Darkness breaks, p.3
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       Darkness Breaks, p.3

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 3

 

  The room is the size of a closet. The walls are lined with shelves that have vials of medicine perched in stands. I rummage through the dark until I spot a cluster of clear ones on the top shelf. Planting my shoes on the bottom shelf, I reach up and grab a vial and a syringe. Then I quickly slip out of the storage area. The door’s condition is hopeless—they’re going to know someone’s been inside. But I’ll worry about that when the time comes.

  I hurry down the stairs, into my room, and prop a metal shelf against the door so no one can get in while I’m under. I shuffle over to the mattress and lie flat on my back. There’s a huge yellowish-brown stain on the ceiling. It’s the last thing I see when I sink the minte into my arm. My eyes roll into the back of my head as I’m dragged under, picturing only Aiden and his death.

  ***

  “I don’t understand. ” I stand in the middle of the hospital wing while Monarch digs in his medicine cabinet. “Why are you doing this?”

  Monarch shakes his head and faces me. “Kayla, you’re letting your emotions get in the way again… too many questions. Always too many questions. You need to stop asking them. And you need to stop feeling so much. ”

  “But you said Aiden was going to die—that he was a lost cause. ” I step in front of him, tilting my head to meet his eyes. “How can I not ask questions about that?”

  “You’re never supposed to ask questions. ” He sighs. “You can’t ask them until the time’s right. ”

  “And when will that be?”

  He brushes by and heads to a hospital bed where an unconscious Colony member lies with a beeping monitor hooked up to them. “Kayla, I said that’s enough. ”

  I catch his arm, stunning him. “Tell me why Aiden’s going to die. ”

  His voice trembles, “Because I messed up when I created him. I really did. And unless he changes his mind about his existence, he won’t survive. ”

  “When does he die?” I choke. My hand and heart are shaking in rhythm. “When will he die?”

  He swallows hard. “Soon, unless you change his mind about life and death. ”

  I want to cry. I want to scream. I’m feeling things I never thought were possible. My jaw’s hanging open, my brown eyes are wide. “I’ll change his mind then. I won’t let him die. ” I head for the door, but he hurries in front of me.

  “Not today, Kayla. That project is on hold. ” Monarch’s worry shifts to sympathy. “I’m sorry Kayla. But to save the world, sacrifices have to be made. The world must come first. ” Then he moves a needle for my arm. “But one day you might get your chance. ”

  I fling my hand at him, but he seizes it, his finger sinking into my skin with an alarming amount of strength.

  “I’m sorry,” he apologizes and the needle immerses into my forearm.

  The medicine burns my veins, my body, every part of me. But all I can think about is Aiden dying.

  Chapter 4

  “Kayla,” someone whispers. “Kayla, wake up. ”

  My muscles spasms as I start to revive. My body feels like I’ve taken a beating from a vampire and my heart is about to pound out of my chest.

  “Damn it, Kayla,” Sylas all but growls. “I can’t believe you did this. ”

  I’m not sure how to react to the panic in his tone, but I summon enough strength to push my eyelids open. His dark eyes are on me, the light of a lantern making them smolder like embers. His hands are tucked under my neck, supporting my head. He doesn’t say anything; he just helps me sit up. I’m shaking uncontrollably and I don’t know what to do.

  “Calm down,” Sylas says. He gently releases my neck, takes my hand in his, and turns it over. Scratches ooze blood. “That was a really smart thing to do,” he says sarcastically.

  I remove my hand from his. “I just wanted to see what’s going on. I need to know what I’m doing. It’s driving me crazy. ”

  His gaze penetrates into my heart and under my skin. “That’s not what you were doing. There’s something you’re hiding from me. ” He leans onto his elbows and hovers over me. “If you’d just tell me, then maybe I could help. ”

  I press my lips together and smear my bloody hand on the side of my jeans, wincing from the sting. “I think… I think Aiden might be in trouble. ”

  “In trouble?” he questions. “Because there are tons of ways I can think of, starting with the fact that he’s human. ”

  “I think he might be dying. ” The truth fumbles from my lips.

  Sylas stares as me, surprised and unsure. “Of course he’s dying,” he says, all of the emotion erasing from his face. “He’s human and all humans die someday. ”

  “That’s not what I mean. ” I stand, ignoring the dizziness and the acceleration of my pulse.

  He pushes to his feet, standing close, invading my personal space—which is his favorite thing to do. “Then what do you mean, Kayla. I’m not a mind reader, so you’ll have to just spit it out. ”

  “What I saw… Monarch said he messed Aiden up. ” I suck in a breath at the sting in my heart. “And that he’s going to die because of it. Unless I change his mind. ”

  “Messed him up how?” He wonders, unaffected.

  I shrug, shaking my head. “He didn’t clarify the details. ”

  “Of course he didn’t. ” Sylas flex’s his hand. “He never does. But that’s why he’s been able to keep the secrets to saving the world hidden for so long. ”

  “But what do I need to change his mind about?” I ask. “What could I possibly say that could save him?”

