Faith Victorious: Prologue
Somewhere in between sleep and wakefulness, Jeffrey blinked slowly as he rested his head on his father’s shoulder. A cool, night breeze tousled his hair as his eyes adjusted to the darkness. In a moment, he could make out the form of his mother walking next to them, the baby wrapped onto her chest, and a satchel at her hip. In between his parents, his sister Kianna gripped their father’s hand, her eyelids heavy as she dragged her feet. Jeffrey listened to the crickets chirping in tall grasses and the rustling noise his family made as they walked.
“Daylight is not far off and we should be in the forests before the sun has risen. But we can’t slow down any more,” the father murmured.
The night remained dark, but the stars that had not yet been out when they began their journey began to fade.
“There,” Kianna breathed.
Jeffrey lifted his head and saw a line of trees in the distance.
Their father, Timothy nodded. “Less than a mile,” he whispered, and then all around them was silent. The crickets had stopped, and the birds had not yet awakened. Grasslands stretched for miles around them, broken only by the forest ahead of them.
The trees were almost in reach when the ground trembled. A horse whinnied, and shouting filled Jeffrey’s ears. Kianna screamed.
"Caitlin, take the children and run," Timothy commanded. "Don't stop until you're well into the forest. I'll follow behind you, but don't look back, it'll slow you down!"
"Is daddy coming?" Jeffrey wondered as his mother grasped his hand.
Caitlin was silent as an arrow flew past them, followed by more. She stumbled and cried out, but continued her sprint, pulling Kianna and Jeffrey after her.
“Daddy!” Jeffrey yelled, looking back, but he could no longer see his father amidst the horsemen ringed around where he had been only a moment before. Then the trees blocked his view.
Jeffrey’s pant legs were soaked with dew and his feet felt as if they never touched the ground as they wove in and out of trees that seemed like shadows in the light of dawn. The boy’s arm ached as he struggled to hang on to his mother’s hand. As they ran deeper into the forest, the shouting faded and not long after Caithlin collapsed onto her side on the grass. Jeffrey crashed into her hip and lay motionless against her body as sleep overtook him.