Read Rise From Darkness Online

Authors: Ciara Knight

Tags: #demons, #Paranormal, #Angels, #Young Adult

Rise From Darkness (19 page)

BOOK: Rise From Darkness
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“Boon? Thank God,” Sammy cried out.

Boon entered the clearing transforming back into his meek, boney human form. He ran over taking her into his arms. After a moment he released her and assessed the damage. His face contorted with grief and his eyes told Gaby what she already knew. Sammy would never recover. Not if her wing continued to disintegrate.

Boon took Sammy’s face in his hands and looked into her eyes. “Everything is going to be okay. Grace will know what to do. No matter what happens, remember how much I love you.” He planted a firm kiss on her trembling lips. When he leaned back, she saw Sammy’s eyes roll back into her head.

“I’ll meet you at her house.” Boon swept her up in his arms. “If I’m going to get her there in time I’ve got to go now.” Boon turned and transformed in mid-stride. He vanished within a second. His enormous frame knocked over several pine trees leaving a path for her to follow.

Gaby, still in shock over the massive creature Boon transformed into, sat on the ground looking at the debris. The wind he created with his hasty departure had stirred up leaves and the pictures that had fallen from her bag.

A picture floated down next to her leg. Lifting it up she saw a perfect visual replica of what just happened. It wasn’t Alexander she had painted, it was Sammy. What was the point of having these dreams and drawing or painting them if it didn’t help?

How could she use these to protect the ones she loved? What if there were details she missed, something to warn her of what was coming. She gathered all the pictures and decided to spend more time analyzing them later. Now, she had to get to Sammy, if for no other reason than moral support. After all Gaby had experienced in the last few weeks, she knew what kind of battle Sammy was in for.

“Alex, where are you?” She whispered into the wind before reaching for the sword she’d dropped to the ground. But it was gone.

****

Alexander swooped down into the clearing and crouched next to Gaby. She flinched and scooted away from him against a tree. His eyes watered at the rancid stench of demonic poison. He knew the smell well. Flashes of Gaby being sliced by
Forras
’ claws haunted him. Something horrific happened in the woods. He’d sensed someone was injured, fatally injured.

How could he have trusted Boon to protect Gaby? He knelt down on the ground in front of her and grasped her arms analyzing them for any marks.

“I’m fine. It wasn’t me.” Gaby’s voice broke as she spoke, her eyes appeared vacant and distant.

Her hand caressed his face. The touch sent a charge of electricity through his body. He quaked with pleasure until she pulled away, her face contorted. How he longed to make the memories of his mistakes vanish from her life. Hold her in his arms and kiss the tears away.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know who…” Gaby looked at the ground.

Did she still hate him so much she couldn’t even look at him?

“I-it’s my fault. All of it.” She collapsed into his arms.

“What’s your fault? You’re not making sense.” Alexander instinctively kissed her forehead and stroked her hair. She leaned further into him. He held his breath in hopes she wouldn’t move away.

“I-I’m s-so sorry. I know it wasn’t you. You d-didn’t cause my mother’s accident.” She broke into sobs.

“What? I don’t…” Alexander’s mind reeled. Hope welled up inside.

Gaby pulled away and looked into his eyes. Tears poured down her rosy face, dampening golden strands cascading around her cheeks. “I love you.”

She spoke the words quietly. Did he hear her right? Had she really just told him she loved him? He brushed the hair from her face. Her full luscious lips mere inches away. She wasn’t pulling from his embrace. “What did you say?”

“I love you, with all my heart. I’m so…”

He’d longed to hear those words. He reached around the back of her neck and pulled her face to his. Their lips parted, his tongue caressed hers as the sweet cherry taste vanquished all the evil around him.

The world slowed and spun around them. His heart thumped in rhythm to his lips pushing and sweeping against hers. A sweet floral scent made his pulse quicken. He brought her to her knees. Their hearts beat in unison as their chests pressed together.

Time stood still and he begged it never to start again. Her touch made the hairs on his arm dance in response. The longing to be one with her sent a heat through his body he’d never experienced.

She pulled away gasping. “Wait. I have to tell you—”

“It can’t wait.” He took her arm and pulled her close again craving the heat to return.

“Sammy. She’s hurt.”

The warmth faded as his blood ran cold. “Is she—”

“No, at least I don’t think she’s dead. I-it’s her wing.”

Pleasure warred with pain at the realization of Sammy’s fate. It was a fatal wound to her wing. Was she cursed never to fly again?

Gaby took his hand in hers. “I didn’t know what to do. Her wing was disintegrating around the wound so I pulled the sword out.”

The knot in his stomach tightened cutting off any remote sensation of calm. “How? Who?” Alexander’s eyes burned, his heart weighing him down and crushing his insides like a boulder against a leaf. Gaby’s eyes widened at the sight of him.

Calm. Stay calm. He repeated the words in his head until he could force the muscles in his face to relax, his burning eyes turned cool again.

“I’m fine, continue.” A long deep breath helped still his emotions.

Gaby tightened the grip on his hand. “I dropped the sword to the ground so I could get Sammy down, but when everything was over the sword was gone.”

“Maybe Boon took it.” Alexander hoped. Wait … he hoped a demon took it?

