Darkness breaks, p.5
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       Darkness Breaks, p.5

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 5

 

  “The world’s life is in your hands,” Monarch’s voice whispers in my head. “You can’t die! Fight!”

  Staring into Tristan’s eyes is like looking into a Highers’ eyes. Slanting my head back, I suck a small breath through my nose and thrust my head into Tristan’s face. The sound of the impact is like bricks being smashed against a wall. His eyes roll back into his head and his hands slip from my neck.

  Spots tickle my vision and I stagger from left to right. Tristan collapses to the ground, moaning in agony. My legs tremble to fall, the sky spins with such force that the smoke dances and twirls, and my head sings a tune. I fall for the concrete floor, but hands brace me.

  “Your head’s not a weapon. ” Sylas peers down at me. “Next time use something else on him. ”

  “Great advice. ” I clutch my head, blinking wildly as I regain my balance and wiggle from Sylas. “But it was all I could think of at the moment. ”

  Tristan fights to get up, huffing and puffing, his face red. “What… happened? Why am I here? Who are you?”

  “He’s insane. ” Sylas nods his head at him. “Emmy, you might as well get it over with. He’s getting on my nerves. ”

  Emmy stalks from the shadows of the doorway. Her hair blows in the wind, her boots scuff the ground, and her gaze locks on Tristan as if he’s a delicious treat. She whisks like a phantom, as if she’s flying. Her arms soar up and her fingers pierce against Tristan’s temples. It’s like watching someone die, only the mind still thrives, and Tristan’s body becomes immobile.

  With her fingers remaining on his head, Emmy lowers Tristan to the concrete and works to summon his erased memories.

  “How do we get him to confess what he knows even after she extracts the memories?” I ask, watching Emmy press her fingers farther into Tristan’s skin. “And what if Emmy kills him in the process?”

  “Wow. ” Sylas’ eyes twinkle with specks of amber. “You’re starting to sound as cruel as me. ”

  “I never said it was okay to kill him. ” I move to the edge of the rooftop. The land below is buried with ashes. Vampires roam the streets, scavenging for blood and human flesh. There is no humanity left in the hungry monsters as they hunt for their next kill. But how much different are we? Standing up here, letting Emmy endanger Tristan’s life on the whim she’ll discover the secrets of The Colony?

  “You feel too much. ” Sylas props his foot up on the ledge of the roof. “You’re going to have to turn it off, or else it’s going to get the best of you. ”

  “Is that what you do?” I meet his eyes, my hair dusting my cheeks as the wind howls. “Do you turn it off Sylas? Is your uncaring behavior just an act?”

  His eyes never waver and his eyebrows rise with a dare. “You tell me. After all, you do know me better than anyone. At least you used to. ”

  His gaze makes me nervous, like it always does whenever he sneaks into my emotions. From behind us, Tristan moans and Emmy snarls, but I don’t let my eyes cower from Sylas. The longer I focus on him, the less unsettled my body feels. I feel a newfound surge of energy, one that wants answers, one that knows I’m about to cross a dangerous line. In a quick shooting motion, I grab onto Sylas’ arm. I grip tightly, digging my nails into his skin. He’s surprised, eyes’ blinking wildly, like no one has ever touched him without permission. For one brief second, his guard and control crumbles. A window opens, revealing a small insight into his soul. He’s always afraid… always afraid of failing, of letting people in, of being human, yet at the same time, he fears he’s lost all of his humanity.

  “An act,” I declare boldly.

  His eyes flare and his lips curl, allowing his teeth to dangerously glint in the night. I worry he might shove me off the roof and let me fall to my death. And maybe he would have, if Tristan hadn’t beaten him to the punch.

  As the blow of Emmy’s scream slams against my eardrums, Tristan’s body crashes into mine. Our bodies tangle as we fly airborne, off the roof, and plummet to the ground toward my death. I shut my eyes. But I feel something sparkle against my head and my eyelids whip open to Tristan’s smile. He has one hand on my hand and the other on my hip.

  “Don’t forget me,” he says and the sparkles in my head ignite. I feel everything he’s ever felt. It’s the most powerful thing and I’ll never be able to forget it. His pain, fear, and worry. Then he releases me, only a few feet from the ground.

  Death. What is it like?

  Buildings rush my vision and hands grasp my waist. It happens so quickly it takes my mind a few delayed seconds to catch up with reality. Sylas catches me and somehow maneuvers his body between me and the road. I feel like I’ve been knocked by a vampire, but I’m not dead.

  “Are you okay?” Sylas asks, his body concaved into the asphalt. For a fleeting moment he looks human, his emotions raw in his expression.

  I nod slowly, my head heavy and full of Tristan’s lingering emotions; love, pain, death. “Are you okay?”

  His humanity promptly fades. “I’m not the one who’s a fragile human, am I?”

  I shove off him and dust the ash off my hands, glancing around the street frantically. “Where’s Tristan?”

  Sylas pushes to his feet and rubs his jawline. “Huh? I thought the fall would have killed him, but it seems he’s vanished into thin air. ”

  I peer down a dark alleyway. “That’s not a good thing Sylas. He wanted to kill me—someone sent him to kill me. ” I turn to him. “Didn’t you see where… ” My eyes widen.