  He waits impatiently for me to catch on. “It’s not your words that will save him. It’s what your words convince him to do. ”

  I frown, disheartened. “I have to convince him to become a Day Taker. ”

  He runs his fingers through his hair, fascinated by my answer. “If that’s what you think will save him. ”

  “I don’t know what will save him. I don’t know how to save anyone. ” I take a step back, putting some space between us. “So what do we do now? We’ve got Highers running the streets and my memories are only adding more questions and problems to fix. ”

  “We keep digging into your mind,” he answers simply. “We need to find out exactly what Monarch is planning. Why he created us. And how we’re supposed to save the world when it’s already dead. I mean, what is there to save?"

  “But what about Aiden? I think I need to save him too. ”

  “Why?” Sylas arches his eyebrow. “You want to go on a saving crusade? Let your human instincts get the best of you?” He pauses. “You’re going to have to make the decision: save Aiden, or save the world. And if saving Aiden means getting him to turn, I think it’s a pointless crusade. ” He walks out, the door swaying against the breeze of his rapid exit.

  I’m beginning to learn it is difficult making decisions. Not wanting to decide yet, I take out a bottle of water from the rotted cabinet beside the bed. The bottle is old and rusted and the water smells stale, but it works. I tilt my head down and drape my hair over. Then I twist off the cap and pour a stream of water across my neck and hair. The water drips down my forehead and to the floor, pooling red around my boots. It feels good to clean the blood off, but the open wounds will take time to heal.

  I sigh, part of me missing the medicine Monarch used to heal injuries in an instant. I close the bottle and put it back in the cupboard. I ring my hair out, flop down on the mattress, and wince from the pain burning on the back of my head. I slide my hand between the mattress and the wall. My fingers fumble around until they graze against my backpack. Inside it is the vial that can change me into a Day Taker. And Monarch’s gold pocket watch. I pull the watch out—his so-called key to the answers. But no matter what I do with it, it remains an inoperative watch.

  “What do you want me to do with this?” I whisper to the night, tracing the circular symbol on the back. The answer I get isn’t what I want. A scream, sharp and growing louder as it ricochets up the hall. I leap up, trip
over my feet, and ungracefully slam into the concrete. The watch slips from my fingers and crushes against the ground with a clank. My breath catches as the glass shatters. I scramble to my feet and pick up the watch. Thankfully, besides the shattered glass, it’s still intact.

  I slip the watch into my pocket and tiptoe for the door, but a tall figure zips in my room and slams me flat on my back, knocking the wind out of me. Stunned, I blink up at him as he pins my wrists down above my head. Blue eyes stare blankly at me. Eyes I’ve seen before, but thought I’d never see again.

  “Tristan?” I start to relax, until I sense what he’s feeling. It’s the most venomous emotion I’ve ever felt.

  Murder. Tristan wants to kill me.

  Chapter 5

  The sweet guy I knew from The Colony no longer exists. Instead, a murderous monster is inside, his eyes hollow, his expression numb and uncaring. He holds all the characteristics of the Higher, except for their pale hair and eyes.

  “Tristan!” I cry out as his hands snake around my neck. “Stop! This isn’t you!”

  His jaw drops and his grip slightly loosens. “How do you know me?”

  “I know you from The Colony,” I choke. “You used to know me before I got chosen for The Gathering. ”

  He eyes me suspiciously and forces his weight down, crushing my body. “I don’t remember you… You’re trying to get in my head and confuse me, just like they said you would. ”

  “No, they lie. I know you and you know me. ” I dig my nails into the backs of his hands until I draw blood.

  He jerks back, releasing some of his weight, and stares flabbergasted at the scratches on his hands. “What are you? A vampire?”

  “No, I’m not a vampire. ” I rise up onto my elbows. “What are you doing out here?”

  “I’m not sure…” He opens his mouth and his lips tremor. “But I think I need to—”

  Before he can show me what he needs, I jerk my leg up and knee him between the legs. He lets out a groan and his shoulders crumple forward. Taking advantage of his vulnerability, I kick him again. He slaps me across the face. My jaw pops and my ears ring. Tristan has gotten strong, like I used to be.

  “What happened to you?” I moan, hating the sound of my feeble voice.

  He strikes me again and blood pools in my mouth. Another slap and then something crashes into the back of him. Sylas and Tristan tumble over me. Tristan takes a swing at Sylas, but Sylas quickly zips to the side and dodges the impact.

  I scramble to my feet and hunt for my knife. “Where is it…” I realize I left it downstairs.

  Sylas laughs until Tristan actually hits him across the jaw. Sylas’ eyes darken and his teeth snap out. With a swift dip of his head, he plunges his fangs into Tristan’s neck. Tristan screams while Sylas sinks his teeth deeper. Tristan’s eyes roll into the back of his head and his eyelids flutter shut.