The Halo Breed…
THE HALO BREED
A WEEKEND STORY
Sarai and her fifteen-year-old daughter, Dawn, did not know anything about the Armageddon for two days because of three reasons.
First, the Pale Lands vicinity still continued to scare the good people of Densua, so the nearest neighbour to them was several kilometres away up and below the hill.
Secondly, the red mist did not descend on the borders of the Pale Lands, although it was a clear glow in the sky which Dawn saw, but dismissed as a vagary of the weather.
Finally, Sarai had been sick for two days; she had fever, and had ran a high temperature coupled with a throbbing headache, and so she had been reclined to bed as she drank herbal extracts to combat the disease.
As a result, they were quite taken by surprise when three Hadesians dropped from the sky into their yard in the late afternoon of the second day. The beautiful Dawn heated the herbal medicine in a pot over fire in the courtyard. She took a cupful to her mother, and Sarai drank the bitter concoction with a straight face, as always, and once again mother and daughter laughed over it.
Dawn could not understand how her elderly mother could take all that bitter liquid and remain calm and straight-faced as if she just drank a cup of honey.
And then, for the millionth time since she began growing up in the house, Dawn expressed sorrow again at how her father was treating them. She wondered again why Grace, the daughter of a woman they did not know, was growing up in comfort and splendour inside the palace whilst she and her mother, the true Queen and princess, were languishing so far away on the borders of the horrible Pale Lands.
A tragic expression came across Sarai’s face, and finally she knew she could no longer put it off. Her daughter was no longer a child, and she could see there was something very amiss. Dawn always wondered about the king’s dark countenance whenever he came around the house and she had to wait outside for him to finish whatever he wanted to do with Sarai.
Hopefully, his visits had become less frequent.
Sarai had now bitterly regretted her treatment of the love of her life, Gus Kukah, and that was the reason she had not been able to tell her daughter about her father.
She knew she could not lie, and so she dreaded how the young lady would take the news, especially if she learned that Sarai’s actions had led to the death of her father.
But that bitter pill could no longer be put aside.
It was time to bring out the poison that had festered in her for so long, and which had killed her heart, and denied her of any happiness for fifteen years.
She patted the side of the bed and smiled sadly at Dawn.
“My darling, sit beside me for a moment,” she said. “I want to tell you something very important.”
The girl smiled, but there was apprehension on her face.
“That sounds rather serious, Mama,” she said gently.
“It is a secret that I’ve kept for fifteen years, my darling,” Sarai said and could not prevent the tears that stung her eyes when the handsome face of Gus Kukah intruded in her reveries. “Please, sit down.”
The young girl put the empty cup down and sat beside her mother.
Sarai took her right hand in both of hers and rubbed it gently.
“Please, do not hate me for this,” she said softly. “I cannot live if your hatred and contempt are directed at me.”
“No, Mama!” Dawn whispered and hugged her mother suddenly. “Nothing will ever make me hate you! You’re my mother, and I’ll love you forever!”
Sarai took a shattering breath and rubbed her daughter’s back gently, and then Dawn sat up and looked down at her mother’s sad face.
“Well, this is the story of my life, my darling,” she said tremulously. “It is a story I’m not proud of, and it is a very dark story! Your mother did not grow up a royal, or even as a respectable woman! My life was hard and bitter, and I wished for death until a wonderful warrior called Gus Kukah found me, and saved me.”
Dawn listened, and became horrified by the minute as her mother’s story unfolded!
And when she came to the part where Gus Kukah had been ambushed in that same building, how he had fought bravely and finally forced into the Pale Lands, tears fell down Dawn’s cheeks, and she shook her head lamely, got off the bed, and crashed to her knees!
“Mama!” she groaned with horror. “How could you? How could you do that to my father?”
“Dawn!” Sarai cried weakly and tried to sit up, and her tears fell harder than her daughter’s. “If you take it only as a betrayal of your father, and his murder, you will hate me!”
“Even if I take it as a redemption of your life, as the only means open to you then, it will be so easy to hate you, Mama!” Dawn said in agony. “You betrayed a man that loved you, that cared for only you! And you denied me of the love of a father, and the joys I would have had with him! Oh, Mama! Look at your life, our lives! In the end, you lost the glory you sought! How could you be so cruel, Mama!”
“Dawn!” Sarai wept bitterly. “Oh, my princess, my darling! Forgive your poor mother! I’m so sorry, so very sorry! I loved Gus with my very soul, and I have no reason for what I did! Forgive me, my daughter!”
