Note: I will be posting a chapter from The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle each day until the book has been fully posted. I am doing this as a way to entertain those who have been coping with the new life of social distancing, social isolation, and quarantine in the world right now in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Once complete, I will hold the book on in full on my site until 1/1/2021. On that day, it’ll no longer be accessible for free.
I ask people to share links freely while the book is available, but please do not copy or do anything else without expressed permission from me, the copyright holder.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook. Enjoy and I hope that you and your family are doing well!
The Dangerous Life of Agnes Pyle
by Jeremy C Kester
(c) Jeremy C Kester – All Rights Reserved
“I’ve got to go back to help her.” Safiya’s tone was stern while facing her conduit. The small, troll-like creature stood sideways on the wall while speaking with her.
“Instructions are not yours to design,” the conduit told her in a voice that sounded much like a coughing dachshund. “She has master.”
“I am not asking to be her master, Illit,” she hissed as she threw her hands up in the air. Her eyes darted around the room in frustration, worry. She was worried about Agnes. Only thoughts of the danger that could befall her were going through Safiya’s mind. Each image only ignited the desires to abandon her post to go to Agnes.
But she knew that Brandt would be able to handle it. Could he handle it? With Cadence’s help, Brandt’s fiendishly skilled apprentice, Safiya should have relaxed some. Both were of the highest ability. And Cadence could always best Safiya in any duel. The girl had an unnatural grace about every movement.
But the Pyle’s were both deadly as well. Agnes’ parents, Safiya’s former masters, were on par with Brandt on his best days. And now they were gone. And the stories were flooding between the realms: sentries are falling. Once rumors, an intangible fear spread across their kind, were all too real. She knew the fallen. Nearly a quarter of them have already been claimed and now their souls are not crossing over. But they are not staying in the mortal realm either. Nothing was certain. Certainty was a luxury only afforded to death.
They are lost.
Safiya was dizzy with fear and worry. She needed to be back with Agnes. It was to protect the young girl; it was because Safiya needed protection.
Not one of them seemed to understand either. Long ago Safiya lost her own parents. Ever since she was young she had bounced from home to home being looked after by anyone willing until she came of age to enter her apprenticeship. Before living with the Pyles, nothing felt like home. No one felt like family. The kinship and family she developed when she returned to Syria was not the same that she felt with the Pyles and with dear Agnes. And none of it mattered the same as returning now did.
“Numbers are too few to return,” Illit barked.
She huffed. She was pacing angrily trying to sort out her emotions. Normally she was poised and calm. This unhinged her. “You cannot tell me that this choice is wise,” she said before thinking of another reason to go. “Would we not stand a better chance were we to stop working as individuals?”
“Numbers not matter,” the conduit said as-a-matter-of-fact even though it sounded more like a small dog choking on some gristle. “Kill by one; kill by many. You will stay.”
Safiya licked her lips as she glared at the creature. A pop and it was gone. She stood there watching the empty space as though she were expecting the creature to return. Knowing that it wasn’t going to happen, she clenched her teeth letting out a brief grunt of frustration.
Majd entered the room, a look of worry also spread across his face. “They are indeed gone? So it is indeed true?”
She nodded. “Yes.”
“What are we to do?”
Another Sentry entered the room following Majd. “These reports worry me, Safiya,” an older woman, Natalia, said. She was dressed much like the young girl, only showing her eyes. She was nearing 100 years of age and had taken the role of leader of the small group of Sentries that lived there.
Sentries living in grouped communities was not unusual in places such as Syria where it was easier to hide as a group posing as a large family than in places like the west where individuals were more capable to remain secretive. Cultures often dictated the best ways to hide. Majd acted as the patriarch of the family with Natalia acting as his mother.
Natalia was the surrogate leader of the group, however.
“I need to go to make sure Agnes is alright,” Safiya’s tone had calmed from moments ago. She knew better than to let her anger or frustration show in front of Natalia. Natalia was always reserved and her mere presence demanded the same from those who were around her. Even Safiya, who still allowed her emotions to get the best of her, learned to control them when Natalia was around.
“We must remain here together if these are true.”
“I agree,” Majd added.
Huffing, Safiya turned away and peered out a small window that allowed a little light from the outside into the room. Were they unable to see that they were in danger as much here as they were anywhere? Could they not see how much Agnes mattered to her? “I feel that she is in danger.”
“Brandt is capable. He will protect her. He is one of our best,” Natalia explained. “We need you here. You might have passed your apprenticeship, but the both of you still have much to learn. We cannot go rushing in to fight a war we know nothing of.”
Safiya struggled to remain calm as she felt an increasing sense of helplessness. She wanted to help Agnes despite knowing nothing of any danger other than the small number of tragic deaths that are being reported. But she needed to be sure that Agnes was ok.
“My dear,” Natalia continued. “We cannot let our fears dictate our actions. We will wait here until we are given more to know what our enemy is.”
“But nothing, child,” Natalia chided. “Our place is here. There is too much danger to let you go. Brandt can handle it.”
She breathed trying to let Natalia’s words permeate her skin. Two sides continued to rage inside her, both driven by a fear that was palpable yet the very notion of where it came from was largely unknown to her. “I know,” she said lowering her head.
“My dear,” Natalia said calmly as she stepped over to Safiya placing her hand on the girl’s face. Majd resumed the practice of looking out the window, a ritual he felt was unfortunate in its need. “You are always the mother,” Natalia said calmly. “Your worry extends to everyone but yourself. You must focus on the now. We cannot-“
Majd interrupted with a sudden concern in his voice. “There is something wrong. We might need to leave this place now.” As soon as his words parted ways with his lips, the building shook violently.
If you would like to skip ahead, you are always welcome to purchase a copy, just click the link HERE (or click up top at the menu bar) to go to the book’s page where there are links to where it is available in both print and ebook.