Path of the Unmaker

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 1

The Sharpeton Institute, the name carries prestige for all those accepted. It is a school unlike any other in the world offering a superior education with state-of-the-art facilities and experts to satisfy the curriculum. It is privately funded with a self-declared mission to mold brilliant young minds.

The Institute’s founder and benefactor Calvin Sharpeton III hailed from the United Kingdom and was often described as eccentric by many when it came to his philanthropy. At the age of eighty-two, when he founded the school, the billionaire cared little about his public image. He was born during the worst economic depression to ever encompass the globe, lived through the WWII, and saw more suffering than he would have thought possible.

The Sharpetons were a military family. They flourished during British Imperialism. The events of the world did not affect young Calvin, protected due to wealth and status. He learned about them from his family’s servants and the newspapers his father left on the table with his breakfast dishes. When questioned about this time of his life, he noted disconnection from the world and wanting to make a difference.

For much of his adult life, he fulfilled this aspiration. Prior to the stroke that left him bedridden for the remainder of his life, he had put his family’s fortune to work providing food, medicine, and education where it was desperately needed. He spent his middling years in remote areas of the world among those for whom his wealth had improved their lives.

As he neared the end of his life, this most generous man desired to leave an enduring legacy. He had no children, and he never married. Confronting his mortality may have led to what is considered his most eccentric act, the establishment of The Sharpeton Institute,“For the betterment of tomorrow’s leaders and therefore for a better tomorrow.”

The reason for the site’s location in the Southeastern United States and not his native England was not shared publicly...

Sixteen-year-old Xani Damiani yawned as she finished the introduction for the biographical essay she had been assigned in English class. She thought she could write a worse first draft. It felt a bit odd to write about the biography of a person who was barely cold in the ground. The founder of her school had died a few weeks before in September 2000. Having such a recently deceased individual as her subject presented challenges where the research portion was concerned. She filled one of the study tables of the Institute’s library with reference materials and printed articles from the Internet gathered with help of her friend Samaji Benedale.

Xani liked the library, because it invoked an unique aesthetic on campus. The bookshelves made of cherry wood reached from the ceiling to the floor along the walls. A couple of sliding ladders accented the tallest shelves. The muted lighting made the place both eerie and tranquil. The blue-violet sky filled her peripheral vision becoming a blur of color like an impressionist painting. In a flurry rustling papers, she sorted her research and packed it away. With care, she organized the items to return to the reference librarian. As she picked up the last stack of printed pages from online databases the school subscribed to, she found a thin, unlabeled volume underneath. She did not remember having it before. She thought to leave it to be shelved properly. Some impulse caused her to retrieve it. The book’s black cover had faded to blue. It had no barcode, but its resilient spine gave a satisfying crack as she opened it.

“What’s that?” Samaji asked.

Xani showed her the book, “This was under the printouts,” she proffered it to her friend, “Yours?”

The girl shook her head and all but snatched the book from her hand like a starving person for a hunk of bread.

“Is now, I guess,“ Xani commented. She stuffed the loose pages into a folder, and looked over her shoulder at the other girl. She burst out laughing, “You look like that thing from Brit Lit...what’s it called? The Hobbit. What’s his name?” She said between giggles.

Samaji’s round cheeks flushed, “Gollum. His name is Gollum.”

Xani noted her embarrassment. She hugged her and deflected the joke to herself doing an impression of the creature as it argued with itself.

A voice over the library intercom announced the library would be closing in ten minutes.

The girls laughed as they made their way to the reference counter. Xani turned the research materials, copies of the Sharpeton family history and magazines where Calvin Sharpeton III had given interviews.

At a counter diagonal to the reference desk, Samaji tried to check out the book, but the librarian did not find it in the system. This made Xani uneasy and left her unable to explain why.

She left her friend to wait outside. The building’s design matched its interior. The library’s exterior contrasted from the neighboring structures with its sienna and facade of carved stone. The architecture of the other buildings on campus reflected a certain sterile, simplistic style. All were out of place in the one-redlight town of Red Banks, Mississippi.

Samaji padded through the swinging doors as she hugged the book to her chest.

“Since it doesn’t belong to the library, there wasn’t no reason for me not to take it,” she answered to Xani’s puzzled face.

“No lost and found, then?”

Samaji gave her a sheepish smile.

Xani waved her on, “Finders keepers. Come on. Mama’s probly waiting for us.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.