<div><div> <br> <h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p><b>Moving In</b></p> <br> <p>The dark browns mixed with black, and slivers of red seemed to dance ferociously to an endless depth within, as if his eyes were as vast as a galaxy. Mark's smooth skin provided a nice resting place for his trimmed shimmering auburn hair, having a shine that was nearly identical in color to his eyes. His slightly elongated face had some unique features, which Tia was scrutinizing. His full lips looked as if they were made for kissing. Tia turned and looked at the ceiling as she lay in the modern larger-than-king-size soft silky bed. This was nice.</p> <p>Mark had been equally scrutinizing Tia's long shiny black locks of hair and her soft lips. He had difficulty locating a blemish on her similarly smooth skin while admiring her puppy-dog green eyes. The silk bed was so soft and comfortable, he thought to himself as he reached his hand under the sheets toward Tia's back where he lightly moved his hand, barely touching her skin. Responding with enthusiasm, Tia's lips reached for his, and they began the exploration of each other's faces.</p> <p>A loud sound interrupted the scene, and Mark opened his eyes with force. There he stared at the usual ceiling while reaching for his tablet with the intention of ending the loud alarm. "Those dreams are awesome," he muttered to himself. He had another code coordinate now—representation would match with what? Freeing himself from his silk sheets, he located the bags of clothing not too far from his bed. Reaching back, he effortlessly tossed his throw blanket in a single toss on his bed, causing his bed to look like it was already made with neatly curved folds.</p> <p>The bare white walls complemented the fresh carpet smell of the room he had slept in. Mark had barely begun to move into his newly acquired house, having signed the loan merely a few days ago. The clean sparsely furnished house gave the exciting vibe of future thrills. This house is full of possibilities he knew would be awesome. Mark whisked down the stairs while the soft velvety black carpet shimmered, satisfying his feet; he made his way to the brand-new kitchen.</p> <p>Effortlessly, with a sort of partial attention, Mark carved one scoop of espresso from the bag and started his morning cup. Navigating the maze of still-packed housing items, Mark reached for the mouse on his home entertainment system. Immediately, the TV began displaying the current video news from various Internet news sources. The system was preprogrammed to show news on certain topics and about specific things should they be found in the news sources.</p> <p>The news showed pictures of the messed-up room of a house. "Thieves ransacked the house of Dacian Wilson. Dacian, a blind local resident, records the audio of his house, and the intruders were apparently silent, leaving almost no trace on the audio recordings. It took police several hours to even detect the activity of the drawers opening when they stole personal articles. Puzzling investigators, the apparent thieves stole very little, if anything, yet leaving the house ransacked." The newscast continued, eventually moving to the next story that muffled as Mark made his way toward the shower.</p> <p>After a quick wash, Mark meticulously detailed his face, hair, and teeth before quickly tossing a neatly pressed shirt around his torso. Mark reached down and swiftly pressed his feet into a pair of thin leather slip-on shoes that snugly seemed to attach to his feet all the way to his ankles. Grabbing his car keys, he made an exit for his old yet gleaming green Acura TL.</p> <p>Shifting into gear, Mark was really comfortable in this car. He streamed down the small highway with extremely swift maneuvering actions, causing slightly thrusting movements. Slowing not nearly enough, Mark made a turn into the parking lot, coming to a swift halt in one of the spots designated for his company.</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>Mark managed his mouse with ease, maneuvering the onscreen 3-D wireframe to various angles. The design aspect of this job was nearly completed, and he would soon need to find another contract, but for now, he continued his task at hand. To his right, a slender lanky male in basic jeans and T-shirt sat, shifting back and forth while utilizing the mouse and jotting something on a tablet. His long dark-brown hair was flowing around as he repeatedly relocated it in order to continue what he was doing.