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
It was two days before there was a small fishing trawler that came close enough to see Safiya. She had headed due south as long as the engine of the small boat would carry her until it ran out of fuel.
She sat drifting in the sea’s currents while she cried, unable to function in any way that would benefit her survival. When the fisherman’s ship came to her boat, she was ill from dehydration. The sea water had already ravaged her skin and if it had not been for the cloth covering her she would have been further broken by the Sun.
Getting to the boat was a bloody mess. She barely remembered what had happened as it was all so fast. She could not recall how she was able to get the boat off of the ship and the motor started with all that was happening behind her and around her. Everything was a complete blur to her now.
The only truth that she was able to figure out of the entire ordeal was that Majd was now dead as well. The guilt over it was overwhelming. She never was able to say goodbye. And now like the Pyles, his soul was gone for sure.
“Ah there you are!” a familiar voice sounded as she looked up at the small trawler. It was that man Ferdinand that had helped her and Majd days before.
There was no joy in her seeing him. Her mind was still filled with worry for everyone in her life to be relieved that she was saved or the man that had helped her was still alive.
Within minutes she was on the deck and being helped by Ferdinand to a small cabin where he had clean clothes for her as well as supplies for her to clean herself. She noted the supplies meant for a man that were next to her own. Seeing that she saw it as well, Ferdinand asked with his voice quiet and concerned. “I am sorry that he couldn’t make it.”
She nodded. A tear slid out of her eye and down her cheek.
“I will leave you alone while you clean yourself up,” Ferdinand said quietly as he then pointed to the small bottle of water. “And please drink that. We will get you more water later. Too much at once would not be good for you. That small bottle will help you get back to right.”
“How did you find me?” she asked. It was nearly 4 hours before she finally chose to appear once again. Ferdinand greeted her gleefully. Although she couldn’t understand why he was so happy, she was grateful for it.
“I was looking for the both of you after you had left Abd’s small clinic. I had been hoping that you would have stayed there, but I understand why you chose not to.”
A man in a grey sweater came in with a small plate of food. She looked at it ravenously not realizing that now that she was getting water, she was terribly hungry as well. “Thank you,” she said as she tore into the bland crackers. Although normally she would have been repulsed by them, they tasted marvelous in her hunger.
“How did you survive?”
“I am really unsure of that. I escaped. Paul unfortunately fell.”
“Nonsense. Our job was to protect you. We both knew that there was a chance that we could truly die.”
“Protect me?” she asked, her mouth full of crackers.
Ferdinand smiled. “Yes. We believe you were targeted because of that girl Agnes. Although Brandt is taking care of her, those rogue bastards were going after her like crazy. There is something about her that we don’t understand. You know that she is actually showing signs of her powers already? She’s 12! By the spirits!”
“Agnes!” Safiya suddenly remembered what that man…what was his name? Armando! had said. “Armando said that she was going to be attacked by his master!”
“Don’t worry,” Ferdinand said reassuringly. “Agnes is fine. Cadence was badly wounded, but she is still alive, and her soul is intact.” Safiya sighed. There was a wash of relief that came over her. “Cadence was trying to protect Agnes,” he continued. “Something came out and attacked right before Brandt finally made it there.”
“But they are OK?” she repeated, trying to be sure that what she heard was indeed the truth.
She exhaled strongly as she jumped across and hugged the man. “Can I see them?”
“That was my instruction. You are to go to further your training with Brandt, to help Agnes. She is showing her strength already and we need more of us to both protect and train her. We are also trying to gather together to help protect us all.”
“What happened? They said that they were going to attack them.”
“That was a bit of truth. They were attacked. Brandt described it as something that he had never seen before. Agnes and her friends survived without injury, but Cadence was gravely harmed. She’s alive, but she is in a coma. Brandt made it there in time to save them both.”
She breathed a sigh of relief. The images of Agnes’ little friends flashed through their mind. Safiya had posed as a foreign exchange student. They were fun kids to be around. “How… her friends were there? They were attacked too?”
“That is what I hear,” Ferdinand answered. His tone was still relaxed. Safiya wondered how he could be so relaxed, but then again, he already had known what had happened and what the aftermath was. “But everyone save Cadence is 100%. But I believe that she will be OK as well.”
