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The Last Immortal

Prologue
Blood. Warm and salty. Leeching through the gaps between his teeth. The blood
filling his mouth sent shivers of panic through him. Death lingered above him, clinging
like a shadow ready to embrace him. The impending cold of her dark presence terrified
him to his core. But he had no time for panic—he was suffocating. His eyes flicked
around the shattered cockpit and found his crushed air-hose.
―I‘ve got to get out of this—now!" he thought desperately as he struggled to unlatch
his helmet. With a wild movement, he cast the dark blue, gold trimmed helmet aside, and
gulped in air, giving no further thought to the helmet that clattered away, bouncing over
the edge of the cliff into the white-crested sea.
He became aware that his plane was on fire, jammed on its side against some rocks.
He began to smell smoke as the flames flickered towards the cockpit. With every ounce
of strength that he could muster, Eiron pulled himself out of the wreck and crawled as far
as he could before dropping onto his belly, gasping for every breath. As he lay there
panting, he felt a wave of heat from the flames of the dying plane, and his nostrils flared
with the acrid sting of smoke. As his mind cleared from a haze of confusion, he felt sweat
run down along his neck disappear into his wilted collar, and at last he began to drag
himself away towards some large rocks.
Exhausted and in pain, Eiron turned onto his back and rested his head on a boulder
and saw for the first time the widening crimson stain on his white flightsuit just above his
groin. He groaned and laid back, his eyes rolling wildly. Slowly, he realized that the
crazy lines in the sky were the tell-tale trails of approaching planes. He knew that he was
the last of his patrol to be shot down and that these could only be Orian fighters coming
to investigate the smoking crash site.
―Damn, I‘ve got to get further away or they‘ll find me," he thought as he felt
adrenaline begin to rush through his veins.
―What‘s that?" He could just barely see a sheltering crevice ahead in the cliff face,
cloaked in shadow from the overhanging rock.
Digging at the ground with his elbows and dragging his body along, he scraped his
way slowly over the sand and rocks towards the crevice. He felt his legs begin to go
numb as he dragged himself along, and his strength slowly began to ebb away. A cold
sweat broke over him as he collapsed. Before his eyes closed for the last time, he stared
ahead at the sheltering crevice, the unmoving, unchanged, disinterested oasis before him,
just a body‘s length away.
He did not catch the movement in the dark crevice of a darker shadow lurking far
back in the inner darkness of the crevice, watching him. Moments after he fell still, when
there was no longer any possibility of him stirring to life again, the living shadow
emerged cautiously. It glided with uncanny agility over the coarse, rock-strewn ground.
The apparition caught hold of him firmly and then quickly carried him to the crevice
behind the giant boulders, pausing only once, in nervous fear, to look back across the
waters.
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