Authors: Quil Carter
THE FALLOCAUST SERIES
The Ghost and the Darkness
Volume 1 of 2
By Quil Carter
© 2014 Quil Carter
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or in any means – by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission.
This book is dedicated to Friskie, Jockster, and Daisy.
A note from Quil regarding Book 2 and the best way to read The Fallocaust Series.
Ideally, I would love for my readers to see the companion books as a vital part of The Fallocaust Series. I decided to write companion books for The Fallocaust Series because I wanted the reader to see all sides of the story, and also see what motivates certain characters. The characters in Fallocaust are complex, and each of them have their own motivations and reasons for doing what they do, and being who they are. Some have enough motivation and reasons to fill a book... and so, I wrote them one. Though a companion book can stand on its own and has its own storylines that steer away from The Fallocaust Series, there is still that underlining connection to the main series. And the main series is written from the standpoint that the reader has read the companion book(s).
Though I realize there are people who will jump straight from Book 1 to Book 2 (I left you at a horrible cliff-hanger, I know). You’re not going to get the full story if you do that. There will be references you won’t get, plot spoilers that will be ruined once you do read Breaking Jade. And important characters that appear Book 2 that you should’ve already known about by reading Breaking Jade (like Sanguine and Jack for example).
So, think of Breaking Jade as The Fallocaust Series Book 1.5. If a certain site let me list it as Book 1.5 in the series I would have, but nooo numerical only apparently. Lookin’ at you popular site that starts with A.
I would also like to explain how The Ghost and the Darkness is structured. Because of the size of this monster book, I have had to split it into volume 1 and volume 2. The book as a whole is over 400,000 words and because of that I won’t be able to print the book in its entirety.
Volume 2 is going to be released November 15
Enjoy, and thank you for continuing this fucked up journey with me ;)
Twenty Years Previous
The ash was blinding, burning hot and mixed with embers that fell on the pacing shadow below like raining brimstone. It fell to the ground and thickened like fresh snow, leaving boot prints that framed every erratic footstep.
Greyson tried to inhale but his lungs filled with fire instead of fresh air, searing the soft tissue like he had opened an oven door. There was no air, he would have to find shelter soon or else he was going to pass out right there in front of the door.
Though the fear of his own demise didn’t make him move. He looked up at the tall, grey brick building and swallowed a sob.
No... no, I can’t leave him.
“Lycos!” Greyson cried. He continued to pace not knowing what else to do. He knew he was walking in circles but staying still was not an option.
“Lycos!” He felt his fists hit the brick building as if this desperate display of emotions would bring him back, but it was useless. Lycos would burn inside. This would be his tomb.
They had been so close.
Another explosion sounded from inside, bringing fresh tears to Greyson’s already swollen, red eyes. A strangled sob rimmed his lips and fell unabashed from his mouth, though with the next inhale he doubled over in hacking coughs.
So much smoke, as thick and black as oil. All Greyson could see were his own hands gripping the exterior. Hands that were so burned the skin had curled back like old paint, revealing red inflamed flesh underneath.
Greyson’s head raised and he leaned his forehead hopelessly against the door frame. He closed his eyes and sobbed before sliding down to his knees.
Lycos was dead, Lycos was dead.
Greyson’s ears rang as another explosion rocked the entire structure; he could feel the hot brick shake under his hands. The entire lab below his feet was probably collapsing in on itself; he wouldn’t be surprised if the entire building fell under the hellfire.
“Greyson? Where is he?” a cold voice asked behind him.
How was he so fucking calm!
Greyson whirled around to face the towering blond man. The young greywaster looked up at him with tears streaming freely down his face.
“He’s inside! Where the hell do you think he is?” Greyson cried. He put his hands onto his head and closed his eyes, his teeth clenching so hard he could hear them creak in his head.
Elish looked past him, his purple eyes incandescent amethyst against his white skin.
“Go to the plane.” With the grace only Elish could carry he removed his cloak and handed it to Greyson, before disappearing into the thick black smoke.
“Elish?” Greyson hollered after him. His red, flayed hands gripped the cloak like a security blanket; his mind jumping from one possibility to the other.
Greyson swallowed a frustrated scream before he turned and went towards the plane; his shaking footsteps threatening to spill him onto the hot ground.