</p> <p>"How is the object positioning going?" Mark finally said with a smirk. "Fine, tedious work, but someone's got to do it," Tink responded in a sort of negative quiet tone. Everything had to align just right; otherwise, it would look odd during rendering.</p> <p>Mark looked toward Tink, his eyes following Tink's movements. Smirking, Mark interrupted Tink. "Did you check the gamescape I made? What do you think?" Tink, pausing momentarily, said, "Yeah, besides working in it now, I took some time to 'check-it.' It is quite plush and detailed and should be a blast for the player." Mark stood and casually strolled to Tink's desk. He braced himself on Tink's desk, allowing him to easily share viewing of the screen. "You like the city? I call it Olympia. It rains a bit more frequently there, giving added game effects," Mark proudly commented then turned to gauge Tink's response. Tink smiled. "Ah, Olympia? Not Olympus? It is good to show creativity. As I said, it should be a blast."</p> <p>"Tink, will you show at my housewarming party? I'm calling it the Face Reality Party so no drunken in-denial types can make it through the night," Mark elaborated while laughing. "Also, there is a dress code." Tink, now showing genuine interest, swiftly turned to look him in the eye. "Dress code? No jeans, then?" Tink's dark eyes and long hair make him look like he could possibly be Indian. "You can either be in costume or nice attire. No jeans, and there will not be any beer," Mark zapped. "I'll be there," Tink responded assuredly, with an absoluteness. Mark found that people seemed to show interest simply after he stated the dress code.</p> <p>After a full day of work and setting up the apartment, Mark finally located his bed and shifted into a sleep state of mind. Mark found himself traveling along a mainland beach populated with palm trees. Looking inland, he pushed upward, immediately leaping high into the air. He began to soar a great distance, and he had complete control of direction. As he began to descend, he pushed upward again and leaped even without land underfoot. After traveling for some time, he came upon a small town. Here he descended in a controlled manner, landing with a hard thump, causing the ground to shake a bit.</p> <p>Mark stood up and began walking through the dimly lit town, which was possibly somewhere in Colorado. A few streets down, there seemed to be some bad vibes echoing through the area. There seemed to be some sort of danger. Mark decided to investigate and came upon some dark person or creature he could not make out.</p> <p>Mark opened his hand, and in his palm, a large luminous question mark appeared. It turned with beady little yellow eyes, looking his way and slowly circling him. Suddenly, it dashed his way. Right behind it, another person knelt down, and suddenly, a wave of gravel sprayed toward the feet of the approaching creature.</p> <p>In the distance, there were two men in long flowing robes. They stepped on the corners of what appeared to be a bright-blue padded mat. Standing, each of them lifted the shoulders of their robes, causing the robes to drop to the mat quickly. With swift moving limbs, they stood in a sort of kung fu defensive stance, obviously preparing to fight each other.</p> <p>Mark swiftly focused his eyes, which became so hot that they emitted a thick luminous forceful wave. The creature, suddenly exposed by the light, was caught off guard. It hesitated out of shock and stumbled from the wave, grasping at where it was hit. At that moment, the wave of gravel pelted his feet, causing him to lose balance and fall backward to his backside. Very quickly, it jolted up and made for the hills in the distance. A crow, which had been sitting on a nearby tree branch, immediately made flight in the same direction.</p> <p>Mark looked at the other boy and smirked as they high-fived. Fireworks illuminated the background as they conducted a victory handshake. Garrick was someone Mark seemed to frequently meet while dreaming these very real lucid dreams. Suddenly Mark opened his eyes to his plain white-walled room.</p> <h2>CHAPTER 2</h2> <p><b>The Party</b></p> <br> <p>After finalizing the placement of his furniture and equipment, Mark's house was finally furnished and ready for tonight. Mark set up the door equipment as the sushi and hors d'oeuvres arrived via his good friend Ramses. "You're up! Are you ready for the coming storm?" Ramses's slightly wavy jet-black hair wisped lightly on his head. His thin dark eyebrows complemented his deep deep-seated dark-brown eyes and his smooth permanently tanned skin. His hair was cut very short on the neckline and was progressively longer until the bangs, which flowed to his forehead. He sported a shiny blue-and-black rayon shirt with a solid brass zipper zipped down just enough to expose a smooth lightly muscular chest and some gold necklaces.