Blood Web [A Caitlin Diggs Novel] [MultiFormat]
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eBook by Gary Starta
eBook Category: Mystery/Crime/Suspense/Thriller
eBook Description: Deep within a Colorado cave, a teen drifter discovers an arrowhead shaped crystal harboring an evil sentience. Acting as the crystal's host, the boy is endowed with psychic powers and extreme rage. He embarks on a cross country mission, eager to exact revenge for crimes committed more than a century ago; able to track his intended victims through a biological conduit. Caitlin Diggs became the FBI's top agent by being brazen and unconventional, but her experience and training had not prepared her for this new enemy, a murderous teenager whose twisted union with a crystal has spawned a biological internet threatening all of humanity. A trail of bodies leads Agent Diggs to a terrible conclusion; to halt the murders, she must take control of the crystal herself. But Diggs is not herself. Plagued by nightmares of her partner and lover's murder, she has revenge issues of her own. Can she come to terms with her vengeful lust and stop the killer? Or will she be lured into the crystal's blood web?
eBook Publisher: Charles River Press, Published: Charles River Press.com, 2007
Fictionwise Release Date: November 2007
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4 Reader Ratings:
"BLOOD WEB is by far the most AMAZING novel this reader/writer has had the privilege to read in a long time. This edge of your seat thrill ride is filled with something for everyone from suspense, paranormal, thrill, murder, mystery and even a touch of romance. Any genre aficionado will find this novel to be one of pure pleasure. First in the FBI Special Agent Caitlin Diggs series, Starta does an excellent job portraying the perfect setting while creating characters that are not only believable, but connect to your emotions as well. Each page is another twist and unexpected turn, keeping the reader glued to their seat and eager to reveal the next shocking revelation waiting in the prose of the following pages. Gary Starta is a prolific writer, who I believe is way ahead of his time in this particular genre. I anxiously await the next installment of the infamous Caitlin Diggs adventures. Kudos!"--Toni Kelley, Roundtable Reviews
"Author Gary Starta weaves an intricate mesh of memorable characters that draw the reader in until absorbed in his literary web. Detective Caitlin Diggs' pursuit of the killer will keep you turning pages with bated breath. Blood Web is a white-knuckle read for the discerning thriller fan."--Jonathan Womack, author of A Cry for a Hero and The Dogman Cometh
You can have anything you want
But you better not take it from me--
"Welcome to the Jungle"--Guns N' Roses--
Cripple Creek, Colorado
December 8, 1864
The red-bearded cavalryman plunged the saber into his fallen victim.
"Die, heathen, die."
Another military man on horseback implored Red Beard to end the assault. Red Beard did not hear the soldier because he now walked the dark side, convinced the Cheyenne man he had stabbed three times was the devil. A third man feared speaking, afraid Red Beard would turn his wrath on him.
Blood flowed freely from the injured man known as Chief Circling Hawk. The chief had been the lone witness to the Sand Creek Massacre a week ago. Returning home from a hunting expedition, the chief watched in his horror as the last of his people fell victim to the butchering hands of U.S. Militia troops. He fled into the woods.
While resting in a cave, he discovered a mysterious crystal. He continued his journey away from Colorado wearing the arrowhead-shaped pendant around his neck. But rough terrain and extreme weather conspired to hinder the chief's travel, allowing the three cavalry men to eventually catch him. The chief did not confront them--he decided to let fate and the Great Spirit lay judgment on whether he would still be capable of bringing his journey to fruition after taking three stab wounds to the chest. The crystal, bathed in blood and still hanging about the chief's neck, concealed a faint pink glow of light.
Despite the protests of his fellow soldiers, Red Beard continued the assault. He was convinced the chief possessed demonic powers as evidenced by the crystal's pulsating light.
Red Beard retracted his weapon to plunge his saber into Chief Circling Hawk for a fourth time. At that instant, the chief shape shifted into a woman who Red Beard recognized as his wife.
