Death threatened Corey until the eight genetic factors in his blood responded with Gifts that gave him hope of escaping his terrible destiny of being a hero like his parents and older brothers.
Shadow Dreams is an enticing short story that opens the book on the Eight Factors universe where near death incidents can cause incredible gifts to erupt. Join Corey as he navigates the treacherous currents of the Gifted while hiding his true potential. If he fails, freedom won’t be the only thing he loses.
Also included in this edition is the first chapter of The Hole Inside, a fantasy story of a young man finding love and acceptance with both his best friend and the God he thought he’d never get to know.
Please note that this story includes themes of militarized childhood. If this has the potential to trigger you please read with caution.
By Meyari McFarland
Shadows shifted over the walls like insects creeping out of the corners in scuttling waves that advanced, retreated, advanced, retreated. Corey watched them move, his breath whistling through his clenched teeth. He couldn’t breathe through his nose. He’d cried so much that his head throbbed and his nose was stuffed tight.
Jenner, the 2-Gift-winged who’d been assigned to watch Corey and his brothers tonight, had slapped Jenner when he wouldn’t stop crying. Corey unclenched his teeth just long enough to probe the sore spot on his lip with his tongue. Blood bloomed coppery and hot, prompting fresh tears and more of the shakes that had driven Jenner to carry Corey upstairs to his bedroom.
“You’re nearly five years old,” Jenner had scolded Corey as he watched Corey put on his pajamas. “Your parents are strong. They’re warriors and they know what they’re doing. There’s no reason for you to be this upset about their battle.”
“Scary…” was all that Corey had said in response, all that he could say.
He’d been crying too hard, his chest heaving and tears dripping down his cheeks.
Besides, it wasn’t the battle that had him frightened. It was the realization that in a few years he’d be out there being shot at by enemy soldiers. Corey would have to put on one of the black and silver uniforms that marked his family’s unit. He’d have a rank and orders and weapons. No matter what Corey thought about it, he’d be expected to shoot people, blast them with whatever light powers he got, and kill them.
That was what his family did: fight, kill and die.
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