Darkness breaks, p.29
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       Darkness Breaks, p.29

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 29

 

  “I’m not going to beat up a child, if that’s what you mean,” I say.

  “Sylas would. ” He looks at Maci. “He’d do whatever it takes to get what he wants. ”

  “I don’t think that’s true. ”

  “Yes, it is Kayla. Like he said, don’t start judging who he is until you see all of the past. ”

  Tristan starts to fuss and I stand over him. “Now this one… I might feel comfortable beating the answers out of him. ”

  Tristan’s blue eyes blink open and he squirms to escape. “What did you do to me?” He takes in the wires knotted around his ankles and wrist. “Juniper, why’d you tie me up?”

  “Her names Kayla. ” Aiden steps behind me and touches the small of my back. “I’m the only one allowed to call her Juniper. ”

  I press a smile. “Tristan, you better start talking before Sylas comes back. ” I lurk over him. “Because I’m a lot nicer than he is. ”

  “You’re so much meaner than I remember,” he complains. “You were so nice at The Colony. But now…you’re just plain evil. ”

  I take out my knife and set it by my feet. “You don’t remember me correctly. I’ve always been a little mean. But out here, I’ve gotten worse because it’s about survival. ”

  “Can you at least untie me?” He asks, jerking his shoulders, struggling to free his wrists.

  I shake my head. “Not until I know what you’re up to. You said the Highers sent you after me. Is that why you’re here? To try and kill me again?”

  “No, I was never trying to kill you,” he says innocently. “I wanted you to remember me. That’s why I gave you what I was feeling when we were falling off the roof. ” He manages to sit up. “And I didn’t mean to try and kill you—I just couldn’t help it. ”

  “Because the Highers told you to kill me?”

  “No, they had me trapped in this room and they kept injecting me with this clear medicine mixed with these colors. It made me stronger physically, but my mind grew weaker. They started making me do… things I didn’t want to do. Then they turned me loose, told me to find you, kill you, and bring your body back. ”

  Aiden brushes my hair from my shoulder. “I’m so glad you crushed that vial of medicine. ”

  “Yeah, but why did Gabrielle give it to Maci in the first place?”

  “To make sure you all ended up dead,” Maci says from across the cave. “Then I was supposed to come home. ”

  “Then why didn’t you?” My fingers inch for the knife, prepared to take on a child if I have to.

  “Because Monarch told me not to. ” She points to her head. “He told me from in here. ”

  I relax a little. “Is that why you decided not to kill me?” I turn to Tristan. “Because Monarch told you not to… from inside your head. ”

  He swallows hard. “Monarch was the worst one—he wants you dead more than any of them. ”

  I back up, unbelieving. “You’re lying. Monarch wants me to save the world. ”

  “Monarch’s not himself anymore, Kayla. He’s a Higher now. ”

  I shake my head. “No, I’m supposed to save him from that. That was the plan. ”

  “You can’t save him, Kayla,” Tristan says sympathetically. “It’s too late. His mind is gone. ”

  I don’t want to believe him. But that’s the downfall of knowing when someone lies: you always know the truth, even when you don’t want to.

  “It’s not too late,” I say. “It’s never too late. I’m going to save him. ”

  I dash for the exit. Aiden jumps in front of me and I nearly tackle him over.

  “Why are you so determined to save the man who ruined your life?” he breathes furiously. “Just let him go. ”

  “I’m not trying to save him,” I snap. “I’m trying to put the world back to what it was. And only Monarch knows how to do that. ”

  “You can’t fix everything, Kayla. ” His voice softens. “And someday you’re going to have to accept that you might not be able to put the world back to what it was. ”

  “Then I’ll die trying. ” I’m not lying.

  He lets me go and I squeeze past the boulder. The night sky is easing away, the smoke from the city pouring across the land. I pick up Sylas’ scent in the morning breeze and hurry for him. He’s perched on a rock, his skin smoking as the air grows warmer.

  “Are you on a suicide mission?” I drop down next to him.

  His eyes linger on the skyline as sweat drips down his forehead. “I was just trying to remember what it felt like to feel the day’s warmth. ”

  “How long has it been since you were… normal?" I pick at a loose string on my jeans.

  “None of us have been normal since the day we were kidnapped,” he answers. “But I’ve been a Day Taker for almost three years. ”

  Resisting the urge to tug his sleeves down, and shelter his burning skin, I ask, “Were you the first to change?”

  “Emmy and I did it at the same time,” he replies. “But yeah, I was the first. ”

  “What happened exactly?” I ask. “Why did Monarch tell you to do it?”

