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Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1), Page 21

Jessica Sorensen

Chapter 20

  When I open my eyes again, I see the same brick floor and rock walls that enclosed around me. But now I’m alone. And I’m chained up. Again.

  “Dammit,” I curse, rolling on my back. That’s twice in a day’s time. I stumble to my feet, woozy and disoriented, stabbing pains piercing my muscles. “What was in that drink,” I mumble, pressing my hand to my head.

  “Sugar, water, and cherry-flavored syrup.”

  I scowl as my eyes find Aiden, leaning against the doorway, arms crossed, eyes not as welcoming as they were before I passed out.

  “And a high amount of silver,” he adds.

  “Silver?” My head throbs as my vision alters into focus. “Why silver?”

  He moves from the wall, stopping within the limitations of the chains reach. “Not a lot of people know this, but silver is extremely toxic to vampires. It’s more toxin than even sodium chloride.”

  “But I’m not a vampire,” I walk until the chains are taut. “So why make me take it?” I shake my head, confused. “You didn’t think I was one, did you?” I raise my arms, showing him my smooth skin, free of bleeding wounds and rotting flesh. “Because I can assure you I’m as human as you are.”

  “Yeah, I got that, since the silver didn’t kill you,” he says. “But we had to know for sure.”

  “But you still have me chained up,” I point out the obvious.

  “Because we’re still not sure about you,” he says. “You did some things that are strange.”

  “Like what?” I scratch my wrist, the cuffs digging into them.

  “You can walk with the vampires.” He says this softly as if he worries someone will hear him.

  My hands fall to my side. “How do you know that?”

  He shuts his eyes and shakes his head, like he’s in pain. “Because we were watching you that night, during the rainstorm.”

  “So you just watched as all our lives were threatened?”

  A lantern flashes above his head and he stares up at it. “We were going to save you—it’s what we do every time the Gathering happens. But we were running late that day and didn’t make it there before dark. And when we did find you, you were, standing out in the dark, in the middle of the rain, while all the vampires scattered, trying to get away from you. We didn’t know what to do.”

  “So you what? Just left us?” I say. “Why bother even returning?”

  “We didn’t just leave you,” he says. “We had to come back and tell Dominic what happened. And he told us to go get you and bring you back to him.” He kicks at the floor with the tip of his boot. “I’m sorry, Kayla. I really am. But this is the way things are done around here. We have to be careful that we don’t bring anything dangerous in.”

  “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?