Skyla sat back against the stomach of her sleeping horse, Ryder. His legs splayed either side of her. The small forest clearing blocked out most of the sun, allowing her to sleep. She pulled her hood up, and forward to shroud her face.
The rags of her robe hung down. The hilt of her sword was jabbing into her ribs, she didn’t care much; it reminded her that she’d survived another night. Her grip tightened on her bow as she thought about those she was running from: humans, twisted by the darkness and its power. Their kind had been after her for years.
She flicked her fingers and watched the small flame that ignited in her palm. The Power of Angels. It was magic, in a sense. The Power is simply the use of the four elements – water, fire, earth and air; though some have the ability to use what is seldom thought of as an element: spirit. Those who had that ability could read minds and influence people. They were the most dangerous.
Skyla had been alone on Earth for near to a hundred years. She’d been accidentally left behind on a mission with her platoon. Well, she told herself it had been an accident; all that fire and wind, and the tall grasses, nobody could have seen her or heard her over the screams of the wounded and dying.
She closed her hand into a fist, extinguishing the flame. She sighed. She looked at Ryder. His eye was open and watching her. She smiled at him and patted his shoulder. He snorted and made a noise like a sigh. Skyla heard a noise. It wasn’t a normal forest noise, like a snapping twig or a singing bird, it was a human voice.
“See, isn’t this nice?” asked a male voice.
“No,” replied a harmony of voices.
Skyla and Ryder blended into the trees. Nobody would see them. A group of people emerged from the trees. They all looked remotely similar: a family. There was a man with greying hair and a thick jacket. Just behind him, a woman that wasn’t wearing enough for March. There were three children with them: a teenage girl with her eyes glued to the phone in her hand, a teenage boy with headphones in and a smaller girl, perhaps about 8 or 9 years old. The older girl and boy looked the most similar; they were twins.
They both had blonde hair and brown eyes. Their features were sharp and their skin was pale. None of them looked at Skyla. The man – the father – suddenly stopped and spun around to face his wife and children. He had a ridiculous smile on his face and a massive rucksack on his back.
“We’ll camp here tonight,” he said chirpily.
The boy looked around worriedly, his eyes lingering slightly on Skyla, but said nothing. He sensed her presence. The man dropped his rucksack and bent down to pull something out of it. A tent, some food and several blankets. The bag shrunk considerably. The man, his wife and the youngest daughter set about putting the tent up, the twins leaning against trees. The boy was looking around warily, but his sister was still too busy with her phone.
The sun was halfway down already, and it was only 4 o’clock. It was going to be a long night.