Chapter one


The room Terra was being kept in was bare of any decoration. The walls, floors and ceilings were as white as snow. The lights were so bright they burnt her when she was strong enough to open her eyes. There were no windows nor bed.

Only a metallic chair.

Terra had been tied to it.

She hadn’t been allowed to move from the chair since she’d been locked up. She didn’t know how long ago that had been. She’d been fed, the food shoved down her throat with such force her mouth and jaw ached.

The door to the room creaked open, causing Terra’s heart to beat faster and louder. Prying her eyes open, she cursed at the sight in front of her. Her arms and legs tightened, struggling against the metallic straps keeping her in place.

‘Well, hello,’ said a voice.

It was the voice of evil, of torture and pain.

It belonged to Petra.

X-Prototype Six.

Days ago Petra had chased Terra across Capital One after murdering her aunt Diane and best friend Sasha. Upon arriving at Kalem’s home, she had thought she was finally safe. How stupid and naive she’d been! Petra had materialised right behind her, the feathers of her wings brushing Terra’s skin, wrapping themselves around her, tightening.

‘No need to make such a fuss,’ Petra spat, noticing Terra’s failed attempts at escaping the confines of the chair. Her dark blue eyes shone with malice as her lips tucked upwards in a snarl. She stood by the door, dressed in the custom government uniform; a white suit with an eagle’s eye printed over the chest.

Petra was beautiful; tall and elegant, a face carved from marble to resemble a deity. Skin made from porcelain itself. Blonde hair long and straight on one side, shaved on the other. Every single feature, from her perfect long nose, to her high cheekbones and white teeth had been made to draw attention. To make people fall upon their knees at such beauty. But there was something ugly attached to it. It was either the way her lips would curl maliciously or the way her eyes slit like razors.

Don’t,’ Terra said when Petra moved closer, leaning forward, her face inches away.

The bright lights in the room dimmed. Petra sneered, grabbing Terra’s face and squeezing. It hurt as the sharp long nails dug deeper into her skin, but Terra kept her mouth tightly shut. She wouldn’t give Petra the satisfaction of seeing her suffer more than she already was.

‘I love our time together,’ Petra said, pressing her nails deeper into the skin. ‘I do hope Scarlet comes soon, or there might not be much left of you to rescue.’

The door opened and Terra couldn’t help but stiffen at the sight of Petra’s twin brother slide through the crack in the door. Viktor was as tall as his sister but his features were always relaxed, bored even. He never spoke. Only tortured.

‘Just in time.’ Petra let go of Terra, turning to greet her brother. She reached for him, kissing his cheek with tenderness and love. It was hard to believe she was capable of such a thing. ‘Shall we begin?’

Terra recoiled at such words. Every single day Petra would come along with her brother to torture her. Viktor had mind controlling powers and every time he came to the room, he’d use those powers to make Terra sleep and dream. Each dream became worse and worse. Scarier, bloodier and longer.

‘Please, don’t,’ Terra pleaded. Viktor stared at something behind her. He never seemed to focus on anyone or anything. Petra, however, couldn’t keep those icy blue eyes off of Terra.

‘The longer Scarlet takes to come, the longer you’ll suffer.’

‘Scarlet won’t come,’ Terra said.

‘Well then, what a shame.’ Petra shifted her attention towards her brother, that twisted smile of hers growing. The moment Viktor’s eyes turned white, Terra screamed, shaking. She needed to get away. She wouldn’t survive this for much longer.

Terra’s vision clouded as the room began to darken. She screamed in fear, crying out for someone to save her, even though she knew no one could.

The room disappeared and Terra slumped against the chair, her eyes closed.

Eric Thorn made his way across a rooftop, hidden from view. He usually wore dark suits, but he had changed into more comfortable gear to run through the city.

Crouching, he leaned forward by the edge of the building and glanced down. Watchers were patrolling the streets, strolling along with their shiny helmets, white uniforms and guns. They had been created to protect, and yet, they did the opposite. Eric leaned forward, wanting to smash their helmets against the brick wall. But he couldn’t. He had more important things to worry about.


