Unedited 2nd half of Chapter 1:
Shane and his Mother's quarters were located on the mid-level of the mansion. We slowly and quietly slipped down the corridor towards the massive staircase that joined all three floors. What we couldn't hear while mother had been battling with Michael, we now heard in crystal clear clarity. Screaming. It was coming from the second level; the only other female in this house was Shane's mother, Dalia.
Inching closer to the stair's huge polished oak banister, I started to notice a strong scent...blood. As we reached the banister and looked down the black marble steps, we saw where the smell was coming from. Both on the steps and the landing were four bodies. They were my cousins. Four of my cousins, all around my age, lay dead against the cold, dark marble of the steps. My mother let out a sound so heart wrenching, you could barely tell it was human. As I stared at the pale hand of the cousin who lay closest to me I finally let the tears fall free. It looked like the hand was reaching out and waiting for someone to take it. It looked as if in my cousin’s dying moment he had reached out for help. That hand was the one that once used to hold mine while we ran through the fields out back. What once held warmth now held the iciness of death. It took me a couple seconds to realize I was shaking uncontrollably. As I cried in silence, my mother slid to the ground and crawled carefully over to the first step and slowly slid down the steps in a sitting position. When she reached the first body she rolled it over and pulled the still child into her arms. She used one badly shaking hand to smooth the hair back from the child's forehead, and gingerly planted a kiss on his brow. She repeated this display with the other three children as well. She arranged all three bodies on the landing in a row. They looked peaceful now that Mother had lined them up as if they slept rather than leaving them in the contorted poses they had been in when the had fallen dead to the ground. For a long while she just kneeled next to the bodies tears sliding one by one from her still human eyes.
Down on the second level you could still hear the crash of furniture being broken and the screams that ripped forth from Diala. Every now and then you could even hear a roar come from outside of the house. Apparently, the fight wasn't only taking place inside. We probably had only been on the landing for no more than four minutes since leaving my room behind, but it felt like an eternity. I was so scared I didn't know how to react. I slowly made my way down the steps to where my mother was and slid down next to her. I reached over and clung to the arm nearest me. That's when we heard a different scream, not the scream of a fighting woman, but the scream of a terrified child. That is what finally broke my mother's trance.
As quick as a cheetah, she stood and jumped the remaining steps from the landing to the second level. I raced after her as fast as I could, terrified to be left alone. She was a blur ahead of me, nothing but a flash of Sunset hair letting me know that she had ducked into the room that belonged to Shane. The screams raised in volume and more crashing was coming from ahead of me. Running as fast as I could down the long corridor, with tears blurring my vision and sobs making it hard to breathe, I finally reached Shane's room and turned to enter. What I saw stopped me dead in my tracks. The first thing I saw was Shane sitting curled up in a corner, much as I had been about fifteen minutes earlier during my mother's battle. The next thing I saw was Dalia shimmering with energy and bleeding from several deep gashes. Her nebu khet eyes were the color of emeralds. Her hair was a shade of black as dark as night. She was much more petite than my mother, and she was as pale as the moon. She was holding her left arm close to her body, where it swung at an odd angle, as if it were boneless. She was half growling, half sobbing and trying in vain to keep the two khet men facing her away from the corner where Shane was pressed against the wall crying.
