Hunted Fate by Jennifer Derrick
(Threads of the Moirae, #3)
Published By: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication Date: July 24th 2017
Genres: Mythology, Romance, Young Adult
Alex and Atropos have taken refuge at an abandoned mountain resort compound. Atropos is a wanted woman in hiding, and the downtime with her soul mate is a nice change of pace. But the peace will be short-lived. The authorities are after her for her role in the attack on the city of Charlotte. Zeus has put a bounty on her head. There’s also a war to prepare for—and if she wins, the gods will be deposed once and for all. But first she needs to track down Gaia, and even that won’t be simple. Gaia resides at the bottom of the ocean, and the humans and gods are already hot on Atropos’ trail…
A heart-pounding romantic adventure where Greek mythology and modern-day life collide, Hunted Fate is the third book in the epic Threads of the Moirae series by Jennifer Derrick.
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The Gates of Hell and Hunted Fate’s Cover
If you look at the cover for Hunted Fate, you’ll notice the flaming pit behind the water drop. When it was time to design the cover, I told Marya Heidel, the cover designer for Clean Teen Publishing, that I wanted something hellish. A big part of the book takes place in the Underworld, after all, so it seemed fitting.
I showed her some sample images I’d found around the internet. She looked at one of a flaming pit and said, “That’s a real place, you know.”
I asked where it was. I figured it had to be a volcano in Hawaii, or maybe a lava pool in a national park somewhere.
Nope. Turns out it’s in Turkmenistan and there’s a whole story behind this place which the locals now call, “The Gates of Hell.” Well, with a name like that, the image had to go on the cover, but I wanted to know the story. It’s one of humor, colossal stupidity, and turning (however accidentally) something bad into something kind of good. (Well, unless you’re a spider. Read on for why the spiders get the short end of this story.)
In 1971, Soviet petroleum geologists headed into the desert of Turkmenistan to look for oil. I’m sure there were dreams of big money floating in their heads. The scientists found a likely spot and a drilling rig was brought in. Unfortunately, they erected the rig over a huge underground pool of methane gas, not oil. If the story ended here, it wouldn’t have been so bad; there’s no shame in making a mistake like that, after all. What happened next, though, brings this tale into epic territory.
The Earth’s crust wasn’t strong enough to support the drilling operation. Oil, gas, didn’t matter. No matter what they were drilling for, the whole thing was doomed. When the engineers began drilling and further weakened the surface, everything collapsed, sending the drilling rig into the pit of methane gas.
So now not only is no one getting any oil, they’ve also lost the rig. Any dreams of making big money were shot to, well, hell, at this point. But worse, now there was a huge open hole leaking methane gas into the air. Methane is deadly if inhaled in large quantities, plus it’s highly explosive. Not the kind of thing you want just wafting around.
So what did these geniuses do to dispose of the huge pool of highly explosive gas? They set it on fire. Absolutely brilliant idea. (Not. Do not try this at home. please.)
The thought process behind this stupidity was that the pool of gas would burn itself out rather quickly and everything would go back to normal. Well, it’s been burning for over forty years and shows no signs of burning out anytime soon.
The locals call it, “The Gates of Hell,” and in the only positive to come out of this whole sorry story, it has become a tourist attraction. People flock to see the flaming hole in the ground. The government occasionally raises the idea of capping the pit, but the Minister of Tourism shoots that down because, frankly, Turkmenistan doesn’t have much else to draw in tourists. Nobody’s making money from oil in this pit, so might as well make some money somehow, right?
Weirdly, the burning pit also attracts spiders. Lots and lots of spiders. They are drawn to the light and then fling themselves over the edge to be consumed by the flames. While I personally agree that spiders belong in hell (arachnophobia is a thing, people), the idea of mass spider suicide is almost funny in a twisted way.
So that’s the story of the Gates of Hell. A drilling operation gone wrong becomes a tourist attraction (and the site of mass spider suicides). And now it’s on a book cover.
Excerpt from Hunted Fate:
“We need whoever provides security around here. Or Hades. They’re bound to be the ones who can open this. If we can find them, we can drag them down here and slap their hand on this thing to get it open,” Alex says.
“We need another way,” Sara says, shaking her head. “We haven’t seen a single person since we got here. It’s too time consuming to track them down. And we’ll never get Hades.”
“Anyone know of any other ways to crack a palm plate?” I ask.
“Short of finding a valid fingerprint and going through an awful lot of steps to create a fake finger, the only other way is to break down the software controlling it,” Alex says.
“Are any of you hackers?”
Alex raises his hand.
“You can hack this?” I ask. “I didn’t know you were a hacker.”
“I’m not. But there isn’t a lot to do when you’re stuck at home with a terminal disease or trapped in a crappy boarding school. I taught myself a few things, made a few online friends who were a little shady. Depending on how sophisticated the software is, I might be able to crack it.”
“Would it be controlled from the computer out front?”
“It might be. Or it might be controlled from a central server that’s who knows where. No way to know without looking,” he says.
“That computer is password protected. If you try to force it, you may set off alarms.”
“Then I’ll have to be careful,” he says, heading back to the lobby.
We follow and gather around the desk while he works. The keys clack under his fingers as he mutters instructions to himself.
“Okay, I’m in the system,” he says. “While I’m here, I’m going to shut down those security cameras. No need for everyone to know where we are.”
The TV feed blinks and is gone.
He keeps typing and clicking and muttering. The rest of us sit down on the floor and wait. There’s nothing we can do.
“Huh. That could be tricky,” he says.
“What?” I ask, getting up and going around the desk so I can see his screen. Not that the gibberish there means squat to me.
“The system that controls the fingerprint scanners also controls the card locks. Worse, it’s not separated by floor. I’m not good enough to bring down only one piece of the system. It’s all or nothing.”
“What’s the problem?” I ask.
“It means that the only thing standing between us and whatever is behind those cell doors is the hope that none of them try the doors. If the inmates figure out the doors are open, then security will be the least of our problems. All of them could walk right out of here.”
“Do it,” I tell him. “It’s not like we’ll be broadcasting the locks are down. No one will notice. Hopefully.”
“Okay,” he says and goes back to pounding on the keys.
After a few minutes, the computer beeps and Alex pushes away from it.
“Done,” he says.
The words are barely out of his mouth when a series of small pops echoes around the room. They sound like they’re both surrounding us and simultaneously heading away from us.
“Aw, shit,” I say. “The locks. We forgot they make noise! We are idiots. Come on,” I say, racing for the doors on the right.
We slam through the doors and pull up in front of door number four. No one is coming into the hall yet. I’m hoping the inmates think it’s a trap and are too intimidated to try their doors. Either that or they didn’t hear the locks release. Please, just let me get out of here before hell literally opens, I think.
Jennifer is a freelance writer and novelist. As a freelancer, she writes everything from technical manuals to articles on personal finance and European-style board games. Her interest in storytelling began when she was six and her parents gave her a typewriter for Christmas and agreed to pay her $.01 per page for any stories she churned out. Such a loose payment system naturally led to a lot of story padding. Broken Fate, her first novel, earned her $2.80 from her parents.
Jennifer lives in North Carolina and, when not writing, can often be found reading, trawling the shelves at the library, playing board games, watching sports, camping, running marathons, and playing with her dog. You can visit her at her official website:www.JenniferDerrick.com.