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The Insomnia Files TEASER | File #2: KAY SOMNUS (Chapter 1)

The Insomnia Files TEASER | File #2: KAY SOMNUS (Chapter 1)

“Control. Focus. Be the master. Not the puppet.”

 

Hey there, Sleepwalkers, and welcome to Teaser Tuesday!

In anticipation to the April 7th release of The Insomnia Files (Insomnia Saga #1.5), a short story collection, I’ll be sharing a teaser today of the second file, KAY SOMNUS.

 

The Insomnia Files contains three short stories written from three different perspectives, diving deeper into the Insomnia Saga universe.

FILE #1 tells the story of Jodi Collins and takes place four years prior to INSOMNIA: Thirteen years old, Jodi has just started working for the Miller Academy. As she’s sent on a mission on a dark, wintery night, she has no choice but to confront the demons of the Night—and fight them.

In FILE #2 fifteen-year old Kay Somnus is about to take his final exam to become the youngest Summoner in history… but in order to succeed, he will have to pretend—and believe—he is someone he’s not, and forever deny himself his true power.

Alain Somnus, the very first Summoner of Light, is the voice of FILE #3. Hundreds of years ago, he opened a gate and allowed dark powers to spill in that would change the world forever… creating the darkest secret ever kept. Haunted by nightmares and his failure to protect the only girl who had ever managed to touch his heart, he opened the Somnus Academy—but could he live with the lies?

 

Did you know? The first story, JODI COLLINS, is available as a free eBook! Find out more.

 

Today I’d like to give you all a sneak peek to the second story, written from Kay’s perspective — so hereby I’ll be sharing CHAPTER 1: BLOOD AND BROTHERHOOD.

 

[SPOILER WARNING: If you haven’t read INSOMNIA (Insomnia Saga #1) yet, the following chapter will contain major spoilers that could affect your reading experience. So… read on at your own risk — or quickly close this tab 😉 ]

 


FILE #2: KAY SOMNUS

 

CHAPTER 1

BLOOD AND BROTHERHOOD

Standing on the altar is a black cross, its surface inlaid with blood-red stones. It’s for my mother. Although she had been raised in Somnus, she was originally from Miller, our neighboring city filled with churches that tower into the sky. I had been there a couple of times with my parents, back when they were still alive. I can still vividly remember my mother telling me she enjoyed visiting Miller because she knew her father and mother had always been fond of the city—yet that to her, Somnus had become her true home.

    I swallow, recalling her face. It’s easy; next to the cross, there is a picture of her and my father.

    Recalling her voice, however, is getting harder.

    Two years. It’s been two years since I watched her and my father die.

    The blood—I can still smell it. Their screams—I can still hear them. The pain—I can still feel it.

    The scars—

    They’re still there. A part of me. No matter where I go, I carry them with me.

    I briefly touch my right shoulder, and I can feel the thick, raised edges of my scars, hidden beneath my shirt. Stiffening, I lower my hand. My gaze hardens as I look away from the cross, away from the picture of my parents—instead, I narrow my eyes as I watch the flames of the lit candles, shivering as though they can feel the November cold creeping in through the cracks of the rose window.

    Shivering, as though they’re afraid of something.

    Of me. The monster.

    I inhale deeply, but my lungs feel tight. I wrench my gaze away from the candles, blinking a few times to get the colored spots out of my vision, and stare at my reflection in the window instead.

    I’m at the top floor of the Somnus Academy, where I’ve been born and raised. It’s my home. My parents started living here after my father took over the role as principal from my grandfather, a man I can barely remember for he died when I was still little. My brother and I have never known anything else but this.

    It seemed fitting, after our parents’ deaths, to build this small, personal shrine right here; in the living room, where we once came together to eat, to… To be a family, even though a part of me has always felt removed from that concept, like I was an island all on my own. Although my parents and Aiden wanted me to come to theirs, I simply couldn’t cross the sea, no matter how hard I swam. All I did was drift farther and farther away from them.

    From my family. From everyone.

    I can’t remember anything else than that I feel different. Different, from everybody else. And I know it isn’t them. It’s me.

    And this feeling, this knowledge has only grown stronger ever since what happened two years ago. Since I got scarred.

    I am the monster that’s hiding in the shadows. The monster that pretends to be human by fighting the other demons. The monster that lies, every single day, not just to others, but to himself as well.

    You can be more than this, I tell myself over and over again. Deep down, you haven’t changed. You are still their son. You are still Kay Somnus.

    And that name—Kay Somnus—is the sole reason I’m standing here tonight, two years after becoming a Sleepwalker, readying myself for my final exam to become a Summoner, even though I am only fifteen years old. Students are supposed to take their finals at eighteen, but I am not an average student.

    And I will never be an average Summoner either.

    Again, my eyes stray to my right shoulder in the window’s reflection—and that’s when I see him standing there, watching me.

