This is the story of a group of individuals facing the continued unexpected consequences of knowing their past lives and their continued struggle to save themselves from The Funder and her army of Hunters.
PRINCESS, was content living her small-town life, without knowing her soul’s history, until the soul-hunter broke into her home. Upon meeting, Hunter and Princess are immediately drawn to each other with a familiar chemistry only Hunter understands. Still, Hunter had an allegiance to the nefarious Dr. Hattiesburg as a grad student for many years. Despite their obvious attraction and her soul recall dreams of being Cleopatra, it is difficult for Princess to trust Hunter.
RED, Princess’ bubbly, slightly younger cousin, is a grad student at the local university made famous by Dr. Hattiesburg. Her biology lab is in the same building as Dr. Hattiesburg’s infamous soul-research lab. Red has made her own way into grad school using a decoy soul report to enter the university program instead of risking a DreamWalk. Like many people in her and Princess’ small town, she is afraid that doing an actual soul identification could be risky. Red, who has been tasked by the family with finding Princess is inadvertently lead to face her soul’s past as she “impulsively” begins a long-lost romance with a Centurion ghost.
HELENE is in the process of returning home from her beach vacation when she, her husband, and child are required to do a DreamWalk to pass through airport security. Her husband Finn is identified as being Erik the Red, seized, and escorted to another area of the airport. After escaping through chance, Helene flees to the family’s secluded beach home. While there, she must decide who to trust while keeping her baby safe and figuring out a way to find Finn.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A crazy dream that I had before presenting at the National Conference for Family Literacy…The next morning I couldn't shake the creepy feeling I had that someone was trying to steal my soul! That really sounds crazy when you consider that my sessions had nothing to do with that, it's possible that I was just extremely nervous. I saw James Patterson speak later that day and after a brief but important conversation with him, I was inspired to start writing "When the Hunters Came".
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
The characters came from the dream! As I starting writing, more characters came to light and more events…the story started coming together and as long as I continued writing, it continued to grow!
“Yes, my name is Helene. Yes, this is my baby and that is my husband and we need to hurry to catch our flight.”
Even in quick murmur, my voice carries far enough to affect the men around me. I roll my eyes inwardly as security guards pop their heads up, from inspecting people, to openly gape at me. Men aren’t accustomed to such outbursts from women. They aren’t really listening either; they never do. Most of my life I’ve had to be forceful with men to get them to hear what I am saying.
The annoying agent, or whatever he is says in his drone voice, “We understand you are in a hurry, Miss,” I hate the way he says Miss, like a snake, “It is our job to make sure that everyone who is boarding the flight has had their Dream Walk completed before traveling internationally. It’s not only our job, Miss, it’s the law.”
I shift my baby onto my other hip and watch as Finn, my husband, is led into another line for his soul scan. Why are the guards separating us? I glare suspiciously back at the security members who seem to be doing everything in their power to keep our small family from getting to our flight on time.
The baby squirms and I gently bob up and down to comfort him. I keep my eyes on Finn; he towers over most people so that’s not difficult to do.
Look at me Finn, look at me, Finn. He turns his head at me and winks but I can see a glint of annoyance in his eyes; he’s ready to be out of this mess just as much as I am. He holds my gaze. I know what he’s feeling; he’s frustrated, he wants to go home, he’s tired from the trip, and he doesn’t like being separated from me.
The spark from his eyes dulls as he turns and nods to the guard then proceeds into the soul scanner.
I face the line in front of me, continuing to softly bounce our son, Per whispering “shush,” more to soothe myself than him. It’s so easy to forget the madness around you when you are looking into the eyes of your child. I still can’t believe we have a child.
There are other families in line in front and back of me. Beside me are more guards with wandering eyes. A shiver of disgust moves up my spine as they lean toward one another, eyes training up and down my body as they whisper to each other.
I move my head around trying to find Finn. Shouldn’t his soul scan be over by now?
Neither of us have been scanned before. Finn wasn’t even scanned during his time in the Navy. I don’t think scans are supposed to take this long. Babies and their mothers are usually excused from the soul scanning process so I’m not really sure why I’m still standing in a line.
