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   Chapter 18 The Eighth Plague

After Grace By MatheusHMacedo Characters: 10810

Updated: 2018-01-05 17:20

Damen fell before he had fired a second shot. Snipers, nestled deep in the dry brush, hidden and far, had taken aim at those in our camp who had been carrying weapons. Blood and bile cut through the air as a bullet tore its way through the reckless boy.

My eyes skipped left to the famous Lindsey. She was known for being the best female hunter of the group, though most of us knew she was the best hunter in general. As Damen's body hit the dirt, she lifted the sniper rifle which had been slung around her back and fired at the woods, from where the first shot had come. She pulled back the bolt and fired again and again, pinning the man ahead behind a tree. The back of her head snapped and she too collapsed as one of the man's unseen partners took his shot from behind her.

I pulled doctor Hamilton down and together we tumbled to the ground. One by one, our guards fell to the earth, blood spilling upwards from their throats, open mouths without screams. Treebark and gunfire flew overhead as more shots tattered on all around. The more of us that died, the more of us tried to fight back.

They came like locusts-- swarming from all sides, striking down anything that moved against them. Most had guns but others carried only small knifes or long machetes.

One of the younger boys from our group pulled free from his mother's grip when he saw his father fall. The woman cried out for him to return but he threw himself atop of his father's body. He reached for the gun clasped in the dead man's hand-- his mother still held his sister in her arms, she couldn't move. One of the Vesp raised his machete at the boy as he lifted the gun. The pastor ran between the two.

"Don't!" he begged the man, but behind him, the boy took aim. The pastor and the boy were both cut to pieces by the cannibal's long blade. Even through the chaos, I could hear his mother screaming.

The futility of my struggle to keep quiet in that room with Tamara washed over me as I witnessed the very thing I had so desperately tried to stop.

"Jenny!" doctor Hamilton yelled.

"What?" I asked.

"Mrs. Whitmore!" he said, pointing to the medical tent behind us.

"Don't move!" I said and began to crawl to the tent.

Mrs. Whitmore lay on the ground trying to draw breath, her chest spiked with recent holes.

Annie and Camden stayed crouched on their knees, hands over their ears-- they yelled as bullets cut through the top of the tent, she wrapped herself around his skeletal frame. I threw my body over theirs and waited for the gunfire to stop. Mrs. Whitmore grew silent in the corner.

"Can we run?" Annie asked when she saw me.

"They're everywhere, " I shouted.

"The river?"

"We wouldn't make it."

Gradually, the pops and bangs outside tapered off. Beneath my palms, the children trembled. We stayed unmoving for what could have been minutes or hours.

"Who speaks for this group?" a man's voice boomed outside. No one responded. I looked through one of the rips in the tent and saw him reach down and grab Harry by the back of the head and put a gun to his temple.

"Stay here, " I said. Annie grabbed my arm as I stood.

"What're you doing?"

"They're not here to kill us, " I told her and stepped out of

years ago, he still remembered. He said they had been searching for me. They respected nothing except each other, I realized now that if I was truly one of them, I could keep the children safe.

I stepped outside the line.

"I need to speak to her, " I said. I was pushed from behind and knocked to the mud just as I had been the first time I was here. The man who had thrown me grabbed my clothes and pulled me up.

"Keep your mouth shut, follow the line, " he said. The others from my camp continued into the school until I was the only one left outside.

"No, I'm not one of them--" I said but was interrupted by an unseen blow to the stomach. I fell to the ground once again, this time my face landed in the murky water. Gunner kicked the keel of his booth against my hip. I rolled involuntarily atop the grass. Searing pain fogged my thoughts. "I'm royalty, " I coughed. There was no telling what would happen to the children if I got lost among the prisoners. I had to stand out. I had to see her again. Gunner bent down and looked me over.

"You're what?" he asked.

"Royalty, " I told him. He smiled and beat his ringed fist against my eye. Blood washed red over my cornea. The others laughed.

"Ease up Gun, Mother wants to interrogate her, " one of them said.

"Is that right?" Gunner asked. "Well look at us, already getting' started."

"I heard she killed Halter and Charlie, " someone I couldn't see said above me.

He picked me up and pushed me up against the brick wall of the school. "She's gonna wish she hadn't."

"Who the hell is this girl anyway? Why's she different than any other mud digger?"

"Yeah, " Gunner said, inching his face close to mine. "Tell us, why're you different? What makes you so special?"

Blood ran from my brow, pooling at the edge of my lips. I didn't know why Halter knew me or why he said Mother would want to meet me. There was nothing I could say to help myself. My head pulsed, my hip burned. Their greasy lips grinned, their beady eyes narrowed. I wanted to kill them. I wanted to tear them apart. I smiled when I tasted the blood on my tongue.

"I'm a fucking princess, " I said.

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