The next thing I noticed was my mother. Once again she was locked in battle but this time with a male and female neb-khet. I recognized the female instantly. It was Michael's wife, Shondra Twymkowski. Her dark brown hair was braided into hundreds of tiny braids. Her skin was the color of honey and her eyes were a shade of hazel just one step below gold. She was gorgeous...and deadly. The male I didn't know. He was the opposite of Shondra. His hair was a mass of blond, chin length curls. His eyes were the color of arctic ice. His face was set in hard lines and angles, that made you think that he may have come from a Nordic race of people. He was absolutely huge. Power rolled off of him in electrifying waves as well as Shondra. Neither of them would have stood a chance against Mother if they had been alone, but together they amounted to what could be a deadly opponent. Mother had Shondra by the throat. She had cut a long deep gash from Shondra's left shoulder all the way down to her forearm and blood poured like a faucet had been turned on. As mother cocked her right arm back in a fist aimed for Shondra's face, the pale man struck her with a blast of energy. Her grip slipped from Shondra's throat and she was kart-wheeled through the air and slammed into a wall. Before she could pull herself up from the ground the Blond warrior focused another crippling wave of energy into a compact projectile and levitated it in front of his massive torso, it appeared as a whitish-blue spear head, with swirling eddies within its tight form. There was so much power within the small space in front of him that the air started discharging static electricity off of everything in the room. Small blue sparks danced across my skin causing the hair on my head to stand on end. Mother glared at him through a curtain of hair the color of flames and raised her own power levels in response. Slowly she got up from the ground balancing herself against the wall. The Nordic frowned causing a deep crease to form between his eyebrows. Apparently he wasn’t as well versed in the strength of our family as the Twymkowskis were. The frown became a sly grin as he took in the image of my mother. “Your are a strong woman… and beautiful, very beautiful. Why waste your beauty and potential on such a petty thing as this half breed and his bitch mother?” He said this while simultaneously indicating the battle taking place behind him.
Shane’s mother, Dalia, was down and almost out. One of the men who had been battling her earlier, now had her pinned beneath him. Not more than a few feet from where they struggled on the ground lay the body of the second man. Apparently, Dalia had gotten lucky and caught hold of her second assailant. There was a long jagged, gaping wound from where the man’s throat used to be all the way down to his groin; he was split open like a gutted fish. His insides lay in long shiny coils along the ground, along with a mix of blood and something darker with a stringent odor. His eyes were vacant of life, staring blindly towards the ceiling. Unfortunately, there was still one bad guy alive and he wasn’t fazed by the absence of his comrade. He lunged for Dalia, in that same instant she tried to backpedal out of his way, but she was too slow. He connected with her, his shoulder hitting her in the center of her chest. Quicker than a snake he struck out at her neck with his teeth. Dalia had her arm up in front of her throat just in time to block the blow. Instead of the soft, vulnerable tissue of her throat he ended up with her forearm in his mouth. It was the same arm that she had already injured before. No more than a second after he had latched onto her arm, a sickening crack echoed through the room and her arm bent into a ninety degree angle. Her scream was ear piercing.
Instinct took over as I phased once again. My vision took on the same eerie clarity that it did earlier. I felt my strength accumulate in my limbs, like a coil wound tight to the breaking point. Before thinking, I lunged at Dalia’s assailant. He must have seen me out of the corner of his eye because he moved just before I reached him. One moment he was holding Dalia’s arm in his teeth, the next he was standing ten feet away by a window. Dalia wasted no time in getting back to her feet. She cradled her mangled arm to her and went to stand in front of Shane.
Mother was once more in the midst of battle with Shondra and The Nordic. My opponent looked like he was debating the reality of such a young Nebu-Khet existing. The bloodlust built up in me so quickly that I wasn’t even aware of the growl emanating from my throat. The man started to grin and moved a step closer to where I was still crouched on the ground. Apparently I wasn’t very high up on his danger list. His mistake. On his second step he made his move… so did I. He came at me like a bullet. The second before he could grab me I moved, spinning like a miniature tornado. He went right past me I took the opportunity to latch onto his passing shoulder. I clamped onto his back and started tearing into him with my teeth. I used my fingers like blunt claws. I pressed them through his skin into the spaces between his ribs. He screamed in agony; inside my head I was screaming with joy. I was the hunter, and this was my first prey. I pulled on the ribs like handlebars, and heard the audible snaps, like tree branches breaking under the weight of snow. Once the ribs were out of the way I dug deeper into his body cavity. Soft warm things slid against my hands and arms like warm water balloons. I punctured everything that I came in contact with. The man kept spinning and twisting, trying unsuccessfully to throw me off of his back. After a couple more seconds, he collapsed to his knees, then fell to his face. I still didn’t stop tearing at his unmoving form.