</p> <p>Mark, still in his silk robe, smiled. "Almost now that the hors d'oeuvres have arrived. This is going to be huge." Ramses chuckled. "Did you assemble the video for the wall screen?" Mark had a large video screen covering one of the walls, which he planned on playing a sequence of art, music videos, and movie clips. Mark smirked. "Most certainly. Right now, I am setting up the badge printer. As they pay the cover charge/ entrance fee, we will print a custom badge with their signature and name surrounded with the party imagery and slogan." Ramses smoothly returned, "Ah yes, the Faces of Reality Party."</p> <p>* * *</p> <p>People were arriving at a rapid pace even with a ten-dollar entrance charge. Party masks were everywhere. The masks that Mark had made with the party imagery on it were selling out fast. Even the light rayon jackets with the party slogan were selling rapidly. Mark was surprised that no one tried to enter while not meeting the dress code, and all looked reasonably attired. Champagne and martini glasses frequented hands everywhere as the rooms slowly began to overcapacitate.</p> <p>"That is an exceptional piece," a slightly thick five-foot-nine white male said with a prideful gleam, his brow showing small amounts of moisture. His short blond hair was slightly messy yet matched well with a light-beige sports jacket and dress pants. Mark smirked, lifting his head loftily, purposely attempting to please and encourage while responding, "Hello, Josh, it is a little rough around the edges, yet most certainly exquisite. It looks even better with a little hard work." Josh chuckled. "Well, when I repay you in full, I want it back looking excellent as ever." Mark smirked, moving his right hand in a reassuring manner. "Absolutely, the only thing that would change that is failure to pay." Laughing, he continued, slightly sarcastically, "Then it's mine to recycle if I so please."</p> <p>"Did you set up that sequence?" a female stated in a raised voice while pointing to the wall video. A lightly peppered smooth-skinned young woman stood in front of him. Her hair was a shiny shimmering black, complementing her deep dark-green eyes. She was conveniently holding in her hand a nearly empty martini glass with a solitary olive.</p> <p>Mark looked her over and said, "Yes, I did. You like it? Can I get you another drink?" Isis's slightly raccoon-like eyes shifted to the side with a slightly smirking smile, even though she was clearly thinking about Mark. The large screen was playing a combination of atmospheric, tech, and dubstep music, mixed with famous art, famous places, music videos, and movie clips. She smiled. "That's awesome. I'm Isis, by the way. Sure, I'll take another. Apple martini? Actually, this place is very quiet for the sheer quantity of people."</p> <p>Mark pressed his headset and requested an apple martini then turned to Isis. "Isis, like the Egyptian god? Nice name. You like the masks I made for the party?" Isis turned and looked at him. "I'm wearing one of the masks, aren't I? Are we supposed to only show the side of us that fits the party theme?" Mark chuckled. "Other than behavior befitting the party, you can show whatever side you want." Isis turned to Mark. "This party is lavish do. You should render party entertainment in 3-D space more like a video game. That way, you can kill it with your computer skillz." Mark, a little unsure, said, "How did you know about my computer, uh ... skillz?" Isis smirked loftily. "You said you did the sequence of the video, and it's hot. The music selection synchronized smoothly with the video and also provides a bit of mystery, causing me to want to research the pictures in it. It is fascinating. I'll be back. I have to go attend to one of my friends." Mark smirked. "Uh-oh. Nobody should drink too much. It isn't wise." Isis smiled as she slipped away.</p> <p>Mark escaped to the bathroom for a moment. He touched up his hair in the mirror; Mark was generally very detailed. Suddenly, Mark heard something odd coming from a dark corner of the large bathroom near the walk-in shower area. "Why so silent?" it said. Mark, a little startled, slowly moved toward the dark area; nothing physical was there. "Is someone there? Come out and show your face," Mark said. "You're not real. What are you hiding? Why so quiet?" it continued. Mark, now disturbed, walked over to where the voice was coming from. This was very startling because there was nobody, except him, in the entire bathroom. <i>It was a "voice," wow! I have not heard a spiritual voice since old gramps went crazy listening to them,</i> Mark thought. That was not good, yet Mark was skeptical of them. <i>Ah well, who cares. It was probably attracted to the quantity of people,</i> he thought as he exited.