Knowledge: The Fifth Division Saga: Book 1

BOOK: Knowledge: The Fifth Division Saga: Book 1
11.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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K N O W L E D G E

 

A Fifth Division Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Kira Stüssy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This book is dedicated to my amazingly supportive mother, who spent endless hours editing this work until it was finally somewhat presentable. Also, to my wonderful father who pushed me to finish even when I thought it better to quit. And lastly, to my younger brother whose own creativity has influenced mine more than I care to admit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue:

 

In the shadowy depths of the early morning hour, only the occasional chirp of a distant finch and the rushing of the nearby stream could be heard. The heavy darkness of nightfall still blanketed the small farmhouse with a starless cover.

All was still.

There was no indication whatsoever that in the quiet shelter of opaque night a young woman had slipped out of bed and now tip-toed across the back porch. Her bare feet landed softly and noiselessly, nimble as could be. She fought to keep her breathing regulated and silent.

One foot in front of the other. She knew she must consider each movement before executing it, because one false step and it was all over. She slowly set her foot down, only a step or two away from the wooden stairs that led down to the lawn. A small creak erupted from the floorboard and she mentally cursed herself. She froze and strained to catch even the slightest noise from inside.

But all was silent.

She released the breath she had been holding and took the next few steps to the safety of the grass. Compared to the stairs and spring mattress, the porch had been a breeze. Now that her feet had reached the spongy grass, she knew she was home free. Approximately fifty feet ahead of her the lawn ended and the extensive tree line began, stretching for as far as the eye could see. That is what he wanted, to be secluded and alone. The young woman did not understand the obsession with privacy at the time he had convinced her to move there with him, but now she knew.

And she needed to run.

She dashed to the tree line, and once she reached it she paused, for only a moment. She pivoted halfway, in order to catch a decent glimpse of the farmhouse. A two story charmer, painted white with blue shutters. It appeared cute and welcoming, at least from the outside.

She caught sight of movement from within the upstairs window. A light flicked on. He was awake, it was more than time to go. When he discovered that she was gone, truly gone, there was no telling what the consequences would be. And she could not risk to suffer any more consequences. Not now.

With one lonely tear racing down her cheek and a dull ache in her heart, the young woman sprinted expertly into the woods, a newborn baby held tightly in the crook of each arm.

 

 

Chapter 1

 

16 Years Later…

Just a little higher.

I stretched my arm as far as it could possibly extend. My calves burned and my shoulder joints were sore. I had been working nonstop for at least four and half hours now. With one more push upwards, I managed to smack the sticky side of the tape onto the ceiling so that the colorful streamer draped elegantly from one side of the room to the other.

Stepping down from the ladder, I wiped the back of my hand across my forehead, ridding it of all perspiration that may have settled there during my strenuous day. Grinning with self satisfaction, I stepped back to admire my hard work. Streamers flowed high up on the ceiling, balloons decorated each corner, and various glittery signs declared where the different food and drink options would be. Hundreds of choices for CDs leaned against the old school stereo and the living room had been cleared of all furniture to allow more room for dancing. I trotted to the stainless steel fridge and took inventory of the already prepared foods and the ones that would have to be made tomorrow.

From the next room over, I heard the front door slam shut and the shuffling of someone battling to kick off their shoes.  Taking one last note that two more bowls for punch would be required, I closed the fridge and headed to the front door.

“Stupid…get off…” Caspian muttered. My twin brother hopped around the foyer, desperately trying to fling his stubborn sandal off of his foot and failing miserably. He carried half a dozen grocery bags that were filled to the top so I imagined that his task was not simple.

Stifling a laugh, I grabbed half of his bags and lugged them to the kitchen. I heard a sigh of relief from the foyer, indicating that Caspian had achieved foot freedom. He slowly entered the open kitchen and living room area, eyes droopy and drained. I dumped the contents of the bags onto the counter and carefully observed my brothers reaction to the decorations.

After a long moment or two, his eyebrows raised and his mouth curved into an approving grin, “Not bad, sis. Although, the sparkle signs seem a little girlie.”

I beamed back at him, “But I’m making very manly food. Like…” I grabbed one of the multiple recipes that were strewn across the countertop, “mini corn dogs and bean dip!”

He ran his hand through his black hair, faking anxiety, “Oh man, alright. Because of the bean dip, I
suppose
I will let this one slide.”

I light-heartedly socked him in the shoulder and we chuckled. Most of the kids at my school constantly complained about their siblings, but I considered mine to be some of my closest friends. Caspian scanned the room, looking for something or someone in particular, “Where’s Iris?”

