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
The constant movement of the ocean had a surprising lulling effect on Safiya. She laid her head against the pillow in her small cabin trying to fall back to sleep. The journey back to America was going to be long and so far it had also proved tiring.
Much of the exhaustion she surmised was from emotions. She struggled each day trying to calm herself, to keep herself from falling into a torrent of crying. Between practice sessions, sleeping, and eating, all that she could think about were Majd and Natalia. Their images were seared into her mind. No matter how often that Ferdinand told her that it was not of her doing, she kept the blame for the events close to her heart.
Sleep was even filled with stressful dreams of the events. Fears riddled her. Every time that she would go to open a door within the ship, she expected to find any of the dark Sentries waiting there, Ferdinand’s or Agnes’ blood on their blade.
But the lulling waves of the boat moving through the water made it difficult for her to resist sleep.
Just as she was about to doze off again, a knock sounded against her cabin’s door. She raised her head off of the pillow unsure of what she heard when it sounded again. She groggily pulled herself up from the bed and approached the door. The visions from her dreams of the dark Sentries being on the other side flashed in her mind for a moment. Her hand stopped short of touching the handle before she shook the fear from her mind.
What would get all of this fear out of her mind? The constant thoughts were driving her mad. She tried desperately to listen to Ferdinand, but it was difficult with all she had seen so quickly compiled on top of itself. Perhaps finally reaching Agnes and realizing that not all that she cared about was lost would release some of the stress from her mind. But there would be a long road to reach that destination.
This knocking was not a promising sign.
She finally turned the handle and pulled open the door. It creaked and groaned on its hinges. Ferdinand stood on the other side. His posture was relaxed, however a look in his eyes informed her that something was amiss.
“I need to show you something,” he said quietly.
“Hopefully nothing,” he replied. “But we shall see.”
The pair walked through the narrow corridors of the ship winding their way to the steps leading to the deck. It was a short walk as the ship wasn’t terribly large.
The sun was still fairly high in the sky. Safiya felt foolish that she was so tired with it still having been so early. She squinted and raised her hand to block out some of the light until her eyes were able to adjust.
She followed Ferniand to the read of the ship. The wind was brisk and tasted of saltwater as she walked. She would never get used to that. She was not built for the sea. Once they reached the back Ferdinand pointed out to the horizon.
“There,” he said. “Can you see it?”
She peered out only able to see a small spec of something that didn’t fit with the rest of the horizon. “What am I looking at?”
“That is a small ship like ours. It’s been there for the last day and a half. We are unsure whether it is something to worry about or not, but I just wanted to let you know.”
“You said that this wouldn’t be an easy journey,” she quietly said.
“I do not believe that they are gaining on us at all. The winds have so far been equally kind to the both of us. So far we know nothing other than for now we both appear to be moving in the same direction.”
She knew better than that. He wouldn’t have told her unless he also had a strong belief that whoever was following them had ill intentions.
“Are we past the strait yet?”
“Yes, two days ago. And this isn’t a normal shipping route. We are taking the risk of going out of the usual currents to cross the Atlantic. Might take us just a little longer.”
“What will happen if they catch us?”
“That depends on what their plans are. You and I are the only two Sentries on this ship. You’ve proven yourself more than capable against these guys already, so I am quite confident that you will have little trouble managing them again.”
“What about you?” she said. It had sounded to her as though he wasn’t planning on fighting.
He laughed nervously. She could tell that he was no more settled about the situation that she was. “I do not plan on leaving you. I will fight or die. I do not picture any alternatives were we pressed to that course.”
They both stood at the end of the boat and watched out to the horizon that small spec that had them each worried. Safiya squinted wishing that she could see them more easily. Behind her, the crew of their ship worked quietly in the wind ensuring that the ship moved without much trouble through the water.
A thought nagged at her for some time though as she stood there. She decided to ask Ferdinand. “Why haven’t they spoken to me?”
“Hmmm?” Ferdinand asked unsure of what she was referring to.
“My conduit. Why hasn’t it tried to contact me?”
Ferdinand stood quietly for a moment not looking at the young girl. Honesty was not available to him as he wasn’t sure what the answer to her question was. “I do not know how to answer you right now,” he finally said.
“I am sorry I did not speak of this sooner. We have our suspicions as to why they have not spoken to you. There are many who that has happened. Each end up being attacked. My own have not spoken or instructed me for some time. Brandt still communicates with that pair he shared with Agnes’ parents. And obviously Cadence and Agnes are in their apprenticeship still, so they haven’t received their pairings. Unfortunately, we cannot figure out if the conduits were killed or not. No one will say and no Sentry can get that answer. I almost wonder if they are even aware of what is going on.”
“But they should know more than us,” she said.
“They should, but they aren’t saying. They haven’t told any of us much since we began disappearing.”
Safiya found that nearly impossible to believe. The conduits were the Sentry’s link to the spirit realms. They told them where to go, where the rifts were. They would have to hunt and search for problems aimlessly were it not for the conduits.
“I don’t understand why,” Safiya said.
Ferdinand shrugged. “I do not know either. Perhaps they are under attack as well.”
She swallowed hard. The truth that her world had already begun to crumble beneath her was overwhelming her. Her stomach turned. Closing her eyes, she thought of those who she still loved who had now been taken and who have yet to be taken. A steely resolve grew inside of her pushing away the nausea that had started brewing in her stomach. “We cannot let them win. I will let myself die before I allow them that satisfaction.”
“As will I,” Ferdinand said softly. “As will I.”
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.