amanda havard

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Excerpt - Nomad: Driving Thoughts

I had 2,000 miles to think. I spent the first 500 miles trying to convince myself there was a reasonable explanation for Mark Winter’s powers so I could turn my car around. Was there a technology I wasn’t familiar with, perhaps? Was he a superhero like those I saw in comic books and in movies? Couldn’t he be something other than what I was? Because if he were like us, then that would mean there were others roaming the earth, and I refused to believe that. Why would the elders lie about that?

But secrecy wasn’t out of character. My family had kept us isolated in a walled city in Montana, and had banned the reading of books from the outside except for evolving translations of the Bible (with the exceptions of the books Lizzie and Sarah had given Noah, Ben, and me). And why? They never offered explanations for the isolation.

As I chased the sunset near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, thirteen hours after I had said goodbye to Nashville, I began to get nervous. When I had walked out the gates of my family’s settlement in Montana three years earlier, I had never envisioned returning. I found it difficult to imagine what it would be like.

This felt very much like I was returning for good, a white flag flying above my head. But that was not my intention. I had made it out once, and I was desperate not to jeopardize my freedom. I could never go back to the life I had lived there. I was returning this time out of loyalty, and temporarily.

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Excerpt - Other: Finding Another

I launched myself over the rails and landed hard in thick brush. The humming quieted for a moment—the source of it had heard me—but then it picked up again. I was close enough to hear voices now. There were people here. I felt their feelings, too. I was wrapped up in a cocoon of terror and anxiety, of anger, and—very distinctly—of homicidal rage. I stayed low to the ground, shielded by the wild grass, but I couldn’t see what was happening from there. There was a tall line of trees above the road. Though I knew I might get caught, I would see better from there. I decided not to consider the consequences just yet. Crouching low, I launched myself over the roadway and into the trees. Neither of them saw me.

From my new perch, I saw a girl with black hair and brown skin lying on the ground and sobbing hysterically. She had to be the source of the fear and anxiety I felt. The rage came from the rugged man on top of her—ripe with alcohol and filth. He was screaming at the girl to shut up, holding her down by her neck. She was fighting him with all her strength, and I could tell by his feelings that he was intent on killing her.

I knew I had to do something. I surely could fight off this man; I was more powerful than any human alive. But if the man fought back, I’d have to defend myself, and I would hurt him. I would do what it took to save this innocent life, but there’d be some kind of fallout I didn’t know how to deal with. I had never actually attacked a human, but I could imagine the mess.

In a moment, I had examined all the angles, formed a game plan, and was ready to pounce. But out of the darkness, another body—a guy about my age, maybe even younger—appeared. His skin was pale and glowed in the moonlight, much like my own, but his features were dark. He looked menacing. I couldn’t tell where he came from. My senses were momentarily blinded by his presence, and though the impairment quickly remedied, I could get no read on him specifically.

“Clarence, you get off of her!” the young man yelled, his voice unclouded by the Southern drawl of the older man. He charged at the drunkard. The girl screamed, her fear upgraded to full blown terror as the young man ripped Clarence off her and flung him off the road and into the tree line below me. The young man sped off into the woods toward the old man’s hunching form, his figure a blur as he moved at speeds that rivaled—if not exceeded—my own. I blinked twice, sure I had seen it incorrectly.

I could see the men from my place in the trees, but I had to remember that my original goal was to save the girl. She was shaking on the ground, clearly in shock. I was torn. I so wanted to see what this younger man was, but I was scared for the girl, too. I dropped to the ground next to her. She screamed when she saw me. I put my finger to my lips to silence her, grabbed her up in a swift motion, and sprinted as fast as I could toward the town. In the few seconds I had her in my arms, I drowned in her terror, her disbelief, and her gratitude for these strangers who had come between her and death. I set her down gently in front of a 24-hour McDonald’s with two police cars parked out front, and before she had time to react at all, I sprinted back to where I had been, hoping I hadn’t missed seeing anything too important.

I had to ask myself why I was running back. My goal had been to save the girl, and having ensured she made it to safety, my part in this was over. But I couldn’t pull myself away from seeing what the young man would do. I made it back to the tree line and watched from behind a low branch dangerously close to the men. The old man was standing against the trunk of a giant oak, struggling as if he were bound though I could see nothing holding him.

