Darkness falls, p.19
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       Darkness Falls, p.19

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
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Page 19


  “We don’t even know for sure if it’s a cure we’re looking for,” I say. “In the memory, all Monarch said was that I’d fix the world. ”

  “It’s got to be a cure,” he says with determination. “All that talk about medicine, it just has to be. ”

  I stare at him, listening to his heart, beating softly, but with excitement.

  “I wish you knew how much you meant to me,” he says seriously. “I wish you could remember and realize I’d never do anything to hurt you. Not intentionally, anyway. ”

  I eye his lips, beautiful and lustrous. Then without thinking, I lean in and press mine against them. Not because I want to kiss him, but because I want to know if he speaks the truth. Like the first kiss, I can taste everything he feels and it’s so intense I have to pull away. Because at one time or another, Aiden has loved me, and I know that at this moment, he’d do anything to protect me from harm.

  “Let’s go to the city, then,” I say. “Let’s go see if there’s a cure. ”

  His eyes open and he flashes me a smile. “Finally we’re on the same page. And hopefully, Xander knows more than we do. ”

  “I sure hope so. ” I stare at the book, at the pages that lay open. The vampire’s teeth, the blood. What if this is a Higher? What if this is what I’ll turn into if I can’t find a way to fix it?

  Aiden tosses me my jacket and a bag. “Start loading up. We have a long way to go. ” He starts throwing bottles of water and cans of food into a backpack.

  I reach into the pocket of my jacket, feeling the vials and syringes. I take out one of the vials. “What is this?”

  “You don’t know?” He asks, shoving the book into his bag.

  I shake my head. “Maci had them when we woke up and said an Angel told her we had to inject them into us. ”

  “What’s an Angel?” He asks.

  I shrug. “I thought maybe you might know. ”

  He shakes his head, swinging his bag over his shoulder. “I don’t know what an Angel is, but I can tell you what’s in that little vial. Poison. And if you inject it into you, you’ll die. ”

  “Well, where did it come from?” I ask. “I mean, who gave it to her?”

  “That’s the real mystery,” he says. “No one knows. Everyone who’s thrown out of The Gathering has them. In fact, some of them were even stupid enough to inject the medicine into them—that’s how we found out it was deadly. ”

  I drop the vial, but luckily it doesn’t shatter. “But Bernard took this. ” I swipe the vial up. “He injected the medicine into him. ”

  The color drains from his face. “I’m sorry, Kayla … I didn’t know how to tell you. ”

  “So he died?” I choke.

  “He made it here—and we tried to help him,” he says. “But he’s gone now. ”

  I chuck the vial across the room and watch it break into a hundred tiny pieces. Aiden flinches, but doesn’t say anything as I grab the bag and start filling it with food and water. Even on the outside there’s death.

  “How high are our chances of actually finding this Xander guy? I mean, the city is huge. And dangerous. ”

  “Honestly?” Aiden asks and nod. “The chances seem low, but trust me—I’m excellent at tracking people down. I’ll find him. No matter what it takes. I swear to God we’ll find him. ” His eyes are full of passion and determination and I like it.

  Chapter 25

  We wait until right before day breaks, right before we know Dominic we’ll come for me. Aiden rests while we sleep, snoring away in his bed. I remain awake, though, flipping through the pages, obsessed with what it could all mean—obsessed that I could turn into a Higher.

  I have to find a way to stop it.

  When Aiden wakes up, we immediately find Ryder. She’s downstairs in the room with the tables and chairs, sitting by herself. Her hair is even more matted and the black stuff around her eyes is gone. After Aiden finishes explaining what’s been going on and that we plan to leave, she narrows her eyes.

  “I think that’s a stupid idea,” she says. “Going out into the city to look for Xander—who’s a little crazy I might add—all because she thinks he might know a cure. ”

  “I think he might know of a cure,” Aiden points out. “I’m the one who suggested we go. ”

  “Only because of her,” she says. “And if Dominic wants her dead, I’m sure he has a good reason. ”

  “Hey,” I say at the same time Aiden says, “Knock it off, Ryder. ”

  He steps between us, as a barrier. “What Dominic did wasn’t right and you know it. It’s everything we’ve tried to break away from. ” He pulls her in for a hug. “I’ll come back. I promise. ”

  She hesitates, before giving him a small hug back. “Please don’t go. The city is too dangerous. If you get bit or if the wrong person spots you …”

  He pulls away and adjusts the handle of the backpack. “Keep an eye on things while I’m gone. And try to keep Dominic and the others out of here. ”

  “You know they can get in if they really want to,” she says with a heavy-hearted sigh.

  He nods. “But try, okay. And if they do get in, just pretend you have no idea where we are. ”

  We turn to leave and she calls out, “Maybe Dominic’s right though. I mean, it’s creepy, her being able to walk with vampires. It’s unnatural. ”

  I pop my knuckles, giving Aiden an annoyed look.