Spittle flew freely from the woman's mouth. She accused the soldier of joining the militia for the express purpose of bedding painted ladies. Chief Circling Hawk found himself in another place while the wife took his place in the woods. Strangers quickly worked to heal his wounds. He could not see their faces; they were concealed in brilliant white light. The chief was healed and returned to the woods. The apparition of the soldier's wife began to shimmer and fade, but her taunts and accusations still rang in the attacker's head.
Flabbergasted, Red Beard dropped his sword and backed away.
Chief Circling Hawk's body resumed his place on the ground before his attacker. Aware Red Beard had succumbed to lunacy, the two cavalrymen tugged on the reigns of their horses, planning a retreat. However, the horses were incapable of obeying, they were frozen in place.
The chief began to rise as if carried on strings. A light glowed around the Cheyenne man, illuminating him in pink. He now stood on his feet perfectly healed. Red Beard seemed to feed off the resurrection, using it to fuel his rage.
"I told you the heathen found a way to cheat death," cried Red Beard. He scrabbled on his knees to retrieve his saber, determined to complete the genocide. But before he could, five bobcats appeared out of nowhere. They circled the three men, fangs bared, hissing. Red Beard dropped his weapon. The cats' translucent bodies suggested they were not of this earth. The men could see right through them, except for a vague splash of color, which defined their form. They were bobcats, yet at the same time, they were rainbows.
The bobcats continued circling until they were assured the three men posed no further danger to Chief Circling Hawk. Minutes later the animals vanished out of existence, departing in a brilliant blaze of color, yet the three men continued to hear the echoes of growls hours afterward.
The men in blue fled, never speaking a word about their experience to anyone. A crimson sky haunted their journey home.
The mysterious crystal refocused its efforts on Chief Circling Hawk. For some reason, the crystal believed the chief must survive to right the unwarranted murder of his people.
The chief resumed his journey to Oklahoma where he would make a child to preserve his race. Days later, he walked into a hilly field and abandoned the crystal near a cave. It released an array of rainbow colors against the cave's dark backdrop. The chief, now disconnected from the mysterious crystal, used his last strength to stagger away from the cave toward a sloping meadow. He fell down and welcomed death, knowing his race would continue. * * * *
Route 66--Elk City, Oklahoma
Golf balls. It was raining and the hail was coming down in the size of Titleists.
A drifter who sometimes went by the name of "Shenk" ran for cover. He had lost his immigrant parents to a car accident when he was twelve, and just a few weeks ago, he lost his home at the Wayward Center for Teens due to Hurricane Omega. And now it was hailing golf balls.
Running with both hands on top of his head, Shenk took several hopeful glances behind him. To his dismay, he found there were no cars traveling on this deserted stretch of highway known as Route 66. So far, he had been able to travel from Texas into Oklahoma by hitchhiking. People were only too glad to help at the time of crisis. During the evacuation, everybody was your friend. An entire family shared their minivan with Shenk, along with their rations of food and water. But when the crisis ended, so did the hospitality.
Right now, there were no cars passing by to provide shelter from the storm. He left the path of the freeway and started through a meadow, his field of vision distorted, his body reeking. Shenk was anything but fresh as he ran from the icy round pellets.
The mud had no mercy. It surged up from the ground like pancake batter, oozing into his Converse All-Stars. His pants and shirt were soaked. His eyes stung from the rain that cascaded down his forehead. Still, Shenk had nowhere to go but onward. The meadow descended into a gully, and a hundred yards ahead of that was a cave.
Jumping into the pitch dark of the cave, Shenk escaped the downpour. He fell to his knees and closed his eyes to clear his vision. He hoped the cave was empty. But it wasn't. When he opened his eyes, he saw something shimmering. Shenk reached out into the darkness, but his hand landed just beyond the object. Without thinking of consequence, the young man employed persistence to retrieve the mysterious treasure.
Shenk palmed the object in his hand until his eyes adjusted to the darkness. It was a glittery, V-shaped transparent rock attached to a string of beads. Shenk marveled at its beauty before placing it around his neck. A strange desire urged him to hold the arrowhead pendant against his chest and let its radiance warm his body. He obeyed this desire and fell asleep in the cave.