiddo. They'd love you."

"They do." She giggled and ran down the cliff path, smiling all the way. At the bottom the path turned inland and intersected the road to the village of Allihies. The sky turned darker, and her smile faded.

When the path finally widened to meet the road, uneasiness gripped her, and she reached for her brother's hand. She felt it twitch as her sensations were transmitted.

"Now what?"

"We should go back, Josh-wa."

"To the castle?"



"Don't know."

"You scared of something?"



"Don't know."

He studied the road, and Allihies beyond. Another break in the clouds illuminated it. "Well, we really need the fresh fruit, and it'll all be picked over by noontime. Tell you what, kiddo. You start walking back up the road to the castle. You'll be inside the locus, protected. I'll zip down to the village, get what we need, and catch up to you."

He gestured at the small cluster of houses and buildings down the road. "Seems pretty quiet down there, Sis. And that's old Grogan's grocery truck just leaving. We're right on time."

The village is not what it seems, instinct pounded her, go with Joshua.

Eva let go of her brother's hand and ran ahead down the road to Allihies. Clouds moved back over the sun.


Village of Allihies, Ireland | Monday 0935 GMT

Her station behind the hedgerow concealed the Crone from the road. Light morning traffic had abated. Morning ground fog lifted gradually, stretching her view to the north horizon, toward the castle, but its higher elevation was still obscured in swirling mist. The road draped lazily southward, carving a path to brightly colored buildings nestled in green hills.

Through the hedge and across the street, she saw into two side windows of a building; one half a grocery, the other half a pub. An elderly man opened the grocery windows to the morning light, and commenced unloading grapes onto a display shelf. The delivery truck pulled away, heading southward. The ordinariness of their rituals assured her that the men had heard nothing amiss through the adjoining wall of the pub. Good, the team is capable.

In the small space behind the building, the Crone could just see the tail end of their rented van peeking out. Her fingers trembled above the communicator on her belt, brushing through unfamiliar clothing. She wore a tourist's hiking outfit, late for the season, but not uncommon. A scarf of Irish linen had replaced the veil of the burkha; it chafed at her in unfamiliar ways. But I have dressed this way before, the querulous whisper of lost memories objected in her mind. She dismissed it, and switched on the device.

"Respond," she whispered into the microphone in her scarf.

"We read you," a voice answered.

"Confirm your position," Hessa prompted.

"In the pub, ould darlin'. Got the proprietor in the back, gagged in the storage room."

"Was there anyone else?"

"Nope. Just like you said."

"And your others?"

"They're with me in the pub. Three."

"Good," she said. "Hold your positions. I'll say when it's time."

She clicked off the communicator and reached into her satchel. Her palms were slippery on the binoculars as she pulled them out.

Her cover story had been impeccably assembled, but so far she hadn't needed to offer it. The K'Shmar device, on its lightweight tripod, was artfully constructed to look like a camera with a large zoom lens. A crazy old birder: if anyone stumbled across her in these Irish hedgerows they wouldn't think twice. She raised the binoculars to her eyes. Nothing. Where are they? She slowed her breathing, trying to relax. What if these mercenaries can't be trusted?

The Mullah had laughed at her worries. "Witch, these mercenaries were abandoned by their cause for doing anything for a price. They've been disowned as morally unsuitable. They'd never be in league with the castle; no money for them there. Foolish woman."

Breathe, she coached herself. The tension faded. And where did I learn that? Hessa glanced back at the windows of the grocery. The old man had moved on from stacking grapes to shiny red apples. The delivery truck puttered off around a bend and out of sight.

She felt them before she saw them. Through the binoculars she watched the child they'd seen in the kayak run down the road toward Allihies. The One caught up to her quickly, reached her hand and crouched down, saying something. A moment later they both started toward her. She slid the binoculars into her satchel, and clicked the communicator back on.

"They come," she whispered into the communicator.


Village of Allihies, Ireland | Monday 0942 GMT

"Eva! What's gotten into you?"

"Don't know, Josh-wa," she wailed.

They stood in front of the small store next to the village pub. The grocery truck chugged slowly up a distant hill and was gone, leaving the road deserted. She looked up and down it frantically.

