Darkness falls, p.15
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       Darkness Falls, p.15

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
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Page 15


  “Then this place is no better than The Colony,” I say.

  “I’m sorry you feel that way. ” He turns for the doorway.

  “I’m not a vampire,” I call after him, yanking at the chains. “I’m not a blood thirsty monster—I can’t be. ”

  But he’s already out the door and I choke on my words. I slump down on the floor and lean my head against the wall. Is this how it’s always going to be? Am I always going to be locked up?

  “Sometimes people will fear you, what you can do,” Monarch says. “That’s why we have to keep you who you really are hidden until the time is right. ”

  I glance around, even though I know the voice was in my head. “And when will that time be?” I call out, listening to my voice echo through the tunnel.

  Time slips away, I lay down on the ground, like a lonely soldier, resting my eyes to prepare myself for whatever comes next.

  I’m woken up by the sound of low voice and the pitter-patter of footsteps.

  “Are you sure she’s just asleep?” A guy’s voice, soft and mysterious.

  “Yeah, I’m sure. Aiden said the silver didn’t kill her. ”

  I slowly lift my eyelids and slide my hand over a sharp rock.

  “But sometimes it just takes a while, doesn’t it?”

  “No,” he says. “And wishing she was dead isn’t going to make this easier. ”

  I wrap my fingers around the rock, the edges cutting into the palm of my hand as I scoot it toward me.

  “Yeah, but do you know how many times she saved my ass while we were out raiding?” he says. “She’s not a bad person. ”

  “Doesn’t matter. ” Footsteps approach me. “We all know how this works—once they turn, there’s no going back. ”

  “That’s not true—there was Xander. Besides, I can’t see her choosing to turn into one of them. ” A hand lightly touches my shoulder. They go to roll me over, but I’m on my feet and have them flipped around before the other one can react. It’s Greyson, who I have trapped in my arms, his fiery red hair giving him away.

  “Who has the keys,” I say, pressing the sharp rock to Greyson’s throat, not hard enough to break skin, but hard enough for him to know I will if I have to.

  The other guy, with dark golden hair and piercing brown eyes backs away with his hands up. “No one does, okay. ” His heart is all over the place. He’s afraid, which makes it difficult to tell if he’s lying.

  “Tell me where the keys are or I’ll kill him. ” What’s frightening is that I’m not even sure if I’m lying.

  Greyson thinks I’m telling the truth. His heart’s slamming against his chest. “We don’t have the keys, Kayla. I swear we don’t. ”

  Aggravation builds. Do I have it in me? Can I really shed the blood of a human, just to save myself? “Dammit. ” I drop the rock and shove Greyson away from me.

  “What’s wrong with you?” Greyson cries, clutching his neck. “You were never this mean before. God, you really must be one of them. ”

  Giving some slack on the chains, I say, “In case you forgot, vampires are hideous blood sucking monsters. ”

  He massages his neck, which has gone red. “Not a vampire, Kayla. ”

  I pause. “Then what?”

  He only smiles, revengeful. “I guess we’ll all find out soon enough. ”

  Then they leave me alone with my thoughts, which are unsettling. What else could there be that they think I am? There are only three kinds of breeds that I know of: Humans, vampires, and… Highers. I scan over my skin: white, but not as white as the Highers. I lift a strand of my hair, which is black as ash. And the last time I checked my eyes were still brown.

  But what else could they mean?

  Chapter 21

  Time creeps by so slowly it drowns me. I hate not knowing what’s going to happen to me, or what has happened to Maci. And even Bernard. I just left them, defenseless.

  Two guards finally enter my dungeon and my mind flashes back to a scene at The Colony, when two Watchers hauled me away to the bright red door; a door I now know that, at one time or another, I was locked behind and covered with blood.

  This time the guards’ faces are blocked out by masks. Gloves cover their hands, boots lace up their legs, and they wear grey padded suits, like their trying to protect every part of their body. Each one has a knife strapped to their belt. They fear me—I can sense it all over them, like the blood flowing in their veins.

  “Stand,” the taller one orders through his mask.

  I remain sitting on my butt. “Why?”

  A huff through a mask. “Get to your feet, now. ”

  I don’t like it, but not seeing an alternative, I get to my feet, the chains lugging with me.

  “Put your hands out,” the other guard commands.

  Feeling as though I shifted through time and landed back in The Colony, I obey, raising my arms. The guard clips a cuff to each of my wrists. The cuffs are linked by a short chain that forces my arms together. Then they cuff my legs together, leaving me just enough room to walk, and stealing away my chances of running. They unclip me from the wall and march, one in front of me and one behind, forcing me to move with them. We go back through the tunnel, upstairs, through the packed room, where everyone watches me like I’m some kind of foul creature that’s even worse than a vampire.

  I’m not one to cower. I hold my head high, indicating I’m not afraid of them. But they fear me—the air reeks of it. I don’t spot Aiden in the crowd, but that’s okay. I’d rather not see him anyway. He’s already made it perfectly clear what he thinks of me—and he’s lost my trust because of it.

