Rae Wilder #1
Copyright © 2012 Penelope Fletcher
All rights reserved by the Author
All characters and events in this novel are fictitious and resemblance to real persons, living or dead, are purely coincidental. No part of this novel may be reproduced, stored or transmitted without the prior permission in writing from the author.
Artwork © Renu Sharma | www.thedarkrayne.com
Model © Jessica Truscott
“But I will never know you. Or follow you. Or trust you.
– You Lie by @fifi1621
The day I learnt I was a demon was the worst day of my life. I won’t lie. I spent most the day terrified of dying or losing a limb.
The first thing I heard and thought about when I woke that morning was demons. A were-cat scream echoed for a beat, before an answering scream, higher in pitch, called in the distance. It sounded like the packs were fighting; a territorial dispute most likely. There was a Pride not too far from the Temple. A muffled shriek drifted up through the floorboards. I rolled my eyes when it happened again on the next scream. I buried my head under the pillow, pulling my blanket up. New Disciples thought the world was ending every time a demon passed nearby. It took them a long time to understand, if the Wall was breached the klaxon went off to warn us.
I rolled out of bed, tripped over the mountains of fabric and crushed cans that littered the floor of my room, and head butted the wardrobe door. It bounced back. Clothes flung over the top and spilling out the bottom had stopped it from clicking shut. I was not a dirty person, but a messy one. I was the kind of person who could make mess in an empty four by ten box. Stood in my fraying bra and panties, I groggily scratched at my knee, trying to pull myself together. It took a lot of rummaging around before I pulled on my ragged jeans and a faded tee shirt, some pre Rupture band on the front. Not the best gear for running, but I was going to have to go straight to class afterward. I put my boots on and headed outside.
It was dark. Dawn was hours away and the grounds were eerily quiet. Fire drums set alongside the pathway flickered and the weak flames cast a sick flush over the cold ground. Electricity was hard to generate, so the Sect cut corners where it could. Resources during the day and after dark focused on Wall hotspots, places difficult for the Clerics to defend easily, like steep ravines and cliff faces. These were the places demons too often breached. My eyes skipped over the Temple grounds and every graffitied wall and battered trashcan, was coloured fondly in my mind’s eye. The Temple was an army base before the Rupture, but now it was the stomping ground of the Sect Clerics and their Disciples. It was home. Safety. My eyes settled on the Wall in the near distance, peeking out from the forest bordering the region. Past that electric fence was Outside. Past that fence roamed the demons.
I started at a jog. In no time I was at the main gate whistling to the security guard who barely looked up from his book. I wondered where he’d gotten that. Books made purely for entertainment were as rare as plain paper. The Sect had a library of course, right here at Temple, but you had to have serious pull with the Priests to be able to rent one. We lucky Disciples got to feel the smooth pages of a book on a regular basis, even if they were educational, and my envy was brief. The guard caught me eyeing up the pages and placed it on his lap. He waved me on as the gate cracked to let me out.