Shadow of My Heart - By Caryn Moya-Block Page 0,1

extreme cold, but the pain seemed more manageable. He rose to his feet and looked down at his chest. Instead of the black goo Quiet Thunder had smeared on him, a black raven in flight was now burned into his skin. He touched the symbol lightly and hissed at sudden pain from the inflamed area.

The tribal teachings said that when a Nuni Nagi warrior had physical relations with his true mate, the symbol burned into his chest would burn again.

Closing his eyes, he centered his thoughts and looked with his mind’s eye for an exit out of the Shadow Dimension. Near the bottom of the sweat lodge a shadow wavered. Raven felt near the edge and found the doorway. Then, he pictured the sweat lodge in his mind as it should appear on Earth and walked through the shadow, stopping on the other side to close the portal.

The blast of heat that hit his skin from the sweat lodge burned almost as painfully as the cold of Shadow. Raven quickly opened the door flap and stepped outside into the cool evening air. The drums stopped, the sudden silence was deafening. A group of warriors stood around the entrance, armed with bows and knives and wearing ceremonial robes. Raven stood waiting. Each warrior came forward and inspected the symbol on his chest. Quiet Thunder, the last to come, smiled and clapped Raven on the shoulder.

“Well done, Soaring Raven,” he said.

Chapter One

Sixteen Years Later

“Why is there always someone trying to take over the world?” Raven Darkwood asked as he fastened the single-handed crossbow to the strap on his belt.

“Power? Greed? But don’t complain too much. Without these power-hungry weirdoes, we would be out of a job,” his best friend, Joseph Running Bear, answered while strapping his own equipment to his belt.

Out of a job? Raven couldn’t imagine not working. Running his hand over the different compartments in his black-leather uniform, he checked to make sure all of his specially made equipment, including the new digital recorder made of all-natural corn resin, was in its proper place. He didn’t want anything to disintegrate in the Shadow Dimension.

Between supervising the offices of Isanti, Inc., and carrying out spying assignments for General Holland, he didn’t have time to breathe. Then, there was Isanti Quiet Thunder, his mentor and foster father, who constantly reminded him of the prophecy about finding a wife. How was he supposed to find a wife, when he didn’t have time to date?

“You ready? Turn off the light,” Raven directed.

Joe nodded abruptly as he walked over and switched off the light in the safe house located just outside the city of Ahvaz, Iran.

One of the best things about being a Shadow Walker was seeing perfectly in the dark. Finding the deepest shadows in the room, Raven felt for the tell-tale cold breeze that would signify an opening into the Shadow Dimension. Finding a small hole near the floor, he pushed both hands in and stretched the opening to a comfortable size to walk through. Glancing once over his shoulder at Joe, Raven nodded and walked out of the safe house, passing through the walls as if they were made of smoke.

It took only a moment for the biting cold of the Shadow Dimension to seep into every cell of Raven’s body until he ached with it. Staying warm in this dimension was impossible, even with the specially made uniforms they were wearing. Joe followed through the opening, then turned to close the makeshift door. It wouldn’t do to let one of the shadow beasts from this near dimension to Earth pass through. They wouldn’t survive long in the light, but they could cause panic if someone saw them.

Raven looked around the strange landscape that shifted and writhed with eddies of darkness. The room in the safe house could still be seen faintly from this side. He could move great distances through this dimension with just a thought, or walk following the contours of the Earth plane.

Moving through Shadow was always a test of fortitude and endurance. Members of his Indian tribe had been doing it for centuries. Raven and Joe had entered this near dimension of ghosts and shadows many times since they were boys. It never got any easier.

I hope Derek has plenty of hot coffee waiting for us when we get back, Joe sent telepathically to Raven. I’ll be a human Popsicle by the time this op is done.

Their mission tonight was to record a meeting between the terrorist Faheed