Darkness falls, p.7
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       Darkness Falls, p.7

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 7

 

  “The man in the white coat. ” She pauses, sweeping her hair out of her eyes. “Your dad. ”

  Monarch. “But Maci, I don’t understand. Why would Mon… I mean, my dad take you there?”

  “Because I was dead,” she replies, tracing circles in the sand with her boots.

  “I think Maci hit her head or something,” Bernard says.

  “I didn’t hit my head,” Maci protests, putting her hands on her hips. “I know what I saw. ”

  “Yeah, an Angel. ” Bernard sneers. “Whatever the heck that is. ”

  “Kayla, tell Bernard I’m right,” Maci says. “Tell him the Angel saved us. ”

  I blink at the girl who said she was dead and I recollect my last few visits to the hospital. I couldn’t hear Maci’s pulse. Worse, I suddenly become painfully aware of something.

  Either my ability to detect heartbeats is defective. Or all three of us stand here walking, talking, and breathing without a heartbeat.

  Chapter 10

  I once had to run for over three hours during a surprise attack while out on a raid. I was with two other Bellators and decided to use myself as a decoy, so they could get away. There were so many vampires and it took me forever to find a way back to The Colony. But that day I discovered something remarkable. I’m fast. And I mean fast, with seemingly never-ending endurance.

  I decide the best thing to do is figure out a plan. It’s getting late and if there are vampires prowling around, theyll be out as soon as dark possesses the sky. I tell Maci and Bernard to wait where they are, while I run up to the top of the highest rock and scope things out. I make it to the top in no time, but my breath catches at what I see. Miles and miles of red rock stacking the golden desert land. There’s no sign of life, water, or food. No buildings. No people. To add to the bad situation, hundreds of caves carve the sides of the red rocks, which means there are hundreds of places for vampires to hide. The clouds are starting to shift, deepening in color. Darkness is rapidly approaching.

  “You can handle this, Kayla,” I mutter to myself. “You just need to come up with a plan. ”

  “Kayla!” Bernard hollers. “Get down here. Maci won’t shut up about this stupid Angel thing!”

  Who do they think I am? Their mother? From up here, they look like tiny dots in a land of dust, arguing with each other, making way too much noise. I could just take off and leave them here to fend for themselves. It’d be easier to find a place to hide and much faster if I were alone. But I’m not that kind of person; I realize that right away. So I climb back down the rocks.

  “Okay. ” I dust the dirt off my hands and knees. “Here are the rules that we’re going to need to follow if we want to have a chance at surviving. Rule number one—”

  “We already know the rules. ” Bernard rolls his eyes. “Always carry a weapon. Never go out after dark. Never get bit, yadda, yadda, yadda. ”

  “Those rules don’t apply to us anymore—well, except for the getting bit part. That always applies. ” I wave my hand at the sky. “Night’s coming and we have no place to hide. ” I pause. “Now, we’re going to have to make up our own rules if we want to survive out here. Okay everyone check your pockets and see if you have anything on you. ” They start patting the pockets of their pants, while I check my leather jacket.

  “I got nothin. ” Bernard kicks a rock and it slingshots across the air and skids to the ground. “This is such crap. What’d they do? Search all my pockets before they threw me out? They even took my freakin’ necklace. ”

  His necklace. Inside my pocket, my fingers graze the cold metallic plate. Right beside it is Monarch’s pocket watch. I can’t believe they’re both still there. I take them out.

  Bernard steals his necklace away. “You took this from me?”

  “No, I found it in the hospital, after I saw Gabrielle dragging you down the hall,” I say. “Which, by the way, what happened with that?”

  He gives me a dirty look, ignoring my last question. “Yeah, right. Sure you did. ” He nods at Monarch’s pocket watch. “And who’d you steal that from?”

  I close my hand around the pocket watch. “I don’t remember you being this rude. ”

  “And I don’t remember you being a thief,” he snaps.

  “It’s from her dad,” Maci interrupts, walking between us, her hair a halo of red blowing in the wind. “He gave it to her before he died. ”

  I wrap my hand around the pocket watch, the warm metal pressing against the palm of my hand, memories of Monarch swirling my head. “Maci, how do you know he gave it to me? Were you awake or something?”

  She shakes her head and smiles sweetly. “I just know. ”

  “Okay. ” I’m not sure what to do about all this. The kid is talking about Angels, death, and knowing everything, like someone would talk about what they ate for dinner.

  Bernard hooks the necklace around his neck and gives a quick squint at the metal plate, before tucking it under his black t-shirt. But I catch a glimpse of the numbers on it. This time I know they’re numbers because some match what’s on the face of the pocket watch.

  “So that says your name on it?” I question, nodding at the spot on his shirt where the necklace hides.

  He crosses his arms over his chest. “Yes, Kayla,” he says snidely. “I already told you this once. ”

  Talking to him is pointless so I move on to the last thing in my pocket. My knife. I inch it out, the silver handle the perfect fit for my hand, the jagged blade sharp enough for plunging into a vampire’s chest. If I ever get that far.

