This is the Expanded Edition which now includes previously unpublished scenes and a handbook for surviving in the futuristic world of Castle Hayne.
In fifteen-year-old Chela Prizeon’s city, alchemy is forbidden and angels hide among the mortal. With a deadly virus ravaging the globe, Chela’s nightmarish memories compels her to experience a past riddled with gloom, and now her brother is infected. Chela’s only hope is the Caduceans, slayers sworn to protect the last seven Light Keepers and the ancient memories they share. A group led by the sometimes elusive, sometimes infuriating boy who intrigues Chela. But can she trust this boy with the mysterious past, someone who can influence her memories? With the Caduceans aid, Chela races to defeat her rivals, to unearth dark family secrets, and to find a cure…only to discover the glutovirus is far more than a simple disease.
In this haunting debut, KaSonndra Leigh offers an escape into a world filled with celestial creatures, fascinating villainy, high-stake choices, and a secret romance, When Copper Suns Fall, is a fresh and original urban fantasy—with a dystopian twist—that will take readers on an unforgettable adventure.
Forcing my eyes open, I found myself outside the Shack. I was standing in Faris’s arms, my head against his chest, my fingers entwined in his black vest. It was a shiny, smooth fabric that felt like silk. Something nobody had worn outside of ceremonies since before the Tidal Years. This boy was no common citizen.
His earthy-sweet smell was different, intoxicating. He had saved me from whatever just happened back in the Shack. I didn’t expect to be rescued. I expected to be slaughtered or tortured, or something. So what brought on the change? We stood among the crowd fleeing down the hillside. He lifted my chin, stared in my eyes. But this wasn’t some dumb player’s move. No, a mysterious thing stirred behind his silvery-gray eyes.
“Feel better, now?” he asked. I nodded.
“Thanks for helping me,” I said, still fighting a light head. Still afraid the dreaded black blobs lingered somewhere around us. Somewhat ashamed I’d spoken so horribly to him moments ago.
“You probably shouldn’t do that,” he said.
“Why? Because I caught you and your friends using alchemy? That’s what your kind does, right?” I said, feeling a strange mix of excitement and fear. Until this day, I’d always believed there weren’t any other angel-bloods left besides Micah and me. I wanted to believe that someday I’d find at least one other person like us, that we weren’t alone in a world that hates my kind. And now the thing representing my hopes and fears and everything I dreamt of coming true stood here with me.
“Tell me it’s not true. I need to hear you say it,” I whispered.
His left eye ticked. The girl in the hoodie had called him a shadow walker, a nickname for the Caducean demon slayers. Could it be possible? Father told me Caduceans were mythical creatures—descendants of angels from a time long gone. Yet, here I stood with a boy who didn’t deny my claim.
Around us, fewer people were leaving the club. They paid no attention to the two idiots standing and staring at each other. Had Jalen and Alexa gotten out? They were taking forever to reach me.
Did I really want them to find me?
“The Judges will call on me now. They’ll make me a witness against you. I’m sorry, but I already have too many problems. So I—I have to tell the truth,” I said.
“That won’t be a problem.” Faris smiled, a catchy one that lit his face up. I couldn’t decide whether it was angelic or downright wicked. “You won’t remember me, or any of this in a minute.”
“Really? How do you figure that?” I asked, heart racing.
“Because my gift to you…” He moved his face closer to mine, pulling me into whatever was happening in his head. “My gift is to remove memories that cause you pain.”
“Okay, um, right.” Had I lost my mind? It probably wouldn’t have hurt to scream.
He held my gaze, locking me into something I couldn’t explain. Soon, a tear puckered up in his left eye, and slid down his cheek where it stopped on his top lip. Then he blinked, snapping us out of whatever place he’d taken us to, and glanced behind my head. “Here comes your dark knight,” he said, easing his arms away from me.
He strolled off into the last group of stragglers hanging around the Shack. How did he know my nickname for Jalen?
I wiped away a tear rolling down my right cheek. A strange haze crept into my mind as if invisible fingers were shuffling through my memories.
Scurrying down the theatre’s deserted hallway, I came to the women’s bathroom and grabbed the knob. Nervousness was working overtime on my rationality, I guess. I pulled the handle. The lever didn’t budge. My bladder expanded by the second. Wonderful. Surely the Thalian’s staff kept repair people on duty.
I turned back to the knob, yanking it again and again. Why did they lock the doors on a day like this? Laser eye power would come in handy right about now.
I crossed my arms, uncrossed them, tapped my foot, and flirted with the idea of using a memory technique. But that’s how I ended up standing here kicking a door. Nerves rolled up in me. All I could think about was facing the crowds while I smelled like urine. Maybe not taking the ale-meds made me weaker.
“Don’t panic yet. Figure out something,” I said aloud.
“Door troubles?” A boy’s calm voice spoke behind me.
Horrified I’d been caught talking to a door, I turned to face a dark-haired boy a few years older than me. Wavy silver strands framed his face. He wore a silky, smoked gray shirt, opened to expose a star-shaped tattoo at his throat. He stared at me with blue-black eyes that had no reflection of anything in them. They were the darkest, lovely blue I’d ever seen. I blinked and lowered mine.
“I—I, it’s locked, I think,” I said to the floor.
“Let’s have a look.” He reached over me and pulled the door open as if it were a feather. “See. Magic. Put your mind to it, well then, anybody can do it.”
My cheeks burned. “Thanks, um…”
“Seth Alton.” He held out his hand, long and svelte like the rest of him. An earthy scent surrounded him. It reminded me of the incense Alexa’s mom used to cover the watery smells inside their house sitting beside the marshes.
“I’m Chela. Wish I could talk more, but I…”
He laughed softly. “Duties first, of course.”
Those blue-black eyes stared at me. No blinking, or anything. He moved closer to my neck, sniffing the air around me. “Nice scent. What is it?”
“Lotus. I—I, um, it used to belong to my mother.”
“Used to?” He raised his left eyebrow, something I thought only girls could do so well. It intrigued me in a strange way.
“My mother is, well um, she died when we were babies. I—I wear her old perfume for luck,” I said.
Okay, so why are you stuttering?
“We?” he asked.
“My twin. But he’s, um, not here today,” I said, chest filling with a tinge of sadness.
“Sorry to hear that. About your mother and brother, that is.” He moved back, freeing me from whatever thing I needed to relieve myself from. He wore no clothing that offered any evidence as to what group he belonged to.
“She died two months after we were born. So it’s—I don’t remember her.” I truly didn’t understand why I chose to reveal my private stuff with this stranger. If I stood around talking much longer, I’d probably be asking him to come home for ale-med tips.
“Luck to you today. Although, I’m sure you won’t need any. Don’t get lost on the way back. These hallways are…tricky,” he said. I nodded like a mute standing there plastered against the wall beside the door. “We’ll see each other again soon, Chela Ceylone.”
He gave a short bow and strolled away.
Seth turned the corner. I peeled myself off the wall and exhaled. Wait, I didn’t even realize I’d been holding my breath. I glanced at the handle, stepped into the bathroom, but stopped in the doorway. Seth called me Chela Ceylone.
Only Father and Micah knew my middle name.
KaSonndra Leigh was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. She now lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. Her two sons, aka the X-Men, have made her promise to write a boy book next.
She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.