Darkness falls, p.9
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       Darkness Falls, p.9

         Part #1 of Darkness Falls series by Jessica Sorensen
 
Page 9

 

  She shakes her head. “No, he’s already dead. He stole one of those vials of medicine last night and injected it into himself, so now he’s dead forever. ”

  I quickly check my pockets and only find two black vials and two syringes. “Maci, you have to try and remember what’s in these. Did the Angel say anything about what would happen when we injected it into us?”

  She nods. “He said it’d save us. ”

  “Save us from what?” I pause as I hear it.

  A heartbeat.

  My ability has returned. At first I think the heartbeat’s either mine or Maci’s, but when I realize it’s not, I turn to Bernard. But he’s gone.

  “Did you see where he went?” I ask and she shakes her head. I scoot her up against the rock. “Don’t move until I get back, okay?”

  Drawing my knife out of my jacket, I walk vigilantly toward the collection of rocks where I last saw Bernard. The heartbeat knocks louder. I hold my breath as I climb onto the rocks and peek down the other side. But it’s empty. And the heartbeat’s vanished.

  “I don’t get it,” I mumble and turn to Maci. “Are you sure you didn’t see where he went?”

  She shakes her head, but then her eyes snap wide. “Kayla, look out!”

  The heart strikes deafeningly against my eardrums as a pair of hands wrap themselves around my waist and jerk me back. I slam my head back, knocking it against the persons face and we both tumble off the rocks, hitting the bottom hard. I’m on my feet in a matter of seconds, but I’ve lost my knife. Where is my knife?

  “Looking for this?”

  My eyes rise to the unfamiliar voice. His eyes are the color of honey. His dark hair sweeps across his forehead and runs scraggly down his ears and neck. He’s tall and lean and has this funny white line running below his eye and down his left cheek. I’m not sure what it is, but it has me curious. So does the feeling that I know him.

  He’s holding my knife and I don’t like it. “You dropped this,” he says and tosses it to me.

  I catch it effortlessly, without taking my eyes off him.

  “You seem confused,” he says with a sparkle in his honey eyes.

  I wrap my fingers around the handle of my knife. “Who are you?”

  “Well that’s a weird coincidence,” he says with a smile. “Because I was thinking the same thing. ”

  I eye him over. “You’re unarmed. ”

  He spreads his arms out to the side of him. “Which gives you all the power. ”

  “You knocked me to the ground,” I say.

  “You slammed me in the head. ” He touches his forehead. “You’ve got a tough head, you know that?”

  I step to the side, keeping my eyes on him and my knife out. “You’re the one who grabbed me first. ”

  “Only to protect you. ” His pulse is consistent, never faltering, never wavering, which would indicate he’s telling the truth. But my thoughts whisper otherwise.

  “Where did you come from?”

  “Did you find them yet?” A girl jumps down into the rocks, sees me, and sighs. “Thank God. I thought we were going to be tracking them down forever. ” Her blue eyes measure me. They’re traced with this black stuff and colorful pictures trace up and down her arms. Her dark hair is matted in thick wisps. She’s tall and looks tough on the outside, but on the inside she’s scared of me.

  I make a mental note of this.

  “Who are you?” I point my knife at the girl.

  She gapes at the guy. “Were we this ridiculously jumpy when we first got out?”

  He shrugs, never taking his eyes of me. “I’m sure we were. ”

  She fiddles with a ring in her nose. “Where’s the other two?”

  He points over his shoulder. “The little one’s over there by the cliffs, but I don’t know where the other one went. ”

  The girl starts over the rocks and I move to step in front of her, but the guy intervenes.

  “Easy, okay,” he says, his hand on my shoulder holding me back. “We’re not going to hurt you. We’re here to help. ”

  I poke the tip of my knife against his chest. “How do I know you’re not lying?”

  He smiles cleverly. “I’m sure you have your ways. ”

  My wrist stiffens and I feel exposed, like I’ve been stripped down and everyone can see my secrets. I try to think of something clever to say that will throw him off, but the girl ascends back over the rocks, with Maci skipping happily beside her.

  “Kayla, we’re saved!” she exclaims, hopping down the rocks.

  “She’s a cheerful little one,” the girl says with an eye roll.

  “Good,” the guy answers. “Maybe some of it will rub off on you. ”

  She pulls a face and he grins. “Cheer up,” he says. “We found them and now we can go home. ”

  “I’m sorry,” I interrupt. “But who the hell are you?”

  “I thought you said she knew things?” the girl says to Maci.

  “No, I do,” Maci says. “But it doesn’t always work. ”

  I shoot Maci a warning look, while the girl and the guy exchange a look. Then he directs his honey eyes on me.

  “This is Ryder. ” He nods at the girl. “And I’m Aiden. ”

  “Aiden. ” I don’t even know why I say his name aloud, but he seems thrilled that I did. I frown. “Why are you out here?”

  “For the same reason you are. ” Ryder crosses her arms and stares me down. “But where’s your third?”

