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Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1), Page 22

Jessica Sorensen

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 body 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.