Part One of THE MERCURY SISTERS Book One
The beast could smell the children. Its large nose twitched and its thick, black fur bristled in the light of the eleven moons. It padded up the three vine covered steps of the farmhouse and let out an involuntary whine, as the smell grew thicker and closer. The beast licked a glob of spit from its jaws and pushed its forehead against the front door, which yielded forward, letting out more of the smell. The thick sweetness of human sweat sent a shiver down the beast’s spine. It pushed forward and inside.
The beast kept its senses alert as it knew this structure to be of humans. But it could not smell any threat, no gunpowder, or the sweat of the larger masculine humans. It stepped further into the house, down a hallway until it reached another door that was ajar and leaking out the delicious fumes. The beast poked its nose through the gap and inhaled the heady aroma, its stomach clenched in hunger and a spindle of spit splatted to the floor. It could hear the breath of five sleeping bodies. The beast slunk inside the nursery.
A blur of pajamas and the flash of a silver blade launched through the darkness and slammed straight into the beast. Rar Mercury landed on its back, both arms around its neck. She grabbed the blade from between her teeth and before the beast could even think the thought of growling, its throat was cut. It fell to the nursery floor with a dull thud. Rar stood and wiped her knife on her pajama shirt. She examined the fallen beast, who was three times the size of her 15 year old self and then pinched her nose.
“Poowee, smelly thing,” she murmured.
Zelda Mercury was ripped from nothingness, to her racing heart. The air was heavy with the metallic tang of blood. She gripped the sheets of her bed and sat bolt upright. A huge black mass lay in the middle of the nursery, she blinked a few times and waited for her vision to clear, but it did not. A smaller, Rar shaped shadow moved around beside it and Zelda gasped.
“Quiet sister,” A stern voice whispered in her ear.
Zelda’s older sister, Tam Mercury had materialized by her side. Zelda was fully awake immediately. Something was wrong, very wrong. Together the oldest sisters moved towards the motionless mass and Zelda grabbed Rar by her shoulders.
“What the hell is this?” She hissed.
Zelda could see Rar smirk even in the darkness, “I killed it,” Rar announced.
“Quiet both of you,” Tam whispered, she placed her hands on her hips, “Help me move it.”
Zelda wrinkled her nose at the thick musk of the dead beast. She didn’t want to touch the thing but they had to get it out of the nursery before their two young sisters woke up. With shaking hands she grabbed a handful of fur and helped her sisters haul the body from the nursery and into the hall. Tam hurriedly shut the door behind them and they kept moving towards the kitchen. As they passed their parent’s bedroom, Zelda thought to wake them but remembered they were still missing. A thought she couldn’t get used to, even though she hadn’t seen her father in a month and her mother in longer.
In the kitchen, Tam shut more doors and switched on the light. The three sisters stood, blinking at each other for a moment. The beast lay still and large between them. Zelda kicked it, to make sure it was dead and then kicked it again, letting out a groan.
“This is not okay. How did it even get in? How Tam? We could’ve been killed, all of us, my god little Xandy and Mye. And Rar what were you thinking? This is not okay, this is really not okay.” Zelda said.
Zelda was the one who usually checked the doors before bed. Had she checked them tonight? Obviously not. Zelda’s angry fists fell to her side. This was her fault.
Tam’s brow was creased but she remained still, eyes trained firmly on the dark beast. In the light it looked like it could be sleeping, if it wasn’t for the red pool quickly forming around its neck.
“In the nursery,” She murmured to herself.
Rar waved her knife around in the air, her breathing accelerated. “I woke up and I knew it was there and I just leapt and killed it dead right away. In freakin’ seconds, did you see it?”
Zelda snatched the dagger from Rar, and placed it on the dining table, “This isn’t a game Rar,”
Rar’s nostrils flared, “I just saved your life.”
“It’s done,” Tam said, her tone final, “This has happened, it got in. And now we have to deal with it. I won’t have you two bickering and waking up Mye and Xandy. They don’t need to see this okay?”
Zelda’s heart ached at the thought of the small sleeping forms of her young sisters. Xandy who was only just five and Mye who was nine. They should be able to sleep safely in their own beds.
Zelda shook her head and covered her mouth. Tam placed a kind hand on her shoulder and then one on Rar’s.
“Let’s just get it out of the house, clean up and go back to sleep,” She said.
Rar shook off her hand, “You aren’t mum,”
“And you aren’t some warrior,” Zelda snapped.
Rar grunted and stepped towards Zelda. “You sure?”
Zelda was surprised that they were almost at eye level; her sister was growing taller and stockier by the day. She almost shrunk back, but anger kept her stance firm.
“Yes princess, I’m certain,” Zelda said, using the insult that annoyed Rar the most.
“Psycho,” Rar spat.
Tam let out a heavy sigh and opened the front door wide. She picked up a large paw and started to pull on the beast. Zelda shot Rar a stern look and grabbed the fur of the beast once more. Rar rolled her eyes but helped them haul the beast through the front door and onto the front porch. Continuing the train of smeared blood as they went.
Outside the air was still heated from the long faded sun. Zelda could feel the massive presence of the Wild around them. She squinted into the darkness and shuddered, her eyes playing tricks in the shadows of the moons. She didn’t like being outside when all the moons were full. The sky became almost more moon than stars.
“The smell should ward other off,” Tam said.
Rar leant against the side of the house and crossed her arms. A gesture she had adopted from their father. Zelda’s throat clenched at the sight of it.
“There’s been more and more around,” Rar said.
Zelda wanted to get back inside and lock the door as quickly as possible. Fear crawled on her skin like insects.
She wiped her hands repeatedly on her pajamas, “This godforsaken planet, I swear,” She muttered.
Tam smiled, “It wasn’t the best choice to raise children,”
The three sisters lingered over the beast’s cold body in the warm night.
“They aren’t coming back are they?” Zelda said after a while.
“Don’t,” Rar grunted.
“I don’t want to give up on them, I really don’t but,” Tam paused,
“But, it was in our bedroom. I hate to say it. But we all must know what this means,”
Zelda took a shaky breath, “The Wilds are really taking over,”
An excited smile swept across Rar’s mouth, “And it’s time to leave."