Cinder x, p.24
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       Cinder X, p.24

         Part #2 of Death Collectors series by Jessica Sorensen
Page 24


  After I stretch, I relax back and stare down at Asher sleeping in my bed. I hate to admit it because I don’t want to be one of those girls who’s only happy when I have a boyfriend, however I do feel a little less weighted than I have over the last few weeks.

  Maybe today will be a good day, I think to myself, staring out the window at the grey sky.

  Think again, Cameron’s voice stabs at my head like bees.

  Dammit. I thought you left. I cup my fingers around my wrists. They’re gone, so how are you still inside my head?

  There’s just a hint of it left, since Reaper blood is more powerful then Angel blood, he says smugly. Which means I have a little bit of time left inside your head.

  I grunt and get out of bed, heading to my closet, expecting Cameron to make a remark about the fact that I only have a shirt on that barely covers up my ass, but he stays silent inside my mind as I pull on a black shirt that’s held together with a red ribbon along with a pair of black jeans. Then I tug the elastic out of my hair and tousle my fingers through it before I quietly sneak out of the room so Asher can sleep and I can fight with Cameron aloud.

  He’s so vulnerable now that he’s banished, Cameron muses in my head as I head down the hallway. I’ll have to remember that.

  “Don’t you dare do anything to him,” I warn as I pad down the stairs. “He’s only that way because he helped me. ”

  “No, it happened because he wasn’t supposed to touch you at all, especially how he touched you last night,” Cameron says, miraculously appearing at the bottom of the stairs in full human form, wearing slacks, a black shirt with the sleeves pushed up to his elbows and a shiny watch.

  I freeze in the middle of the stairway, my eyes fixed on him as I take in the noiselessness of the house. “What are you doing here? Isn’t living in my head enough for you?”

  He ambles towards the bottom of the stairway, taking calculated strides. “I’m not literally in your head, Ember. Only my voice. ”

  “And you can read my mind,” I state, daring to take another step. “Can you see through my eyes, too?”

  He leisurely scrolls up my body, his eyes as black as the night sky and they burn like the stars. “Afraid I’ve seen you naked?”

  I protectively wrap my arms around myself, shaking my head, but it’s a huge lie. “I’m just wondering how your little trick works so that maybe I can protect myself next time you force me to walk into a building full of people who want me dead. ”

  “They don’t want you dead,” he says nonchalantly. “They want you on their side. ”

  I grip onto the railing and take another step down. “And you want me because…? You never have made that one-hundred percent clear; why are you so eager to get me to do things for you?”

  “I have made that clear, you just don’t want to believe me. ” His penetrating gaze makes me restless and uneasy. “Because I want you, princess. ”

  I let out an uneven breath before I speak. “Well, what if I don’t want you to have me?”

  “Sometimes what we really want, isn’t what we think we want. ” He extends his hand to me. “Now, come with me. I have something to show you. ”

  I lean away from his hand. “I’m not going anywhere with you. ”

  He’s irritated. “I promise I’m not here to hurt you. Only help you. ”

  I snort a laugh. “That is such a lie. ”

  He keeps his hand out towards me with zero patience in his eyes. “Have I ever hurt or tried to harm you?”

  “In the bowling alley,” I say without missing a beat.

  “You made it out of there safe and sound,” he retorts.

  “Because Asher helped me. ”

  “No, I helped you,” he says heatedly. “Asher may have been there, but I’m the one who got you out of there alive. ”

  I scowl at him. “You’re the one that put me there in the first place. ”

  He narrows his eyes, still keeping his damn arm out to me. “Because I was trying to help you find the leader of the Reapers, the person behind all this madness. ”

  “You’re a Grim Reaper,” I point out, swatting his hand away, but it barely moves. “You’re part of this madness, too. ”

  “And you’re a Grim Angel,” he spats back. “Which means part of you belongs to the Reaper bloodline and that makes us not that far apart. ”

  “Maybe in blood,” I say, fighting to keep my voice even. “But we aren’t in terms of morals. Like, for instance, I’m not a murderer. ”

  “You’re not?” he questions, cocking his brow. “What about the other night in the alleyway. ”

  “That was an accident,” I say, gripping onto the railing to keep my support as I feel my knees threatening to buckle. “And he didn’t die. ”

  “Thanks to me. ” He slants forward and snatches hold of my hand, jerking me down the last two steps. “Now, would you quit being stubborn and come with me? There’s something I need to show you; something important,” he says. When I glance apprehensively over my shoulder, he adds, “Don’t worry. He’ll be out for a while, especially now that he’s human. ”

  “He’s not human,” I argue as he hauls me towards the door and I try to figure out why I’m going with him of my own freewill. Is it simply because I want to see what he wants to show me, or is it something deeper, a connection I don’t want to admit exists? “He’s just been banished… and how did you even know about it at all?”

