A confidence man. A liar. A monster. Flynn has seen himself for what he really is and has resolved to pay for everything. Even if it means spending the rest of his days locked in Civilis, a tower prison for society’s unwanted – “half-humans” gifted by the fallout of nuclear holocaust centuries past.Jean, a prisoner in the neighboring cell, has different ideas and despite himself, Flynn finds himself joining her daring escape. After rescuing her friend Mack, the three flee Civilis as Flynn pieces together the hours before his capture and finds himself drawn to an abandoned facility where a rift to another world opens at his nearing.
Together they will venture farther beyond the stars than humanity ever imagined, find others like them that will never belong, and tangle with forces both ancient and immortal. They stand alone, hated and scorned – and the last hope of making things right in a cosmos gone terribly wrong.
As reality nears its final days, worlds fall to ruin. A benevolent god is shackled, and when freed, will create a new one … allowing only the pure of heart. A company of seven have united on a bloody quest to stop him, but have little hope of emerging victorious.The outcasts are adrift–they have a mission but no means to fulfill it. Airia Rousow, the fallen goddess who set them on their path, is gone. Guardian Poe, her intended successor, believes deification will absolve him of his sins and his remorse alike. And Zella Renivar, daughter of the Living God, is still hunted by her father’s agents, drawing danger on them all.
Trapped in this storm, Flynn is able to find and open the ways between worlds, but cannot discern which path is the right one. Since losing the trust of his closest friend, the temptation to fall back on his former, deceitful ways with grows with every crisis he faces.
Lucas Aubrey Paynter hails from the mythical land of Burbank, California, where there are most likely no other writers at all.
Back in 2014, he published Outcasts of the Worlds, and he’s now releasing its follow-up, Killers, Traitors, & Runaways.
A fan of gray-area storytelling and often a devil’s advocate, Lucas enjoys consuming stories from a variety of mediums, believing there’s no limit to what form a good narrative can take.
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From Chapter 1 – Among the Floating Bodies
A lone bulb came alive at Flynn’s entry, lighting the otherwise dark rail car. He stopped a few steps from the door. The rainfall was more noticeable in this better silence, and the isolation gave space to think. It was also a place to speak, without appearing insane.
Flynn sorted through a crowd of people in his mind. He sought to know his enemy, whose rebellion had upset the divine pantheon that he was now the sole remaining member of. With a blink, Flynn met the visage of Taryl Renivar, the Living God whose power—if unshackled—would sunder the existence of old to create one new and unspoiled.
This memory of Taryl Renivar was not bound to the earth, dragged to bow like in reality—there was no point in binding a mirage. Rather, he stood tall and lordly. As a human, he had lived more than half a century; as an immortal, he had seen over a millennium. His black hair, though fading, had held its color since his ascension. Nonetheless, he was old by any measure. Old, but firm.
The cone of light from the ceiling marked the distance between them, and he spoke. “You look to me for answers. You understand so little. Though you know what I seek to do, you do not grasp my methods or manners.”
“I need to organize the chaos,” Flynn replied. “Much of what I have are accounts and secondhand encounters. Your soldiers, your self-proclaimed ‘right hand’—”
“I am deeply less than the Living God,” the facsimile told him. “A memory, piece-mealed from a fleeting encounter? I cannot impress upon you anything you do not already know. I am not a font of knowledge, only a fogged lens of perspective.”
Flynn approached Renivar, his arm tensing in recollection. He’d attempted to slay the genuine article, and it was an empty motion that had meant nothing; attacking this facsimile would mean even less.
“Your most noted lieutenant is vicious and arrogant,” Flynn accused. “Zella, your own daughter, was poised to sacrifice her life to unbind you. Your people …” Flynn growled, “… are going to hunt mine.”
“I steward millions … perhaps more,” Taryl replied. “You are seven. I am prepared to sacrifice far more than that to ensure the safety of those I serve.”
Flynn wasn’t sure if that was Renivar’s perspective or his own. Many Reahv’li soldiers had died for their god when Flynn and his allies were cornered, but Renivar had been pained by their deaths.
“They are treasured to me,” Renivar explained, reflecting Flynn’s thoughts. “Just as your friends are valued to you.”