Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.56
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.56

           Bailey Ardisone
 

  ~Nari~

  It was difficult to see through the dense darkness that surrounded the already darkly tinted windows of the SUV, which only added to the bleakness of my situation. I would have figured the black windows were what made the night seem more black, but they weren’t. And it wasn’t because there was no moonlight either.

  We were driving with no headlights on, through the night.

  Lovely.

  If I wasn’t going to die from the gun still pressed to my temple, then I was sure it was going to be by a major traffic collision. How in the world could anybody on the road have seen us? How could we have seen them? How could we have seen where we were going at all? Every now and then when a vehicle would pass us, they’d honk warningly at us.

  And if it couldn’t get any worse, we drove way too fast through mountains. Mountains! If we didn’t run head first into a truck then certainly it would at least have been the giant wall of rocks enveloping us from all sides. Needless to say, my anxiety had reached new heights. Several hours must have passed by now. Or had it only been forty-five minutes? I had no way of knowing for sure, but if the stiffness of my muscles and numb bum were any indicators, then I’d say it had been forever and a day. How could this man not get tired of holding his weapon against my head this long? I was getting tired just thinking about it.

  I began to see faint lights up ahead and squinted to gain more focus. We were coming to a tunnel that went through a mountain, and the ultra-low lights that flickered along the curved walls painted an eerie yellowish-green tint around us. Yay...

  But at least there were some lights, despite them being completely creepy. Any light had to be better than utter darkness when driving under a mountain. And then just as we entered the mouth of the tunnel, my nightmare came true.

  Each soft light mounted onto the surrounding walls were eliminated as we came to it and then increased in speed down the line in front of us. I watched in horror as each one exploded into a sparkling fizzle, leaving us in that utter darkness I had been afraid of. Oh god.

  I imagined the men guarding me, who I could not see through the blackness even if I wasn’t squeezing my eyes shut from fear of crashing, were at any moment going to freak out and start yelling, but there was silence and no movement. Perhaps they had arranged for this to happen to keep us hidden and were expecting it.

  Strange...I could feel the gun was no longer pressed against my skin, so I risked a peek and shot one eye open. Just as I thought, I could not make out anything through the total darkness. And then right on cue, a dim glowing light burst into the cramped tunnel space above us and illuminated my surroundings for a few seconds.

  And what I saw in those few short seconds practically blew my mind.

  Okay, not practically. It did. It blew my mind.

  I immediately regretted peeking. Everyone and everything literally moved in slow motion except for me. The man that once held the gun to my head was looking down at his gun with wide eyes and confusion, and the men up front were slowly, very slowly, turning their heads to look in the back seat, wearing the same wide-eyed, wide-mouthed expressions. I didn’t even think the SUV was moving anymore, or maybe it was and it was just too slow for me to tell. That was all I was able to see in those tiny seconds, and it was just enough to have me scared out of my mind, once again.

  And then it hit me like a huge smack in the head. This was supposed to be my escape. I quickly jumped out of the crawling vehicle and ran to what I hoped was the side of the tunnel, which didn’t take me more than half a second since it was a narrow space to begin with. I prayed that no cars were coming and would smear me against the wall like jelly.

  Just then, I was pulled against a body and a hand was placed over my mouth, silencing my attempt to scream. I watched in shock and terror as a giant, hot, and extremely bright explosion broke out just ahead of me. Through the fire that bathed the tunnel in light, I could now see the three black SUVs were all smashed together and burning, but just as quickly I was pulled away from the sickening scene.

  Almost overwhelming relief ignited every one of my veins once Mycah’s sweet woodsy scent reached my nose. I turned into him as he continued pulling me farther and farther away from the crash and out of the tunnel. But something was wrong; I could feel the strain and struggle emanating from Mycah’s rigid body as he took heavy step after heavy step.

  “Are you hurt?” I squeaked out, almost choking on the dirty words. Oh god...please don’t be hurt...

  “I’m not hurt,” he breathed so low I barely heard him, even though I was smashed right up against him.

  “What’s wrong?” I asked, not feeling any better despite him saying he wasn’t hurt. There was something wrong, I could feel it.

  “I’m just...” he choked out as we reached the opening of the tunnel. He didn’t continue the sentence until he placed me against a tree after walking several feet into a forest. I waited for him to finish. “I’m just extremely tired.”