All I could see was a blurry landscape, it took me a second to realize that I was crying and that my tears were disrupting my vision. The bloodlust I had felt a second ago ebbed and was replaced with anger and sorrow. I stopped mutilating the body beneath me and just sobbed.
Dalia moved up beside me and pulled me into the corner where Shane was staring at me with a kind of awed expression. Her arm had already mended itself, but she was still favoring it. “Stay here boys, I need to help your mother Kalin, please keep Shane here with you.” She leaned forward and kissed each of us gently on top of our heads. She phased so quick that I didn’t notice when her eyes slid into the color of sparkling emeralds from their normal brown shade. She flung herself into the air, expecting to land on the back of The Nordic, but in mid-flight a piece of wooden debris few straight up into the air to meet her. It slid straight into her abdomen and part of it exited through her back. She just went limp, like a marionette that had been cut loose, and instead of landing gracefully on the ground, she hit it hard and slid into a wall.
Mother cried out, “No, Dalia!”
Mother rushed The Nordic at full speed, but he was waiting for her. He side-stepped her and planted his knee into her stomach. All I could hear was the “whoosh” as the air escaped her lungs. She fell to her knees, and before she could react, Shondra stepped up behind her and grabbed a handful of my mother’s hair. She used it for leverage and pulled her head back .
“You always thought you were the baddest bitch on the block, didn’t you Shara? Well say hello to the new queen bitch.”
So many things happened at once. Shondra still had a grip on Mother’s hair but something crucial had changed. The Nordic who had been standing directly in front of Mother was now splayed across the floor. Shondra had a pure look of terror in her eyes and was staring at Mother with a look that reminded one of seeing a mouse holding a cat by the tail and realizing how absurd the idea was just a little too late.
Mother yanked her head forward so fast is was like seeing one of those photos of something in motion; you just saw a blurred line that indicated the path her head had moved in. Shondra had forgotten to let go in her terror and was yanked over Mother’s shoulders. She landed on her back with a hard flop. I started to run towards Mother but one look at her face stopped me dead in my tracks. She looked like the predator she was and for a moment I wasn’t sure if she would recognize me as her own child.
Her eyes were blazing, and the bones of her face stood out from beneath her skin like the sharp peaks of a mountain. Every muscle was tight and appeared as tough as a whip cord sliding beneath her flesh. The air thickened with her power as she slowly climbed to her feet. She didn’t say a word, she just stared at Shondra with more malice than one person should have been able to harbor within their being. She changed her stare from Shondra to the now unconscious Nordic. He slowly began to levitate from the ground. It was like someone hooked a rope to the center of his back and tugged him smoothly to the ceiling. His head, arms and legs dangled towards the ground. As if being summoned awake he snapped his eyes open and instantly tried to right himself. That’s when he realized he was floating about 12 feet above the ground. He lifted his head to look at mother and instantly adopted the same expression that Shondra still wore. One of pure terror.
Every time he would try to use his own energy to break free I could feel it. It was like getting shocked when you touched a doorknob in a room and static energy leapt from it to meet you. He was getting frantic. I had never seen one nebu khet hold another with such ease. Only the strongest could do it, and even then they struggled.
Mother slowly raised her left arm up to stretch out directly in front of her; her palm facing The Nordic instead of the floor. As quick as lightning she swept her arm across the floor in front of her in a half circle flooding the room with power of the sorts I had never felt before. One moment The Nordic was twisting and kicking trying to break invisible shackles that were keeping him suspended in the air, the next he was screaming as his muscles and flesh was cleanly torn away from his body, leaving what looked like a skeleton wearing the torn and shredded remains of its body like a ripped shroud. The scream lasted no more than a second before it died along with its maker.
