Into the Violet Gardens
(Cyber Drift Saga)
by Isaac Nasri
August 16, 2021 262 pages Amazon / Goodread
The year is 2024. A ruthless cartel dominates Latin America, and the FBI’s Troy Levi gets commissioned to intervene. A cyborg for the bureau’s Virtual Division, Levi delivers a devastating blow to the cartel’s power but encounters a wave of social resentment in the aftermath. As the people’s feelings for cyborgs grow bitter, former black-op cyborg ally and CIA operative Soriana Salazar finds herself caught between sides. Eliminating the cartel destabilized the region, fueling anti-cyborg sentiments in neighboring countries and afar. But tough decisions await Salazar after civil unrest forces the agency to sever all cyborgs ties. And that’s only the beginning… Betrayed by the government, hated by the people, a vengeful league of cyborgs spawns a sinister scheme of liberation. And While Levi searches for Solace amid the turmoil and Salazar seeks balance, both will have to take a grave stand if they hope to stall the impending chaos.
Isaac Nasri is a self-published author. He grew up in Washington DC and graduated in May of 2017 from the University of Maryland, College Park with a bachelor’s degree in Sociology. His stories focus on offering allusion to recent events happening in contemporary society and how they affect his characters.
Heart of the Scrapdog is his self-published work that was released in 2020.
There’s ugliness in beauty, but there’s also beauty in ugliness…
We may be monsters, but we are each other’s monsters…
What is destiny? Do we have the power to change the course of our lives, or are we forever bound by fates formulated by the algorithm of being? And coincidences – are they merely fluke occurrences or are they the results of a planned chain reaction? That is the story of a man who has run away from his past, and another who is running from himself. Pursued by their own demons, the unlikely pair collide fiercely with judgements and misunderstandings. From enemies to lovers, the pair journey on a path to discover truths that they have been denied. But are they ready to face them? Who is the hero and who is the villain in their story? And what is their destiny…?
Looking at himself in a half mirror, he tightened his fist and the arrowhead punctured his palm. Staring at the bident tattoo on the left of his chest, he trembled and a tear rolled down from his eye. Savagely stabbing the arrowhead onto it, he carved and mutilated the ink of his past.
Covered in blood, he squeezed his built body under the tight shower, clumsily hitting the on button. Standing naked under running water, he lifted his chin, parted his lips and tasted the chlorine water. The ravishing man ran his thick and rough fingers through his drenched hair.
Blood drained like scarlet before waterfall from his mutilated wound. Unfazed by the stinging pain, he smothered soap over his sculpted torso, crimson bubbles dribbling down his rock-hard chest to those iron abdominals. Attached to his body were a pair of athletic legs and a perky derriere. Wrapped with unsightly scars, each told stories like cave paintings. He brushed his callused fingers over them.
Out of the shower, he raided the minibar. Cracking open a few miniature vodka bottles, he splashed them over his mutilated wound and roughly dressed it before swallowing a handful of painkillers, complimentary of hospitality Alice. Breaths slowing down, his lids turned heavier.
* * *
He peeled open his swollen lids. Painfully tied to a chair with barbed wire, he noticed he was restrained by his own signature Shibari knots. He chuckled to himself; only one madman would mock him with such atrocity.
He heard footsteps approaching. Pricked by thousands of pins and needles, his body went into shock when ice-cold water was splashed onto him.
Laughing sinisterly in a familiar coarse voice, the man beside him smacked Marcus’s cheeks and whispered, ‘Time to wake up, my sleeping beauty.’
His throat tightened: Marcus was voiceless. A sudden punch to his jaw sent a back tooth catapulting out of his mouth. Falling to the ground, Marcus spat out metallic tasting blood between his teeth.
Holding Marcus’s arrow-tipped blades to his throat, the man sneered, ‘How could you, Sheng?! You traitor! I’m going to take away everything you cared about!’
