Darkness breaks, p.13
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       Darkness Breaks, p.13

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 13

 

  “But why would he want to go back to The Colony,” I wonder. “It’s horrible there. And he was so against the Highers. ”

  “Could you two keep it down over there,” Sylas mutters, irritated. “Some of us are trying to sleep. ”

  “You’re not,” I retort over my shoulder. “You never sleep. You’re just pretending you are. ”

  Aiden tucks a finger under my chin and turns my head to him. “Hey, just ignore him, okay? He’s just trying to get to you. ”

  “Like you need to tell her that. ” Sylas snort a laugh. “And I think the only person I’m getting to is you. ”

  Aiden lifts me from his lap and gets up. Sylas matches his move and they meet each other in the middle of the cave. Testosterone pours off of them as they clench their fists, ready for a smack down. I’m going to let them do it, because it distracts them from what I’m doing.

  I crawl over to Ryder and take the knife out of my back pocket. “I’m sorry,” I whisper before vaulting on her.

  Her eyes sprout open and her body shudders. I position the knife to her throat and say in calm voice, “Don’t even think about screaming. ”

  She glowers at me, hating me, but keeps her mouth shut.

  “Good,” I say. “Now tell me what I need to do to get my memories out of Aiden’s head and into mine. ”

  “I’m going to kill you for this,” she snarls, but she’s lying. She doesn’t have murder in her. “I swear I will, Kayla. ”

  “No you won’t. ” I tip the blade closer to her throat. “And you’re right to be afraid of me. I’m dangerous. Now tell me what I want to know. ”

  Her lips quiver and a tear slips down her cheek. “Put the watch to the back of my neck and hold it there for as long as it takes. ”

  “As long as it takes for what?”

  “You’ll know when it happens. ” She’s scared to death.

  I feel bad, just not enough to stop. I align the pocket watch with the red circle on the back of her neck.

  “Please, don’t do it,” she begs though her sobs. “You don’t know how bad it is for me. ”

  I hesitate. “Then explain it to me. ”

  “I can’t. ” Tears spill from her eyes. “I really can’t. ”

  “Then I’m sorry. ” I force the watch against her neck and the metal warms. It singes my flesh and I bite down on my lip to stifle the scream clawing up my throat. My hand spasms and my knees shake. But I refuse to pull it back. Sylas and Aiden argue in the background, growling words of hate. Ryder’s eyes zip from side to side and then her head joins in. Bright blue rays of light shoot out from her neck and connect with the watch. It heats hotter than fire and instinctively, I drop the watch.

  Ryder’s silent, her eyes close, her heart lifeless.

  “Ryder?” I pat her cheek, trying to wake her. “Ryder, can you hear me. ”

  “What did you do to her?” Aiden puts his hand on Ryder’s cheek, his eyes full of fire. “Kayla, you killed her!”

  “She’s not dead,” I fib, guilt washing over me. “She’s just unconscious. ”

  His fingers tremble to feel her pulse. “No, no, no. You killed her. ”

  I back away, shaking my head. “No, I didn’t. No…” But her heart’s not beating. I want to run. I want to flee from everything I’m feeling. I bump into Sylas and he encloses his arms around me, like he knows what I’m thinking.

  “Just give her a minute. ” He nods his head at Ryder. “I’m sure she’ll come around. ”

  We wait, listening to the vampires’ cry just outside the cave.

  “Come on, Ryder,” Aiden pleads in a whisper. For a second, he wants to hurt me for hurting her.

  Suddenly, Ryder’s eyes flinch open. She sucks in a huge breath of air and sits up. Her pupils are dilated so large her eyes are black. “Moartea,” she breathes and her pupils target Aiden. “Monstru. ”

  “What is she saying?” I ask Sylas.

  “She called him a monster,” he explains. “And she warns us all of death. ”

  “She knows the Highers language then,” I say, remembering that I spoke it once, yet I still don’t understand it.

  “I don’t think she’s Ryder at the moment,” Sylas says nonchalantly. “She crossed over into the Highers’ world. ”

  Aiden scowls at Sylas and then he leans closer to Ryder. “Can you hear me?” He cups her cheek. “Please come back to us. ”

  “You guys need to think of her as in the state right between when your memories are being erased and when you revive from them. ” Sylas tightens his arms around me. “The time when your mind is weak and vulnerable. ”

  I elbow him away. “Let’s just get this over with. ”

  Aiden jumps in front of me and thrust his hand out, nearly hitting me. “You’re not going near her. ”

  “Aiden. ” I stand firm. “Move out of my way. I’m not going to hurt her. I just need her help. ”

  “She’s already hurt,” he snaps. “This is hurting her. Can’t you see that?”

  “No, she can’t feel a thing,” I lie, losing count of the number of lies I’ve told for the day.

