They called her Sleeping Beauty back at the lab.
Nina has been asleep for a long time. Two hundred and fifty years, to be exact. She doesn't change, and she doesn't die. She's always fifteen. All she wants to do is to wake up, but she can't. Something - or someone - is keeping her in a perpetual dream state.
Leon is a programmer working for a security systems company in the Metro Palisade. His life is fairly ordinary and uneventful. But one day, things change. He begins to see a strange girl in his dreams. He knows she needs his help, but he doesn't know who she is - or if she's even real. Leon is willing to risk a lot to find out, and his curiosity finally gets the best of him. The mystery that surrounds Nina is greater than Leon had imagined, however: soon he's on the run from the company he worked for, the police, the secret service and the criminal underworld.
All Leon wants is to save Nina from her endless sleep, but the price of that rescue could be a terrible one. Somehow, Nina is connected with the fabric of reality itself, and there are many dubious people chasing after the legendary Sleeping Beauty in the hopes of wielding ultimate power. When the world begins to fall apart with the sudden, inexplicable outbreak of war, only Leon holds the key to saving everything from complete annihilation - but, unless he can rescue Nina, it may already be too late.
Above them, the sky was blue and covered with slowly curling, drifting white clouds. The artificial sun shone down upon the great ocean sparkling below, which lapped like a giant silver wing just below the railing of the balcony. Seagulls cruised idly overhead, occasionally screeching unpleasantly when they spotted aerial passersby. This was the simulation. Lucky was intently watching his face.
"Wanna see something amazing?" she said.
"Close your eyes."
She pulled on a switch in the entrance panel, a courtesy display plaque above which read, "Please leave simulation running." Suddenly, the sky became black, and Leon could see the glass covered view of the real sky above the dome. It was also covered with clouds, but they were heavy, almost solid, and dark violet.
Lucky did not take her eyes off his face now. Leon peered over the railing: there was nothing below. Just a grey, endless-looking wasteland. Thin ant-like tracks radiated from the base of the dome. On a microscopic scale, Leon could see some Mop machines tilling the ground, going in perpetual circles - they were digging up the encrusted upper layer of the radon-contaminated ground and carrying it off to be decontaminated. Their silvery, thin power cables radiated from the central magnet like cords from a swinging merry-go-round. Smaller shiny, green haulers called Locusts took the rubble away in small batches to be detoxed back at the hub.
He stood for a while with both hands on the railing, until Lucky called him.
"Listen, I'm sorry," she said, taking off her shades and folding them down into her pocket.
Leon looked at her. "Is that…everything?"
He dove after her.
The dark substance surrounded Leon, was choking him, but the further he sank, the more he saw: there were strange buildings there, like castles at the bottom of the ocean, suspended bridges, airplanes, horse carriages and horses, hovers, clocks, planes, Deltas, and the quickly moving, flying shapes of people that looked like mannequins. They flew past him, all around him, dressed in all manner of clothing from all the different epochs. It's just a giant data dump, Leon thought, as the memory bank regurgitated itself all around him. Snippets of conversations, car horns, train whistles, phone calls, cat calls, applause, a dog barking, laughter, sirens, the beeping of various devices he couldn't identify and the sound of a news broadcast swelled up into a single monstrous sound wave, which rocked him back and forth as he sank. There were people here, too. Many people. Leon couldn't quite see them, but he felt them all around him.
Metro City, 4535.
Leon, a programmer working for a security systems company in the Metro Palisade, keeps seeing a strange girl in his dreams. She is imprisoned in some terrible place and needs his help, but he doesn't know who she is - or if she's even real. Leon's curiosity and excellent hacking skills lead him to uncover an ancient, terrifying secret, one that will forever change his life and the world as he knows it.
Novel Genre: Science Fiction
Novel release date: February 19, 2014
Helen Alexander is a writer and digital artist living in San Francisco, California. After graduating from the Academy of Art University, Helen worked as a video game artist in San Diego and Los Angeles. Currently she is back in San Francisco, at work on several new projects, including a comic book, a children's book and a dark fantasy/horror novel. You can visit Helen at helenalexander.weebly.com for the latest news on upcoming releases, author interviews and previews of new stories and works-in-progress.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bosco.page
Lovers In The Woods comic book: http://ame.webcomic.ws/