Read Shifters (Shifters series Book 1) Online

Authors: Douglas Pershing,Angelia Pershing

Tags: #Young Adult Science Fiction Dystopian

Shifters (Shifters series Book 1)

Book I

Edited by John Shaddox

Douglas and Angelia Pershing

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

©2013 Douglas Pershing and Angelia Pershing

All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Douglas Pershing

[email protected]

Design and layout by Douglas Pershing

For more information go to:

http://facebook.com/ShiftersBooks

http://pershingbooks.com

ISBN-13: 978-1491091647

ISBN-10: 1491091649

Acknowledgments

Douglas Pershing

For my wife, for always telling me I could do it, even when I didn’t believe it myself. For my son, Cory, for being my muse, my sounding board, and my constant inspiration. For my daughter, Angelia, for being so much better than me—even though she won

t say it—and going on this crazy journey with me. It seems like only yesterday when I asked you to take a walk and enter this world with me. Can you believe we actually did it?

Angelia Pershing

To my brother, Cory, for being the smartest little runt I know and for growing up to be the strong man you

ve become. I couldn’t have wished for a better brother. To my fiancé, John, for showing me how much fun a crush can be and how much better true love is. To my mom, for being the kind of mother who would sacrifice anything for the sake of her family. And to my dad, for teaching me that no, I, in fact, cannot fly. And for taking me to the hospital afterward.

Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1

Tan Man and the Shifties

Chapter 2

An Extremely Slow Stalker

Chapter 3

The Mutants, the Diner, and The Young

Chapter 4

Dad Has a Plan—He Thinks

Chapter 5

The iPod and the Fire Alarm

Chapter 6

Armed and Dangerous

Chapter 7

Keepers and Shadows

Chapter 8

Anybody Have a Rope?

Chapter 9

Call Me Maybe

Chapter 10

We Need Some Cash—Like Now

Chapter 11

We Get Famous—Not in a Good Way

Chapter 12

Gamers, Keepers, and Groupies

Chapter 13

Flying Is Fun

Chapter 14

Prophesies Suck

Chapter 15

Road Trip

Chapter 16

Solé and the Adventure

Chapter 17

Shopping and Lifting and Shoplifting

Chapter 18

My First Haircut—Well, My First Non-Mom Haircut

Chapter 19

Crazy, Party of One

Chapter 20

Sugar High

Chapter 21

A Crappy Car Gets Smashed

Chapter 22

Kyle and the Artifacts

Chapter 23

We Work While They Play

Chapter 24

Tire Iron and Dream Time

Chapter 25

We Meet the Nicest Nurse Ever

Chapter 26

Follow the Map to a Telephone Pole

Chapter 27

Breaking NBC News

Chapter 28

Ryland Is Going to Punch Someone

Chapter 29

Command Center and the FBI

Chapter 30

Yes, It Gets Worse: You Know, Than Being Hunted by Feds and Aliens with Superhuman Abilities

Chapter 31

My Jaw Hits the Floor—A Really Nice Floor

Chapter 32

The Driver and a Sloppy Kiss

Chapter 33

The Waltz and the Trophy Room

Chapter 34

We Fall—Like Really Fall

Chapter 35

A Half-Mile Down to the Smithsonian Magic Show

Chapter 36

We Join a Cult?

Chapter 37

Ready to Play?

Chapter 38

The Play Is a Riot—No, Really—
A Riot

Chapter 39

Promises We Can’
t Keep

Chapter 40

Kai Comes Out
—In Front of the Keepers

Chapter 41

Supergirl?

Chapter 42

Outnumbered

Chapter 43

Breathe

Chapter 44

The Girl

Chapter 45

Home and Family

Epilogue

About the Authors

Prologue

When I hear the first shot, I know it’s actually happening. How could he do that? To his own kind? I’m in shock as I watch the broadcast. I spin my stool away from the bar counter and stare out the tall windows.

A woman is screaming. A child lies in a small pool of what has to be paint on the sidewalk as she screams in horror. While I stare mutely at the scene, a peace patrol officer takes aim and—
pop
—the mother drops silently beside the child. I draw a sudden breath and look to the other girls from work. Other than the quivering of lips, they are frozen. My mind can’t register it at first. It can

t be. The pool of red begins to spread.

We all begin to shake, and our phones sound almost simultaneously. Our husbands and children.

We were all dismissed from our shifts at the port early to watch the broadcast—a requirement when council leader Rian addresses all eleven colonies throughout the universe.

We were so happy to be off before the daylight was gone. We were all laughing and kidding around walking across the overway to the nearest reception center—which in our case happens to be a bar.

As an Ordinary, we aren’t normally able to enjoy the bright orange sky and the sunlight streaming through the daily mist. That was a luxury for Shifters, or those Ordinaries that were fortunate enough to work directly for them. Riley

s husband works as a peace patrolman and he would tell us about the daylight and the warmth it would cast about his face. I really envy him.

