Authors: April Marcom
Tags: #coming of age, #family, #danger, #sacrifice, #alien, #extraterrestrial, #love at first sight, #soulmates, #pianist, #new adult romance
I hurried across the floor, wishing I could
do it as well as they could on all fours, and climbed into bed. Was
it possible they’d seen me from so far away in the dead of night?
Of course it was.
My heart pounded as I pulled the blanket up
to my neck and closed my eyes, because my window scraped open right
at that moment. I’d never been that afraid in my entire life. Not
even the night before could compare to what I felt, knowing someone
had just entered my room and was probably coming closer…and
I couldn’t shake the suspicion that someone
would discover the secret Enock and I shared at any moment, and I
wondered if it was a fear I would have to live with for the rest of
my life, even if I never saw Enock again.
“You do not have to pretend to sleep, Miss
Sarafina,” someone whispered right in front of me. “I saw you at
the window. I know that you’re awake.”
I opened my eyes. An Anvilayan man was
kneeling in front of me, his blue eyes illuminating the room
“I have a very rare taste for humans. There
is nothing more beautiful than one when she has just woken up. The
heavy eyes and untamed hair, like some wild animal.” It was Paul’s
voice emitting from the dangerous blue mouth, moving closer to me
as he sat forward.
“Please don’t eat me,” I gasped, sitting up
and scooting to the far end of my bed.
Paul laughed and climbed onto it, crawling
across the covers until his body was over mine, adorned only with
an Anvilayan cloth around his waist. “I’m not going to eat you. I’m
going to kiss you.” With that, he leaned forward and planted his
lips over mine. The heat was so intense, I could hardly think
straight enough to stop him. But I managed to tear myself away.
“You, you’re married,” I struggled to
“A poor arrangement made by my father. I care
nothing for her.” He started kissing my neck, causing me to shiver
“Y—,” I had to stop and take a deep breath
for all the pleasure his lips were giving me. “You’re still
married. This isn’t right.”
“No, an Anvilayan cannot marry without love.”
He put his hand over mine and spoke kindly, but firmly. “I’ve
wanted you since the moment I first saw you, and I will have you
tonight. I can make it so you won’t remember a thing, if you like.
That choice is yours.”
I really began to panic, because he made it
sound like I had no choice in what he wanted. “No.” I tried to get
off the bed, but he grabbed me at the sides and held me in
“Have it your way then.” His eyes became
brighter as I felt myself floating.
I fought the emptiness, shutting my eyes and
jerking away, half paralyzed. My body felt like lead.
I screamed, shaking with terror. I didn’t want
to end up like Camilla.
“She cannot hear you.” Paul pushed my sleeve
to the side so he could kiss my shoulder. “Don’t fight it,
Sarafina. It will be the most wonderful thing you will ever
experience.” He put a hand on my heavy cheek and forced me to face
I refused to open my eyes, and with his hand
off of my side, I threw all my weight to the right and fell onto
the floor. My head hit first and began to throb, but I managed to
sit up. Opening my eyes just barely, I saw him leaning over my bed
with a smile on his face.
“You’re wasting your time, Sarafina. There is
no escaping me.”
It was my only hope.
Paul leapt off of my bed and would have
landed right on me, if I hadn’t rolled over and grabbed my vanity
drawer, ripping the whole thing out and spilling the contents
everywhere. There was a loud
giant bell Enock had gotten me smashed against the floor. Paul
rolled over on his back as he covered his ears and cried out in
pain. I grabbed the bell and stood up.
“Wait.” Paul kept one hand over his ear, even
though the ringing had stopped, and reached for me with the other
one. “Don’t tell her. Demora would kill them all if she knew.”
I tried to jump over him and run for the
window, having all my senses fully restored, but he grabbed my foot
and I fell flat against the floor. The bell rang like crazy all the
way down, but Paul climbed on top of me, his face filled with
“Don’t!” He reached for my hand and dug his
claws into my other arm as I rang the bell as hard as I could. He
collapsed on top of me, covering his ears tightly. I felt blood
drip over my arm as I squirmed upward, ringing the bell still.
