Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Fallen Star (Fallen Star Series Book 1), Page 23

Jessica Sorensen
Guilt. What a feeling, like rotting eggs spoiling inside my stomach, the stench seeping out through my pores. It sucked, and I wanted to get rid of it. But I couldn’t. Leaving Aislin and Laylen behind had created the horrid feeling, and I was pretty sure it wouldn’t go away until I knew they were safe again. So add the guilt with the possibility that I might die pretty soon, and my chances of vomiting were getting pretty high.

  And my guilt continued to fester the farther and farther Alex dragged me down the hall. I was desperately struggling to keep up with him, clumsily tripping over my own feet. I was scared but trying not to freak out.

  Lining the sides of the hall were paper-white shoji doors. On some of them I could see shadows of human-shaped figures moving around on the other side. But I feared what they belonged to weren’t human. They could have been anything. Death Walkers, Black Angels, vampires, take your pick. All were scary in their own way.

  Unexpectedly, the hallway came to a fork, and Alex slowed to a jog.

  “Which way is the fire escape?” I asked in a shaky voice.

  He started for the left, and then, I guess, changing his mind, took off down the right.

  My feet stumbled in protested as he pulled me after him. “How do you know this is the right way?”

  “I don’t,” he said simply.

  I gulped. Was I allowed to throw up yet? Because I’m pretty sure the foul taste gurgling in the back of my throat was vomit.

  Alex breathed a sigh of relief. “There it is.”

  And sure enough, at the end of the hallway was a door with the words “Fire Escape” printed at the top. My heart leapt. I had never been so excited to see a door in my life. That was until the stupid thing opened.

  The alarm went off, blaring deafeningly down the hall as a black-hooded monster emerged from the door.

  “Son of a—” In the snap of a finger Alex had me twirled around and was pulling me back down the hall.

  A cold breeze rushed up against the back of my legs, and I knew the Death Walker was coming after us.

  “What are we going to do?” I cried, in an unnaturally high-pitched voice.

  We rounded a corner and then, without any warning, he screeched to a halt. And for the third time today, I smacked straight into him. I didn’t care, though. Nor did I react. At the moment, who the heck cared about the electricity?

  He did a quick scan of our surroundings. “We need to find a place to hide.”

  “A place to hide?” I repeated, glancing around like there actually might be the possibility of a secret door lurking by us.

  “Yeah, a place to hide.” He let go of my hand and grabbed the handle on a nearby shoji door.

  I hadn’t realized how bad my palms were sweating. I wiped them on the front of my skirt as Alex jerked the door open. Behind it was a man lying on a bed. His eyes were shut, and a woman wearing an old fashion corset dress was kneeling over him. Her blond hair curled down her back and tracing her neck was a tattoo—the mark of immortality.

  Noticing us, the woman rose up and bared her fangs.

  A vampire. My mouth dropped open. “Holy—”

  Alex slammed the door shut.

  I stared at him with wide eyes. “Wh-what was that?”

  Alex brushed me off, already rushing to the next shoji door.

  I dared a glance back down the hall, wondering if I would find a Death Walker charging at us. Surprisingly, I found it empty. But that brought no comfort to me. At least if I had been able to see it, then I would know where it was.

  Alex slid another door open, and thankfully no one was inside. He pushed me through the doorway and slammed the door shut behind us. The room was dark; only a trickle of light seeped through the screen door.

  “Now what?” I breathed.

  I heard a soft click as he locked the door. “I need to find a place to hide you.”

  “Hide me? What are you going to do?”

  He felt his way around in the dark, moving across what I could make out as a bed, a dresser, and then coming to a stop at what looked like a room divider.

  “Over here,” he whispered. “Get behind the screen.”

  “Why? What are you going to do?”

  “I’m going to kill the Death Walker,” he hissed. “Now get over here.”

  “Kill the Death Walker.” I inched my way toward him. “But you said they couldn’t be killed. Not without the sword, which you don’t have.”

  He took me by the arm and gently shoved me behind the divider. I couldn’t see his face, but I sensed he was afraid. “I know that,” he said softly.

  I pressed my quivering lips together, feeling like I might cry.

  “Look.” His voice was gentle. “I promise everything will be okay, just as long as you stay behind here.” Then, he did the strangest thing ever. He brushed his fingers across my cheek. The touch was as light as a feather, but the electricity still tickled down my cheek. “Promise me you won’t come out until you know everything is okay.”

  My thoughts were fluttering all over the place, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. “Okay.”

  And then he was gone. Just like that. And I was alone. That’s when I realized what I had done.

  Chapter 19