The rage I had sensed earlier still hung in the air, but it was evaporating as the old man struggled against the invisible chains. The young man paced with intent, seeming to calculate his next move. I knew the old man was going to die. I struggled over whether to get involved. It seemed like an opportunity for me. Morbidly, the danger in this situation was an incentive to get involved. I wanted to find my breaking point. But I willed myself to stay still. Painfully, I understood these urges meant that I was as eager to die in reality as I was in the abstract. The old man yelled, a gurgling, painful sound erupting from his throat. Unable to turn away, my eyes were glued to the scene.

Then the young man growled. I gasped at the sound—it was the kind that came from an angry lion, not a human being. The young man thrust his arms out toward Clarence, and he began to writhe in pain. His legs twisted underneath him and went limp but he remained upright. The younger man pressed his wrists together with his palms fanned out. When he twisted his hands, the assailant let out a cry. He was gasping for breath. I could feel his pain.

“Clarence, Clarence, Clarence,” the young man said, a mocking tone in his voice. “Why didn’t you believe me?” His question was clearly rhetorical. The assailant could not answer, overcome with his pain. “I told you that was your last shot. I swore if you touched a hair on another girl’s head, I’d kill you. I offer every man a chance to change, Clarence. A chance to make his peace with God. But you didn’t do that, did you? You thought I wouldn’t find you here, but here I am, keeping my promise.” He began to pace back and forth again. His body looked almost relaxed. Apparently, it took no effort for him to restrain the old man this way. “If you’d listened to me, I wouldn’t have to do this.”

The assailant choked out a laugh. He was trying to be defiant, scoffing at the young man’s abilities, attempting to look brave in the face of death, I suppose. Laughing, though, was not the right thing to do. It angered the young man considerably.

He raised his left hand and held it as if he were pressing the old man against the tree though he was several feet away from him. The man’s chest became pinned to the tree. Then he raised his right hand and clenched his fist, crushing the man’s windpipe. I felt my own throat close as he did this.

The young man was taking Clarence’s life without even touching him. I was shocked. It wasn’t the violence or the power that was unbelievable. I had seen comparable talent before—Mary and Catherine, two of the elders of my family, were capable of the same thing. What stunned me was that this was not a human capability. As I watched this young man torture the assailant, I understood that, without a doubt, I had met an Other.

Another one like me.

The assailant was almost entirely drained of life when the young man stepped toward him and hissed, “When you get up there to Saint Peter, before he sends you to Hell, tell him Mark Winter sent you.” And just like that, the man’s head twisted in a way it shouldn’t be able to, and a loud snap resounded in the air. I felt a sharp pain in my own neck and then all the tension released. Mark Winter’s hands fell to his sides, and Clarence slumped to the ground. He was dead.

Mark Winter took a few steps back, scrubbed his face with his hands, roughed up his hair, and walked deeper into the woods he had come out of. I was just about to start breathing again when I saw him pause and turn back to the heap on the ground. With a wave of his hand, the body burst into flames. When he was satisfied, another wave put the fire out. Then he stepped backward and dissolved into the blackness.

What the hell had just happened? It was clear Mark Winter was not a human. I had only spent three years among humans, but I knew there was no way a human could do that.

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Excerpt - Memoir, Summer 1883: Conversation with Noah

I had eventually given up with the flint and rested against the tree, absorbing the quiet surroundings. Abruptly, I heard footsteps—rather, the unmistakable whir of a young Survi-vor running at top speed. In a fraction of a second, Noah was sitting beside me on the ground, his hair windblown and his clothes di-sheveled from the run.

“Hi, Sadie,” he said, his chest heaving a little bit. Noah had not yet stopped aging, so he was capable of getting tired or short of breath with exertion. He was precisely my age and, though I wasn’t especially close to anyone in my generation, I guess I was closest to him. Noah and I had grown up hearing the story about two babies being born at exactly the same time at a stressful moment in our history. Other than that, no one ever talked about the process of childbirth. And they never let on who be-longed to whom.

“Hi, Noah,” I said, perturbed that my time alone had ended.