The plane was a quarter mile away but it was still cloaked in a thin coat of grey ash. Greyson looked behind him to the burning building, wondering if this fire would melt the entire city. Kreig held many broken buildings, with this heat...
Greyson took in a deep breath, ignoring the relief his lungs felt at the cooling air.
There was nothing to see, the building was in ruins. Black smoke was spilling from the door and through the vents. There was no way they would survive, not even Elish. He might be immortal but he had to breathe like the rest of them. His flesh would burn like any human’s and it would take months for his carbonized body to regenerate.
And the baby – what would happen to the baby?
Greyson’s entire body was trembling, his hands shaking with such a ferocity he could see pieces of skin fall from them and onto the ground below.
What now, what now? My heart... my heart is in there.
Greyson’s father was right; he shouldn’t have gotten tangled up with these people. They were not greywasters; they were not his kind.
I’m just a mayor’s son, hoping to do a little bit more for this world than simply live in it and die in it. I just wanted to make things better for everyone, and look where it got me? Dad was right, care about Aras and nothing else.
But that’s not me... I can do good, we can do good. Chance is just that... he’s our chance. It might be a long shot, but if we do things right... he can put an end to King Silas’s dictatorship.
What a foolish dream for a foolish greywaster.
Greyson’s heart froze inside his chest as he saw a tall figure through the smoke. His face twisted in a relieved sob as he ran towards them.
As Greyson got closer the heart wrenching sound of a baby in incomprehensible agony reached his ears. The newborn was screaming so loudly every pause to gather breath made him choke.
“Lycos!” Greyson screamed. He ran until their silhouettes took shape before, in spite of himself, he took a step back.
Elish’s blond hair was black with soot and ash; his milky face scorched and patched in inflamed burns. He was injured and badly, blisters already appearing on his swollen raw arms and chest.
But he was carrying...
Greyson took another step back as Elish swept past him. Elish was carrying Lycos in his arms and in Lycos’s own arms: the horribly burned baby Chance.
Greyson’s boyfriend had his eyes half-closed. He could see his beloved boy’s blond hair burnt to cinders, falling over his face like scorched grass.
The young scientist’s clothing had been almost entirely burnt off too, but where the shreds of his lab coat ended and his peeling skin began Greyson couldn’t tell, but he was alive and so was the baby.
When Lycos saw him his face twisted in agony. “The baby, the baby’s burned. Greyson take the baby! Help him!” he begged. Lycos tried to lift his head but it fell back onto Elish’s shoulder blade with a stifled moan of pain.
Elish jumped onto the plane and set Lycos down on the cargo hold. As Lycos’s body shifted Greyson saw a small little face. It was peeled and burnt, with blisters that swelled in front of Greyson’s eyes.
Greyson couldn’t contain the desperate groan. He kneeled down in front of Lycos as the plane door slid shut. He carefully took baby Chance from Lycos’s arms and felt tears sting the tender exposed flesh on his face.
The baby’s onesie was charred and burnt, revealing bright red skin underneath. Greyson carefully took it off the squirming infant, but turned away unable to handle what he was seeing.
Greyson had never seen such an agonizing sight.
Chance’s eyelashes were burnt off, and so was his soft little frock of black hair. His eyes, black like an insect’s, were rimmed with red and tearing from the smoke and his wounds. Though only alive for not even forty-eight hours his entire body was a ruin of charred and burnt flesh. The horrible smell was something Greyson knew he would never forget.
Greyson brushed his hand over the baby’s stomach, and as he did the baby’s skin came with it. The child let out another painful howl; his body twitching and writhing from the burns.
Greyson felt the bile come up in his throat, and then a wave of nausea. He turned away from the both of them in an effort to compose himself.
Then Elish was there, with blistered arms he picked up the child and put a hand over Chance’s mouth and nose.
“What are you doing!?” Greyson screamed as Elish’s large scorched hand covered the baby’s airway. “It’s not tested! It’s not tested!”
Elish’s cold eyes didn’t move, they stayed fixed on the infant as the little newborn raised a single balled hand in protest, his black eyes flicking around confused.
Greyson suppressed a sob and turned from the scene.
He felt Lycos put a hand on his shoulder in support; his boyfriend’s skin scalding to the touch.
