Darkness breaks, p.8
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       Darkness Breaks, p.8

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 8

 

  Sylas flips the blade in his hand and shoves it into his back pocket. “I think I’ll hold onto this for a while. I don’t want any unnecessary stabbings going down. ”

  My hand itches to steal the knife, but I’m not stupid. He’d kill me if I tried. I let out frustrated breath and head across the desert. Sylas follows, whistling a tune that flutters in the morning stillness.

  “It’s getting light,” I say after some time drifts by. “We should move beside the hills and out of the light. ”

  His boots scrape against the sand and he gives a deep chuckle. “Probably, unless you want me to burn alive. ”

  I make a sharp left and walk a line to the hills that roll the land. Morning’s parting through the sky and the ash and smoke is thinning.

  I hop over a rock and land with a thud. “Why do you think the Highers were out in the city?” I glance over my shoulder and he’s tracing his fingers along the edge of the hill. “Do you think they do it all the time? Or do you think they were just looking for me?”

  He swipes up a rock and chucks it across the land. “I think they’ve been wandering outside since The Colony was built. But I think they were looking for you last night and that’s why Tristan showed up suddenly. ”

  “But what I want to know is how did they discover that I was alive in the first place? I mean we died at The Gathering,” I say. “So how did they find out about the hillside and the survivors?”

  “Perhaps a certain doctor who created us has gone rogue. ” He pauses, staring at the ground, his eyebrows knitting together. “I mean, he is the one responsible for tossing us out in the desert to begin with. Then again, maybe the Highers know we’re not dead. Maybe this is all just a test. ”

  “They think we’re dead, Sylas. Maci said she died and an Angel saved her. ” I clutch my hands into fists, digging my nails into my palms. “And Monarch’s dead, so it can’t be him. ”

  His head snaps up. “He died? When?”

  “He died right before The Gathering. ”

  He settles down. “Do you know that for sure?”

  “I don’t know anything for sure. ” I hike up on a path that takes us farther into the shade. “And for a moment I thought…” Rocks crumble to the ground as we maneuver around a bush blocking the path.

  “Thought what?” He asks and when I don’t answer, he adds, “You know, you and Aiden need to learn that the lying thing was built into you and if we want to get anywhere, you’re going to have to stop. ”

  “Lying’s not always bad,” I reply. “Sometimes it can protect me. ”

  “Not with me,” he says, moving beside me. “With me, the truth protects you. Remember that. ”

  I look at my wrists, where my experiment numbers are sketched, along with a faint scar. Sylas was the one who showed me the numbers, gave me the truth. “I wonder sometimes if Monarch might be a Higher. ”

  He remains stoic. “You think so? Hmm…that is an interesting thought. ”

  “You don’t seem surprised. ” I drop my wrist to my side.

  “That’s because I’m not. ” He slips by and walks backwards in front of me. “And I don’t know why you’re so surprised. I’ve told you I know things that I can’t share with you—not until you figure them out on your own. Otherwise, you’ll just remember them from my word of mouth. ”

  “The only reason I think he might be a Higher is because I thought I spotted one during The Gathering that looked like him. ” I don’t tack on that I once remembered Monarch telling me that he was going to change into one.

  “Maybe you did see him. ” He stuffs his hands in his pockets. “Maybe you saw—and heard—more than you think. ”

  I slam to a stop as it hits me, like a hard bump on the head. “Not yet,” I whisper and my mind’s tugged back to The Colony, to the day of The Gathering.

  The corridor is crowded with Colony members and their fear pollutes the air. I feel alive, more than I ever have and I know I’m going to kill a Higher today.

  People are whispering foul words, shunning me for attacking a Higher. Someone behind me mutters that I deserve to die. It pisses me off and I turn to shut them up, but then I hear it. His voice.

  “Not yet. ”

  Sylas. Sylas was at The Gathering.

  Chapter 8

  I blink a thousand times, struggling to believe what my mind just revealed. “You were there… You were at The Gathering… in The Colony. How?”

  His dark eyes haunt me, trying to pierce into my soul. “You tell me. ”

  Rage burns in me and I crack. Without contemplation, I crash my body into his. His rock hard chest is like colliding into a wall and all my bones pop. I raise my fist, ready to strike him.

  “Just tell me!” I snarl. “Tell me what the hell you were doing there. ”

  He seizes my fist and crushes it in his hand. “Don’t tell me what to do. ”

  My muscles ache, but I refuse to show pain. I breathe through my nose and steady my voice. “How did you get in there without being seen? Or were you there the whole time and I just don’t remember you?”

  He spins me around and restrains me with his arms. “Keep thinking about it and maybe you’ll get there. But I can’t tell you. You have to remember on your own. You know that. ”

  My chest heaves. “I think… I think…”

  “Here,” Sylas says and he guides us to the ground. He rests his back against the side of the sandy hill and tucks his feet in, without letting me go. Then he puts my head in his lap.

  “Now do it,” he orders. “Don’t let yourself stop until you see the end. ”

  I shut my eyes and relaxation takes me over.

