Prologue Chapter 1-1
I should really put up the rest of the chapters in my drafts just in case i get lazy again
When they arrived at the dining room, Her mother was already there, tapping her foot impatiently over the wooden floor “Where have you been, and why are you so filthy?”
“Mummy! I was-” Audrey tried to think of an excuse as to why her dress was a mess from the oil and grease.
Before she could think of something, her father already spoke for her “I was showing her something but it kind of turned into a mishap again” He muttered an apology before he took his seat at the center of the table
Supper went on as usual, with their mother going on about the most unusual customers while their father talked about the things he did in his study. Yet this time… he was telling lies. For the first time, Audrey was beginning to see her father in a different light. And despite her young age, she was frightened.
That night, Tinble and Audrey talked of their day with either of their parents.
“So mum has a hard time at the store sometimes. I don’t know the things yet but she’s teaching me…” Tinble reported his findings as he settled into bed.
“At least mum isn’t acting weird. Daddy on the other hand... “Audrey paused for a few moments, unsure of how she would describe him “Odd is the only thing I can think of”
“Odd?” He looked at her, curiosity clear in his eyes
“He lied about the mishap. He was teaching me how to build” Her tone was firm “I can show you what I was building now” She sat up from her bed abruptly, clearly excited to show her brother what she had been up to
“You want to sneak out?!” He asked her incredulously
“I want to know what daddy’s hiding. Aren’t you curious?” She spoke in an enticing tone.
“I am… but mum might catch us-” He settled further into bed, hoping it would show Audrey that he didn’t want to leave his bed.
“She won’t! They should be in bed around now” She pointed to the clock that hung in their room. 10:32 p.m. was what it read.
“Promise?” He asked meekly while he gazed up at the clock she was pointing to.
She only responded with a firm nod, and in a matter of no time, they were on their feet and were on their way to their father’s study in the basement.
Just as they neared the stairs, they could hear the voices of their parents arguing
“You said they should be-” Tinble wasn’t even allowed to finish his words when Audrey’s hand immediately covered his mouth
“Chandler. I know you want someone who would succeed you, but she’s not ready to do things yet. And let her grow up as a girl. Teach Tinble instead-” It was their mother that spoke, more like, she was nearly shouting
“She made such huge progress today! She’s curious so I know she’ll manage to learn in time! I know you want her to grow up as a proper lady, Petula… but I want someone who would succeed me before the battle…” Their father’s tone grew softer as he said the last part.
They both leaned closer and closer to the stairwell. The conversation wasn’t so clear, but they could still hear some parts of it. Once their parents’ arguments became shouting, and they could hear the heavy footsteps of their frustrated mother nearing the stairs, they rushed back to their rooms and made sure they were both curled in the bed in the case that she suspected something.
A minute passed… a few heavy steps, then the sound of the door slamming shut resounded across the hall and even reached their room. After a few moments, a soft creak could be heard, followed by their father’s inaudible words.
“I think… We should sleep, Dree” Tinble said in a hushed tone
“... Yeah… Let’s continue this tomorrow night” Audrey nodded as she pulled the blanket over herself.
They both settled in bed for a while, letting the silence fill the room while their young minds became filled with questions after hearing their parents lie and argue. That night, they did what they could to force themselves to sleep.
For the next few days since Tinble and Audrey stuck with the same pattern of activities. Tinble helped out at their mother’s store while Audrey helped their father with his inventions. Days passed. Audrey continued to learn about machinery. She even learned how to read the plans. She also learned how often her father seemed to lie just to avoid the conflicts inside the household. It wasn’t as though he was a compulsive liar, but he did mean well when he did. Yet with each passing day, she noticed that her father seemed to grow more and more paranoid and more fidgety than he usually was. He also grew more clumsy, and sometimes at dinnertime, she would often see their mother looking at their father worriedly. She also told Tinble about the events but they both just agreed to continue what they were doing.
On one of their nightly checks in their father’s study, they heard footsteps from the kitchen and voices. When that happened, it was usually their parents fighting over something that happened during the day, yet this time, they spoke in a hushed tone and were fully dressed. Very different from what they usually saw. When they heard their parents creep to the door, they knew they had to follow them. They rushed back to their room, grabbed their coats and hats then ran in the direction they saw their parents going.
“Going out at night is much different than the day. This is why it’s best not to go out at night” was what their father always told them when they asked to go out. Now they knew why he said that. The faces of the people that walked the streets at night looked more dangerous. Just those looks were enough to send them home. But they came out determined to know where their parents were headed off too so they followed every path and every alley their parents passed until they stumbled upon an entrance.
“Should we go in?” Tinble asked as he looked around to see if anybody was guarding the entrance.
A mixture of voices, shouting, and yelling could soon be heard from the entrance, and without a second thought, Audrey grabbed Tinble by the arm and pulled him into the building. The first thing they saw upon entering was the crowd. The crowd was much different from the people they saw in the mornings because a number of them had replaced some of their body parts with machines. Audrey suddenly remembered the arm and leg plans her father had in his study. Some plans showed mechanical bodies, as well as a few body modifications. She knew that their father knew how to do such things but she never thought that other humans would want to modify their bodies to such a degree. It terrified both of them.
Another thing they noticed was that the building was much larger than it seemed outside, it was big enough to let in so many people. Some were on elevations, some were on machines but most of them stood before the stage, they were trying to get as good a view of the man speaking at the center.
“Settle down, settle down folks!” A man standing on the podium finally spoke, his hands raised to call for the people’s attention. “I’m grateful you all could come to this yearly gathering once more”
The crowd grew silent, and they could see that each and every person’s attention was fixated on the man they called ‘Leader’
“As you should be informed, the witch faction has been getting better and better at hiding from us. I heard reports that some of them have started mixing in with us. Some of them may have been disguising themselves among the crowd. They might even have an idea of our technology by now. That’s why we need to figure out how to wipe them out so that they don’t end up wiping us out first.” The leader looked quite disheartened by the thought “We need to get the upper hand while we still can. While they still don’t have much of an understanding of our technology yet. On the next summer solstice, we will be attacking! That’s in one month from now, so those of you who will be our brave warriors for this year, I hope you show them what we humans can do! Best make all the preparations you’ll need in that time frame”
Again, the crowd grew restless with cheers and jeers. The people who gathered would scream things like “Down with the witches!” and “We’ll show them what we got”. The two were still unaware of what they were talking about. But they did understand one thing, and it was that their enemy was the witch. What they were yet to find out was why.
“To the courageous men and women that have gathered here to witness our heroes. May you give them the strength they need to be able to defeat the witches. May they be the brave souls who will finally free us from oppression against those evil beings!” With the leader’s ending speech, he gestured for those so-called heroes onto the stage.