Hah… that’s me…
I am Sheng… I was Sheng…
Faint knocks from a distance distracted the man.
* * *
…they were getting louder. Slowly lifting his lids, Marcus was unsure if he was still dreaming. Stumbling to the door, he was greeted by Alice with breakfast.
Taking one look at the tray of mush, Marcus asked, ‘What’s this?’
‘The Director told me to bring this. High-protein mashed beans with a side of kale salad and toast.’
‘Ugh…’ Repulsed by the unappetising meal, Marcus took a slice of toast then chucked the tray on the desk and pulled a long hoodie over himself to venture outdoors.
Hospitality my arse!
Guided by his lens, Marcus left the heavily guarded building with his head down and scouted around Downtown. He felt as though he had walked into a science fiction movie.
The bustling Downtown was buzzing with flying drones and patrolling robots. Autonomous vehicles were driving themselves seamlessly and accordingly. Transportation capsules were travelling at super speed in transparent tubes which was around Downtown, surrounded by cloud-height skyscrapers.
Still trying to adjust to his new upgrade, Marcus’s cornea lens was being bombarded with relentless data, holograms and augmentations along with all the data from the Solar users. Dazed from experiencing the overwhelmingness that Stig had warned about, he kept bumping into people who were engrossed in their Solar devices. A migraine began to pound against his skull so he turned the lens off.
He wandered into a park. Sitting on a park bench, burying his head against his knees, he rocked desperately to try and force the pain away. A concussion had his brain mixed up, and he gasped when he suddenly flashed back to a pair of bloodstained hands.
I’m a coward. Everyone is dead and I’m still breathing. I failed to rescue them.
Guilt… Marcus was tormenting himself with it. He was nothing but a lone wolf prowling in a foreign land, purposeless and meaningless.
He took a deep breath… and ended up choking himself with a pungent stench of drunkenness. Passed out beside him (at ten in the morning) was a man hugging an empty bottle of champagne at ten in the morning. With thick, scruffy hair over his face, Marcus could not get a good look at the intoxicated person. Missing a shoe, shirt unbuttoned, half undone tie – the man clearly had had a bit too much fun.
The drunk propelled his guts and Marcus sprang away nimbly like a ninja. Holding his breath from the awful stench on his hypersensitive nostrils, Marcus caught the drunk before he rolled into his own sick. Laying the drunk down, he draped his hoodie over the man.
“There are those willing to fight for you, if you fight for yourself.”
The plan was always to go to Amardeep, just not like this.
Ellinor Rask always planned to head for the Ashling’s island in order to hunt down those who had killed her husband, but now she’s going for something she didn’t expect: help. With Ellinor’s magic still beyond her reach, the only ones capable of removing her magical shackle are the sentient androids Ellinor has vowed to destroy. If only she can tolerate the Ashlings long enough to aid them in return, of course.
But getting the attention of those who could help proves difficult, and more dangerous than anticipated. Knowing whom to trust becomes a frantic dance as Ellinor and her friends traverse the toxic island in disguise, going from fight- club dance arenas to drug labs all in their search for assistance. Ellinor discovers, however, that hiding a dreeocht who is becoming more unstable by the second is increasingly deadly.
If hiding was all Ellinor had to worry about, she might have a chance at survival. But something waits beneath the glitter of Amardeep that Ellinor and her friends are not expecting… something they may be unprepared to face.
C. E. Clayton is an award-winning author born and raised in the greater Los Angeles area. After going the traditional career route and becoming restless, she went back to her first love–writing–and hasn’t stopped. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series “The Monster of Selkirk”, the creator of the cyberpunk Eerden Novels, and her horror short stories have appeared in anthologies across the country. When she’s not writing you can find her treating her fur-babies like humans, constantly drinking tea, and trying to convince her husband to go to more concerts. And reading. She does read quite a bit. More about C.E. Clayton, including her blog, book reviews, social media presence, and newsletter can be found on her website