Dark Seraphine (The Seraphine Trilogy) (41 page)

BOOK: Dark Seraphine (The Seraphine Trilogy)
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“You used me. I hurt my friends, my family. And for wha
t?” My lips tremble. M
y voice shakes. I want to murder Seth Alton more than I ever did Mabry. I grab the bars and shake them, growling at Seth, stabbing him with my willpower.

Seth turns his back to me and says, “It’s better for you to hate somebody like me anyway. You’ll understand that one day.” And then he strolls out of my cell as if I’m a flea he just plucked from his skin.

“You can’t just leave me here. Damn you, Seth Alton.” I grit my teeth and shake the bars some more. I want something to hold back the tears, anything to ease the pain.

I have now lost everything.

 

 

Late in the evening, Mabry enters the room. A man dressed in somber blood-red robes trails him—a judge. The man’s monotone voice sentences me to the quick death for my crimes. I hear nothing, feel nothing. No name could ever be more misleading. The judges call it the quick death because the condemned stands inside a box lined with spikes. And when the box closes, the spikes pierce the seven nerve-pressure points located on the victim’s body. It’s a punishment that makes crucifixion sound fun. In the end, the condemned either prays for mercy from his jailors or begs for a quick death inside the box.

On the day I’m to be sent to the galleys, I think about everyone I’ve lost. All because I had no idea about the person I wanted to become. Maybe if I’d known who I was the first time I met Seth, I would’ve avoided him, and he wouldn’t have been so fatally attracted to me. Keta and I would be celebrating and gabbing about first dates. Carl would still be alive, and they’d get married. And my family’s name wouldn’t be tarnished the way it is now.

True. I don’t deserve the quick death. I deserve more than that. I should be punished a thousand times over for disgracing my family’s name and betraying my friends.

Mabry enters my cell. This time the head alchemist is alone. I guess he wants to gloat for the girl who failed to kill him. My body lightens
,
and I feel as if I might float away. He stalks over to my cell, unlocks it, and motions for me to step outside. Heart in my throat, I glance around for the executioner.

On the way out, I stumble. Mabry catches me, steadies me on my feet. It was my hope, the stupid gullible girl I used to be, that Seth would return. Deep down, I know better. He has what he wants. Whatever thing he is, royal or Caducean or maybe even a fallen, drives him now. I am just a memory riding in the shadows of his past.

Mabry steadies me just before he places a knife in my hands. The golden hilt and blade laced with silver scroll patterns gleams even in the dim cell. It’s one of my mother’s daggers. I’d recognize the intricate design anywhere. Tingles trickle over my skin. This is the most life I've felt in days. And then Mabry places his hands over mine, and aims the dagger’s tip straight at his heart.

We lock gazes. “You put forth an effort like none I’ve ever seen in any of my initiates before. You risked all, lost everything.  At the end, you did what you believed was necessary to preserve your family’s honor. I was the man who ord
ered your father to be taken. I,
however
,
did not give Levy the authority to butcher him and your—to hurt your mother the way he did. I regret making that call. If killing me eases your pain, then it is my duty to allow you to finish what you started.”

I want this. It’s why I spent the last six months allowing other boys to mutilate my body. It’s why my best friend in the world hates me. My entire body trembles. The urge to push this dagger consumes my thoughts. But my heart betrays me. I make a short jab at his heart, stopping just before I pierce his skin. Yes, Mabry gave Levy the order to release the invisibility barrier, but hasn’t he dealt with the same pain and guilt as me?

Dropping the dagger, I fall to my knees. Sobs, years of tears pent up inside me, and exhaustion
weaken my muscles.
“I didn’t mean to hurt anybody. Please believe me,” I say. Mabry lifts me to my feet,
and
holds me in his arms. My body slumps in them. I crave this attention more than I realize. 

A
light forms
on the wall beside us.
The glow hurts my eyes, but fills me with a peaceful feeling. Glancing back at him, I don’t know what to say.

“It’s a doorway to the human lands,” he says. “You’ll land near a safe house. Ask for their lead Caducean, a woman. Tell her the war has begun. And remember, child, Gabriel wishes for us to learn from our mistakes.”

“Please watch over my grandfather and explain to my brother, Tobie?” I say through the knot lodged in my throat. I want to send a message to Keta too, but decide it’s probably best for her to forget about me.

Mabry nods. “Go now. I can sense the executioner. He's almost here.”

“You have my eternal gratitude. My life is yours if you ever need it,” I say.

Mabry smiles, b
ut his eyes remain sad. I turn,
hurl my body through the doorway. And like the butterfly emerging from its cocoon, I head toward a new life for a transformed me.

THE END

 

BOOK: Dark Seraphine (The Seraphine Trilogy)
12.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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