Drake (Book 1)

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11:37 p.m.

Ella awakened suddenly and rose from her bed, drenched in sweat. Winded, she hurried to a window and pushed it open with all her might. A crisp gust greeted her and blew leaves into the room, which spun and danced before settling on the floor. She reached for one and held it in her palm.

Her eyes grew wide, and she gasped, crushing the leaflet in her palm. She rubbed her eyes and inspected it thoroughly. Cherry Blossoms.

She sank into her bed, mortified, her face ashen. Terror seized her, and she cradled herself into a ball. A light gale pushed the wind chime hanging above her window; its pieces rotated and whirled, becoming silver streaks in the night. Just outside her room on a tree, an owl settled, gawking at her with yellow eyes.

The owl hooted, and insects chirred. Ella shrieked at the sudden flap of wings as the owl departed. She covered her mouth and moseyed back to the window, peeking outside. She saw nothing but layers of bricks and mortar that made the abbey walls. Rows of vineyards surrounded the perimeter with a few cottages.

A single pedal floated and landed on her window sill. Her amber eyes narrowed and an eternal memory, forever burned into her mind returned. She hadn’t seen cherry blossoms like that since that one evening in 1940.

I stayed up late the night before the world ended. I saw a woman outside…

As Ella dwelled, her thoughts became more palpable. The fragments in her mind assembled, filling the once empty husk of her body. Sorrow, fear, anger, or pain. She didn’t care what she felt. All those things reminded her she was alive. These things… made her human.

The woman she imagined sat on the branch of a tree overflowing with cherry blossoms that scattered into the wind. Her hair was pink like the blossoms with surprising indigo eyes and skin the color of snow. She wore a silver kimono tied with red ribbons and velvet sleeves.

She looked at me, and I could see it in her eyes. Sorrow… But I saw something else in them…

The beauty’s lips curled into a wolf-like grin. Ella could see rage lingering behind her indigo eyes and her ghoulish talons. She licked her lips and opened her mouth, revealing teeth filed down to resemble a shark. The tail-ends of her kimono glided behind her like tendrils, as did the ends of her ribbons. Then she fell from the tree, landing gracefully on her toes.

She whispered to me her name. A name I could never forget: Rain…

Ella shook her head from the shrills erupting from outside. Bodies thudded, and she heard loud pops that sounded like firecrackers. She ran back to the window and glanced outside just as the abbey entrance erupted into a violent inferno. Her room rumbled, and the bells tolled from the towers. Bursts of gunfire continued, and footsteps clattered just outside her door.

More women screamed as their flesh was torn or sliced clean through. Ella rushed to her door and turned the knob. Locked. Of course, it was locked. The sisters never opened the door until sunrise.

She went back to the window and poked her head out. A group of gunmen beneath her, clad in black body armor and trappings opened fire, strafing her window. She dived for cover as bullets ricocheted and chipped off pieces of stone. The plant pot resting on the ledge shattered, spreading soil and leaves across her room.

A woman screamed just outside her door before being massacred. Her body fell and blood seeped under the door. Ella stifled a gasp and huddled into a corner, nearly tripping on her rug. The gunfire ceased and slowly faded away. Men shouted outside as they directed orders, though she couldn’t discern the language.

Ella whimpered, and tears streamed from her eyes.

A great blade hacked through her door, cutting it diagonally before kicking it inwards. A figure stepped through, hoisting the great sword on her shoulder, its edge wet with blood. She formed an impish smile and brushed away the pink waves covering her face. She wore a white toga with gold braces on her arms, legs, and neck. Crimson stains covered her body, and her indigo eyes glared.

“You know who I am?” Rain asked.

Ella gave her a meek nod.

“Then you know what I want…”

Two men approached from behind Rain, clad in the same armor and uniform from before. One raised his rifle and struck her across the head with its butt before dragging her away. As her world went dark, she looked at Rain.

Rain leaned closer and whispered in a dastardly tone: “I came to take you back little bird…”

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