    I turn around to my brother.

    His hair is dark like mine, but where mine’s unruly, his is long and slicked back into a tail at the nape of his neck. He wears an impeccable white collar shirt, black pants, and his shoes are polished to a shine. With twenty-seven he’s twelve years older than I am—the youngest principal of all Summoner academies, and one of the best and youngest Summoners known to the world.

    The way he took over our parents’ role, the way he’s leading the school these days, would’ve made them proud.

    Sometimes, I wish I could tell him that. I know I should. And any other brother would have done that. But I am just his brother by blood—apart from that, I am an island. And no matter how hard I swim, I can’t seem to reach his.

    It’s not his fault. It’s me. All me.

    “It is almost time to leave, little brother,” Aiden says, his voice soft and familiar. He runs a hand over the back of one of the chairs in the left corner of the room, the brown leather soft and worn through time and use. “Are you ready for this?”

    His dark-blue eyes watch me carefully, as though he’s truly concerned, but I know which answer he expects to hear—and he should, since it’s the only answer I’ll ever give him: “I’m ready.”

    I am. Despite the nerves running through me, the unrest buzzing in my body even as I went for a run this morning, even while I was training this afternoon, finding my rhythm as I swung and caught the nunchakus, the chains ringing softly. I am ready.

    “Good.”

    “I should go,” I say, walking over to the coat rack next to the door to get my jacket. I reach for it, but pause as the wooden floor creaks and Aiden suddenly puts his hand on my arm. I look at him, frowning slightly.

    He reaches for his neck and pulls something out from under his shirt. I stare at the silver necklace with its small, gleaming cross that he’s holding out to me. My mouth turns dry. My stomach feels hollow and it’s not just because I barely ate anything tonight.

    “Take it,” Aiden murmurs.

    I stare at it for a long moment, unable to move. It was our mother’s. She always used to wear it, tucked beneath her clothes. For luck, she claimed.

    She also wore it the night she died.

    Luck.

    Such a useless word.

    “No,” I say tightly.

    “She’d want you to wear—”

    “I don’t believe in lucky charms,” I grind out, my voice suddenly rough, unable to look away from the gleaming thing. “You know that.”

    “I do.” Aiden doesn’t lower his hand though, and keeps holding it out to me. “But she gave it to me the night I took my final exam. And I know she would have given it to you too, tonight, if she were still here.” His words are spoken quietly, sounding brittle.

    The death of our parents is a wound. A wound that won’t heal.

    I suddenly feel cold.

    “Let’s continue the tradition, no matter how you feel,” Aiden goes on after a silence. “Please.”

    Please. He hardly uses that word. Aiden is proud. He never begs.

    I tear my gaze away from the necklace to look at him. These days, I’m nearly as tall. His eyes, however, are darker than mine. I can see and feel them scanning every inch of my face.

    “This is your final, Kay,” he says. “Make them proud.”

    His words make me glance over at the altar. Something rises up in me, something that’s cold and hot at once, and there’s a sudden ache in the back of my throat. I reach for the necklace and put it on. The small metal cross still feels warm as I tuck it beneath my shirt.

    I tug my jacket from the coat rack, shrug it on, and move to open the door. Yet before I can, I sense Aiden stepping closer. His shadow falls over me. “Watch yourself tonight,” he quietly warns me. “Don’t expose yourself. What happened last time during your mock exam—you can’t let that happen tonight.”

    I tense, my fingers tightening around the doorknob. “I know,” is all I say.

    “All right.” Aiden pauses. “Good luck, little brother.”

    For a moment, I don’t move. Perhaps I should thank him. Perhaps I should turn around, clasp his hand, or embrace him.

    That’s probably what anybody else would’ve done in a situation like this.

    But I—I simply can’t. I don’t know how to.

    I know what’s expected of me, a person, a human being. But it’s not who I am. I can’t take this step. I can’t cross this bridge, I can’t close this distance.

    Blood and brotherhood. I know what it means, and yet, somehow, it’s out of my reach.

    When I was little, Aiden used to pick me up, carry me on his back, and embrace me. Our parents, too. My father patted me on the head. My mother kissed me on the cheek. But I never hugged any of them back. I never went over to them myself to hold their hand or snuggle up to them, like I saw other children do. It never felt natural.

    Maybe my heart is a closed-off thing.

    I don’t know. I don’t know any better than being this way—and still… I do feel like, sometimes, I’m missing something everybody else seems to have.

    But I’m different. I lose myself in books; fiction and non-fiction, it doesn’t matter to me. I lose myself in endless hours filled with training. I lose myself in sparring fights, I lose myself in perfecting every Light spell I’ve been taught and those I taught myself. I lose myself in practical things, and not in emotions.

    I’m different—and so, I don’t say anything to Aiden as I open the door, and leave without looking back.

