The Last Time I Died

The Black Crow killed Sam’s dad, and now he has killed Sam. But Sam is not dead. That death was the sixth of his seven lives, and now he has one remaining life – to come back and kill The Black Crow. For that is his destiny.

This book is part of the Breakouts series. It is perfect for readers who have gained a bit more confidence in reading and who are after a more challenging read, but who aren’t yet ready for longer, more demanding reads.

Available in good book shops, or click here to order online.

Extract

ONE
DYING DAY

The sword struck like a bolt of lightning. It crashed into Sam Carver’s blade. The shock sent him reeling. He staggered. The man in the black cloak smiled grimly.
‘Had enough, young master Sam?’ he asked. His monstrous face twisted.
‘No!’ cried Sam. The boy seemed older and wiser than others of his age: sixteen. There was a determination in his eyes. With his sword at the ready, Sam straightened up. ‘You killed my father, Black Crow. I’ll have your blood.’
The crowd watching from a safe distance laughed. Sam shot a sideward glance at them. A bunch of ugly bastards. Dirty. And scared of Black Crow. Everybody in Old Town was scared of him. He had influence. People who didn’t agree with him disappeared. Some say they were beheaded and left for the wolves in the forest. Others were tortured in secret dungeons below the rotten city streets.
I won’t be one of them, decided Sam. This time I’ll have my revenge.
Then a face caught his eye in the crowd. A man in his forties and a friend of his father’s. Peter. He seemed to be praying. No, he was murmuring something: ‘Stop. Please stop, Sam.’
The swoosh of Black Crow’s sword brought Sam back to reality. The blade sliced through his shirt, his skin. A stream of blood came gushing out. The shiny red liquid seemed unreal. The pain was like a red-hot poker. But it sharpened Sam’s senses.
He attacked. His dad’s silver sword was like a hungry monster, intent on devouring its prey. The crash of metal on metal echoed in the town square.
Clang! Whoosh! Bang!
Sam’s injured arm felt weak, but he pushed through the pain. The darkness in Black Crow’s eyes spurred him on.
‘Argh!’ cried Black Crow, as he launched another attack. The crowd made way as Sam retreated. His back pushed up against a wall.
‘No escaping Black Crow now,’ yelled somebody in the crowd.
Yeah, right, thought Sam.
Black Crow dashed forward, his sword menacingly above his head. With an almighty blow it came down on Sam.
‘You got him!’ somebody cried again.
No he hasn’t, thought Sam, swooping left. He avoided the lethal blade.
Black Crow’s eyes flashed red with fury. His next blow came in an instant. This time Sam was too slow. He felt the cold blade piercing his back. It pushed through his rib cage, his flesh. The sharp point emerged at the front. Streaks of blood covered the black blade.
‘Revenge?’ He heard Black Crow laugh. ‘Is this what you call revenge? Dying like a scared dog, more likely.’
Foul-tasting blood flooded Sam’s mouth. It pushed past his tongue, his teeth and spilled out onto the wet cobblestones. Black Crow extracted his sword.
Sam’s knees buckled, no longer able to carry his weary body. He fell forward, each breath more painful than the one before. Dying slowly.
Again.

 

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Fanie Viljoen
Fanie se eerste kortverhaal is in 1999 in Sarie gepubliseer. Daarna het nog publikasies in tydskrifte en boeke gevolg. Vandag is Fanie een van Suid-Afrika se gerekende kinderboekskrywers. Sy werk is bekroon met verskeie toekennings. Fanie Viljoen woon die afgelope 9 jaar in Bloemfontein. Hy skilder en skryf voltyds.