A gravelly voice jolts me from my thoughts, “Please bring your baby and your luggage with you to the soul scanner on the left.” I must look confused because the guard continues, “The soul scan on the left is a newer model designed to read the soul imprints of infants and pregnant women. We must remain compliant with international law regarding the soul-trade.”
My brow furrows. A soul scan for children? I’ve never heard of that before. I also didn’t realize that people were now openly discussing the soul-trade.
Suddenly the airport seems quiet. This feels off; something is wrong here. When did the government start requiring soul scans on babies? I was under the impression that infants didn’t have fixed souls. Furthermore, I was given ample literature during my pregnancy explaining that my soul would be undulating around my body for several months after having Per and the precautions I should take to prevent losing my soul.
Why would they be scanning us?
The guard speaks again, “This way, miss, into the scanner with you and your son.”
I nod absently, looking for Finn to emerge on the other side of his Dream Walk. I know there is no point in arguing with the guard. I enter the new soul scan, the door of it locks and immediately the tiny cell starts to warm in a way that is noticeable but not uncomfortable.
Finn isn’t out of his soul scan yet.
An alarm pierces the air, a sharp robotic voice announcing to the world, “soul identified, Erik the Red.”
I close my eyes. No, no, please not this. Please don’t let it be Finn. Please don’t let them take him away. Finn emerges on the other side of the soul scan with a steeled look on his face. Three guards approach him. They’re saying something and indicating with their arms.
Finn shakes his head no and points back toward me and Per. He moves toward me. The men respond angrily, grabbing his arms. I clutch the baby toward me and squint my eyes trying to read their mouths, but I can’t make out what they’re saying.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
All the soul scanners begin exploding in rapid succession. I drop to the floor of the soul scanner nesting Per’s body inside the shell I’ve made with mine as everything in the airport melts into mayhem. People are running and screaming.
Where did Finn go?
I bang on the side of the soul scan I’m locked in but no one is paying attention. I can only imagine that my soul scanner will be the next in flames with our precious baby and me as casualties. I bang on the walls, lunging back and forth to try to topple the soul scanner to the floor. The machine remains motionless and warm as a small alarm sounds in our soul scanner.
I look around quickly; people are running, guards are scrambling to maintain order, it seems like nobody has heard the alarm on our scan. A smaller, but no-less-disgusting robotic voice starts to speak, “Soul identified, Helen of Sparta. Soul identified, Leif Eriksson. Please see the closest security guard for further instruction.”
I shake my head at the electronic voice and rip the print out from the machine, shoving it into my jacket pocket. I search frantically around. Where is Finn? People are running all around me. The baby is starting to cry. He knows something is wrong. I put his cheek to mine and whisper to him, “Per, it’s ok baby. Mommy is here. Shhhhh. Shhhhh. Don’t cry. Mommy is here.”
I deeply inhale; now is not the time to panic. Finn and I have talked about this. We have a plan in place for in case one of us were ever to be identified. Per whimpers in my arms. I inhale deeply and look into his eyes; they are warm and trusting. If I don’t panic then he won’t know to panic either. The rhythmic beeping inside our soul scanner stops.
Per nestles into my chest and closes his eyes, drowsily sucking his fingers. I exhale and feel the familiar release my body does when I know the baby is sleeping and happy. We need to get out of here and fast. The mob that surrounds us is full of people who are hurt and afraid.
Finn, where are you where are you? I spot him at the very edge of our terminal struggling to get away from the guards that are surrounding him. As they shove Finn through an unmarked door, I see his eyes darting around looking for me. His eyes meet mine for one sharp moment filled with the promises we’ve made to each other. The door closes and he is gone.
No! Two of the guards who had struggled with him turn back to the baby and me. Their movement indicates that we are next; they’ll take us, too. Just then, our soul scanner unlocks and the door opens.
More explosions sound, along with gunshots. The two guards are distracted enough for me to get away.
I grab my backpack and swing it onto my shoulders, juggling the baby between my hands. The rest of the luggage will have to be lost. I cover Per with my jacket as a makeshift shield, zip it up, and start to run.
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