Cinder x, p.13
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       Cinder X, p.13

         Part #2 of Death Collectors series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 13

 

  I follow him without even questioning him, not moving my own feet, yet I don’t think Cameron is the one controlling me anymore, either. It’s Alton, although I don’t understand how.

  Alton leads me over to the concession area with his hand resting on the small of my back, effortlessly steering me through the crowd. I think he’s going to get in line, but instead he strolls up to the front, cutting in line exactly how Raven did with the shoes.

  “Two waters, Adellia,” he says to the lady behind the counter who’s over-dressed in a sparkling, floor length skirt, a sheer top and hoop earrings with her hair done up in curls.

  “Of course, Alton,” she says and then rushes off to the soda fountain as if he’s the most important person in the world.

  I find myself leaning into Alton, and his grip tightens on me as he draws me closer and breathes in my scent. “You smell so good. ”

  Cameron, what should I do…? I’m losing control… and this guy… he’s Mackenzie’s dad.

  He doesn’t respond and I start to get worried. Cameron said that the Anamotti brought me here to set me up. Is that what’s going on? Has Alton taken over my body so he can force me to say I’m the one who’s been murdering people?

  I peer around the room, looking for cops, but all I see are Anamotti. Everywhere.

  “So, Ember, are you from here?” Alton asks, relaxing against the counter top, putting his elbow on top of the glass.

  “I’ve lived here all my life,” I admit, not under my own will, but I can’t tell whose will it is anymore; who’s controlling me.

  “Wow, you must have some interesting stories,” he says, admiring his refection in the glass of the counter top, gripping onto my arm. I have to lean forward with him.

  “Not really. ” I notice how quiet the room has gotten and I look around. Everyone is gathering around and watching me with hunger in their eyes.

  “You know, there is a rumor that the town was built on an old battlefield, one that went on between the Angels and the Reapers and conclusively the Grim Angel breed was created right afterward,” Alton tells me, flicking his hair with his pinky as his fingers finally leave my arm. “That the town is linked to every part of the battle, every part of death, and therefore carries a lot of power linked to death. ”

  “Really?” I ask as the cashier lady returns with our waters, grinning at Talton and narrowing her eyes at me. “I’ve never heard of that. ”

  “Of course you haven’t. ” He devilishly smiles as he picks up the cup. “Why would you? No one else knows. No human anyway. ”

  I swallow the lump in my throat as the people around me start to close in on me. “I think I should go—” Someone nudges me from behind and I trip forward, straight into Alton.

  His arms envelope me so he can steady me to my feet. “Either you really like falling into me or you’re clumsy. But I’ll take either. ” He takes hold of my arm again, his fingers pressing down into my skin so hard that I wonder if I’ll have bruises. Then he reaches behind his back with his free hand and I wish I could do the same thing. Take the knife out of my back pocket. Stab him. Kill him.

  But I’m frozen in place, unable to control my own body, and all I can do is wait. This is it. I can feel it. They’re about to take me down.

  “You know, a lot is going to change around this town soon. A lot of deaths will be happening,” he says, which causes me to think of the death omen I saw back at the campus. “All for a greater cause, of course. ”

  “Deaths you cause. ” Suddenly my mouth and words are my own again. Freedom. It tastes divine. However I have no room for celebration as the Anamotti start to close in on me.

  Alton smiles cleverly at me. “Of course. Who else would be clever enough to cause them?”

  Grinning like the Cheshire cat, I scoot out of his hold. “Well, it could easily have been The Torva. ” My brief control is gone again, back in the hands of who the hell knows. “They are cleverer than the Anamotti. ”

  He misses a beat as he searches my eyes with a hint of fear in his own. Whatever the hell the Torva is has him worried. “I see you know more than I thought, which surprises me. My daughter said you weren’t very bright. ”

  The daughter you killed, I want to say it, but I lose control of my mouth again, Cameron taking over.

  “Of course I do,” I respond nonchalantly. “After all, I’m part of you, aren’t I? Half Angel. Half Reaper. Your blood runs through my veins and so does your knowledge. ”

  His lids lower as he glares at me, his arm moving from behind his back. I detect a flicker of silver, like a blade catching in the light, and I try to reach behind my own back, for my own knife.

  My knee springs upward and slams straight into the guy’s balls with more force than I know I’m capable of. Human or not, Alton still crumples to his knees, his face contorted in pain. Seconds later, I’m diving for him, cupping his face in-between my hands. Without even thinking, I dip down and seal my lips to his, swiftly breathing in his life. I taste the deaths of the girl’s he’s killed. I can feel the power residing inside him, the power he gets from death. I feel this twisted urge to kill him—kill other people. It’s flowing off him and coursing through me, along with the potent death omen. Blood. People covering the street. So much blood.

  He groans as I jerk back with the faint taste of him on my tongue. My lips part in shock as I feel his life burning venomously through me. I start to back away, withdrawing the knife, very aware that I’m the one who took it out. I want to kill him. Hurt him. Bleed him out until he’s screaming for mercy.