 

+ + +

 

The Somnus Academy is never truly quiet. The students are in bed, and so are the Summoners who are off-duty, but all the others are still out and about to either make their rounds in the city, or to sit in vigil when it’s their watch, awaiting the ever-possible emergency call that signals a Nightprowler attack.

    The same goes for tonight—but now, for the first time, I truly seem to notice how many people are still milling about.

    I slow to a halt at the foot of the wooden stairs. The entrance hall is large, with a Gothic rib-vault ceiling, and a large clock with Roman numerals. Earthenware vases line the terracotta-colored walls, though I can barely see those—there aren’t supposed to be this many people here.

    My frown deepens as my gaze skips over their faces, until I finally find the two I’m looking for:

    Martha Bates, forty years old, dark-blond hair that frames her face. Unmarried and no children. Former student of the Somnus Academy, who then became a Theory-lesson teacher. A strong soldier and also a mentor; every single student she takes under her wing grows out to be a great Summoner.

    Owen Radcliff. Seventeen years old. Short-cropped hair, broadly built, jeans stuffed into his army boots. Has already passed several mock-exams with flying colors, and is waiting for his eighteenth birthday so he can take his final, as are the rules. Has been scouted by one of the Somnus Academy’s talent scouts at twelve, when he apparently stood up for a boy who got bullied by defending him when he got attacked. Wants to be a teacher at the academy once he graduates, and these days he’s trying out for becoming a martial arts instructor. He’s Martha Bates’ best pupil.

    I know all about everyone who works here, as well as the top-students.

    Bates and Radcliff will accompany me tonight, to oversee my final exam.

    I want to walk over to them, but hesitate. Aiden and Abel Anderson—family friend and the school’s vice principal—came with me during my mock exam last September. That has been the last time I’ve been up against a Nightprowler. I did pass the exam, but not the way a Summoner is supposed to.

    I can’t let that happen again tonight. I can’t afford to slip up.

    Not tonight. Not with them.

    Drawing in a steadying breath, I make my way over to Martha Bates and Owen Radcliff.

    “There you are.” Bates smiles. “Are you ready to leave?”

    I nod.

    Her smile widens before she steps away, leading us to the back exit to leave the building.

    Radcliff falls into step beside me. “Just ignore everybody else,” he murmurs to me.

    I frown at him.

    He raises an eyebrow and gestures around the entrance hall. “Haven’t you noticed all these people? They’re all here to see you off—if you pass your final tonight, you’ll be the youngest Summoner in history.”

    Normally, it’s not allowed for someone younger than eighteen to become a full-time Summoner—but since I am Kay Somnus

    I quickly scan the hallway, again noticing the absurd amount of people gathered here. But now I actually feel their eyes linger on me. Some offer me a smile, while others fold their arms and shoot me skeptic looks.

    I stiffen under the attention, but then Martha Bates has already opened the door of the back exit and we step outside. We cross the parking lot, lit by multiple streetlights, passing dozens of black, gleaming academy cars. It’s late November and cold air bites into my cheeks, but I barely feel the chill. Nervous energy courses through me, and my jacket feels too warm. Stifling.

    Sliding into the backseat of the car Martha Bates has just unlocked, I briefly wonder if Aiden is watching me from the rose window on the top floor; I can feel the metal of the cross rest against my skin.

    But it does not feel like a wish for good luck.

    It feels like a warning.

 


 

— KAY SOMNUS contains 5 chapters in total. Want to read on? Pre-order the eBook on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes&Noble or Smashwords, and start reading on the day of the release!

 

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek!

Coming up next week: the first chapter of FILE #3: ALAIN SOMNUS

 

Thank you for reading! 🖤

 

…Hey! Did you notice? The cover for The Insomnia Files has had a tiny update! The title is now red instead of white, so it’s more in line with INSOMNIA — I think it looks even cooler this way 😀

 

BE CREEPY. STAY FREAKY.

— Lynn

 

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Posted by Lynn Robin in Insomnia Saga, 2 comments
JANUARY 2020 Writing Update: INSOMNIA publish-ready + writing ALAIN SOMNUS + dancing demons

JANUARY 2020 Writing Update: INSOMNIA publish-ready + writing ALAIN SOMNUS + dancing demons

I always thought that January was supposed to be this long, boring month that never wanted to end.

Well. Guess I’m wrong there.

This month flew right by for me, but perhaps that’s merely because I’ve just been incredibly busy! And on that note, let’s dive into this update and look back at all I’ve been working on — oh, and dreaming about. Spoiler alert: I had a batshit-crazy dream this month. Stay tuned 😛

 

• INSOMNIA: final round of edits, now publish-ready!

The first few weeks of January my team of beta-readers and I tackled the manuscript of INSOMNIA (Insomnia Saga book 1) for the final time, to polish it into the very best version!

