Darkness breaks, p.9
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       Darkness Breaks, p.9

         Part #2 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 9

 

  Sylas howls and touches his neck. “Silver. ” He wobbles to the side. “I didn’t think you had it in you. ” He trips forward, and then falters back, striving to maintain his footing. My fingers seek him as he falls to the floor. Sylas shows no emotion as he slips into a state of unconsciousness.

  Monarch looms above him with two syringes in his hand, one filled with a red liquid and one with a purple. He plunges the purple one straight into Sylas’ arm and wipes his memory clean. Then he turns to me with the red syringe.

  “Sorry,” he says in an unsympathetic voice. “But they have to think you’re dead, otherwise they’ll kill you themselves. They know what you are now and you can’t stay here. ”

  I let out a muffled scream and try to jerk my arm away as the needle descends into my skin. The red liquid immerses my veins and surges through my body. My eyes roll into the back of my head and the red door burns in my mind.

  Monarch says, “Figure out how to save the world, and then come back for me. ”

  Chapter 9

  My eyes shoot open. I’m panting and sweat beads my skin. Sylas watches me with his dark eyes, shadows cast across his face.

  “What do you remember?” he asks quickly.

  I sit up and rub the sweat from my forehead. “What do you remember?”

  He stays silent for a moment. “Not much. Emmy dipped inside my head and tried to pull some of the memories out, but pieces are missing, like how I got into The Colony in the first place or why I went there. ”

  “You weren’t just living there then,” I say. “You came back. ”

  “No, I was thrown out of The Colony a few years ago, but that day, for some reason, I went there. I think through a tunnel. ”

  “A tunnel?” I rest against the hillside. “Like the one that leads to the river?”

  He shakes his head. “This tunnel was different. There was no river and there were things there…” his forehead scrunches over. “Strange rock carvings and colorful images. ”

  “Why didn’t you mention this before?”

  “Why would I? It’s for you to figure out, not me. ”

  I sigh and stand. “So you were there to get me?”

  “I guess. ” He shrugs, raising his eyebrows and staring at the ground, attempting to conceal the hurt he was experiencing at the time. “But Monarch changed his mind and wouldn’t let me take you. He wanted Aiden to help you, not me. ”

  “But what drove you to go there?” I ask. “Because, from what I saw, Monarch never told you to do it. ”

  He glides to his feet and stretches out his legs. “That’s the million dollar question. ” He holds up his finger. “Perhaps it was my undying love for you. ”

  I start to speak, but his laughter shuts me up. I rub my hands across my face. “Is there anything else behind the red door?” I ask and take the watch out of my pocket. “Besides a lab? Is there anything else that goes on in there besides experiments and torture?”

  “Lots of things went on in there besides experiments. ” He sketches his finger along my collar bone and breathes in my scent. With an intimate look on his face, his eyes travel up my body. “Lots and lots of things. ”

  What does this guy know that I don’t? “Sylas, how close were we?”

  His eyebrow curves up as he drags his finger down my arm. “Another million dollar question. ”

  I open my mouth to order him to stop, but the words won’t leave my lips. They don’t want to leave my lips.

  “Aiden and I were close too,” I say as his fingers journey down my ribs. “He loved me once. ”

  “But did you love him?”

  “I wish I could remember. ”

  He closes his eyes, breathing me in again, and he wants to do things to me I’m not comfortable with—I sense it dripping from him.

  “Sylas,” I warn as his hand moves downward.

  He pulls away, giving me a cold look. Then his eyes dart over my shoulder at the sound of voices and two distinct heartbeats.

  I freeze, my muscles tensing. “It can’t be them? Can it?”

  “This is so ridiculous,” Ryder says. “I bet they didn’t even take her. I bet she wandered off on her own. And we just left everyone behind on a rescue mission for her. ”

  “She wouldn’t do that,” Aiden replies confidently and guilt plagues me. “I know she wouldn’t. ”

  “That’s what you think. ” Ryder’s voice rings with anger. “You build her up in your head and make her into something she’s not. ”

  “She’s exactly what I think she is,” he responds defensively. “I know her better than anyone. ”

  Sylas lets out a low chuckle. “My brother, the idiot. ”

  I shoot him a dirty look and shove him back against the hill. He laughs harder and it echoes around the hill for Ryder and Aiden to hear. They stop talking, walking, breathing.

  “Did you hear that,” Ryder whispers, nervousness lacing her voice. “It came from over the hill. ”

  “Shhh,” Aiden hisses and then they still. “Be quiet for a minute. ”

  Sylas laughs louder, not caring if they hear him. I sigh and hike down the hill, leaving him in the shadows. I slip to the bottom, my boots filling with warm sand, and I step around the hill into the open.

  Aiden’s honey eyes light up. He looks like he hasn’t slept in ages. He’s clothes are filthy and worn out. He begins to run for me, but I step back, shake my head, and hold up my hand.