  “Third?” I ask.

  “Yeah, we’re dumped in groups of three. ” She waves her finger back and forth between Maci and I. “But there are only two of you here, so where’d the third go?”

  Bernard. “I couldn’t tell you. ”

  Her expression twists. “You don’t know or there isn’t another one?”

  I shrug, not wanting to divulge more information. These two already know too much about me and I know nothing about them. Plus, their hearts are as steady as they come, so I can’t sense if they’re lying or not and that makes me uneasy.

  I take Maci’s hand and back away. “Listen, I don’t know who you are, but we need to get going. ”

  “No way. You’re not going anywhere. ” Ryder seizes Maci‘s arm.

  With one fast movement, I’ve pried her hand off and shoved her to the ground.

  “Why you little—” Ryder jumps to her feet and charges at me. I drop Maci’s arm and swing to the side.

  “Ryder, knock it off, “Aiden warns, but Ryder ignores him, coming at me again.

  I ram the tip of my boot into her shin and she buckles back, falling on her butt.

  “Easy. ” Aiden helps her to her feet, but she shucks him off. “You know they’re a lot stronger than you right now. And unstable. ”

  “Only if they’ve gone through with it,” she shouts in his face. “And I’m really curious to find out, after all that talk about how great she is. ”

  I don’t get scared, but this is pushing me to the limits. They know me somehow, but I don’t know them. Spinning, I grab Maci’s hand and lift her with me as I spring onto the rocks. Fingers dig into my ankle and I’m jerked back down to the ground, but land on my feet.

  “Easy, Kayla,” Aiden breathes in my ear. “It’s always hard the first time, but it gets better. ”

  I’m about to kick him where the sun doesn’t shine, when we’re both hurled to the ground. My neck burns as something sharp stabs into it. I roll on my back, seeing stars amongst the clouds. But that can’t be right. Because the stars no longer come out.

  Chapter 13

  Circles of smoke fill my head, begging me to listen.

  “Listen to me,” someone whispers. I know the voice. It’s Monarch. “Listen before it’s too late. ”

  “I can’t see you,” I say through the fog, reaching, trying to find my way to something I know isn’t reachable.

  “It’s okay. ” His voice is like a blanket, warming me, comforting me. “But y
ou need to know—need to understand this one thing. Are you listening to me, Kayla?”

  “I’m always listening to you, Monarch. ”

  “Good, now hold on until I tell you to let go. And whatever you do, don’t let them find out what you know. ”

  My eyelids are heavy and I’m lying in a puddle of my own drool. My hair is plastered to the side of my face, my skin damp with sweat. The thoughts that fill my head are disturbing. But I don’t know what they mean, yet at the same time, it feels like I should.

  “Rise and shine, sleepy head,” Someone says, gently patting me on the head.

  Honey colored eyes greet me as I lift my eyelids open. It’s Aiden, the guy from the desert. My heart flutters as he smiles down at me, his dark hair shadowing his eyes. He’s dressed in a grey jacket and dark blue pants, colors that are similar to the black uniforms The Colony members wear. Seeing someone not dressed head-to-toe in black feels unnatural.

  I start to stand, but realize I’m chained up. In the snap of a finger, I’m on my feet, tugging at the chains that bind my wrists. But they’re secured into the floor, forbidding me from going far.

  The room is lit by a trail of lanterns. The dirt walls and lack of windows make me suspect that we’re inside a hill. And the rotting floorboards that creak beneath my feet sound like they’re going to give out at any moment.

  “Easy,” Aiden says. “There’s no use trying to run. Those chains are secure. Even secure enough to restrain a Bellator. ”

  I move for him until the chains are tugged tight. “Who are you? And what is this place? Is it … your Colony?”

  “No. ” He shakes his head and I detect a falter in his heart. “This is a place of freedom. ”

  His words feel forbidden, but I’m not in The Colony anymore. I wrinkle my forehead as I stare at the chains. “If it’s a place of freedom, then what are these?”

  “Don’t worry. It’s temporary,” he says. “We just have to make sure youre not dangerous. ”

  “Dangerous?” I question. “I’m not the one who stabbed the other one with a needle. ”

  He blinks at me. “What? No one stabbed you with a … oh. ” He runs his hands through his hair. “That wasn’t a needle. ”

  “Then what was it? A knife? A tranquilizer? What?”

  He presses his lips together, holding back a secret. “Look, I can’t let you go until we know for sure you’re not going to hurt anyone. ”

  “You’re the ones hurting me. ” I lift my wrists, jiggling the chains. “I’m the one who’s being hurt here. ”

  He cocks an eyebrow. “So you didn’t try to hurt Ryder?”

  “She came after me first,” I protest. “I was trying to defend myself. ”

  “And you’ve never tried to hurt anyone before that?”

  My mind flickers back to The Colony, the last thing I can remember. My knife is out, ready to take the life of Gabrielle with my bare hands. “No. Never. ” I bat my eyelashes innocently.