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Ten Seconds

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Summary

Hewori, a lifelong thief who lost her parents to her city's government (though she doesn't know how), has finally been caught and sentenced. To seven kilometers of falling, to her death. And her city counts the seconds down until it happens. A story in three parts.

Genre:
Fantasy
Author:
Mahlioz
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
3
Rating:
5.0
Age Rating:
13+

Part I

I feel like the last ten seconds of my life should be less… monumental, let’s say.

I’m standing in a cage in the middle of my city, Firtenis, with almost every single inhabitant of it around me, getting ready to count down to my death. It’s a memorable way to die, to say the least. This is not the way I planned to leave existence. But then again, who plans something like that? Certainly not me. I had much more important matters to attend to. Unfortunately, those important matters have led me here, to the place of my death.

The cloudborn around me will soon begin counting the seconds down to the moment where the cage I am in will fall, down seven kilometers, to Ground. To my death, really. The Officials say I will spend the rest of my life in Ground, with the groundborn, who call themselves humans. To any cloudborn, this is the biggest disgrace possible. What cloudborn would want to live down in Ground when they could live in a beautiful cloud city in the sky?

But I know better. I won’t be spending the rest of my life in Ground. I won’t be spending it at all. Because what happens to a cloudborn when they’ve been stripped of the entirety of their feathers, like me? They can’t fly. So they will fall. Seven kilometers. And die. And as I look at all Firtenis’ cloudborn, standing around me, chanting for my banishment, I can’t believe they can’t see through this lie the Officials have woven into their brains.

I stand there, fuming in a vulgar cage, glaring at every person who dares look at me in the eyes. I may be a criminal, a robber, a thug to some, and that may be the reason I am condemned to this death, but I haven’t lost my pride. And as the crowd of cloudborn assemble to start counting down, I hate all of them, every one for their ignorance and their indifference.

“Ten!”

Suddenly, everything seems to go in slow motion. The riled-up crowd moves sluggishly, as if stuck in honey. I can’t seem to speak or move or feel anything - the wind in my ears is gone, the whole world has fallen silent. My eyes see crystal clearly all of a sudden, and I can notice every detail in everything I can see and even more. Until I can’t. My vision goes foggy, and, without warning, things start flashing before my eyes. It takes me a while to realize, but it’s memories, visions of the past. Of my past.

“Nine!”

I can still hear the people count, but their voices come from far away, as if from a different world. They sound lost in time, slowed to a point where I can barely understand what they are saying. But it doesn’t seem to matter to me anymore. All I can see are the visions that flash before me. Everything that’s happened in the past years. Every treasure I’ve stolen, every piece of information I’ve gotten, every person who’s requested something from me, every idea that’s come to my mind.

The first thing I recognize is a pearl necklace I stole from an Official. That was recently, maybe a few weeks ago. They never found out it was me. It was expensive, though. Got me a lot of cash.

Then there’s that dress I robbed from a rich cloudborn, a month or two ago. The Officials caught me that time. There were no more feathers to strip me of, so I got a few days in prison. But they didn’t catch me in time to save the dress. I sold it for a thousand coins. Enough to keep me alive for at least a month.

The objects keep coming, bringing me further and further back in time. It’s going too fast now, blurring in front of my eyes, and yet I can still distinguish each and every memory. I want to hold them there, keep them with me, treasure them before I know my inevitable death will come, but nothing I do makes them stay.

“Eight!”

I see memories from years ago now. Three years ago, then four. One memory lasts longer than the others, and I know what it is as soon as I feel the blistering hot sun of that July morning anew. I am twelve again, running through the streets away from yet another Official. When she catches up with me, she yells at me, but I can’t hear what she’s saying. Because I know and dread what’s coming.

And she does it. She plucks my last feather. The last sign that showed that I was worth anything in the cloudborn society. Any time a cloudborn does something wrong, a feather will be plucked from them. A sign of how they weren’t good enough. How they need to improve. The cloudborn who have the most feathers are the richest, the best, the most successful. Those with the least can barely fly, and are worth nothing.

Everyone knows feathers never grow again. The wound on your back bleeds for days, and will always leave a scar. In this memory, I already had 3999 scars on my bare back. And that sunny day from four years ago gave me my 4000th. My last one. As I stand there in my memory, I feel the searing pain that I have felt 3999 times before, that comes from having a feather ripped from my back. The Official does it. Pulls it out. The last sign of disgrace. And suddenly, I feel naked. I have no wings, no status, no identity. I feel the rush of emotions and the plug in my throat all over again. I feel like my life is ending. Twelve year-old me runs from the Official, and runs and runs and runs. And nothing is ever the same.

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Further Recommendations

bettinafiebag: Das war wieder eine super Geschichte. Es macht einfach süchtig nach mehr. Da fang ich doch direkt an zu sabbern, dieser Ausblick auf eine Fortsetzung. Ich hasse das Warten.

Selina: Das Buch ist sehr spannend und auch schön geschrieben. Ich finde gut das es aus vielen Sichten geschrieben ist.

dpierce1710: I haven’t been able to put the book down.

ina: Die Bücher sind einfach nur klasse

Tine75: Tolle spannende Geschichte🥰freu mich schon auf den 2ten Teil😍

Jennifer: I totally liked the whole series and read every single one of them. You are a really good author and you like to keep your readers in suspense. I couldn't keep the books down to seeing what happens next. Can't wait to read chapter 14 but while I'm working I'll look forward to reading your other...

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ivasulovic: Loved it! It was a warm story, romantic and erotic, I loved the way story developed and the pace it took. I wish there was more to read.

Amy: Spannend, spaßig und kurzweilig geschrieben. Danke dafür.

Sheila: A good book I will read it further as it is finished

Janine: Wow, perfekte Story mit perfektem Schreibstil, bitte mehr

nzamanokuzola840: I loved every moment of it plz continue to be the great writer you. Thank you so much for taking us on this magical journey.

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