Book Highlight: The Dream Star

Kalindi, a 16 year-old Dreamer-seer and devoted follower of The Way, is guided by a terrifying Dream to journey with a strange yet fascinating young man named Atman to the distant holy city of the Ancient Ones, the Center of the World. Their goal: to rid the land of the horrible intruding alien beings who have infiltrated the city. Along the way, she discovers that everything she believed to be true about her world, Tamar, is a deception.
Atman is not who he first claims to be, the alien intruders have mind-control powers beyond any Dreamer's, and the city of the Ancient Ones holds perplexing mysteries never mentioned in the holy Chronicles.
Kalindi sets out on a journey that leads her to find love, uncover the truth about her people’s mysterious ancestors, and inspire an interplanetary revolution.
Chapter 1 – The Dream
In Dream, I stand outside the holy city of the Ancient Ones, the Center of the World. All around me Tribefolk scramble in panic. Mothers scream for their children. Men scurry to muster their weapons. Sheep and goats bleat, desperate to escape their pens. The clamor beats through the wind that swirls the plain’s dust into a blinding grit. It twists into my ears, sharp and cold. Whipping from behind, it billows my sleeping-gown out in front of me. Then, turning course, slaps it tight against my breasts and abdomen. I peer through the dust. A huge silver disk, larger than the ancient Center itself, hangs in the air just above the city walls. If it falls, it will crush the city. I gulp down my fear.
I am in Dream. And I know this Dream-vision cannot harm me. And Tribefolk are not my people. But still, my every instinct screams for me to force myself to wake up. I will not give in to it. I am a Dreamer, a seer, trained to never give in to fear. I force myself to breathe, to concentrate with all my strength on the chaos around me.
From out of the swirling dust, a group of strange figures appear. Their long, gray robes twist in the wind against tall, skeletal bodies. One saunters close enough for me to glimpse his face from under his hood. Terror seizes me. These beings are not Tamarian!
I count two dozen. But more keep walking from out of the dust storm. They disperse into the ragged knots of Tribemen who stand with spear and ax in hand to fight. My attention is riveted by the one whose face is exposed to me. He turns, revealing his eyes. As if two small wells of black ink, they show no emotion, not even the smallest trace of compassion or empathy. He walks up to a fist of Tribemen set to strike him down and waves his hand as one would at a swarm of flies. All together, the Tribemen stagger, stupefied. They drop their weapons in unison and stand dumb, stiff and lifeless as straw dolls.
There are so many of the bony ones. They act quickly and seem to understand one another without speaking. One of them turns to his kin. The other nods and begins to gather up the Tribemen as a shepherd gathers sheep. All around me the intruders motion with their hands for the Tribemen to move toward the ground beneath the whirring disk. As if under a fever spell, all the Tribemen mutely obey.
The herded cluster is soon a mass of Tamarian flesh. The whirring breath of the disk grows, sweeping out in all directions. It blows a hot exhale across the plains. Then, from out of its belly, a light falls across those beneath. The dazed captives shimmer in its glow for an instant then disappear. Horrified, my Dream-body tenses. I want to run. But to where? A Dreamer cannot run from Dream. We are to watch, listen, and pay attention. No matter how wondrous the Dream. Or how frightening.
Women, children and elder men left behind scatter in every direction. A little boy turns round and round in circles with wild eyes, wailing. Though I have only just come into womanhood, the maternal desire to hold him, comfort him, and protect him as if he were my own child fills me. But, of course, I cannot. I am as a ghost. Invisible.
A Tribe girl races by and snatches him up then sprints away. Everyone is screaming, shouting. I cannot make out the guttural inflections of the Tribefolk but their meaning is obvious: Run for your lives! Crazed, they flee toward the hills that lead into the wooded mountains where, long ago, my people, Village folk, chose to build our homes. There, nestled in the bosom of the Angelina Mountains, we have remained, ever since.
The Tribefolk have always stayed in the plains and we Villagers in our mountains. This is how we have maintained peace between our two cultures. But are we now being invaded by others? How can that be? Panic pricks at the back of my neck like needles. Is this Dream-vision a premonition of a possible future or is it happening right now while I sleep? I turn my Dream-body to the east, close my eyes and beseech the wisdom of my ancestors.
Why have I been given this Dream, Ancient Ones? What does it mean? What am I to do?
Falling to my knees, I turn my face to the gray blur of sky and wait for the answer.
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About the Author:
Susan M. Botich writes science-fiction and fantasy. She is also a freelance writer, poet, songwriter and performing musician. She has lived all over the United States from California to New York, Alaska to Hawaii, Washington to the Midwest of Iowa and Minnesota and even the high desert of Northern Nevada. She and her husband have recently made Bend, OR their home.
Susan is an eclectic reader, having interests that bridge physics and metaphysics, social and spiritual issues, and multiple genres of fiction. She simply loves to read a good story. She became a science-fiction and fantasy fan as a teen. She has always been an avid reader but turned her focus to story writing after marriage and family in her early thirties.
Susan has recently published her science-fiction novel, The Dream Star, as well as a fantasy verse-novel, Enchantments. Both books are available through in both Kindle and print edition and as a Nook book. Readers may also buy her books through her website