Darkness breaks, p.11
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       Darkness Breaks, p.11

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 11

 

  “I think we may have figured out how to connect my memories back to me. ” I release his arm. “If we can get Ryder back here. ”

  He tucks his hands behind him. “She doesn’t want to be a part of it. And you know what, neither do I. Not under these circumstances. I don’t want help from a Day Taker. ”

  “He’s your brother,” I say. “How can you hate him so much?”

  He sighs and takes my face in his hands. “You don’t know him like I do. You can’t remember the things he’s done—the things I know he can do. He’s not good, Kayla. Not at all. ”

  “He’s not entirely bad. ” My heart beats a lulling melody. “He’s just…”

  “Ruthless. ” He glances at my lips and his pulse pounds. “He gets inside your head and messes with how you feel. You can’t forget that. It’s not real. But what I feel, it’s very real. ”

  He crashes me into his chest and enfolds his arms around my waist. I stiffen, arms dangling to my side, unsure how to react. He only draws me closer. I give up and rest my head on his shoulder. Safe. That’s how he makes me feel. I make him feel helpless, like he can’t live without me.

  And that, I realize, is why Monarch thinks I can convince him to change into a Day Taker.

  I relax for moment, believing I can fix everything. Until the first vampire shriek ripples the settling night. I know we’re in trouble because there’s no place to hide.

  Chapter 10

  “Run,” Aiden commands, enclosing my hand in his. “We have to get to the rocks. ”

  I plant my feet against the ground and tug back. “I’m fine. You run. I need to find Ryder. ”

  “She’ll be fine. ” He reaches for my hand, desperate and anxious.

  “She’s not immune to their bite. ” I put my hand behind my back. “One bite and she’s gone. ”

  “I know how the virus works, Kayla. And we all risk getting infected. ” Another vampire cries and his gaze skims the shadowed land. “Even you. ”

  “No, I don’t,” I say and he shoots me a puzzled look. “It turns out Monarch put immunity in me too. ”

  He gapes at me. “You were bit and you survived?”

  “That’s why I can’t let them fend for themselves. ” I pause, a revelation suddenly revealing. “I think I’m beginning to understand why Monarch might have made me this way. To protect and save the innocent. ”

  Aiden laughs sharply and it echoes the air. “Sylas is far from innocent. ”

  “I’m not going after Sylas. Now, go to those rocks over there and get on top of them. ” I point to the red rocks, lining the horizon. “I’ll find Ryder and we’ll meet you up there. ”

  He shakes his head stubbornly. “I’m going with you. ”

  I know I should tell him to stay, but I don’t have time to crack him. I have to make a choice.

  We sprint into the darkness as the vampires’ cries quake our surroundings and our skin. I can’t shake the feeling that he’s running straight into his death.

  “Because I messed up when I created him. I really did. And unless he changes his mind about his existence, he won’t survive. ”

  Aiden pants heavily and his pace lags. “Where’d they go exactly?”

  Glancing around, all I see is impending darkness. “They ran this way, but I don’t know… where would they go? Or where would Ryder go, since she was the one running. ”

  “They’re probably hiding. ” Aiden’s at a jog and he trips over a sage bush. “Which is what we should be doing, Kayla. We really should. ”

  My lips start to part, but fasten shut as a cluster of vampires scurry toward us. The sky is virtually black and the vamps look like deformed outlines of humans. Yet, their drooling lips, rotting flesh, and bleeding eyes give away what they really are.

  “Back up. ” I place my arm in front of Aiden and guide him back. “You don’t have any cuts on you, do you?”

  “What?” He flinches at the vampires parading towards us. “Yeah… why?”

  “Shit. ” I stagger backward as the vampires howl at the sky. “Run. ”

  We spin and bolt, flying through the night at a pace only fear can instill. Aiden’s quickly running out of breath and so am I. Forcing my lungs to breathe, I keep racing for the rocks. When I peek over my shoulder, I see them following us. They are not as quick, unable to decide if they want to run from my scent or chase the smell of Aiden’s blood.

  “Why are they coming after us!” He shouts, stumbling over a rock. “I thought they hated you?”

  “They smell your blood. ” I slope around the back of a hill, power my legs up, and hurl myself onto the side of a cliff. My forehead smacks against the rough edge, and my skin splits. Blood leaks down my cheek as I climb up the cliff, scrapping my hands and knees on the jagged edges. Aiden’s just below my feet, breathless and skidding, causing rocks to roll to the ground where the vampires have pooled together.

  “Don’t worry, they’re not going to climb up,” Aiden whispers as he grips onto a flat ledge. “They hate climbing. ”

  “I’m not worried,” I lie. “We’ll be fine. ” I heave onto the top of the cliff and roll on my back, winded and exhausted.

  “Ahh!” Aiden lets out a painful scream.

  I clamber over and peer down, my eyes widening at the blood flowing out of his hand. A stream raindrop’s to the ground and splatters on the vampires heads. The smell drives them mad and they fling against the rock. Some bounce back to the ground, but a few larger ones claw onto the side.

