Darkness falls, p.21
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       Darkness Falls, p.21

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
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Page 21

 

  I stand to my feet, tipsy and nauseous, clutching a little doll. I follow the sound of the help-me cries, one foot in front of the other, heading to the only place I can, a dark hall. The lights flicker with my footsteps.

  “Help!” The voice begs. “Please. ”

  The voice leads me to door, not red, but rusted metal, scratched and dented. Even though I’m nervous, and my insides scream at me not to, I turn the doorknob. Something scurries to the side and I stop short, almost pulling back.

  “No, please don’t go,” the voice says, tears laced in its tone. “Please don’t be afraid of me. ”

  I take a deep breath and step into the room. The lights blink, but in the corner I see a small figure.

  “Are you okay?” I ask, my voice very real inside my head.

  It shakes its head, its body balled into the darkness.

  “I won’t hurt you. ” I bend down slowly, trying to see who the small child is. The light brightens, vanishing all the shadows around. The little child lifts up its head, the flesh peeling away, teeth missing except for two sharp fangs. “Help me. ” It reaches its fingerless hand for me, then pulls back, gnawing at its own arm.

  I trip back, bumping my elbow on the corner of a metal tray, sending tools flying and scattering to the ground in an earth quaking noise. The child screams and I turn to run, but Monarch appears in the door.

  “Kayla, what are you doing in here?” His grey eyes are troubled, his hands stained with guilt.

  “I’m sorry,” my lips speak for me, words of the past. “I thought I heard …”

  He grabs me by the arm and drags me into the hall, slamming the door and locking the child away.

  “You can’t just wander around like this,” he says. “You know better. ”

  “I’m sorry but –”

  “Too many questions,” he mutters, pulling something out of the pocket of his white coat. “Always too many questions. It’s the one thing I can’t seem to fix. ” He holds a syringe in his hand, filled with purple liquid. “If you keep this up, we’ll never be able to make it work. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I apologize again.

  He sighs and moves the needle for my arms. “You have to forget what you saw, otherwise it’ll all be ruined. ”

  I nod and he pumps my body full of medicine that steals the memory away.

  Blood. Blood everywhere. I drowned in it, screaming.

  “Help me!”

  “Help me. ” My body jerks awake at the sound of my voice.

  Aiden’s eyes are wide as he stares at me, trying to hold me into place. We both breathe in each other, rapid sounds that fill the air with tension.

  “I’m guessing,” he says, holding up my arm, lined, again, with red scratches and dried drops of blood. “That you didn’t remember something about me. ”

  I slowly shake my head. “No. ” My voice sounds strained.

  He’s hesitant, watching me with anxious eyes. “Do you want to talk about it?”

  Again, I shake my head. Then I lie there, motionless, listening to the beating of his heart. It’s like a song, a beautiful song that makes me want to close my eyes and forget what I saw. Except, when my eyelids start to shut all I can see is the red door and the tiny raggedy child curled up in front of it.

  “Can we go?” I ask.

  He glances over his shoulder, toward the outside. “Yeah, I think we’re okay. I haven’t heard or seen anything. I was probably just imaging it to begin with. ”

  I sit up, rubbing my eyes, rubbing away the images. “How long until it gets dark?”

  He stands, putting his bag across his shoulder. “I don’t know. Probably like one or two …” He trails off, eyes bugging wide. “Kayla, don’t move. ”

  I freeze, hearing the movement from behind me. My breath rises and falls, in and out. My muscles tense and then I hear the cry. I relax slightly, reaching for my knife, opening my mouth to tell Aiden to run. But he’s already running, but for me, not the exit.

  “What are you do—”

  He shoves me to the ground, whipping out his knife. The vampire stands, not too far off, fangs quivering, body trembling, eyes drowning in blood. I jump to my feet as Aiden takes a swing, but it hops back, nipping its teeth.

  I draw out my knife, charging for it. But it attacks Aiden and knocks him to the ground.

  I kick the vampire in the back and it tips its head, letting out a sharp cry. It snarls at Aiden, not wanting me. I grab its hair, its gooey flesh oozing between my fingers as I drag back its hostile body. Aiden scoots away, a trail of dust, and the vampire tries to run after him. I chase it, raising my knife as I ram my body into its back. We tumble to the ground and I plunge my knife deep into the middle of its back, making sure it pierces its heart, taking away its source of existence.

  It crumbles to the ground and I watch as it jerks and twitches, finally deadening into nothing but a useless pile of bones.

  We both breathe in relief, Aiden still on the ground, stunned to stillness.

  After I collect myself, I find my voice again. “What were you thinking?” I scrape my knife on the heel of my boot, cleaning the blood away. “Going after it like that? Are you insane?”

  “It was instinct. ” He stands to his feet, trying to seem calm, but his heart is going wild. “The first thing that ran through my mind was to save you. ”

  “Okay, well as sweet as that is, next time, just run. It’ll make it easier. ”

  He nods, on board with this wonderful plan. “Sure. I can do that. ” He stares at the dead vampire bones and then his gaze moves to the outside. “We should get going. We can still cover some ground before dark. ”

  I nod and we head out of the cave, leaving the dead vampire behind.

