Darkness fades, p.1
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       Darkness Fades, p.1

         Part #3 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
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Darkness Fades

  Darkness Fades (Darkness Falls Series, Book 3)

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright (c) 2013 by Jessica Sorensen Smashwords Edition

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The Author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  For information: http://jessicasorensen.com

  Cover Photo and Design: Mae I Design http://www.maeidesign.com/

  Darkness Fades


  Chapter 1

  I feel like I'm dying. Over and over again. Maybe that is what I'm doing. Being beaten to the point where I die so I can heal and start the process all over again. Over and over and over.

  Life then death. Life then death. Life.

  I've been staring at the same ceiling for so long that I've memorized every small crack and divot. The smell of the air is forever branded in my nostrils and what happened here will linger in my heart. The day Gabrielle captured me and Monarch stepped out as a higher; the man who I once thought of a father gone. I've been beaten repeatedly by since by Gabrielle and his Watchers, who work for the Highers and guard The Colony I used to live in, like they're testing me for weaknesses. I've actually learned a few things about the Watchers since I've been here. 1) Is that they're almost as disgusting as the vampires underneath the masks, something that I discovered during a fight I had with one and I managed to rip off the mask. They have no skin. At all. Which makes them sensitive to light and air and any sort of touch, which is probably why they wear the mask.

  And 2) Monarch helped create them. But I wasn't surprised by that, since he help created almost everything except for humans.

  Every bone in my body throbs as my muscles battle to heal. The silver the Highers injected through my veins has slowed my healing process, making the injuries and wounds harder to bare. I can take it, though. I can take much more, if I have to.

  I lift my head off the cold, concrete floor and examine my wounds. My arms are dotted with blues and purples; bruised and scratched. There's dried blood in my long, black hair and it also coats my clothes. My face is covered with gashes at the same time that it feels like my nose and jaw are either broken or dislocated.

  I want to keep fighting, yet it's becoming harder to endure the pain. I'm exhausted, beaten to the core, no energy left in me. Finally, I let myself fall back down to the floor and my eyes drift shut.

  "Tell me why Aiden's going to die," I demand to Monarch as I stand in a small room with concrete walls.

  Monarch stands near the doorway in his white coat, his voice trembling as he answers, "Because I messed up when I created him. I really did. And unless he changes his mind about his existence, he won't survive... I'm so sorry."

  "When does he die?" My voice sounds surprisingly choked. I ball my hands into fists and step forward. "Tell me," I demand.

  He swallows hard, shifting his weight. "Soon, unless you can change his mind about life and death."

  Blinding pain radiates in my jaw and nose, and my eyes fly open. I sit up, slapping my hands over my mouth as the bones in my face realign themselves into position, the muscles and tissues around them healing. The pain is blindingly intense, more than any other pain I've felt during my existence. I almost want to scream bloody murder, but I won't give Gabrielle or anyone else the satisfaction.

  After what seems like forever, the pain subsides and I remove my hand, letting out a breath of relief. I trace my fingers along my newly healed legs and arms, my cheeks, jaw and my nose. I'm as good as new. Not even a scratch.

  I'm about to relax back, try to rest before it starts all over again, but then the lights suddenly flash off. Darkness suffocates me, surrounds me, traps me even more than I already am. Yet I can sense someone is nearby, watching me.

  I push to my feet and walk over to the glass wall of my cell. I press my hand to the glass then stare into the darkness, searching for whoever's out there. My night vision is an excellent asset and I can see a lot, including the glass cages around me. Each one appears empty, but I know they're not.

  "Gabrielle," I call out. "I know you're out there."

  He doesn't respond and I'm not surprised. He enjoys messing with my head. Thrives off it. He's been after me since he discovered that I have strength that only Highers are supposed to have and now that I've become a Day Taker, he only wants to torture me more.

