For my Friday the 13th post, I thought I'd post a book excerpt introducing one of my main antagonists, Na-um! He was so fun to write — I just love writing my antagonists. The heroes are the most fun, of course, but there is a depth to the villains that I love to explore.
So do you want to meet him?
Awesome, right? I was so lucky to find this pic — other than the hat, this guy could be Na-um. I love the vibe of this pic.
Na-um is a stubborn, confident, charismatic leader, strong and commanding, muscular and fit. He's determined to complete his mission (to prevent the Secret from being discovered), hot-tempered when things don't go exactly as he planned, and fierce when he has to be. But he's somehow human, relatable, even likable.
I love writing likable antagonists. They make the reader feel something more when the heroes finally win (or do they?) — a tangle of emotions that swirl through the readers' minds and hearts as the conclusion plays itself out.
No, I'm not evil, I promise. :)
Ready to meet him? Here's the book excerpt I promised, where Na-um makes his grand entrance into The Secret of the Codex. Enjoy!
Somewhere in the Belize Rainforest
The Hunter sped through the forest, long black hair flowing behind him like a flag on the mast of an ancient battleship. His breathing settled into an easy rhythm, only slightly faster than normal despite his exertion. His ears, able to pick up every sound for miles despite his speed, tracked the beast in front of him. Though the beast was still a little over a mile away, he was closing the distance quickly.
Na-um, the one his people called “The Hunter,” pushed harder, hurtling himself through the forest even faster. He barely noticed the trees that he effortlessly dodged, the fallen logs he easily catapulted over, or the swaying foliage that barely brushed his feet but never slowed him down. He loved running like this—the freedom and serenity of the forest calmed him, cleared his head as it flew by at lightning speeds.
Then, as though the dense forest in front of him split down the middle, he could see the beast ahead of him. His eyes peered through the trees, leaves, and bushes and spotted the massive animal, hundreds of yards away. Na-um grinned wickedly, then pushed himself to the breaking point to close the distance.
Na-um jerked to a stop, sending up a spray of dirt and mud that cascaded down the straps of leather that comprised his outfit and the darkly tanned skin of his muscular forearms and legs. He was still a good distance away from the beast; his small disturbance in the forest wouldn’t attract his prey’s attention.
He sunk into a crouch, inching his way closer to the oblivious beast. Then he stopped.
Just in front of him, the dense undergrowth of the forest was ending, disappearing into a grassy clearing. Every muscle in Na-um’s body tensed. The beast nonchalantly lowered its muzzle to the ground, its jaws smoothly rotating as it fed on the tall grass of the clearing. Despite the apparent peacefulness of the beast, Na-um knew it wouldn’t stay still for very long. He had to move fast, or he’d lose his chance.
Moving as few muscles as possible, Na-um slowly and deliberately stretched his hand to the back of his neck. Sheathed along his back was a handmade spear, a razor-sharp arrowhead attached to the end of a thick bamboo stalk with strong twine. The spear made no sound as Na-um carefully slid it out and held it at his side. He raised it soundlessly into position.
The beast, unaware of its imminent demise, grazed contentedly. Its head never left the ground as it enjoyed what would turn out to be its final meal.
The spear soared across the clearing.
A sickening wailing emanated from the beast as the arrowhead struck its side and burrowed deep in its chest. It howled, raising its head toward the sky. Its mournful cries pierced the tranquility of the forest. Na-um came out of his crouch and sprinted into the large clearing, crossing it in no more than two seconds. He approached the beast, which lay sprawled out on the ground, hind legs futilely kicking the air. Na-um watched as the beast pulled in one last, shuddering breath.
The Hunter had won.
What did you think? Does he seem scary? Spoiler alert: he kind of is. :D