TWoM




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PART ONE

By: R.J. Newlyn

Nine

As I glided in through the outer atmosphere, it struck me how long I�d been away from Earth � and why I�d left it behind in the first place. The old pollution lingering in the higher spaces still smelled like the last breaths of a dying planet and, drifting down a little further, I saw the scorch marks of the wars that tore it apart long before I was born.

Back then, humanity had greeted the angeli as saviours in desperate times. It was said that they came from the sun and we were only too willing to call them �angels�. But my grandfather knew better and, because of that, my family have been hunted as terrorists for as long as I can remember.

Making for the northern forests, I reached the old temple just as a brown dusk was falling. Many millennia ago the building had been set up to represent unity between earth and sky. How it survived the ensuing destruction I�ve no idea, but my grandfather had often taken me there to remind me of our potential, and it seemed an appropriate place to slide into shadow and wait for Lily.

A wolf howled in the distance.

Ten

Waiting in the darkness beneath the trees, I looked up at the stars. The smell of the pine needles brought back childhood dreams and I tried to imagine the sound of my mother�s voice calling me home. It was good to be back on Earth but the memories I sought remained as elusive as ever.

In the distance, three lights moved in the night sky � the angeli always patrolling, always hunting down those of us who knew what they were. Perhaps there were others like myself scraping out a living in these forests, perhaps�

My thoughts were interrupted by the chill of a gun barrel against my neck. She was good, very good; I hadn�t heard a thing.

�Hello Lily,� I said, not moving a muscle.

�Did you think I wouldn�t follow you?� came the reply. �What did you tell that one on the moon? What�s the deal?�

�To hand you in to them,� I replied simply and felt the gun tremble ever so slightly. �Although I won�t. They�re scum.�

In the silence, I could hear her breathing.

�But how can I trust you?�

�You can�t�

A pair of eyes a little way off watched with interest.

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