COMING JUNE 20, 2017
My name is Kaeleen Donovan. They call me Fury. I walk in flame and ash, on a field of bones. As Seattle burns—the old order crashing behind us, ahead the Wild Wood waits in the cold, frozen dark. Some battles, it’s wiser to run than to stand and fight.
“How’s your arm?” I knelt by Tam, who was sitting by the fire. The forest loomed around us, the massive boughs of the fir and cedar trees bending under the weight of the snow. The creaking of their boughs in the wind set up a lonely lament that echoed through our encampment. I cocked my head, listening to the noise of the forest around us. I wasn’t used to the sounds of the woodland and they made me nervous. Traffic, cars, the sounds of electricity humming and crowds milling were my usual milieu. Out here, I felt lost and clumsy.
Tam winced as he shifted his right shoulder, rotating it first backward, then forward.
“It will heal. Leave it to those bastards to implant the chip in my bicep instead of someplace where it was easily removable.” He let out a soft grunt, then took another sip of his coffee from the enamel mug.
Jason had removed the chip for him while we were on the boat headed for the Greens. It had been a rough, bloody surgery, but with the salves Elan had brought, and my fire to cauterize the wound, Tam managed to avoid infection. We had dumped the chip overboard, so if the Devani or the Corp Rats were trying to track him, they’d find themselves in the middle of the Pacific Sound. With the zombies overrunning Seattle, I doubted they’d even bother.
We had managed to reach the Wild Wood. We were well north of the Greens, attempting to make our way through to the forest on the opposite side of Wild Wave Inlet, but the going was slow and the weather had been against us all the way.
None of our cell phones worked here. The Wild Wood had taken on a force of its own since the World Shift, and even satellite technology couldn’t pierce the veil that shadowed the tangle of forests.
I warmed my hands by the fire. We had yet to come across any of the Woodland Fae supposed to be living out in the wilds. Elan had cautioned patience.
“We have miles to go yet,” she had said.
Apparently, she wasn’t kidding.
There were no paved roads out here, nor cars to travel them. If we had managed to escape to the south, we could have hiked along the highway toward Bend and perhaps have hitched a ride, but there hadn’t been time to head that direction. We had to evacuate when we did, and that meant traveling via the Barrow tunnels to the Pacific Sound to meet Laren’s boat. With the zombies swarming the city streets, and the Regent of Seattle about to declare martial law, we would have been locked in good and tight. While the curfew wouldn’t affect UnderBarrow, within hours the Devani would have been patrolling Pacific Sound and Laren would have had to sail away before they caught him. As big as our party was—eight adults and one teenager—the only way out through the chaos had been via the waterways.
Now, two days later, we were deep in the forest, caught in the middle of a massive snowstorm, attempting to keep our bearings.
I settled beside Tam on the nurse log and leaned against him. He wrapped his arm—his good arm—around me and kissed my forehead.
“This is all new for you, isn’t it? The woodlands and the forest?”
I nodded. “Other than a day trip or two, the only interactions I’ve had in the forest were over on the Arbortariam with the Greenlings. I’m not sure what to expect. The sounds are so different than in the city. I don’t know what to be alarmed by, and what’s normal. Also, I’m thinking about Hecate. I know she said she’d be able to find me, but…will she?”