Read from the Beginning.
Skyla knelt before Lady Harmony. Like Skyla, Harmony was dressed in a flowing silk nightdress that went down to her ankles. Her feet were bare; her slippers lay abandoned near the door. One guard had two fingers on her neck, checking her pulse, while another guard craned his neck to the side, watching Harmony’s chest rise and fall slowly.
“She looks like she just fell asleep here,” Skyla said. “Was she like this when you found her?”
“No, your highness,” one of the guards replied. “She was hysterical, yelling, screaming…”
“Have you radioed a doctor?” Darian asked. He carefully closed the doors behind him, ensuring the public didn’t get a glimpse of sleeping Lady Harmony.
“Yes, Captain, he’s on his way.”
“What could have caused this to happen?” Skyla asked. “How did she get in here? Her clearance doesn’t allow her in here after hours.”
“We haven’t had time to review the security footage yet, your majesty,” the guard said. “But the security system didn’t look like it was tampered with, and it did lock before designated sleeping hours.”
“And no one else saw her wandering the Dome?”
“Just us, your majesty. We found her.”
There was something tugging at the back of Skyla’s mind. A dream fragment. What was it? She mentally swatted it as if it was a buzzing fly. This was not a time for dreams.
All it took was one blink. One moment, she was as peaceful as Snow White in her deathly slumber. The next, her eyes were wide and animalistic, her pupils as green as the artificial grass that grew in the lunar park. Grey liquid pulsed through her veins as her skin turned pale and rotten. Drool dribbled from her open mouth as she sat up suddenly, lurching forward towards Skyla’s face. It all happened so fast, and Skyla wasn’t sure if her eyes were playing tricks on her, but she was almost positive that Harmony’s teeth were sharpened into little spikes that were dying to sink into Skyla’s flesh and tear her apart.
The guards were startled, but well trained. One gripped her arm and the other put a firm hand below her bodice and pushed her back onto the floor. This should have been easy for him. Lady Harmony was petite and was no match for his strength. Yet somehow, as he forced her backwards, she fought him. She didn’t flail her arms and legs helplessly, but rather threw her shoulders back and thrust her chest forward. Her back arched as her midsection was pulled upwards as if by an invisible puppeteer. Sweat poured down the guard’s face and dripped onto the marble. He couldn’t fight her.
“What is going on?” Skyla whispered.
Harmony’s toes dangled above the ground as she floated in midair. The guard holding her arm tried to tug her to one side, but it was no use. The force that possessed her—Skyla could think of no other explanation, even though the idea of possession was preposterous—kept her stationary but afloat. Fortunately the infection on her face didn’t spread to the rest of her body.
“Let her go!” Darian ordered.
The words were barely out of his mouth when the guards released Harmony. She remained in the air for a fraction of a second before slamming to the marble floor. Skyla gasped in horror at the sound of Harmony’s skull hitting against the hard titles. She could barely look, and imagined the blood and the brain bits pouring out between Harmony’s red locks. But she couldn’t not look. Not with Darian and the guards there. She was their queen, and she would be strong.
There was no blood. No brains. Harmony had resumed her peaceful slumber as if nothing had possessed her.