Read The Prophet's Daughter Online

Authors: Kilayla Pilon

The Prophet's Daughter

BOOK: The Prophet's Daughter
2.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Prophet’s Daughter

Kilayla Pilon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 by Kilayla Pilon

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the pu
blisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review or scholarly journal.

First Printing:
2014

ISBN
:
1500300977

  
kilaylapilon.wix.com/books

Chapter 1

I had always believed that everything in life happened for a reason, even if they weren’t things that I wanted to happen. In life, you had to learn from an early age that not everything was going to go your way, and that everything had a consequence. Some of us had to learn sooner than others and some of us just never learned. I will never understand what the reason could be, however, for the fall – or, at least, near extinction of mankind.

In 2012, the
world changed – and it did not change for the better, despite what we would prefer. Gay rights laws stopped mattering, because marriage was no longer a thing; wars no longer occurred because we were too busy fighting our neighbors to fight someone across the ocean; everything just came to a sudden halt because of a disease that spread faster than anything that had ever been witnessed. It caused far more havoc than even the black plague, killing over eight times the amount the former had killed. In the end, there were less than two billion people left scattered across the earth in about two weeks’ time.

After the initial impact of the disease, everything went straight to hell. For the first five years, everything was somewhat tolerable – people did what they
could, tried to go back to the way they used to lead their lives, but it had become a struggle. Times were tough and it wasn’t long before resources began to run low and the government could do very little. They weren’t magicians, they couldn’t make the food grow when all the experienced farmers were dead, save for a few hundred. People did what they could to survive, even if it meant resorting to joining a gang or cult – most people tried hard to survive without taking those routes.

Five years of troubled
peace were succeeded by five years of bombings, riots and the fall of the government itself. Most of the Canadian military had been wiped out, and they were the largest organization to fall first. In the end, the world crumbled and those who weren’t infected and dying were hungry and starving. We never heard from Europe, Asia or any of the other continents again.

Sixteen years had passed since those days. My name is Arin, I was born before everything went to the dogs – six months before, in fact. I grew up
isolated from most people and I was taught not to trust

1

 

a single soul on our abandoned planet. Naturally, I trusted most people who I met despite warnings from my parents to remain cautious and say little, if anything at all. Not that I had met many people during my brief lifetime, though. I had never understood why my mother was so against trusting people; I would learn, however, in ways I never could've imagined.

A loud
ra-tat, ra-tat
echoed throughout the house. It was a sound so familiar to me, I could almost recreate it on the wall beside me with minimal effort.

“Mum, Dad’s home!” I called from the kitchen, having heard my Dad’s loud rapping on the door from the back of the house. He had long learned that he had to knock on the door before coming in; lest he risk my mother panicking and putting a bullet clea
n through his skull. She was a very paranoid woman after all, her constant warnings being evidence of that. However, on that day, there had been something off with the way my father entered the house. He, on any other day, would walk in and close the door a little too hard, whistling some sort of happy tune. However, the familiar sound of the door being slammed a little too hard didn’t come for a long while, and there was no familiar whistle.

“Dave?” Mum called, and I could hear it in her voice, the slight
quiver as she called out my father’s name; she was scared. Had she noticed too?

“Annabelle,” my father began, his voice strained. I could almost picture his jaw set tight, wrinkles appearing in his reddened forehead. “It’s them.” I hopped off the kitchen c
ounter, trying to figure out who my father was referring to. I didn’t remember them mentioning us having any visitors that day, and they always notified me if they knew someone was dropping by, not that it happened often.

Maybe it’s a joke?
I doubted it, my parents weren’t ones to joke around a lot.

“Arin,” Mum’s voice sounded beside me and I jumped, spinning around to face her. How had she managed to sneak up on me like that?

“What are you, a cat?” I gasped, staring into the face of a beautiful woman with flowing auburn hair tied tight into a bun. She smelled of lavender, but everything about her was not right. She was my mum, the woman I had known since day one, but she looked years older. Her face was pale, a shade I had never seen it, and her green eyes harbored a dread that they had never shown. I'd never seen it in all the years of running from place to place, nor when my father was attacked by a savage bear. We'd doubted he'd make it through that night. I couldn’t help but feel my own sense of terror wash over me, tickling up my spine.

“Arin, I need you to be quiet and do as I say without question. Go out back, run into the forest. Climb the tallest tree you can get in. Take this,” she shoved a dark bow – the wood looked to be black walnut - and quiver
stocked a little too full with arrows against my chest, “and remember, shoot for the neck or the head if anyone finds you. I know you don’t like killing, but this time, you have to.”

