Coming in early 2020
A New Series of Four Books
Capitolium: #3 The Guardians of Justice
Third in a Series
700 years from now … What if the rich became complacent? What if the poor awakened to reality? How would the formula change? It may change the land called Capitolium … or will it?
1 – A PIECE OF ME … LOST
My ten-year-old twin sister and I played in the back parlor of the mayor’s mansion when the attack began.
“Alcyon,” Taygeta said, pulling on the doll between us. “Mama gave her to me.”
I laughed. “No, she gave you the boy.”
She giggled. “No she didn’t. She gave you the boy and me the girl.”
They pulled and tugged back and forth. I let go just as Taygeta yanked as hard as she could, and she fell backwards on the floor, the doll flying free past her head. She rolled over onto her knees as I jumped on her. We wrestled and giggled trying to get a good hold on the other.
An explosion, screams, and a force that hurled me backwards. I hit something, and then a heavy weight rested on me. I screamed. Taygeta didn’t.
“Taygeta, where are you? Are you all right? Call out to me!”
Only the sound of falling debris hit my ears. I strained to see, but the power had gone out. Light filtered in from the back wall. Turning my head in that direction, I gasped.
There’s no wall. I can see through the rest of the mayor’s mansion to the night outside. The spire lights in the courtyard are still shining.
“Deneb! Meri Diana!”
Where are Mama’s brother and sister? They’re not here in the back parlor.
The weight of the object pinned me to the floor.
The sofa. It’s big and heavy, and it’s hurting my hips and legs.
I pushed with all my might, but it wouldn’t budge. I lay still—thinking.
Don’t panic, Alcyon. Mama will be here. She’ll save us. I shook my head. Grandma … where’s she? “Gemma! Are you there?”
No answer. I smelled smoke and looked toward the courtyard. Flames! The outside of the building is on fire. Smoke is filling the room. I’m going to die! “Help!”
I cried out several times as the room filled with more smoke. There’s no one out there to hear me. They’re all dead. Capitolium launched the meteors against the Baltimore village, and now everyone is going to die. The Asterians are so evil! Why can’t they just leave us alone?
I whimpered some more. Electra has only been my mama for such a short time. It was really wonderful of her to adopt Taygeta and me after our real mother was killed in the textile factory. And now … I may never see her again.
Voices! I hear voices! I squirmed again to get free and ended up beating on the sofa. “Help!”
“Someone there? Alcyon … Taygeta?”
It’s Mama! “Help!”
“Are you there?”
“Help me! I’m trapped.”
“Just hold on.”
Seconds later I felt the weight lifted off me. Mama left the sofa standing on end and stooped by me. “Are you all right, sweetie? Can you walk?”
She checked my body, picked me up, and held me in her arms. I squeezed her as hard as I could, losing tears in the process. Thank you for saving me!
“Where’s your sister?”
She’s such a new mama that she can’t tell Taygeta and me apart. I pointed to the opposite side several feet back from the broken flooring to a large table turned on its side standing close to the wall. My sister must be there. I can’t imagine her having fallen six floors into the burning mansion rubble. She’s got to be behind that table. Please be behind that table!
Mama stepped in that direction, and I heard a cracking sound. She stopped and turned to the sofa. It started sinking. “The floor. It’s giving way!”
She spun and made it another step before the cracking got very loud and the angle of the floor dipped beneath us. Another step found her fighting a sharp uphill angle, and she fell forward shielding me the best she could. Hitting the floor, she threw out one hand desperate to grab onto anything.
Sliding backwards, I looked toward the missing wall to discover the sofa falling way.
“Mama!” She slid more.
“Sweetie, hold onto my neck. I’m going to need both hands.” I did, and she looked forward—but she kept sliding.
There’s nothing to grab onto. We’re going over!
The sliding continued, and after the flooring edge slipped past her waist, she hung onto the edge with both hands. It didn’t give.
How she held on with the weight of a ten-year-old slung around her neck….
“Don’t fall!” I said. She looked up at her hands grasping the edge of the broken flooring as we dangled beneath.
“I’m trying not to fall. Sweetie, climb up on me and get to the floor.”
I climbed up, but the moment I lay on the floor, it sagged at a steeper angle, and Mama almost lost her grip. I lay face down, head turned and looking at my feet pressing against her hands.
It’s too steep to climb. My weight is going to cause her to lose her grip. We’ll both fall! She stared at me. I’m sorry, Mama, I don’t know what I can do.
