The following is an excerpt from the second episode of the newly released fantasy-suspense podcast epic “Another Kingdom III” written by bestselling author and Daily Wire podcast host Andrew Klavan.
Austin’s Hollywood success begins to go sour as he realizes he hasn’t just lost his memory, he’s also lost his courage, his integrity and his manhood.
I said, “Hey, Ri. How you doing?” I kept my voice as upbeat as I could. Cheerful and calm. Like the dutiful brother of a mentally ill kid sister.
Riley slowly licked her pale lips. “Fine…” she said, gaping at me. “I’m… fine…” She blinked dully.
I tried to speak again. I tried to say: That’s great, Ri. That’s great. But my eyes filled and the words wouldn’t come. In my exhaustion, in my shame-filled, fear-filled state of mind, I could no longer pretend I wasn’t seeing what I was seeing. She was worse. Every week, every time I came here, she was worse than the time before. The drug-haze was thicker. Her mind was duller, her eyes emptier. It’s for the best, my parents kept telling me. It’s for the best, my brother Richard said. But how could this be for the best? I mean, look at her! How could it be?
“Damn it, Riley!” I said softly. “What the hell are they doing to you here?”
Well, I was sorry the moment I said it. Exactly the sort of thing I was not supposed to say. Don’t get her excited, my parents told me. Don’t get her started on her crazy conspiracy theories, my brother said.
But it was as if the shame—the growing fungus of shame—forced the truth up out of the depths of me and onto my lips.
And it was too late to take it back. Almost instantly, my words seemed to rouse Riley from her stupor. Her fingers fumbled to find my wrist. She clutched it with both hands. She peered at me with her hollow eyes. “They’re killing me, Austin.”
I tried to slip back into calm big brother mode. “No, no…”
But she wouldn’t let go. “They’ve drugged me all up so I can’t think, so I won’t tell.”
I choked out the words, “Riley, don’t…”
She leaned toward me and her voice dropped to a conspiratorial whisper. “Look at me, Austin. You know. You know about Orosgo. Orosgo and the Illuminati.” Oh, this was bad. This was the stuff she wasn’t supposed to talk about. The loony theories from the Ouroboros videos she used to post online. Her dreamy, child-like rants about a conspiracy of space aliens and elites who had joined forces to take over the world. This was the very crap that had gotten her stuck in this place to begin with.
I began to shake my head at her. I was about to try to talk her back to reality. But the look in her eyes: the yearning, the urgency, the desperation. I couldn’t bring myself to say what I was supposed to say.
And so Riley went on. “You have to remember, Aus! Why don’t you remember? They’re all in it. Orosgo. Mom. Dad. Richard… They’re killing people, Aus. You know this. For years and years. They’ve been killing them and blackmailing them and… and ruining them with scandals. Heads of countries, heads of TV stations and newspapers, universities, movie studios. Killing them and destroying them and replacing them with Orosgo’s followers. Please, Aus. Please remember. They make laws and write articles and make movies and teach students to believe that Orosgo and his people should run everything, the whole world. You have to remember. The book—remember the book you read? Another Kingdom. Please, Aus. You have to.”
This was also part of her delusion. She kept insisting there was some magic book that I had read and somehow forgotten. A book with the same title as my screenplay. It was all confused in her mind.
For another moment, she went on gazing at me urgently, desperately—with such painful hope. I didn’t know how to answer her. I patted her hand weakly.
She gave up. Her shoulders slumped. She turned away from me and gazed longingly out the high window at the lawn and the hills beyond. “The mad girls know,” she murmured gently, as if to console herself. “It’s not just me. The mad girls hear their voices.”
I didn’t want to encourage her, but this was new. I hadn’t heard this part before. Curiosity got the better of me and I said, “What mad girls? You mean the other patients here?”
My question seemed to reinvigorate her. When she swung around to face me again, her eyes were very bright, eerily bright. There was a small smile on her lips as if she were about to reveal a secret to me. She leaned close. She whispered: “Sometimes they don’t swallow their meds. Then they hear voices. They can hear them calling.”
“I still don’t get you. Calling what?”
“Calling you, Aus.” …
Trailer for “Another Kingdom III,” performed by bestselling author and Daily Wire podcast host Michael Knowles, below:
Another Kingdom is a fantasy-suspense epic by award-winning, internationally bestselling novelist Andrew Klavan — who also happens to host a popular podcast on the Daily Wire. The story follows Austin Lively, a Hollywood wannabe, whose nowhere career spirals into madness and adventure when he walks through a door into a magical land of swords, sorcery, monsters and magic. Bizarrely, his desperate fight to survive in this other world leads him to uncover an international conspiracy in this world so that he’s not only the target of dragons and wizards on one level of reality, he’s hunted by assassins and the police in the other. Two fast-paced adventures heading toward one explosive conclusion both in Los Angeles and in another kingdom.