  He skids to a stop, his eyebrows furrowing. “What’s wrong?” He wonders and whispers, “Are they here?”

  “The Day Takers?” I ask and he nods. “One is. ”

  His expression falls. “My brother. ”

  I point over my shoulder. “He’s over the hill, hiding out in the shade. Where’s Maci and the others?”

  “Back in the cave,” he explains. “Don’t worry, they’re safe. Maci said you needed us, though. ”

  “In a way, she was right,” I tell him. “But probably not in the way you’re thinking. ”

  Ryder shakes her head and folds her colorfully decorated arms. Her blue eyes, traced with black, narrow on me. “She doesn’t look like she’s being held against her will. ”

  Aiden eyes me over and sweeps his dark, scraggily hair out of his eyes. “Did he hurt you?” He looks at the bottom of my pants, caked with blood. “I’ll kill him if he did. ”

  Sylas’ amusement erupts over the hills. “I’d like to see you try. ”

  Aiden inches in the direction of his voice, but I swing my arm out and hold him back. “There’s no point. He’ll probably kill you with the first swing. ”

  As our skin comes into contact his emotions mix through me. He’s worried about what they’ve done to me, relieved I’m alive, and grateful I’m touching him.

  “I’m fine,” I tell him, lowering my arm. “This bloods not from Sylas or any of the Day Takers. ”

  His honey eyes burn cinder. “They did this to you. ” He shouts over the hill at Sylas, “Sneaking into the cave in the middle of the night, while everyone’s asleep, is a coward’s way to steal someone!”

  “Do you want to be the one to break it to him, Kayla?” Sylas laughs. “Or can I have the pleasure?”

  Aiden looks at me, his expression bewildered. “Break what to me?”

  I gather my stray hair, tuck it behind my ears, and let out a sigh. “I left on my own. ”

  He dies a little inside, his heart nearly stopping. I wonder if it’s from me, or from Monarch messing up on him.

  “You left on your own?” he says slowly. “But now you’re back?”

  I pause. “I came back for a reason. ”

  Ryder huffs and turns for a cluster of rocks. “This is so ridiculous. ” She stomps to the rocks and takes a seat, mumbling to herself as she pulls her matted hair into a ponytail. “It’s always about her. Always about her. ”

  I blink my attention to Aiden. “I think you might have some of my memories inside your head. ”

/>   He stares at me, not listening, hurt evident in his eyes. He storms off toward where Sylas is hiding.

  “Aiden, don’t,” I advise. “You know you can’t fight him and win. ”

  “But can you fight him and win?” He questions, veering around the side of the hill.

  I follow after him. “No, I can’t fight him and win. ” But deep down, I want to.

  His heart skips a beat and he stops. “Then you’re still human. ”

  For now. “Yeah, with a beating heart and everything. ”

  This doesn’t stop his suicide mission. When we round the corner Sylas spots us, and a grin creeps onto his face.

  “Hello, brother,” he says.

  Aiden halts just short of where the sun joins the shadow of the hill. Sylas moves to the line and the two of them stand face-to-face. Aiden is taller and his dark hair longer. Aiden used to be more muscular, but he must have lost some weight from the last time I saw him.

  “Is food a little scarce?” Sylas motions at Aiden’s lack of muscle. “Looks like you’ve lost a little bit of weight since the last time I was graced with your presence. ”

  “The hillside was raided. ” He crosses his arms. “So yeah, the food’s a little limited. ”

  “My poor little brother. ” Sylas fakes a pout. “But then again, if you weren’t human, food wouldn’t be a problem. ”

  Aiden steps forward, his black boots clipping the edge of the line. “Well, if you were human, then you could step into the light. ”

  “You really think that’s stopping me?” He inches his hand into the light and his skin starts to smoke. “A little sunburn would be worth it. ”

  Aiden’s heart nervously accelerates, but he doesn’t back down. “Then go ahead. Prove a Day Taker makes you stronger. ”

  I charge between them. “Would you two knock it off? This is getting us nowhere. ”

  They look down at me and I feel small. I put a hand to each of their chests and I shove them anyway, forcing them to back down. Sylas barely budges, but Aiden stammers backward.

  Sylas laughs, touching his chest. “Feisty. I like it. ”

  “You are such a jerk. ” Ryder’s voice floats over to us and our gazes land on her. She stands a distance away, her eyes slicing into Sylas. “You never change, do you? You’re still the same smart ass you’ve always been. ”

  Sylas’ lips twists and hatred pours off him. There’s a passionate revulsion between the two of them and it almost hurts to be able to feel it.

  “Come over here in the shade and say that,” Sylas calls out mockingly. “Come on Ryder, I dare you. ”

  She taps her foot and looks away. “No thanks. ”

  Sylas backs toward the hill and drops to the ground. “Just remember. When night comes, that line doesn’t exist. ”

  “There’s something I need to tell you,” I announce to Aiden. “Something about my memories. And about you. ”