  I reach for Aiden. He snatches my hand and I drag him over the top. We land awkwardly and his blood soaks onto my jeans. As Aiden regains his breath, I scamper to the edge of the cliff. Some of the vampires are piled at the bottom shrieking and crying. But a handful awkwardly continue up the cliff.

  I need a plan. I hurry to the other side of the rock and hunt for an escape route. It’s a far jump from one rock to another.

  “We could climb down and sneak off,” Aiden says and glances down. “Or not. ”

  Vampires have overtaken the bottom and are searching for a way up. I do a quick circular sweep and discover we’re completely surrounded.

  “Kayla, we need to get off this rock,” Aiden says, panicking. “Or they’re going to trap us up here. ”

  “They already have,” I break the bad news to him. “Please tell me you have a knife on you?”

  He takes a small one out of his pocket and hands it to me. “Where’s yours?”

  “Sylas has it. ” I dash to a large boulder, take a deep breath, and shove hard. “A little help,” I grunt.

  Aiden rushes over and pushes the rock. Together, we get it to slowly roll forward. It picks up speed with distance and finally takes off on its own, crackling toward the cliff.

  “Brace yourself. ” I sprint after the rock. It sails off the side and smacks down on the vampires. Only a few fall. They shriek as their bodies break against the earth. The remaining ones are as tough as nails, eyes bleeding profusely as they corner in on us.

  “Do we have a backup plan?” Aiden asks as he ties a piece of his torn shirt around the cut on his hand.

  My eyes skim our surroundings and a hopeless feeling consumes me. As the vamps reach the top, the feeling multiplies.

  “Stay behind me,” I hiss at Aiden as I slink back from the vampires heaving over the ledge.

  His eyes are wide and his heart rate is fierce. His hands fall to his side and he stands frozen in horror.

  “Aiden!” My voice is sharp and it cuts through his daze. “Get behind me. Now. ”

  He shakes his head, unblinking. “No, it’s me they want. ” He steps toward the vampires.

  I shove him back. “Don’t do anything stupid. ”

  A shriek crackles at my back and I whirl, knife out, ready to battle. A vampire closes in, eyes oozing with murder. Tilting its head to the side, it contemplates whether to eat me or not. Its shoulders twitch and its lips coil at the smell of Aiden’s blood all o
ver me.

  I inch away, until my back bumps against Aiden. He faces the vampires on the other side of the cliff. I reflect back to my Bellator training. I may be weaker now, but there has to be something I can use. Steadiness, gracefulness, calmness. I take a deep breath and poise the knife in front of me. My eyes focus on the vampire. It attacks me, fangs snapping. I swipe the knife, gashing its chest.

  Blood and pus ooze from the wound. It lets out a shrill cry and shrivels to a pile of bones. I smile, until more proceed onto the top of the rock. I check over my shoulder and flip us around, stabbing a vampire who was just about to bite into Aiden.

  The tip of the blade ends up in the vampire’s eye. I quickly jerk it out and aim for its heart. But it knocks my hand away and shoves me to the ground. The knife slips from my fingers and Aiden scrambles to get it. A vampire catches his ankle and points its teeth at his leg. I swing my leg over and kick it in the face over and over again with the heel of my boot. It releases Aiden and directs its attention to me. I jump to my feet, but I’m slammed from the back hard. I feel its teeth enter my neck. My veins ignite with fire and my eyelids want to shut. But I won’t give up.

  I’ll never give up until I die.

  I ram my elbow into its skull and break free. Then tackle one about to devour Aiden. We roll to the ground and its decaying flesh presses against my face. I fight to trap it down, grabbing its arms and pinning them to the side. But my energy drains. My head bobbles forward, my chin smacking into my neck. The vampire strikes me across the face with its head and I soar to the side. I blink up at the dark sky, dazed from the bites.

  “Kayla!” Aiden yells, fearing I’m dead.

  I roll over and push up. After a few stumbles, I gain my balance. But they’re everywhere. Next to me, in front of me, climbing over the rocks. Three have Aiden trapped at the edge of the cliff and he’s either going to fall or be bit.

  I shake my heavy head and move for him. My steps are sluggish and blurry colors and shapes have overcome my vision. I’m struck from the side and another bite enters my neck.

  “Listen to me, Kayla,” Monarch says. “No matter what happens, you can’t give up. Sometimes it’ll seem impossible, but you can make it through anything. ”

  I roll over, searching for Aiden, but smoke envelopes everything. It tastes and smells like silver. I wonder if I’m hallucinating. But Sylas’ face appears above me and he lifts me to my feet.

  “Did you get Aiden?” I cough.

  “Ryder did. ” He hacks from the silver laced in the smoke and he pulls the collar of his shirt over his nose and mouth.

  We run, hopping over unconscious vampire bodies and lower down over the ledge. Sylas stays to the side of me, and has to catch me more than a few times. When my feet touch the bottom, he takes my hand and we run, through the smoke as fast as we can.

  The smoke’s thick and I don’t know where we’re heading. All I can hope is that he does. Eventually the smoke lifts and the dark desert land clears into view. We curve to left and tuck ourselves into the hills. I limp to keep up with him as he weaves around a maze of rocks. At the end, is a small, narrow cave where Aiden and Ryder are huddled in the corner, a tiny flashlight the only source of light in the dark cave.