Centuries of trial and error evolution have brought humanity to the precipice of this fateful night. The white glow of Eloah’s moonlit glare falls onto the highly fortified residence of Charles “Yäbälay” Gravo, the criminal mastermind behind the world’s largest human trafficking network. His network has stolen and sold hundreds of thousands of adolescents to the underground world of sexual slavery. His criminality is the remaining criminal blemish on the Utopian existence the entire planet has enjoyed for over a generation. After a bloody raid on his compound, he is captured and joins the innumerable count of criminals systematically exiled to the lone prison city, Katingal, constructed in a far corner of Earth.
Sentenced there for the remainder of their natural lives, the wicked pit themselves against their soulless brethren. Some survive, but most perish from exposure, disease, and starvation. Those unlucky few who survive nature’s wrath negotiate the perils of the prison city through murder and cannibalism. All the while, this inimitable death sentence satisfies civilization’s aim to punish the world’s irretrievable outcasts.
It’s there, in Katingal, where the sinister Charles meets Elaina, an impromptu yet unremorseful murderer of both man and child. She is Charles’s unsuspecting companion and will play a role in events that will forever alter the realities of both civilization’s Utopia and Katingal’s hell. Charles’s aim is simple: use her to enact revenge on the likes of those who captured and tortured him before exile.
Together they survive and escape Katingal’s prison city. They traverse the barren outback as fugitives as Charles’s plan of leveraging Elaina’s personal and political ties to the president of her native country, Brazil, will facilitate their transport off of the prison island.
As contingency, Charles’s most trusted criminal accomplices kidnap the son of the Ethiopian governor, whose military task force was responsible for capturing him. With Ethiopia being the most powerful territory, Governor Negesso is slated to be the next president of the United Territory of Africa. The governor is hell-bent on rescuing his son from being auctioned off to the highest-bidding pedophile, no matter the costs to his presidential aspirations. There is no price he won’t pay, even at the cost of devolving into a self-serving, corrupt political figure he’s made a career of driving out of office.
In the end, many will die. Thousands will suffer. All the while, a watchful Eloah sees her children stumble through it all. Good clashes with the forces of evil, making the hard choices to maintain world peace while a wicked few led by Charles Gravo teeter on the cliff of their calculated actions—actions that may annihilate the Utopian society the majority of humanity so painstakingly sculpted.
Though Charles felt relieved to have discovered Kristoff’s lair, he could see that the savage was surrounded by his men. Nevertheless, Charles surged ahead, his heart racing in tempo with his legs as he moved closer to his objective.
As Charles drew near, a commotion broke out on the balcony. The group of men were drinking, dancing, and fighting as if the balcony were a mosh pit. One reveler grabbed another, while a third man struck the unfortunate chap with a pipe. He buckled, and with one swift movement, the two men flung their victim from the balcony. His limp body fell twenty floors to the hard pavement below. Charles heard the thump when it hit, and the cheers from a group of men who had been waiting for it on the street.
“The king is offering sacrifices tonight,” one maniac on the balcony cheered, hooting down at the dead man sprawled on the pavement.
Charles quickened his pace, staying close to the edges of the road. He ducked into a nearby building and crouched down in a dark corner, using his hands to gather a pile of dirt. He took a mouthful of the water from his satchel and pushed it around his mouth to alleviate his thirst before releasing a thin, controlled stream onto the dirt pile. After mixing the water and dirt into a dark paste, he covered his pale face until all that remained visible were his green eyes.
As he continued his trek toward the epicenter of the city, Charles heard the faint symphony of suffering. Angry yells of men coming from the east and bloodcurdling screams of women pierced the night to the west. Moments later, he slid past a band of filthy men vying for ownership of a corpse like a pack of wolves.
Another ruckus was followed by another violent assault. Just like the one before him, the beaten man was thrown from the balcony. He screamed the entire way down while the maniacs rejoiced from above. Scavengers sprinted past Charles to the man’s broken body and started ripping him apart.
Kristoff’s acolytes leaned over the balcony railing and waved their arms in the air, chanting, “Kris-toff! Kris-toff! Kris-toff! The king of K-City!”
Charles was fifty yards from the barbed wire courtyard that secured the front entrance to the Apex building. Another scream of fear, followed by another thud, a pitched body, and the scurry of the scavengers. This time, Charles was close enough to hear bones snapping against the pavement. He took cover to avoid the scavengers, and waited while they butchered the latest sacrifice with their homemade weapons.
Charles darted along the side of the building until he spotted four men guarding the back doorway.
“Four offerings so far tonight,” one of the guards warned the other three. “Two more before it’s safe to go back up there.”
“You sound like a woman, Manta,” the smallest guard said.
“Fuck you, Hiro!” He laughed. “You look like a woman. Now give me some pussy, you dwarf!”
“Curse me again and I’ll take your tongue,” Hiro seethed, pulling a short knife from his belt.
The other three guards erupted into laughter. “You call that a knife?” said one. “The only thing that knife is good for is picking your rotting teeth.”