He lay back on the twigs and leaves on the ground and tried to catch his breath. Noah looked exactly like Lizzie. His hair and eyes were fair, his skin rosy. I don’t know whether Lizzie was still having children when Noah and I were born, but if she was, it meant that she was definitely his mother, which hurt me a lot to realize that meant she wasn’t mine. Then he eyed the tree I was leaning against. “Interest-ing list,” he said, nodding toward the carvings.

I shrugged. “You wouldn’t say anything about it, right?” I asked.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he said. “You have enough trouble, as I see it.”

I shrugged again. “I don’t think it counts as trouble that I don’t have an active power yet. That can’t possibly be something I’ve done wrong.”

“I didn’t say it was. I just know they’re giving you a hard time about it. I wouldn’t want to make it any harder on you than it already is, especially since John seems to be the most concerned about it,” he said. He sat up and pulled his knees to his chest, his posture mirroring my own. I felt some ambivalence in the air between us, and then I could sense some tension. This extra sense had been developing lately, and I believed it was the beginning of my so-called powers. But it didn’t seem to fit with any of the powers of any of the original elders, so I had yet to mention my budding talent to anyone. It was useful in learning some things, though, like how Noah was starting to envision a life where he and I would end up together in some form or fashion or how the tension in that moment stemmed from his concern over what he perceived as my rebellion. I couldn’t place how I knew this, I just did. Unfortunately for him, these feelings became more articulate at the precise time at which I had decided I would, one day, live outside the walls of this city. I had realized that this would mean going against part of the purpose of this family (rebelling, as he feared), and I knew I could not bring anyone into it with me. In essence, at sixteen years of age of what was destined to be a very long life, I had decided that I would spend my life alone.

For better or for worse, I had kept that promise. I regretted it every day.

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It has drowned the most heavenly ecstasies of religious fervour, of chivalrous enthusiasm, of Philistine sentimentalism, in the icy water of egotistical calculation. It has resolved personal worth into exchange value, and in place of numberless indefeasible chartered freedoms, it has set up that single, unconscionable freedom – free trade. In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.
— 

Karl Marx, Communist Manifesto

Karl Marx on Wikipedia

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Everett Winter – Story Stats


Birth Year: 1848 (Appears 24 years old)

Birthplace: Berlin, Germany

Species: Unknown

Known Powers:

  • None known

Family:

  • Mother: Adelaide, born 1527
  • Father: Anthony, born 830
  • Brother: Patrick, born 1840
  • Brother: Mark, born 1910
  • Sister: Ginny, born 1867

Style: Everett is supernatural in every way. Green eyes, chocolate hair, ivory skin. His look is Ray Bans and Gucci boots stepping out of a Maserati. A Ferragamo blazer over a classic, crisp white Dior Homme dress shirt when he’s dressed up. He’s detailed perfection in every way: A silk Brioni pocket square. A Dolce & Gabana jean. The right amount of danger, the right amount of class.

Signature: A structured blazer.

Vehicle: Black Onyx Maserati Gran Turismo S

Residency: Pacific Grove, CA 

Twitter: @TPWinterB

Artifact - The Events of the Salem Witch Trials

This document, measuring like a poster, comes directly from Salem, MA during one of Amanda’s visits to the historical town. It is a condensed timeline of major events and accusations during the Trials. It is one of very many documents about the Trials you’ll find in Amanda’s research library.

Story Stats - The 14 Survivors

The fourteen original Survivors’ birth years and ages at exile.

John Surrey
Born: 1673 - Danvers, MA
Age at Exile: 19

Sarah
Born: 1678 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 14 

Hannah
Born: 1680 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 12 

Lizzie Godric
Born: 1670 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 22 

Andrew
Born: 1675 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 17 

Mary
Born: 1675 - Salem Town, MA
Age at Exile: 17 

Catherine
Born: 1678 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 14 

Anne
Born: 1674 - Peabody, MA
Age at Exile: 18

Jane
Born: 1680 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 12  

Beth
Born: 1677 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 15

James
Born: 1676 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 16

William
Born: 1679 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 13

Thomas
Born: 1679 - Beverly, MA
Age at Exile: 13

Joseph
Born: 1677 - Salem Village, MA
Age at Exile: 15      

Excerpt - Homecoming: Entering the Gates

John laughed. “Oh, child. You think you know so much, but your ignorance would astound you,” he said. “Have you forgotten Hannah’s powers? That she can see our future, and foresee dangers? And what dangers are there for Survivors? We can only be hurt in our hearts, and you are the first to have committed this sin against us. What could you possibly warn us about?” he prodded.