The mutilated body hit the floor with a sound equivalent to that of dropping a load of sticks onto concrete. The Nordics intestines and other organs slid out of the gaps between his ribs and the hollow where the stomach muscles should have been. Then everything burst into flames. These were not natural flames these flames were white blue in color and were the creation of my mother’s rage.
She turned her attention back to the cowering Shondra, and said, “Looks like this bitch has reclaimed her throne.”
With that the same blue white flames engulfed Shondra and more blood curdling screams began, the only difference was that these screams lasted for what seemed like eternity.
Mother came over to me and Shane, none of her appearance had returned to normal, she still looked as frightening as ever. She reached her hand out to me and I actually hesitated before taking it. She felt like stone, her body was like a living statue that was warm with life. She took my hand in an iron grip and then looked at Shane. “Shane, I need you to take Kalin’s hand. We have to get you two to safety hun.”
If her appearance wasn’t reassuring, her voice still was. He slowly reached up and wound his fingers together with mine. My senses instantly picked up the frantic heartbeat coming from within his frightened body. I helped him stand, and once he regained his legs, my mother quickly led us from the room. We went down the rest of the stairs to the main level.
There were more bodies spread throughout the desecrated house. Nothing slowed Mother, she just kicked the dead and the remains of furniture from our path and sent them tumbling through the air to land yards away. She went straight for the front doors and used power to blast the mighty, 12 foot tall, solid wood giants outward to shower across the expanse of the front yard in six inch long splinters. The smell of ozone filled the humid night air, as if a lightning storm had just taken place. Around us stood what remained of The Twymkowski’s army. The front yard was filled with what looked like glowing orbs. In reality they were the flaring eyes of our enemy. I felt every muscle in my body knot, and my stomach started doing flips. I couldn’t see how we could escape this siege. Mother could probably take on up to 8 on her own, maybe ten, she was, after all, the most powerful of us. I just couldn’t see her taking on the crowd of what had to be thirty or fourty. Somewhere in the recesses of my young soul I knew this was the night we would die.
Without a word an iridescent film materialized in front of my eyes and caused me to let out a squeak of fright. My eyes followed the shimmering colors up into the sky for about twenty feet. I realized that it wasn’t a wall of color but more like a giant soap bubble that had us on the inside. The iridescent, oil-like patterns slowly glided along the sphere’s surface like they had a mind of their own.
Mother walked ahead like there was no army standing before us ready to cut us down. As the barrier surrounding us made contact with a lunging nebu khet, it emitted a flash of bright blue-white light that incinerated him on impact. I watched in horror and fascination as his ashes sifted through the night sky, drifting off on the winds. “When I tell you to run, you must do as I say and not look back. The sphere will move with you both but it will disperse soon after you leave my side. I need to know that you will both run as fast as you can. Do I have your word children?”
“What about you mom? If the sphere moves with us, what about you? I don’t want to go, I’m scared. Mommy please! I don’t want to…”,
“Enough! You need to listen to me! Shane needs you, and I need you both to be safe. Baby, you must do this for me. I know it’s asking a lot hun, but you are my everything; both of you are, and I have to do what I can to keep you safe. If I try to get away I will be sentencing us all to death sweetheart, and I can’t do that to you. I don’t have the energy needed to run and fight. I must fight them here to keep them from following you. Now, promise me, you will run and you won’t look back. Promise me!” The tears sliding down my cheeks, were a match to my mother’s own. Her sorrow swelled around us on tidal waves of emotion.
“I love you hun, and I love you too Shane. You both are the future of our people, you both are the answer to all of the pain that the sapes and ourselves have inflicted on the nebu khet population throughout the ages. That’s why I am doing this, that’s what all of this is about, remember that boys. This can be just another painful moment in time, or it can be the beginning of the end.” She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around both our shaking, sobbing forms and planted a kiss on each of our foreheads.
“Please remember that I love you”
Then came more blood and screaming….