But, alas, the young woman’s heart was filled with great pain and poison at that very moment. Perhaps, thinking of her kind-hearted father filled with arrows, betrayed by his best friend and his wife to be, being hunted like a wild animal, and being forced to flee into that horrible place, she felt real hatred for a minute for her own mother!
That is why she got up from the floor and rushed from the bedroom to the living room, gasping for breath, and then she threw open the front door, rushed through the porch and descended the steps as she wailed!
And yes, it was that hatred in her agonized heart that saved her from a most terrible death because three Hadesians had landed in the yard, and they had seen her!
Dawn saw the green-eyed, three-legged monsters with the horrible features of gargoyles, and although her heart beat with sudden horror, she was too hurt and agonized to feel crippling terror!
She screamed and as they converged on her, and she drew out a poker of fire from the fireplace and brandished it menacingly!
Her mother heard her daughter’s scream, and she struggled out of her bed and raced weakly to the porch… and what she saw chilled her to the bone!
Three hideous demons were in the yard surrounding her daughter who was holding a branch of fire and spinning it at the monsters!
Sarai screamed when the biggest Hadesian grabbed Dawn by the throat, lifted her off the ground and wrenched the fire from her hand! Dawn’s heart was beating with fierce revulsion and hatred at her mother’s betrayal, and so the Hadesian could not feed on her; after all, it was those with wicked hearts filled with vile guile that they needed to be hunters!
And so, it squeezed Dawn’s neck, drew a hand of fire down the sides of her neck, and soon enough Dawn sprouted gills on the sides of her neck! The Hadesian next put his sharp nails on the girl’s forehead and drew the mark of Lord Lastor into her forehead!
The poor girl screamed in anguish, and when the Hadesian dropped her, she began to writhe horribly on the ground!
Thinking her daughter was dying, killed by these horrible monsters, Sarai screamed in anguish and rushed down towards the monsters! The one who was nearest to her caught her and threw her hard into the steps of the porch!
Already sick and weak, Sarai felt dizzy and almost lost consciousness!
She watched as her daughter began to froth in the mouth, and then she became still.
“Perhaps, these are the monsters that lived inside the Pale Lands!” Sarai thought to herself as she struggled to her feet. “Maybe, this is apt punishment for how I treated Gus! Oh, Gus, my love! If you had been here, no one would have been able to touch our daughter!”
And when Sarai turned, she saw her daughter standing!
She was not standing straight, though.
She was crouched, and she was growling as spittle flew out of her mouth and drool wet her chest!
Her forehead was burning with the mark, and her eyes were flashing with a deep green light that looked so weird and frightening!
“Ya kilt ma fadda!” she growled in a thick voice that was slurred with hatred and unforgiveness. “I kilt ya!”
And Sarai knew horror!
“Dawn?” she groaned as she took shaky steps towards her daughter. “No, Dawn! No, no, no! What evil is this? Oh, ancestors of Gus Kukah, help our daughter!”
She took two more steps, and then Dawn’s right hand shot out and slapped her mother across her right cheek!
The slap opened deep grooves on Sarai’s cheeks, and then lifted her up and slammed her down hard on the ground near the fireplace!
Sarai was bleeding profusely and she scrambled on her hands and knees… then she raised her head when she saw movement in her peripheral vision!
Dawn was growling like a beast and her teeth were clacking viciously as she raced towards her mother with demented fury on her face!
A deep instinct told Sarai that this was not the daughter she knew!
This was a monster she could not reason with!
And she knew, without any doubt, that Dawn would kill her if she reached her position!
With a cry of horror, Sarai gained her feet and raced blindly towards the Dark Lands with her daughter wailing and screaming behind her!
And just as she neared the border of the Pale Lands, Dawn’s hand slashed straight across her mother’s back, opening up horrible gashes!
Sarai screamed, but luckily, the blow rather propelled her up and over the fenced area of the Pale Lands, and she landed awkwardly in the heavy mists of the Pale Lands!
Her ankle was sprained, and she lay on the ground as she listened to the ominous growls of her daughter and the monsters beyond the barrier!
They could not see her anymore, and they could not cross into the Pale Lands. Some moments later, she heard them growling as they moved away!
And so, Sarai lay on the ground and wept bitterly!
And that was how Mavis Tease and her small party that were coming down through the trees found her!
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