Home > Deep Redemption (Hades Hangmen #4)(5)

Deep Redemption (Hades Hangmen #4)(5)
Tillie Cole

I know her . . .

Phebe.

Phebe settled the tray of food on the floor. She avoided all contact with my eyes. For days and days, I had had the same two women delivering my food and cleaning my wounds. Never before had Phebe come to me.

Phebe’s face was blank. Without addressing me or even glancing at my upturned face, she stood up and left the room.

My heart beat faster. Someone I had had previous contact with was now coming to my cell . . . my heart slowed, then sank. She would never believe that I was the real Cain.

She was programmed to believe everything her prophet told her.

It was useless.

I was on my own.

I forced myself to move into a sitting position, gritting my teeth as my limbs shook with the strain. My swollen eyes scanned the contents of the tray: vegetable broth, a hunk of bread, and a glass of water. I reached for the water first, draining the lukewarm liquid in record time. I gasped, breathless with relief. Ignoring the shaking of my hand, I sank the spoon into the broth and brought it to my lips. My raw flesh stung as the warm salty liquid seeped into broken skin. But I closed my eyes as the food hit my starving stomach.

Phebe returned with a basin and rag. Kneeling at my side, she began to wash away the blood from my skin. She was methodical and silent as she scrubbed. I watched her the whole time she worked. She kept her head bowed and low, avoiding my attention. She looked different to the last time I saw her. Her dress was even more modest. Her skin was too pale. I squinted at her cheek, at what looked like a fading bruise. Through my blurred vision, it was difficult to see in detail.

Phebe’s hand moved to my hair. Some of it was still stuck to my cheeks, the rest of the long, tangled strands clung to my chest, hiding my face from view. My brown beard had grown long, and it too was matted. I had avoided my reflection for five weeks, but I knew I would be hardly recognizable.

She turned her attention to my arms; I saw her stiffen as the dirt and blood washed from my skin. Her reaction was subtle, but I caught it all the same. My tattoos—the remnants from my Hangmen days—were slowly coming into view. My heart sped up as I waited for her to say something. As prophet, I wore a tunic; I was expected to cover my body. My people didn’t know that I had tattoos. But Phebe knew every inch of Judah’s body, his ink-free skin . . .

Her eyebrows pulled down, but she continued her work. When I was clean, Phebe got to her feet and, scooping up the basin and rag, swiftly left the room.

My body sagged in defeat.

Thunder peeled above, another wave of the powerful storm moving in. Slouching to the floor, I closed my eyes and tried to will myself to sleep. I knew I had only hours until the disciples would return to punish me.

I pressed my cheek to the hard stone floor and let the darkness take me.

If I was lucky, maybe I wouldn’t wake again.

Chapter Two

Harmony

I gripped the edge of the seat as the plane bounced up and down. Brother Stephen had told me it was something called turbulence. My stomach flipped over at the strange sensation of flying and I squeezed my eyes shut.

“Are you okay, Harmony?” Sister Ruth’s soft voice drifted into my ears as her warm hand covered mine.

“It . . . it feels strange,” I replied, opening my eyes.

Sister Ruth was watching me, her dark eyes filled with worry. “I agree. No matter how many times I fly, it never gets easier.” She smiled in reassurance. I turned to face Brother Stephen. He was facing forward, staring at nothing in particular. He turned and offered me a strained smile.

Leaning closer, he said, “It is because this is a small plane. I have been on bigger ones in my youth, when I lived in the outside world. I remember the ride being much easier on the nerves.”

A smile tugged on my lips, but it disappeared when the plane dipped again. My knuckles were white as my grip on the armrests tightened. I closed my eyes again, trying to breathe through the panic fueled by the bumps and jerks.

I conjured up good thoughts. I pictured the home I had left behind. I loved it there. I loved the hot weather, but more, I loved the sense of family. My stomach fell as I thought of where we were going—New Zion.

The commune where I had lived in Puerto Rico was exceptionally small compared to the many others around the world. Most of the people lived out their days in private. Like my family. We kept to ourselves. We cared for one another—no pain, no expectations.

We were happy.

Then Prophet David died.

His heir, Prophet Cain, took his place, and in no time at all, he began to unite the people. One by one the communes closed and the followers made their way back to New Zion, to be at one with our leader.

Recommended
» Divergent (Divergent #1) read online
» Rush Too Far (Rosemary Beach #4) read online
» Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach #2) read online
» Allegiant (Divergent #3) read online
» The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underwo read online
» Twilight (Twilight #1) read online
» Midnight Sun (Twilight #1.5) read online
» Fallen Too Far (Rosemary Beach #1) read online
» The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) read online
» Insurgent (Divergent #2) read online
» Easy (Contours of the Heart #1) read online
» Forever Too Far (Rosemary Beach #3) read online
» Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) read online
» Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) read online
» New Moon (Twilight #2) read online
» Eclipse (Twilight #3) read online
» I Am Legend read online
» Breaking Dawn (Twilight #4) read online
» Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) read online
» Unseen Messages read online
» Breakable (Contours of the Heart #2) read online