I frowned, “I don’t know…”

As if on cue, the front door opened for a second time, seconds later a pair of running feet could be heard dashing into the kitchen. Iris made the sharp corner into the room where Caspian and I stood and smiled up at us. Ever heard the expression that a smile can light up a room? Well I truly believe that Iris can
literally
illuminate spaces with hers. Her sandy blonde hair was long enough to brush her waist and her uniquely lavender eyes could melt the iciest of hearts. She gazed up at us with an expression of pure joy.

“Guess what!” she exclaimed. Too impatient to wait for a reply, she burst out, “I got the part of Tinker Bell in the school play!”

My mother, her eyes always unfailingly gentle and energized, walked into the room. She patted Iris on the head before kissing both Caspian and I lovingly on the cheek. She pulled a bar stool over to where we all stood and slowly eased herself down to rest. Although never betraying even the slightest bit of wear, I knew my mother had to be exhausted. My mother worked by day as a lifeguard and night at the ER as a receptionist. I calculated that she only received on average about four hours of sleep a night. But that did not stop her from being a full time mom as well. A surge of respect for my mother rose in me, as it often did whenever I thought of everything she did for us kids.

“Yes she did.” My mother smiled warmly at her younger daughter.

“Ms. Blake says that I am a natural.” Iris folded her arms over her chest and tilted her nose upwards. My sister was not exactly a snob, but confidence was of no issue for her. After making the announcement, she promptly skipped out of the kitchen and raced up the stairs. I figured she was headed to her room to listen to headache-inducing pop music and read about Disney channel star gossip.

“This looks amazing you guys.” my mother complimented as she drank in the fruits of my labor.

“This was all Mira, I was merely the slave boy who was sent out to do her bidding.” Caspian grinned mischievously at me. I opened my mouth to throw back a retort, thought better of it, and kept quiet. Caspian’s aqua eyes danced in silent victory.

“Is there anything I can help out with?” my mom asked.

“Nah, we just have to finish up a few food dishes tonight and then everything else will just have to wait for tomorrow.” I shot a sideways glance at my brother, “I will recruit the slave boy to help with what needs to be done tonight.”

“Well that’s very sweet of you, considering it is
my
party too.” He rolled his eyes.

Our mother stared at us for a long while, a twinge of sadness tainting her normal happy glow. She reached forward and brushed my cheek with her light touch, her small smile clearly strained. “I just cannot believe that you two are turning sixteen tomorrow. It seems like only yesterday you were learning to walk.”

“Oh dear,” I groaned, “Let’s not go down cheesy memory lane. Please?”

“Alright, alright. Well if you don’t need any help, I think I might head off to bed. Do you think you guys can fend for yourselves for dinner tonight?”

I nodded quickly, eager to give my mother even a short amount of time off from her ongoing duties. She almost never requested a break from anything, so when she did I made sure to convince her that it was okay and the right thing for her. I actually wished she would ask more often.

She hesitated briefly, looking once more around the room before heading up the stairs. I turned my attention back to Caspian. “Thanks for getting all of this. It must have been a heavy load to carry.” I suddenly felt guilty for asking him to go alone to grab the groceries while I stayed at the house and decorated. Since both of us were a day away from sixteen and my mother was hardly ever able to chauffeur us, we kids tended to walk to our destinations. Considering that our small Oregon Coast town of Lincoln City is only about five and a half square miles, the walks were never too long. But since the market is still a couple miles away from our home and those bags were not light, I felt a little bad.

“It was fine, really.” He assured me. I nodded and gave him the job of chopping vegetables for a fruit and veggie tray. He picked up a knife and set to work while I mixed some juices and lemonade together to form a punch. We worked in silence for a few minutes before he spoke again, “Do you think it’s weird that we are having our party on a Monday?”

“Well, considering our birthday is tomorrow and it just so happened to land on a Monday, there was not much of an option.”

“We could have had our party a few days
after
our actually birthday.”

I paused to consider this. “I suppose. But there is something much more
authentic
about having birthday parties on the actual date.” I explained, growing increasingly nervous and excited as I thought more and more about tomorrow, “Plus, it’s not every day that people get to celebrate a Sweet Sixteen for twins.”

Caspian chuckled and shook his head, “You are a bit of a perfectionist. Is this something you’re aware of?”

I glared darkly, “Oh shut up and keep chopping.”

“Yes, sir.”

I sighed and returned to my mixing. Images of fun and dancing and cakes blurred in my mind. I peeked up at the food that had been already set for tomorrow and the abundance of decorations that I had painstakingly placed all over the house. I only wanted for our sixteenth birthday to be one to remember.