  He pulls open the door and a chilly breeze gusts in along with dry leaves that flutter along the tile floor. “Because I heard you two talking last night when I decided to momentarily enter your thoughts and check if you were all right. ”

  I pull an appalled face. “What else did you hear?”

  He rolls his eyes. “Like I’d want to hear that. I tuned right out before I got to hear a live porn show,” he says in a tight voice as he steers me out the front door with him.

  I shut the door behind us and then we head across the grass towards the curb. The sun is peeking through the clouds, but the air is chilly and there’s a layer of frost on the grass along with browned leaves. The neighborhood is rather vacant except for a neighbor up the street loading boxes into the trunk and the old lady that lives across the street. It would seem like an ordinary day except for the fact that both of them are dressed in summer clothes and their eyes are glowing as they watch me.

  “God, it’s spreading like a virus,” I say as I stare at the old lady across the street, who is watering the sidewalk with a hose, her gaze fixed on me.

  “They sure seem to be fixated on you, too,” Cameron remarks as he studies the woman wearing floral shorts and pink bunny slippers like it’s not thirty degrees outside. She must be numb to the cold from the Reaper being inside her. “It makes me wonder just how close we’re getting to you being the last Grim Angel standing. Or maybe we’re already there,” he says in a taunting voice as he looks at me.

  I shake my head, but after everything I’ve learned, I’m starting to believe that it’s going to end up being me and I’m not sure how I feel about that; how I feel about being the one responsible for good or evil ruling the souls.

  Whether I’ll make the right choice.

  I shove the disturbing thought out of my head and look around at my quiet neighborhood. There’s a black car with tinted windows parked in front of the house across from mine. I can’t see very well inside the window, but I know there are two undercover detectives in there.

  “You know it’s bad enough that I have the Anamotti possessing my neighbors, but I have the police watching me, too. ” I shake my head as I watch the cops observe me crossing my front lawn. “I thought they would have given up by now,” I mutter under my breath as I slip my hand from Cameron’s so I can wrap my arms around myself.

  “Why would they?” he asks, looking at me from over his shoulder as we head up the sidewalk. “They’re part of the Anamotti. ”

  My jaw drops and my head snaps in the di
rection of the police car. “What? I thought they were real cops. ”

  Cameron moves to the other side of me, blocking their view of me or maybe it’s my view from them. “Don’t do anything weird,” he hisses under his breath. “Just keep walking straight to my house like nothing is going on. They’re not Anamotti, but they’re possessed by the Anamotti, which means they could very easily decide to get out and torment you. ”

  “But why are they here? They’ve been parked out in front of my house for three weeks now and haven’t done anything. ”

  “Exactly. ” He touches the small of my back with his hand and guides me across the street. “The more natural you make things look, the more they’re going to think that they’re not getting to you. ”

  “But nothing about this is natural,” I say as we step up onto the curb in front of his house. “I’m with you. ”

  His long legs stretch as we cross the strip of lawn. “But as far as they know, I’m a Reaper who’s not working against them, so they think it’s natural that I’m tormenting you. ”

  My initial reaction is to stop, but I keep my legs moving forward. We trot up the steps and underneath the canopy of the front porch that belongs to his small, two-story house. There are leafless trees partially blocking us from the view of the undercover police car. He removes his hand from my back to open the front door.

  He opens the door and holds it open for me, motioning me to go inside. “Ladies first. ”

  I hesitate, glancing over my shoulder at my house before I step over the threshold into his. “You say you’re not working with them because they hate your family, yet they seem okay with you wandering around with me. It makes no sense. ”

  He shuts the door behind us and locks it. “As far as most of the Reapers know, I’m working with them, trying to work my way back onto their good side,” he says, turning around to face me. “The only person that truly knows is the one who cursed my family. Our lovely leader, Altarius Vinceton. ”

  “And yet he doesn’t come after you? Even after you took the necklace from him?”

  “Oh I’m sure he will eventually,” he says, leaning against the door. “After he’s gained enough power to take on my family and get back the necklace. But for now, he’s got more important things to worry about like killing innocent people and capturing their souls—killing an entire town. ” He folds his arms and waits for me to react and when I do, my jaw nearly hits the floor.

  “Are you trying to tell me that your family is more powerful than the leader of the Reapers?” I ask, flabbergasted. “How can that be possible?”

  “Because for a very long time Altarius Vinceton or Alton has been suffering from the loss of his powers because we stole his precious necklace from him, therefore gaining some of his power and making it so he’s susceptible to his own kind draining his energy as they live on this earth, collecting souls. ”