Three days ago Scarlet had allowed the monster to take over. Now she roamed the capital, causing chaos and spreading fear among the citizens. There had been an increase of Watcher patrols because of it. No one knew what the darkness that floated across the sky was, or the girl with black veins and hair as white as snow that sometimes materialised out of thin air. Some called her a ghost, others a demon. Only a few really knew what she was.

Eric cursed. He needed to get her back. Not only because he missed her with every single fibre of his body, but because she didn’t deserve such an outcome. He couldn’t live with himself knowing what she had done to protect them. He would find her, and he’d bring her back.

He just hoped she was still there within the confines of the monster.

Eric waited for the Watchers to leave the alley, and then he leapt across the gap between the two buildings, falling into a roll. He had heard that Scarlet had been spotted by Square Park, flying across the trees and disturbing anyone who came anywhere near her.

It was well past curfew, so getting there was going to be a bit of a hassle. The sirens had gone off hours ago, alerting the population to hurry back into the safety of their homes or face the consequences.

Sitting down by the edge of the building, Eric brushed through his short blonde hair and pulled a cigarette out. Blue flashing lights shone a few buildings ahead, alerting him of the presence of Watchers. He’d have to wait a bit before getting closer or surely someone might spot him.

Eric glanced up at the starless night sky as the trail of smoke from his cigarette floated up, up, up. He pulled out the small little box he’d kept in his pocket and stared at the simple ring inside of it. Curtis had made it for him to give to Scarlet, and yet now it lay in his jacket, lost and forgotten.

The Watchers weren’t moving and in frustration Eric grunted, tilting his head back to stare at the moon hidden behind the polluted sky. Closing his eyes, he imagined himself in a small cottage in a field close to a forest. A piano had been placed in the living room and each morning he’d play.

Eric chuckled at the thought.

It was a beautiful dream, but a dream nonetheless. Without Scarlet none of it made much sense. The cottage would be his present for the both of them as soon as they got married.

If they got married.

A sudden breeze ruffled Eric’s blonde hair and he scanned the darkness of the city below. Scarlet was close. He could feel her.

Squinting, he searched for her desperately.


A black mist circled a building. The darkness slowly began to twist and turn into a shape, and then a girl materialised; skin and hair as white as the moon, eyes and veins as black as the night itself. Her focus was on the Watchers below and Eric tried getting closer without being detected.

He should’ve known better.

Her head snapped up, those black eyes slitting like sharp razors. She watched him carefully, tilting her head to one side. Eric didn’t dare move. He waited patiently. As soon as she lost interest in him and moved along, he’d follow.

Scarlet, however, had different intentions.

One moment she was buildings away, the next she was standing inches away.

‘Beauty?’ he whispered.

The girl sniffed him. ‘Cyborg,’ she said, her voice no longer completely human. ‘The girl you seek is no longer here. Give up this foolish quest.’

‘I won’t.’

‘This body is immortal and yours is not. You shall perish, but we shall live forever. Find another like you. Forget the girl that once inhabited this body.’

‘Shut up! Don’t speak as if she’s gone. Scarlet, wake up, goddamn you! You are stronger than this. We are stronger than this.’ He reached forward to touch her cheek, but her hand gripped his wrist and then her other hand was around his throat, tightening.

Turning on her heels, she dragged him towards the edge of the building.

‘Scarlet!’ Eric thrashed against her, but she was too strong. ‘Stop it! Don’t do this, love. You can beat the monster. I know you can.’

Scarlet continued, her eyes glued on something Eric couldn’t see. They reached the edge and Eric’s legs no longer touched the floor. Even though he was a cyborg and could survive many things, the drop was far too high for his body to survive.

Her black eyes shifted back towards him. There was nothing in them, just darkness.

‘Scarlet, please,’ Eric chocked out.

She let go and turned away, never looking back as he screamed.

Written by : J.F.Johns

Award Winning Author of the Indie Book Awards 2017 for her trilogy Eternal Darkness. Author of YA sci-fi dystopian novels such as the Eternal Darkness Trilogy, Cyborg Tales (the novella) and the sequel After Darkness.

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