  As I turn around to sit back down on the floor, allow the darkness to blind me, cold fingers wind around my neck, choking the oxygen right of my lungs. I open my mouth to scream, but the fingers delve deeper into my skin, pushing against my throat so forcefully that I know that the bones are on the verge of breaking.

  Then a hand winds tightly around my arm and I'm pulled back. The fingers leave my throat to be replaced roughly over my mouth. I throw my head back against their face, but they dodge to the side. I miss. I jab my elbow backward, grazing their rock solid chest. The stranger hops back, still holding onto me, their hand then clamps down on my mouth tighter. I raise my foot to kick them in the shin, but they maneuver us around in a small circle, throwing me off balance, and I almost fall to the floor.

  Infuriation and frustration cause me to bring my fangs out. The pointed teeth slip sharply from my gum lines, unhinging my jaw before they snap, digging into the hand.

  The person tenses, but quickly relaxes. "Shh..." a familiar voice whispers in my ear.

  "Aiden." With one swift throw of my weight, I shove him off and spin around. His arms fall from me and I tuck my fangs back into my mouth. "What are you doing here?"

  He squints at me through the darkness then dares a step towards me, brushing his dark hair out of his eyes. He studies me momentarily with caution then grabs my hands and cups them in his, his skin notably warm.

  "Tristan came back," he says. "He told us the Highers came after you..." His eyes sweep me over as if he's checking for wounds. "That they had Watchers with them and that you and Sylas were captured then taken prisoner."

  I nod warily. "Yeah, but how did you get in here?" I turn around to look at the cage door behind me, noticing it's open. I also notice that it's really quiet. Deadly quiet even.

  Where are the guards?

  I turn back to Aiden and cross my arms, stepping back, putting a little distance between us because I'm not sure if I trust him. He's not the strongest person and the fact that he got in here... it doesn't make any sense. "Weren't there Watchers guarding the cages?"

  He nods, his honey eyes relentlessly locked on me as a cocky smile spreads across his face. "Yeah, there were quite a few Watchers, but I convinced them that they should go take a break."

  I take another step back as more suspicion arises. "That doesn't even sound possible... they wouldn't simply go take a break because you told them to."

  "You don't think?" he questions with a cock of his eyebrow. "Actually, I can be really persuasive when I try."

  Something's wrong. This isn't right. This isn't the Aiden I know. Something's different about him. But what? I assess him through the dark and notice that he does look a little bit different. His eyes are a hue darker and almost matching his hair. His skin looks paler, but in a strange, healthy way. It has a bluish tint to it, as though his veins have become more defined.

  "Oh my God." It hits me, like a kick to the gut, and the wind gets slammed out of me. "Why did you... how did you...? You're a Day Taker now?"

  His smile is
my only answer.

  Chapter 2

  "Why?" I whisper, inching farther away from him. It's not like I'm worried that I won't be able to handle my own if I need to fight him. I'm just not sure what the Day Taker version of Aiden is going to be like. He could be a lot different from the guy I first met--maybe even dangerous.

  "You told me you didn't want to be one. That being a Day Taker was the wrong choice--that being human was right and now..." I pause at the lack of life in his eyes. It's real. He's really one of them. Why am I reacting so strangely over this? "Why did you do it?"

  "That's not important right now." His fingers enfold around my arm and then he jerks me towards the open door. "We need to get out of here before the guards or one of the Highers comes out and finds us." He then releases my arm and shoves at my back, pushing me out the door.

  I slam to halt in the hallway just outside the cell. "I'm not going anywhere until I find Sylas. When we got separated... and... something happened to him, Aiden. He's been infected by something and he... he needs our help."

  Aiden shakes his head. "No way. We have to go."

  I shake my head and stand firm, ready to fight. "I refuse to go without him."

  He rakes his fingers roughly through his hair, glancing behind him and then behind me. "We're running out of time, Kayla. We need to go. Now."

  Deep down, I know he's probably right. The logical thing would be to get the hell out of here before Gabrielle shows up, or a Watcher, but I stand firm, keeping my boots planted to the floor, refusing to budge. "I'm. Not. Going. Without. Him."

