Darkness falls, p.28
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       Darkness Falls, p.28

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
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Page 28


  “So you have no idea how any of this happens? Or whether we’re supposed to change to human or stay like this?”

  “Staying human isn’t an option, Kayla. ”

  “But how do you know?” I ask. “How do you know you have to turn?

  “Look inside your own head,” he says. “It’s what Monarch wanted us to do. If we’re going to fix the world to what it was, we have to be stronger than anything in the world. ”

  “But what about Aiden?” I ask. “Is he not a part of this?”

  He sighs, standing. “He chose not to be a part of this, along with the rest of them who live on the hillside. He has a lot of anger for what happened down there. ” His voice lowers and so does his eyes. “It wasn’t easy. ”

  I think of the torn little boy, begging me to help him. “But you don’t know what started it?” I gaze up at him. “What started the virus? What started the experiments?”

  “The Highers were seeking perfection. Monarch was seeking a cure,” He says. “But what started all of it—and what will cure it—I don’t know. ” A pause. “But I think you do. ”

  I rub at my wrist. The bleeding has slowed a little, but the numbers are still there. “Why me?”

  “Because you’re the perfect soldier,” he says. “You’re the one he finally created that could walk with the vampires. ”

  “I’m not a soldier,” I mutter. “And how do I even know if you’re telling the truth?” I hate that I have to ask it, but there’s something about him—perhaps that he makes me nervous and that his heart doesn’t beat—that I can’t tell if the words that leave his lips are the right ones.

  He rubs his lips together, his black eyes burning like charcoal. He kneels to the ground, right in front of me, not speaking, not breathing. I know what he’s going to do even before he does it, and I should stop it. But there’s something hypnotic about the way he looks at me and I don’t budge as he caresses his lips against mine. His lips are warm and sweet, like the cherry drink I was given that was laced with silver. I can see what he feels, know what he thinks. Our bodies and minds connect.

  Then giving my lip a quick nip, he moves away. “Nothing but the truth ever leaves my lips. ”

  My weak heart starts to pound with a feeling I’ve never felt before, but I’m not sure if it’s a good feeling. I rub my lips together. “I want to see him before I do anything else. ”

  He leans back, looking at me funny. “Who?”

  “Aiden. ” My heart knocks in my chest.

  “Whatever you want. ” He tries to sound calm, but his voice comes out a little annoyed. He gets to his feet and walks out the door, leaving it cracked.

  I jump to my feet and start searching for an escape, so I’ll be prepared, just in case this isn’t what it seems. But then I slow to a stop, realizing this reaction was probably instilled by Monarch. The perfect soldier. I glance over my hands and arm, the cut on my wrist, the veins, the numbers.

  The door creaks open and Aiden and Sylas walk in, side by side. I can see the similarities in their features. Sylas’s hair is a little darker and shorter and Aiden’s taller and more muscular, but their facial features are very close. The biggest difference is their eyes. Honey and black, light and dark.

  Aiden immediately embraces me in a hug. “How bad are you hurt?”

  “Not too bad. ” I glance at Sylas, picking his fingernails with a knife.

  “I’m sorry. ” He smoothes my hair out of my face. “For not telling you about them. About you. I just didn’t want to lose you to them. ”

  “How poetic. ” Sylas rolls his eyes. “Now that you know he’s okay, let’s get into that head of yours. ”

  Before he can finish, Aiden whirls around, guiding me behind him. “You can’t do that—not with her. She self-mutilates every time she goes under. ”

  “Were not using your little medicine stuff,” Sylas says. “We’re using Emmy. ”

  “You can’t sick Emmy on her,” Aiden snaps hotly. “She could kill her. ”

  “Wait a minute,” I interrupt, stepping out from behind Aiden. “Emmy?”

  “The red-headed girl,” Aiden tells me. “She does this thing where she can make people remember all at once. But it doesn’t mean it’s safe. Or right. None of this is right. ”

  “Thing?” I question.

  “Like how you can send vampires running,” Sylas says. “Dipping into peoples’ minds is Emmy’s thing. You didn’t think the experiments were all the same—that was the Highers thing. Monarch was trying to create uniqueness—a Highers worst nightmare. ”

  “It’s all wrong however you look at it,” Aiden says. “And let’s not forget to tell her your thing. What is it again?” He asks and Sylas glares. Aiden turns to me. “He can manipulate how people feel. ”

  My face drops. “What?”

  “Yeah, he can make you feel however he wants you to at the moment, so you don’t know if he’s telling the truth no matter what you do. ”

  It’s like he knows about the kiss. “Look,” I say to Aiden. “Do you think I know things that no one else does? Things that might lead to a cure?”