  “Does anyone have anything else, weapons, anything at all?” I ask, tracing my finger tip along the blade.

  “Nope,” Bernard answers, not bothering to check.

  I consider patting him down just to make sure. “What about you Maci…?” I trail off at what the small girl clutches in her hands. “Where did you get those?”

  She hands me three syringes and three vials, each filled with a black liquid. “The Angel gave them to me. ”

  Lines sketch the label, forming words I can’t read. “Did they tell you what to do with them?”

  “Yeah, he said we were supposed to inject them,” she says, zipping up her jacket. “As soon as we got out here—that it would save us. ”

  Inject an unknown medicine into my body? “Wait. Someone told you we were going to wake up here—out in the desert?” I ask. “Did they tell you why?”

  She nods. “But I can’t tell you yet—not until you’re ready. ”

  “Did they say—”

  A shriek rips the air, like a siren of death. We all freeze.

  The vampires have awakened.

  Chapter 11

  “No… no no no. ” Bernard’s on the verge of a meltdown, tugging at his hair as he rocks back and forth. “This can’t be happening. This can’t be happening. ”

  “Calm down. ” I stuff the watch and vials into my pocket. “It’s just like when we’re out on a raid. We just gotta stay on our toes and stay out of their sight. ”

  “No it’s not, Kayla!” He screams. “This is totally different. We’re not in the city and it’s dark—no one goes on raids when it’s dark. ”

  Except me. “Keep your voice down,” I hiss. “You’re going to lead them right to us. ”

  “Kayla. ” Maci tugs on my sleeve. “We’re not safe here. We need to move. ”

  “I know. I’m working on it. ”

  Darkness hasn’t quite touched the land yet so we have a little time. But not much.

  Another shriek ripples the air.

  “Kayla,” Maci says, jerking my arms. “We need to go. Now. If we stay here, we die. ”

  “Okay, okay, follow me. ” I hike up the sandy hill, heading for a steeple of rocks, moving fast, but not as fast as I could. Bernard stumbles after us, a panicked mess, but Maci seems calm. A little too calm.

  By the time we reach the rocks, there’s hardly anything left of the sky. Bernard and Maci are wind
ed, panting loudly, bodies tired.

  “Guys, try to keep quiet, okay?” I whisper because the only thing between us and them is a circle of large boulders that have cracks between them, giving the vampires plenty of places to squeeze through and take us by surprise.

  Bernard hunches over, pressing his hands to his sides. “Now what do we do?”

  “Now we hide here until morning. ” I pull out my knife. “You should find something sharp to protect yourself with, just in case. ”

  Bernard drops his hands from his side and stands up straight. “That’s the stupidest plan I’ve ever heard. ”

  “Well, if you got a better one,” I say, “then by all means, offer it up. Because that’s the best I can do right now. ”

  He doesn’t say anything and I sit down on a rock, watching the sky dwindle away, knowing our chances of not being found are low.

  “You’re really creepy. ” Bernard slumps down on the ground by my feet “You know that?”

  I drag the blade of the knife along a rock. “In what way?”

  “You’re just too calm. ” Bernard motions at me. “You’re not even scared. It’s weird. ”

  Suddenly, I’m aware that maybe my little secret is blatantly obvious. “I’m scared,” I lie. “I just choose not to show it. ”

  “That’s bull. ” Bernard smirks at me. “You’re not scared at all, even though we’re going to die. ”

  “We’re not going to die. ” Maci sits down in the dirt next to Bernard and crosses her legs. She’s found a fairly sharp rock, just like I told her to. But deep down I know it’ll be no use. “Kayla’s going to save us. ”

  Bernard snorts. “Yeah, sure she is. ”

  “She is,” Maci says cheerfully. “Just wait and see. ”

  I’m starting to worry about her health. “Why don’t you lie down and get some rest. Bernard and I will keep watch for the night. ”

  She grins and obeys. The air grows still as we huddle together, the last sliver of light slipping away and we’re blinded by night. The rocks are our protectors, blocking them from us and us from them.

  But not even the rocks can block out their cries.

  We’re sitting ducks. Little insects and creatures of the night scamper around us, but we stay still, crouching together.

  Maci is sound asleep, her breath slow and rhythmic, but her heartbeat’s still soundless. Then it starts to rain, black raindrops laced with the ash and smoke. I haven’t seen rain in forever, but I’m grateful for it. It’ll make a muddy mess, but it’ll also wash away our scent and make us harder to track.

  Maci lets out a blood-curdling scream. “Kayla!” Maci protects her head with her arms, her breaths fitful as she jumps to her feet. “What’s happening?”

  “It’s just water,” I assure her, tugging her back into the mud. “Everything’s fine. But you need to calm down or they’re going to hear you. ”