The Chosen- Prologue part one
Jasper Clarence looked away. He couldn’t bear to watch the horror he had wanted to accomplish his entire life. This was what he wanted. He just had never thought what it would sound and look like. Even with his head turned away, he still heard the screams. Scream after scream after scream. He wished he could leave. All he had wanted was the power. Why was this always necessary to gain power in this country? Why? He tried to return to the gloating feeling he had felt seconds before when he had issued the order. But that was no longer left. Only the horror. He heard the voice of a man. A grown man. Calling, begging, crying. The man was probably, only an hour ago, completely ignorant of what Jasper was about to do him. To everyone. Everyone with a child. Jasper knew that he would always be scarred by this moment. He prayed that this would not make him weak. Did he feel shame? Yes. He felt shame. How could he do this to so many parents, and friends? Rupert would have done the same thing. No, he was lying to himself. Rupert would never have done this. Rupert had been the people’s choice for the very reason that he would have preserved the children. The poor children. Silence. Why was there silence? Jasper Clarence had to know why there was no longer screams resounding. He turned his eyes back to what he had not been able to look at before. Everyone was still and staring at the sky. They were coming. The beasts of old. The ones who had long been in legends. The ones that the people said would save them. Jasper Clarence felt relief sweep over him. The people would no longer suffer. They would not have to watch their children taken by his order. They would be freed from his rule. They would not have to live under his fist of iron. They beast would do away with him and all his most loyal supporters. The beasts would set up a good and honest ruler who loved the people more than power. As a beast flew toward him, to kill him, Jasper Clarence let out a cry of purest joy because the people would not have to feel the pain of tyranny from anyone ever again. He was shocked, when the beast merely lifted him gently, and flew away with him. Somewhere. Perhaps somewhere to let him live? Perhaps somewhere to kill him away from the sight of the children who did not need such a sight in their memories. Jasper Clarence did not know. Jasper Clarence did not care. He was sobbing with the same joy that had caused him to cry out. He did not even realize that he still lived.
Mildred Stanley laughed at her daughter’s antics. Annalee was running everywhere looking at everything. One moment she would be looking into the stream “Mommy! Mommy look! A frog!” and the next moment she would be trying to climb a tree with her little legs. “I think I can make it if I just-“and she would fall the foot she had lifted and could not balance still in the air. Mildred Stanley loved her daughter the most of anyone living. Ever since Tom had died on the road while trying to help Rupert come to power, that is. Now Annalee was the only person in Mildred Stanley’s life. They left the city behind them today for a picnic and break from the demands of taking in laundry and trying to continue some of Tom’s work. This was Annalee’s first time leaving the city since before she learned to walk and Mildred Stanley’s first time leaving the city since before Tom had died. Annalee was three years old now and Mildred Stanley was still missing Tom. Mildred Stanley closed her eyes and lifted her face, taking in the warm sunshine, and gentle wind. It was a perfect day here. She had thought that it might not be a nice day at all, today, but she had been determined to go on this picnic. Today. In the city, it was cloudy and the promise of rain hung in the air but here, here it was spring. Mildred Stanley listened closely to the birdsong, her daughter’s joy, and everything going on about her. Then she heard something. Something so very, very faint that, even though she could not tell what it was, made her heart tremble. The sound came from the direction of the city. Although, there were miles of other thing between where she and Annalee picnicked that it might not be the city. For the next hour, throughout the rest of the picnic, Mildred Stanley would stop and listen and detect that disturbance of sound. And every time she heard it, her stomach twisted. Then, she didn’t feel it. And that scared her too.
“Come on Annalee, let’s go home now! Alright?” She called to her daughter who was a bit away, looking at a rabbit. Annalee ran to her mother and Mildred Stanley lifted her and gave her a big hug. “Ready?” Annalee nodded and they set off. But they didn’t go far before a large beast landed in front of them.
