In silence, the humans waited. They continued to hope even though they knew that the sturdy walls of the stone cottage would not keep death out.
The fire burned low, its embers glowing. A young woman, her lips pressed into a flat line, sat by the fireplace. A large pitcher of cheap wine trembled between her thin fingers. Men stood guard at the doors and windows, each armed with a sword and an unlit torch soaked in pitch. In the middle of the room, ten children huddled in the protective embrace of their mothers.
The children had reached their fifth year since the last full moon. Grubby-faced angels, all of them, their eyes wide above their pale cheeks—how many of them would survive the night remained to be seen.
Jaden Hunter’s deep green eyes focused on his half-sister, Khiarra, seated on his stepmother’s lap. The child reached up and touched her mother’s face. “Mama, are they coming soon?”
Lydia swallowed hard and pressed her cheek against Khiarra’s hair. Her eyes glistened with tears, but she said nothing.
Jaden glanced out of the window. The full moon inched higher, its glow unhindered by a cloudless night outside the dome that surrounded the city. Its light bathed the mountains and pine forests in silver. Waterfalls cascaded, the spray rising like mist to obscure the craggy peaks.
The untouchable beauty of Earth lay in full view outside the dome.
Within the dome, the city of Aeternae Noctis sprawled across two miles, fringed by fields and thin clusters of trees. At the tallest point within the dome, Malum Turris, the vampires’ stronghold, loomed over the city. As a teenager, Jaden had broken his first sword against its unyielding black walls. The pale glow emerging from the uppermost windows encircled the tower like a bracelet.
He clenched his teeth against the familiar knot of despair-laden anger that coiled in his stomach. Malum Turris was a beacon of evil, a lighthouse that offered death instead of salvation.
He turned at his father’s touch, gentle against his elbow.
Gareth’s hoarse voice murmured in his ear. “She will bring the tower down.”
Jaden glanced at his half-sister. Would she? He doubted, but it would have been too cruel to shatter his father’s belief in the prophecy bestowed upon Khiarra at her birth.
On that blessed night, his father’s aged face had shone with pride when the wise woman laid her hand over the infant’s forehead. Her quavering voice had carried through the quiet city square. “Through her you will see the Night Terrors for who they are. Shred the veil of deception to end the eternal dark.”
Jaden alone noticed that the wise woman had turned her head and fixed her cloudy, unseeing eyes upon him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jade Kerrion developed a loyal reader base with her fan fiction series based on the MMORPG Guild Wars. She was accused of keeping her readers up at night, distracting them from work, housework, homework, and (far worse), from actually playing Guild Wars. And then she wondered why just screw up the time management skills of gamers? Why not aspire to screw everyone else up too?
So here she is, writing books that aspire to keep you from doing anything else useful with your time.
Her debut novel, Perfection Unleashed, spawned the Double Helix series which has won a total of seven science fiction awards, including first place in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 and the gold medal in Readers Favorites Awards 2013. She is also the author of Earth-Sim and When the Silence Ends, which placed first and second respectively in the 2013 Royal Palm Literary Awards, Young Adults category.
She lives in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with her wonderfully supportive husband and her two young sons, Saint and Angel, (no, those aren’t their real names, but they are like saints and angels, except when they’re not.)
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Genre – Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating – PG-13