</p> <p>Mark waltzed into the kitchen-and-den area, which was also loaded with people. It was very slow moving since he had to greet nearly every person as he moved through the party. Ramses looked his way. "Mark! Spectacular party. I think the door guy is turning people away due to capacity. This is absolutely astounding." Mark smirked. "I have a nice profit margin, I am sure. All the masks and jackets have sold." Mark looked at the corner where the TV was playing financial news. "Who the heck is watching that? My party attendees aren't exactly bottom of the barrel." Ramses's face was gleaming with a slight amount of water mixing with oil on his face. Ramses laughed with a smirk. "Yeah, I noticed that. You should make sure you get business cards." Turning to look Ramses in the eyes, Mark confidently responded, "I made sure the door guy requests them already."</p> <p>A few hours passed quickly as Mark tried to socialize with as many people as he could. Suddenly, Isis returned. "Hello, Mark. I told you I would return." Return she did; she had a girlfriend with her named Shara. Shara immediately attached herself to Ramses who was standing next to Mark. Isis, who was just shy of six feet, immediately smothered Mark. They were obviously slightly intoxicated yet not quite drunk, which Mark was glad of. "Can we escape to the upstairs room?" Isis seductively chimed. Mark turned to Ramses with a laugh. "See you tomorrow."</p> <h2>CHAPTER 3</h2> <p><b>Contact</b></p> <br> <p>Mark, sitting in front of his computer, was browsing through the gameplay schematics. The game was an MMO (massively multiplayer online game) where each player would need to decipher symbols, communicate through symbols, best other players in combat, discover treasures, and even create treasures. Prized treasures would often increase in value over time. While players could communicate with one another in the usual way, there were parts in the game where players would have a distinct advantage while utilizing silent symbolic communication.</p> <p>Taking a break, he opted to check his bank account for his most recent paycheck. He quickly checked his tablet sitting next to him. A high resolution seven-inch mini tablet with projector, it was excellent for the task. To his surprise, his account had minimal funds. "What?" Mark mumbled to himself. The large party profits he most recently deposited also seemed gone. A tingle on his neck turned into a slight jitter as Mark decided to look into the activity detail.</p> <p>Scrolling through the transactions, Mark located three withdrawals of various amounts. The withdrawals nearly entirely depleted his account. Several thousands of dollars were gone. "Fortunately, most of my money is in an investment account ... unless they got that too," he muttered again to himself. The transactions were odd. The first transaction was from "You're not real." The second transaction was from "We will find everything out." The third transaction came from "There is nowhere to hide." Mark was like, WTF, and he immediately called the police as well as his banking institution.</p> <p>"Check ... this ... out, Tink," Mark, slightly jittery, slowly stated with a deep tone while looking at his tablet. Tink, looking at the computer screen, was enthralled in something and slowly pulled himself away, "Huh?" Mark, swiftly looking up, said, "You must check this out." Mark was now reaching for his Smart Tab to call the police.</p> <p>Tink swiftly rolled over to Mark in his chair. "What's up?" Mark motioned to his Smart Tab. Tink examined the content and then, with intensity, scrutinized the screen suddenly. "Wow! What the? Someone is playing with your head. A hacker perhaps, but why?" Tink looked up. "Calling the police? What a trip. I hope you catch them." Tink then turned and returned to his computer. </div></div><br/> <i>(Continues...)</i> <!-- Copyright Notice --> <blockquote><hr noshade size='1'><font size='-2'>Excerpted from <b>Spidersilk</b> by <b>Akutra-Ramses Atenosis Cea</b>. Copyright © 2013 Akutra-Ramses Atenosis Cea. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing. <br/>All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br/>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.</font><hr noshade size='1'></blockquote>