Authors: H.D Gordon
Four of The Alexa Montgomery Saga
book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the
product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances
to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
by H. D. Gordon, all rights reserved worldwide under Berne Convention. May not
be copied or distributed without prior written permission. If you have this
file (or a printout) you are depriving the author and publisher of their
rightful royalties and are punishable under law.
edition December 2012
author acknowledges the copyright or trademarked status and trademark owners of
the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction: McDonalds.
one is for you.
In the end, we all die. This is
not of question. Inarguable. No mystery lies here. The mystery dwells in two
questions: How long will our story be, and what will be left on the pages?
Perhaps I am of a morbid mind. Perhaps I simply believe in destiny in its
truest form. But I felt certain that, in the war that lay ahead of me, one of
our stories would end as prophesized. Knowing now that the prediction was not
about me, but about my little sister, my Nelly, I dared hope that somehow I
could manage to swap her fate for my own. Take the bullet. Make the ultimate
sacrifice, like so many have done before me.
Though it flickered deep down
inside me, I would not allow myself more than a candle of hope that both Nelly
and I would defy the Fates and see our stories continue at much greater
lengths. The book of life I was writing would become illegible, useless, if the
one my sister composed ceased to give it explanation.
This is not to say that I have no
self-worth, or that I seek death as a hero; only that I believe in my soul that
I understand the meaning of life as it applies to me, that I accept it, that I
embrace it if it chooses to test me in its truest form.
If fate is a real thing, if
destiny finds us with or without our hands in the matter, and destiny truly had
pegged my sister to receive an early death with the return of a liberated
people, I could only hope that the universe would accept my exchange. Even this
would be a defiance, though not a worst case scenario by any means.
However, I have never been good
at taking orders, and my spiritual belief in few things is very strong. As I
raced toward a war that promised death and heartache and destruction, toward
fate and destiny, that candle of hope cast shivering shadows inside me. I had
to allow for the possibility that life, even one such as mine, would inevitably
have a fairytale ending.
But, in truth, I had stopped
believing in fairytales long, long ago.
Part I: Sacrifice, Secrets and Sides
The son of a King is dead.
The girl who killed him is an
unknown Savior who was prophesized to die in liberating her people from this
The girl’s sister is the one
everyone thinks is this Savior.
A Sorcerer is also dead, killed
by this King who has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.
People with investments in these
happenings, large and small, are taking sides.
War is knocking on the door of
The fates of many hang in the
For some of them, this is the
final stretch of the journey.
There were whispers. No one could
pinpoint precisely where they originated, but they had spread through the
villages of the unwanted in all five of King William’s territories. Old men and
women, mothers and fathers and children alike were speaking low with an
excitement that was unseen to those like Benny, those who had spent the
entirety of their existences in the enslaved cities that they called home.
It was as though the very air had
taken on a lighter, more pristine quality. A heaviness that had been lifted
from the atmosphere and replaced with something else that was new to Benny and
other young “lifers” like himself. Something like hope.
The talk was of a girl. Not just
any girl, but
The girl they had all been waiting for,
the one they had stopped letting themselves hope was coming. Never before had
such a rumor been uttered, and in its anomaly, more and more people were
beginning to hold it as truth. No one was smiling–not yet, not openly–but a
match seemed to have been struck behind their eyes, a rekindled spark of something
that had been left to smolder and die long ago.
Benny’s source of the rumor had
been a surprise. The old hunch-back woman in the dismal hut two spaces down had
told him this morning while he hauled water back and forth from the well to his
own dismal hut. Benny hated doing this task. His arms always hurt from where
his blood was constantly being drawn. The buckets of water made his muscles
ache and the hunger in his stomach sharpen. The hunch-back–Norma, her name
was–had seemed to be grinning at Benny—not with her mouth, but with her old,
glossy eyes—every time he passed by with his haul of water.
On his third trip by, he set the
buckets down on the dusty earth at his bare feet and rolled his ratty sleeves
up, looking only six years old of the nine that he actually was. He strolled
over to where Norma sat in her parched garden and leaned over, glancing around
to ensure that his father was not near. He said, “What is so funny, ya old
Benny knew this was a
disrespectful thing to say to an elder, knew that his father would be very
disappointed if he knew he’d said it, but he couldn’t find it in him to care
today. He could see no humor in his labor, no humor in anything at all. Her sly
smiles were salt to a wound that Benny found unnecessary. And, it had kind of
just come out of his mouth before he could stop it. No going back now.
He half-expected a slap in the
face, which he supposed he sort of deserved, but Norma had only smiled at him
and leaned forward as if preparing to tell a secret. And, boy, was she. A huge
secret. A huge and awesome secret, he had learned.
That night, after his bland
dinner had been eaten and his portion of blood pulled from the small veins in
his thin arms, Benny asked his father what a Sun Warrior was.
