Prologue: The Children who died.
Matt was eleven the first time he died. It was an accident and it wouldn’t have happened if he’d been careful. But he was too close to home and had been careless. The arrow had caught him in the heart and he’d fallen down, mere feet from the front door of his home. Of course, the soldiers did not know it was there, it was too well hidden.
When Matt started breathing again, he was inside his home, where Kathy had dragged him into, once the soldiers had left. Her eyes were wide as she looked at him and he knew that he’d been dead.
“You are like me,” she’d said as Matt examined his torso. There was not even a scar, though the strange markings were still there. Matt still remembered the first time he realized that others could not see his markings. Not even Kathy. But she had markings too and he could not see them.
Matt lay back down. His chest still hurt. He wished the pain would disappear as easily as his scars. All his wounds and injuries healed almost instantly, but the pain remained for a few days depending on the severity of the injury. And this was an arrow.
“We need to leave,” said he. “Once I am well. The fighting has come too close.”
Kathy nodded. “I wish… I wish father and mother were like us.”
Matt closed his eyes. His chest hurt and his eyes prickled. Their parents had died in the war. They did not come back to life, like he did just then and Kathy did when she was five. His parents were still alive then and they’d thought Kathy had only fainted, though the Healer from the village had told them she was dead. The Healer was as surprised when she started breathing again, though not as delighted. He’d muttered about witchcraft and had hastily left their house.
“We’ll go,” muttered Kathy. “But where?”
Where was a good question. Matt did not know of any place where the war was not happening. They had no money, no weapons, no parents.
And they were both only eleven. We will find a place, thought Matt as he drifted off to sleep. We will leave here. Perhaps they would find a place with no war.
Kathy sat still, watching her brother sleep. She curled up on her own pallet, but her eyes remained open. They should have left earlier, much earlier. They had nothing here, no future. Both Matt and she were dead. They had to leave and be someone else in some other place.
And perhaps, thought she, as her eyes closed and she slid into sleep, perhaps they would find a place where they would have enough to eat.