Then the baby stopped crying, Greyson turned when he saw movement and watched as the baby’s arm fell limp to his side. After a moment Elish removed his hand and handed off the dead newborn to Lycos. Without another word he disappeared into the cockpit, and the plane roared to life.
Beep... beep... beep...
Greyson brushed Lycos’s burned scalp. He used to brush back those soft blond strands before they had gotten almost all burnt off, now he brushed back rough scabbed skin. Though it didn’t matter, Lycos was still handsome – even if he was a bit overcooked.
Lycos opened his hazel eyes. His blistered lips raised in a smile when he saw Greyson.
He can still smile
“You’re too nice to me.” Lycos raised a hand and tried to pull on Greyson’s short beard but it was still too painful to raise his arms.
Greyson leaned down and kissed the corner of his lips. “The salve and the IV seem to be doing a good job with you. Is your Skytech shit really that good?”
Lycos chuckled, but a moment later his face twisted in discomfort. It had been a week since the explosion and he was still in pain every day. He nodded though and motioned to his IV bag. “That’s chimera juice I’m getting. They make it special just for us.”
Greyson held his smile, though his heart ached to take Lycos into his arms. Every cell in his body clenched with frustration that he couldn’t take the pain from him. He loved his chimera boyfriend; he wanted to protect him from the world.
“You’re so brave,” Greyson whispered. “What did I do to snag such a guy?”
“Got me drunk,” Lycos whispered back. They both started to laugh, that was a night they both wished to forget.
Greyson reached over and pressed the morphine drip Lyle had been nice enough to set up for him. It seemed like Elish had his own mini-hospital in his skyscraper home.
There was a small knock on the door. They both turned and saw Elish’s sengil Lyle in the doorway. He was holding a small bundle in his arms, a smile on his soft face.
“Guess who finally decided to meet the world?” Lyle said cheerfully, in the same moment there was a squeak from the blankets.
Greyson jumped to his feet as Lyle walked towards him. He handed off the bundle to Greyson and bowed before leaving the room.
Greyson looked down at the baby and felt his breath get taken away. The infant was brand new, not a single blemish on his body. Greyson removed a button from his blue onesie and with a finger he drew the soft cloth down to expose Chance’s chest. Pink, soft, and smelling like baby.
The little fucker was completely healed.
“He’s... he’s perfect,” Greyson laughed. “He works, you did it; a born immortal.” He sat back down on his chair and gently put the baby into Lycos’s awaiting arms. Like most people do as soon as they see a new baby, he immediately started talking to him in a high pitch voice.
“Hey, Chance!” Lycos said happily. “How’s my little man?”
Greyson reached over and drew the blanket back so he could get a better look. Chance looked wide awake, just like he had when he was still inside his glass tube. The baby’s little obsidian eyes looking around the room trying to take it all in. Unlike normal babies he could make out every shape, memorize every face, his eyes were already fully developed and sharper than any man’s.
The baby’s head turned to Greyson, though instead of crying like he usually did when he saw someone besides Lycos, his eyes seemed to widen further before he let out a squeak. Lycos
in a state that Greyson could only describe as sheer bliss. He raised a partially bandaged finger and traced it over Chance’s pale cheeks.
“He’s perfect, just look at him, in every way he’s the perfect little being. He doesn’t even know yet just how long we’ve been waiting for him.”
“Not as long as I,” a cool voice said from the doorway. Greyson and Lycos looked up to see Elish enter the room.
The blond chimera looked different now but not at all less intimidating. The flames had burned his once trademark golden hair away, it now rested only a few inches below his ears.
But besides his hair the remainder of his body was healed and new. As an immortal Elish had put himself out of the pain with an overdose of morphine. Unlike the mortal Lycos, Elish could escape his injuries; besides his hair Elish looked like himself.
Like a gentle flow of water Elish walked into the room and stood by Lycos’s bed. He reached a gloved hand over and lifted the baby’s chin with his pointer finger.
Chance didn’t like this. He raised a small arm and wrapped it around Elish’s finger.
“A suitable grip; I see he is focusing on faces already as well. Good, the vision enhancement took; only time will tell if the other enhancements were successful.” Elish nodded approvingly. With a gentleness that was rarely seen on Elish he pulled his fingers away from the baby’s grip and started moving the digit back and forth. The baby’s eyes were focused on it. “Is the bunker ready?”