I tucked a loose strand of hair back into my ratty ponytail and focused on the job at hand.

*

Caspian and I stood outside the front doors of Taft High School the next day, mentally preparing ourselves. I glanced down at the ground and bit my lip, a nervous habit I had developed at a young age. I yanked at my floral skirt, trying to find any way to postpone the inevitable.

“The bell is going to ring soon.” Caspian muttered. I knew that he was just as thrilled to walk through those double doors as I was. I released a long, shaky breath. I looked over at my brother and noticed that he too was fidgeting.

I laid a hand on his shoulder reassuringly.

The warning bell buzzed, slicing the air with its insistent scream. Bracing myself for impact, I stepped forward and slowly pushed the door open. The chaos and cacophony that is a high school hallway slammed into me.

But this is not what I dreaded.

As soon as we stepped onto the linoleum flooring with the white fluorescent lights beating down on us, I watched as almost every set of eyes flitted to us. Some people even flat out stared. Our family had moved to Lincoln City at the beginning of the school year. It was now May 1st and people here still treated Caspian and me like we were an exhibit at a zoo. My brother and I were sort of notorious for being accident prone. Neither of us seemed to be able to make it through a day without breaking something or hurting someone. Most of the occurrences were unexplainable freak accidents that had nothing to do with us, but we were always right there in the center of the problem. Hence, the stares. Now, this isn’t to say that we weren’t liked, because we were. That may sound conceited but the truth is that people spoke to us, joked with us, invited us to parties, and Caspian definitely received his fair share of date proposals. But the hallway gazes never ceased to make me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” someone shouted from down the hall. My face broke out into a genuine smile and we weaved through the crowded hallway towards the voice. It took an eternity, but when we finally reached the end, I practically tackled the source of the birthday wish. My arms wrapped around my best friend Kelsey, eager to be in the presence of someone who didn’t just stare at me. She laughed heartily and hugged me back. She had been waiting at my locker, a smug grin upon her face. When I finally released my grip, I realized that Caspian had found his best buddy as well: Danny.

Danny was one of the few people in the school, like Kelsey, who treated Caspian and I like actual people. Danny had a strong and tall build with latte colored skin and light green eyes. Over the course of the school year, Kelsey, Caspian, Danny and I had become very close. And being around Danny so much, I could not help but acknowledge that he was
far
from ugly.

Caught up in a conversation with Caspian, Danny briefly glanced over at me and smiled. Luckily, I was not one to blush, but if I could I am sure I would have at that point. Kelsey coughed and gave me a meaningful look only to receive a glare from me in return.

“Sooo,” Kelsey leaned against the wall as Caspian and I grabbed our books from our locker, “how does it feel to be sixteen?”

“Very similar to being fifteen.” I murmured. My eyes slid down the hall and rested on a pair of kids, probably slightly younger than us, a boy and a girl who stood close to each other whispering. Our school was small and I was positive I had never seen them before, yet they somehow seemed familiar. They were most certainly brother and sister, both with feathery brown hair and slight bone structure. I caught them muttering and then look over and catch my gaze. I felt rude staring, but there was something holding my focus to them. The girl reached up to tuck a loose strand of dark brown hair behind her ear and a black tattoo was visible for only a moment on her wrist as the sleeve fell. She quickly pulled the sleeve down but I had already seen. Something was familiar about the tattoo and it tugged at my brain, urging me to recognize significance.
What the…?

“Speak for yourself,” Caspian cut in, breaking my focus, I shook my head and turned away from the strange siblings, “I feel older, more powerful, possibly invincible.” To make his point, he stood up tall and puffed out his chest. A group of freshman girls walking by erupted into girlie giggles and turned to each other, eager to whisper and giggle some more. Embarrassed, Caspian deflated and went back to slouching. Danny chuckled and patted Caspian on the back.

I rolled my eyes, watching the group of girls turn the corner and disappear from sight, “What is their
deal
?”

Now it was Kelsey’s turn to roll her eyes, “Have you
seen
your brother?”

I chose to ignore her comment and slammed my locker closed. I tilted my head just enough to watch Caspian and Danny converse out of the corner of my eye. I knew Kelsey was right of course. Caspian happened to be six feet of bronzed perfection. Girls in every school we had attended over the years felt the need to inform me that his combination of tanned skin, bright blue-green eyes, and pitch black hair made for a guy that they could not even conjure up in their most wonderful fairytale fantasies. I looked at him and merely saw my twin brother who had been pestering me since we were in the womb.

BOOK: Knowledge: The Fifth Division Saga: Book 1
11.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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