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Authors: E. L. Todd

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Flight of Life (Essence Series #1)

BOOK: Flight of Life (Essence Series #1)
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Flight of Life

Book One of the Essence

E. L. Todd

This is a work of fiction. All the
characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious or
used fictitiously. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means,
including information storage and retrieval systems, without
written permission from the publisher or author, except in the case
of a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a review.

Flight of Life

E.L. Todd

Copyright E.L. Todd

Smashwords Edition

Flight of Life

The eerie shadows casted by the trees
frightened Calloway the most. The way they swayed in direct
opposition to the storming wind made his skin prickle with unease.
The sheets of rain soaked his clothes, and his damp hair stretched
down to his eyes, blocking his sight. But Calloway persevered and
jogged under the billowing clouds until he reached the safety of
the Grandiose Historian Library.

Calloway hid in the corner of the
building and looked inside. No lights were seen in the library and
it seemed forgotten—abandoned. The water from the rainstorm
blackened the brick wall, and when he pressed his hand against the
stone, he could feel moisture on his palm, along with the dirt that
was smeared across the surface. He wiped his hand on his jeans and
looked through the windows. He could see the fallen leaves dance in
the wind in the reflective glass. Calloway didn’t want to go there
that night but he had been commanded—he didn’t have a

After he was certain the library was
vacant, he approached the doorway and inserted his pocket knife,
the one given to him by his late father, and he picked the lock
until it released. The wind ripped the door open but Calloway
steadied it before it slammed into the wall. The loud racket would
announce his presence to anyone inside—friend or foe. Calloway
entered then relocked the door from within.

The Grandiose Historian Library was
ancient—archaic—and Calloway felt the entire history of world
civilization sink into his skin as he stood before the massive
staircase that reached to the shelves that housed thousands of
books, scrolls, textbooks, and avenues to pure knowledge. He stood
still for a moment, just listening to the silence. It was so quiet
he could hear the dust falling through the air, landing on the
bookcases and the tables then dispersing across the open study. The
absence of light made visibility limited. Calloway could only catch
glimpses of the room from the illumination of the lightning that
struck the earth outside; it echoed across the world as it collided
into the ground with deadly force.

He reached into his pocket and grabbed
a glowing orb, a bright apparatus that emitted a faint glow when it
was squeezed within his palm. Calloway caressed it in his fingers
as he slowly ascended the steps of the staircase to the floor
above. When he reached the top of the platform, he looked around
the room and detected nothing abnormal—there was nothing to be
seen. From his pocket he withdrew a folded sheet of binder paper
and skimmed through the words. After he found what he sought, he
shoved it back into his pocket harshly, ripping the paper as he
stuffed it into his jeans.

The shelves were full of different
volumes and categories of books—too many to sort through. Calloway
walked down the aisles and searched for the sacred book in the dim
library, guided by the light emitted from his small orb. After
searching for the desired book for half an hour, Calloway sighed in
despair. He knew it was there—it had to be.

He stopped when he reached the back of
the room. It was full of dusty tables and chairs with only two or
three pegs. There was a single door down the hallway, and he
decided to investigate the entrance. It blended in with the rest of
the wall and was difficult to see even with the aid of his orb, but
he could distinguish the cobwebs in the border of the doorway and
the dust on the surface of the wood. He turned the handle but it
wouldn’t open, so he inserted his pocket knife and easily picked
the lock. When the way was clear, he stepped inside and left the
door ajar.

Calloway looked around the room. It
seemed like a small office or storage center. He noted the damp
smell of stale air; the door must have been closed for decades.
There was one desk in the corner, and on the surface was a single
book, thick with old crumpled sheets and stuffed with ancient dust.
Calloway didn’t need to open the book to know it was the right one.
He could sense it. He shoved it under his arm and left the room,
closing the door gently behind him as he returned to the center of
the Grandiose Historian Library. Calloway walked past the aisles of
shelves until he reached the tables in the middle of the room. They
formed a circle that was surrounded by the aisles of bookcases.
Gently, he placed the book on the table and opened it. After
skimming through the lines, he confirmed it was the right one—he
found it.

A slight breeze swept through the
library and the open page turned on its own. Calloway’s heart
stopped beating for a moment in time before it raged sporadically
inside his chest. He squeezed the orb gently and the light was
extinguished, leaving him in complete darkness.

The sound of harsh breathing could be
heard in the library, and the noise made Calloway shiver for a
moment. It wasn’t the quick breathing of someone evading the
storm—it was coarse and rough—demonic in nature. Guttural in sound,
it wasn’t human but something else—beast-like.

Calloway closed the book quietly and
stuffed it under his arm before he turned on his heel and crept
away from the center of the library, passing the tables as he
inched for cover in the sea of bookshelves. His heart was beating
so fast, he was certain the sound could be heard. But as soon as he
moved away, the breathing noise stopped—Calloway was

A table crashed to the ground as it was
knocked over, and a bookshelf was tipped on its side, colliding
with the adjacent bookcase as the Hara-Kir sprinted across the room
toward Calloway with deadly determination. Calloway imagined the
black cloak that concealed its entire body from head to toe. They
were tall, the same height as Calloway, and they were slim, but
deadly with muscles and strength. He didn’t know what they looked
like under the cloak, and he didn’t want to find out. With the
Hara-Kir pursuing him, he bolted for cover in a far corner of the

Calloway could barely distinguish where
he was going, so he pulled the glowing orb from his pocket and
squeezed it, illuminating the path before him. It was obvious the
Hara-Kir could follow him even in the darkness so it didn’t matter
if the luminescence exposed him. Besides, Calloway couldn’t see
without it.