This final round always feels the most important to me, and it’s actually rather exhausting to read, read, read, reread, utterly analyze each and every sentence… But, knowing that I was nearly there and that the book was almost publish-ready, made the work absolutely worth it and still fun 🖤

I finished editing the manuscript last week, took a weekend off — and since last Monday my awesome designer/partner-in-everything-bookish and I have started working on turning it into an actual book! The eBook is already finished, the file has been uploaded to the publishers, and yesterday we started working on the print-edition. I absolutely love this process, so I’m really excited 😀 I just can’t wait to hold the paperback of INSOMNIA in my hands, you know? (Though I can tell you the eBook edition already feels pretty good.)

 

• Writing: ALAIN SOMNUS

Besides working on the manuscript of INSOMNIA, I’ve also done some writing.

This month I have written a third story for The Insomnia Files — to be exact, File #3: ALAIN SOMNUS. Without giving away any spoilers, this tells the story of the very first Summoner who started fighting the Nightprowlers. It’s really interesting to dive into the Insomnia Saga‘s history like this, and I can’t wait to have this published, so you guys can read it 😉 (But… one step at a time.)

After a week and a half, I finished writing this story, and with that, I have finished my very first writing project of 2020! It feels really good, and I have many more plans, so I can’t wait to see how many more projects I’ll finish this year 🙂

 

The Insomnia Files is a short story collection that will accompany INSOMNIA, containing three stories (File #1: JODI COLLINS, File #2: KAY SOMNUS, and File #3: ALAIN SOMNUS). Its publication is expected for April 2020.

Also…:

In case you’ve missed it, or you’re a new reader — did you know that the first short story, JODI COLLINS, is available as a free eBook? It’s especially written for first-time Insomnia Saga readers, and introduces the main character, Jodi, as well as the world of Summoners and Nightprowlers. The eBook also includes a sneak peek of INSOMNIA!

You can find your preferred download link on this page.

 

• INSOMNIA: cover update reveal

I also shared this last week in a blog post, but I’d like to highlight it again: the cover for INSOMNIA has had an update!

After seeing the final design of the cover for book 2, NOCTURNE (I will share it with you guys ASAP, but I can already tell you it looks freakin’ gorgeous), my designer and I decided that the first cover needed a bit of a boost; so, she recreated the cover and made a beautiful, colorful yet dark version of it!

 

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I’m incredibly happy with this; it makes the international release of this book feel even more “fresh”, in a way 😀

 

• Inspiring dreams: Dancing Demons!

Maybe my mind is simply too busy. Maybe I’ve been writing too many freaky stories about too many monsters.

Whatever the reason, this month I had the strangest dream that involved me having to clear several levels (kind of in video game fashion!), and having to avoid some kind of monster on each of them; I even encountered actual dancing demons.

It was crazy, but the thing was, once I woke up, I could remember everything so clearly. The dream had much more detail than I just described above, but I’m not going to tell you everything yet, because this dream has seriously inspired me for a story — and hey, I don’t want to give away too many spoilers 😛

Anyway, I figured it must work nicely for a stand-alone novella, and I’ve already been writing down some ideas. I can’t possibly say when you guys will ever get to read it, but… I’m just surprised that an actual dream has been able to inspire me like this. Trust me — this doesn’t happen often, for most of my dreams are just weird, random, and well, completely useless for my writing 😉

Wish I had more dreams like those. (Not that I’m short on ideas. To be honest, my mind is crowded with them — and so are my notebooks, lol.)

 

Well, I suppose this wraps up this month quiet nicely — I’ve been at work for merely a few weeks since my Christmas break, but I already feel like I’ve been working for months. I’m enjoying it, though — being busy, finishing projects, starting new ones, working on promotion, it’s all pretty dynamic 😀 It gives me lots of energy, and I can’t wait to start on February!

What’s in store for next month?: I’ll be working on The Nocturne Files, another Insomnia Saga short story collection which will be published after the release of NOCTURNE, I’ll be editing The Insomnia Files (lots of files in this sentence… are you keeping up?), and, perhaps most importantly — I’ll be releasing INSOMNIA, the Insomnia Saga‘s first full-length installment!

ALSO… there will be another release in February—a surprise release for Valentine’s Day; a Dark YAFantasy Romance short story that will be available as a free eBook!

What? Really? YES!

Stay tuned, dear Sleepwalkers.

This is going to be awesome 🖤

 

Don’t want to miss a thing? Then please subscribe to my blog (scroll all the way up, and you’ll find the subscribe button to your right. All you have to do is enter your email address, and then confirm your subscription). Thank you for subscribing!

 

Hope you all had a wonderful month as well, perhaps filled with dreams and monsters?

 

BE CREEPY. STAY FREAKY.

— Lynn

Posted by Lynn Robin in Writing Updates, 2 comments