Joshua squatted to eye-level, hands on her shoulders. "It's okay, Sis. I'm here."

She stared into his turquoise eyes, then up and down the road again.

"Come on, let's go see Mr. Dannehy, find out what kind of fruit he's got for us this morning."

Eva shook her head no, trembling. She struggled to get words out of a mouth gone dry with fear. They're coming for him!

"Wolves," she finally whispered.

"Ah. The bad dream again, honey? While you're awake?" His face was troubled.

"No! Wolves! Here!" she gasped. "I... I taste them."

He looked up and down the street quickly, following her frantic gaze.

She also tasted his lightning logic as it evaluated the data, and tasted its wrong conclusion. But almost in the same instant she felt him concede to her instincts.

"Okay, we're outta here!"

Glancing upward toward the castle, he bent down to pick her up off the cobbled sidewalk, but a curtain of darkness rolled between them. The bitter, coppery taste of her wolf-dreams filled her mouth. Like blood, she thought, and screamed as Joshua dropped to his knees.

She moved to help, but the darkness rejected her; her hands slid off it like the wave-polished wet basalt of the castle's cliffs.

"Run, Eva! The castle! Get inside the locus!" He grabbed his head, gasping. Then he pushed her away, so hard she fell and rolled.

She stood up, shocked and uncertain.

"Go!" he screamed. "I can't move!"

As if it heard, the dark curtain extended and enveloped her, dimming the surroundings. She felt it seek a hold, its bitterness sharpening. Despair spilled into her mind, a torrent. Fingers of the darkness snatched and clawed inside her head, seeking purchase.

Through the haze surrounding them, a gull wheeled offshore, into a shaft of sunlight that played on the castle. A distant fuzzy point of whiteness formed in its place and spoke in her mind.

Deflect it, child.

The voice showed her how, and she did.

The darkness around her ran into the cobblestone walk at her feet. It disappeared almost instantly, like the incoming tide running up on a dry sand beach.

"Josh-wa!" she moaned, wading into the darkness, breasting its waves, forcing it down. She grabbed her brother's hand, forcing the blackness to slide off into the ground. She pulled him up the walk, staggering, toward the castle. But they got no further than the pub door, and the darkness redoubled. Joshua's hand was ripped free as he dropped again to his knees.

More power. The voice was an urgent whisper in her mind.

"How?" she screamed.

The castle. Draw it to you. Closer.

But then hands grabbed her and pulled her backward through the pub door, and the thought was lost. Dimly through the haze, she saw Joshua trying to flail off the dark shroud enveloping him. His hands clawed at the cobblestone walk, fighting for balance against rolling waves of darkness. He came off his knees into a crouch, snarling defiance. His face turned upward, seeking her. For a split-second their eyes met; his were red, hot, burning. Blood ran off his teeth and out of his mouth. The face of the wolf.

She screamed his name as the door slammed shut.





Author Bio

Lee Denning is the pen name of a father-daughter writing team. Denning Powell has been a soldier, scientist, engineer and entrepreneur.

Leanne Powell Myasnik is a psychologist, poet and mystic.

He lives on the East Coast, she on the West. They correspond. With love. And hilarity.

TTB title: Hiding Hand
Monkey Trap

Author web site.




Hiding Hand Copyright © 2008. Lee Denning. All rights reserved by the author. Please do not copy without permission.



  Author News

Hiding Hand is an Award-Winning Finalist and Honorable Mention in the category of Fiction - Science Fiction in the ForeWord Magazine 2008 Book of the Year Award and a finalist in the "New Age Fiction" category of the National Best Books 2008 Awards, sponsored by USA Book News.



Praise for Monkey Trap

"...The first volume in a projected trilogy presents a cast of convincing characters and a compellingly paced plot. Denning, the pseudonym of a father-daughter writing team, uses quick changes of scene and character-building flashbacks to create an sf adventure that combines hard science, mysticism, and alien contact. For most libraries." Library Journal (the Sci Fi column by Jackie Cassada).

"...I have not often seen such an evocative presentation of what [Global Consciousness Project] is about, both the science and the philosophy."
Dr. Roger Nelson, Director,
Global Consciousness Project.