“Mum, what’s goin' on?” I inquired, unable to tear my gaze from hers, cl
utching the weapons against my chest. I searched her gaze, trying to see if I could understand why she was so pushy – I could tell she was terrified, but there was something else. She had been expecting them. “Who are they?”

“Arin, go now, please.” Her voi
ce was full of terror, her begging obvious as she turned around and swung open the back door, moving out of my way so I could leave.

“How long do I wait?” I hoped she wouldn’t say too long – the nights were getting colder with winter just a few weeks away.

“Wait until nightfall, and when you come back, I want you to go to your room, pack your things and leave. Head into town, stick to the trees, got it?” Mum seized my arm, looking me dead in the eye.

“Got it,” I mumbled in response before she gave me a quic
k peck on the cheek and pushed me out the door. I turned to say, “I love you,” but the door was already closed before I had the chance. It hurt not to say those three little words, and I moved away, swinging the bow and quiver over my shoulder before I broke into a run. Our bungalow house was deep in a forest and I knew the trees better than I knew my own body. Even when we had just found the house, its previous owners infected and put down by the mercy of my father, I had been a decent climber. I only got better with the years.

Bang.

Tree after tree passed me as I ran deeper and deeper into the forest. I knew the sound that echoed around all too well – a gun had been fired. Something inside me screamed in agony, and I near collapsed then and there. My feet, however, kept thudding against the ground and carried me deeper into the forest.

There,
I thought,
that one is perfect.
Not too far ahead from me stood a tall Sitka spruce tree, its branches low and easy for climbing if they were strong and thick enough. I would have preferred to find an oak tree, but the Sitka worked too.

Each branch I grabbed onto bent under my weight, but after some fussing and tugging, I managed to get a good ten or so feet high in the tree, huffing and puffing as I leaned against th
e middle of the trunk. Pain stung my wrist and I glanced down to see a branch had scratched it, the skin torn and a few beads of blood smeared across my skin

“Crap,” I muttered, wiping it against my shirt. I looked down at
my black leggings, but there was nothing I could see wrong with them. No tears, no holes, just a bunch of spruce needles sticking out and agitating my skin.

Settling down on the branch and working towards picking the small needles out, I tried to think of
what I was doing up in a tree in the middle of the forest. Had my parents scheduled a training session and not warned me? They didn’t often spring surprise sessions, and Mum was not the best at acting… She had seemed far too scared for her usual drill-days. No, there was something wrong. I yearned to head back home and find out if I could help, but remembering the petrified look in my mother’s eyes kept me rooted to the spot. Something had been wrong, but what?

The hours that followed were full of impatien
ce and more thoughts than I cared for. What if I never heard my father whistle his little tune again, or never listen to Mum’s songs as she hugged me? Or the stories, would I never hear my parents tell me about the novels they used to read? Would I never see them again?

I had been ready to run home long before nightfall, but I was stopped first by the sound of someone screaming – deep and heartbreaking. I climbed a little lower in the tree, but I did not try to leave again. I was stuck writhing in worry, wa
iting and hoping that the heartache I felt was not the loss of my loved ones, but just the pointless terrors I was subjecting myself to.

Another few hours and I was antsy, desperate to write off my thoughts as foolish fears by finding my parents. I didn’t
care if I failed the test – I just wanted to be sure they were alive. I inched further down the tree when I caught sight of a man skulking through the woods, clutching a gun in his hand. His voice, scratchy and low, traveled to me but his words were incomprehensible. He was muttering about something, but what it was, I did not know, and I was glad not to. I wasn’t interested in the ravings of some mad man – I was interested in knowing my mother and father were okay.

By the time nightfall came and the cold n
ip in the air had me shivering and curled up, flexing my fingers to keep them functioning, I had been crawled on by more bugs than I had ever needed to see. A large green caterpillar had squirmed its way up my arm, an ant tickled its way across my ankle and a jumping spider leaped on my face, scurrying away and onto the tree. After that, I couldn’t take it any longer and fled the tree. Bugs were one thing, but when spiders crawled in my hair, I’d had enough. I could still feel them minutes later, my skin tingling where they had crawled.

Sweet freedom,
I thought as I pushed free of the pines and shook the needles out of my hair, running my fingers through it to make sure I had removed the little green needles. Black strands of hair and pine needles stuck to my hand, and by the time I was done I felt like I had pulled enough loose hair to make a wig and enough needles to make an, albeit uncomfortable, blanket.

I pushed away from the tree then, catching a strange scent drifting on the wind. There was something f
amiliar to the scent, reminding me of my childhood and all of the traveling we had done. Burning wood – was there a fire? Had they set up a campfire as a reward for passing my test? Perhaps Dad had gone into the town to trade for some special treats, if the trader had any?