I had not expected this to come up so soon. I thought we’d sit around the long oval table in the cloisters of the chapel where they all met to talk. I thought I’d tell them quietly and calmly. I hadn’t expected to speak over the wind, out in the open, not even protected by the city walls with the rest of the town on the other side of the gate listening to every word.

“She clearly has no reason for trespassing here,” William said. William was so young. He had been only fourteen when he stopped aging. I was at least a head taller than him, and looked down at him, surprised.

“Is it trespassing to visit one’s family? To seek fellowship? To worship together?” I asked. I hadn’t necessarily envisioned sitting through a service with my family, but it was not something I would object to. It might be the only thing that would get them back on my side.

“You see, John. She has not forgotten the Lord. She knows Him still. I can feel it in my bones!” Lizzie said with enthusiasm.

“That much is true,” Hannah called from her perch at the end of the line. “I have seen her in my visions. She is still a woman of God.” I was winning back some support.

“Maybe we should go inside…” Andrew began.

“Silence!” John snapped, unable to tolerate their sympathy toward me any longer. His thoughts flipped through his mind so quickly I couldn’t completely catch them. They were all colored with rage, though, so I got the gist. “She can fool us!” he screamed. “She can lie to any one of us. She has the devil in her!” He believed this. “You listen to me, child. Look at these, the faces of your family, one last time. You will turn around and run from this town like you did the first time you abandoned us, and you will never, never come back,” he seethed. He turned his back and walked up the short hill to the gates of the city. Nine of them followed him, but Sarah and Hannah looked at me and only slowly shifted their bodies toward the gates. Andrew doubted John’s decision, and Lizzie looked at me longingly, and remained still.

“There are others like us!” I cried out. Everyone froze. The quiet humming I had heard from the other side of the wall erupted into whispers and gasps.

All the elders looked at each other then at me. I expected them not to believe me, or to think I was trying to deceive him.

But to my surprise, John quietly said, “Come with us.” It took me a moment to realize I would have to move my feet for this to happen. They waited until I reached them, then we walked into the city as if they were strolling…or marching me to death row. The gates closed behind us. Perhaps I should have thought twice before blindly following them.

The entire family was waiting inside the gates; they had all come to see the show. No one spoke to me when I entered the city—they only stared—but their thoughts told me the story clearly: They had been ordered not to speak to me under any circumstances. They had also been assured that the elders had had no intention of letting me inside the city walls.

Many of the older generations were appalled that I was walking the streets of their hallowed ground again. I caught Noah’s eye. He look bewildered. Others of my generation and those below me had mixed feelings. Some of them were happy to see me, some of them were jealous of me.

We proceeded slowly down the main road to the church. The saunter through the streets had been intended as a parade of shame, designed to embarrass me. It hadn’t worked. No one here knew how detached I was from them. It was filial piety that had brought me back here to warn my family of Mark Winter’s threat. There was nothing more to it.

Down a long hallway to one side of the chapel was a row of rooms used for various purposes. At the end of the passage was a dark, wood-paneled room dug out of the ground. It had a thin window along the ceiling and only one door that faded into the woodwork once it was closed. You’d have to know where to look for it to find it. There was a long, oval table cut out of a gigantic slab of marble that was getting worn around the edges. Eighteen wooden chairs—carved when they had settled here three centuries earlier—surrounded it. I had been in this room only once, when I had taken a few things I knew I’d need before I left. Some things the family owned had great value in the world outside our walls but no significance inside of them. I was certain that they had no idea of the worth of these items, so when I stole a handful of very small things from their stash upon my departure—a sin, I admit—I didn’t think anyone would notice, much less understand what I had taken from them.

We walked single-file into the room. As I crossed the threshold, I felt my senses drain and my mind go quiet. I could no longer feel anything radiating off the elders. The intensity with which I could see the world faded into what looked somewhat like normal sight. I tried to envision Corrina’s mind, but I could come up with nothing. I felt panicked. Lizzie walked me to a chair at the far side of the table, her arm around my waist, and she sat to my left. Andrew sat on my other side. I faced John.

