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November 21, 2022
"Mes de los Muertos"

Tomorrow Falls 18

By Carrie A. Golden

Eighteen

All Tess saw was darkness. Then she began to see slivers of light filtering in from a multitude of holes peppered on the interior walls of the tree.

She froze. She definitely was not alone.

Several feet in front of her a group of shadowy figures stood in a half circle. They were much taller than Mirial, their bodies appearing straight and very slender.

"A-are you the Elders?" Tess barely got the words out.

A few seconds passed before a soft womanly voice responded. "Yes."

The figure in the middle stepped away from the others, and towards her. Her golden hair flowed down her back; her eyes were a deep emerald, like Mirial's. She wore a long, flowing tan gown of some sort.

"I am Ateo." She bowed her head slightly.

Tess responded in kind. "Tess."

"Yes," Ateo replied. "Your friend, Beck, have told us."

Tess felt silly and self-conscious all of a sudden as she tried to clear her throat. "What is this place?"

Ateo smiled slightly. "A sanctuary."

Tess felt her face warmed. Why couldn't she get a straight answer from anyone?

"Am I confined here?"

"Of course not. You are free to leave whenever ... but I would strongly advise against it."

"Why?" Tess persisted.

"Because it is no longer safe for you out there."

"The once-humans?"

"Yes."

"What happened to everyone?"

"I believe you have an idea of what happened," Ateo said.

"A bioweapon," Tess muttered. "By the Chinese and Russians?"

"Yes."

"Will they invade?"

"No," Ateo answered.

Tess looked at her for a moment. "No?"

"They could not contain their weapon. It has now spread beyond the borders of your country."

"It's gone global?" Tess's eyes widened.

"Yes." Ateo's eyes darkened. "You and Beck are one of the few still unaffected."

"How do you know all of this?"

"We know all that goes on here. On this world."

Tess studied Ateo. There was something otherworldly about her. The way she blinked and moved. Not like any normal human she'd ever known.

"What are you?"

"We're part of the legion of Watchers."

The words slowly sunk in. "A-angels?"

"We lost that status eons ago."

Fallen angels.

"Oh," was all she could say.

"This is a waste of time, Ateo." A male-like voice spoke up from the distance.

"I agree," came another male voice.

Ateo raised her hand, and they grew instantly quiet. "We've been watching mankind for thousands of years. Protecting. Guiding. Now, you're on the verge of extinction so a sanctuary has been created to save what can be saved."

"What good have that done them, Ateo?" Came a gruff, hoarse-like voice. "They have managed to find ways of killing themselves time and time again. They will not learn!"

"Velio." Ateo's tone grew stern.

Tess peered towards the other shadowy forms who lingered behind Ateo. She surmised that not all were happy that she and Beck were there.

"How do survivors find you then? From what I can tell, this 'sanctuary' is pretty well concealed."

"We guide certain survivors. Ones who are opened to our calls."

"I don't understand."

"Not every one can hear us. So, when one does, we guide that one to us."

"What about the other survivors? What of them? You just leave them out there to die, or become one of those -- those things?"

"That is up to the ones who hear our calls."

"And Beck?"

"He heard us, and have chosen to go back and get you," Ateo said the words carefully.

"Chosen? I don't understand. I thought he found me in the woods?"

Ateo did not respond.

Thoughts filled her mind. How did Beck find her?

"Where can I find Beck?"

"Mirial will take you to him."





Article © Carrie A. Golden. All rights reserved.
Published on 2016-12-19
Image(s) are public domain.
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