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Novel Excerpt

By Kale Bova Published about a month ago Updated about a month ago 3 min read
Top Story - May 2024

Mount Etna

“Where the hell did they go?” Nadine snarled as she used her teeth to tighten the bloody wrapping binding the gruesome gash in her right bicep.

Ulrich grunted and fanned out - trying to make sense of their sudden disappearance. He was quickly unsuccessful, “I do not know. I cannot see anything from this position. We need to move closer.”

“Advance,” She said, prodding her blistered nose in the direction of the twin lava cones.

Leveling the MP40 machine gun he looted from one of the dead bodies of his fallen comrades, Ulrich limped his way towards the Monte De Fiore volcanoes.

Giving the thick, knotted rope a furious tug, Nadine cruelly yanked Garret along behind her. The young American soldier was bleeding from his skull, his shirt was soaked a dark crimson, his right thigh throbbed from an unattended bullet wound, and his left eye was completely swollen shut - blinded by a vicious attack from Nadine and the butt end of Ulrich’s machine gun.

Garret’s daring attempt to halt the German’s pursuit of Rosalie and her father was initially a success. Unfortunately, a large chunk of the carriage which he pushed into the road to block the half-track broke free during the collision and crashed into his skull - knocking him out cold.

When he finally awoke his pulsating eyes fought against the heavy fogginess of his concussion as he tried to see who was dragging him down the road by his sprained ankle.

The dark shadow was tall and thin and was flanked by a shorter dark shadow. They both spoke German and they both sounded pissed off. As Garret’s spine dug into the jagged stones on the dirt road, his haze lifted and he was clearly able to make out Ulrich and Nadine. He tried to kick himself free of Ulrich’s grip, but his attempt was too frail and was ultimately a horrible decision.

Once they realized the American was alert they both proceeded to beat him to a bloody pulp with their fists and weapons - finally stopping when Nadine decided to shoot him through his upper thigh with the last bullet in her Luger.

He had no idea how much blood he had lost during their long trek through Mount Etna’s dense woodland, but the obsidian veil of death shrouded his peripheral vision. Garret knew he was dying, and there was nothing he could do. He only hoped, and prayed, that he had enough life left inside of him to see Rosalie’s freckled cheeks, her curly hair, and her mahogany eyes one final time before death claimed him.

Nadine snarled something vile as she yanked the leash securely fastened around Garret’s bruised neck.

“Up here,” Ulrich yelled, as he rounded the base of the first twin volcano.

Nadine tugged on the hash leash again and again until they regrouped with Ulrich. The opening just beneath the lower collar of the volcanic tube was tight and well camouflaged. Fortunately the loose Earth around the mouth was disturbed and the noxious fumes combined with the sour stench of a damp cave were heavily breathing from within - making the entrance easy to locate.

“What’s that smell?” Ulrich asked, “It’s spicy.”

Nadine stepped closer and raised her nostrils to invite in the warming odor. It was indeed a unique aroma and Ulrich had been oddly spot on with his detection. Spicy. Yet it was being cut with notes of sulfur and rotten eggs from the layers of volcanic ash.

“I do not know,”Nadine muttered, as she continued to breathe in the fumes.

They were strangely comforting and helped relax her nerves which were furiously relaying the various points of pain her body was suffering to her brain. At that moment she didn’t care if the fumes were toxic or not. They were soothing, as if she was about to slip back into one of her opium induced comas.

Garret also tilted his head back and inhaled the fumes. Like his captors, he also picked up on the hints of spice and rotten eggs. Yet unlike the two German assassins, he knew what it was they were smelling. He also knew that in small batches and with limited exposure the fumes would essentially be harmless. He also knew that the caves beneath Mount Etna were infused with endless amounts of pressurized Cinnabar which had apparently been breached several weeks prior. He knew that entering the caves with its fragile vulnerability was a death sentence.

But Rosalie was already inside and he was a mortally wounded prisoner. All he could do was hope to sacrifice himself at the proper moment in an attempt to allow Rosalie enough time to escape the two assassins as well as the fury of the mountain.


About the Creator

Kale Bova

Author | Poet | Dog Dad | Nerd

Find my published poetry, and short story books here!

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Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (5)

  • Anna 30 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story! :)

  • Esala Gunathilakeabout a month ago

    Congrats on your top story.

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    I loved this!! Would love to hear more!

  • Margaret Brennanabout a month ago

    omg, this is fantastic. it ended way too soon.

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Oh god. This is so good! I hope he finds Rosalie.

Kale Bova Written by Kale Bova

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