  Chapter 27

  “So what do we do when it gets dark?” I ask.

  We’ve been walking for a while, and the night grows richer with each step. And after what happened in the cave, I grow more uneasy. Aiden seems to lack fighting skills. And speed.

  “We keep going. ” He points up at the tops of long line of rocks. “We’re going to climb up there and walk when it gets dark. ”

  I stare at the rocks warily. “But there are huge gaps between them. ”

  “You can jump, can’t you?” His eyebrow teases upward.

  “Of course I can, but are you sure you don’t just want to hide out for the night?” I ask. “I mean, after what happened in the cave… ”

  He speeds up, heading for the rocks. “Let’s never mention that again, okay. It was a stupid thing to do, but when I saw it behind you I just panicked, completely forgetting that you can handle it on your own. ” He peeks over at me guilty and ashamed. “And if we walk through tonight then we should make it to the city before darkness falls tomorrow. ” He gives a running jump and springs himself onto the side of a large, red boulder. “And if we walk up here, we’re less likely to come across vampires. They tend to stay on the ground. ” He lets out a gruff as he begins to climb his way up.

  I glance around at the silhouette of the land, wondering how much time we have left before everything dissolves. The sky is particularly ashy today and it makes it hard to tell. Then, as if answering my thoughts, I hear a shriek ripple the sky. It’s far away, but it’s enough to send me running without hesitation. I’m up on the side of the rock and climbing like my life depends on it, even though it doesn’t. But still, if they see me, they might start nosing around and that could lead them right to Aiden.

  I beat Aiden to the top, climbing up the hill like a lizard scurries across the dessert. I stick out my hand to help him over the edge. He shakes off my offer and with effort, rolls over onto the top.

  Aiden lies on his back, catching his breath.

  “Are you okay?” I ask. “You seem tired.

  “Yeah, I’m fine. ” His arms are over his head, his skin scratched and dripping in sweat. “It’s just been a long couple of days, you know?”

  I
stare down at my arms, the lines and blood already concealed by the regrowth of my skin. And there’s no sweat or signs of exhaustion.

  He’s up and on his feet and I can barely make out the outline of him as he takes off sprinting for the edge of the rock and springing himself across the gap, like he’s proving himself to me. He lands hard, but without falling. And I forget all about his exhaustion as the last of light disappears and other vampire screams erupt across the land.

  Chapter 28

  The vampires bite at the night as we leap from one rock to another. Every now again, I glance down and see the figures of their starving bodies, scrounging the land for whatever they can find that possesses any amount of blood.

  “Are you sure they never climb up here?” I ask and then fling my body over a large crack between two rocks, arms out, flying like a bird.

  He follows right behind me, landing only a few inches back. “Sometimes they do, but not often. There not the best of climbers, you know. ” He speeds up as we reach the end of the rock and flies across the gap.

  “Yeah, in the city they seemed to stay on lower ground, which made them more of a pain in the ass. ” I follow, putting less effort into my jump, yet still going farther. “They were always in the way. ”

  Aiden pauses to catch his breath.

  “Maybe we should take a break,” I suggest.

  He waves me off, standing up straight. “Just keep going. ”

  So we continue, running farther into the night as more vampires cry out. Another gap and I don’t falter, soaring through the air and landing on the other side like a cat. Aiden follows, landing with a stumble and skidding onto his stomach. He curses under his breath, but jumps to his feet, shaking it off. The more jumps we make, the more his movements lag, like he’s draining of energy, but won’t admit it.

  “Are you sure you don’t want to rest for the night?” I fake a panting breath. “I’m starting to get a little tired. ”

  He pauses, his hand grasping his side. “Let’s go a little further, and then take a break. ” He sounds relieved.

  I nod and launch myself into the night, flinging my body over the next gap, not realizing how wide it is until I’m halfway over. I land, tripping a little, but saving myself from a fall. I turn quickly, starting to shout at Aiden to stop, but he’s already airborne, arms flinging. I hold my breath as he lands, but he catches his boot on a rock and stumbles forward. His feet rip out from under him and I watch as he falls off the edge and vanishes into the night.

  “Aiden,” I whisper, running to the ledge. “Aiden can you hear me?” The only answer I get is a herd of vampire shrieks, reverberating up the cliffs wall. I lie down on my stomach and peek over cautiously, hoping I don’t lead them to us. “Aiden,” My voice is soft, guarded. My stomach rolls as a crackle echoes from the land below. My hands grip tightly around the trim of the rock as I pull myself farther over, searching, hoping. “Aiden, please be alive. ”

  “Kayla. ” The sound of his voice is a blanket of relief and my body trembles in a way I’ve never felt before. “I’m okay, just try and keep it down. ”

 
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