  He points at my arm. “You’re lying. You just scratched your wrist. ”

  I look down and my hand is itching away. I hide them behind my back. “Aiden, either you can move out of my way on your own or I’ll make you move. ”

  Aiden fears the thought, but he cares for Ryder too much to back down. “Then I guess you’ll have to make me. ”

  Sylas is ecstatic over the situation. “I have never seen you two fight like this,” he comments. “It’s pretty entertaining. ”

  I glare at him. “Shut up. You’re not helping. ”

  “If you wanted my help, all you have to do is ask. ” He strolls forward eagerly.

  I lay my hand against his chest and secure him back. “I can handle this. You stay back. ”

  “Are you sure?” He smirks.

  I nod and turn to Aiden, crossing my arms as I deliberate what to do. Slam him down, knock him unconscious.

  He folds his arms and stands with confidence. “Juniper,” he says in angelic voice. “I know you won’t hurt me. ”

  The rays emitting from Ryder’s neck flicker. Times running out and a choice needs to be made. Like the soldier Monarch built me to be, I tackle Aiden. But our strengths match and he manages to detain us from falling to the ground. His boots skid against the dirt as he forces me backward.

  “Juniper, knock it off,” he grunts, red faced. “This isn’t you. ”

  “How do you know?” I push back. “I don’t even know who I am. ”

  “Yes, you do. ” He twirls me around and his arms sneak around my stomach. “And this isn’t it. ”

  “Maybe it is,” I huff and stomp on his foot. “Maybe you just never wanted to see what I really was. ”

  “I know you better than anyone. ” He stiffens in pain, but doesn’t let me go. “And the Kayla I know is kind and… and she loves me. ”

  “I can’t love someone I barely know,” I breathe softly. “I’m sorry, but I can’t feel it. ”

  He embraces me tighter, refusing to let go. I meet Sylas’ eyes and regrettably mouth, a little help please.

  His eyes twinkle as he pops his neck and knuckles. “I thought you’d never ask. ”

  In a flash, he’s next to us. Before Aiden can react, he bashes him over the head with his elbow. Aiden collapses to the dirt. In reaction, I catch him. But he pulls me down with him and his heavy limbs confine me to the floor.

  I try to scoot out from under him. “Sylas, a little help please. ”

  He rolls his eyes and hauls Aiden off. “You’re starting to ask for my help a lot. ”

  Ignoring him, I sit in front of Ryder. She stares at the wall blankly and the circle on her neck is faded to a dull glow. “Ryder. ” I snap my fingers in front of her face. “Can you hear me?”

  She cocks her head to the side. “Monstru. ”

  “She called
you a monster. ” Sylas bends down and claps his hands inches from Ryder’s face. “Ryder, give Kayla’s memories back. ”

  Astonishingly, Ryder listens to him. She reaches her hand out and places it to my temple. Then with her free hand, she gently touches Aiden’s arm.

  “Conecta,” she whispers.

  There’s a flash of blue light so blinding I soar backward.

  Sylas’ face appears above me. “Do you remember anything yet?”

  “No,” I say mutely. “I don’t. ”

  Because all that fills me is blood. Blood that stains my hands. Blood from the lives I took.

  Chapter 12

  I’m standing in a glass cage, fenced by others just like it. My hands are pressed against the glass as I stare at a girl trapped in the cage across from mine. Her skin’s like snow, her hair like ash. She’s crying, tears staining her cheeks and eyes. Outside the glass, Watchers roam, dressed in their black suits, masks concealing their identities. Belts strap their waists, securing Tasers.

  Up and down, up and down, I watch them march, never taking my eyes off them.

  “Kayla. ” Monarch’s voice drifts through my cell. I glance up at the white ceiling, at a speaker mounted in the concrete. “Do you think you can try for me one more time?”

  I nod, numbly. A beep and the door to my cell glides open. A Watcher steps in and I robotically show him the numbers on my wrists, like I’ve done it a thousand times. He scans my wrists with a hand-held machine and the screen glows red. The Watcher steps aside and I troop out. The girl across from me sobs hysterically and I consider shutting her up in ways I didn’t think were possible.

  Sharply turning to the right, I march down the long, narrow hall squared with glass cages. Some are empty, others hold people. Some are crying, some dazed, others are asleep. I focus on the red door at the end. Above it, reads Cell 7 and I read it like it is the most natural thing in the world. When I reach it, I know it’s time. The Watcher slides a card through the ID scanner. It flashes red and beeps twice. Then the door clicks open. The Watcher backs away and I enter. The room is a square sheet of concrete and chains hang from the walls and ceiling. Blood stains the floors and walls. There are no screams, no noise, not even the beat of my heart.

  I walk to a circle in the center of the room and stand with my arms slack to my side. Then I wait, unafraid. From the hall to my right, two figures descend. One stands tall, the other dragging their feet. Their heart’s pounding and fear leaks off them, tainting the air.

  Monarch enters the room and beside him is a girl maybe twelve-years-old. Her blond hair is tied in knots and her blue eyes are bloodshot. She blinks at me, hopeful. But something in my expression sets her off and she starts to bawl. She falls to her knees and drops her hands over her head.

  “Please don’t hurt me,” she cries, her shoulders trembling. “I didn’t do anything. ”