  He shrugs half-heartedly. “He was trying to build an army and he messed up with his experiments. The only way he could save what he created was by having us die. The Highers had The Gathering going, to weed out the rebels. Some were sent to the underground to get rehabilitated. Others—the ones the Highers deemed hopeless—were killed instantly. Monarch started slipping some of his Bellators into the death pile, making it look like we were dead to get his army out into the world… he feared the Highers were onto him and he didn’t want everything ruined. ”

  He pulls the hood over his head and rolls his sleeves down, healing his scorching skin. “The problem is, when some of his secret experiments got out, they decided to choose death instead of becoming something Monarch wanted. Or be controlled as they saw it. So his little plan went to shit. I snuck back in to warn him that it wasn’t working, but all he did was yell at me and tell me I better get it fixed—that you weren’t ready yet. And I wasn’t supposed to come back until you were. The problem with Monarch is once you mess up, you’re never forgiven. That’s when he handed you over to Aiden. ”

  “But then what am I?” I ask. “Because I was never told I would die if I didn’t turn. Maci just told me we were supposed to. And she never took the medicine herself. ”

  “Then I guess she might be different. And you…you’re the one he finally got right. The one who can walk in the light, kill the vampires, and do everything perfectly. ”

  I shiver at the thought. “Then why do the Highers want me dead? They say it’s because I’m an abomination, but why are they so fixed on killing me? It just doesn’t make any sense. ”

  He meets my eyes, a flicker of life amidst the blackness. “That’s something we’re going to go find out. Right now. If I heard right. ”

  “Yeah, I’m ready to go to the Cell 7 and look for the tunnels. ” I pause. “But I think we need to take Tristan with us and leave the rest of them here. It’s too dangerous. ” I chew on my lip, hating to admit it. “And they’re too hard to watch and take care off. ”

  He raises is eyebrows. “Finally, you’re starting to get things right. ” Tugging the hood of his jacket snugger, he starts for the cave.

  I catch his arm. “How do you remember what you just told me? You said you couldn’t remember why you were going into The Colony. ”

  He gazes up at the grey sky. “It’s coming back to me for some reason. ”

  He speaks the truth, unable to understand why he can abruptly remember things that have been wiped from his mind. I release him and we go inside the cave, leaving the boulder open so the greyness can spill in. We tell the others it’s time and that they are going to stay behind, while Sylas, Tristan, and I make the rest of the journey on our own.

  Tristan’s not happy, but he doesn’t have a choice. With the possibility of him being a blood-thirsty murderer, I won’t let him stay. Befo
re we leave, Aiden embraces me in a hug. He wants to kiss me, but still fears me enough that he won’t. Feelings of love and longing warm me to my very core, but I’m unable to reciprocate.

  As soon as he pulls away, Maci wraps her arms around my waist. “I’m so glad you’re finally going, Kayla. It’s what you were supposed to be doing this whole time. ”

  I pat her on the head. “Coming from you, Maci, that makes me feel a lot better. ”

  She lowers her voice and gestures for me to come closer. “But you won’t come back. None of you will. ”

  I freeze, her rapid heart beating through my veins. But I don’t ask questions, knowing she won’t give me a direct answer.

  “I’ll see you later, okay,” I promise. “And when we come back, I’ll bring something better than a snake to eat. ”

  “No you won’t. ” Sorrow consumes her as she watches us go.

  Ducking outside, I can’t help but think that she’s right. After all, she can see the future.

  Chapter 24

  “Can you at least untie me?” Tristan asks, writhing his tied wrists. “I can’t defend myself if something happens. ”

  Upon leaving the cave, we discovered that Tristan isn’t immune to day time. Just like Sylas, Tristan’s hood is over his head and his hands are tucked in his sleeves. He’s much weaker than Sylas and the light makes him sluggish.

  We stand at the edge of the city, where the sand intersects with the damaged asphalt. The streets gush with smoke and the towering, crooked buildings loom to the sky. Rusted cars dot the streets and embers speck the sidewalks.

  “Well, I guess you should have thought about that before you tried to kill Kayla. ” Sylas treads across the line, leaving the desert and grounding onto Highers’ territory.

  “Twice. ” I grip the knife and advance up the road, weaving through the cars. “He tried to kill me twice. ”

  Tristan grunts and follows us up the street, fenced by shiny buildings with broken windows and burnt pavements.

  “Does it seem quiet to you?” Tristan whines. “Because it seems really quiet to me. ”

  Sylas shakes his head and unfolds the map. “It would be quiet, if you’d shut up. ” He glances at the red lines on the map and tilts his head.

  I circle vigilantly, looking left and right, up to the roofs and down in the alleys. "Are you sure you know where we’re going?”

  Sylas bites his lip as he studies the path to the park. “Yeah, it’s this way. ” He crinkles up the map and heads down a side street. Barrels scorch fire and tipped lampposts detour the street. The air is deadly quiet and I swear someone’s watching us.

  “I don’t think we’re alone. ” I swerve around a car and turn around, walking backwards. “I feel like someone’s watching us. ”