"Passion and Pandemonium" is a very timely novel-sized work that mixes romance and humor with the stark terror of a believable monster story. It is timely because killer snakeheads imported from China have been found in a Maryland pond and the Potomac River. This is not "a giant alligator in my basement" type of tale.
Ecocidae Gigas Dentire or Giant Toothed Pike were thought to be extinct although Inuit people have tried for years to tell the Kabloona (White Man) about what they call "The Qaakil"; sixteen-foot monsters found in some remote lakes of the far north. Those stories were dismissed as folklore.
The Stanton family takes a brave and principled stance when they realize they are responsible for importing these monsters into New York State waterways.
Colt and Molly will experience horrifying situations including attempted murder as they work to contain these monsters while at the same time discovering the joys of newfound love.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.66(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Passion and Pandemonium
By Bill Nielsen
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2015 Niel Nielsen
All rights reserved.
The bitterly cold wind howled across the blue-black night of the Arctic Winter carrying finely powdered snow with it into the small Inuit village. It squeezed its way past the skins that covered the entrance tunnel to the communal igloo, causing the oil lamps inside to flicker while an aged shaman chanted the oral history of his people with an old and sometimes cracking voice. The eerie shadows of him on the icy dome wavered in the flickering light, accented by his arms pointing toward the directions he sang of.
The younger Kaamuit children sat huddled together, their round faces and widened eyes highlighted by the twinkling lamps as they listened. The older ones were watching them. They had heard this chant before and although still frightened by it, wanted to see their reactions.
"Our People wish to move all about the land, but the great Sky God sent the ice that never melts and the great white bear to keep us from the land where the summer sun sleeps."
"He sent the Kabloona with white skins to rule the land of the high sun and the Utkamuit People to keep us from the land where the sun climbs."
He hesitated; allowing tension to grow while the young children huddled even closer while the others watched intently as they waited for what they knew was going to come.
The old man's eyes glowed from the shadows of his face like burning coals, accenting his emotions as he continued the chant with a deeper and more mysterious voice.
"But to the land where the sun falls, He sent 'The Qaakil' mighty fish gods who rule all the waters there!"
Suddenly, he turned toward the children as he faced the West; moving his arms like snapping jaws, startling the children as it always did and shouted, "Men die there!!" And then in a quieter mysterious voice added, "Those lands are forbidden to us."
The Inuit man and his woman paddled the qajaits up the sluggish river. Having never been separated from the tribe before, the woman already felt disoriented and unsure of herself, but now her heart raced from fear as they entered the forbidden lands together. The water looked dark and forbidding, giving credence to the warnings of the shamans. She frequently looked over toward the man, trying to draw on his seemingly confident bearing as they moved along.
They were scouting for a group that wanted to separate from one of the Kaamuit tribes because overpopulation had begun to strain the available food resources in that area and the resulting hunger had begun to splinter tribal unity. Unable to find a suitable site in the lands normally inhabited by them; desperation, along with a weakening belief in the shaman's tales, had caused her husband, one of the tribal leaders, to take them into the forbidden lands. She was able to accompany her husband because she had no suckling baby.
Now well into their quest, they entered one of the nameless lakes that dotted this region of the Northwest Territories. This lake had a large bald island in the middle and the couple paddled toward it to set up camp for the night, trusting that its location would protect them from some of the insects and any large predators in the area.
They had no sooner disembarked than the man noticed a large herd of caribou crossing a bay at the far end of the lake. A grin split his features as he pointed toward them and turned toward her with a smug "I told you so" look.
They climbed back into the little kayaks and started toward the caribou, he holding a spear across his lap because the old rifle that they carried wouldn't be needed to get just one animal. They rapidly approached the herd and then silently drifted into them. He was concentrating on the caribou and didn't notice the large dark objects moving under the water. A wild melee ensued and then stopped as the last caribou to make it climbed up the other side. When the bloodied waters finally became still, the kayaks were gone.
The late morning sun, low in the sky and dimmed by mist gave the town a dreary look. John Stanton, standing alone on a wharf next to some bags of gear, watched the noisy "Beaver" plane that had deposited him there taxi out into the inlet and then lift off. When the noise dimmed, the plaintive cry of a gull and the cold salty smell of an adjoining marsh seemed to accent the lonely feeling that had come over him. He wished that the plane had waited until someone met him.
He was at the small town of Sandy Inlet on the Hudson Bay in Canada's Northwest Territories. He looked at the bright yellow plane tied next to the floating dock. The Beaver pilot had told him that it belonged to his guide George Ikuutqaq and was the plane that was going to carry him up north to what he hoped would be the ultimate wilderness trip; a trip he had been promising himself as far back as the war.
