Darkness breaks, p.2
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       Darkness Breaks, p.2

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

 

  He slides inside and cleans ash out of his dark hair. “Take the medicine Kayla. ” He struts by me, intentionally brushing his shoulder against mine. “You’re never going to make it if you don’t. ”

  I can feel the welt forming on my head. I stay quiet and follow him down the hall, to the main room where everyone’s strewn around tables, tipped-over crates, and chairs. The Day Takers hide here during the night. The building is old, the red brick walls chipped apart. Lanterns dangle from the low ceiling and dirt and garbage litter the floor.

  He leaves me in the archway and I lean against the wall, watching him stroll up to Emmy and massage her shoulders. Emmy tips her head back, her red hair dipping lower on her back, and she gives Sylas a quick kiss on the cheek. Sylas’ gaze wanders to me and there’s a smirk in his eyes because I’m standing alone, the outcast, and it only adds to his point of me changing into a Day Taker.

  Holding my chin high, I walk across the room. The other Day Takers watch me with inquiring looks. There are eight of them total, including Bernard. He’s still upset with me for beating him unconscious with a pipe and he refuses to talk to me.

  I tap Sylas on the shoulder. “We’re not done for the night. I still need to have my memory session. ”

  Emmy smiles, her black eyes lighting up. “Kayla,” she purrs. “Kill a lot of vampires tonight?”

  A devious look spreads across Sylas’ face. “Not even close. ” He traces a finger across my cheek and down my neck. “She needs to be one of us or she’s never going to get anywhere. ”

  I narrow my eyes at him and then turn to Emmy. “Are you ready to go inside my mind?”

  Emmy grins and presses her lips together. “Always Kayla. ” Then she saunters for the doorway, her black dress trailing on the ground.

  I follow her and so does Sylas. “You don’t have to come with me,” I tell him. “I can handle this on my own. ”

  He knocks me with a spurt of calmness. “You know you want me to come with you. ” His boots thud behind me and there’s laughter in his voice. “Even if you won’t admit it. ”

  I sigh and keep my mouth shut.

  Emmy takes us down the hall. We pass door after door until we reach the very last one. She pushes it open, the bottom scratching against the concrete floor. The room is small with brick walls and a dirt-stained floor. In the center is a tattered leather chair. I climb in and recline backward, staring up at the ceiling that I’ve come to be very familiar with over the last few days.

  Emmy appears over me, her blood-red hair a curtain around our faces. “Do you want us to strap your hands down?”

  Raising my arms, I glance over the red lines healing from the last mind-dipping experience and rub my thumb across my wrist where the faint black numbers mark my skin. “I’m fine,” I say, thinking of Aiden and his scar—his freedom.

  Sylas shakes his head disapprovingly. “You’re making a mistake. ” He elbows Emmy out of the way and his lips touch my ear. “You’re letting my brother get into your head, Kayla. Or should I say Juniper—I know how much you like the name. ”

  Hearing my nickname, I push him back and look in his eyes. “Don’t ever call me that. ” That name feels wrong coming off anyone’s lips except Aiden’s.

  He shrugs and takes a step back. “Whatever. Do what you want. ”

  Emmy barricades herself between us. “Are you ready?”

  I shut my eyes and inhale. “I’m ready. ” My eyes snap open as she shifts her weight above me.

  “And remember, Kayla,” she whispers. “Don’t blink. ”

  And I don’t, picturing the blood-red door as I slip into a state of unconsciousness.

  Chapter 3

  The blood red door is sealed shut and I’m standing on the outside. From the ceiling, water trickles in my hair. I glance over my shoulder down the long, narrow hall. It’s empty, but a hum of voices flow from the distance. I hurry for the door, but it’s locked. Gripping my hand tightly around the doorknob, I snap it apart and shove the door open.

  The stench immediately overwhelms me. I hold my breath and enter, one foot in front of the other, forcing myself to go inside. Chains hang from the concrete walls and blood stains the ceiling and floor. Someone screams in pain and I move toward the sound, my feet colliding with the chains.

  Another scream and I pick up my pace, weaving to the back room. Carefully, I crack the door open.

  My stomach drops. “Aiden. ”

  He’s strapped to a metal bed, his eyes shut, his skin drained of color. He’s younger and shorter than when I last saw him, but his dark hair and honey eyes are the same.

  “Kayla,” Monarch snaps and he wheels around with a needle in his hand. “Get out of here!”

  Taggart is hunched over in the corner, his head tipped down in shame, as he lines up tools on a metal tray.

  “You’re hurting him!” I cry, rushing for Aiden. Feelings pour through me—ones I’ve never felt before—and I don’t know what to do with them.

  Aiden shakes his head and his voice is strained. “Juniper, get out. I don’t want you to see this. ”

  Monarch’s arms crash around me and he’s stronger than I remember. His white coat reeks of death and is marked with blood.

  “Let go of me!” I shove the man who was once like a father to me. “Stop this! You’re hurting him!” My eyes widen at Aiden’s tattered skin, his sunken eyes, his lifeless pulse.

  “Kayla!” Monarch’s voice is sharp, his crows’ feet multiplying as he fires a glare at me. “You have to leave now! You’re messing this up!”