  He slumped down to the ground on his knees and put his head in his hands. Tired? “Will you be okay?” I questioned, not understanding how someone could be so tired after sitting in a car for hours.

  “I need to sleep.” He looked up at me with eyes the size of saucers and reached out for me. “Come here.” I obeyed.

  “And are you, Nariella, okay?” he asked me as he pulled me down to his level and cupped my face, searching my eyes for the truth. I nodded. My heart crashed in my chest, and I knew right then if it wasn’t going to be death by gun held by strange underground men, Ray, or any other dangerous thing that could possibly be out there, it would be this. It would be the way Mycah looked into my eyes and reached my soul. Death by heart stopping. That would be my untimely undoing.

  “I’m fine,” I answered softly, wondering if it was actually true. Was I fine? Maybe if Mycah would stop looking at me the way he was and remove his gentle hands from my skin, then yes, those words could have been true. “Why are you so tired?” Distracting myself always worked best.

  “Everything I just did was extremely draining. I don’t think I have the energy to do anything else but sleep.” And as he said the clipped British-sounding words, he literally moved to lie down on the ground completely.

  “Now?!” I screeched too loudly. Here?! In the middle of nowhere and...outside?? But he didn’t answer me. He already breathed shallow and in a steady rhythm, fast asleep. Holy crickets, that was fast.

  I shivered at that thought of crickets and other bugs as I slowly lay down next to him, trying extremely hard to ignore what I may have to sleep on top of, and pulled my dress down as far as it could go to cover my bare legs. Twigs crunched underneath me, providing a very uncomfortable bed. I swear, if any bugs started crawling on me I would scream bloody murder even if it meant being captured again. I’d almost rather be back in that SUV with a gun to my head than having centipedes having their way with me in my sleep. Oh god...I couldn’t think about it.

  It was cold out—surely, they were all in hibernation by now. Yes, that was what I’d keep telling myself. I shivered again but this time from the nippy breeze that blew through my hair and right through the thin material of my dress. I rubbed at the spiky goosebumps that ran along my legs as I looked over at Mycah who slept so peacefully. Crap, he was way too handsome even in sleep. I turned toward the sky and stared up at the slow moving clouds. Had all of that really happened tonight? Just this morning I had woken up blissful and then had the best time getting ready for the dance with Zaylie. I hoped she was okay. I would have just died if something happened to her because I couldn’t stay away from Mycah.

  I went to pull out my cell to call her but stopped short. I forgot I didn’t have it. Everything I had with me was left in Seth’s car when I was yanked from it. Dang it...I wished I knew what this Sindora thing was. Was it really that important to cause this much commotion? People almost died. People had died and probably would die some more. Were all of those men in the SUVs now dead?

  Several thoughts start
ed racing through my head all at once, but I couldn’t seem to dwell on any of them. I couldn’t even wrap my head around any of it; it felt like a foggy nightmare I was unable to wake up from, a feeling I was slowly becoming accustomed to, if one even had that ability.

  And then several minutes later, I jumped and let out a small squeak at the sensation of something touching my face as I desperately tried to smack away what I assumed must be the biggest, scariest bug in all the world, while briskly shaking my head to get it off me. But I breathed a sigh of relief as my purple eyes met Mycah’s deep blue ones that sparkled in the peek-a-boo moonlight. He was watching me with unabashed amusement shown clear in his eyes and quirk of his lips.

  “I didn’t mean to frighten you. I just can’t ever seem to resist your soft skin,” he whispered in a low voice with a slight melancholy smirk. My heart thumped at how sweet that was.

  “You didn’t sleep long,” I matched his whisper, trying to stay calm under his stare. He was so intoxicating.

  “I didn’t want to leave you alone out here all by yourself. I only needed fifteen minutes to get some strength back. I can get you home and worry about more sleep later,” he explained in a stronger voice and stood up, brushing off the dead leaves and dirt. I worked to do the same. Had it been exactly fifteen minutes? If he had an internal clock in his brain that he could set at his choosing, then I was going to be superbly jealous once again.

  “So, it was hard for you to do what you did tonight?” I asked, curious about all that he was really capable of. Was there anything that was ever too much? I sure hoped not.

