An excerpt from A Deadly Bloom Chapter 1: “A Death in the Family” by Kody Boye
My grandmother is dead.
I know this before I can even walk through our front door. This is because, normally, she calls to me when I’m about to enter. Today, there is nothing but silence.
It’s all I can do to fight back my tears.
As I stand rooted to the spot, torn between running to meet the town guard or to enter to face the inevitable, I reach up to press my hand to my face and end up dropping the basket of produce I’ve procured from the market.
The sound, as it hits the front porch, is like thunderbolts cast from the angry heavens.
What’s worse is that it causes something inside to move.
It is not the rocking of my grandmother’s chair, nor is it the sound of her slow gait as she makes her way across the hardwood floor.
It is the sound of something dead.
I want to cry for help. To scream. To declare that one of the dead have risen. Yet somehow, I can’t. I don’t know if it’s the grief or the thought of what could happen if she gets away, but regardless, it compels me inside.
Stepping forward, I close the door behind me and say, “Grandma?”
My voice is weak, my actions even weaker. As I step into the kitchen and palm for the row of knives within the rack, I find myself trembling.
You’re so stupid, I want to say. You can’t be afraid. Not now. You promised—
“To never let you harm another,” I whisper.
My voice compels her forward. Like pebbles falling, my grandmother’s footsteps are soft, for at the end of her life, she was weak and frail, but what she lacks in strength she makes up for in intent. Her moan as it cuts through the silence is everlasting, and causes every hair on my neck to rise.
I draw the knife from its rack and hold it steadily before me just in time for her to step through the threshold.
She has been dead long enough for her skin to pale, and for the spores which compels the dead to rise to pockmark her skin. Her eyes—which are glossy and now bear a greenish tint to them—lock onto and study me with a vicious intent I know comes only from the Fallen. It would have appeared that she was simply confused, but her feral intentions are soon revealed, as she opens her mouth, gnashes her teeth, growls, then steps forward.
Trembling, I extend the knife and attempt to remain composed.
I knew this day would come. I knew it would. But I wish it hadn’t. She’d seemed so young at times, so full of life.
As she draws near, edging ever-so-close to the wall upon which are shelves upon shelves of her crafts and family heirlooms, she appears nothing but dead—and brought back by the horrible spores that have bloomed in our world.
My name is Bryce Song, and for my entire life, I have lived in the shadow of a deadly Bloom that not only kills, but raises the dead. Since the plague’s beginning, my people have journeyed toward our God’s Promised Lands atop the backs of the Guardians. I have always wondered if we would reach our destination and felt helpless against the seemingly insurmountable odds.
A great valley, filled with its Fallen peoples and their undead protector, separates us from our salvation. The only chance of killing our monstrous enemy is to find a weapon, once wielded by our God. During the long journey, our heroes have been slain, and few are willing to embark on a quest to retrieve the holy relic.
There’s no question what I must do. I must journey to the last resting place of our God, and reclaim the weapon that will save my people from certain destruction.
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About the author:
Though he was born and raised in Southeastern Idaho, Kody Boye has lived in the state of Texas since 2010. His first short story, [A] Prom Queen’s Revenge,was published at the age of fourteen. He has since gone on to publish numerous works of fiction, including the young-adult novels When They Came, The Beautiful Ones, The Midnight Spell and ALT CONTROL ENTER, as well as fiction for adults. He currently lives and writes in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. You can visit him online at kodyboye.com
Check out our interview with Kody here.