“No. He didn’t. I saw him carry Sammy off.” She pointed to a path of twisted and fallen trees.

“It’s not your fault.” He wished he could have been here to help. If he hadn’t been so distracted about
Eliana
, he would have sensed what was going on. He brushed his lips across her cheeks and gently kissed her eyelid. “We’ll worry about the sword later, right now we need to get out of here and help Sammy.”

“Boon took her to Grace.”

Alexander kissed her hand. “We have to go.” He pulled her close and took flight for his house, racing to his sister’s side. But his hands trembled at the thought of what he’d find.

****

Gaby clung to him as the wind whipped through her hair. She wanted to hold him close and never let go. The height wasn’t even a concern as he flew with her in his arms.

He’d been so gentle and kind, yet strong. Did he really forgive her that easily? She’d been scared to death to beg his forgiveness for blaming him for her mother’s death. Yet, he’d dismissed it as if it were old news.

She’d made so many mistakes with him. No matter how hard she tried, she kept screwing up. From chasing him out of her life, to calling Sammy to meet her in the woods, to losing the sword. A sword that could kill Alexander and Grace. It’d sliced through Sammy’s wing as if it were paper. She shivered at the memory.

After everything, should she have told him she loved him? She couldn’t help it though. The words spilled from her mouth before she had a chance to stop them. She did love him. In a way she never thought possible. A deep ach pulsed deep in her soul with the thought he wouldn’t feel the same. He didn’t tell her he loved her but certainly his response spoke volumes.

When he pulled her close, their hearts beat as one and she’d nearly gone mad with the passion of his kiss. It took everything to pull away, but she couldn’t be with him knowing Sammy’s condition.

At least they didn’t have to live in secret any more. Her father swore he’d be welcome in their home, even encouraged her to spend time with him. It was one thing to accept a boy in his house, but a fallen angel? That would be way too difficult to explain.

Her father? He’d be back by now. She’d have to get home.

They landed, dirt flying up around them from the beach. He released her and ran for the front steps. Grace intercepted him on the front porch.

“There might be a chance to save Sammy’s wing but there’s not much time.” Grace’s voice was winded. Her hair tussled about.

“Can I see her?” Alexander stepped around her but Grace clasped his hand.

“I need you to hurry. You’re the only one who can get what I need in time, so please make the visit short.”

Boon came out of the front door, lips curved down and eyes vacant. “I’m sorry. I tried—” He choked unable to complete the words.

Grace turned to him. “We know you did everything you could. Right now we need to focus on what we talked about. Take Alexander and explain on the way. There’s no time to waste.”

“How much time do we have?” Alexander asked.

“A day, maybe two. I’ve been able to stop the spread of the decay, but I can’t heal the damage already caused. At least not without some help.”

“I’ll do anything. Please just help Sammy.” Alexander turned to Boon. “I’ll go see Sammy and then we’ll go.”

Gaby stepped up to the porch. “Is there anything I can do?”

“No child. You can’t go inside. Her powers are too unstable.”

“I have to go, Gaby.” Alexander kissed her cheek.

She closed her eyes and lifted her chin for one more kiss before he departed, but all that greeted her face was the wind. The front door stood ajar. Her heart ached to touch him again. For the first time she envied Alexander’s powers. If she could fly or heal, she’d be of some use to them. This was the first time she’d ever felt truly worthless to anyone.

****

“Just tell me where to go,” Alexander begged.

“No, I have to take you to him.” Boon followed him up the stairs to Sammy’s room.

“Him?”

“Yes, his name is
Herak
. He lives in a remote region of the Pindus mountain range in northern Greece and southern Albania.”

“How do we find him?” Alexander pressed in hopes of making a hasty departure.

“I’ll take you to an isolated area of the mountain where he lives. After that don’t worry, he’ll find you.”

“You need to tell me how to get there. I can’t carry you all that way. We’ll waste too much time.”

“Don’t worry about me. I’ll keep up.” Boon gave him a mischievous smile.

What was this demon playing?

They entered Sammy’s room. She lay unconscious with her wing bandaged. Alexander knelt next to the bed and stroked Sammy’s silky hair. She looked so frail and unnatural in half-human half-angel form.

“Hold on, Sammy. I’ll be back soon with a cure.”

He was thankful a bandage covered the wound because if the sour stench was any indication of what it looked like, he didn’t want to see it. Choking down the sorrowful acrid taste he stood and faced Boon.

“There’s no time to waste.” Boon grabbed a black bag Grace handed him, and pulled Alexander from the room.

They exited the front door and Alexander followed Boon to the beach. “Now what? You going to swim all the way to Greece?”

“Don’t worry about me. Just try to keep up.” Boon retorted.

“Keep up?” Alexander scoffed at Boon’s arrogance. Typical cocky demon. He’d probably hitch a ride on Alexander’s wing as he lifted from the ground.

Boon’s little frame twisted and turned, bones cracked and skin stretched. His face elongated and changed into a large nostril-flaring beast. No horns protruded from his head but the veins and muscles ran under dark leathery skin. His clothes shredded and fell to the ground. He grew from just over five feet to over seven feet tall.

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