She stared hard at my feet. I had never seen so much concentration in an adult before. What is she doing?
Seconds later, I began moving up the slope—inches at first and then a little faster. I’m not doing anything … yet I’m moving. How is she doing that?
I continued to move upward. That’s right. Her sister Meri Diana told me how Mama went to the Asterian brain booster in the Capitolium Capital of Adelphy. The accidental overdose gave her the power no other Vercundi has … nor any Asterian for that matter … the power to move things with her mind. Go, Mama! Go!
When I reached the level flooring, I scrambled to my feet, took a step, stopped, and spun around. “Mama! What about you?”
“Just go! Run to the elevators. Gemma is there with Meri Diana and Deneb.”
One of her hands slipped and she dangled by the other.
“Go! Just go!”
I turned and ran. Halfway to the front door, I stopped. I can’t leave my Mama. I just got her. I can’t lose two mothers in such a short time. I turned and ran back, stopping by an upside down reclining chair. I watched my mother.
She still clung by one hand. The fingertips of her other hand came into view, but only for a few seconds. She’s struggling. I can’t get down that steep incline. I looked to my left. She’s only about twenty feet from the wall. There’s a ledge … if she could only use her ….
Her other hand appeared over the edge. Good for you, Mama. Now get to the ledge … use your powers!
Her hands started to slide toward the ledge. She raised them above the floor, yet she didn’t fall, and she kept moving closer to the wall.
When her hands reached the ledge, her body moved upward until she stood on it.
She did it! My Mama is so awesome!
Looking into the precipice for a few seconds, she jerked her head up and dashed around the angled flooring. I opened my arms, and she swept me up.
“Mama, you’ve got magic.”
“Yes, sweetie, Mama’s got magic.” She ran toward the upturned table perched at the start of the downward angle. After Mama slipped around it, I saw a three-foot space between it and the wall. My sister lay face down and motionless. The wind rushed out of me as quickly as it would have had I fallen to my death and slammed into something jagged.
Mama set me down. I cried out, ran to my sister, and knelt. I felt Mama’s presence as she knelt beside me. Blood stained Taygeta’s arms and the side of her face.
Mama’s hand lit on my shoulder. I looked into her tear-filled eyes.
“Move away, sweetie.” I shuffled back. She picked up Taygeta and moved her toward the center of the room. I followed. Kneeling and setting Taygeta down, Mama turned her over to reveal a large gash in her forehead.
I screamed and buried my face in Taygeta’s midsection.
No! Not my sister, too! First Papa, then my real mama … and now Taygeta? What am I going to do without my twin sister? She’s my other half. I can’t be complete without her.
“Damn you, Asterians. Damn your Capitolium!”
I turned to see Mama kneeling behind me shoving her fist in the air looking toward the missing wall. “Damn you … Capitolium!” She cried and then whimpered, “I won’t rest until every Vercundi is free.”
A fighter craft appeared fifty feet away hovering while facing us.
Did Capitolium send fighter craft as well? Are they going to destroy everything and go back to making slaves of all Vercundi again? We’re finished!
The craft turned sideways and hovered a few seconds. I saw the gold striping and the Earth over the torch blazing away with rainbow colors painted on its side.
That’s our insignia! Not Capitolium’s!
“It’s Zosma!” Mama said. “He’s put the fire out.”
My new papa did it! He’s saved us! I am so lucky to have them for my parents.
The fighter turned toward us, dipped left and right, rose, and turned at the same time zipping out of sight.
I’m so proud to be Vercundi. We are going to win our freedom. Mama and Papa will see to that. I looked down at my sister’s body. Tears welled as I touched her shoulder. I bit my lip so hard it probably bled—but I hadn’t felt it.
Taygeta, I’m going to miss you. A piece of me will be missing for the rest of my life … and I’ll never forget you. We’re going to make a new life now. A free life. You will be part of it because you live through me. I eased a hand on my chest. Here in my heart.
I felt Mama’s hand on my head, rose slowly, and turned. She let her hand go, our eyes met, and I stared deeply into them and found her love. I felt my face twist in so many directions. It made me want to grab her and hold her close, but before I could, she swept me into her arms and pet my head while rocking me. I felt safe.
“I want my sister back,” I mumbled through my sobbing. “I want her!”
“I know, sweetie. I know you do.”
I leaned back and looked toward the ceiling. “I want her back!”
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