At the Goddard Space Flight Center, the staff observes a fight between aircrafts in outer space, which end with both objects plunging toward earth. One crashes in Columbia and the other in Washington DC. Officially the government claims space debris.

In Columbia, Black Ops drug lord assassin Captain John Jacob Connard takes a bullet during a jungle fight and lies near death in a cave until an entity somehow enters his body. John quickly learns to heal himself and to use other telepathic powers. For saving his life, his symbiotic partner demands John kill the enemy who will destroy all living beings on earth unless stopped.

FBI Agent Lara Ellen Picard rides her bike when a bee flies into her mouth stinging her several times. Struggling for air she stumbles off the path and is near death below the biking path until an entity somehow enters her body. Lara quickly learns to heal herself and to use other telepathic powers. For saving her life, her symbiotic partner demands Lara kill the enemy who will destroy all living beings on earth unless stopped.

MONKEY TRAP is a terrific science fiction starring two humans who become the battle armor for aliens at war. Readers will wonder who the evil species is as the evidence is cleverly designed so that the audience keeps switching perspective to include one or the other, both and even neither. The father-daughter team Denning opens the Nova Sapiens trilogy with an exciting, fast-paced thriller that keeps fans on the edge of their seats wondering who contains the potentially pandemic killer.
Reviewed by Harriet Klausner for Baryon.

"This is an immensely exciting SF thriller..."
Dr. Bob Rich, author of Sleeper, Awake.

"...An impressive, ambitious first novel. The first of a triology, Monkey Trap is an action-packed, suspenseful, fascinating extraterrestrial story that will keep you reading compulsively until you discover the conclusion. Its originality sets it apart from the rest of SF novels being published these days. If you enjoy action stories with a strong touch of mysticism and scientific detail, you'll love this book."
Reviewed by Mayra Calvani for Midwest Book Review.

Monkey Trap: a novel about the agonies of love and power, wrapped around mysticism and unrelenting suspense...

When I finished this book, I noticed the little blurb in the "Author Bio" that says "Monkey Trap is the first book of a planned trilogy about the emergence of Nova Sapiens. Hiding Hand is in progress. Splintered Light is being structured." Well all I've gotta say is speed up the progress and finish the structure! Don't worry (as I sometimes do) about not wanting to read a book in a series 'cause you never know the ending until the series is finished. Monkey Trap stands on its own, but you'll want to read what is to come.

The book starts in the jungles of South America and takes you on a journey. A journey full of action and suspense, fear and courage, love and hate, uncertainty and clarity. You will meet people who get involved in something for which they are totally unprepared, but who are more than able to cope with the events that transpire in the tale that unfolds between these pages. It's science fictional philosophy with all the mystery and suspense of a psychological thriller. There's the wonder and excitement comparable to E.T. or Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and the fear and savagery of Alien or Predator. Toss in love and an occasional touch of humor and you have Monkey Trap.

This is one of those books that is especially hard to explain and review, because I think the less you know about it, the more you'll enjoy it. Suffice it to say that once the reading is begun, you'll not want to do anything else but finish the book. I found myself carrying it with me to read at every opportunity. People are really pretty busy these days and finding time to read books is not always easy. Make time to read this one! You'll not be disappointed.

Reviewed by Bill Tellefsen for Fictional Worlds of Fantasy, SciFi & Mythology.

They are watching us. They are testing us. They are ready to destroy us should we fail their test.

MONKEY TRAP, is the first book in a new, exciting Sci-fi thriller trilogy by father-daughter writing team, Denning Powell and Leanne Powell Myasnik. Writing together as Lee Denning, they weave together mythology, fantasy, religious theory, scientific fact, and fantastic, imaginative speculation into a roller coaster adventure of possibility.

Dr. Aaron O’Meara is a bit early for his shift at the Goddard Space Flight Center where he is involved in a 2-week ongoing test of their satellite/laser system to track and destroy threats. He and the entire X-room staff watch in amazement when Aaron is playing around a bit with the equipment before the next scheduled exercise happens across what appears to be a dog fight in space. There is a flare, a final flash of blue and green light, and two objects are suddenly hurtling toward earth. Their tracking equipment shows the larger object heading for the Columbian jungle, and the second…Washington. They grab on, duck for cover, but the expected impact never comes. Despite the disagreement and disbelief of his controller and colleagues, Aaron works with Adrienne, a cracker-jack programmer at the GCP, Global Consciousness Project at Princeton, and sets out to prove his theory that ET has landed.

