Category Archives: The Gathering Book 1
(Book 1 The Remnant)
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Ever so carefully he leaned out, his eyes sweeping the alley to either side, the noise coming from his stomach a reminder of how long it had been since he’d last eaten. Yet with hunger gnawing at his insides, the boy knew it was suicide to try to grab the cookies before first making sure it wasn’t a trick. Just that morning Spider had reminded everyone to be careful about taking anything left near doorways or alleys.
Twigs chewed on his lower lip. Of course, he’d also been reminded not to get separated, which Twig had done the moment he’d come in here without telling the others where he was going.
The sudden rise of hair along his arms and neck had his heart pounding in his ears. Something had entered the alley and was hiding near the entrance. Willing himself unseen, the young damphir’s eyes searched for who or what, praying the stench of garbage, raw sewage, and decay would not only mask his presence, but discourage them, it, from coming any further.
Time felt suspended as he continued to search the alley, his stick thin limbs shivering in sunlight that would all too soon be directly overhead, abolishing every shadow and hiding place, including his own. Sounds became more pronounced and images confused as he struggled to remain calm, every survival skill he’d learned competing with the all too real terror of becoming someone’s next meal. Hands he dare not wipe on the leg of his pants for fear of making any kind of noise, gripped the edge of the bucket in front of him, the knuckles white from how tightly he held on.
Then he heard the whisper of Dash’s voice in his head, reminding him the best way to slow a racing heart, how to quiet the fear and be still.
Breathe in. Breathe out. A cloudless sunrise. A bird in flight. The gentle lap of water on a sand filled shoreline. The sound of his family sleeping – their dreams undisturbed.
It wasn’t long before his heart no longer pounded in his head and his breathing, though not fully normal, no longer made him feel dizzy.
When he finally returned to the reality around him, it was to discover whatever had come into the alley was gone. Leaving him once again with the decision whether to snatch the package of cookies and risk being caught in a trap, or leave without them.
A few moments later the sounds of Twigs muffled screams quickly faded away as the pale hand of his captor slid the manhole cover back into place. An hour later and several blocks away, the grate of yet another manhole cover was seen sliding back, followed by the sound of an unopened bag of cookies being pushed out to rest precariously on its rim.
(Book 2 of The Remnant)