One week before
I sprinted through the corridor, adrenaline pumping, lights flickering above me, the DOAA’s alarm piercing my eardrums. The others followed somewhere behind, my pace outmatching theirs. I was fast. Hell, the fastest on my planet. But right now, it was anger that fueled my speed, not ability. Seraphina was dead, and someone was going to pay, human or not.
Two guards rounded the bend just ahead of me. I laughed in their faces as they drew their weapons. Increasing my speed, I catapulted off the wall grabbing the first guard’s neck tie, cradling it like a noose around his throat. More than anything, I wanted to kill him, but I’d settle for him passing out. I tightened my hold until he slumped to the ground. The second DOAA agent came at me with his Ferroan knife, the only weapon on Earth that could kill me or my kind. The long blade was forged with a sharply-tapered point and the letters DOAA etched on the brown handle. I grinned as it shook in his hands.
“First time holding that kid or first time intending on using it?” I sneered. His reaction was warranted. Not many DOAA agents had to fight us. We generally came in peace and in truth could overtake most humans without even batting an eye. Not that I thought this guy stood a chance at my demise. He was just a kid, most likely a new recruit, ordered to cross my lethal path. But part of me wanted to be put out of my misery, so I welcomed his effort.
He positioned his body; feet wide and knees bent.
“You sure about this?” I taunted him, giving a nod to the guard on the floor.
“Captain Kingston, the Director just wants to talk to you.” His voice cracked like a prepubescent human.
I laughed. Director Dod wanted to talk. My girlfriend was murdered, and these humans wanted to talk. With a swift upper cut to the boy’s jaw, he flipped backwards hitting his head on the wall before landing on his side.
The corridor filled with a deafening silence, soon interrupted by my sister’s faint voice. “Cash,” she called to me.
Steeling myself, I slowly approached the doors at the end of the corridor, waving my hands in front of them to release the locking mechanism. I stepped inside and came to a complete stop.
A lone metal table stood in the center of the dimly lit room. Strands of Seraphina’s jet-black hair draped over its edge, her prone body covered by a white sheet. Wires strung from her arms to machines that towered over me. They were keeping her “fresh” as they called it on Earth. Her body was being preserved for transit back to Ferro.
I pulled back the cloth as energy crackled over my skin, settling into a steady hum as the source inside me coursed through my veins. It was Sera. Her last memory stretched out to me in sound waves, urging the energy source inside my chest to read her message before anyone else.
Alongside the pain I felt in losing her, I hoped she would tell me how she died. I would do anything in my power to find who was responsible. And when I did, I would make them—and anyone else who got in my way—suffer.
My pulse timed itself with the pounding footsteps in the outside corridor, leaving me with only seconds to connect to her energy source stored within her chest cavity. My sister’s hitched breath from the other side of the room made me pause. I wanted to mourn the body beneath the sheet. I wanted to touch her one last time, but I couldn’t allow my emotions to take hold of me.
I moved the sheet back a couple inches exposing our matching scars, and traced her skin. The ridge of a diamond-shaped marking grazed my touch and I pressed my finger gently into her flesh. The memory flooded through me almost instantaneously, soaking my mind with Seraphina’s last seconds on this planet.
She was lying on a metal table in what appeared to be a cave. Two deadly cuts lacerated her right ankle and right wrist—the rest of her body covered in dirt. Sweat sprinkled her brow. Blood dotted her lips—lips I had kissed a thousand times and would never kiss again. Along her jawline were traces of bruising in hues of deep purple. Seraphina suddenly gasped and expelled a voice foreign to hers. “My daughter—you need to protect my daughter. She holds the key. You need her, and she needs you. Remember the safehouse I told you about. Start there. Go now. There’s little time. Find her Cash, please. Crede Mihi.”
The last bit of energy thrust me across the room, hurling me backwards until my back slammed against the wall. I opened my eyes to find my sister kneeling above me. Tears fell from her cheeks landing on my chest as she cupped her hands around my face.
I gasped for air, confusion hitting me all at once. “It wasn’t her. It was Faye.”