Binding Moonlight

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Prolog (v.1) - Prologue

Submitted: January 07, 2019

Reads: 108

Comments: 2

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Submitted: January 07, 2019

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The sky was black. It had been since the small sun died almost sixty years ago. Nrekeeka thought she should take its example and die as well. Her life had been crumbling since they moved to this city and it just seemed to keep getting worse.

The sky was black. It felt darker today than it had any day in the entire seventeen years Nrekeeka Seldon had been alive. She survived her father’s death. She was strong when her mother overdosed. She held herself together every day for the sake of her sister. But today, no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t summon any of her strength. Her sister had contracted the virus which had been ravishing the planets as long as the sun had been gone.

Tears ran down her face, dripping off her chin. She wasn’t sobbing or hiccupping, just silently crying. She didn’t know what was left for her. Sure, Shelsea was still alive, but all her future held was painful deterioration of her muscles and liquefaction of her organs. A slow, agonizing death.

“They’re still working on a cure. The government hired some prodigy to develop it,” said her best and only friend, Tobi Nexarius. He slipped his hand into hers as she cried. He was trying so hard not to break down in front of her. Shelsea was his family, too.

“I know you don’t want to hear this ‘Keeka, but the doctor says you’ve got two choices,” Tobi continued, squeezing her hand. “She’s in an induced coma now, but she’ll keep degrading. The longest anyone lived with Amaran is about ten years. You can leave her as she is, or you can let them…” he trailed off, a hitch in his voice.

Nrekeeka shook her head. She couldn’t let them kill her sister. She was dying on her own, but as long as there was some hope in finding a cure, Nrekeeka would never give the doctors the okay to kill the only family she had left.

Bringing her free hand up to her face, she wiped away some of the tears continuing to roll down her cheeks. Raising her head, she saw her pain reflected in Tobi's bright golden eyes. “What am I going to do?”

Tobi licked his lips, turning away from Nrekeeka. “You know I’ll take care of you no matter what happens. I was gonna wait until your birthday to give you this, but considering the circumstances…” With his free hand, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a key card.

“What is it?” Nrekeeka asked, wiping her eyes again. They stung, her skin tight with swelling.

“There’s a building downtown I bought for us. You, Shelsea, and me. I thought we could all live together, y’know? Sort of start our own little family. Look out for each other. It’s not in fantastic shape since it’s an abandoned factory, but I’ve been putting money into it to replace the wiring and plumbing and stuff. I figured you wouldn’t want to go back home. And since my parents found out about you and Shelsea…let’s just say I’m not welcome at their house anymore.” Tobi gave a humorless snort, tucking the card back into his pocket. He released Nrekeeka’s hand and wiped his own eyes.

“Tobi, you don’t have to spend your money on us,” said Nrekeeka. “You know how mad Shelsea gets when you do.”

“I know, but I just thought…” He trailed off with a shrug.

Nrekeeka crossed her arms over her chest, her eyes falling to the cracking concrete sidewalk. She inhaled a deep, shuddering breath. “Take me home,” she said on the exhale.

Frowning, he tipped his head to try and meet her eye. “You want to go to your house?”

She shook her head. “No, our home.”

Tobi swallowed hard and nodded. He put his hand on her shoulder and led her to his car. This was not how he wanted this to happen, but at least he could keep her close and make sure she didn’t do anything stupid.

 

***

 

“You’ll be in complete control of the facility and the employees.”

Robyn Stamos nodded as he followed the Head of the Parset Department of Health and Welfare.

After fifty years of trying and failing to develop a cure on their own, the PDHW needed to take a chance. Robyn’s off-the-charts test results in his courses and his postdoctoral studies in this government branch had gotten him noticed. He was eighteen years old and more intelligent than half the department put together. It would be a breeze finding and developing the cure, but he had bigger plans for his new position.

Robyn smiled to himself.

“Do you have any questions?” the Head asked, stopping in front of the entrance as he put his hands in his pants pockets.

Pushing his black-framed glasses up his nose, Robyn turned his sharp gaze on the shorter man. “You said I have complete control over the employees, correct?”

The man nodded.

“Then I would like to fire all of the incompetent morons currently in residence at the facility. I do not need any of these so-called geniuses to do my work. I have the mental capacity to perform all of their work myself. I would also like to hire Maxine Ernest and Ekie Maxwell,” explained Robyn, crossing his arms.

The man stared at him, slack-jawed, for a brief moment before composing himself. He closed his eyes for a few seconds, taking a calming breath. “What makes these two so special you are willing to have their services?”

“I’m not surprised you’ve never heard of either of them. I like to keep current on my fellow prodigies, no matter how menial their talent may be. Maxine is very intelligent, skilled in computers, has graduated high school, and is doing many higher education courses through correspondence all at the age of fifteen. And Ekie, while not exactly book smart, can see people’s weaknesses, particularly in a fight. I have seen him in a brawl once or twice and made a point to learn about him. He is also fifteen years old,” Robyn explained. “I need them as my technical and security experts.”

Scowling darkly, the Head of the PDHW exhaled slowly. “They seem a bit young for such positions.”

“Do you also see me as too young?”

“Yes. And had it been up to me, you would not be here. Unfortunately, the board of Directors thought you were our best option right now, and if I want to keep my job, I have to keep you happy,” the man explained, his forehead creasing into a deep scowl.

“Well, if you want to keep me happy you’ll allow me to choose my own employees. I believe they are perfect for the positions I require. And since you are to accommodate my wishes, I will need them by the end of the week.” Robyn’s genial smile twisted into a smug smirk.

The other man was irritated and uncomfortable but nodded anyway. He wasn’t in a position to say no if the PDHW wanted their precious cure. They were so desperate at this point, they would give Robyn the third moon of Kross if he asked for the thing. He wanted Max and Ekie, and as always, he would get his way. Of course, he didn’t particularly need security or glorified technical support, but it never hurt to have people on your side who shared your point of view. They would act more like moral support in the time to come.

“It’s a shame your father isn’t here to see you in such a position at your age.”

Robyn nodded. His father had been a well-known colonel, killed a few years ago in the war. “Yes, it is a shame. I believe he would have been very proud of my work.”

“Indeed he would have.”

Robyn’s false expression remained in place as he followed the man from the building. Yes, his father would have been very proud. Robyn was going to save the planet with his work. In more ways than one.


© Copyright 2019 Kristin Kuffner. All rights reserved.

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