Darkness breaks, p.31
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       Darkness Breaks, p.31

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 31

 

  He flips a paper over, shaking his head. “But maybe Blondie does. ”

  “Tristan, can you read?” I glance over my shoulder, but the room is empty. “Shit, I think he ran off. ” I hurry to the glass cells and check each one while Sylas searches the hall. We meet in the doorway, shaking our heads.

  “Well, at least we don’t have to take care of him anymore. ” Sweat drips from Sylas’ forehead and dribbles down onto the stack of papers he carries in his hands.

  “But we don’t know where he’s heading. ” I take the papers from him and fan through them. “He could be going to the Highers. Or he could backtrack to the others. ”

  Sylas rests against the doorframe. “You’re worrying too much again. ”

  I freeze, hugging the papers to my chest.

  Sylas waves his hand in front of my face. “Are you alive in there?”

  I hold up a finger, signaling for him to be quiet. My memories tug at my brain, painful and violent. My head rings and my eyes twitch. I grip the papers.

  “Kayla…. ” Sylas’ voice fades.

  ***

  “You’re worrying too much again,” Monarch says to Taggart as he rummages through the cabinet drawers. “This is a flawless plan. ”

  Glass cells row the room. I watch from my cell as Monarch maneuvers his hand behind the cabinet in the corner.

  “That kind of thinking is what got us into trouble in the first place. ” Taggart says, his large shoulders stooped over as he scoots the cabinet from the wall.

  “The cameras are off?” Monarch checks with Taggart.

  Taggart glances at the ceiling corners and nods. “But hurry. It won’t be long before they figure out they’re off. ”

  Monarch slips behind the cabinet and seconds later, emerges with a stack of papers in his hands. Taggart forces the cabinet back to the wall. Then they head to my cell and I back to the middle as they press the buttons. Taggart waits outside, while Monarch slinks in. He’s wearing his white coat, smudged with dirt. His grey eyes are warmer and he seems happy.

  “This is the last time,” he says, handing me the papers.

  I read over them quicker than my brain can process and give the papers back.

  “Now you understand what this is?” He stacks them neatly in his arms.

  I nod robotically. “It means there’s a cure. ”

  “And you understand what you have to do?”

  I pause and his face falls. “I don’t understand what it means. How do I make the cure?”

  The corners of Monarch’s eyes crinkle. “That, Kayla, isn’t for you to remember. You only have to put the pieces together and someone else will have the answers. Once you figure everything out and get all your memories back, you’ll be able to understand what these papers mean. ”

  “Aiden,” I start, but he raises a finger in warning.

  “We don’t talk about those things, remember. ” He points his finger at a camera mounted in the corner of my cell. “They’re always watching us in here. ” He points at his temple. “And in here. It’s not safe. ”

  I step forward. “But then how am I supposed to do it?”

  He frowns at my question. “We’ll get there in time. But first I have to make a few more tweaks with you. ”

  He raps on the door and Taggart opens it. “And remember you are never to speak of this again, until the time is right. The Highers can’t know what you are or what you know. ”

  “Because they would kill me. ” I move to the door.

  “No,” he answers with a heavy-hearted sigh. “Because they would become you. And that can’t happen. The Highers can’t reach perfection, ever. ”

  Then he takes a syringe from his pocket and stabs it in my arms. “Forget now. Remember later. ”

  I fall back into my cell and hug my legs to my chest, the memories of the cure drifting away.

  Chapter 25

  “Kayla. Kayla. Kayla. ” A voice echoes.

  My head and neck spasm as I try to pry my eyelids open.

  “Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. ”

  I open my eyes and find Sylas staring down at me. His face is close, his skin perspiring. His hand shivers against my cheek as he leans back to give me room.

  “The cure is in those papers. ” I sit up and take the papers, filing through them.

  He wipes his forehead and leans close. “What do they say?”

  “That’s something I don’t know. ” I align the papers and tuck them under my arm. “But Aiden does… with Ryder’s help. ”

  We turn to the wall where the red door once was.

  “Where’d it go?” I get to my feet and press my hand against the wall, feeling for breaks or loose pieces of brick. “It’s as solid as a rock. ”

  “It existed, right?” I ask Sylas. “You’ve seen the red door before. ”

  He doesn’t answer.

  My fingers poke into a dent and flake some of the shavings of brick out. “Sylas?”

  There’s a thud and I spin around. Sylas lies motionless on the floor, his shirt soaked in sweat, his life drifting away from him.

  “What happened?” I hurry to the floor, tossing the papers aside, my eyes scanning his body for any wounds. His skin is a ghastly white and his eyes are glossed over. Blood drips from his forehead and I smooth his hair back. Blood bubbles sketch his hairline.

  My hand moves to the hem of his shirt and the bite on his abdomen is in the same condition. “Dominic infected you. ”

  “See anything you like,” he jokes with a cough.