That’s got to be it; why else would there be a fire out here?
I burst into a sprint, the idea of some sweets and the comfort that could only be provided by finding my parents alive and well keeping me going at a fast pace. Otherwise, I would have been walking, my body aching from being in almost the same position for some five hours.

As my house came into sight, I noticed the smell had grown ever stronger. In fact, it was quite a significant difference from the Sitka tree to where I had ru
n to. There was something off about the smell, however – there was something else, not just burning wood, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the source was. Whatever it was, it was a foul odor. My gut told me to run, but I needed to investigate, I needed to be sure my parents were alright. They had to be, I couldn’t handle life without them.

Walking past the last few trees that separated me from the view of my house, the smell began to burn my nostrils. Whatever was burning, it wasn’t letting off th
e aroma of firewood. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up and I stared at the back door of the house, which was cracked open just enough to illuminate a sliver of the kitchen. From where I stood, everything appeared normal – but I could only see a small corner, so what did I know?

“To my room,” I breathed, whispering to myself, “and leave.” I had to follow orders; Mum could still be testing me, after all. Lifting my right leg, I pushed open the back door with my foot. The kitchen
was normal, illuminated by the moonlight and nothing else – it looked like it hadn’t been touched since my departure. Had Mum and Dad not bothered to make dinner?

At the thought of dinner, my stomach rumbled and I realized how hungry I was. I hadn’t eaten
since dinner the previous day, and even then I hadn’t eaten much – I’d been feeling ill. I would deal with my hunger later, once I finished the test.

I began down the hallway, suppressing the urge to gag as the smell became almost intolerable. It was horri
d and my appetite was ruined right then – I had to press my hands against my mouth to keep from vomiting.

I stared at the walls then and swallowed back a scream at the sight that greeted me. My back slammed against part of the archway leading into the kit
chen as I stumbled backwards, losing my balance.

Blood was everywhere in the hallway – hand-prints smeared across the pictures, frames that had been hanging there since long before we’d taken residence, were smashed and covered in crimson. Inside, I tried
to think of what other substance the smeared handprints could be, but there was no doubting it – it was blood, and lots of it.

“Mum,” I called out, unable to keep my voice from shaking. I was terrified. Where were they? That couldn’t be their blood; it had
to belong to someone else. Maybe they had been attacked by someone who was infected? That had to be it; it was the blood of some infected man.

“Mummy,” I called again, fear obvious in my tone, but no answer came, not that I was surprised. Instead I inhale
d a deep breath, cringing at the horrid scent, trying to keep my breathing steady as I wracked my brain for some kind of rational explanation that didn’t involve my parents being hurt or worse, but nothing came to mind. They weren’t dead, though, they couldn’t be dead.

Living in a bungalow had its advantages. All the rooms were on one floor, and so my parents’ room was not far from where I stood. I tried to keep my gaze on the door leading to their room, but my attempt wasn’t working. I kept glancing at the
wreckage of my home, the place I had lived for six years – the only permanent place we had ever stayed in, as the years before had consisted of running and living out of a tent.

I hesitated outside of my parent’s room, debating on entering, and decided be
tter on it. I would do as ordered and go straight to my room; I had to do what they said. Perhaps it was all just an act, part of a strange test that they had devised to see how I would react if anything did happen to them. Yes, that had to be it – that was the best explanation I could think of. Maybe the blood was animal blood.

I trekked down the rest of the hall and entered my room, which was untouched and remained as it had been when I had been in it hours before, save for a few misplaced items and knock
ed over objects.

I must have moved my stuff, or Mum did to make this a bit of a challenge,
I thought, shrugging. I reached under my bed and grabbed my red duffel bag, throwing the bow and quiver on my bed and grabbed a few outfits from my closet, my winter jacket, and a few of the ‘emergency only’ food we had stored in the top of my closet – a few water bottles and preserved non-perishables that would last a very long time. I tied a rolled up stretch of foam to the top, figuring I would use it for a bed if worse came to worse and I had no place to sleep. I packed a blanket, too.

BOOK: The Prophet's Daughter
2.05Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

A Highlander Christmas by Dawn Halliday, Cindy Miles, Sophie Renwick
Hollywood by Kanin, Garson
Into the Danger Zone by Matt Christopher, Stephanie Peters
Unison (The Spheral) by Papanou, Eleni
LoversFeud by Ann Jacobs
Birds of Prey by Crissy Smith
How to Break a Heart by Kiera Stewart