We all become monsters at the edge of the breach. In a post-apocalyptic world where season of birth determines power — spring healers, summer mages, fall shapeshifters, and winter shields — a man and a woman emerge from tragic childhoods to lead humanity on opposite sides of an interrealm war.
Julian Kyder is the son of an abusive rape victim who compensates for his abandonment through psychopathy. Sira Rune is a cancer survivor who dedicates her life to living free and fearless while experiencing the taboo and the unorthodox. While he struggles to control his demons and she struggles to find purpose, the gods drag the ruined world into war.
EDGE OF THE BREACH is a science fantasy with grimdark, psychological horror, mental illness, and LGBTQ themes. It is a highly graphic story intended for mature audiences.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult 18+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This book was inspired by my lifelong love of science fiction and fantasy as well as my struggle with mental illness and my sexual identity. This is the book that broke me, ripped me apart, and put me back together again. It changed me irrevocably. It altered the lens through which I viewed myself, my world, and my life. It slapped me with truths I either buried or ran from. I loved and feared every moment of its genesis, as one does most good things.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I start with a conflict and build out from there. For EDGE OF THE BREACH, Kyder's conflict was his mental illness, and Rune's conflict was her grief.
Chapter 1 : Pain Made a Man
Julian Kyder, Age 9
July 7, 7009
Her body is stone. Her eyes glass. She doesn’t see me. Doesn’t want me. Yet her blood runs through me, a river of pain.
I call her mother, but she calls me nothing. She hopes to forget me. Hopes I will disappear. Conceived in violence, I am a constant reminder of the crime that made me.
“Come,” she orders me. Like a dog. And I jog at her heels, obedient.
She won’t use my name. It’s a reminder I exist. The meaning behind it is empty, anyway. She refused to name me, so the hospital staff did. Julian Kyder — Julian after the doctor who delivered me and Kyder after the hospital. Forever marked by the circumstances of my birth.
She tried to abort, but I survived. She put me up for adoption, but no one took me. She tried to release me into the system, but they were already at overcapacity. We’re trapped. Stuck together as two halves of misery. The doctor told me I am a miracle. She told me I am a curse.
She leads me along the edge of the Shelf toward the market. With each step, my feet crunch along the parched gravel. To our left, cliffs drop hundreds of meters into the Ruined Sea, a toxic cesspool that encircles the island. In the distance, Mount Erebus puffs ash into the blanched sky, a grandfather smoking the last bit of a cigar.
We mutilated our world, bombarded the planet for centuries with nuclear weapons until we ran out of missiles, until Earth flipped upside-down. The only habitable continent is Antarctica, now the North Pole, and even here, the war melted the desolate wasteland into a scorching desert. Humans near extinction, huddled near the top of the planet like exiles. But we deserve it.
A circular wound punctures the sky at its zenith, ever-present. It’s the Rift — a dark, festering mass opened by the end of the war one thousand years ago. The hole in the sky is the size of my fist from here, unassuming from the ground, yet world-changing to civilization. It’s a gateway to the other realms, though the gods are mostly silent, indifferent, rarely speaking and never interfering. They care as little about this place as I do.
Sweat trickles down my back. I pull my robe tight around myself, hoping to block out the sun. It’s summer, so there’s no respite from the heat. The days are endless. They bleed into each other like ink on a page, no distinction between the lines. Night won’t come for another few months, and soon after it does, it won’t leave till winter’s done.
Some call it balance. Day and night. Light and dark. Sun and stars. Birth and death. People look for meaning when it’s only chaos disguised as order…
Chapter 2 : Love Made a Woman
Sira Rune, Age 11
August 23, 7014
My room is on the top floor of the hospital. Bedridden, I spend most of my time counting starboats. There are seven million people in Zawad and at least as many starboats. The hovering vessels ship residents across the city in multi-level traffic patterns. There are ferries for the public, yachts for the wealthy, brigs for retro types, gondolas for romantic types, and kayaks for racers — all airborne. I sometimes blur my eyes and imagine they are lost species of birds from the golden days of Earth.
A stab of pain interrupts my daydreaming. My stomach cramps, and I collapse forward, grabbing my waist.
“Shh, shh, mon cœur.” My mother wakes from beside me and gently strokes my bald head. “What hurts?”
“Everything, Maman,” I say. My chest, my head, my very bones. I sweat with fever, my frail body slick and clammy. No matter what I eat, no matter how much I sleep, I remain emaciated, weak, tired. I used to be strong, graceful. Now, I catch colds every other week. Bruises mottle my dark skin. Blood leaks from my nose, and I shove a wad of gauze into my nostrils to ebb the flow.
I was diagnosed with leukemia a year ago. I’m stage four. It’s terminal. My twin brother, Syh, lays beside me with the same fate, but he is somehow able to rest. My father curls around his bony frame, asleep from exhaustion. My parents are both spring-born doctors who work at the hospital. They can’t save us, and it torments them. Our curse is too strong.
Maman gazes at me with agonizing helplessness. Tears glisten in her eyes, the eyes we share, a rich sapphire like the night sky in winter.
“Rune, I would give all the étoiles dans le ciel to save you,” she says. “I would tear down the sun and shatter la lune if it would make you whole again. But I am human, flawed, limited. Pardonne-moi.”
When she is upset, she peppers her speech with French, the language of our ancestors, the language lost like the rest of our culture.
“It is not your fault, Maman,” I say.
Though it is a cruel irony. Give two healers the two children they cannot save. And give those twins immense power they can never use. We are winter-born, birthed at midnight on the solstice, shields of untold potential who will remain mysteries. We will never join the Star Guild, never set foot in the Four Towers of Ma’at. The hospital is the last place we will see. My mind lingers on the macabre. I need a distraction.
“Tell me a story,” I say…
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