  I lift my arm over his and fight to get to Aiden. “I have to save him. You’re going to kill him!”

  He shakes his head. “You can’t save him. You have to save the world. ”

  “I have to save him. ” I knock a tray over and sharp needles and tools spill to the concrete floor.

  Monarch’s dark grey eyes lock with mine and he pins me back by the shoulders. “He can’t be saved, Kayla. He’s a lost cause. He’s going to die, unless his mind changes. ”

  Blood rains from the ceiling, coating my skin. I reach for Aiden, but it’s too late. He vanishes in the blood.

  “No!” I scream, thrusting my body.

  Sylas pins me down by the shoulders. “Breathe. ” The look of concern on his face worries me.

  “Let me go!” My chest heaves with every exhale. “Let go. ” My blood is sweltering like fire. Sweat drips down my forehead and my hair is stuck to the back of my neck.

  Sylas turns my head and examines my face. “Well, that was a stupid idea. ”

  I touch my cheek and stare at my hands, realizing its blood, not sweat, on my skin. “How bad is it?” I whisper.

  He shrugs. “A minor wound. Nothing major. ”

  I break through the surface of his gift and pick up on his lie. “You’re lying. ” I wipe my forehead with the sleeve of my long-sleeved grey shirt. Blood.

  “No, I’m not,” he says. “It’s just a wound and you’re not going to die from it. In fact, it would already be healing if you were a Day Taker. ”

  “I don’t care. I can deal with blood. ” I sit up, but he doesn’t move back, so I end up with my cheek against his face. He smells me, which is a weird little thing he does whenever blood is on me.

  “Don’t even think about it. ” I run my hand through my hair and blood soaks my skin. “What the hell did I do to myself this time?”

  “You tried to rip your hair out,” Emmy answers, running her thin fingers along the back of my scalp. My blood drips from her skin and she inhales deeply.

  “You two need to back off a little. ” I scoot to my feet, ignoring the sway of the room. “I’m not something you can eat. ”

  Sylas clasps my shoulder. “Where are you going?”

  “To bed. ” I choke, thinking of Aiden and how Monarch said he was going to die. But when? Soon? And what did he mean he’ll die unless his mind changes? “I’m tired. It’s been a long
night and I just want to sleep. ”

  Sylas shoves me roughly. “What did you see?”

  “Sylas, knock it off. ” I push him back, but he doesn’t budge.

  He whirls me and snakes his arms around my waist, trapping my arms to my side. “Emmy, give us a minute would you?”

  Emmy exits the room with a skip in her walk and shuts the door behind her.

  “I’m not lying,” I tell him with a stable voice. “I didn’t see anything. ”

  He sweeps my hair to the side and whispers in my ear, “I know you’re lying. I can feel it through your racing pulse. ”

  Another weakness of turning human. “You’re right. I am lying. But I didn’t see anything that has meaning to it. It was just another pointless memory, like everything else we’ve dug up. A bunch of pieces that don’t connect. ”

  “Kayla. ” Sylas’ breath tickles my skin and my heart flutters. “Just tell me what you saw. You can tell me anything. ”

  I don’t know why I just don’t confess. I could blame it on my distrust for him, but that’s not the reason. Without saying another word, I bend under his arms and hurry out of the room, kicking up dirt with my boots.

  “Kayla,” Emmy calls out from the end of the hall.

  I let her voice echo against my back and pick up my pace.

  Sylas walks after me, taking lazy steps. “One day, you’ll get over it and fess up. Lying gets you nowhere. Just ask my brother. ”

  “There’s nothing for me to fess up to, Sylas. ” I leave him behind and climb up the spiral stairway to the next floor. I slip into the room and gently shut the door. No one ever comes up here because no one ever sleeps. I flop down on the old mattress and think of Aiden. I turn restlessly, tuck my hands under my head and then pull them away. I can’t sleep, which used to be fine before I turned human. But now it nearly kills me if I don’t get daily rest. But I have to know. Not just about Aiden’s death, but about Monarch. What is my purpose? Why did he create me so I could walk with the vampires? To kill them all, or turn them back to humans?

  I roll out of bed and tiptoe to the door. The lanterns are out and the hall is dense with night. I inch out and check left and right. No one’s around and I sneak up the final flight of stairs. At the top is a room the Day Takers hide medicine in. I know they have minte stashed inside because I saw it once. But Sylas refuses to let me use it. He doesn’t have a reason, just like he doesn’t have a reason for a lot of things he does and doesn’t do.

  The door is locked and I try to bust the knob. But my strength’s lacking. Clasping the doorknob, I thrust my shoulder into the door. The metal collides against my skin and I feel a bruise forming. I give it another slam, harder this time, and my bones ache. Backing away, I eye the door, knowing what I’m about to do is going to hurt like hell. With a deep breath, I sprint forward and fling my entire body into the door. The trimming snaps apart and splinters to the ground. My shoulder jolts upward, striking me in the cheek. I bite the inside of my mouth and the bitter taste of rust and salt floods my taste buds. I spit, wipe the blood from my lips, and kick the door open.