The air began filling with shrieks and
ghost-like howls. Halvandors everywhere were crying out in pain.
And for an instant, I thought I would get away, ringing the bell
all the way to the first village I found, and even home if I had
Suddenly I felt the pressure in my chest,
followed by the stinging, and then the terrible burning. I looked
down and screamed in agony as I realized I’d been stabbed. All of
Paul’s sharp claws were deep in the left side of my chest.
I was going to die. Alone.
Suddenly, all I could think about was Enock.
Dying without making things right with him scared me more than
dying did. As Paul pulled the razor-like nails from inside me and
the pain multiplied, it surprised me that all I wanted was Enock to
be there, even more than I wanted the pain to stop. More than I
wanted to live. More than anything. If I could just do the last
twenty-four hours over again, I would have spent every minute of it
clinging to him. Why did I have to feel this way now, when there
was nothing I could do about it?
My thoughts became cloudy as I coughed and
gasped for air. My chest burned. The pain was unbearable. I
couldn’t even manage to roll over.
“I’m sorry, Sarafina,” Paul said, leaning
over me and not looking sorry at all, “but I had to stop you. If
you escaped and told anyone—If Demora ever found out, she would
kill them all, every woman I’ve ever loved. And I cannot bear
Blood dripped over his ear where he’d
scratched himself, trying to block out the ringing.
The room became fuzzy as someone jumped
through the window, shattered glass and splintered wood exploding
everywhere. He stood there for a moment, staring at us both.
Blood splattered my cheek as I produced a
gurgling cough. “Enock,” I whispered.
The fury suddenly twisting his stunning face
and spreading through his body seemed to detonate as he let out an
angry cry and soared across the room, landing beside us and picking
Paul up by the throat. He reached his arm back and hurled Paul into
my vanity, smashing Paul’s head against the mirror before he fell
motionless to the floor. Then Enock was kneeling beside me, taking
my hand and staring at the lethal wounds.
“I—I—I’m sorry,” I sputtered, spraying his
face with a mist of red. “I love you so much.” It felt like I could
die easier after telling him that.
“I love you, too,” he said through fresh
tears. “I can fix this, I just need more men.” He put a hand over
my heart. “There isn’t time, though.” His hand began to tremble as
he took a deep breath. “Wherever my spirit lays rest, it will wait,
loving you with all my heart, until yours joins it there.”
I realized exactly what he was about to do.
“No.” I shook my head and tried to push his hand away, but my arms
were too heavy and all they would do was scrape an inch or so
across the floor.
“Yes,” he whispered. “I would sooner take my
own life than live without you.”
“No…please,” my voice cracked.
But he ignored it, resting both of his
shuddering hands against my chest and closing his eyes. White light
swept over the room and warmth filled my body as I took in the most
refreshing breath of my life. I felt his lifeblood rushing into me.
I knew that I wanted it to stop, preferring my death to his, but it
felt too good. The rush of energy and strength, even new life, was
amazing, as great as feeling his love for me. And then it was
ending. The light was dimming, leaving me to feel more alive than
I’d ever felt before. There was a loud
as it went
out, and I sat up, feeling so far beyond fantastic, it was
But Enock was lying beside me on the floor,
blood flowing from five deep wounds in his bare chest, and he was
the one coughing and struggling to breathe.
“Enock, no,” I began to sob. “I’m so sorry
about last night and today. It can’t end like this.”
He managed a smile through gasps. “It will
never end, because I will always love you, living or dead.”
“Me, too. But can I still fix this? What if I
get more men? Can they help you?”
“There isn’t enough time.” He burst into a
fit of coughing, killing part of me as I watched him suffering to
death in my place.
“Yes, there is. Just hold on. Stay awake.” I
stood up, still feeling dizzy and strangely powerful.
