Dawn of EveBy: Pam Godwin
Twenty-Two Years Post-Apocalypse
Hunger leaked into his eyes. I knew that look. Knew it and felt it as if I were staring at my reflection. Except where his need to tear open my throat stemmed from bloodlust, my hunger was methodical and honed through training. I was bred to kill.
The frigid wind lashed my cheeks and gnawed at my fingers. I tightened my grip on the nocked arrow, the bowstring stretched beside my face. Heart thundering, breaths quickening, fueled by adrenaline, fear, excitement, I adjusted my aim to his head. Eliminate.
Fifteen feet away, the hybrid blinked glassy eyes at the fire-red braid that had fallen from my hood. If he took a step, I would release the arrow, and he knew it.
“Daughter of Eve.” He spat the words, but a tincture of dread serrated his voice.
Of course, he knew who I was. Not because these creatures put up posters of my face with the headline Daughter of Eve—Do not bite. But because my golden eyes and crimson hair were dead giveaways. Also, human women didn’t leave their heavily-guarded sanctuaries without an army of men. They were too rare and crucial to the continuation of our species.
But I wasn’t a normal human woman.
My mother had delivered me into this wretched existence with a promise—a promise to the world that I would make it a lot less wretched. No pressure. So while our women remained protected and hidden behind barricaded walls, I fought in the open. While they produced life, I took it away.
Humans weren’t the only species that subscribed to the prophecy of Eve. The hybrids believed I was put on this planet to eliminate them. But they didn’t know my weaknesses, didn’t know how very human I was. In fact, the hybrid staring at me now had no idea that if he drained my blood, he would live and I would die.
Bundled in layers of tattered clothes, scruff on his jaw, pronounced cheekbones, and tangled hair, he looked like a desperate twenty-year-old man. But he was more monster than human. The fangs pressing against his lower lip were all the proof I needed.
I released the arrow, and he dropped to the ground. Crimson splattered the pristine snow, the arrow protruding from his eye socket.
With a sigh of relief, I yanked the feathered shaft from his skull and scanned the Yukon landscape for the next threat.
The low sun reflected off a blanket of glittery white. Beyond the frosty tundra lay forested wilderness and mountainous terrain bristling with evergreens. Branches sagged beneath heaps of snow, creating deep shadows beneath the canopy. The perfect place for hybrids to hide.
“Dawn!” Eddie bellowed from a distance behind me.
Dammit, why was he still here? I’d given him an order.
“Hurry the fuck up!” His voice echoed across the wintry plain. “More are coming.”
There were always more. Even in this forsaken part of the world, hybrids outnumbered humans.
An arctic gust shivered through me, cutting into my bones despite the fur pelts and heavy boots. Another violent tremor attacked my body, and I swore I felt my arteries ice up.
Canadian winters could bite my bony ass. I didn’t leave the Nevada desert and travel all this way to freeze to death. Or bleed to death. Odds were on the latter, given the silhouettes emerging from the tree line about a mile away.
“Return to the women,” I shouted over my shoulder. “Get them to the camp. I’ll catch up.”
If I ran, I would lead the hybrids to the survivors we’d just taken from them. I needed to end this here. Now.
My teeth chattered, and my hands burned against the unholy chill in the air. I was outnumbered, physically weaker and slower, and exhausted from the endless shivering. But I was the supposed prophecy, the one who would save humanity. I had a helluva lot of shit to do before I died.
“Come on, suckers.” I trained the arrow, waiting for the hybrids to reach my forty-yard range limit.
Eddie’s boots crunched across the frozen ground behind me, approaching rather than retreating.
He never listens.
I was the leader of the Resistance, the highest human position in the new world, feared by every man, woman, and hybrid. Except Eddie. Thank fuck for that, because that would be weird.
Stopping at my side, bow at the ready, he flashed his don’t-be-hatin’ grin. The one that glimmered in his brown eyes and softened his sharp cheekbones.