Darkness breaks, p.15
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       Darkness Breaks, p.15

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 15

  “I think I can picture it,” I mutter. “How did you get like that?”

  She scratches absentmindedly at the marks on her arms. “I don’t know. ”

  “Maybe you should try to remember,” I entice. “Perhaps it would help. ”

  Suddenly, she’s inches away from my face, pulsating with anger. “I do remember, Kayla. I remember too well what my life was like back then. Every single day I was locked in chains, all by myself, with no one to talk to. I spent years like that. Unlike you three, who were his prize experiments—the ones he saw as useful. All I am is a tool to assist you. ” She breathes violently and lifts her arm, showing me her experiment number. “See this little thing right here—see how short it is. That’s because I wasn’t considered special and got the crap end of the deal. ”

  “I’m not sure what kind of deal you think the rest of us got. ” Sylas leans over her shoulder. “But I can assure you it was just as crappy. ”

  She elbows him in the gut. “Whatever. I’m going back to the cave. ” She fumes for the entrance.

  Aiden blocks her, catching her in his arms. “It’s going to be okay,” he tells her. “We’ll go back to the cave. Let’s just make sure it’s morning first. ” He looks at me for help. “Kayla, can you check?”

  I look at Ryder, her designed arms, her matted hair, the circle on her neck. She has what I want, and not just because I need to save the world. I need my memories so I know what else I’ve done.

  “Not until she gives me all my memories,” I threaten. “Then I’ll check. ”

  He releases Ryder. “Kayla, just come back with us. Maci really misses you and it’s safer for you there. ”

  “But it might not be safe for you guys,” I say.

  Aiden shakes his head and takes a cautious step for me. “That wasn’t you, Kayla. Monarch made you do it. ”

  A hideous feeling scratches in my stomach. I contemplate my options. As hard as it is to see my memories, I need to remember everything, so I can put my life together and figure out my purpose. “Okay, I’ll go with you, but just for a while until I can plan my next move. ”

  “Great. ” He grins, excited to leave.

  That’s when I feel the bundle of lies roll off him. He’s hiding something back at the cave, something he doesn’t want me to discover. Yet he still wants me to go with him, he needs me with him, afraid he’s losing me to his brother.

  “Let’s get going. ” He waves his hand, shooing us out the cave. “Sylas, it’s been great seeing you, but it’s time for you to head back to your pack. ”

  “Like I’m going to let you take her,” he says, amused at the idea. “Do you understand how valuable she is? How much good she could do if she changes? She’s immune, she can walk with the vampires—they fear her. She needs to go through with it and become a Day Taker. If she’s with you, that’s never going to happen. ”

  “I’m going to go back to the cave. ” I start for the boulder, taking in Sylas’ point. “You guys can do whatever you want. ” Pushing until my skin dampens with sweat, I manage to crack the boulder from the wall. Greyness capes the sky and the land lights up beneath it. “We’re good. ” I roll the rock over and step out.

  I’m on a mission now, with or without anyone’s help. I will get my memories back. I will find the room with glass cages where I’m fairly sure the virus was created. If that’s where the virus started, then there’s got to be a cure. I will save the world. Then maybe I can erase some of the death stained on my hands.

  Ryder follows me out and sighs at the sight of morning. She tips her head back and breathes in the fresh air. Aiden joins us, stretching his hands over his head. Sylas remains in the cave and I don’t look back at him. I head down the hill, hoping he’ll follow us. I won’t ask him to come, but I want him to. I might need his help, and for some reason that I don’t understand, the idea of him leaving rattles me.

  “I’m glad we’re back together again,” Aiden says thoughtfully observing the sky. “It hasn’t been the same since you left. ”

  “I was only with you a few days before I left,” I point out. “So it should be like what it’s always been. ”

  “Which is good,” Ryder mumbles, pissed I’m going with them. “Disaster is your middle name, isn’t it? It’s your fault everyone at the hillside had to die. ”

  We all grow silent. Ryder picks up her pace, anxious to distance herself from me.

  Aiden sighs. “She’ll get over it. I promise one day you two will be friends. ”

  Aiden lives in a delusional world.

  “No, we won’t,” I say. “She blames me for the things done to her. ”

  Aiden gapes at me. “No she doesn’t. She just doesn’t understand you and the things you can do. ”

  “Neither do you,” I say, kicking up dirt with my boots. “And I’m beginning to think no one understands me, except Monarch. ”

  “Only because he created you. And he doesn’t know the real you, the one not doped up on medicine and drugs and being controlled. I used to know you better than anyone. ”

  “When we were little and hiding out behind trees making plans to run away?”

  He perks up. “You remember that?”

