Authors: KaSonndra Leigh
Tags: #angels, #magic, #alchemy, #childrens books, #fallen angels, #ancient war, #demon slayers
WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL
Copyright © 2011 by KaSonndra Leigh
Published by the Trigate Group at
Edited by Trish Patterson
Smashwords Edition License Notes
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the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. All
characters, organizations, and events are products of the author’s
imagination. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is
coincidental and not intended by the author.
Summary: In a not too distant future when
angels hide their celestial identities, a teenage girl who uses
ancient memories to change current events must face rival demon
slayers before she can find the cure to save her brother and
prevent a second apocalypse.
Book cover by Shy3 Dezignz
Nezzetta Tomlinson Wall, who
told me to ask the flowers, and be ready to hear the answers.
Creed for the Nation of Corunum
Taken from Essential Archive
We, the ruling body of the Tribunal, have put
forward this declaration to protect our citizens against unlawful
forms of alchemy and the exiled groups using it.
In all eight of the nation’s Hill Boroughs,
we shall rely on our fine militia, the Sons of Created Shade, to
defend our country against outcast persons living in the Dim
Cities. For protection against disease, sanctuary shall be offered
to citizens living inside the walls of the eight main Boroughs. We
shall train young citizens in our border guard ranks until they are
ready to serve the Shade Order.
Violators of this policy shall be identified
as any person(s) associated with any of the two extinct entities:
the Caduceans—slayers and masters of alchemy, and the
Tainted—persons related to either light or dark celestial
creatures, groups responsible for the Great War. Any person(s)
associated with either of these groups shall face the appropriate
punishment passed down by the Council of Judges.
Fifty-five years have passed since the nation
formerly known as America experienced its darkest days, a time we
know as the Tidal Years. Let all citizens remember those dark
moments, uphold the rules, obey the laws. The Tribunal has created
extreme measures to ensure enchantments performed by the extinct
celestial groups will never cause war or turmoil among peaceable
Above all, we must make sure our gifted
children take the required ale-meds developed to protect their
immune systems. Under the Red Heart, all Hill Boroughs in the
Nation of Corunum shall flourish and rule as one.
Part I: Castle Hayne, Hill Borough
The region formerly known as the
Thorns and stings and those such things
Just make stronger
Our angel wings.
Friday, August 22
in the year 2067
My brother’s hand twitched.
It was the first time he’d moved in almost a
Micah was in a coma. He lay in his bed,
sightless eyes staring upward. Tubes attached to his arms, legs,
and head led to a life-support system. My chest ached, stomach
rolled, and grief was a bomb waiting to explode inside me.
I wanted him to get better, but the doctors
said that was impossible, his body was dead. Vegetable, prep
subject for removal, save Castle Hayne’s hospital bed space: ugly
words scribbled on the chart hanging on his bed, as if I couldn’t
read or was blind. Or maybe they thought I was a little bird
waiting to be given an award for staying quiet.
The orderlies were coming to take Micah away,
to prep him for removal from the system in a few weeks. The period
allowed for his recovery had passed, the money to continue his
treatment was gone. It was time for him to be set free, a recluse
no longer. I wiped away the tears sliding down my face.
Beep. Beep. Beep. Sounds from the machines
drilled into my head, teasing me by mocking his heartbeat. I slid a
chair across the floor, closer to his bed, careful to avoid
staining the white shirt and pants of my work uniform.
Outside his room, the sun hid behind
grayness, the perfect look for costing week, the best day to say
“Can you hear me, Micah?” I closed my eyes,
listened for his voice, and told myself that his hand actually did
move. “I had another one of those nightmares, last night. We fell
off a cliff. I lost you in the ocean when we landed. It seemed so
real, and I was so scared.”
Micah always dreamed of seeing an ocean as
blue as a sapphire. But I was pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to
happen in a nightmare.
I sighed and moved dry, auburn hair strands
away from his face. It was a lot like mine, but his nose was more
angular than rounded. We didn’t look alike, even though we were
born three minutes apart. I’d just cut my dark, wavy mane up to my
shoulders. It was something my brother dared me to do before we
both turned sixteen in a couple of months. Our names, Micah and
Chela, made up for our looks. Together, they meant consoling prize.
That was how I felt about Micah, even though I knew he was slipping
“Please say something to me,” I said, afraid
to glance at the doorway.
I fought the sting in my nose, silenced the
voice in my head saying maybe he got sick because he refused to
take his ale-meds so many times. The liquid medicine boosted our
immune system, protected us from disease, and tasted like spoiled
cider. No wonder he hated it so much. We all did. But the Tribunal
required two doses per day for everybody under eighteen, and our
parents were the ones punished for our disobedience.
Crap. I forgot to take mine before I left the
The clock’s hands inched on toward 3pm. I
couldn’t afford to worry about missing an ale-med dose. My mind
needed to be clear. The group of kids I’d been assigned to check
into the city would arrive in two hours.
Each one I interviewed would be changed by
their answers to my questions about their life in the Dim Cities.
Living underground with no electricity or water or food in some
cases was hard enough. And now they had no choice but to accept my
suggestion for which foster home they should be placed into. The
same way I’d learned to
without my brother.
