The Fractured Prism

By Brendan Noble

Young adult, New adult fiction, Sci-Fi, Action & adventure

Paperback, eBook

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2 mins

Chapter 1

Two windows on the south wall allowed the tiniest slice of moonlight to creep into the otherwise dark room. The stairs creaked outside for a moment before complete silence.
We were motionless, barely even breathing. The silence was deafening. The seconds seemed like an eternity, and my heartbeat felt like a drum inside of my chest. Delaware peaked her head into view, her red dog tag earring glimmering in the moonlight. We’re doomed.
She ducked back into hiding just as they blew the door off its hinges, and the light from the hall flooded the room. The intruders slammed furniture against the walls, and a wave of shouting hit me like a brick as they searched the room. “I thought I saw something over here,” one of them yelled as he approached the ashy brick fireplace. A harsh flashlight beam scanned the hearth, then searched up the first few feet of the chimney.
No, no, no. They’re going to find Delaware. Do I sit back and hope, or do I distract them?
Wiggling in the crawl space above the bookshelf in the corner, I grabbed a small combat knife from my pocket and tossed it onto the wood floor behind the secret police. The resulting thud prompted them to divert their attention from the chimney as the knife skidded across the floor. She better be thankful. I liked that knife.
A stern voice near the door barked across the room: “Find them now! We can’t let these terrorists get away again! I know the two downstairs weren’t the only ones here.”
“Damn it,” I muttered, prompting a flashlight in my general direction. We couldn’t afford to lose Southpaw and Bobcat, but it was too late for them now. They would be tortured before being killed… a terrible way to die and exactly what we signed up for when we joined the Militia. I didn’t have time to dwell on it now, though. We needed to survive if we wanted to worry about grieving.
Drawing in a forced breath, I hoped the crack between the ceiling and the shelf was deep enough to avoid the flashlight’s beam, or at least that the intruders couldn’t see me from eye level. The beam scanned through the crack before hitting me in the back and hovering for a second. Crap! I winced and waited for the shout, but it never came. The light moved away. “Must have come from outside.” I released a raspy breath. Too close.
At least Razor is well hidden. He was under the trap door covered by the trunk in the opposite corner. They had searched the trunk itself but hadn’t considered moving it, which left the barely visible gap between the two boards hidden for now.
As if reading my mind, one Blue Tag intruder slowly moved towards the trunk, tugged at it, and then began pulling. I watched in fear as the chest screeched away from the corner and had nearly uncovered the trap door when the intruder that seemed to be in charge fired a bullet into the ceiling, causing my ears to ring as the noise echoed in the small space.
“Well boys, I guess they made it out.” I saw her pace around for a second, taking one last look through the room. “Burn the place down, just in case.”
That was met with laughter from a few of the intruders, and the smell of gasoline slowly filled the room as the footsteps left. We waited a few moments before exiting our hiding spots. The small room was trashed, but we were unharmed, for now.
Delaware coughed to get the ash out of her lungs and flicked a brown tuft of hair from her eyes. “We need to get out of here, now. Any ideas?”
Razor was dazed, his narrow green eyes lost in some other world. His black tag earring smacked his face as he shook his head sharply. “I… I don’t know.” He was breathing hard and looked disoriented. “They got them, they got Bobcat and Southpaw. We’re so screwed.”
I grabbed his shoulders intently as his thick black hair fell over his face. “Pull yourself together man.” Turning sharply towards Delaware, I pointed towards the door. “We need to get to the roof before they set this place ablaze.”
Her eyes were wild. “They will see us!”
“Listen, Del. If we go out the window, we will fall right on top of them, and we obviously can’t go out the front door. If you don’t have a better idea grab Razor and let’s go.” She shook her head. I walked towards the door and cautiously looked outside before waving to them and whispering, “C’mon, we don’t have time.”
She rolled her eyes and reluctantly grabbed Razor, following quickly into the hall before looking up at me. “Coyote, what are you doing?”
I was hanging from one arm holding a small handle on the ceiling in the hall. “The latch is stuck, one second.” I curled up my body before pushing down with my momentum, breaking open the door. The ladder slid to the floor just as I felt the heat.



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