T.H. Moore is a Southwest Philadelphia native who relocated to Camden, New Jersey, at the age of ten. He’s an active member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc., and earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Morgan State University. His career as an information technology consultant and real estate investor has afforded him the opportunity to travel to many countries all over the world as well as the majority of the United States. Blending experience with imagination helped formulate the basis of, and inspired him to write his first novel, The End Justifies the Means.
His second novel, The Devil’s Whisper, is uniquely creative fiction that ventures away from the inspiration of his own life experiences. In The Devil’s Whisper, he dives into a darker set of dual protagonists whose sole objective is to survive the circumstances of the world they live in. T.H. Moore is the proud father of one son, Jason, and currently resides in Virginia, where he is working on the next two installments of The Devil’s Whisper trilogy.
Get to know T.H.:
Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
A: It absolutely energizes me! There are times when I’m in the middle of writing a scene and I refuse to stop until it’s done. It doesn’t matter if it’s two or three o’clock in the morning and I’m facing getting only 3-4 hours of sleep before I have to be up for work in the morning. I’ve skipped countless lunch breaks. I’ve rushed home to write instead of going to the gym or meeting up with friends for happy hours. Then when I get home I’ll change into some comfortable clothes and plant myself in my favor dent in my couch and shut everything out. I forget about dinner and disregard hunger pains. I even ignore my body screaming at me about needing to use the bathroom.
Q: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
A: Originality! Every time! I can admit my first book, “The End Justifies the Means”, was easier because I used my life experiences as the blueprint for the story. It ultimately is fiction but a lot of the scenes came from personal experience. So when I write I don’t try and fit into a trendy box of what’s popular at the time because it may help me sell more books.
For example, my second novel is nothing like the first. I didn’t want to draw from personal experience for my second book. Instead I wanted to create a story I’d never read before, saw on television, or even in the movies. So, for about two months I brainstormed and played around with so many ideas until I finally came up with the premise for “The Devil’s Whisper”. The story required me to create a world and human existence unfamiliar to what we accept as our reality here on Earth.
I basically had to rewrite history. I even included a timeline and new world map in the beginning of the book to give my readers a glimpse into how the world this story took place in.
Q: Do you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
A: I write with the intentions of having each book stand on its own. However with my latest novel, “The Devil’s Whisper”, it is a trilogy. This didn’t happen on purpose though. When I first came up with the idea I saw it as one book but as I wrote and developed it, the story took on a life of its own and I didn’t want to stunt its growth so now it’s a trilogy.
Q: How many hours a day do you write?
A: I honestly, don’t have a set or defined amount of hours I require myself to write. I do, however have a routine that requires me to shut off all distractions every night and write. Those moments of solace could range from less than an hour to half the day. I just realized that for me the trick is to get myself settled down to focus on my work. It’s like exercising. Sometimes I’m excited to be at the gym and other times it’s the last place I want to be but if I can manage to get myself through the doors that’s half the battle.
Q: What is your favorite childhood book?
A: Honestly, I didn’t read much as a child outside of comic books and I never counted comics as a real “book. I’m sure that statement will earn me some side eyes from the graphic novel lovers of the world but that was how I felt at the time. My collection of X-men comics were too cool in my mind to be classified as a “book”.
It wasn’t until my teenage years when I developed an appreciation for books. I have to credit my eighth grade teacher Mr. Phillips from St. Bartholomew in Camden, NJ for exposing me to reading for enjoyment. Although it didn’t start out the way. He was like most teachers and wanted to expose us to all types of the book classics like Shakespeare’s King Lear, Animal Farm, and The Iliad. I’m not going to lie, at first I hated it. Especially Shakespeare with its old English. It was difficult initially but once I got used to it I took a liking to the stories and how they activated my imagination. So, I have to say, thanks Mr. Phillips.
Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
A: The waiting! But it’s mostly my fault because I can be impatient. For me, after I’ve spent months writing my first draft, followed by at least two rounds of my own edits, and rewrites before handing my manuscript over to my editor. At that point the last thing I want to do is wait additional weeks for my editor to tear away at what I just created. When you hand it over to them you’re so happy about what you’ve just accomplished. You’re patting yourself on the back for those moments where you wrote something that, in your mind was so good, it gave you chills but then you remember in that same moment your editor is deleting, removing, and rearranging those moments and when they’re done with it, your “baby” doesn’t look the same. Your manuscript is like a real new born child. Month to month they both change and at the end of the process it’s still the same manuscript you started with but it’s matured. The same blood and bones you birthed from your own womb but now it’s speaking back to you.
Q: If you had to do something differently as a child or teenager to become a better writer as an adult, what would you do?
A: I would have started reading books at a much younger age. My son, Jason, he’s a reading machine. His mother always read to him starting as an infant, I helped too, but I have to give credit where it’s due so it was mostly her. She read the same books over and over to him before he even knew what a book was. It got to the point she had the books memorized. As he got older I saw the results of those reading sessions. His vocabulary and reading level was so much more advanced than mine. Other than that, I would have taken my writing more seriously and published sooner.
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Author Site: www.thmoore.com
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