Read from the Beginning.
Skyla didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. She felt like if she returned to her dreams, a zombified Lady Harmony would find her and transmit her disease to Skyla’s flesh. Instead, she paced her bedroom, running her hands through the canopy sheers and waiting until morning, until perhaps it was safer to venture into the metal corridors.
Not that she really wanted to leave. The media would be out there. And she’d have to deal with the Earth leaders.
She yawned. It would be a long day. She crossed the room to her dresser and picked up a pill container with a red cap. Stimulants. Doctor Leeland gave her the bottle last year when she was coronated, and said that she’d need them. In defiance, Skyla promised herself she’d only use them when necessary. The bottle was more than half full. After unscrewing the red cap, she wiggled the thin pill onto her palm, and then popped it into her mouth. Her face puckered at the taste, but she forced herself to swallow. It lingered on her tongue like the bad feeling lingered in her stomach.
There was no calling in sick for a queen.
Skyla stared at herself in the mirror. She’d showered and gotten dressed, at least. The queen’s traditional outfit was nothing like the sweeping gowns of Earth’s queens. Skyla wore very little jewelry, save studded diamond earrings and a silver band that encircled her head. At the centre of the band, in the middle of her forehead was a smoothened piece lunar anorthosite. Lunar anorthosite was a common moon rock type, mined from the lunar highlands—valuable to Earthlings, but as common as quartz on Earth to those in the Luna Dome. It was white and sparkled under the fluorescent lights of the Dome.
Her attire consisted of a long sleeved jumper dress with black leggings. There were a few lacy frills on the ends of the sleeves and down the chest of the garmet, but it was otherwise as simple as the circlet on her head. Although the temperature in the Dome was regulated, Skyla found the air cold in comparison with her Canadian home, and so she appreciated the warm clothing. A radio was attached to a thick black belt that wrapped around her waist; only Darian and a few others could reach her through the special frequency.
She unhooked the radio from her belt and adjusted the dial to Doctor Leeland’s frequency. As far as she knew, the man never slept, so she didn’t worry about waking him in the early hours of the morning.
“Doctor Leeland, report,” she said. She cleared her throat; her voice sounded gravelly. It felt like days since she had last spoke.
The doctor’s equally gravelly voice spat through the radio. “You want an update on Lady Harmony, your majesty?”
“Yes, I do. How is she?”
“Doin’ better than a few hours ago. Breathing normally. Circulation fine. But…” He paused; she could hear his hoarse breathing as he inhaled and exhaled through his mouth. “You mind telling me what happened to her, your majesty?”
Skyla twisted her lips as she thought about it. “I will have to discuss that with Captain Flaherty first.”
Leeland snorted. “If you don’t mind me sayin’, your highness, you’re the queen around here, not him.”
“I’m well aware of that, Doctor,” Skyla replied. “But what happened is potentially classified.”
“Potentially,” Leeland spat. “That what you’re going to tell the media?”
“That’s for me to decide. I will be down to check on Lady Harmony later. Queen Skyla out.”
She switched off the radio and reattached it to her belt. How could she explain what she barely believed herself? It had to be a trick. It couldn’t have been real. The infection and how quickly it had spread through Lady Harmony, only to retract and lie dormant the next minute…impossible.
But if it was what Skyla feared, then the Dome was in greater trouble than she could imagine, and this time, no one would survive.