|Stylised photo of Don't Shoot the Messenger|
For the previous chapters of Daniel Grant Newton's online book Don't Shoot the Messenger, click below:
Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14
Hey Shambhala Heroes! Can you do something for me? As you no doubt know, I am giving Don't Shoot the Messenger to you for free because I think it is a great story (bias I know!) that some people out there would love. Thing is, I am not sure who they are - well, there's YOU... and my mum, Anabel, my coolest friends that I met in Vietnam, the readers who have written to me, and David Hasselhoff, but that's all I know for sure... So if you know anyone who would like this book, please send them the trailer or the first chapter. After all, a great story is only great when it is read - and your support will definitely encourage me to share more stories with you. Thanks in advance, and I hope you continue enjoy reading it (and keep sending me those lovely messages)! :-)
“Who are you? And what do you want?” Irene hissed in Hebrew at the man in blue. She was bound with rope, and sitting against the wall inside a cave on a high hill.
The man was kneeling at the entry to the cave, near his tied up horse, stoking a fire.
As she spoke, he glanced back at her with amber eyes that reflected the kindling flames, but did not answer her.
She repeated her questions in Aramaic, then Latin and Greek. Still he did not answer. Just chuckled softly.
“You can either release me, or someone I know will come and really make you pay,” she growled in Hebrew.
Once again he glanced at her, and once again he simply sniggered.
“I know you can understand me,” she continued, “and you don't want to mess with this man who is coming for me. And now that the sun is coming up you won't have any shadows to slink into.”
“I know the man you talk about,” said the man in Aramaic. “He is one of the men with strange weapons who have taken a keen interest in the teacher in the village.” The man paused, before adding: “But he will not find me. By the time he comes looking for me, I will be gone.”
“What do you want with me?” Irene asked. “He can pay you very well for my release.”
Even though the doctor could not see much of the man-in-blue's face, she could tell by the crinkling at the corners of his eyes that he was enjoying her threats.
“He could not pay me or my men enough,” said the bandit.
“I see you have a Roman sword, do they pay you? How much do you want for my release?”
He stood up and strolled towards her. The man then produced a blue scarf and bound her mouth with it.
“This shall keep your pretty little mouth quiet,” he laughed, before returning to his fire.
He moved past her into the cave, and returned with a bowl of dates and a dead fowl.
Her belly rumbled and her eyes followed the fowl being put over the fire.
Noticing her attention, the bandit smiled. “This food is for you, not me. I will make life as pleasant as possible before they come for you.”
After roasting the fowl, he placed the bowl of dates, a wooden bowl of water and the cooked meat by her side and sat before her. He then unbound her mouth.
“That is so you can eat,” he explained, moving his hands away to avoid her snapping at him.
“Can you unbind me so I can eat?” she replied.
“If I did that, then I'm sure you would try to escape, and I may kill you,” he said flatly.
“What if I said that I wouldn't?” Irene lowered her gaze and raised her eyebrows. “Or are you the sick type of bandit who would take advantage of my position, and enjoy feeding me by hand?”
The man sighed, and leaned around Irene to untie the knot. She could feel his breath on her back.
As soon as her hands were free she shoved him off her and drew his sword from its scarab. She held it at him.
“Get back or I'll kill you,” her shaky voice warned.
“You are so predictable,” he growled before launching himself at her.
They rolled on the floor, both struggling to get a hold of the sword. He pinned her and the sword down on the cave floor and stared into her eyes.
Irene scowled at the man in blue, before kneeing him in the crutch and pushing him off her. He watched her sprint out of the cave.
But before the dust she kicked up could settle, she hurried back in.
“We've got to get out of here,” she screamed at the man. “The men with 'the strange weapons' are coming.”
The man picked himself up off the ground and dusted himself off. “I know, I saw them coming. That is why I didn't bother chase after you.”
“We got to go,” she said, pulling at his sleeves, “you don't understand how dangerous they are.”
“Very dangerous, I hope,” the man replied. “I would not like to see your beautiful looks go to waste.”
Irene stared at the man for a second, before trying to run further into the cave. The bandit however grabbed her and held her tight.