The sound of falling feet was loud
behind him and Calloway knew he wouldn’t escape. He dashed to his
right and knocked over a bookshelf, hoping it would crush the
Hara-Kir or at least interrupt its advance, but he didn’t stop to
check—he kept running. He ran past the aisles of shelves and heard
the frantic breathing once more. It spurred him forward. His life
would be taken if he was captured.

Calloway dashed down an aisle and
extinguished the orb in his palm, confusing the Hara-Kir in
mid-pursuit, and climbed up the bookcase with the sacred book still
under his arm. When he reached the top, Calloway stood completely
immobile, hoping he had dodged the Hara-Kir. The demonic breathing
sounded stagnant, like it wasn’t moving from its steady position,
but searching for him in the darkness with its gaze alone. Calloway
held his breath and didn’t move—he only blinked. Several minutes
passed without incident. The Hara-Kir didn’t move nor did

The Hara-Kir hissed and it stung
Calloway’s ears. “I see darkness in the light just as I see the
light in shadow,” he whispered. “I will find you.” It sauntered
through the library, its long cape trailing behind it, and stopped
when it reached the bookshelf Calloway was standing on. Calloway
clenched the book under his arm and steadied his breathing,
understanding one mishap would be the death of him, and he waited
for the Hara-Kir to step away.

The bookcase he was standing on crashed
to the left and Calloway reacted instantaneously by jumping to the
next bookshelf before it collapsed. When the case fell, he leaped
to the adjacent one, slipping on the wood of the bookcase when he
landed, and sending the book flying to the floor. Calloway’s heart
stopped when he realized he dropped the book—he had to get

The Hara-Kir pushed the bookshelf, and
Calloway jumped to the floor before it crashed. He grabbed the book
just as the Hara-Kir noticed his presence, and he ran down the
aisle before the shelf collapsed on top of him. The Hara-Kir was
forced to run the opposite way because it couldn’t reach the end
without being smashed by the falling bookcase.

Calloway sprinted to the exit, dashing
through the remaining aisles as he advanced to the stairway. He
jumped down the stairs and rolled into the fall when he landed, but
the Hara-Kir leaped into the air and landed right alongside him. It
grabbed Calloway by the arm. Calloway flinched as he felt the skin
of its large hand grab him from under the folds of its cloak and
squeeze him tightly. It was soft and warm. Calloway threw a punch
at the Hara-Kir but the creature responded with unnatural speed and
avoided the hit. When the Hara-Kir reached for the book, Calloway
kneed him in the abdomen and the Hara-Kir stumbled back from the
force, giving Calloway the opportunity to slam the book into the
hood of the cape, hitting the Hara-Kir directly in the face. The
creature hissed as he released his grip on Calloway. When the
Hara-Kir was distracted, Calloway opened the door and sprinted into
the night, dashing through the trees of the lawn and past the stone
statues until he finally reached the road. His bike was tied to the
streetlamp, and he unlocked it before jumping on and pedaling with
all the strength he could, riding down the street before he
disappeared into the neighboring houses. When he glanced behind
him, there was no one pursuing him—or at least it seemed. Just to
be certain, he hid in the trees of a neighborhood home and waited,
verifying he wasn’t being followed. After a few moments, he saw
movement at the end of the road—two Hara-Kirs were walking down the
street. They were searching for him, knowing he headed this way.
Calloway watched from his hiding place until they disappeared down
a side street. He grabbed his bike and rode home as fast as his
body would take him, his heart pounding in his chest like it would
explode, knowing that his life was almost taken.

Nuclear Family

Everyone was seated at the kitchen
table when Calloway walked into the house. He placed his bike
against the wall and left his backpack on the floor in the
entryway. The smell of pot roast with chopped carrots and potatoes
wafted through the kitchen and made his mouth salivate
automatically, even though he didn’t have an appetite. He took a
deep breath before he opened the door and walked into the dining
room, where everyone was gathered around the table, waiting for

Hello,” Aunt Grace said
with a smile. She kissed Calloway on the cheek and pulled out the
chair for him before she sat down. Calloway took the seat directly
across from her. She was very thin, with bony arms and hollow
cheekbones, but she had enough substance in love and happiness to
mask her sickly appearance. As a marathon runner, she never had the
opportunity to gain weight even though her doctors encouraged her
to eat more—she just couldn’t. “I was getting worried,” she said as
she walked to the counter and donned her oven mitts before she
placed the crock pot in the center of the table, where the meat and
vegetables floated in the warm water that was viscous from the
spices and herbs. Even though Calloway wasn’t hungry he decided to
eat anyway—he didn’t want to hurt his aunt’s feelings.

I didn’t mean to alarm
you,” Calloway said automatically. “I just got caught up at
school.” Breccan, Calloway’s cousin, glanced at him with a worried
expression. He knew that was a lie.

Well,” she said as she
sat down at the table. “It doesn’t seem like you caught senioritis
disease. You seem intent on your studies—I am very

Calloway felt guilty for lying to his
favorite aunt but he couldn’t think of something better to say.
Obviously, he couldn’t tell her the truth; that his life was almost
taken by a Hira-Kir, something she had no knowledge of.

BOOK: Flight of Life (Essence Series #1)
11.21Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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