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Darkness falls (darkness.., p.36
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       Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1), p.36

           Jessica Sorensen

  Chapter 35

  “We should just sleep through the night and then walk the rest of the way in the morning.” Ryder paces in front of us, her matted hair pulled up in high ponytail. Her ears are strange. They have these large holes in them, which she’s filled with black buttons that have red dots in the center.

  After we left the bubble-top building, and the Day Takers, we ran until we reached the land where the red rocks start. There, we found a place to rest, because everyone, including myself, was getting tired.

  Aiden’s bandaging up my wrist with a piece of his shirt that he ripped off. But I can still feel everything; every burn, every sting, every pain. It hurts and I hate it. I feel like everything’s spinning out of control and I can’t stop it.

  “Hey,” Aiden says, drawing me back to reality. “You’re going to be okay. Everything’s going to heal.”

  “Except for the scars,” I say.

  The corners of his mouth quirk and he touches his eye where the scar used to be. “Yeah, maybe.” He touches his cheek where there’s a fresh new cut. “Maybe I’ll be lucky enough to get a new one.”

  I forge a small smile, feeling like I don’t belong out here, like I’m supposed to be doing something else—something more important. “Wait. Who’s watching Maci?” I ask Ryder.

  She stops pacing and her voice comes out small and guilty. “Umm… Dominic.”

  “What!” Aiden and I shout together.

  “What’s wrong with you, Ryder?” Aiden says. “I told you to keep Dominic away from her.”

  She looks like he’s slapped her. “There was no one else, okay? I did what I had to do to save your stupid ass, which I might add, I told you was going to happen.”

  Aiden calms down a little. “How’d you even know we needed help? Or where to find us? Or anything for that matter?”

  She fiddles with her ear piece. “Maci told me that you guys might run into some problems.”

  “How would she know?” He asks, wiping the sweat from his face with his shirt.

  Ryder bites on her lip, glancing at me. “I’m not sure.”

  “Because she knows things,” I explain with a sigh. “Even before they happen. Which is why she shouldn’t be with Dominic.”

  “Dominic told me that she’d be fine with him,” Ryder says, like that means something. She hops on a rock and crosses her legs. “And I didn’t tell him about her little seeing gift.”

  Whether he knows or not, I don’t trust Dominic the least little bit. And getting back to the hillside suddenly seems like my top priority.

  We hide out for the night, in the shelter of an empty cave. Before anyone entered, I snuck in to check things out and make sure it was unoccupied. Then we all squished inside and sealed it with a large pile of rocks, locking away the outside, but smothering us with darkness.

  I didn’t mind the dark, but the others seemed a little restless. Cedrix, thankfully, has a tiny light, that clicks on and off with the flip of a button. He placed it on the ground and we all laid around it, wordlessly listening to their shrieks fill up the night.

  The sounds of heavy breathing fill the cave as everyone starts to doze into dreamland. That’s when it all comes rushing back to me, when I have nothing else to distract me. I was created. Monarch is a Higher. I need to save him and the world, but I don’t know how. And I’ve left his pocket watch with Sylas.

  “God, I can’t believe this,” I mumble to myself.

  “So what did Sylas tell you?” Aiden’s voice rises through my thoughts. He lies beside me, arms crossed, eyes shut.

  “I thought you were asleep.” I stare up at the ceiling of the cave.

  His eyes open and he rolls onto his side. “I have too much going on in my mind to sleep.”

  “I know the feeling.” I roll on my side too and there’s a disturbing silence choking between us. “Why didn’t you just tell me about the Day Takers? It would have saved us a whole lot of problems.”

  He shrugs. “Out of fear I guess. I was afraid after you learned what you were, you’d take the medicine and join them.”

  “But to go to the extent of dragging me out into the city to find a man who was dead? It just doesn’t make any sense.”

  “You know what, you’re right. It doesn’t make sense.” He rolls over so he’s on top of me and can look me in the eye. “I might not agree with what the Day Takers are doing—after a life spent in a lab, the last thing I want to do is sentence myself to a life I don’t want. But it’s not just about what I think is right, it’s about you getting yourself killed. We all had these little gifts, because of the experiments,” he says. “But yours … you ended up with something that everyone is going to want—to be the one who the vampires fear. It’s going to get you killed. Or worse, back in the lab.” He rolls off of me and sits up. “Look what Dominic did to you.”

  “He tried to kill me because he thought I was going to turn into a Higher,” I say. “Not because I can walk with the vampires.”

  “You’re not a Higher, Kayla,” he says. “And I think Dominic knew that … he was just afraid of you.”

  “But I killed the Higher,” I say. “It took my hands and plunged the knife into its chest.”

  “Then he killed with your hands—he killed himself.” He runs his hand through his dark, sweaty hair. “You’re not a Higher.” But he’s not fully convinced; I can feel the slight hint of fear on him.

  He lies back down, playing with my hair as he falls asleep. I watch his chest rise and fall with his breathing. I think about staying awake all night, just keeping my eyes open, like I used to do all the time.

  But those times are gone. And after a while it becomes too much and I let my eyes shut.