THE LAST KING
by A. Yamina Collins
by A. Yamina Collins
Twenty-eight year Emmy Hughes has never quite fit in---she's six feet tall, dark-skinned, and daydreams of being Galadriel from Lord of the Rings. But when she is badly injured in a car accident that kills her mother, Emmy does not dream of fantastical worlds anymore---she just wants her shattered life to be normal again.
Unfortunately, normalcy is the last thing in store for her once she meets Lake George's newest arrival, Dr. Gilead Knightly. Granted immortality from a line of people whose Great Ancestor marched into the Garden of Eden and ate from the Tree of Life, Gilead has been alive for centuries and has met everyone from Nubian kings to Napoleon.
But Gilead and his eccentric family are also hunted beings because God considers the Edenites' possession of immortality to be theft. And for thousands of years He has dealt with their transgression by sending each of them a "Glitch" ---an unsuspecting human meant to retrieve this stolen "property" of immortality and kill them off.
When Emmy discovers that she is Gilead's Glitch, she is not only thrown into a world of immortals who eat bone marrow, panthers who read minds, and a family whose blood is made of pulsing gold, but she finds herself the target of Gilead's vengeance: he must get rid of her before she gets rid of him.
Easier said than done. Because Glitches are not only an Edenite's greatest threat---they're also their greatest love.
EXCERPT – The Last King, upcoming episode #5
Stepping quietly into the greenroom, he can tell, before he fully enters, that Emmy is in a deep sleep, just by the rhythm of her breathing.
Good, he thinks. She’ll be out for a long while yet.
At first, he moves towards the window, looking out into the night sky. It’s going to rain soon, yes even in the middle of July.Then he turns a lamp on and inspects the bed and rug. Clean as a whistle. Matilda has done a marvelous job, and even Emmy’s clothes are back on, looking good as new.
Standing over to the bed, he studies Emmy for a while.
It could be done so easily; he could kill her in the flick of an eye —split her body apart like he was splitting hairs.
Matilda has leaned the Sword of Jarden up against the dresser, and it sits there now, sparkling and bright.
Picking it up, Gilead wields the sword in his hand with such speed and dexterity that it makes a sound as he cuts it through the air.
It’s tempting isn’t it, he tells himself? To use it on her.
Very tempting. And it really would be less of a hassle if ended this thing tonight, just as his mother wants him to do. But…but…
The sword is heating up in his grip. In a couple of minutes it will be so hot that fire will leap from around the edges of the blade.
Quickly, he lays the sword down on the window sill, then meanders back to the bed, and watches Emmy again.
Now is as good a time as any, he decides.
Carefully, he turns Emmy over on her stomach, and placing a hand in his pocket, he takes out a small syringe whose needle point he positions against the skin of his own forearm. It’s the radial vein he wants, and the tip slides in so easily, so smoothly, that seconds later, the syringe is being filled with the gold-colored, hot fluid that is his blood.
The fluid pulsates, some would say like lava, and when he is done filling up the syringe, he stabs the needle through the back of Emmy’s t-shirt, allowing the needle point to settle against her skin.
Any location will do, he knows. As long as it’s in the general vicinity, his blood will seek out what is broken in a person, what is not perfection, and instantly fix it.
But to be sure, Gilead gives her three injections instead of one – in the mid-section of her back, at the base of her spine, and finally at the nape of her neck.
A faint snapping sound can be heard. It is not the snap of bone or of disks being broken, but that of shattered parts of the body being sealed back into place.
When he finishes, he puts the syringe back in his pocket, moves to the edge of the bed, and just sits there, deep in thought for a while.
Outside, the rain has started, but only a drizzle it seems.
Looking down at Emmy, his eyes fall on the rounded smoothness of one of her shoulder’s, which is half exposed
Scratching his chin, Gilead hesitates, then moves back toward the center of the bed, peering all the more closely at her.
Skin is a funny thing. It’s a fascinating material. It can be ugly and withered, or smooth and alluring. Hers is the type of skin that will never see veins popping through it, nor will age touch it too quickly.
Gilead looks towards the door, then back again at Emmy. How still she is – as still as the grave.
Uneasily—why am I doing this, he asks himself?—he lies down on the bed beside her, facing the ceiling, and he crosses his arms over his chest.
No one will enter the room, he figures. Or at least, no one should.
Matilda has done her job and won’t come back, and as for Markus – Gilead swears to himself that if Markus comes nosying around here, he’ll beat him through and through.
Markus, he snarls. The little brat!
Isn’t Gilead free to do as pleases? Can’t he lie here for a few seconds, undisturbed? There is no harm in this, and he is only curious, that’s all.
Closing his eyes, he leans his head closer to Emmy, and with trepidation, he slowly presses his cheek against her shoulder. A clean, soapy scent rises from her skin.
What was that scent on her earlier, he ponders? Was it cinnamon or sugar or peaches or….?
He inhales, pauses, then looks again towards the door. Is someone on the other side, out in the hallway? No.
Finally he rests his head more fully upon her. There is something about her darkness that is elegant, mysterious and delightful.
Men are fools when they succumb to the flesh of women, but for Gilead this is only a single, innocent moment. After this, he will go back to his wisdom, and his strength of mind, and never will he think about her again.
It’s only for this brief instant in time that he wants to lay here, in the quiet space of this room. Can he not just close his eyes? He’s been alive so long, and never does he feel like he has truly rested.
( Continued... )
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