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Darkness Falls (Darkness Falls, Book 1), Page 8

Jessica Sorensen

  Chapter 7

  My body feels heavy. Lights flicker, my mind’s fuzzy. I’m in the hospital, only it is bare and hollow. There’s no Monarch, no Maci, no IV’s. Even the medicine cabinet is empty. The room is blank, along with my memories of how I got here.

  Clumsily, I stumble to my feet, my normal graceful balance fleetingly gone and I stagger for the door. But it’s locked. Monarch never locks the door. Taking a deep breath, I tug on the doorknob, pulling and yanking, until the metal lock bends and snaps free. The hall is crowded, but I push past the people, moving swiftly for Monarch’s room, toward the one person I know can explain things.

  With every step, my strength returns to me. And by the time I reach his room, I feel like my old self, perhaps even stronger.

  I bang on his door. “Monarch! Open up! I think there’s something wrong with me!”

  The only answer I get is silence and the conversation that fills the halls. I glance behind me, checking if anyone’s watching. A few are, but oh well. I kick the door in and my heart sinks. All that’s left of Monarch’s disorderly room is the tattered brick walls and the frame of his bed.

  “I don’t understand.” I mumble. “I don’t understand any of it.”

  “Don’t understand what?” an icy voice says from over my shoulder.

  I turn to a set of pale eyes and a glare as deathly as the vampires. Gabrielle. A memory pops at my skull. Blood. Blood everywhere. Behind the red door.

  “You seem lost.” He smiles, but it’s fake. Again he fears what I am. In fact, his fear has multiplied.

  “Where is he?” I ask, knowing I’ve crossed a line I’ll never be able to go back over.

  “Where’s who?” he questions with pretend mystification.

  I clench my hands into fists, wishing I could remember what happened at Lessons. “Where’s Monarch?”

  His mouth grinds to a frown. “I see more rules were broken than I was aware of.” He pauses, eyes narrowing. “Good thing it’s taken care of.” Then he turns to the nearest Watcher, lurking near the wall, giving a short thick man a zap in the back with his Taser. “Find someone to fill this room, after you’re done with him.”

  All the calmness drains out of me. Without thinking, I reach out, snatch the back of the Highers robe, and throw him against the wall. Everyone in the hall slams to an abrupt stop, fear swarming the air like a wind storm.

  “I think you’re forgetting who you’re dealing with,” Gabrielle grits through his teeth. “Maybe you need to be reminded.”

  “Not now, Kayla,” Monarch whispers. “Not yet.”

  My hand trembles and I blink back the water in my eyes. Then two Watchers seize me by the arms and pull me back. I try to wiggle free, but they tighten their hold. I never take my eyes off Gabrielle as they haul me away, down the hall. The Colony members scurry to the side, fearing for my death, but no one tries to help me.

  The Watchers take me to a section of The Colony I’ve never been in before, one that weaves down, deep underground, where the sounds of traveling footsteps and voices can’t be heard. Water dribbles off the rotting ceiling, staining the brick floor brown. The lights blink in and out of consciousness.

  “Where are you taking me?” I ask the taller Watcher.

  His breath through his mask is my only answer. These two are afraid of nothing, boots trooping as the continue lugging me. The end of our journey is a single door, bright red, like blood. I’ve seen this door before, in my head, and somehow I know whatever’s on the other side of that door is potent. Because so much fear and chaos leaks from it, it screams inside my body.

  I shut my eyes, knowing what I do next will either save me or be the end of me. I let my weight fall slack, dragging their arms toward the ground. One of them stumbles and clips their boot on an uneven part of the ground. I quickly shift my leg around and kick his out from under him. He releases my arms as he buckles to the ground.

  The other constricts his hold on me, but I move fast, my hand dashing to his belt and robbing him of his Taser gun. I zap him right in the hip. His body goes rigid and he falls back, hitting the ground hard.

  The first scurries to his feet and takes me by the hair. I move the Taser for his neck, nicking his skin and his arms stiffen, but he doesn’t fall. I try again, this time pressing it hard into his chest. When he drops, he pulls me down by the hair with him. I have to pry his taut fingers off just to get free.

  The air stinks of burnt flesh and I take off. But something pulls me back. I need to know what’s behind that door. I pat the Watchers’ pockets, looking for a key. When I don’t find one, I decide to kick in the door. I raise my leg back, ready to kick, when the feeling slams me in the chest. Fear. Is this what my own fear feels like?

  Someone lets out a scream and I swear the door starts to bleed. But when I blink my eyes, it’s just a door.

  Still, I back up, leaving it far behind as I run away, keeping my head down until I make it to my room. I put on my black sweatshirt and pull the hood over my head. Then I pack my knife and Monarch’s pocket watch into my pocket. There’s already something inside: Bernard’s necklace. I leave it there and duck out into the hall, hoping no one notices me, the girl who just assaulted a Higher.

  I head for the infirmary. Taggart is the only other person, besides Monarch, that might know what’s going on. After all, he was the one in the Hospital when Gabrielle paid Monarch a visit.

  “Taggart!” I barge into the dark room, with walls made of ashy stone lined with rows and rows of black stoves, some lit with fires. I touch the handle of the closest one, the metal hot against my skin. I start to open it.


  I whirl, fist out, prepared to fight, but it’s only Taggart.

  The inhumanly tall man, with a slight hunch, looks confused to see me. “What are you doing in here?” He’s glancing around fearfully, looking at all the stoves, fearing I might find out what’s in them. “You shouldn’t be here. Not today.”

  I put down my fists. “Have you seen Monarch?”

  His expression tells me what I already suspected: Monarch’s gone. “I’m so sorry, Kayla.”

  I stare at the stoves, at the flames inside that kill all evidence of life. I wonder if Monarch’s in one of them.

  “Kayla,” Taggart starts, but I turn for the door.

  He snags me by the arm, his hands shaking, and everything he fears spills out of him. He’s afraid of death, of what he’s done, and that he won’t be able to fix it. “You can’t go out there,” he says. “You were supposed to stay in the hospital, but I guess you’ll just have to stay here for a little while.”

  I turn my head to look at him. “Why?”

  “Because,” he struggles. “It’s what Monarch wanted—needed you to do today. You need to stay out of the Highers watch for a little while.”

  “It’s too late for that,” I mutter. “I did something to Gabrielle.”

  His large face twists with confusion. “What do you mean? What did you do?

  I try to pull my arm loose, but his bulky fingers refuse to let go. “You can’t go out there right now. It’s too dangerous—you’re too unstable.”

  The next few minutes of my life are unclear, not because my memories leave me again, but because all I can see is red. But somehow Taggart, a man four times my size, is lying unconscious on the floor.

  My hands are as steady as a rock as I leave Taggart and the infirmary behind. I leave everything behind in that room that smells of death. I walk the hall, marching for the Highers quarters—marching for Gabrielle. I don’t know what I’ll do when I get there, but I’m eager to find out.

  I never do, though, get to find out because the sirens go off.

  It’s time for the Gathering.