“What is it?” I asked, feeling uneasy without my powers.

“Never you mind that,” Catherine said. She was enjoying my fear.

“Honestly, Cattie,” Lizzie said. “The room is protected, Sadie. Your talents are stopped at the door. They’ll reattach to you when we leave,” she explained. I nodded quietly, more timid than I was before. I realized I hadn’t noticed it the last time I was here because I had been alone. I slid my hand under the table and pressed my fingers into it. The marble gave way as my fingertips sank into the stone. I still had my strength, then. It was our individual powers that were stripped in this room.

Catherine rolled her eyes. “A pity the poor little traitor can’t sense what we’re feeling,” she mused. Catherine and the rest of them had no idea that what I had lost was the ability to read their minds. They had assumed my powers would have remained stagnant in the time I was gone, as theirs had remained the same for over three centuries. “Ah well, she needn’t her talents here. She knows we all detest her.”

“Not all of us,” Andrew corrected. I smiled at him.

John began to speak first, but Andrew raised a hand to silence him. He studied my expression, then slid his hands toward me, and took one of my hands in his. “You have nothing to be afraid of,” he said.

I was very lucky to have him on my side. As one of the three original elders—he, Lizzie, and Hannah had been the first to evidently stop aging—Andrew was the patriarch of our family. When he asserted his rightful place, they were obliged to listen. Having been the eldest boy when they were exiled, John had taken a piece of power for himself. He more outwardly seemed to be our leader—he enforced rules, created discipline, was feared. But, still, Andrew came first. There were many in the family who never understood the distinction, but it was shockingly clear to me in that moment.

“Sadie, you said there are others like us,” he said, his voice very soothing. I nodded. “Can you tell us more?”

“I saw something,” I said, “something that only one of us could do.” I looked around the room at the expectant eyes and began to explain.

I told them the whole story. I described in detail how Mark Winter killed the man just by willing it so, and of how he had set the body on fire. I told them about how he had come to see me in Nashville. How he warned me not to follow him. How he knew that I was not a human either. Quietly, apologetically, I shared his ominous threat against them.

They listened intently. I expected them to be outraged, concerned, even shocked, but they remained quiet, calm.

When I finished, it was silent. I squirmed in my seat.

“I have a question,” Rebecca began. “Your talent, Sadie—how you can find people? What is it you feel from a creature to be able to find it again?”

I tightened my brow. This was a loaded question. I chose my words carefully, trying to find a way to answer her question honestly without explaining to them all I could do.

“I suppose it’s mostly something I hear and partly something I feel. The sounds are the most unique—they make people easy to find. Sometimes there’s a deep tug in my stomach, though, pulling me some way, guiding me to what I’m looking for. That part is harder to explain,” I said.

“So did Mark Winter sound normal to you? Did you get the same things from him you usually get from humans? Or from us?” Rebecca asked.

“I could not feel anything from him at all,” I said. Their expressions instantly grew wary.

“Is it because the filthy human world has deteriorated your powers?” John asked pointedly.

“No,” I said. “I have gotten much better at reading humans,” I said. That was true except for emotional moments like with Cole. “When I returned today, I found that I have an easier time reading us, too,” I explained, counting myself among the group in front of me. A corner of Andrew’s mouth turned up when I made the distinction. No matter how much I wanted to be a human, it didn’t change what I was. Even I could admit that.

“Why do you think you could not feel anything from Mark Winter?” Andrew asked.

“I’m not sure,” I said. “My skills are not flawless, I’ll admit, but no one has ever been completely blocked from me. But Mark Winter is so tightly guarded that it feels like he isn’t even really there.”

Andrew spoke. “I think we must find Mark Winter. We must bring him here and ask him of his heritage and his powers. He has many talents, and it would be beneficial for us to know how he received them. It would be unwise to continue in ignorance now that we know he exists,” he said. Then he turned to me. “Sadie, will you give us a moment to discuss our plan of action?”

I nodded and rose from my chair and made my way to the door quickly.

“I’ll join her,” Lizzie said, catching up to me, “if no one minds?” she asked, looking at Andrew.

He nodded. She opened the camouflaged door, and we stepped through it together. Once outside, the door sealed itself shut. There would be no way to get back in until someone opened it. I immediately felt clarity in my mind and my senses.