  “It takes a lot of brain power for me to do big things like slowing down large vehicles and twenty men all at the same time, especially after sending a burst of energy into the air. I cannot do it very often. It takes preparation on my part to acquire enough stamina to do it all. I apologize for my taking so long, love.” He took my hand and interlaced our fingers together, never taking his eyes off mine. It made me shiver again.

  He let go and took off his suit jacket, wrapping it around my shoulders. He mistook my body’s reaction to him as a sign of coldness. I was cold of course (a silk dress and thin jacket didn’t exactly provide warmth), but it just wasn’t the reason why I shivered.

  “Thank you.” I gave a small smile, appreciating the gesture nevertheless. And it did help. His jacket was perfectly toasty and cocooned me in his scent, which was utterly divine. I had to consciously force myself to not stand there and constantly smell it. He’d have thought I was a psycho probably.

  “It's my pleasure.” He smiled in return as he looked down, sweeping his gaze over me. I couldn’t quite understand the happy-appreciative expression that danced on his face for a split-second before he turned around and began walking in the direction I assumed was for Kennebunkport.

  “How far away are we?” The strappy black heels I thought would look "killer" earlier today had now taken on a more literal meaning of the term as I tried to make my way through the forest. My feet were not going to last long.

  “Pretty far,” he answered. Perfect.... “They took us a few hours north and were very close to making it to the Canadian border, actually.”

  I practically choked on my own spit. “What? Can I be taken to another country like that so easily?” I didn’t think it was possible. Didn’t I need a passport or something? Especially since I was a minor.

  “Ah, well it doesn’t matter because they would have crossed over the border in secret. They have a hidden tunnel under the mountains.” He looked back and grabbed my arm to help steady me as I stepped over a log. It was pitch black and difficult to see anything except for when the moon came out from behind the clouds for a few moments.

  “That’s frightening. Where in Canada were they taking us?” I shuddered at the thought of being pulled from my home and being lost in an unknown country, not seeing Rydan and Zaylie again.

  “They were taking us back to their home. To Austria. Those men are part of a top secret underground organization called Schwarzen Adler, or in English—the Black Eagles. And they will stop at nothing to get what they want.”

  Whoa, whoa, whoa. Did he just say Austria? As in the country Austria? Not like, a city in Canada that was named Austria?

  “Umm...Austria? The country?” I questioned in a small voice. A very small voice.

  “Yes,” was all he replied.

  “Why?” I pressed, not understanding why they’d take us to Canada and then to Austria.

  “Because they think I’ve hidden the Sindora there, and when they had the both of us together, they were confident I would take them to it, using you as leverage against me, of course.” He ran a hand through his hair and clenched his right fist. I stopped walking. Partly because my feet were already gaining blisters as stowaway guests, but mainly because I was overwhelmed.

  “Mycah. What. Is. The Sindora?” I emphasized each word, trying to portray how frustrating it was not knowing. He stopped walking too and slowly turned around toward me.

  He shook his head. His eyes bored holes into mine and remained quiet. Too quiet.

  “You won’t tell me? Even after all of this? Even after Zaylie and Seth almost died over it?” I waved my hand around at the situation as my voice gained volume, but there was nothing I could do to stop it.

  “You don’t understand. I can’t tell you.” He looked to the ground and started fidgeting with his fingers. Was he nervous?

  “You’re right. I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of this. I don’t understand you, I don’t understand them—it's all too much! I can’t take it anymore.” I stalked past him and hoped I was going in the right direction. I didn’t want to be upset. I was so far past upset. This entire night was completely ridiculous, and I didn’t want to give it the satisfaction of affecting me. I didn’t even want to think about it. This night never happened, as far as I was concerned. I tried desperately to ignore the pain in my feet as I refused to slow my stride. The uneven hard ground was causing some serious damage, but I didn’t care.

  And then just when I thought my ankle would give out, I was scooped up into Mycah’s arms. I didn’t know why, but as soon as my face touched his neck I immediately broke out in tears.

  Dang it! So much for not getting upset.

  Maybe it was the emotions from the intense night finally coming out or the grateful relief from pain made by the sweetest gesture.

  Or maybe it was just because I was a girl with too many stupid emotions! Argh. I gruffly swiped at my tears and refused to shed anymore. I was just frustrated and sick of being a helpless victim that kept getting kidnapped or beaten. I needed to be stronger.

  Eventually, Mycah’s even breathing and steady stride put me to sleep.

 
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