  I can't leave Sylas here, especially if he's changing into some kind of mutated, hybrid beast. I need to find him and see if he is still... well, Sylas. If he's not... I'll keep my promise and end his life. No matter how difficult it is. I'm tough. Strong. Plus, letting him become a beast is worse than death.

  Aiden rakes his fingers through his hair again and then lets out a frustrated sigh. "All right, hurry up and search the other cages, but if he's not in them, we have to go... we'll come back and look for him later, when things cool off."

  He's lying. I can feel it flowing off him, vile and foul. However, it doesn't really matter. He may want to pretend like he's in charge, but when it all comes down to it, I'm not leaving without Sylas. I'll even kick his ass if I have to.

  I nod, pretending I'm agreeing, and then run down the hall lined with cells, relishing in my freedom, which will only taste better when Sylas has freedom, too. God knows what they've done to him, if he's still alive, or what he even looks like. Is there even a Sylas left to save? Sylas was once a Day Taker, things between a vampire and a human. But I haven't seen him since he revealed that he'd been bitten by what I call an abomination; a disgusting creature that makes vampires look good. They're strong though, big, and foul, and like to feed off the flesh and blood of humans. And Sylas could be one of them... he probably is and it hurts my heart in a way that I'm not used.

  I check in each cell as I pass by. There's fresh blood on the floors and splatters across the walls, but each cell is empty. As I reach the final cell, my quiet, dead heart drops in my chest because Sylas isn't there.

  "Kayla, come on," Aiden says. "We have to go."

  "No, I'm not going." I jerk my arm away from him as he grabs a hold of it. "I'm not giving up yet."

  "Juniper." His voice is sharp as he jerks on my arm. "I'm not going to let you stay here longer."

  It takes all my energy not to knock him to the floor. I dig my feet into the ground, ready to kick his ass; my fist clenching, my muscles winding into knots. Then I hear the soft thud of approaching footsteps and my anger turns to tension. As my head snaps in the direction the noise is coming from, I spot the dark outline of a tall figure moving in our direction.

  "If you don't go," Aiden tries one more time as he tugs on my arm, "then hope for humanity is lost. You're the one who has to save everyone, Kayla. Now please, come on. We'll come back for Sylas. I promise." This time I don't feel the lie flowing off him.

  I hesitate as the figure moves closer. I know he's right, yet I'm so conflicted it feels as though my body is being ripped in half. I want to stay, yet I need to go. Go. Stay. Go. Spinning around in the opposite direction, I grab Aiden by the hand. "Come on, let's go." It hurts to say it, and I feel like I'm going to throw up with each stride I take, yet I fight it, moving forward.

  Holding onto my hand, he leads me to the right and we run as the footsteps chase after us. The lights above our heads flicker on and off, shadows dancing along the walls as we race towards the hole in the wall that was once the red door. As we're about to reach it, an eruption of shouts echo from behind us.

  I risk a quick glance over my shoulder while I keep moving forward. Gabrielle stands by the entrance of the cell that I was locked in only minutes before. He takes in the sight of the empty room then his gaze jerks in our direction.

  "Go get them!" he yells, the anger in his voice reverberating down the hallway.

  The Watchers stay frozen in place, filling up the hallway, with masks covering their faces. They refuse to move and finally, Gabrielle shoves one of them in our direction.

  "Get moving," he shouts, however the Watcher simply trips, regains his balance and then stands motionless, watching Aiden and I run without chasing us.

  Gabrielle's pale eyes burn with rage as he reaches over and snatches hold of one of the Watcher's arms, jerking them close to him. His fangs descend and then he plunges the tips into the Watcher, who grows limp as Gabrielle drinks from his body, slurping the blood like it's a drink until finally he releases the Watcher and the body slumps to the floor. A look of satisfaction arises on Gabrielle's face as he stares down at the dead Watcher. Then he reaches up and wipes the blood off his face with the back of his hand before he raises his eyes back up to me. Our gazes lock and a silent exchange takes place; he'll come after me. I know it, feel it, see it.