  He follows my gaze, past his shoulder, to what’s behind him. Vampires. At least a half a dozen and all of them ready to eat.

  “Well, crap. ” He backs into me, the muscles in his neck tensing. “This is bad. ”

  Capturing the sleeve of his shirt, I guide him toward the alley. A swarm of fleshless vampires arise from behind barrels, eyes bleeding, lips drooling—a smell that is foul enough to heighten my gag reflex. They sniff the air and pick up my scent, forcing them to draw back. Then they inch forward as they detect Sylas. They’re confused. The rabid beasts despise me, but Sylas is like a mouthwatering treat.

  “Kayla,” Sylas says as he takes in the fact that we’re surrounded. “Now’s probably the time to start kicking ass. ”

  “There’s too many of them. ” I gape, turning in a small circle. “I can’t even take on one yet. ”

  “Well, you’re going to have to try. ” He backs up. “One bite and I’m dead. ”

  “No, you’re infected,” I clarify with a frown. “Not dead. ”

  A vampire shrieks and the others follow in unison, like a chorus of death.

  “Same thing. ” He spins on his heels and takes me by the shoulders. “Because if I get bit you’ll have to kill me. I won’t become one of them. ”

  I don’t bother mentioning that he is partially one already. “Fine, but you owe me for this. ”

  “I owe no one. Ever. ”

  “You do now. ”

  He scowls. “Just get me far away from here. We can’t go back to the hideout, not after that boy showed up looking for you. ”

  One vampire ventures in on us. I move to drop kick it in the face but trip over my feet. “What about the others?” I skitter sideways. “You’re just going to leave them there?”

  “They can fend for themselves,” he says, acting tough, but a faint flicker of guilt shimmers from inside him. “It’s what they were built for. ”

  It starts with a hard shove from a vampire towering in the back. The bodies of the blood-thirsty beasts ripple forward and pile the ground, some falling, some diving for Sylas.

  “Now would be the time to run. ” I knock my arm into the back of one’s head and my elbow pops. Blood squirts out of an open wound on the vampire and I jump out of the way to avoid being infected.

  “Are you sure—” Sylas starts, hesitating.

  “Just go,” I cut him off as a vampire clicks its teeth as Sylas. “I can handle this. ”

  A lie. But
that’s what I’m good at.

  There is no more hesitation. Sylas is much faster than me and if we try to run together, I’ll only hold him back. He knows it. I know it. The best thing for him to do is bail. Once he’s gone, the vampires won’t want anything to do with me.

  He pierces me with a look bursting with heat and my blood scorches like liquid fire.

  “Hurry. ” He winks and then he’s gone, launching himself over the thinner area of the crowd and into the street. Some chase after him, but Sylas can outrun them, so I’m not too worried.

  Once he disappears, I relax, knowing the remaining vampires are going to flee. They loiter, blinking as the blood from their eyes subsides. I wish I had my knife so I could at least try and take one out. Especially the one farthest to my left who won’t seem to take it’s gaze off me. It pants loudly, eyes refusing to stop bleeding. Concerned that it might be defective, I inch to the right, trying to herd an escape route. But none of them will budge. They pant louder and their eyes rain red. Blood splatters against the pavement and rivers for my feet. I think of my dream. Aiden and I as kids, walking toward each other on a blood-stained street piled with famished vampires.

  I search the ground for a stake, for some sort of weapon as they horde in on me. One sniffs my arm and then howls at the night.

  “Damn it!” I jerk back, but I’m shoved forward. I trip and thrust out my hands to break the fall. That’s when I realize what’s wrong. My hands are covered in blood. Not my blood. It has to be either Sylas’ or Tristan’s. I’m in deep trouble. My scent is now overlapped by someone else’s. And vampires love the scent of everyone’s blood but mine.

  A large, rounded one, with big eyes and a gaping hole in its cheek, launches at my leg. I ram the tip of my boot into its head. My toes pop and the vampire howls. Its fangs take another snap and they miss my skin by a sliver of an inch.

  Weapon! Weapon! Weapon! My head screams at me.

  I scan the buildings, the ground, the sky, but no weapons, only vampires. One smashes into my back and a pain cripples me to the ground. Blood currents down my hair, my neck, my back. I roll to my side and my head thumps against the ground. A stampede of mutilated feet mobs my vision.

  You have to get up!

  I check to my left then my right, even though the voice was inside my head. “Monarch. ”

  You have to run!

  “I’m trying!” I shout even though I know he can’t hear me.

  Flipping onto my stomach, I prop up onto my elbows. With a loud grunt, I heave myself up and the world spins. Something sharp sinks into my leg and I fumble. Blood gushes down my leg and puddles around my feet. My veins burn. My eyes sting.

  I’ve been bit and I’m going to die.

  Chapter 6

  “Ring around the rosie. A pocket full of posies. ”

  My eyelids are sealed shut, heavy with death. The damp earth is under me and there’s a chorus of voices singing.