Decision

turrents

© Sue Vincent

“No, I don’t want you to try to heal it. I want the imp weak and helpless.”

It had been several days since Dani and Paris found the tiny demon unconscious in a nearby wooded avenue. Thanks to Paris’s book and Dani’s tutoring, Mandy’s knowledge of how to use the local tree bark, roots, and other parts of medicinal plants was steadily growing, and the children felt well enough to resume their journey very soon.

“He’s hardly regained consciousness since you brought him back to camp. What if he dies?”

“Then it dies. It’s a demon. It, and thousands of others just like it, tried to kill us, and they did kill four dragons, or have you forgotten that?” The dragon rider was furious, not so much at Mandy, but at the loss of her four friends, as well as the horrible revelation that Shay had been taken by the demon horde. It added to the plague of the visions and dreams where she saw herself murdering the other teenager and her brothers and sisters.

“I’m just trying to help.” Mandy might have been afraid of Dani if she’d faced her anger when their relationship was new, but now she understood that the dragonrider was in pain, tormented by guilt at what she saw as her failures.

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The Fallen

fallen

© Sue Vincent

Jake saw Dani standing in a gorge between two cliffs holding Witherbrand in her hand. Her blade was covered with blood and she was surrounded by bodies.

“Dani, what happened?”

The seven-year-old looked around but couldn’t see his brother or sisters, that is, until he looked closer at the dead people on the ground.

“Dani?”

She turned and stared at him, but her eyes were so different. Pale, blue orbs gazed at him with malevolence, and she grinned like a predator who had just spied fresh meat.

“What are you doing?”

She wasn’t in a hurry. The teenager strolled almost casually in his direction. Her armor wasn’t what he had given her after his dream. It was red and black, like the demon’s armor, like Sahkr’s.

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Trial at Sakhr

carved

© Sue Vincent

Janellize’s gaze was fixed upon the dragonrider standing before her as were the other four elves, if elves they really were. Mandy kept looking in disbelief back and forth between the Mistress of Direhaven and her new found friend. What secret did the teenage girl possess that was a threat to Direhaven, to the dragons, and to her family?

“I don’t know what you mean, and how do you know my name is Danijel?” She was worried. Janellize was no one to trifle with nor did she seem the sort to make a mistake, at least one of great magnitude. She searched her mind, her memories, her feelings, and all she found was who she was and always had been since she was a child of three.

The dark-haired noble known as Wynjeon stood. “I think you’ll find that there is very little we do not know about those who have entered our city.” His eyes were a deep blue, like a frozen lake, his expression impassive like those of his Queen and the other nobles, and Dani knew that he was her chief accuser.

“What must I do to prove you wrong?”

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The God of the Dark Hills

dark hills

© Sue Vincent

It had taken five days for teenage Dani to guide the five children across the frozen tundra to near the base of the Dark Hills. They had all grown up in a city and were used to soft beds, a heated home in the winter, regular meals of plentiful food, and all the comforts and pleasures modern technology afforded such children.

Dad and Mom took them camping in the mountains every summer, but they drove to the State Park in Mom’s van, built a campfire near wooden picnic tables and there were public showers and bathrooms just a few yards away. They brought their food in plastic shopping bags and a big cooler and it was like barbecuing in their backyard.

Even in the winter going snow skiing was fun, but when they were through and everyone needed to get warm, they’d go into the ski lodge and order lunch or dinner in the restaurant.

This journey was nothing like that. Nearing the end of their fifth day in this icy wilderness, the Davidson children were dirty, tired, cold and miserable. Their sense of fright had been numbed so now all they felt was the relentlessness of walking one step at a time for minutes and hours, hoping their guide who was only a little older than Mandy knew how to find food, shelter, and safety before they all died.

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Love’s Blood

mausoleum

© Sue Vincent

“…I met this girl…she ruined my philosophy…my heart skips a beat when she comes around”

From “I’d Rather Have A Love” performed by Joe
Writer(s): Derek Louis Allen, Gerald Isaac, Alvin Jerome Garrett

Even knowing this is what her father wanted, what she wanted, Zachary wasn’t sure he could do it. He loved Deborah very much and he believed she still adored him. It was only because of their love for each other that he was now walking across the manicured lawn in the back of his estate in the bright morning sunshine contemplating murder.

No, it wouldn’t be murder for the simple reason that she was already dead; dead, interned, and yet not dead.

The small duffel bag felt heavy in his right hand, not due to the weight of its lethal contents but that of his heart. He’d almost accepted Peretz’s offer to help him, but it would have been a terrible burden to place upon a father who had lost his only daughter once and now was about to lose her again. Yes, he was losing her, but he had convinced him that as her husband, he had to be the one to save her.

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Long Climb to Sanctuary

passage

© Sue Vincent

The cities were lost to the Grendels and most of the human race was dead. The early news reports Neville Smith heard said that the disease had been introduced to Europe and the Americas by groups of refugees from Somalia, but the conspiracy theory websites released documents stating that something got away from the CDC and it was their own staff that spread the infection causing a global pandemic.

The last report before all telecommunications and the electric grid went down was that up to 94% of the human race had died. Only one percent of humanity was immune. That left the Grendels, well, that’s what Neville called them. Human beings who were mutated by the virus becoming…what? In the poem “Beowulf,” Grendel was cursed as a descendant of Cain from the Book of Genesis in the Bible. The creature was said to devour live warriors and in the real world, the mutants consumed the dead.

But that was over three months ago.

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Out of the Mist

fog

© Sue Vincent

Standing by a lone tree at the edge of a grassy field watching the sunrise, Greg Neville felt safe for now. They were probably still hiding in the shadows and some were shielded from the light by the tule fog, but as long as the sun was up and it was warm, they’d remain stuporous and wouldn’t give him a problem. In an hour or so, the fog would burn off. He had been too terrified to sleep last night and desperately wanted a nap, but he didn’t have much time. He had to find his way back to Travis and stop them before they spread the plague.

He’d been waiting at the airfield at Travis Air Force Base yesterday when the C5-Galaxy arrived from Udorn Royal Thai AFB in northern Thailand. Greg wasn’t told if it was the CIA or some other intelligence agency that had procured a sample of the Rakshasa virus from the biological weapons laboratory in central China. He’d flown out from the CDC in Atlanta with the rest of the team under secure orders to test the serum on Rakshasa and determine if it could either vaccinate populations against it or kill the plague outright.

Greg was the only person on the Directive 12 Team who wasn’t a doctor or medical technician. He was assigned in the unlikely event of a worse case scenario. However, instead of this being just another milk run for him, he would become the star player in preventing national if not world-wide Armageddon. That was the purpose of D-12, to handle the most dangerous biological threats. The world and even most of the personnel at Atlanta’s Center for Disease Control didn’t know they existed, and they were no doubt happier for it.

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The Escape

 

bleak

© Sue Vincent

“Are you out of your mind, Jake? If we get caught here, they’ll add ten years to our sentences.”

“Relax, Hubie. We won’t get caught. Now get off your lazy butt and help me drag the raft higher on the rocks. We’ve got to get it in undercover.”

Jacob “Jake” Falco and Hubert “Hubie” Pavoni had both been sent up for twenty years to life for their part in the largest bank heist of the 20th century. Three guards and two hostages were killed during the shootout and only Jake and Hubie got away long enough to hide the $10 million in cash they’d made off with. That was six years ago, and they were still the only two men alive who knew where to find a fortune.

“Okay, Jake. We’ve got the raft and supplies under this outcropping, so it can’t be spotted from the air and sure as hell no one’s going to step foot in this place except crazy people like us.”

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