**scroll past this lame intro if you want to dive straight into the short story**
The “Deleted Scene” series will be a collection of scenes that do not appear in The Edinön Trilogy. This particular scene contains minor SPOILERS if you have not read Liquid Death. It takes place between the events of Liquid Death and Dawning Life.
Deleted scenes narrated by Juan and Kandi will be in first person, like in the books, whereas deleted scenes narrated by secondary characters will be in third person.
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The next “Deleted Scene” will be posted on June 26th, 2019 in Juan’s POV.
**WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW**
Deleted Scene #4:
JUAN: THE LAST CHRISTMAS
Dec. 25th, 2017 | Sego Lily Valley, Utah
I hear the bell on Christmas Day.
Kandi was upfront from the beginning that the cure (her blood) would not save the world. I believe her, as I always do, but there remains a molecule of hope in me that her pessimism will prove unfounded.
The day begins sourly, as I wake from the most visceral nightmare I have ever had. Kandi wakes up to my unintended outburst, lifting her head from her pillow and combing her long hair with her fingers. One look at her face, and I all but forget the nightmare.
What happened? she thinks, glowing green eyes round in the dark.
I heave a couple more breaths. “Nothing.” I stretch my legs and shimmy out of the blanket. While I try to expunge the images of torture produced by my subconscious, I stumble to the light switch and push it on.
Kandi blinks in the yellow light. She stands, pulling her hair over her shoulder and tilting her head. She examines me up and down. Are you cold?
Oh, am I shivering? My teeth chatter. I guess I hadn’t noticed.
I nod and rub my arms. “A little.” By a little, I mean I am the coldest I have ever been. In my nightmare, I was nearly frozen to death and dissected alive.
Kandi touches my shoulder, pushing warmth through my sleeve. It seeps into my skin and pumps into my blood stream, warming me inside and out in less than five seconds. I exhale. The shivering ceases.
The moment I smile in gratitude, the fire alarm rings. My body jumps from pleasantly warm to hot with the sudden spike in adrenaline. Kandi and I rush out of the closet together and race to the exit at the end of the hall, along with hundreds of other people who live in Sunny Days. I lose Kandi in the crowd and burst through the doors, slamming them so hard that the glass panes splinter down the center.
My eyes search for Kandi once I am on the sidewalk, wearing basketball shorts and a white tee. The ground is covered in snow, the parking lot in slush. The fire alarm is so piercing that it makes my teeth ache. I crane my head over the bodies surrounding me, expecting to see smoke billowing from the roof. Is there actually a fire? What is the emergency?
The crowd and I wait, shaking in the winter chill, until Ms. Hendricks exits last, glasses halfway down her nose. “Everyone inside!” she yells for all to hear. “Gather in the gymnasium!”
I follow the other occupants of the school into the building to the gym. Our feet squeak on the floors, wet with melting snow. I stand under one of the basketball hoops. Kandi!
Kandi materializes behind me, grabbing the back of my shirt. I startle forward and hastily right myself. When I look down at her, my relief upon her return to my side is overshadowed by the dread evident in her eyes. It’s the end, Juan, she thinks sullenly.
What do you mean? I question telepathically.
Someone hands Ms. Hendricks a microphone. She clears her throat over the loudspeakers, silencing the clamor. “Thank you all for assembling in an orderly fashion. As some of you may have heard, we have lost communication with the outside world. We are officially on our own…”
She continues explaining the situation throughout the world. No more Internet, cell phones, or anything of the like. My brain struggles to wrap around the news. How is such a thing possible? So Google doesn’t exist anymore? Or can we simply not access it? What about cars? Or planes?
The doctor ends her informative speech with, “We will be having turkey and potatoes tonight, and the staff will pass gifts to the children. In spite of what I just told you, I wish you all a merry Christmas.” Then she turns off her mic.
That evening, Kandi has an anxiety attack, so I take her back to our closet down the hall from the cafeteria. As she enters the space, I turn on the light and close the door behind us. I watch her, a sinking feeling in my chest, as she collapses in the corner and breathes.
I sit on our makeshift bed, pondering the end of the world. When the attack is over, she turns and scoots closer to me before laying her head on my lap. I dare not spook her with a touch, so my hands remain behind me on the floor. Holiday music plays over the speakers throughout Sunny Days High School. I close my eyes and remember Christmases I experienced growing up. My dad paid for a trip to Disneyland one Christmas. I was about four years old. From that point, each subsequent Christmas ended up being worse than the last. Now, on likely the last Christmas of my life, I have officially hit rock bottom.
I look down at Kandi and immediately take that thought back. No, I’ve had worse Christmases than this. The one where my father beat me at the age of five definitely tops the list.
“Do you think we’ll make it through winter?” I ask.
Kandi sniffs. Her thoughts confirm that we will, as long as it remains cold and snowy enough to slow the waking threat from branching into new territory.
“You mean the people who turn into monsters as a result of the cure?” I query, referring to the threat she mentioned.
She nods and raises her head from my thigh.
“How are we going to fight back? Will things ever be restored to the way they were?”
Kandi looks at me. I can tell she is bearing the weight of the world on her shoulders and suppress an itch to hold her. “No,” she says, tears brimming her brilliant eyes. “They won’t.”
Thanks for reading! Merry Christmas! Hopefully this one won’t be your last. 😉 🔥🔔🎶❄️