His ownership of "Stanton Electronics" had been both a blessing and a curse, making him wealthy enough to do whatever he wanted, but demanding so much in return that he found it difficult to get away for any meaningful recreational time. Providentially, his brother Charles had joined the company several months before and was now proficient enough to take over for a while and give him a well-earned rest. Charles, wealthy in his own right, had surprised John when he came to him a short time after selling his own transistor company. He said he had become bored and wanted some work.
Even though John's blonde hair was becoming thin and his waistline a little beyond what would be called athletic prime, a surge of youthful excitement began to replace the lonely feeling as he again took in the alien surroundings. He was finally on his way!
A slight frown accented the normally serious mien of his face when a thought took away some of the enthusiasm. He remembered that his wife Sally hadn't been too happy about the trip. When she found out that he was heading into the wilderness for his first vacation in years she had rightly made a scene. After all, because of his work her vacations had been alone except for a quick weekend here and there.
A wave of guilt swept over him and he promised himself to spend more quality time with Sally and their son Colt. A slight smile took away the frown as he thought of that little boy with the dark curly hair and the bright blue eyes. The hair had been a joke in the family because no one else from either side of the family had hair like it and everyone wondered where it came from. It could have been more serious if it hadn't been for Colt's eyes. They were obviously John's.
He knew that Sally would be expecting some meaningful family times and vacations after this trip and he intended to give them to her. Deep down, he knew that he was being selfish but he couldn't seem to help it, he was driven to keep this appointment, an appointment that had been set years before. As a boy, his fascination with the far north manifested itself by his reading of Jack London's books again and again and of his accumulating a collection of Inuit artifacts. Other boys skied and sledded when a large snowfall happened in their area while he spent his time trying to build an igloo that wouldn't collapse on his head.
The real drive to come up here had started out as a daydream in Vietnam. After being shot down, he had spent a month alone in the jungle nursing his wounds and trying to survive until he made his way out. At night, as he lay in the rotten vegetation, sweltering from the humidity, he would remember those Jack London stories and yearn for the feel of a clean and cool far north.
The planning of such a trip became an obsession, an obsession that gave him another incentive to stay alive. Later, it became a goal to work toward as he spent twelve to fourteen hour days building the company.
A voice interrupted his thoughts, "You're Mister Stanton, eh?"
John turned and saw a short, swarthy-skinned young man approaching him and figured that he must be the Inuit pilot and guide.
"That I am, and you must be George Ikuutqaq, right?" he said as he extended his hand and added, "I hope that's the correct pronunciation."
"Right to both," George answered.
The two men were quiet as they sized each other up, then they both started to speak at once with George prevailing. "You still got your mind set on the Back River Area up past Pelly Lake?"
"That's where I want to go alright, any problem?" John had spent a lot of time to find someone capable and willing to go hundreds of miles from any permanent settlement even though he was paying out quite a chunk of money for this trip.
"I don't have a problem. My people the Kaamuit come from near that area, but I want to make sure you know what you're getting into, eh? You're probably hungry so we'll go get a bite to eat and do some more talking."
The small Inuit guide surprised John in that although seemingly young he didn't seem the slightest bit cowered by the presence of a well-known American millionaire. In fact, rather than he being fawned over, John could see that it was going to be necessary to sell him on the trip. The guide's dark eyes and calmly authoritative demeanor immediately placed him on an equal level with John. Money alone would not talk to George Ikuutqaq.
They ate in what appeared to be a trading post with a few rooms and a small dining area stuck in a corner. George, although getting a fine fee for this trip, knew firsthand how dangerous it could be where they were going and wanted to know as much about this wealthy American as he could.
"So Mister Stanton, why do you want to head up to that area? What are you looking for, beautiful scenery? Big fish? Adventure?"
"First of all you can call me John, and I know we're looking at barren landscape, lots of bugs, some char, pike, and maybe a few trout. Because this is about the wildest place left in North America, I want to experience it while it still is. I want to fish it, observe the plants and animals, look at the geology, smell the air, look at the stars, and feel like part of the land."
George was pleased with the answer and replied, "If that's want you want I'll probably enjoy it more than you will! Are you familiar with that area at all?"
"Well, I did talk to a geologist some. He told me that glaciers covered the whole region until a few thousand years ago, exposing some of the oldest rock on earth and leaving long rows of rubble that he called eskers. Since then, with the weight of the glaciers gone, the earth has rebounded causing the area to drain north toward Bathhurst Inlet, also the lack of sharp gradients means that there are no fast-flowing rivers. He added that the area isn't too well known."
"It's pretty much unexplored alright. My people come from that general area but you want to head further west, into some places that even we aren't too familiar with."
"Well, it should be enjoyable to both of us then. By the way, you have a very cultured command of the King's English; I didn't expect such up here. Where did you go to school?"
"Let me see, you expected some grunts and a few hows?"
"Oh God! You got me! A classical image built up in my mind. I'm really sorry about that!"
