The False Prophet – Prologue




In the Nursery, all of the children were obediently sleeping. A baby’s right hand twitched as if to call for help from the Overseer. Its forehead crinkled into a frown and her mouth moved as if to speak. Its lungs were filling with water… Its feet jerked and its right hand clenched… but its soft whispers could not overcome the silence of the Fire hour.

“…reported possible sighting of the Dear Leader in Mountain Clariste…” Mirium fidgeted as she unconsciously leaned in, with the other Nursery Assistants, toward the calling screen. Her breathing quickened as she waited for the next words to appear on the black wall that was installed in every building. She had never believed herself to be a zealous believer of the Prophet but she found herself hoping… Was that the baby monitor?

Beep..beep..beep.. The Nursery’s monitor began to flash. The baby’s mouth opened to breathe…

“Two zealous followers found the Dear Leader’s sandals at foot of the path…” Mirium drew in her breath as the words changed. She knew as well as the others in the room that the Prophet had gone to meditate on the next waterfall. Each rainstorm was becoming shorter and less predictable. The Dear Leader’s ability to predict the next rainfall would help the kingdom prepare and retain as much of the water as possible.


Not a single person moved. Mirium found herself holding her breath in hopes that the Prophet would return. It had been four months since the Dear Leader had disappeared to pray…


With a sharp intake of air, Mirium tore her eyes away from the calling screen toward the door to the Nursery. Was that faint beeping, one of the baby monitors? Her eyes were inevitably drawing back to the calling screen to stare at the words until they changed with an update on the prophet when she felt a pang of dread. The air was heavy and it was hard to breathe. Mirium took a precious sip of her vitaid, the lightness of her flask adding to her uneasiness.


That faint beeping was not normal. Mirium got up and walked into the Nursery just in time to see the baby lose consciousness next to a flashing monitor.


//Photo by Tim de Groot//

//Story an original by THL//

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