Darkness breaks, p.32
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       Darkness Breaks, p.32

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 32

 

  Fear escalates the room. The rest of the Watchers back up and speak through muffled static.

  “Hurry. ”

  “Backup. ”

  I prowl in a circle with my hands to the side, ready for the next one. But the crowd parts and opens the gap between me and the doorway. Gabrielle enters and when he sees the damage, he only smiles.

  “Bravo. ” He rolls up his sleeves and edges within reach.

  A Watcher spasms beside my foot. His mask is off and he gags on his own blood. He’s human and scared, and I almost pity him.

  Gabrielle’s eyes light up, enjoying the painful scene. “Couldn’t have done it better myself. Although, personally I would have made sure I killed them. ”

  I hesitate, my fingers curling together. “Tristan told you we were here. ”

  He shakes his head, pale eyes angered. “Monarch did. ”

  “You’re lying,” I growl, but he’s not.

  “You know I’m not. ” He gives a fake weary sigh. “The thing with Monarch is he never foresees everything that can go wrong. Like say with the virus… or with the Highers. ” He presses his hands together. “He tells you that it’s perfect and it is for a while. But then a defect reveals and he promises he’ll fix it. It happens over and over again, until weaknesses are showing up left and right. ”

  “I thought you said the Highers were perfect?” I challenge. “That you were invincible. ”

  “We are,” he snarls. “Just as soon as we kill you. ”

  My fangs snap out and I swing my fist up, upper cutting him in the chin.

  It stuns him and red fills his pale eyes. He slams his fist into my stomach, knocking the wind out of me. I choke, backing away. But the grin on his face sends a surge through me, one so powerful my body blazes with anger. I charge, ramming my head into his stomach. I keep going, shoving us through the doorway and down the hall. He grabs onto my neck and digs his fingers into my skin, drawing blood. We reach the room and sail through the hanging plastic, which wraps around us. He trips over the stacks of wood and we hit the floor hard.

  Gabrielle tears from the plastic instantly, but he gapes at his hands, drenched with blood. His fear of losing control slips through. Then his head snaps up and his fangs glint with revenge. He jumps so high he nearly touches the roof. I push up, but I’m forced back down as he topples on me.

  “He did better than I thought. ” He wipes the blood from his lips.

  I snake my hands around his arms and stab my nails into his skin until blood pools out. Then I writhe my head to the side and bite his wrist. He howls and inclines his head back, fangs pointing to the roof, before coming down and sinking into my neck. My brain shorts out and traces of mixed images flicker through my mind.

  Blood. Blood everywhere. Behind the red door.

  “Don’t give up,” Monarch whispers. “You’re not finished yet. ”

  “Help us!” A thousand painful screams flood my head.

  “Just because you love someone,” Sylas says to Aiden. “Doesn’t mean they love you back. You can’t force people to love. ”

  “I don’t love you,” I say and the figure turns away. “I don’t love you,” I repeat with a heavy heart because I’m lying.

  But it’s me and me alone. Love only gets in the way.

  “And you’re right, Kayla,” Monarch says. “At the moment, love is like a virus. It will turn you into someone else and weaken who you are. If you care too much, you can’t make the right decisions. And those are usually the hardest. No matter what you do, you can’t care for anyone. Even me. If it’s between saving me or the cure, you have to save the cure. Promise me Kayla. ”

  “I promise. ” My hands drape lifelessly to my side. I fight to stay conscious as long as I can. But eventually I sink into blackness.

  Chapter 26

  “You need to stop protecting me all the time,” I say to Aiden. We hide in the corner of the room behind the red door, cuffed by dangling chains. “I can handle more than you think. ”

  Aiden shakes his head. His eyes are swollen shut and his lip is cut. He’s broken and bruised and pain floods his body. “Whether you can handle it or not, I’ll always protect you, Kayla. ” He grazes his tender lips against mine and slips his tongue inside my mouth. A quick kiss, before he pulls away. “I hate seeing you in pain. ”

  The love he feels for me beats in my heart. “I don’t want you to be in pain either. ”

  “I know. ” He takes my hand. “But it needs to be this way. I can’t lose you. Ever. It would kill me. ”

  I give a small smile, but the feelings swarming in my heart are perplexing. “Why do you love me Aiden?”

  “Because I feel lost without you,” he says, like I should understand already. He scoots forward and takes my hand. “Even when you don’t listen to me—even when you do things I think are wrong, I still love you. You’re the only one who’s ever made me feel helpless. ”

  Is that what love is? I’m uncertain if I’ve felt love before.

  Monarch enters from the hall leading to the back room. His white coat is ripped and his hands are smeared with red. His grey eyes are underlined with dark circles.

  “Who’s next?” He waits patiently for our answer.

  I begin to stand, but Aiden squeezes my hand and volunteers. “I’ll go. ”

  My chest tightens and a large lump swells in my throat. But I stay on the floor.