  Suddenly, a blur of white moves up behind Gabrielle and his head snaps in the direction of the object. I stumble over my feet as I struggle to see what it is, but it's too blurry, too dark. Wait a minute... Monarch.

  He steps out from behind Gabrielle at the same time his eyes lock on Aiden and I as we bend down to dive through the hole in the wall. As he disappears out of my sight, a slightly satisfied grin rises on his face.

  "Kayla, come on!" Aiden's voice jerks me back to reality as he tugs my arm, hauling me the rest of the way through the hole.

  We scramble all the way through and dive headfirst into a dark room, landing on our knees. Aiden quickly pulls me to my feet. I blink several times as my eyes gradually adjust to the inadequate light.

  "How do we get out of here?" I ask Aiden, glancing at the four walls, floor and ceiling. The only noticeable way out is the hole we just dove through.

  "Just a second." Aiden scans the darkness, tensing when the vampires cry out from just outside of the walls; hungry and ready to feed or infect. Just like that hybrid beast did with Sylas. God, I feel icky... guilty maybe...

  Aiden walks over to the corner of the room with his hand out in front of him until his fingers brush a piece of plastic. He lifts it up and on the other side of it is a vacant road.

  "What the hell?" I mutter, hurrying over to him.

  He sticks his head out after taking a cautious glance outside. Then he steps out, holding up the piece of plastic, motioning for me to follow.

  I hesitate, glancing over my shoulder, torn on what do to. "Where are we going?"

  "To the only place we have left to go," he says and I look back at him. "Back to the cave where I left everyone."

  I dither a few seconds longer, struggling with my morals, and then irrevocably step out into the street. The sky is dark; covered with grey clouds and smoke. Debris litters the ground and fires burn in the distance, reminding me that there are still problems and dangers to face.

  Aiden and I begin to run towards the park where we used to play when we were kids. The ground is a sheet of ash and the remaining trees a
re charred. Vampire cries echo all around us, but I can't seem to spot a damn one. It's like we're running for hours and, although I don't grow tired, I start to get impatient.

  Aiden is the complete opposite; he seems content as he easily runs while taking even strides. He's also more confident and less afraid of the world. It makes me question if he's glad he chose not to stay human, even after all his negativity directed towards the choice. Maybe now that he's tasted what it's like, he's glad he did it and regrets that he didn't do it sooner. Or maybe it merely changed him enough that he lost who he was before he became a Day Taker.

  After running for what seems like an eternity, we finally slow down when it feels like we're a safe distance away from the hideout and cells., just outside of the city limits where abandoned buildings stretch toward the smoky sky. As I turn and look at the building, which looks like a little dot now in the distance, my eyes scan the terrain and I relax when I don't see any movement. We're not being followed. Good. But why?

  I look away back to Aiden. He still hasn't answered my question either, like what the hell happened that he deiced to become one of us.

  "What?" he asks, his eyes locked on the terrain where fires crackle and smoke rises to the sky. "Why are you staring at me?"

  "Because you never answered my question," I say, crossing my arms. "Why did you change?"

  He's silent for forever, either avoiding my question or considering it; it's hard to tell because his new demeanor is hard to read. Finally, he sighs. "Do you really not know the answer to that already?" He slants his head to the side and our gazes meet. His expression is intense. His eyes are burning with passion. It kind of throws me off a little, enough that I step back. "It was for you, Juniper."

  "That doesn't make any sense. You hated that I chose to become a Day Taker myself. You said that I wasn't me anymore--wasn't even human," I remind him. "Why would you want to throw all your beliefs away because of me?"

  "Because of Maci." Maci is the little girl who was throw out of The Colony with me during The Gathering and she just happens to be able to see the future, although she never gives specific details just hints, which can get frustrating.

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