About Black Wings
A new time. A new planet. A new world. New technologies. Two new humanoid species. A new war.
The two species separate, but in the removal, some of the best are left behind among the worst. Captured and held as slaves, they are treated cruelly for entertainment. Torture. Pain.
Annabel, endures a year of such cruelty, kept alive only by way of syringes which, while healing, cause a greater agony. She discovers a secret held by their leader, and decides to help her own kind by escaping–even if it means a final death, preferable to the life she has endured.
Her escape succeeds, and she joins her own kind at the other end of the planet. Among her new friends she meets many who help her adjust to their happier life. Will Annabel find romance? Or will another war break her down?
She grabs the bottle and drinks rapidly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her drink so quickly.
“Don’t eat the bottle!” I joke, hoping to put a smile on her face. She thanks me with a small smile. Suddenly the door opens, and our moment of joyful peace is broken. Lucas walks in. He comes over and grabs my hand.
“You will pay for that, damn girl!” He threatens as he hauls me off my bed.
“What did I do?” I shout at him, confused, and draw back.
“You—trying to be so nice…helping your poor beat up friend who is not supposed to have water!” He’s yelling, taking the blanket and dragging me to the door.
“Leave her alone!” Kate screams at him, jumps up to stop him. The Varkin turns around and hits her so hard she falls to the floor. Holding my hand tightly, he walks me to the elevator. As we walk in, he presses the SS button. I barely get right in before the elevator door closes, almost pinching my leg. He pushes me against the opposite wall.
“Where are you taking me?” I demand, but I’m panicking—I’m in trouble.
“Relax,” Lucas puts his cold arms around my waist. “You might still have a chance to change things…”
He pulls me close to him. I feel his ice cold lips on my neck. I close my eyes, disgusted as never before. He pushes me to the wall with his body and rips my shirt from my back.
He’s going to beat me. I’m not going to make it easy.
I shove him away. He picks me up, throws me against the wall. He slaps my face, his nails scratch my cheek.
“Stupid, damn Anlight! You will get it good this time! I promise!”
His tone brings chills, all the way down to my legs.
When the elevator stops on the SS floor, he drags me down the hallway, the blanket in his hand. My ripped shirt is left lying in the elevator. All I have on is a dirty old black brassiere that’s seen better days. He looks back, and catches a glimpse of my stomach. A couple of days ago I’d been given a deep scratch, and he’s just noticed the scratch has gone.
“What happened to your scratch? It could not possibly heal so fast!”
Lucas takes me to the room where Victorius beats me if I don’t do what they tell me. We walk in and there are about twelve other Varkins in groups. Red lights and smoke make the place into a horror scene.
“She needs punishment like never before!” he screams, tossing me like a grubby rag to the middle of the room. All the Varkins turn and look. Glowing eyes look at me—without a shirt—as I try to break my landing.
“What did she do, my dear friend?” Victorius asks. He’s calm, still sitting in his chair.
“Her room-mate was not allowed to drink,” the Varkin replies. “But this one hid water and gave it to her friend. She stole this blanket, knowing she is not allowed to have one.”
Victorius’ face is serious as he listens closely. I get up, stand right in front of him. He stands, walks down to me, around me. I feel my pulse beating with each step he takes. My body tenses—I expect him to hit me any moment. I’ve been hoping I’d get used to this torture eventually, but every new punishment brings new terror and fear.
“Well, well…” Victorius stops in front of me. “Seems like I see your pretty face here more than other Anlights. We do not have many left…but I do remember you well…” He smiles. “Let me first inform you, this Varkin here is my ‘right hand’. The one I trust the most. And now he is telling me terrible things about you. Hmm…” he looks in my eyes, “…should I believe his tales?”
I know if I tell him the truth, no one will believe me for a minute. And it would make my situation even worse. I don’t think he’ll even let me open my mouth.
“Believe what you like.” I keep looking downwards, and the other Varkins whisper around us. They didn’t expect my careless answer. They’re probably trying to figure out why I won’t try protecting myself by finding excuses.
“Lucas!” he shouts and his right hand comes to him.
“Yes, my majesty.”
“What do you think we need to…do…with her, considering everything she has done?”
“Victorius, there is something interesting you might want to know about her…” Lucas said.
Lucas comes up to me and points at my stomach. I don’t know how to deal with this. I’m shaking as I try to cover the healed scratch with my hands.
“Two days ago she had a long cut on her stomach. It was bleeding. Now it is not there anymore. It is healed. There is something going on with her.” Lucas pulls my hands away.
“It’s not true,” I burst out. “The cut was not too deep, and it was more than two days—” Victorius slaps me before I can finish talking.
“I have noticed things like that as well, but I thought it was just my mind playing tricks with me,” Victorius talks slowly, calmly, as he turns my face back toward him with his cold hand. “Now here is evidence.” He’s smiling, which isn’t necessarily a good sign.
“We need to take her blood, do tests on her,” Lucas suggests.
“My friend,” Victorius looks at him, “tests have killed almost all my Anlights. I cannot afford to lose any more of them. But we will surely take her blood and see why she is different.” Victorius comes to my side and puts his arm around my shoulders.
“But there is one test I can do right now…”
Combs provides a thorough prologue setting the stage for plenty of anticipated action matched with interesting characters, an imaginative science fiction tale of good vs. bad peppered with correct amounts of dystopian, fantasy and romance.
Annabel is one strong female heroine. What she endures is affecting and her strength is amazing. She’s humble, quiet and grounded for what she hast lost, suffered and uncertain of the future. Combs gives an all around glimpse into Annabel and as time passes Annabel grows and evolves. She is a young woman willing to sacrifice much for her homeland and people.
The narrative is exciting, I enjoyed the practical and slow romance angle, just enough to push the story along. Annabel is traumatized from her experience and needs time to heal, I like Combs approach on this giving Annabel a realistic edge while developing a deeper connection with the audience.
Imaginative narrative with one memorable uber strong and independent female protagonist. I would love to see this translated into a graphic novel, very vivid descriptions penned by Combs, an artists keen eye could really bring the story to illustrated life.
About Iryna K. Combs
Originally from the Ukraine, I am still considered a new face to America. Speaking three languages including English, that became just as natural to me as my native Russian.
I grew up in a town on the south of Ukraine doing the same things that other kids my age did. Dreaming, hoping and wishing. Growing up, I spoke absolutely no English and never even saw myself somewhere abroad. Nevertheless writing a novel in another language!
I went to the local school that brought mostly negative experience in my life. But it shaped me throughout the years. My college life was much better. I was known to study well and to go out partying as much as it was possible.
In my first year of college I began to work in the marriage agency and met my future husband. We dated and traveled to most of the Europe along with Egypt.
When I finally got my fiancée visa, we both moved to the states, where soon after, got married. In the first few years I did some modeling and acting. Photo-shoots, run-way and photo in the magazine fulfilled my childhood’s dream.
A few years later I became a mother of a wonderful and most handsome little boy. Along with learning and experiencing motherhood, I began to make hand-made jewelry and organic soaps. This hobby turned into my small business and became bigger than I thought it would.
In the last year I discovered: an author lives inside me. Never did I think that I would write an English book and that I would love doing it. But I did! And I loved it!
Connect with Iryna: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Enter to win a digital copy of Black Wings by Iryna K. Combs. Open internationally. Ends 1/29/19.
Published October 23rd 2015 by Roane Publishing (first published July 15th 2015)