  “Yeah,” I nod. “I also remember a fire and you burning in it. ”

  He shakes his head. “I didn’t burn in it, Kayla. ” He takes a slow inhale through his nose, fighting his racing heart. “You saw it wrong. They were weeding some of us out of Cell 7. ”

  “Why would they burn you out?” I hold his gaze, aware of his lie.

  He swallows hard, observing the ground. “I’m going to go check on Ryder. ”

  “You better be up to something good. ” Sylas breath is hot against my ear.

  My shoulder jolts upward and bumps him in the chin. “I’m not up to anything… And I thought you were heading back to the city. ”

  “You think I’m going to let you just walk away,” he says, his dark gaze piercing beneath the shadow of his hood. “I spent days trying to chase you down and then you end up walking right into my hands. ”

  “Why am I so important to you? Or better yet, why is following Monarch’s orders so important to you?” I ask over my shoulder. “From what I’ve seen, Monarch was horrible to you. ”

  “Why are you so determined to follow them?” He cocks an eyebrow. “He was the worst to you. ”

  I scratch the numbers across my wrist. “Maybe, but he’s all I know. ”

  “He’s all we all know, but only because he made it that way. ” He pauses, tucking his hands higher in his sleeves. “Besides, I’m not following his orders, I just want to know if there’s a way to reverse the vampire disease. And if we stray from what Monarch told us, I could really care less. ”

  I rub dirt out of my eye. “Sylas, where did the Highers come from? Were they part of the virus? Or something entirely different?"

  He stares at the ground. “I think you already know the answer to that. ”

  “It was me,” I say softly. “I made them who they are. ”

  He turns my head to meet his eyes. “No, Monarch created the Higher strand. You were used as a tool to test it on. ”

  “So it’s in me,” I breathe, staring wide-eyed at the hills. “I’m one of them. ”

  ‘I’m not sure,” he says truthfully and pauses. “I can take it away for a while, if you want. ”

  “Take what away?” I ask, distracted.

  “The pain you’re feeling. ”

  “I’m not in pain,” I lie.

  He shrugs, crosses his arms, and watches Ryder and Aiden chat in hushed voices. “Care to share what you picked up on him?”

  “Why? So you can find another excuse to start a fight with him,” I say. “For the moment, I need him to think I believe him, otherwise I can’t trick the truth out of him. ”

  “You’re evil. ” He winks at me and drags his fingers across his lip, like he’s zipping them shut. “I promise I won’t say a word. ”

let out a breath and fall back into stride with him. “He’s hiding something at the cave that he really doesn’t want me to find, which only makes me want to find it. And besides, Maci is there and I don’t want to just leave her behind. ”

  “The little girl who can see the future,” Sylas clarifies, tucking his chin down as the light becomes too hot.

  “You know her?” I ask. “How?”

  “You saw for yourself that I’ve been to The Colony. ” He glances behind him, longing for the shade. “A warning, though. You might want to find out what you’re walking into. Just because Aiden seems good on the outside, doesn’t mean he won’t do what he has to do to get what he wants. ”

  “But what does he want?” I wonder, watching Aiden put his arm around Ryder. “He seems so content with his life, even after everyone he cares about died. It seems like he’d want to end this all. It makes absolutely no sense to me. ”

  “That’s because you’re you,” he points out. “And he’s different from you, whether he wants to accept it or not. ”

  “But I wasn’t always like this. ” My eyebrows knit together. “I had to be different or else he wouldn’t have ever loved me. ”

  “We were all different at one time or another, Kayla. ” He wraps his arms around himself, the afternoon simmering at his skin. “Aiden’s just lucky because he didn’t lose himself completely, like you and me, who have blood stained all over our hands. ”

  Before I can respond, he speeds up, leaving me in a track of dust. A knot builds in my stomach. I squirm, unsettled by the nervous feeling that I may not be the only murderer wandering around.

  “Kayla, you’re concentrating on all the wrong problems,” Monarch whispers. “Set who you used to be aside, and focus on fixing the world. You’re going to mess this up. ”

  “You already did,” I whisper to no one but myself.

  Chapter 14

  One argument and two fights later, we arrive the hillside that once used to be Aiden and Ryder’s home. They refuse to walk by it, fearing that Highers might be there. Plus, they don’t want to feel the pain of the memories the place carries.

  Aiden is irritated that Sylas is with us, but there’s nothing he can do about it. Sylas is strong, quick, and could beat the living daylights out of all three of us without blinking an eye. I decide to risk the chance of walking through the ruins, but only so I can have a private conversation with Sylas.

  I dip down the hill and walk the line by the rocky hill.

  “This place smells like death,” Sylas remarks, observing the ashes littering the ground.

  “We need to come up with a plan. ” I kick a piece of wood out of my path. “About what we’re going to do when we get to the cave. ”