  “It’s not creepy,” Maci’s voice floats up from behind us. She looks like she’s just woken up, her red hair a mess of tangles, her eyes drooping with exhaustion.

  I turn to Aiden. “I need to talk to Maci for just a minute, before we leave. ” I take Maci to the farthest corner, just out of earshot and kneel down in front of her.

  “You’re going somewhere,” she says, her pulse a stream of exhilaration. “Somewhere important. ”

  I’m relieved to be able to hear her pulse again, but frustrated I still can’t find my own. “Can you see where I’m going?” I whisper.

  She nods. “To the city—to fix the world. ”

  “And will I?”

  “I can’t see that far yet. ” She frowns, disheartened.

  “That’s okay. But I need you to do a couple of things for me while I’m gone. ”

  Her eyes light up with delight. “I will, Kayla. I promise. Just like the Angel told me to do. ”

  “The Angel told you to listen to me?” I ask and she nods. “Okay, well that’s the first thing I need you to do. I need you not to talk about Angels while I’m gone. And try to keep quiet about the things you sense are going to happen. People around here don’t seem to like people who are different. ”

  She grins. “Alright, I can do that. That’s easy. ”

  “Good. ” I sneak a knife from out of my pocket and press it the palm of her hand. “And promise me you’ll keep this in your pocket at all times. ”

  “I promise. ” She stuffs it inside her jacket. “I won’t let you down Kayla. I’ll keep all my promises. ”

  I sure hope so, because they are more for her protection than for mine. I head to leave.

  “And Kayla,” she calls out in a small voice. I pause, turning back. She waves me in closer and lowers her voice. “You’re wrong,” she says. “You’re not one of them. ”

  I check over my shoulder, making sure that Aiden and Ryder aren’t listening. “One of what? A Higher?”

  “You’re something different—something better. ” She says. “That’s why you can fix it. ”

  God, I hope she’s right. Because the last thing I want to be is the thing I’ve spent my life resenting. I’ve always despised the Highers, at least the ones at The Colony. And if turns out I am one and there’s no cure, I don’t think I could live with myself.

  “Keep that one to yourself too,” I say my final good-bye to her.

  Aiden and I slink out of the hillside, sealing it shut behind us with the boulder. We head across the desert, the sky a light grey, b
ut I know eventually it will turn black.

  “Will we make it there before dark?” I hop over a rock.

  Aiden sidesteps around a cactus. “No, we’ll have to travel through the night. ”

  “But isn’t it dangerous for you to be out when darkness falls? They’ll leave me alone, but not you. ”

  He tips his head down, his dark hair shielding across his eyes. “I’ll be fine Juniper, don’t worry about me. ” He kicks a rock. “You know, you’re still the same as I remember. You’re completely fine with being reckless with your own life, but if it’s anyone else’s there’s no way you’ll risk it. ”

  I can’t help it: I love the sound of Juniper rolling off his tongue. “Tell me how well you know me. ”

  “You know I can’t do that,” he says. “I already explained to you that if I start telling you about your past, then you’ll only remember it how I tell you. And you want to remember things on your own. Trust me. ”

  Blood. Blood everywhere. “You know, Monarch always said that medicine is one of strongest things in the world. Stronger than the human mind. It really is amazing,” I say, taking out the last black vial. “Something this small can do so much damage. ” I hold it between my fingers. “I mean, it was something like this that changed humans into to vampires. ”

  He eyes the vial. “You kept that?”

  I close my hand around it. “Yeah, I was thinking that it might come in handy, you know, if we run into something that needs to die. ” I make a stabbing gesture with my hand.

  “Like what?”

  “Like a vampire. ”

  “That’s what a knife’s for,” he says, holding up his own, which is sharp and has a red jewel embedded in the handle. “You don’t even know if that stuff works on a vampire. ”

  “Still. You never know. ” I put the vial in my pocket and take out Monarch’s watch. “What if there is a cure—to the vampires, to the Highers. What if I can really fix the world?”

  “Then we better hope it’s an easy cure,” he says. “Because, right now, you’re the only person that vampires won’t touch. And how we’re going to get it to the Highers, who knows. ”

  He’s getting down again, and I don’t like it. I turn the pocket watch over in my hand, the gold shimmering like fire. I run my fingers along the face of the watch. “Do you know what these numbers mean?”

  He smiles, his mood suddenly uplifted again. “I do. Do you want me to try and explain it to you?”

  “Yes,” I say and he touches the top number with his finger.

  “This is a twelve. ” He glides his finger down two golden lines. “When both of these point to the twelve it means it’s either twelve o’clock at night or in the afternoon. ”

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