The Book of Ages
Three unrelated lives clash when Time and Space collide. Ripped from their homes and families, Alexandra King and Kasandra Kalani find themselves stranded on Kosmos, a strange planet that boasts five moons, mystical powers, and vicious monsters. Together they join forces with Prince Damian Saidonas of Astir - thought to be dead by the order of his vindictive older brother - who must regain his throne after a five-year absence he never served.
Her trembling form wilts
from rain and cold. Warm hands lie
better than silver
tongues. The Devil-reaped child smiles,
and He calls her Nemesis.
The Child Nemesis
Edition V of The Book of Ages
Alexa stared at the broken tailfin, wedged so deeply into the ground it raised ripples of torn earth. The world burned around her in a haze of heat and billowy, black smoke that rose up from the crisp, green grass carpeting the French countryside. Scorched corpses, in whole and part, were scattered amidst the smoldering remains of the Boeing 773. Nothing moved aside from the steady rise of pillared smoke. Not even the wind blew, as if the Earth herself felt the magnitude of the tragedy and fell into mourning.
The plane lay scattered in more pieces than even Alexa’s now broken life, but there wasn’t a scratch on her. No bruises marred her pale, freckled skin, and her clothes were as clean, crisp, and fresh as they’d been when she walked out of her hotel room in Rome that morning with her parents and brothers by her side.
They were beside her now, too. Somewhere. Likely in pieces.
She could still hear Luc screaming.
Or was that her?
Blue, red, and white lights flashed in the distance, reflecting off the rising smoke and ivory painted metal remains in haloed bubbles of light that half-blinded her. She didn’t move; couldn’t move.
A hand fell on her shoulder, but Alexa was too far gone to be surprised. She just stared straight ahead, never blinking, at the tailfin buried not three feet in front of her. Why couldn’t it have crushed her?
She knew someone was talking to her. She could hear the distant wah-wah of a man’s voice as if he was plucked right out of an old Peanuts Special. He shook her, and her whole body undulated with the motion, her head bobbling atop her neck spinelessly.
Wah-wah, he said. Wah-wah.
A distant part of her realized she was in shock. A less distant part of her knew people could die from shock. The least distant part of her was glad of both facts.
Strong arms wrapped around her, turning her, pressing the side of her face into a broad, warm chest. Still wide-eyed, Alexa saw nothing; saw no one. Invisible fingers delved into her mess of shoulder-length curls and massaged her scalp, her neck, her shoulders.
Wah-wah, he said again. Wah-wah. Wah-wah. Wah-wah.
Bodies in masks and fire suits ran toward her, toward the wreck, from the origin point of the irritating flashes of light. They moved as if in slow motion, matching the slow-licking tongues of flame that towered over and crowded around her on every side. The man she couldn’t see still held her, still spoke to her. His voice began to resolve slowly, distantly.
Not your fault. He said it again and again and again as he stroked and held and caressed her uninjured, undirtied, unresponsive body. Not your fault. Not your fault. Not your fault.
The suited bodies arrived and there were more hands touching her; harsher hands, confused hands, demanding hands. Questions were thrown at her, at other bodies, at the universe itself. No answers came. She was pulled off her feet and strapped down to a board. A flashlight was in her eyes, then it was gone. The voices flowed around her, over her, through her like thick, gelatinous liquid that couldn’t penetrate her brain no matter how many times they tried.
And through it all, a hand in hers, fingers brushing her forehead, and that same, persistent echo: Not your fault. Not your fault. Not your fault.
Narrow, metal walls covered in cabinets and machinery bore down on her, suffocating her. Still, she said nothing, did nothing, felt nothing.
Not your fault.
A mask fell over her face, and she breathed deep. Darkness crept in, fogging her vision and mind.
Not your fault, the voice said again. Again. Again.
Liar. Alexa closed her eyes and hoped to die.