...Monkey Trap, the survival of the entire race rests with two humans chosen to host alien entities in a test to prove humanity is ready for the next step of consciousness evolution. Will they prove humanity ready for the power of the next step, or ensure its destruction by proving the adage “absolute power corrupts absolutely?”

MONKEY TRAP is full of twists and turns, undercurrents and subplots, technical and scientific detail and jargon that under the talented hands of this father-daughter writing team will enthrall any Sci-fi fan. They have created a dynamite cast of characters who intrigue, anger, thrill, delight, and astound on every action packed page. They weave the impossible and improbable into the possible. They weave contradicting philosophies and theories into a believable intertwining pattern of compatibility. They introduce detailed fact and theory that enhances rather than detracts when presented with the masterful storytelling skills of these talented new authors. They tie it all together into a tightly written adventure into imagination.

Available November 15, 2004 from Twilight Times Books, this trade paperback, with its artistic cover design, quality paper and print, is a two thumbs up must read bookshelf keeper. Don’t miss Lee Denning’s MONKEY TRAP.

Reviewed by Charlene Austin © August 2004 for Writers and Readers Network.

Two objects fell from the sky. The government believed it was simply pieces of space junk or asteroids. Goddard Space Flight Center and those at the Global Consciousness Project believed that two ER forms had landed on Earth. Contact had been made!

Captain John Jacob Connard worked for the black operations. His targets were mainly big drug lords. He was an assassin. After one such target deep in Colombia, John lay dying in a cave. He was saved by an entity merging with his body. It taught John how to heal himself, teleport, and to use higher powers. The entity only asked for one favor in return. John was to help track down another space entity that had landed on the planet. It was pure evil and would destroy all those on earth unless they destroyed it first. John must find the human host of the evil one and destroy them both.

Lara Ellen Picard was FBI. She was dying on a cliff ledge when an entity merged with her. It taught Lara all about her new special powers as well. Lara was to set a trap for an evil creature that would soon come to kill her. If Lara lost the battle, the other entity would destroy everyone on earth.

***** An alien war on earth with two humans caught between them. All through the story I wondered which entity was the real "evil one". This book will test your wits while keeping you on the edge of your seat. For the big fans of Robert A. Heinlein out there, you will detect the master's intelligent flavor all through this novel. Lee Denning could very well be the next big name in Sci-Fi! *****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch for Huntress Book Reviews.

At the Goddard Space Flight Center, two strange blips are visible on the computer screen. Are they asteroids or something else of unknown origin? They disappear, one over Colombia and one over Washington, D.C.

Colombia: John Jacob Connard, also known as the Assassin, is on a Black Ops mission to take out a Columbian drug baron, when he is gunned down in the jungle. His last sight is of bright lights in the sky and his last thought is that Colombia is a beautiful place to die. But when he wakes, he is in a cave and he isn't dead. The bullet wound is sore, but healed and there is a voice in his head. Who is he and what does he want want?

Washington: Lara Picard, lawyer, mother and lover is on an early morning bike ride when a bee files into her mouth and she is so distracted by this that her bike tumbles over a ledge on the path and she lies there, too stunned to even notice the lights in the sky. The medics who rescue her a few hours later are confused, a large bruise on her collarbone disappears slowly as they watch. And when she reaches the ER in the hospital, there is no physical damage to her body whatsoever. The doctors don't understand it and neither does she. Lara feels fine, but shouldn't she be dead?

Monkey Trap is a sci-fi thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time, wondering what is going to happen next. There are two alien visitors, one who wants to help the human race fulfill their potential and one who brings only chaos in his wake. But which is which? Will the visitors bring about the next stage in human evolution or its destruction?

With well drawn characters and a wealth of detail, it's a book you may want to read again to get the full force of it. Any book that deals with alien visits to earth can easily fall into a cliched trap, but not this one. There is a real imaginative tale here, and what more can you ask for in a SF novel?

A great read.
Reviewed by Annette Gisby, editor of Twisted Tales.




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