Nell Arnor has withdrawn to her father’s East Texas cabin to write her next novel, but her progress is slowed when her family becomes embroiled in a high profile property rights suit. Armed with a handgun and aided by her hound Editor, she deals with shifty activists, thinly-veiled corporate threats and lately, lucid nightmares of a strange world that wake her in a cold sweat.
Haunted by her daily stresses and unable to focus on her novel, Nell begins to write the scenes her dreams are showing her: a volcano looms over an exotic, advanced civilization where magic and technology blend until the lines between them blur beyond distinction. A young woman is violently murdered as a heretic by the dominant religious cult, and her sister petitions the Silent God–the long-exiled god of Destruction–for the power to avenge her family.
Nell obsesses over the project day and night, each morning finding it harder and harder to wake. When Nell is caught in a highly suspect accident on the property, she finds that she cannot wake at all, and is trapped in the tumultuous world of her dreams.
She resolves to wait it out, assuming she is in a coma after the accident, but is captured and condemned by the inhabitants of the world as an evil omen. Nell is horrified to find that in this plane she bears the mark of the exiled Destroyer and as events spiral out of control, she is forced to face the possibility that she is not in a dream or even a mental realm of her own creation, and that she may bear a burden capable of pitching the entire world into a new dark age if she cannot learn to control it in time.
As old gods wake and destruction looms, Nell must ask herself: is she a god, a prophet, or just a puppet? And is she even the hero of this story?
Illustration by Anna Dittmann.