The light at the end of the tunnel was blocked by the shadows of six men. These men ducked their heads and made their way into the cave.
It was the soldiers minus Zhang (and Jude).
Spider carried two suit cases and placed them on the floor. He unclipped them and waved a hand over the contents inside.
One suitcase displayed two rows of grenades, and one row of chemical gas canisters. The other suitcase was filled with bullets.
Spider then motioned towards five rifles and a pile of C4 now leaning up against the cave wall.
“What on earth are you doing, Spider?” spat Irene.
“I am swapping you for a few toys,” the tall Brit responded. “Alexander was well aware that Jude and you may not follow orders. It was a possibility in the holographic matrix.”
The bandit pushed Irene into Spiders arms, and the big man led her out with a pistol to her back. “So he had me bring a note to give to this man. The 'man in blue', the Robin Hood of the Roman Empire. If anything was to go wrong, I would deliver this letter to his associates, show them our weapons, and meet him here to swap some excess weaponry for you.”
Spider led Irene down the hill with his five comrades flanking him.
“You swapped technology that is two thousand years more advanced for Jude and myself.”
“No, just you,” Spider grinned. “The matrix showed us that he would help you escape, and try to stop us by himself like the hero he thinks he is.
"And capturing you was always going to be a problem. We knew he would be able to get you past us, evasion is a specialty of his. However, the 'man-in-blue' is one of the best guerrilla fighters in this area. In this time, he is as much a legend as he is a man. The matrix indicated he would get you where we would have failed.”
“I don't understand,” Irene muttered. “What do you want with me, anyway?”
“You are bait for Mr. Stone. He is a difficult fish to catch, but use someone he cares about, and he loses perspective and takes stupid risks. It is a weakness he recognises and tries to guard himself against.”
Spider chuckled. "That was your main purpose for coming along. Sure, your know-how was integral and much appreciated, but getting Jude 'Stone-Heart' Stone to care about somebody, that was tricky. The matrix indicated we had to get someone halfway around the world for that."
There was a silence as they moved down the hill and towards the village.
“Look, you can't just give someone advanced weapons like this, Spider,” protested Irene, breaking the silence. “Killing Jesus is one thing, but giving a man like this that kind of weaponry is insane. You have no idea what repercussions it could have.”
“We do actually,” Spider grinned. “Jude is a great soldier and a great strategist, but he is very erratic. We have to keep him out of the loop sometimes, and we had to keep you out of the loop, too, of course. But that doesn't mean this wasn't also part of the original plan.
“You see, by giving this rebel group a few guns and bombs, the Roman Catholic Church, or any derivative of it, will never eventuate. It is literally saving the mental enslavement of billions of people, and put the progress of the world hundreds or thousands of years ahead.
“As you said, it wasn't Jesus who wanted the church and organised religion. So cutting out his tongue would simply stop Christianity, but another much more violent Abrahamic church would rise in its place. You need to cut the weed at the roots.”
“So what if you didn't kill Jesus, but destroyed the church?”
“If that were to happen, then, although there would be only small pockets of it, Christianity would still exist. And the possibilities for such a church rising up could come about in the future. So it is important he is dead, but it is by no means the main game.” Spider smirked. “We have thought of everything, doctor.”
“Who do you mean by we? I can't imagine anyone on the research team to recommend this extreme cause of action. I know each member, most on a personal level, and none of them are this crazy,” exclaimed Irene.
“You are right,” said Spider, now leading Irene up the stairs of the village's temple. “This further research was done by Alexander and me. Scientists don't have the balls to make decisions like this.”
Irene struggled to break free, but Spider held strong. One of the soldiers came to Irene with a needle and injected it into her neck. After a few moments of struggle she slumped into the soldier's arms.“Take her to the chamber and set the bomb to go off just before Yēšûă speaks,” said Spider, handing her limp body to Chernova. “We don't want him to try to stop us killing Yēšûă before the fireworks.”
Click here for the heart-pounding, action-packed Chapter 17 ... also, don't forget to let your friends and family know about this book, and of course, check out my book The Last King of Shambhala at your favourite online book store.