"Don't worry about it, I was only kidding; I do speak better English than most because I grew up at a mission school at Sound Lake. We'll see it later."
"You went away to school then?"
"No, Years ago I was orphaned and the mission took me in. That was before the government school came."
John tried to picture him as a youngster. "I'm sorry to hear that, it must have been tough on you, being an orphan."
George, looking a little embarrassed responded, "Not really. At first I missed my own people—Sound Lake is far from where I lived—but there were great people at the mission. I didn't miss out on much." George's manner became more serious as he went on, "Let's finish eating and get loaded up. We'll stay at Sound Lake tonight and head up north tomorrow morning, eh?"
"That sounds good to me." John patted his stomach as he went on. "I've had enough anyway."
George checked in at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Post after they loaded up John's gear. They soon boarded and took off, heading west. They were silent as John took in the seemingly endless terrain, sparsely settled and having many lakes and swamps. The land was covered with bushes and speckled with small hummocks on which grew stunted trees.
They finally arrived over a very large body of water that George declared was Sound Lake. "We call it Qamani'tuag which means huge widening of river. It's pretty big, eh?"
"That it is, I feel like I'm flying across one of the great lakes or something. Is the town on the other side?"
"Yep, we're coming up on it soon but don't expect to see much. It has some Government type housing, the trading post, a mission, an aid station, and the school. See that narrow bay over there? That's where the Fisher River comes in; the town is right near its mouth."
When it appeared in the distance, the town looked very lonely setting in the middle of such a vast wilderness. Curls of smoke hovered over a few of the buildings, the only signs of life.
They landed and taxied up to a dilapidated dock in front of what, according to a faded sign painted on the side, had been a Hudson Bay Company's trading post. As they unloaded the overnight bags they saw a boy come out of a building, stop just long enough to look at the plane, and then hurry toward what George told him was the North Trading Store. "That's where we're heading," he added. They found out why the boy was hurrying when clouds of mosquitoes surrounded them.
"The bugs aren't a problem in the town unless the wind blows them in from the marshes." George remarked.
"Oh, I'm sure we'll see more where we're going, right?"
"We might on occasion but we'll try to stay out of the worst of it. Let's beach her over on that shore, eh?" George gestured toward the plane.
"Why not leave her at the dock?" John asked, as he was in a hurry to get away from the bugs.
"You've got to experience the wind up here to believe it John. We'll anchor it on the beach facing out, just to be safe."
When the plane was situated to George's liking, they hurried to the North Trading Store to escape the insect onslaught. Entering the door was like stepping back into an era long gone. Stuffed animal heads and fish, looking worn and dusty, peered out from the gloom of the log walls, poorly illuminated by a pair of reindeer antler chandeliers. The smell of wood smoke and kerosene accented the illusion. It looked and felt like an old-time general store except for what John noticed was more than modern-day pricing
The youngster they had seen earlier shyly approached George.
"Well, if it isn't my old friend Matthew!" George exclaimed, surprising him by bending down, picking him up, and turning him upside down. The boy giggled as he struggled to free himself.
"How have you been, eh?" George asked as he set him back down.
"I'm almost seven!" Adding, "When I grow up I'm going to fly the bush too."
George grinned. "Keep to your studies and when the time comes I'll teach you myself; is Harry around?"
"He said he'd be right back Mr. Ikuutqaq." Matt looked apologetic as he added; "I've got to go now because they're waiting for these at home." He picked up a bag from the counter, said goodbye, and went out.
John remarked, "Do I detect a bit of hero worship here?"
"Kids around here look up to bush pilots the same way kids in the states look to sports idols. I'm the local Bobby Orr, like it or not."
A door opened and a pleasant-faced middle-aged man entered. After sizing up John he nodded and then asked George, "We thought you forgot all about us. What're you here for, come to donate blood or something?"
"We already gave on the way from the plane. This is Mister John Stanton, and this is Harry Dodge; he runs the place."
"Call me Harry," he said as he held out his hand.
John took his hand in a firm grip and responded, "And I'm John."
"Nice to meet you, so what can I do for you Gentlemen?"
"We need a place to stay tonight. Can we have that same cabin?"
"It's all yours; will you be eating here?"
"As much as I enjoy your wonderful cuisine I must decline, we're eating at the mission. Ah, you don't mind do you John?"
Harry interjected, "Believe me John, and try hard not to mind. I eat over there myself every chance I get. We haven't won any cooking contests here for a long time."
"When did you ever?" George retorted.
"You know, on second thought maybe that cabin is already rented, I'd better check."
"Alright, take it easy Harry! John, Harry is famous for his umingmak steak, that's Musk Ox to you."
"Really? I've never tried those but I've heard that you prefer caribou up here, right?
Excerpted from Passion and Pandemonium by Bill Nielsen. Copyright © 2015 Niel Nielsen. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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