Paul was lying on the ground, face down, but
probably alive. I didn’t want to leave him there with Enock,
because he would certainly kill him if he woke up, but if I didn’t
do something, Enock was dead anyway.
So I tried to run around my bed to the
window, but I shot forward harder and faster than I’d expected to
and slammed into the side wall, falling back against the floor. I
shook my head from the daze I was in and ran through the open
window. It was awkward and clumsy to run, because I kept shooting
forward too quickly and ending up sprawled out on the ground. My
legs kept slamming into each other and my body wouldn’t move the
way it was supposed to.
, someone hissed from far
Who has the bell?
someone else said.
Anvilayan voices lifted and filled the air from every direction. It
was amazing the way they seemed to carry for miles.
I can understand them
, I realized.
There wasn’t time to dwell on this, though.
, I tried to scream, but
astonished myself with the Anvilayan voice that left my throat. I
stared at the ground, trembling and not understanding at all. And
then I saw the claws protruding from my fingertips. I reached
around and felt the thick stranger’s hair growing from my head. And
then I was screaming, involuntarily screaming, because I had either
gone insane or become Anvilayan. But it was the shrieking of an
Anvilayan I couldn’t seem to stop, which only frightened me
Someone grabbed my shoulder.
Kristoffer hissed. He stared at me strangely.
I tried to calm myself enough to tell him to
save Enock. Enock was all that mattered. I was hyperventilating, I
realized, so my speech was as inhibited as my mobility. “E-Enock.
In that room—he’s dying…”
“What?!” Kristoffer pushed me down as he
bounded to my window and looked inside. He let out a deadly growl.
Every man, get to Sarafina’s room now or Enock dies!
Too many voices rose in the still night to
understand what anyone was saying, but I could see the blue and
yellow streaks of light speeding toward us and took hope. Perhaps
Enock would survive. I tried to stand, but my knees seemed to be
going this way and that, like they couldn’t decide if they were
still human or joining the rest of my body in this petrifying
Kristoffer hopped through my window, and then
several other men did the same. More came racing, and I found
myself leaning forward on my hands to run and join them. It was the
only way to keep my balance.
Women began gathering outside, all wearing
Anvilayan attire as the men were. They whispered to one another and
watched me suspiciously as I stood up and made my way clumsily to
the window. There was no light inside, only a crowd of men
“Will he live?” I said through several rough
breaths. “Will he be all right?”
When I saw my suitcase lying open on the
floor, I felt a feeble rushing through my body and then fell
through the window onto my bedroom floor. I felt my human hair
brush my face and knew I had changed back—right there—in front of
“The human!” a woman yelped. “She is
“I am not,” I protested. “I don’t know what’s
going on, but I am human.”
A man grabbed me and pulled me up by my
wrists. “How is this possible?”
“She must die,” a purring voice said from the
window. It was Mistress Demora. “Look what she has done to my
“No!” Someone took in a deep breath and the
men backed away from Enock.
“You’re alive,” I cried out with joy.
“Kill her,” Demora said again.
The man holding my arms put a hand around my
shouted, bounding across the room and hurling himself into the man
holding me so that I was thrown to the floor.
“I…I didn’t hurt him,” I coughed out, trying
to get a hold of myself. It was difficult, because I could feel the
rushing again and knew my body was changing. “He tried to force me
to have sex with him, and then he tried to kill me. He didn’t want
me to tell you. He said you would kill the others.”
“Then why was Enock the one who was dying and
my husband lying motionless on the floor?” Demora asked.
I looked at Enock, who was holding my
attacker against the ground, not sure what to say. “I healed her,”
he said, staring at me in disbelief.
“By yourself? You offered your life for a
Enock nodded, still watching me. The man he
held down got up as Enock came to stand beside me.
Demora’s lips became very thin as she climbed
into the room and walked toward her husband.
The side door opened at that moment and
Helena walked in, but stood frozen when she saw the Anvilayans
filling my room.