Mackenzie had her hood pulled down and her eyes stayed hard on the sidewalk. She ran, but cautiously. Avoiding bumping into anyone. She did not want to risk falling over.
Shadows warped and elongated. It was getting dark fast. This was going to hit right now.
She glanced up, but not too far, and spied a bakery. The patrons of the restaurant were peering past her and would for a very long time. She shoulder-checked open the door, even though it was not locked, and ran for the bathroom.
“Hey, it’s for paying customers only,” came a gruff voice, tinged with a Brooklyn accent.
Mackenzie skidded to a stop. “I’ll buy something in…”
She peered at her watch and squinted at the tiny hands moving.
“I’ll buy something in ten minutes, or so. Also, don’t look outside.”
She darted into the bathroom. And the man followed her in, letting in the massive surging light.
Mackenzie looked down with a squeak of panic. Before the man could question that, she reached out, pulled him in, and slammed the door shut.
“Stay in here. Just for a minute,” she said. “It’s really not safe out there.”
The man, his name tag labeled Ronaldo, frowned at her. He turned back toward the door, muttering “I’m getting the cops.”
“You’ll die,” she whispered. And, as she’d hoped, that stopped him in his tracks.
“I’m sorry, was that a threat?” he said, turning. Ronaldo towered over her, especially with the slight downward incline of the bathroom floor.
“No, not at all.”
She pointed at the door.
“They’re all dead out there. Every one of them.”
“Are you high?” the man asked.
“No. They are all…”
She paused, buying time. A quick glance at her watch showed it was about two more minutes before it was safe.
“They are all dead out there,” she continued. “I don’t know why it’s happening. But, I had a dream—”
Ronaldo’s frown deepened so hard, she winced at the sight.
“Okay, I see how that might be a bad way to tell it…”
Ronaldo shook his head, turned, and—though she shouted—he took a step out, swinging the door open to the light.
Mackenzie covered her eyes with her arm as the light pierced and stabbed. Casting wild shadows and leaving a purple haze on the wall. The door bumped against the still frame of Ronaldo, and Mackenzie turned her back on him. With fear dominating her mind, she stared at her watch, watching the seconds tick away.
If he had just believed her for a little longer…
The purple faded away. Mackenzie waited an extra twenty minutes, staring at her watch. But, she eventually turned.
And found the stone statue. A shocked expression stuck on Ronaldo’s face. Mackenzie pushed around him, squeezing by, and went outside into the world.
She would have to see how many others survived.
Special thanks to: Bob Gerkin, Collin Pearman, Dylan Alexander, Jerry Banfield, and Michael The Comic Nerd.
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“Just Another Chosen One is a blisteringly paced, action-soaked debut from author Brandon Scott, sure to appeal to those who’ve gotten tired of reading the same old stories about the child of prophecy destined to save the world.”