As the last of her kind, Ailsa must fulfill a sacred prophecy with the
one man she believes betrayed her.
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Midnight Showcase - Prophecy of the Boar
Ancient and mystical symbols, like that of the Chinese astrology, have been around for centuries. According to various sources, twelve animals presented themselves before the ancient deities and heavens, and these are: the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, coming in that particular order. The jade gemstone became useful for different things in oriental cultures; like money, symbols of power, jewelry, and so on. Many of the astrology symbols were made from jade pieces. Each sign and animal represented has its own unique abilities, individuality and characteristics.
In six digests, Midnight Showcase proudly presents two symbols and four novellas per digest with four authors giving their unique spin on these tales. However, as mystical as most of the stories are in some aspect, “jaded” and “beasts” have many meanings. Read them all to find out.
Eighteen years later…
Ailsa Sullivan sat up straight in her bed, gripping her sheets for some type of hold on reality. She searched her dark room disoriented from the nightmare, her eyes tried to find something, anything, to focus on, to bring the present quicker to the forefront. The walls expanded and contracted, objects in the room levitated and spun in a whirlpool. Her face wet, reliving the nightmare added to the increased heartbeat pounding in her chest. Over the past years, she came to accept the dreams would never go away. Who was she kidding? This wasn’t a dream, and it became the worst type of nightmare a rational person could endure. Over the years, some of the details faded, but the terror felt as fresh as the first day.
She dangled her legs over the side of the bed taking a deep breath to verify the dream ended. The nightmare had changed again; it allowed her to get an extra hour of sleep. She always referred to the nightmare as an ‘it’, a living breathing being. That is what it felt like to her, this being, this thing. The nightmare had a mind and will of its own equipped with its own sadistic agenda.
Trying to get her thoughts in order, the bedroom clock chimed five a.m. indicating the start of a new day. It didn’t matter whether she started now or four hours from now, the day would be brutal at its best. Standing to dress and mentally prepare for the rigors ahead, her personal android Maru entered starting the daily tasks with her usual alert and chirpy attitude.
“Good morning, Mistress Ailsa. I see from your vital scan that it was once again a restless night.”
Rubbing the ache out of her neck Ailsa tried to ignore the chattering droid next to her. “Good morning, Maru, and yes it was.”
“Well goodness, Mistress, you must see the ship doctor to give you a sedative. It is very imperative that you are rested and alert for your upcoming meeting today.”
Maru continued talking about the pros and cons of sleep while Ailsa ducked out into the bathroom to shower and get ready. When she returned, Maru finished her discussion on sleep and continued to a dissection of her personal life. Letting out a sigh, Ailsa pulled back her hair and casually walked into the kitchen, rolling her eyes at every single comment coming out of the android. There is nothing like getting your personal life scrutinized by a droid over a hot cup of coffee to start your day off on the wrong foot.
“Mistress, there has been talk among the other droids that you should take the assignment on Atriopius. Of course you have to train at Theocradia, but the Major says you need to learn the skills you didn’t receive at the academy.”
Ailsa stopped from drinking her coffee and quietly put down the cup. “What assignment?”
Maru continued without a pause, “You have training on Theocradia with the Infinitium in three days. Your ship is set to leave in less than three hours.”
“I have what?”
Ailsa stood at once and headed over to her panel, summoning the Elusion government. She would find the underlying cause of this confusion and the only person who would tell her the truth was Nicholas Hawke, a long trusted family friend and Centurion.