by Robert Creekmore
Two years after Naomi murdered the serial killer and rapist Vernon Proffit, she is attempting to adjust to a quiet life with her wife, Tiffany. But Vernon’s flock is not done with her. Under new leadership, their numbers have swollen as they morphed from a single entity into a network of cultists called Apostles of the Cloven Hand.
Naomi has suppressed her abilities since killing Vernon, but she cannot ignore the voices of the young people the new flock tortures and molests. They scream for help in her dreams every night, causing her to question her own sanity.
When she uses her long-dormant abilities to stop an attempted gay-bashing, Naomi’s true identity is exposed. The cult sends an assassin to kill Naomi and her family, forcing them to flee the state while the Apostles move to take everything the family has built.
Naomi fought the cult before and won. But that was before she had her chosen family to worry about. Now, she must choose between hiding on her own to keep her family safe or fighting back to destroy the Apostles. If she hides, the Apostles will continue to victimize those near them. If she fights, her family will be at risk of the same fate they plan for Naomi.
The hulking Marine, while still holding Nate’s collar, rears back his right hand in a fist. It’s a drunken, profusely telegraphed punch. Before he can land it, Nate quickly jabs the man’s liver with his left fist.
Surprised, and in excruciating pain, the Marine stumbles backward toward his friends. I’m instantly proud of Nate. I taught him that. A proper liver shot is devastating and can take down the largest of opponents. That’s why they’re illegal in boxing.
The other four immediately dogpile Nate and Claude. Herschel puts his right elbow into the throat of the man closest to him, sending the bastard to his knees. Then there is general chaos. Fists and kicks swing wildly. The first Marine I get my hands on, I grab by the collar, and cram my left thumb into his right eye, crushing it into his skull.
“I was going to be a sniper,” he screams.
“Not anymore,” I reply.
Now it’s the three of us against two.
I feel the anger swelling within me. The Earth calls out to my mind, saying, “Naomi, take my energy. Return to your path.”
I resist because we easily pummel the remaining two.
But then, the larger Marine gets back on his feet. He grabs me with both hands and lifts me up against the wall by my shirt.
Nate and Claude are on my right, and Herschel is on my left. As they close in, Herschel sees my left hand glowing bright white.
“Step back,” he screams at both of them!
Knowing exactly what Herschel means, Nate grabs Claude and pulls him away.
I reach up with my glowing white hand and light the man’s entire right arm on fire. Wailing in pain, he falls back. I focus my energy on the wall behind him. The bricks disappear as I bring forth a stone archway that opens up to the night sky I saw in my dream of Frieda. Swiftly, I move toward the man, kicking him in the chest. He falls backward through the passageway. I catch a glimpse of the creature from before as it gallops by on its spindly, dagger-tipped legs. It releases a shriek that echoes out into the alleyway as it grabs the man off his feet with its long dark claws, fleeing with him toward the woods.
I pull my hand away and the portal closes.
The other men flee.
About the Author:
Robert Creekmore is from a rural farming community in Eastern North Carolina.
He attended North Carolina State where he studied psychology. While at university, he was active at the student radio station. There, he fell in love with punk rock and its ethos.
Robert acquired several teaching licenses in special education. He was an autism specialist in Raleigh for eight years. He then taught for four years in a small mountain community in western North Carolina.
During his time in the mountains, he lived with his wife Juliana in a remote primitive cabin built in 1875. While there, he grew most of his own food, raised chickens, worked on a cattle farm, as well as participated in subsistence hunting and fishing.
Eventually, the couple moved back to the small farming community where Robert was raised.
Robert’s first novel Afiri, is a science fiction love letter to his childhood hero Carl Sagan. It was nominated for a Manly Wade Wellman award in 2016.
Robert’s second novel is the first in a trilogy of books. Annoyed with the stereotype of the southeastern United States as a monolith of ignorance and hatred, he wanted to bring forth characters from the region who are queer and autistic. They now hold up a disinfecting light to the hatred of the region’s past and to those who still yearn for a return to ways and ideas that should have long ago perished.
Q&A With the Author:
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Prophet’s Lamentation is a stand-alone sequel to last year’s release, Prophet’s Debt. It’s a hero’s journey that begins with our protagonist, Naomi, powerless, navigating extreme suffering and torture. The process of gaining her freedom and agency takes place over eleven years. By the end of the book, she’s essentially a superhero, capable of not just protecting herself, but others as well, with extreme prejudice and righteous violence.
At the beginning of Prophet’s Lamentation, Naomi’s hesitance to use her abilities falls away very early on when she has no choice but to use them to stop gay-bashing. For the remainder of the novel, she is in full force, handing out death to those for whom it’s warranted. That was a lot of fun.
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
The third installment, Prophet’s Death, will hit bookshelves in the summer of 2024. Beyond that, I’m already working on a supplemental work that follows Naomi’s girlfriend, Tiffany, through the eleven years they were separated during book one, Prophet’s Debt. It’s titled, Diary of Attrition. It’s scheduled for release in 2025. I’ve also pitched and received an offer for a book that’s a one-off and not part of this series. The tentative release for that title is 2026.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
Thus far, my future schedule is rather full novel-wise. I’ve been dabbling in writing short stories. I just finished one about a necrophile, foot-fetishist, podiatrist called Sole Survivor. I suppose I’ll submit it to magazines and see what happens.
How long have you been writing?
I made a few attempts at writing a novel in my twenties. While I had an academic background, I didn’t have the life experience. I finished my first unpublished novel, Afiri, nine years ago. I began developing Prophet’s Debt, not long after. However, it took me quite a few years to garner enough practice that I could even begin to think about publication. Last year, I wrote Prophet’s Lamentation in ten months.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
If you’re an aspiring writer, do yourself a favor, and don’t let the bastards get you down. They fear unconventional voices. Blast them with the truth until they have no choice but to cover their ears or listen.
Robert Creekmore will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.