  He presses his lips together. “You don’t have to be one of them to find it out, Juniper. ”

  “That’s not what I’m asking,” I say. “What I’m asking is if you think I might know something important that could lead us to a cure. ”

  He shakes his head, frustrated. “You said that you heard Monarch saying you were going to fix the world, right?” he asks and I nod. “Then there’s your answer. ”

  I take a breath and then step in front of Sylas. “Okay, see what’s in my head. ”

  He smiles and then whistles through his fingers. Emmy walks in. Her eyes are black like Sylas’s and her black dress fluffs out at her waist. The laces of her ragged boots drag across the floor.

  “She’s ready for you, Emmy,” Sylas says with a grin.

  Emmy smiles at me. But it’s not a welcoming smile. It’s fake, plastic. Really she’s afraid Sylas will find out what she’s hiding. A dark secret about who she really wants to be.

  The two guys from earlier also enter the room, boots marching across the cement, until they reach Aiden and grab him by the arms.

  “I’m staying,” he says to Sylas, shaking their hands off.

  “You lost all say in this when you decided to become human,” Sylas says, waving his hand. “Take him away from here and keep him away until we’re done. ”

  They grab Aiden again, this time more violently, and drag him out, along with his fear that he’ll never see me again.

  “Should I sit or stand for this?” I ask.

  Sylas glances at Emmy, and then says, “You should lie down. ”

  I sigh, sit on the floor, and rest my head against the hard concrete. Emmy drops down on her knees beside me, her red hair a curtain around her head. I notice the numbers on her wrist as she traces her hand across my eyes.

  “Your eyes look like chocolate,” she says and I get the feeling she might be enjoying this a little more than she should.

  “Emmy, just get on with it. ” Sylas sighs heavily, like he’s tired of dealing with it all. “You can play around later. Just get it done. ”

  Emmy smiles, shaking her head, and then her black eyes open wide. “Whatever you do,” she says. “Don’t blink. ”

  Chapter 34

  “Kayla, Kayla, wake up,” Monarch says.

  My eyelids jerk open, spots of light blinding my pupils and I can’t see.

  “Over here,” he says. “I need you to focus. ”

  I blink my eyes again and again until his grey eyes come into view. “Where am I?”

  “You’re in the lab,” he says. “But I need you to pay attention because we don’t have much time. ”

  I sit up from the metal bed, bumping my head on the light. The walls have glass cabinets covering them with rows and rows of bottles and vials. There’s a metal tray beside me, holding tiny tools, stained wit
h blood.

  “Kayla,” he says. “Are you paying attention?”

  I nod, directing my focus to him.

  “Good. ” He glances behind him, at the door. “Something’s going to happen to me—something that might seem bad, but it’s not. It’s good. But I need your help with it. ”

  I nod. “You know I’ll always help you. ”

  He gives a small, nervous smile. “The first thing that’s going to happen is going to be the hardest, but it’ll all work out. ” He pauses. “I’m going to turn. ”

  “Into a vampire?”

  He shakes his head. “Into a Higher. ”

  I swallow hard. “Why would you do that?”

  “Because I have no choice,” he answers, his forehead creased with worry lines. “But it’s okay, because it’s all going to work out. You’re going to help me. ”

  “Of course,” I say. “Just tell me what to do. ”

  He smiles, pleased, like this is exactly how he wants me to be. “In a while, I’m going to give you my watch. Now, no matter what, never lose that watch—it’s the thing that’s going to save us all. ” He pauses, running back to the door and peeking in the hall before returning. “The next thing I want you to do is just as important. You need to come back here, behind the red door. You need… you need to make—”

  Blood. Blood everywhere. Spilling from the ceiling. Someone’s screaming, echoes of murder in my head.

  “Wake up, Kayla, please wake up. ”

  “Kayla, listen to me. ”

  “Kayla. ”

  “Please … help me. ”

  My eyelids twitch open. Blood drips from my forehead, down my face, in my hair. Aiden’s above me, his hands on his cheeks, his honey eyes wide, his breath and heart erratic.

  “Oh my God. You’re okay. ” He stands, gently helping me to my feet, keeping a hand on my shoulder.

  “Where’s Emmy and Sylas?” But as soon as I ask, I spot them lying on the floor, their faces pressed in concrete and a swirl of smoke fills the air.

  “It’s laced with silver,” Aiden says, heading for the door. When I don’t follow, he comes back and grabs my hand. “We gotta go. It won’t last long. ”

  I don’t budge. “I have to finish the memory—I have to know what I’m supposed to do. ”

  He shakes his head. “No, not like this. You can do it the right way—you can do it as a human. ”

  “And how do you know which way is right?”

  “The right way is without them,” he says and motions at my face. “Look what they did to you. And they would have let it go on, Kayla, until you woke up and told them what they want. Or until you died trying. I told you, they’re killers. ”

  I glance at Sylas, lying on the floor, Emmy beside him. “They told me Monarch wanted us this way. ”

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