  Monarch huffs an exhausted breath at Aiden. “You never give up. ” He unlocks the chains and directs Aiden to the back room, disappointed he volunteered again, but proud that I let him.

  Proud my feelings didn’t get in the way.

  ***

  My body is heavy, lifeless, drained of too much blood. My head hangs and my arms and legs are tied to a chair. Blood streams down my neck and tubes embed my skin.

  My eyelids flutter open. Lights blink above me and blood pools the floor. I know this place. It’s the room behind the red door, the one where I slaughtered the girl and infected Gabrielle. Only the red door is now just a hole in the wall that leads to the glass cages.

  I squirm to free my wrists, but the tubes feed me silver poison that burns in my veins. I tip the chair forward and put my weight on my legs. Taking small steps, I make my way across the room, heading for the hole. I inch closer, forcing my legs to stay firm as I drag the machines attacked to the tubes. Each step is agonizing, but I finally make it there.

  Spotlights click on and I blink against the brightness.

  “Your tolerance is truly amazing. ” A familiar voice like ice slithers up my back. “I honestly didn’t realize how well I did. ”

  I refuse to turn around and face the man who I once considered my father.

  “Kayla, there’s no reason to be afraid of me,” Monarch says in an unemotional tone.

  “I’m not afraid of you. ” I turn awkwardly to face him. “The only thing I feel for you is hatred. Not fear. ”

  He stands in front of a door, wearing a white robe, just like the other Highers. His hair is pale and feathery, and his once grey eyes are as white as snow. There is no Monarch inside him, except for the same shape of facial features. But even those have smoothed out.

  “Hatred is good,” Monarch says with vacant eyes.

  The chair digs into my back and my knees begin to buckle. I lower the chair in front of the hole in the wall and sit down. The machines beep loudly as the silver swims up the tubes and into my blood.

  “Where’s Sylas?” I ask. “Did he…did he change?”

  Monarch shakes his head. “You know it was the one thing that I could never take away from you. And I tried to take it away multiple times. I don’t know why you just can’t understand that love makes you weak. ”

  “Did he change?” I repeat. “Or did you kill him?”

  He doesn’t answer. I try to reach through the numbness and see what’s hiding inside him. But he’s hollow.

  “Why did you do it?” I ask
. “Why did you turn into one of them?”

  He adjusts a knob on the machine. “I was always supposed to be one, but my transformation got put on hold due to kinks in the Higher strand. ”

  I droop forward, my head bobbing. “The one that started with me. ”

  “And the one that will end with you. ” He steps away from the machine and tucks the tail of his robe behind him. “I never told them that you were the only test subject the strand worked correctly on. I was too arrogant and determined that I couldn’t fail. I got one right, so that meant it worked. I somehow managed to ignore the other multiple failures… and the results were anything but perfect. ”

  “Like the vampires? And those creepy things Dominic turned into?”

  “Dominic deserved what he got,” Monarch says coldly. “Just like I did. I thought I could withstand the virus. ” He glances down at his pale skin. “But I’ve learned that you can’t control everything unless you are in higher authority. ”

  “Why haven’t you killed me yet?” I ask. “You know as well as I do that I can save the world. And considering your current condition, I’m sure you don’t want that. ”

  “No, we definitely don’t want that. ” He twists the machine around and punches a large amount of buttons. “But we can’t kill you. Not until you save our breed. ”

  My eyebrows furrow as the door clicks open. Gabrielle enters, wearing a clean white robe. His injured hands are wrapped up and his eyes burn with vengeance.

  “Make sure not to kill her,” Monarch tells him. “We need her alive. ”

  Gabrielle nods with a wicked glint in his expression. Before Monarch steps out, he lets me know with a simple feeling that Sylas isn’t dead yet. I wonder if somewhere deep inside the old Monarch still exists.

  He locks the door behind him and Gabrielle crosses the room in three long strides. He pops his injured knuckles and lets his fangs descend. There’s no warning as his fist slams into my cheek. My jaw crunches like crumpled metal. Invigoration takes him over as he strives to get his control back and show himself that he has more power.

  I spit blood on the floor. “You know it doesn’t really count if I’m tied up. ”

  His fist jabs my chin. It happens over and over again until I’m covered in blood and bruises. But I refuse to scream because that’s what he wants. When he finally backs away, his robe is soaked with my blood. He feels better about himself and lets two Watchers into the room.

  “Take her to her cell,” he orders.

  They untie me and rip the tubes from my skin. My feet stumble across the floor as they haul me to a glass cell. They toss me in and the door slams shut. I roll onto my hands and knees and kneel up in front of the glass. Blood trickles from my hair and my hands. Gabrielle watches from the other side, curious to know what I’ll do next.

  I hold his gaze, showing no signs of the pain I feel. “Do whatever you want with me,” I say, letting my bloody hand press against the glass. “Torture me. Hurt me. Dope me up with whatever you want. See how far you can break me. ” I pause, letting my bloody hand streak the glass. “But just remember, I’m the one who can hurt you. And I have. ”