  What’s happening to me?

  Anger burns in Alton’s eyes as he glares at me. “You’re going to pay for that. ”

  “Don’t count on it. ” I lunge forward and strike the blade of the knife across his cheek, drawing a trail of blood.

  He growls as someone slams into me and I fall to the ground, flat on my stomach, dropping my knife. Black capes swish around me as my head smacks against the floor. My ears ring while I see feathers floating everywhere. Just like in the alley.

  I push myself up, wanting to charge each one of them and cause them incredible amounts of misery and pain, but I’m pulled back down to the ground by the power of Cameron. Then, suddenly, the capes shift into shadows that dance and twirl around me, chilling the air. When there’s a loud bang, I cover my head, feeling the fire on my back again; sweltering heat, melting my skin. It feels as if my flesh is tearing open and suddenly, there’s a bursting of the pressure that has built. Black feathers rain all around me and then everything goes silent.

  Chapter 7

  In the corner

  Lives a girl

  Balled up

  Lonely

  Sullen

  Locked away

  By herself

  She gave up

  Curling in

  Like a petal

  Dying

  Wilting

  Edges browning

  Cracking

  So easy

  The petal fell

  Scattered like dust

  Across

  The charred ground

  Covered with Cinders

  Waiting to burn out.

  ***

  “Ember, open your eyes,” Cameron whispers, his voice hued with panic. “Come on, fight it. ”

  My skin sears, liquid fire pulsating through my veins. I need something; I need deaths. Souls. I need blood on my hands. I need the fire on my back to subside. I need to stop melting.

  “Goddammit, princess. ” Cameron sounds worried, but I can’t see him. I can’t see anything; I can only feel the aching need to feel death on my lips again.

  “I need it,” I whisper. “Death… I need it. ”

  Cameron mutters under his breath and then he’s surrounding me, touching me, feeling me with his hands. I bask in it, wanting to press my lips against his and steal the breath from him, but I can’t find him. Yet he ends up finding me and giving me e
xactly what I want.

  Our lips touch.

  He feeds my hunger.

  Fills my veins.

  Bringing me closer to death.

  And farther away from life.

  From good.

  From Asher.

  ***

  My eyelids flutter open, my eyeballs rolling back into my head that throbs in protest along with my whole body. My lids slip back shut. “Oh, my God,” I groan. “I feel like I’ve been run over by a truck. ”

  “Not a truck, just a stampede of Anamotti. ” The sound of Cameron’s voice hurts my head even more, especially since it’s no longer in my head. “Plus, you fed off their leader’s death, so I’m sure that didn’t help. ”

  “What the hell happened?” I groan, clutching onto my head. “What was all that stuff… or was I dreaming?”

  “You weren’t dreaming,” he says. “You fed off Alton’s life, not because of me. It made you turn rabid for a moment, too much evil blood. But don’t worry; I helped you out. ”

  When I finally get my eyelids to open, I squint as the light of my room hits them. After I blink a few times, things around me start to take shape. My walls. My bed. My window. Cameron standing beside my doorway, looking very relaxed with his hands in his pockets and a bored expression on his face.

  “What do you mean, you helped me out?” I ask, but as soon as I say it, I feel the lines on my arms burn. “Dammit, Cameron, did you make me take more of your life?”

  “I had to,” he insists, strolling towards me. He sinks down on the bed, the mattress concaving beneath his weight. “Alton’s blood was too much for you and you would have probably gone on a killing spree if I didn’t override it with mine. ”

  “And like your blood is any better. ” I ask, sitting up.

  He shrugs nonchalantly. “You don’t feel like killing anyone right now, right? You should be thanking me. ”

  I glare at him even though he’s right. “I wouldn’t have had to go through any of it if you wouldn’t have forced me to go to the bowling alley. ”

  “I was only trying to help you. If we can get to Alton, then maybe we can get to the leader of the Reapers, figure out what he looks like, what he’s planning. ” His fingers brush my legs, sending shivers through my body.

  “Why are you so dead set on stopping him?” I wonder, leaning against the headboard. “When he’s the leader of you?”

  “Lots of reasons,” he says, bringing his knee up onto the bed. “One being that if I find him and can kill him it means freeing my family from a curse. He’s been in hiding forever and impossible to get to, but if he’s here than not so much. ”

  “What curse?”

  “The one that makes the Logan’s outcasts,” he explains in a venomous tone. “Traps us here on earth even after the battle is over and quite honestly I’m getting sick and tired of being trapped in the human world. No offense. ”

  “None taken. ” I search his eyes for a sign that he’s lying, but for once he seems like he’s telling the truth. “Well, I want to stop him too. And stop Alton from murdering anymore people. ” I shake my head. “I can’t believe it… he killed all those girls because he needed they’re deaths… I could feel it flowing off him—the need to kill so he could survive and gain power. ”