But now he’d shown me something to hope
Two nurses and an orderly guy crept into the room
and stood by the doorway. What were they going to do? Surely, their
fancy machines had recorded his movement. Were they still planning
to take him away?
“Come on, time to go,” the orderly said.
“Wait a minute. He moved his hand. Didn’t you
see it?” I said.
The orderly shrugged. “I hear it all the time
from you people who can’t accept reality. Now get out of the
“You can’t take him, yet.” I stared him down
like a mother tiger protecting a cub, her soul, her lifeline. I was
as fierce as the beast that terrorized the Dim Cities. I was both
fearless and afraid. These people would become my prey if they took
one step closer.
The orderly rolled his eyes and started
toward me. Something wild washed over me, forcing my body into
action. I swung at him. He ducked and moved behind the empty bed
beside Micah’s. But the crazy thing still had me in its grip. I
turned and pushed the bed into his legs, pinning him against the
wall. One of the nurses rushed into the hallway. The other one
stood plastered against the wall, shock etched into her face. I
wasn’t going to step aside and let them take my brother, especially
now that I’d seen him move.
Two guards stalked into the room and grasped
my forearms. “Micah, I’ll come back for you. I promise I won’t let
you down,” I said as they struggled to pull me away.
The celestial blood running through my veins
made me strong, and I knew it. But the guards were under orders to
arrest people like me, to shoot us if they had to. If I didn’t calm
down, the hospital staff would figure out my secret and send us to
the Barrows. Father will be crushed if both his children get sent
to the frozen prisons.
I let my body slacken in their arms. It was
as if I were under a spell meant to break me.
The tallest nurse shook her head when we
passed by, her eyes filled with pity I didn’t want. Outside the
room, the guards pushed me up against the wall and challenged me
with a hard look.
I clenched my fists, focused on my heaving
chest. “Ground the power. Keep it inside. Can’t let them know. Make
sure you hide,” I repeated in my mind. Father said chanting always
worked for Mother, the one I never knew.
In the hallway, Micah’s physician approached
us. Doctor Van Meter bounced along as if the sky were filled with
gold coins instead of dark clouds. As if laughter instead of
screams filled the hallways. He was a strange man with a round,
calm face and a love of historical uniforms. His white lab coat
gleamed, and he wore a lighted mirror attached to his forehead. He
stood out like a spotlight in the gray halls, desks, uniforms, and
black doorways surrounding us.
“This behavior is utterly useless. Unhand the
girl,” he said to the guards. They stepped away from me, the
tallest one watching me with narrowed eyes. What was he thinking?
I’d make him sorry. All of them would regret this day.
“He moved, Dr. Van Meter. You can’t send him
away, now. Doesn’t that mean anything to you?” My voice rose along
with the anxiety squeezing my chest. He led me away from the guards
and started walking toward the exit.
As if silencing a crazy girl, he held up a
hand. We had reached the end of the hallway. “I know how much you
want to believe your brother will improve, Miss Prizeon, but the
glutovirus in his body won’t simply disappear. There’s no cure. I’m
sorry.” He paused as if waiting for my reaction. I wouldn’t dare
show him the ache in my chest by releasing the tears clouding my
eyes. No, I was done with crying. Instead, I was ready to fight for
Micah. And to do so, I had to calm the hurricane raging inside my
“Some of the other patient’s families are
worried about having a person in your brother’s condition so near,”
he said. “It is past time for his release.”
His troublesome words made me feel dizzy.
Father’s authority only went so far. They’d make Micah into a real
vegetable, experimenting on his body the way they did the rest of
Dr. Van Meter’s patients I’d seen sitting in their rooms.
“What about the other medicines? I thought
you told Father there was a way to fix the missing cells?”
“Even if he did begin to build up new cells,
he’d stay in his catatonic state, or become something much worse.
Trust me, Miss Prizeon, it’s better we use Micah’s body for
critical research. He’d make a strong vessel.”
Vesselism: a word of two natures, the good
and the unspeakable. It was something we all faced if we were lucky
enough to see birthday number seventy. For sick people like Micah,
the procedure was different. I shuddered when I thought of what it
meant: padded rooms, thought transfer, strange medicines poured
into my brother’s mouth without knowing what would happen after
they passed through his system.
No, Van Meter was up to something. If it were
up to men like him, every outcast and sick person living in the Dim
Cities would be candidates for vesselism. I didn’t buy his
pity-the-vegetable-boy act, and I wasn’t ready to roll over and
play the lovely girl dressed in white.
“Please don’t send him away. Something
happened. I think he tried to touch me. You have to give him a
chance.” My voice cracked. How could I get him to understand the
way Micah had communicated with me? “I know Father would agree. He
won’t let you do this, because you—”
“Your father already knows about the
vesselism, and he agrees with my decision. Why do you think he
allowed you to come here on your own?”
My heart might’ve leapt out of my chest if it
weren’t for the knot in my throat. Squeaks echoed behind me. I
glanced back. The orderly I’d pinned against the wall wheeled
Micah’s bed into the hallway. We locked gazes, and he blew a kiss
at me. The way my body heated up could roast a thousand ale