The Steele Wolf - By Chanda Hahn

Chapter 1

I never expected Heaven to be this way. It was my own personal utopia, with rivers of the clearest water, and fields of green surrounded by beautiful mountains. Every tree bore plump fruit and I was able to lay in the soft grass and listen to the song being sung by the river. I never wanted to leave; there was so much light and joy in Heaven. I couldn’t imagine going back to where I had just left, because here I felt no pain.

So if I were dead, why did I feel as if I were burning from the inside out? Gasping, I clutched my stomach in agony and looked around in horror. My beautiful garden was turning black. The soft grass I was lying on turned to sharp pieces of glass. The once gorgeous trees turned to ash and blew away in the wind. NO! NO! I don’t want to go back.

I tried to sit up to stop garden from disappearing and sliced my hands on the grass that had turned razor sharp. The clear river rippled red like blood and the skies turned dark as night. I cried out again as the burning pain in my stomach increased. Glancing down I watched as the blood, my red blood, poured from the gashes on my hands only to change before my eyes to black. Another stab of pain in my stomach and I gasped and coughed and felt my body get sucked out of my dying garden as if I were traveling down a narrow tunnel backwards to collide with a thud on a cold steel table.

I had died I knew it. I had tasted heaven but my soul wasn’t ready to give up the fight and now I was back in hell. Only once again, I couldn’t move, I was paralyzed from the drugs they gave me, strapped once again to the table. I couldn’t open my eyes, my lids felt like lead weights, but I could listen and overheard Raven and Crow discuss me.

“What makes you think she’s strong enough to survive when the others didn’t?” Crow asked.

“Because this one’s not like the others. Her blood makes her stronger, more immune. She’s the only one of her kind.” It was Raven, the leader of the Septori. My hands itched to move against him, to try and fight.

“I hope you’re right because I’m tired of hauling out the failed ones. When will you know?” Crow whined.

“Not for a while. It’s going to take weeks of careful injections of the siren serum, plus more sessions on the machine to activate it in her bloodstream. Then we wait. It will slowly change her from the inside out. These things take time,” Raven spoke as if to a dimwitted child.

I could imagine the Raven even with my eyes closed, wearing his red hooded robe and his silver mask. He always wore the mask, unlike the rest of his followers, the Septori.

“What about the others?”

I felt the cramping of my stomach as my body tried to fight off the newest experiment.

“We will keep trying the portensi serum on the rest of them. I’m hoping one of them will survive the process,” Raven explained.

“None have yet,” Crow whined again.

The pain was too much. It’s what had reminded my body that I was still alive and brought my soul back. Only now I was burning alive and I couldn’t stop it, my body uncontrollably twitched from the pain.

“Wait. Raven, she’s coming back.”

“I told you this one could survive,” the Raven spoke up triumphantly as he walked over to my prone form, silver glinting off his mask. My eyes flew open at the touch of his cold skin on my wrist. He pulled a dagger from his robe and brought my wrist up. There were already numerous half-moon puncture wounds along my arms from the machine, but the Raven took the knife and cut along my arm.

I couldn’t move, all I could do was blink in pain, but I had to know, I had to see. My eyes followed the Raven’s as he and I both looked at my wrist to see what color blood would flow from my wrist. It was black.

***

Gasping, I woke up. My hair was drenched in sweat. It was a dream… or was it. Each of my dreams had a semblance of truth to them. I pulled up the sleeve of my shirt to look at my arms. The small silver half-moon scars shone in the moonlight, barely discernible, the

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