  ***

  Tristan’s confused face is the last thing I see before I storm up to the podium with my knife out. No one notices me at first, blinded by the Higher’s words. My hood is pulled over my head and my chin is tucked down. My hand sweats against the handle of the knife as I shove people gently to the side. The closer I get, the more I know I’m capable of taking Gabrielle’s life.

  When I push through the edge of the Colony members, Gabrielle’s pales eyes target on me. He looks afraid, which is a first for a Higher. His gaze flashes to the exit doors, to the Watchers. They stamp through the crowd and I waste no time springing onto the podium. The other Highers hurry toward Gabrielle, ready to kill me for doing what I’m about to do.

  Gabrielle’s eyes steady to mine, their pale color shifting to a dark cloud of grey. “Opre?te-te,” he commands.

  He wants me to obey him, to leave him alone, but he fears the shift has finally happened. Raising my knife, I say, “Frica. ”

  Gabrielle backs away, fear flooding off him in a way I didn’t think was possible. He trips over his white robe and the Colony members start to scream. The thump of the Watchers’ boots rise over my shoulder, and as their hands graze my back, I plunge the knife into Gabrielle’s chest. His eyes widen and he lets out a scream that fades into air. He rolls over, moaning in pain, then towers to his feet, blood staining his white robe. His hands brush the fabric and he glances at me.

  “You’re dead,” he says tranquilly.

  I feel satisfied in a disturbing way and when a Taser zaps me in the back, I don’t care. I crash to the ground and the worn ceiling arches above me. Water drips in my eyes, on my cheeks, in my mouth, as I lay paralyzed. Someone shouts and the room fills with smoke. Colony members drop to the floor, cracking their heads, elbows, and backs.

  I close my eyes, ready for death. The smoke conceals my surroundings. Arms envelope me and I’m scooped from the ground. A familiar scent sparkles at my senses. I turn my head and breathe it in.

  “I said not yet,” Sylas whispers. “You never listen, Kayla. ”

  I can’t see through the smoke, but I sense his warmth drifting through my body, an attempt to keep me calm. He shoves out the corridor doors and into the hall, which is empty.

  “Where is everyone?” I manage to speak. “Where did you
come from?”

  A hood is pulled over his head and his dark eyes take me in. “Just consider me the Angel who saved your ass. ”

  I smile at him, even though the situation is fateful. His chest rumbles as he laughs gently. It feels like we’re flying, moving so quickly his legs can’t be touching the ground. Within seconds, he bursts into the infirmary. The flames in the stoves hiss and Taggart whirls toward us, along with a Higher. Behind them is a flat metal bed where Maci lays with her eyes open and her heart still.

  Sylas freezes and cradles me closer to his chest. “Monarch? Is that you?”

  Monarch is dressed in white, with pale hair that feathers down his shoulders. “Yes, it’s me. ”

  Strangely, his eyes are still grey. I think of the Higher at the hillside. His eyes were pale, but still contained the slightest hint of blue, the reminiscences of his humanity.

  “But you’re…” Sylas gapes at Monarch, speechless.

  “I’m what I need to be for the moment,” Monarch says. “Just like you Sylas. ”

  Monarch snaps his fingers at Taggart and the large man, with hunched shoulders, steps for us begrudgingly.

  Sylas’ fangs snap out and he snarls. “This isn’t part of the plan. I was supposed to take her out of here. She wasn’t supposed to go to them. ”

  Monarch looks less like himself and more like a Higher as he walks toward Sylas. “Things change, Sylas. She’s becoming too much like you. That little incident in the Corridor—that only comes from your influence. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t burn you out of her mind. But I can send her to Aiden. He never seemed to be too influential. ”

  Sylas bares his fangs and backs for the doorway. “You’re one of them now. I’m not letting you take her. ”

  Monarch’s hand grasps a shiny, sharp object. A needle. Sylas doesn’t see it, so I try to wiggle free, to help him. But I’m as useless as a sack of potatoes.

  As if he’s made of lightening, Monarch dashes forward and knocks Sylas and me to the ground. My head collides with the brick floor and my head rings. Sylas rolls over with blood dripping from his forehead. He’s not hurt though, but angry, his eyes smoldering with revenge. In the blink of an eye, he’s back on his feet and he lunges for Monarch.

  “Why?” he roars, wrapping his hands around Monarch’s neck. “Why are you doing this? You said I was supposed to take her from here and teach her what to do—teach her to be one of us. Bring her memories back. Help her save the world. ”

  “It was never you, Sylas,” Monarch responds calmly. “It never was and never will be. You’re too reckless and that rubs off on her. It has to be Aiden. ”

  “Sorry to break it to you,” he breathes furiously, “but Aiden never turned. ”

  “He will,” Monarch says. “Once Kayla gets to him. He may not influence her, but she can influence him. ”

  Sylas swallows hard, Monarch’s words distracting him long enough for Taggart to sneak up behind him and stab him in the neck with a syringe.