Darkness Breaks, Page 1Jessica Sorensen
The rain pours down like needles against my skin. The sky booms, lightning bolts flash sliver across the cloudy sky. The vampires are screaming, begging me to stop. But I can’t. This is what I’m meant to do.
I pursue them—running down the vacant streets, weaving through rusty cars, my boots kicking up the glass and mud on the road. The vampire I target, a tall one with fleshless skin and bloodless eyes, scurries around a burning barrel and jumps onto the steps that lead to a building of shiny steel. It bolts for the doors, its bare feet shedding skin. Clutching the stake, I charge after it and with a swift launch off the bottom step, I’m airborne, soaring through the darkness. My boot catches against the railing, and just as quick as I caught up to the monster, it vanishes inside the building.
“Dammit!” I crash to the muddy ground, skinning my hands on rocks. I let out a frustrated scream. With each passing day, my strength and fighting skills slip away from me.
“If you’d just take the medicine, then that vampire would be dead by now. ” Sylas creeps from the shadows of the cars, dressed head-to-toe in black. His dark eyes light up like coals against the fires burning in the streets. His hands are stuffed in his pockets and his dark hair brushes across his forehead. “Your mortality is your weakness, Kayla. ”
Pushing to my feet, I scowl at him. “I’ve told you, I’m not going to do that… yet. I’m not sure if I want to. ”
He backs me against the railing and traps me between his arms. “I think you want to, you’re just holding back because of a certain someone. ”
“You mean Aiden. ” I straighten my shoulders, confident and strong, and look him straight in the eye. “I’m not going to change until I know what I’m supposed to do. ”
“Always following Monarch’s orders. ” He coils a strand of my long, black hair around his finger. “I thought after everything you’ve learned, you’d have given up on him by now. ”
“I’ve learned nothing. ” It takes a lot, but I shove him back. “Emmy’s gotten nowhere with my memories. ”
He lets out a low laugh and touches his chest where I shoved him. “Always so feisty. ”
A shriek pierces the air and our gazes dart to the street. The vampires are crying out in hungry, needing to feed.
“Shouldn’t you be hiding out with the rest of the Day Takers?” I flip the stake in my hand and slide it in the back pocket of my jeans. “Or do you have a death wish?”
He winks at me and backs toward the road. “I was just seeing if you’d made any progress with the whole slaying thing. ” His dark eyes wander to the top of the stairs where I lost the vampire. “Looks like I owe Emmy a shot of amortire. ”
Amortire is the Day Taker’s “special” medicine. It’s a numbing solution they take to block out their cravings, but honestly I think they use it more for recreational purposes than anything—just like they do with most things.
“You were placing bets on me. ” I stomp after him, past the fires, and dip into the shadows of the cars.
“Hey. ” He grins through the night, his long legs stretching as he steps gracefully over the dented hood of a small car. “I was betting you’d be kicking ass. ”
“Sorry to disappoint you. ” I hop over the hood of a car and slip clumsily onto the ground.
“Take the medicine, Kayla,” he calls out, barely a silhouette anymore. The rain lets up, and the sky calms down. “You’ll never be able to pull anything off if you don’t. ”
I stop in the center of the street, listening to the vampires shrieks rattle against the building’s walls as they hide from me—the one and only person they want nothing to do with.
It hasn’t been that long since I left Aiden and the others, but it feels like an eternity. I don’t regret my decision to leave. Not yet, anyway. If it turns out Emmy can’t extract my memories, then I might be kicking my own butt.
I sigh and head down the street. I can’t see Sylas anymore, but I don’t care. I know where I’m going; to a place where I feel just as uncomfortable as I did in The Colony.
I take my time lollygagging along the curb of the street, my boots grazing against the broken pieces of concrete. My hand moves for my knife as I spot a vampire crawling from the shadows, fangs drooling, its skinless fingers clawing at the sidewalk. I pause and take a step back, knocking my hip into a bumper.
“What on earth?” I squint through the dark at two outlines of pale white figures with feathery white hair and flawless skin.
I stand in the middle of the street blinking my eyes over and over again, but the Highers stay. Their pale figures are blinding against the blackness of night. Sharp howls of the vampires’ cries shake the city as they flee for their lives.
But why? Because of the Highers?
The Highers follow after a vampire, exchanging words with each other. I can’t hear what they’re saying. But I want to. I inch forward, ducking low toward the ground, and strain to listen. They look like they’re searching for something—or someone. The taller Higher steps beneath the glow of the fires always burning in the streets and his pale eyes are recognizable.
“Gabrielle,” I breathe.
Gabrielle snatches the vampire by the neck and raises it up to him. The vampire’s legs flail as it struggles to escape. Fangs ascend from Gabrielle’s lips and he tips his head back, his body trembling with desire. His head snaps down and he sinks teeth into the vampire’s decaying flesh. There’s a burning hunger in Gabrielle’s pale eyes, one he’s desperate to get rid of.
