Exclusive Excerpt from The Hierophant’s Daughter
by M.F. Sullivan
In many ways, Tobias Akachi seemed too good to be true. Dominia first thought this was because she had not known many humans in anything other than a bureaucratic sense, as when they came into her San Valentino office to appeal to her for grants, favors, stays of execution, etc. Humans, therefore, seemed increasingly to be an otherwise defenseless group in need of a compassionate hand—though she had always felt that way, even while slaying them. The bloody course of her final war arose from a deep admixture of love and hate, in which love found but recent consideration. Somehow, love was more painful for the General. Was that a symptom of evil? Humans, after all, seemed to express love with ease. Not having seen them in their own environment since her aborted childhood, she had not recognized how their kindness, their prevailing belief in the basic decency of conscious individuals, drove some to help even martyrs. And martyrs, well…perhaps it was wrong to call her kind inherently selfish, but what else could be said of a cannibal race? Her Father had, since before their human births, drilled the message of martyr superiority: How could humanity but believe it? How could martyrs but act with those beliefs lodged in their hearts? If, in the martyr world, Dominia had called a friend for help at a strange hour, would she have received any friendship? Any help? Martyrs were to be hospitable to other martyrs, of course. But they were also taught it was understandable to refuse the phone call of an absurd hour, and acceptable to find a solution other than inviting a general, a prostitute, a wounded man, and a dog over for unlicensed emergency surgery. Dr. Akachi had a different approach, about which he discoursed while tending the thrashing patient.
“One should leap at the opportunity to help one’s fellow man.” The dentist used one great hand to hold Kahlil while the other manipulated a pair of silver tweezers in a way topical anesthetic and slow-acting opiates wouldn’t help. “And, with love in the heart! If you do not have love in your heart, you’d might as well do nothing at all.”
“I don’t know.” Miki pinned Kahlil’s shoulders to the silver surface of the dentist’s chic dining room table, sometimes grimacing through her friend’s struggles. “A lot of great charities were founded from a sense of obligation. Lots of old people have been helped. My country has a whole system of elder care—and why? Because old people are so good at guilt!”
“Obligation breeds mutual resentment. I help because I am happy to! Because I was put on God’s Earth to help my fellow man. To help you, Kahlil, get this nasty fellow out of you!”
With a glance for the martyr, then the dog, who observed from the living room couch, Miki said, “This is a great argument for ID-locking all guns.”
“This is an antique,” protested Dominia, who lifted the hem of her shirt to show the handle. Kahlil hissed.
“Put it away! Didn’t you learn your lesson? That stupid dog— Ow!”
While lifting into the light a bloodied bullet that made Miki wince, Tobias laughed. “Relax. You won’t die! Maybe limp a bit. Some long-term aches. You’ll get a good idea of when it’s going to rain!”
“You should be grateful.” Dominia adjusted with a snap the band of her drugstore eye patch, procured at a clerkless convenience store to blind the DIOX-I to their conversations. “That dog saved your life by forcing you to leave your house. You think your Caliphate would have been understanding?”
“Oh, Allah.” Kahlil tried to sit up until Miki shoved him back. “Do you need to mention my—affiliations?”
“I do not care. Much.” The winking dentist brandished a hooked suture needle intended for stitches in gums. “After all, I have a martyr who can testify to my impartiality! That is high praise, I think.”
“You should have destroyed her brain while she was in your office,” said Kahlil, who swore as Miki slammed him down into the table. “Shit— Well? Can you blame me?”
“Yeah, asshole, I can blame you. It’s your own fault you got shot, the way you barged in.” Sniffing, Miki looked over at the dog. “Poor boy was startled. Weren’t you, boy? Who’s a good boy?”
“He shot me!”
“He doesn’t know that!”
Dominia wasn’t so sure, but there was no point in arguing. Better to play along, to smirk and say, “Holding a grudge against a dog is kind of petty, Kahlil.”
“So maybe I hold one against you.”
About The Hierophant’s Daughter
By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind’s intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.
It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant’s Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is–assuming he exists at all–and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don’t inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.
After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER, and her Father won’t let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.
The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.
Available at: Amazon
About M.F. Sullivan
M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult.
Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) here.
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