“You are Mildred Stanley.” The beast did not ask what he said but Mildred Stanley nodded anyway. “A great evil has happened today. So great an evil that it caused me and my kin to awake after a many, many years. You must not return to the city yet. Will you trust me to fly you and your daughter to safety?” Mildred Stanley looked at Annalee, her life. But Annalee was not afraid. She stared at the beast with wide, interested eyes. Mildred Stanley realized, to her amazement, that she was not afraid either. Even thought this beast was terrible to look upon, it did not make her or her child afraid. Again, Mildred Stanly nodded.
William Laurence was almost there. He heard his best friend, Billy so far below him shout something. He leaned more to the side where Billy was in order to hear him better. “What was that?” He yelled down.
“I said, ‘Willy, be careful!’ you idiot!” He heard Billy’s tiny little voice. No mistaking that Billy was angry. Oh well, he’d get over it. Eventually. Finally, William Laurence was there. His balance was perfect as he walked on the top of the city wall. It was only about a foot wide and very, very high. He could see everything up here. He felt so, so indescribable up here where usually only birds were. He could see beyond the wall to the countryside, he could see within the wall, the huge Capital city of this country, and he could see Billy down below where guards should be. Guards were always walking along the wall. But not today.
It was incredibly odd; the absence of guards, but William Laurence had seen the chance and was not one to pass up on it simply because of an incredible oddity. William Laurence had dreamed of walking on the very, very top of the wall since he and his family had moved to the city when he was a young boy and seen the way abnormal way they had been built. He could see everything. Although, the absence of guards still nagged at him a little, he refused to let it interfere with his triumph he let out a whoop and did a backwards handspring. His father had taught him that too. Standing upright again, he heard applause, looking down at the city again; he saw a growing group of people looking up at him from the ground. He hadn’t noticed them before. He grinned foolishly and gave a short bow. Then, he did a cartwheel, and walked around on his hands a bit. He heard the faint applause and laughed to himself. He hadn’t even thought of anyone seeing him. He had only though of seeing everybody. He soon forgot the people below in looking at the landscape beyond the city wall. Not many people left the city these days. Not since there had been some men trying to take over control of the country with the King ill. There was no law saying people could not leave the city. But everyone was afraid. Looking at the beautiful hills, the fields of grass, and, in the distance, the mountains, William Laurence could not recall why anyone was afraid to leave the city. The land outside the city was beautiful. He could see where the sun shone bright on the fields of flowers and hills of grass, the streams and woods.
He pivoted and looked back at the city. Cloudy, dirty, damp and crowded. Yet, it was beautiful too. There were the many lovely buildings, built by former rulers and as well as the current one. It just looked horrid when compared to the nearly untouched world. Looking closer at the city, he saw where a large number of the guards were. They were all hiding, out of sight of people, looking as if they were waiting to strike. He stomach dropped and, even though he was, standing still, he nearly fell. He could sense that something was about to happen, something horrible. Then he tried to look away but his eyes were drawn back to the stealthy figures that only he seemed to notice. But they weren’t being stealthy anymore; they were grabbing children off the street, out of houses, straight from their mother’s arms. Suddenly, people were screaming. Children were crying as they were roughly handled and thrown into carts. William stared at the wickedness that was happening. When a child struggled and bit a guard, the guard retaliated by, William’s heart felt as if it had stopped beating as he stared at what was happening beneath him. He could see everything.
An hour later, they were still at it, finding children from where their parents had hastily hidden them and cutting down all who tried to rescue. William Laurence knew what this meant, he knew and he wished to die where he stood but he did not. The country was going to be in turmoil for a long, long time. He looked at the skies, trying to find consolation anywhere and froze. Flying beasts were descending, rescuing, tearing apart the carts that held the children and carrying them to their families that still lived, killing guards that had been most savage. The whole sitting was silent except for the work of the beasts. Nobody moved except to lift a child out of the gentle claws of a beast into his or her arms. The wicked guards did not run. Suddenly, a beast flew a bit too close to William Laurence and he fell off the roof out of the city. He knew he was going to die and yet his voice was paralyzed. He heard a scream from somewhere but it was not from his lips. As he was rushing towards the ground, a beast, perhaps the same beast that had caused him to fall, flew beneath him, catching him and taking him somewhere.