“That is good,” she commented as she piled the last of the crackers and bread into her mouth. Her stomach was beginning to reel from having food in it for the first time in two days, but at least the water Ferdinand had given her helped some. “Who are they? Why are they doing this? They looked like they were Sentries like us…”
“They are, or rather they were Sentries like you and I. They all decided to abandon this life. They’ve all done it near the same time as the other Sentries went missing, so it took some time for the Lokapāla to even understand what was going on, so they of course chose to be fools and not tell any of us until more were taken. It is of little wonder why many of us do not even care for them.”
She remembered the last few days and the frustration of not knowing what was going on while she and Majd fought furiously to get anywhere. She wanted to blame her conduits for the poor decision it was to leave the bunker she was in, the quaint, little, shelter that the man and his mother had set up to help people like herself off of the radar. She should have stayed there. When she convinced Majd to follow her, it was his death sentence. But then without him, she would not have been alive. So many terrible things were done that could have been avoided had she only known what plans might have been active.
But now she was left with the guilt of not knowing. And that not knowing was what drove her to make those decisions that cost Majd his life.
“They never told us anything,” she said. Her voice was quiet and she kept her head lowered as she spoke. Ferdinand listened intently, his demeanor solemn. “We didn’t know if we were doing the right thing of if we had done something wrong. They never appeared. Once Natalia had died, we lost any guidance. We had nothing to choose. We only knew then to keep running. I was scared every moment thinking that we were going to die. And that fear drove us to die. We thought we were doing the right thing to run to Brandt, to Agnes, but we had no way of knowing. And everything was so terribly wrong. I am so sorry, Majd!”
Safiya placed her head into her arms resting on the table. She was sobbing. No matter how long she had already cried, she knew she would continue to.
Ferdinand placed his hand gently on her head. “No one can blame you for what happened, and you shouldn’t blame yourself. You were doing the right thing. And you did do the right thing.” Safiya looked up. “What I haven’t told you is that if you had stayed, you would likely have both died. Not long after you left the ones hunting you found Abd and his mother. They are both gone.”
Safiya lifted her head to meet the steady gaze of Ferdinand. Her heart sank down further than it had already been as she briefly remembered the couple that had cared for her and Majd for that short time. They were dead anyway. They would have died anyway. And it was simply due to having helped them. She felt a wrenching sadness consume her. It was as though all hope had been vacuumed away leaving nothing but a pit of despair. What could she have done? Could she have saved them? Had she stayed, would she have been able to make it?
None of those questions were right, she told herself. There was no hope in asking them, but she couldn’t help but to feel them. It was her fault; she was sure of that.
One thing was clear to her though: none of it mattered. It didn’t manner whether she had chosen to run or if she had chosen to stay. Either way people were going to die.
“Who killed them?” she asked. Anger was beginning to push to the surface of her skin. She felt warm, her body shaking.
Ferdinand narrowed his eyes with concern. He was hesitant to give her any more information on what was going on as he was worried that she might become more apt to seek revenge. She needed to have a clear head. Revenge was a plot that clouded judgment. Ferdinand had known that all too well from times earlier in his life. The events that surrounded those times were dark. Many choices had consequences that he had not considered possible when he first embarked down on those paths. In the many years of his experience, he had learned to let things be as they were. If he could do better, he would do so for the next encounter. There was nothing that was worth travelling down that road again though and betraying the memories of those hurt the last time he had.
Safiya’s look worried him. He could see the tone in her eyes shift in a way that almost signaled him that she would not hear to reason. He decided to try. “Knowing will do nothing to bring anyone back. You need to focus on keeping yourself alive.”
“But it is in keeping myself alive that everyone else died! I want to know who is behind this!” Her fist slammed against the table shaking the utensils and glasses residing there. Her face had grown more reddened as she spoke.
“No,” Ferdinand replied calmly. Though the response surprised him, he refused to give into it. He kept his composure and spoke clearly. “There will come a time where you will face those who are behind this again. Until that time, you must not think about what they have done. Focus on your energy. Focus on protecting Agnes and those of us who are left.”
As Agnes left Ferdinand’s lips, Safiya shuttered. She understood in that moment what he had meant. She had briefly forgotten how important Agnes had been to her and how it was Agnes who she had thought of when she decided what actions she was going to. She leaned back, her eyes showing Ferdinand that what he had said landed the impact that he had hoped for.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
“Do not worry. We will all get our chance. Just be calm and keep your head on straight. I have a feeling that even getting you there is going to be a challenge.”
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.