His shoulders jerk with each swallow of blood. The vampire’s body twitches and its nails thrash. Gabrielle drinks until the vampire is emptied of blood, and then drops the lifeless body to the ground as if it is discarded trash. I stifle a choking sound. Gabrielle’s eyes rise through the darkness.
A cold hand slaps across my mouth and I’m lifted up and carried backward. I wrestle to get free as I watch the Highers slip from my view. Slamming my head back, I try to break away, but they tighten their hold. They drag me down a dark alley, and tuck us into a vacant building that is filled with cracked tables and broken chairs, the leather seats having been torn by fangs.
“Sylas,” I huff as he lets me go. I take out the stake, even though I have no intention of using it on him. “What’s the matter with you?”
He shakes his head with anger burning in his eyes. “What’s the matter with me? You’re the one standing out in the middle of the street. ”
My gaze wanders to the splintered window. “Why are the Higher’s out there? I’ve never seen them leave The Colony. And they were feeding on a vampire with their fangs. I didn’t even know they had them. ”
His forehead creases, eyebrows scrunching together. “Neither did I. ”
We exchange confused looks, and then peer over the windowsill out into the street. The fires cast a bright orange glow and there are no vampires—the Highers have vanished.
“What were they doing out there?” I muttered. “They’re breaking their own rules. ”
Rule #1—Never go out after dark.
“Those rules weren’t set for them. ” Sylas meets my eyes, and like most times when he looks at me, my body squirms with uneasiness. Sylas is a mystery to me; he’s the one person who I can’t sense fear from. That’s because Sylas can manipulate feelings.
“I know. ” I hop onto a table, letting my legs dangle over the edge. “But how can they be out at night—how can they even be walking with the vampires?”
Sylas strolls toward me, places his hands on the table, and his knuckles brush my hips. Arching an eyebrow, he leans in. “Why can you walk with them?”
I lean back, no
t wanting to get tugged into how he’s trying to make me feel. But it’s hard not to. “Because I’m an experiment. That’s how Monarch wanted me to be. ”
“And who says the Highers aren’t experiments?” He questions in a low voice. “I mean, does anyone really know what they are?”
I think of the photos in the book Aiden and I flipped through. It had pictures of perfect creatures that looked similar to the Highers, but without the white eyes and hair. “From what I just saw, they look like they might be part vamp. ”
“Hmmm…” Sylas taps his lips. “That’s a good observation. ”
I point the stake at his chest and he grins. “Are you holding back information from me?”
He inches closer so the point of the stake is jabbing him in the chest. “I told you, I don’t lie. ” It’s the most aggravating thing, not knowing what he’s feeling. He rubs his lips together, tilting his head down, and moves his lips for mine. “But just to be sure…”
He’s trying to use my gift against me. The closer I get to someone, the more I feel their honesty and whether they’re lying. But with Sylas, it conflicts with his gift of controlling emotion.
Before he can seal the deal with a kiss, I scoot my knee up, and press my boot against his stomach, pushing him back. “Don’t bother. My little lying gift doesn’t really work well with you. ”
His red lips creep upward and stepping back, he shrugs. “I was just trying to help you. ”
“Sure you were. ” I climb off the table, trying to hold my legs steady even though they’re shaking from the thought of kissing him. “We should get back to the hideout. If the Highers are out and about, no one’s safe. ”
I start for the door, but he wraps his fingers around my elbow. “Don’t go out front. The Highers might still be out there. ”
I halt and for the briefest second, I actually consider going out and announcing my presence to the Highers. What would they do if I did? But it’s my human state that stops me. I allow Sylas to guide me to the back of the building where we climb out of a small hole in the bottom of the brick wall. Rolling into the alleyway, we get to our feet and dust the dirt off our clothes. Then we climb up a ladder that slants to the flat roof. The next part I hate. I really do.
Sylas turns his back to me. “Jump on. ”
I frown and grudgingly hop onto his back. He loops his arms underneath my knees and then steps to the ledge, peering down at the hard concrete four stories down.
“Better hang on tight,” he warns with a hint of laughter in his voice. “If you fall, there’s no saving you. ”
I clasp my hands around his neck. He takes a few steps back and then sprints forward, springing off the ledge and flying through the air just like I used to do before humanity began to take me over. He lands on his toes and I barely feel the hit.
Quickly, I squirm off his back and experience a momentary case of vertigo.
“Gonna make it there?” His eyes scan me over.
My skin heats and I know he’s playing his little emotion tricks. “Knock that off, Sylas. ” I march past him with my chin up, shaking off the intensity that tries to yank me back toward him.
He laughs softly and trails behind me. I lie flat on my stomach and shimmy through a narrow gap in the ground. Rolling over onto the metal walkway, I jump to my feet and smack my head on a low pipe. Rubbing the wound, I pick a stray piece of ash from my hair.