The look his father gave him was
one that Benny could not decipher. But his father answered his son’s questions,
felt the boy had a right to know as much as anyone else who had been forced to
live this dreadful life. He told him the stories of the Savior.
When Benny asked why his father
hadn’t told him before, he said, “I didn’t want to get your hopes up, son. In
case…in case it’s not true. And even if it is, we don’t know anything about
this girl. Who says she’s willing to die for us?”
The last part of this had been
hard for his father to say. But the boy deserved the truth of the
possibilities, as great or as devastating as they may turn out to be.
But it was too late. Benny did
have his hopes up. Way, way up. The possibilities that occurred to even his
young mind were so enormous that he lay in bed that night exhausted but unable
to sleep. His thoughts were of
, a term with far too much meaning
for such a young soul. He smiled into the darkness where he lay on the dirt
floor of the hut he shared with his father, and he hoped. He hoped like hell.
And he wasn’t alone. Hope had
descended over the villages like the first snowfall of all time, white and
fresh and unexpected, like the birth of a new day.
An endless day.
Soon, it would be over. That’s
what I kept thinking, and yet the hours dragged onward, every second passing by
as pronounced as the agony it carried with it. A wrongness and wretchedness
hung over me that was so profound that it burned. From the inside out.
The last few hours were a blur.
Just flashes of past-happenings in my mind. Things gone sour. Blood run cold.
So much had been lost, and for
what? Right then, I couldn’t tell you. It seemed to me that no progress had
been made. No good had been done upon my entering of this world. I saw no
bright horizons ahead, no way for this to turn out
had been lost, and so much more still lie ahead.
We hadn’t been received well, I
knew that. Showing up in a city of mythical creatures who agree to live
peacefully with a dead Werewolf in your arms is not exactly the best way to
ensure a popular vote. I’m sure being covered in blood didn’t help, either. The
looks on their faces had been of wariness and suspicion and perhaps a little
contempt. I knew it well. It was the same way humans had always reacted to me,
though no one here was human. Lowered heads and whispered voices and furtive
glances. It told me that they thought we smelled like trouble. I couldn’t blame
them. They weren’t wrong. We did smell like trouble; that, and shit.
No one in the Outlands had tried
to stop us from entering, though. No one had said a word as we passed through
the hidden city with its wonders and charms. I could feel the tension in the
air around us, could see it in the darting movements of the tiny Pixies that fluttered
about the flowers and trees, in the silence that fell among the Fae as we
passed by. I could smell
. Not a lot. But it was there.
And I couldn’t have cared less.
In fact, the sadistic, animal part of me perked up its head at the scent,
almost hoping one of them would try and halt our arrival, to interfere and
force me into…drastic actions. I could use a kill right now.
It had never before seemed so
simple as that.
Like a drug. And I needed a hit.
There is plenty to come. Can’t
Oh, yes, I could
I just couldn’t seem to remember
exactly I had been fighting for.
It was the Monster in my head
that voiced an answer, though even its tone was numb, almost dead-seeming.
her, of course.
Yes, for her.
I was a child again. And I was
running. Something that felt like branches was scraping against my arms, my
legs and face. It was hurting me, I knew that, and yet, I felt no pain. But I
Yes, I was being chased. I could
hear my breath pushing in and out of my lungs, could feel the panic rising in
me like boiling gorge. A sick feeling. One of dread and fear and nightmares.
When I fell, my feet seemed to
disappear out from under me, my body pitching forward and meeting a ground that
I knew was cold and hard but felt oddly like nothing, nothing at all. And still
the terror rose in me, hot and wet. I had to go, go,
I knew that,
and I couldn’t find my feet.
A laugh from behind me. A cold,
dead laugh. The laugh of a boy who has not been spared too many rods in his
days. I don’t remember turning, but there he was, looming over me. I knew who
he was instantly, and now my heart seemed to not be beating at all in my chest,
but instead had gone frozen and ill with fright.
“I told you I wasn’t done talking
to you,” Riley said, and an ugly smile played around his lips. I tried to speak
and found that I could not.
And then Riley was gone, and
another laugh was rising from somewhere, beginning faint and low, and steadily
growing with every dreadful passing moment. This was not the laugh of some high
school bully. This laugh was that of The Beast. I knew it well.
And there she was, right in front
of me, the brilliant blade of her Gladius tucked under Riley’s throat where he
kneeled before her. My horror rose to titanic proportions and I tried to
scream. And I couldn’t. I could only watch as the scene played out before me, a
spectator to some gruesome performance.
My sister’s face. A crooked smile
and burning brown eyes turning her lovely face into something else, something
A devil’s grin. A heartless regard. There was so much joy there as she drew
the blade across his throat. My cries were silent and huge and heart-breaking.
The scene changed. Riley was
gone. In his place was a man in a black tailored suit, diamonds glittering on
his fingers, more jewels around his neck, glistening red from where his throat
had been freshly opened. Sprawled on the ground and dead, a snarl gone stiff on
his old face.