I definitely could have it worse though. I live on our home world, Gaia. From what I hear, some of the colonies are barely livable. Their sky isn

t even orange! I can

t imagine.

It

s been like this for thousands of years since the Shifter deliverance—as they call it. I don

t know everything about it, but my mother told me we weren

t always called Ordinaries. When a small group of people developed these incredible abilities, our people became scared and tried to get rid of them.

Obviously that didn

t work out since the Shifters could—well—shift. How do you fight against someone who can vanish and kill you before you even see them coming? If that

s not bad enough, they can do other crazy things, too. Really, there

s no way to beat them.

We all get to the bar just as the starting logo washes out the screen. I get my hand scanned before the official broadcast. I hate to think of the amount of demerits I would receive had I not made it here in time. I don

t see my husband. He may have left earlier and made it to the auditorium a little way farther than this place. It

s much more comfortable, and the screen is way bigger. Besides, it

s closer to the care center where our son is during the day. Children start school at five, so he still has another year at the center.

We all try to keep a straight face when the ceremony begins. Nobody wants the peace patrol to see you disrespecting The Council. You can end up on a mining colony for less.

The council is made up of twelve Shifters and one token Ordinary—to make it seem democratic or something. Among the Shifters, there are all major Apts, or aptitudes, represented. The council leader, Rian, is the most powerful, by far.

The leader begins the broadcast by explaining a great discovery made on one of the colonies, and how it could change and enhance their power in all of the universe. My heart sinks. Did one among us give our secret away? Who would do that? This was
ours
. We have dreamed of it for generations, and we finally found it.

I look around as discretely as possible, wondering who might have betrayed our secret. Riley shakes her head almost imperceptibly. Maybe I

m wrong, but her husband does work for them. They do receive extra privileges. What am I thinking? Of course they would never betray their own kind!

He speaks of the discovery of a new compound that defies the laws of natural physics. I relax. They haven

t discovered it. Colony Seven, the lost colony, is still our secret. A strange blue planet that somehow escaped Shifter rule for thousands of years is still a secret kept by the Ordinaries. Instead, he displays a strange fabric that seems to shift in and out of focus much like the Shifters themselves.

Rian is interrupted as council woman Silena stands and throws her arms out. She looks as if she’s in pain, with only the whites of her eyes staring at the cameras, which are now turned to her. With a distant, watery voice, she tells of the end of the Shifter rule in an ominous soliloquy.

“This generation, a Shifter will arise,

Hidden amongst the lost and lies.

A great many will see

The life that could be.

The universe will shake;

The greatest among us will quake.

The towers will fall.

The ruled will rule all.”

A young Shifter has been born that will bring down the powerful. Could that be true? Could the Ordinaries one day rule over the Shifters?

Silena is the most powerful Seer of all of the Shifters. We all know about Seers. When they see something, it might as well have already happened. We all turn to each other, overwhelmed with joy. The bar’s suddenly filled with a cacophony of ecstasy. If Silena saw it, it must be true.

We’re stunned back into our fearful stillness when Rian shouts, “Silence, Silena!”

She doesn’t respond since she’s still in a trance. When the cameras swing back to focus on Silena as she’s trying to speak, Rian pulls his sword from its sheath and steps in front of her, swinging it across the top of her shoulders.

At first, I think he must have missed. Silena, now silent, stands for several seconds; then, as gracefully as a dancer, she bows to the ground. Her body lays out across the stage, and horror strikes me as I watch her head spin away.

We all stare silently at the screen. Rian sheathes his bloodied sword and stares defiantly at the camera; his Shifter eyes shining, brilliant and dark.

“This surely will not come to pass,” he declares.

Now the council stands uniformly in shock. Everyone in the bar holds their breath in pain-filled fear.

“On this day, it is law that any young Shifters who have yet to develop their talents will not breathe by dawn,” the council leader, proclaims.

The Ordinary councilman stands, confronting Rian, saying, “This cannot be! A Seer

s vision cannot be disputed.” He straightens suddenly, his face shocked.

The councilwoman beside him yanks a bloodied blade from his back and smiles as he falls to the ground. She looks to the council leader and says resolutely, “The council leader

s word is law;
it
is not to be disputed.”

I can

t believe what just happened. They wouldn

t really kill their own children.

Then I hear the shot and see the murder of the child

s mother. It

s really happening! Chaos rules the streets; all semblances of the society and order that once reigned have vanished.

I realize my phone is going off. “Honey?” I ask weakly, too terrified to think straight, too terrified to do anything else.

“Get to the port!” he yells. “I

m almost at the care center. We

ll meet you there!”

“But we

re Ordinary,” I tell him. “We should be safe, right?”

“You heard her,” he says breathlessly. “It

s happening here. Maybe not where you are, but I

ve already seen dozens shot.”

I don’
t know what to do. I have seen it. “They just shot a child on the sidewalk,” I say through my tears.

“What?” he yells. “Get back to the port! I have him now; I have our son! We

re coming!”

