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Darkness falls (darkness.., p.28
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       Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1), p.28

           Jessica Sorensen

  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.