After- A Journey of the Twins novel
By Janet Durbin
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if something created by the government escaped? What if it was a virus, a virus so deadly it killed incredibly fast? So fast that a cure was out of the question. What would you do?
Journey with me to find out how the twins, Shyanne and Drayco, handle the outcome of just such a virus, and how the world around them seems to have fallen back in time to an era before technology, an era where the sword rules.
The twins become separated shortly after the deaths stop. Over time, they begin looking for one another when the longing for family fills them. After they find each other, they learn that someone else is looking for them, as well. The Boss wants Shyanne badly. Why—they don't know—but they're going to find out.
With their animal companion, a genetically altered mountain lion named Drizzle, the twins embark on a cross-country journey. They encounter many obstacles along the way, but the worst is a mercenary named Ruben. He will stop at nothing to accomplish what he is paid to do, even if it involves killing his own men. Unfortunately, he succeeds in getting Shyanne.
Now Drayco must survive his biggest challenge, a challenge filled with pain and suffering, if he is to help his sister survive the Boss.
It took the trio six long days to cross the vast open plains. In that time, they saw no other living being except for some birds flying high in the sky. A few glided lazily on the air currents while others accompanied the riders in shifts, as if giving them an escort. None flew close enough to replenish the dwindling food supplies.
The big animals seen at the beginning of the journey had long since gone. It appeared as if the trio and the flying escorts above were the only living things left on the planet.
Very little conversation transpired throughout most of the travel. Drayco tried on several occasions to get his sister to talk. She refused to say more than a few words, which was just as well since he wasn't in the mood to talk either. Joseph chatted on those occasions he was spoken to, but he also remained silent.
Shyanne avoided the fair-haired man for most of the journey, keeping Drayco between them, or riding ahead. On those occasions where they were forced together, like when they camped for the night, she kept mostly to herself. Drayco felt the steadily worsening effects of needing blood increase when the plains finally surrendered its hold on the world to the trees growing visible on the horizon. He had been feeling the weakness and ache for the last two days, but said nothing to the pair riding with him. They could not resolve the issue. Moreover, he had not wanted to weigh them down with any more worries than they already had.
"Finally!" Shyanne yelled when she sighted the trees. Her mood picked up substantially, as did Joseph's. Drayco wanted to share in their excitement. His body hurt too much to let him.
The waterskins hung limp from the saddles with only a few drops remaining. Because of the shortage, the horses had been rationed along with the people on them. Some kind of water must have been close because they picked up speed as the scent of the badly needed moisture reached their nostrils.
Joseph and Shyanne could barely keep their animals from breaking away. They grinned, winked at each other, and finally gave in, letting the animals run.
Drayco smiled as he watched the others bridge the gap between the open field and the trees ahead. With a slight prod, Bravaro leapt to follow. A few feet into the run, however, Drayco was hit with an intense pain in his abdominal region. It forced him to double over and grasp a handful of mane to stay in the saddle. Sweat broke out on his forehead; it ran into his eyes, causing them to sting, adding more insult to an already abused body. He grimaced as another wave more intense than the first hit him. This time, he wasn't able to stay in the saddle.
Bravaro was running at a brisk pace when Drayco's grip finally gave way. He fell sideways off the horse and hit the ground, hard. His right shoulder dislocated with the impact, and the back of his head bounced a couple of times while he rolled like a broken rag doll on the grassy plain. He vaguely noticed the new pains due to the other pain still holding him in a vice grip, refusing to give up its hold. When he finally stopped rolling, he was face down on the ground. His right shoulder was at an awkward angle and he couldn't catch
* * * *
Shyanne made it to the edge of the woods and pulled Jack around, halting his mad dash across the open area. A wide smile covered her face; it was the first one in many days. Joseph pulled his horse up beside her, laughing. "You should see yourself. It's hilarious the way your hair is sticking out. It makes you look like a giant sunflower."
Shyanne laughed. "You should see yourself, mister." Pushing her hair down, she glanced back to see how her brother fared. Her face changed in an instant. Where joy and pleasure had glowed over every inch of her, fear and dread replaced it.
She was looking over Joseph's shoulder in the direction they had just come. He turned in the saddle and saw Bravaro running their way, riderless. A dark patch lay sprawled on the ground in the distance, half buried by the waving sea of greens and yellows. His smile faded as quickly as hers had. Shyanne spurred Jack toward her brother's still form. Joseph jerked his horse around and kicked it in the sides. At first, the animal fought, its thirst strong, but the will of the man on its back was stronger.
In seconds, they raced back to where Drayco lay.