  I let go of his shirt. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

  He tries to sustain a calm expression. “Why would I? You don’t have a cure yet. And who knows if there’s even a cure for this particular breed. ”

  I glance over at the dead beast in the doorway. Its corroded flesh, warped legs, and homicidal eyes are now Sylas’ future. Something constricts deep inside my chest and I roll my shoulders, trying to force it away.

  “Kayla,” Sylas’ weak voice brings me back to him. “I need you to do it. I feel it spreading and soon it’s going to take over. ”

  I shake my head. “No, I won’t do it. ”

  “Kayla,” Sylas says with warning. “You did it for Cedrix and you can do it for me. Don’t let me become that. ”

  “I’ll find a way to fix it. ” I start to get up, pulling at my long black hair. “Give me a minute and I’ll figure something out. ”

  He grips my arm and I drift back to the floor. “I don’t have a minute. ” His chest heaves and I worry it’s going to split open like Dominic’s chest did before he transformed. “You need to do it now. ”

  Blinking my eyes, I take the knife from my pocket. My hand is unsteady and the thing in my chest knots tighter. I shut my eyes and hand him the knife.

  “You have to do it,” he whispers and I open my eyes. His shoulder jolts, attempting to lift his arm, but it flops to the ground. “I can barely move my hand. ”

  I press my lips together, biting the inside of my cheek so hard I draw blood.

  “Please, Kayla. ” The begging in his voice strangles me.

  I choke back my emotions and nod. Lifting the knife, I close my eyes. But all I see is a little girl holding a red flower and a boy with dark eyes secretly wanting to make her happy. The knot in my chest makes my eyes open. I lean over him and press my lips to his.

  “Kayla,” he protests against my lips. “What are you—”

  “Shhh…” I whisper and kiss him again.

  He gives up and kisses me back, softly at first, sweat beading down his skin. He tastes salty and cold. I hold back, even when he deepens the kiss. It feels wrong, but right at the same time. I dip closer as I slide my hands down his arms, parting my lips and intensifying the kiss. Sylas lets go, his shield cracking. A raw feeling slips out and heats inside my chest. He loves me in ways I didn’t think were imaginable.

  “You know I really do love you. ” Sylas moves closer and wh
ispers from his chains, “Even though Monarch says I can’t—that it’s not my place. ”

  I search his face for a sign he’s joking. “Oh really. ” I scoot toward him, lugging the chains around my wrists with me. “Is that the truth, Sylas Anders?”

  His eyes are dark, his grin teasing. “You tell me, Kayla Juniper. ”

  I press back a smile, secretly loving that he used my nickname. “I don’t know… my gift is a little rusty today. Maybe you’ll just have to show me. ”

  He cups the back of my neck and looks me in the eye. “I never lie. It’s getting me to tell you what I know that’s the hard part. ”

  “And what do you know?” I ask. “What are you so afraid to say?”

  His gaze intensifies. “That I’ll love you forever, even when I won’t admit it. ”

  Then he kisses me, his words consuming every part of my body. And for the first time in a long time I feel happy.

  ***

  The memory overtakes me. Questions and emotions grasp my heart in the realest ways. I wrap my arms around his neck, moving my lips with his, forgetting where we are and what’s about to happen. For a second, I’m back in my old neighborhood with Sylas and Aiden by my side.

  His pain finally slips through and he draws his lips back. “Kayla, you have to do it. ” His whole body shudders. “Do it now. ”

  I stare wide-eyed at the knife in my hand. “Sylas, I don’t think I can kill you. ”

  He coughs, hacking up blood. “You remember when you were being tortured…. and Aiden wouldn’t put you out of your misery. You remember what you wanted. ”

  “I wanted to die. ” It’s then I understand.

  I raise the knife above my head and he holds my gaze. His wall crumbles and unsaid words grasp at my heart. Aiming the knife for his heart, I swing down. But I drop the knife as a zap of static shocks me in the spine. My body goes rigid and I crumple sideways.

  Watchers troop into the room, breathing through their masks, a silver-threaded net in their hands. My head deadens to the floor, to Sylas, who’s alive and trapped in a cage of pain. He’s closing in on changing; I can feel it. I inch for him, but the Watchers toss the net over us. The silver burns at our skin, suffocating our blood.

  A Watcher crouches in front of me, breathing loudly through the mask. Murder overpowers me and I fling the net from my body. My wounds stitch shut, and I kick his mask. The blow sends him skyrocketing and his head slams the wall.

  Speakers static. “Code red. ”

  Watchers stampede behind me. I kick back, nailing one in the gut. Then spring my other leg up, slamming a hard strike to the next Watcher over. He stutters back as one gripes me from the side. I ram my elbow into his throat and he chokes out in agony.

  More rush through the doorway, leaping over the dead body of the beast. I back to the wall, eyeing them, and some of them hesitate. They know what I am and they’re scared. I tip my chin down and sprint forward, my feet barely touching the floor. When I reach the first one, I flip my body, turning upside down, and my legs collide with their bodies. I land on my toes and coil around, fists flaring. One zaps a Taser at me. I dodge aside, sneaking my hand around his neck, and slam his face into my knee.