Key of Mystery
by KH Mezek
Teen Publishing, 77K
“Be careful who you love, it just might kill you.”
When Sera’s father is killed in a horrific accident, all he leaves behind is a mysterious key. Sera places the key on a chain around her neck and vows to avenge her father. Strange characters arrive in town including the otherworldly Night Angels, who claim to be sent for her protection.
Sera falls hard for one of them—exotic, arrogant Peter. But what if his promise of love is only a ruse to gain access to the key? As Sera’s connection to the key grows, so do her supernatural powers. Guided by clues left by her father, Sera searches for the hidden chamber beneath the city, hoping to save what lies within before the sinister mayor and his deadly followers drown humanity in a bloodbath.
14+ due to adult situations
Before my dad’s death and the move to Cliffside, I had known only lies. I hadn’t seen the truth about myself, my family, or my friends. But here on the ground, covered in blood and dirt, and most likely dying, I knew I didn’t want to go back there. I wanted to stay with the truth. The truth hurt like hell, but it was better than being numbed by ignorance.
“No.” I think I said it out loud, but it sounded more like a gurgle. I tried harder.
“Never give you the key.” I gasped. “Never.”
He hissed in anger. “Then I will turn you into undead.”
I knew he was bluffing. If he turned me into one of them, he would never get the key. I had to willingly give it to him, with a rational mind, and those undead were anything but rational.
Gore howled like he had on the plateau, and the nail raked across my face, penetrating deep into my skin. He reached down and licked the blood with his long snake tongue, a poison so painful seeping into my flesh that I almost passed out again.
When he spoke next, his tone was venomous, each syllable biting as if they were his teeth. “Clever girl, I will do something better. I will turn your brother into undead. Think on that.”
I made a feeble sound of terror, struggling to get up and unable to move.
“You will give it to me now. Or else your brother will end up like this.” He grabbed one of the undead and pulled the grotesque, dead-eyed face down next to mine. Then, he tossed it away like a stick. This was the end, then. Gore had won. I had to at least try to save my brother, even if Gore’s promises were lies. With unbearable effort, I reached up and tried to undo the chain. I couldn’t. I tried to pull it up over my head but somehow, it became tangled in my torn clothes. I was too weak and the problem of removing the key from around my neck overwhelmingly impossible.
“Come, little bitch, quickly.” Gore’s fingers dangled in front of my face, as if itching to undo the chain for me. But he was powerless to do so.
A growing uneasiness rippled through the undead standing in a circle behind him. Low moans rose from cavernous mouths. Any second now, surely Gore would unleash the hoard upon my brother to devour him. Why, oh why, couldn’t I undo the chain?
I grabbed the key and pulled with all my remaining strength, whispering, “I want this. I want to give him the key. I do.”
FIGHTING YOUR WAY TO BEING A WRITER!
Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek
I am a single mother and I raised three kids, two boys and one girls. It wasn’t easy. I also was determined to be a writer.
My mantra is #writeordie. WRITE OR DIE. I have to write. I have to be an artist. I have to be true to my calling. And I also have to be a mother. How to blend the two when they both require an intensity and a focus of purpose that is grueling and time-consuming?
I have found my way through training in marital arts, boxing, kick-boxing and Eskrima, which is Filipino stick and knife fighting.
What, you say?
Yes, I am a virtual killing machine and as a woman, I love it. I was even asked a few years ago by a rapper to be his body guard. How about that? So, it is hard to believe that once I was in an abusive marriage, isolated from friends and family and lost. What saved me was I put on a pair of running shoes and I started to run in the park. I lived in London at the time, near Kensington Gardens. I had no money, I was under the control of my “rock star” husband. But I had a pair of shoes, and I could run. Each day, I pushed myself a little bit further and through that experience, I was able to eventually leave my husband.
When I returned to the United States with one suitcase and my four year old daughter, I started training in martial arts. From there, I took up Eskrima, and then Okinawan weapons. Eventually, I started fighting full contact in boxing and kickboxing. I now know what it feels like to stand up straight and tall and not be afraid, knowing that I can defend myself. I will either win, or go down trying. It gives me great satisfaction to train other women and girls in the gym, to empower them to know that they can defend themselves. Nearly one in five women report being sexually assaulted in the United States every year. Keep in mind, that is what is reported, so the numbers have to far exceed that.
In my series, the Night Angels Chronicles, one of the important factors is that the female lead, Sera Patterson, develops through the course of the series into a superhero who can stand on her own two feet and defend herself against any foe. Yes, she has a hot love interest, that goes without saying! But also, unlike so many books being published for the female audience, she has her own identity apart from a man and she is self-sufficient. This is of paramount importance because I know what it feels like to be powerless and to live in fear. As a result, I want to do everything I can in my writing and in my life to inspire women to stand up and fight against abuse.
To this end, in 1995, I started a creative writing program in juvenile hall, in Los Angeles, called InsideOUT Writers. I first began working with group of girls, all facing life sentences for serious crimes. More than twenty years later, I still know many of those girls and they are incredible. Many spent long years in prison but are now out and married, have careers and children. Never write off a teenager as a lost cause. My dedication of Key of Mystery is in part to the young people who congregated at my house and inspired me with their stories.
For the past ten years, at least, I have taught boxing and kickboxing in the gym, and self defense for women and girls. Nothing makes me happier than seeing a teenage girl stand up straighter, with clear eyes, and no fear, fully confident in her ability to say “no.”
I really hope that my series, starting with Key of Mystery, will inspire girls and women to stand up for themselves and to learn how to fight! My training also means that I can write fight scenes from the perspective of actually being in the ring and fighting full contact, fighting with weapons, and knowing what it is like to be abused, to be hit and kicked and to live in fear, and then to overcome it.
So let’s make the Night Angels a world view for women and girls. Let’s get women around the world to unite behind this series, from the Middle East to the Far East to the Western World. We should all stand up and take charge of our love lifes! If someone touches you, kisses you, takes you down to the floor, it should be your choice, not something you feel pressured to do. In my series, Sera does not give up her identity for the sake of a relationship with an overbearing vampire who wants to control her. She grows as an individual and learns how to hold onto her power. Sera rocks! And so do we all!
About the Author:
Karen Hunt is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and the co-founder of InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles, and the founder of the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth who live in remote, violent and poverty stricken areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing trainer.
As a child, she and her family escaped out of Egypt right before the 6 Day War, lived in a 17th century castle in
Switzerland and smuggled Bibles into communist countries, to name a few of her adventures. As an adult, she continued her adventures, living between London and a village in Yugoslavia. She writes her YA works under the name KH Mezek. Key of Mystery, book I in the YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, was published February 5, 2016 with Evernight Teen.
* * * * *