Horror mounted as she explained. The infection was virulent, and could be passed with a touch. It could not be cured. The sufferers would die in horrible agony, screaming and writhing, driven mad with pain. If allowed to progress to the end, they would attack anyone within reach, including each other, and even themselves if no one else was available. They would gnaw on their own flesh until they died of massive blood loss.
‘I have seen it, once. A long time ago now, when I was still in training. I knew, but no one would listen to a thirteen year old girl, even if she was destined to be Ahura’s Battle Priestess.’ She glanced away from him, a shadow in her eyes. ‘I do not wish to see it again.’
Thirteen, when she witnessed people chew themselves to death? What else had she seen? Barely twenty, and her eyes signalled she’d seen more, and worse, than he ever had. Certainly more than he’d seen at her age. A deep sorrow filled him – it wasn’t the life he’d wish for any daughter of his, if he had one.
‘How do we stop it, then?’
She pressed her lips together with grim resolve. ‘They must be killed.’
Thanks for dropping by! Don’t forget, this is a first draft, and as such won’t be perfect. If you like what you read, and are so inclined, show your support by leaving a comment, and In the Company of the Dead will be available in the future. I aim to have the first draft finished by the end of April. If you’d like to sample more of my writing, check out my novella, Confronting the Demon, or the free fiction I am posting during the A to Z Challenge, starting with Burning: Dragon Bait (Part 1).
If this is your first visit to Monday Morsels, find others in the series by clicking on the ‘Monday morsel’ tag, or go to the first installment.
More about In the Company of the Dead:
Lyram already crossed a prince, and now he finds himself on the brink of crossing a god.
Son of a duke and second in line for the throne, Lyram is exiled to a lonely castle after assaulting the crown prince. When a hostile army arrives to besiege the castle, he believes the prince wants him removed – permanently.
As though answering their prayers, Ellaeva, the Battle Priestess of the death goddess, arrives unexpectedly. But she has not come to break the siege. Instead, she is in pursuit of a necromancer of the evil god of decay. When misfortune after misfortune befalls the beleaguered defenders, Lyram realises the necromancer is hidden within the walls, sabotaging the very defence.
Against the backdrop of clashing gods, Lyram must fight to save himself from the political machinations of his prince, and the dread plans of a necromancer. But as the siege lengthens, he realises the greatest threat may come from another quarter — a woman sworn body and soul to a god tempts him to pay a terrible price.
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