“But what about . . . I don

t . . . are you there?” I sob into the phone, but he

s gone.

I run out of the door, back towards my workstation. He said he has our son. If he can get back with my son, we may be able to get on one of the ships. Maybe they don

t know we found it. Maybe we can save some. Maybe we can be safe.

I dart through the chaotic scene, dodging panicking citizens and—oh, my God—tiny bodies, infants, children. I have no idea where my friends are. As we approach the port, I see ships launching into the sky, hurtling through the dense orange atmosphere like toys lobbed into the air by a child. The pilots are frightened, shaky.

Even as I feel hope blossom in my chest, I see the first missiles launch. The ships are being destroyed. Some escape, but more are evolving past physical existence as they burst into flames and cease to be.

When I reach the hanger, I see Riley. I yell across the large port, and she meets my eyes. There is one more ship. We both run toward it as though our lives depend on it. Perhaps they do. All attempts at escape will be seen as treason.

We meet at the entrance, and she yells, “Get on! I

ll set the commands! Where

s Richard?

“They

re coming,” I tell her. “You have to come. You

re not safe.”

“I can

t. We

ll be safe. David works for them.”

I look around for Richard, but all I see are terrified brightly colored Shifter eyes scrambling toward the ship. Then we both see the sleek, familiar peace officer uniforms flood into the hanger. The ship’s firing up. Oh, God! Where is my son?

As I turned to run up the ramp, I’m stopped short by a hand clamping down around my wrist. The force of her hold is hurting me, bruising me. I look up to scream at her, to hit her, when I am startled.

Her sapphire eyes are pure beauty. Her hair is long and thick, hanging past her waist, golden as the sun. Her perfect feminine radiance is obscured only by the small bundle in her arms.

She presses the soft gray-blanketed bundle into my arms, and I feel its warmth. “Please,” she begs, “Protect my child.”

I look down at the infant in my arms for only a second. When I look back, the woman is gone. The Peace Patrols have stormed into the hanger, and the surging, panicked crowd presses us forward. Away from the danger, toward the entrance to the ship, they drive us on. Riley is screaming something I can’t make out in the panic.

I look at Riley, and she’s holding a tiny green bundle. I can see bright blue eyes staring up at her. Riley is overcome by panic, fear. I strain to find the woman whose child I hold, but all I see are people vanishing and reappearing, fighting back the peace officers.

“We have to go! Now!” I shout.

I try to pull her into the ship, but she resists. “I can

t . . . David!”

I see David in his uniform. He’s fighting the Shifters, doing his job. When he makes eye contact with his wife, his look changes from determination to pure panic. He looks at his fellow officers, now racing toward his wife. She’s holding an unknown child; he knows what they will do.

In that moment, I see her, the mother of this child. She is at the doors to the hanger, engaged in battle with the Peace Patrolmen.

She’s weaving through them like a dancer. Her lithe body twists as she blinks in and out of reality. She has taken out more Peace Patrol Officers than I can count.

Suddenly, others follow her lead. Shifter parents shove their young into the arms of unsuspecting Ordinaries as the Shifters turn to fight.

My throat wells up, and I can’t breathe.
They are sacrificing themselves
, I realize with a shock. They are willing to die to hold off the Officers so their children might escape, might live.

It is in this moment, this chaos and madness, that David must see his opportunity. I can see the torment on his face as he turns on his fellow officers in an attempt to save his only family. He runs toward us, firing wildly behind him. He dives into the ship entrance and begins firing at his friends. He reaches up and pulls his wife into the ship, pushing her as far away from the entrance as possible.

I try again to find the mother of the child I now hold. Just as I see an arc of golden sunlight hair appear, I’m shoved through the doors of the ship, and she’s gone. Lost forever.

When I remember myself, my own child, I squeeze further in, frantically looking for my husband and child in the crowded cargo hold.

It

s too late. The doors are closing. I collapse on the floor, having lost all hope, clinging to this young child I don

t even know. I break down in tears.


Wait!
” David shouts. He forces the door open, and I see my son thrown through the door. David fires rounds through the opening and lets up as my husband falls to the floor with the door snapping shut behind him.

They’re safe. Maybe not safe, but we’re together.

We’re pushed back, packed so tightly in the hold of the ship that I cannot move or breathe or think. We are jolted and nearly knocked to the floor as the door rumbles closed.

My son’s now screaming in my husband

s arms, and our child is joined by all the children around us. The screams are so loud they drown out the rumble of the ship rising off the ground. They drown out the concussive explosions rocking our ship as we travel through the sky.

When the shaking stops and I know we have reached the surreal calm of space, I look down at the squirming gray bundle in my arms. The babe does not cry. It doesn’t make a sound. It simply looks up at me with wide, round silver-blue eyes. The baby looks up at me as though it knows. It knows what is happening. It knows what its mother has done. It knows I can never be that brave.

“I will try,” I whisper this promise as we hurtle through space to a new and strange world.

The Lost Colony.

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