  The guards take me down the hall, where the room is that holds the Higher. At first, I wonder if that’s where we’re going. Perhaps they’re going to shove me in with him and let him kill me. But instead they take me to the door opposite his room. They click a key in a lock and push the door open. Then they quickly unlock the chains, shove me inside, and slam the door shut. I hear it click as they lock it, then nothing but silence and my own breath.

  The room I stand in is fairly large, all walls padded except for one, which is made of glass. From the other side, a group of people stare at me like I’m a science experiment, sitting in their chairs, fearing what they’ll see, yet they still watch.

  I stare at them, not blinking, not moving and it seems to spook them even more. In some weird and sick twisted way, I enjoy that they are afraid of me. At least for the moment, anyway.

  A few seconds later, the lights dim to a low blue and the door slowly crawls open. Then something I never would have anticipated comes stumbling inside.

  A vampire.

  What is this? Some kind of sacrificial ritual?

  It slumps to the floor, unconscious, drooling out a puddle of red. Its wounds are fresh and foul, its body still, likes it is dead. But it’s not. When vampires die, their bodies lose all flesh, so there’s nothing left but bones.

  I itch my nose, holding my breath, waiting for it to move. When it does, it’s sporadic and impulsive, like it’s overly crazed, even for one of them. Fangs sharpen from its blood-stained lips as it paces back and forth in front of me. Its bloody eyes are all over me, taking me in, deciding whether it wants to take a bite out of me.

  I back away, pressing my back against the wall. It sniffs the air like a dog and its lifeless eyes lock on me. Then it charges and I’m shocked. But my leg reacts mechanically, giving a quick blow to the vampire’s stomach. The vampire staggers back, but regains its balance swiftly and comes at me again. I duck to the side, but it catches the hem of my shirt. I twist around and throw my fist into its nose. It screams, not out of pain, but with fury. Its fangs nip, ready to kill me. I try to squirm free, but it throws me to the ground and my skull bangs against the floor. I try to get up, but everything’s spinning.

  The vampire shrieks and then moves for me, about to sink its fangs into my neck. But then it hesitates, a quick pause, its bod
y freezing, almost looking human as it contemplates what to do next.

  Then, just like the previous two times, it tilts back its head and shouts, “No!” It goes to the door and claws at the metal until its nails bleed raw. The people through the glass window gasp and I know I’m in trouble because obviously they’ve never seen this before.

  The vampire continues to let out shriek after shriek as it scratches and bangs its head at the door. The room starts to flood with silver smoke and it collapses. I hack out my lungs but force myself to stay awake. I hear someone enter, a soft rustle, then a crash. I hunt for the door, but the smoke’s too thick and I end up running into the wall.

  The door bangs shut, but I’m not alone. The pounding of a heart crams the room like a virus. I stifle my breath and scan the fog. Footsteps pad toward me and I lie down on the ground, flat on my stomach, and crawl across the floor.

  The footsteps pause. I press the side of my face to the cold ground, where the smoke is thinner, and spot a set of clunky boots. They move to the left, then the right, before stopping again.

  “Kayla. ” The voice rings with familiarity, another lost person from The Colony.

  I press my lips together, my gaze locked on the boots.

  “Kayla. ” The boots pace. “Either we can do this the hard way or the easy way. ”

  I keep still.

  A breath of frustration. “Well, then. ”

  The boots disappear, but the door doesn’t shut. I start to crawl, but an army of boots rush in. A hand grabs my neck and a needle plunges into it, poison pumps through my veins like fire. My eyes roll into the back of my head as the world slips away.

  Chapter 22

  “Kayla, listen to me,” Monarch says, his voice a whisper, so far away. “This is important. Are you listening?”

  “Yes,” I reply in a hollow tone as fog dances around me.

  “Good, now I need you to remember, when the time is right,” he rushes his words, fearful of not having enough time. “I need you to remember that the answers are in the watch. ”

  “What watch?” I ask.

  “The watch I gave you. ” He sighs. “Everything happens for a reason, Kayla. And when the time comes, I need you to put everything together. I need you to fix all of this. ”

  “Fix all of what?” I ask.

  “Fix the world, Kayla. Fix it back to what it was. Fix my mistakes,” he says. “You’re the only one who can. ”

  “What mistakes?” I question. “And how will I know when the time is right?”

  I get no reply as the fog surrounds me.

  My eyelids thunder open like zaps of lightning bolts. I need the watch—Monarch’s pocket watch. My cheek is pressed to a cold brick floor, my wrists and ankles adjoined by chains again, and a lantern sparks above my head. I sit up, only to find that I’m not alone. At first I think he’s a Higher, but his snow-white hair is more a sign of age then of purity. His eyes are a dull grey and his skin is creased with wrinkles. In a way, he kind of reminds me of Monarch, only older.

  He’s sitting in a chair, his legs crossed as he stares at the pages of a book.

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