Read The Keepers Book Two of the Holding Kate Series Online

Authors: LaDonna Cole

Tags: #sci-fi, #ya novels, #suzanne collins, #relationships, #twilight, #ya fantasy, #teen relationships, #hunger games, #time travel, #young adult, #j.k. rowling, #adventure, #divergent, #science fiction, #veronica roth, #harry potter, #stephanie meyer, #YA, #Romance, #action, #troubled teens, #fantasy, #young adult novels, #teen marriage

The Keepers Book Two of the Holding Kate Series (7 page)

BOOK: The Keepers Book Two of the Holding Kate Series
5.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




The others looked down into the water or up at the stars, as though they had no place to file the intensity of our love.

“Your story?” Dirk asked me after an awkward silence.

“The same, except I stood on the boulder, he told me he had a precious gift and that she would…” I stuttered. I couldn’t bring myself to say the words that were so foreign and unbelievable. Kate couldn’t betray me the way the One said she would. “…would be mine if I chose her. I did.”

“So you’re saying some nonexistent entity performed your wedding?” Trip growled. “That is not what I call marriage!” He spoke directly to Kate.

She flinched as if he had slapped her. I wanted to drown him for hurting her like that, but I also felt his pain. I would have been fighting it too if Kate and Trip had come back from the Scriptorium, married. I nudged Kate over to the ladder, so we could make a hasty retreat if this got ugly.

“It doesn’t matter, Trip!” Tara snapped. “She chose Corey. Get over it.” She climbed out of the pool, wrapped in a towel and sat on the diving board.

Trip’s turn to appear as though he had been slapped, his face morphed through several emotions, surprise, remorse, despondency, but he didn’t say anything else. He just sulked in the darkest corner, dangling his feet into the pool.

“Donnie, tell us about your Scriptorium.” Dirk redirected the conversation.

I sighed. Maybe the tough part of the night trailed behind us.

“Congratulations, by the way,” Donnie said to me and Kate. Mel halfheartedly agreed, but a look of distress passed her features.

“Thanks, Donnie.” Kate tried to smile, but I noticed her lip quivered, uncertainly.

I gave him a quick nod. Mel’s and Tara’s reactions baffled me. Of all the two-century jumpers, those two had kept faith with me for the return of Kate of a Thousand Years. They both stared blankly into the water and refused to look at us.







“The nature of the ‘collapse of the wave function’ is determined by our self-concept stored in the subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is aware of the ‘many-worlds’ occurring simultaneously and chooses the reality we continue to exist in based on our self-concept.”
~ Kevin Michel,
Moving Through Parallel Worlds to Achieve Your Dreams




Donnie took a deep breath and submerged. He swam to the spot light, his hair fanning around him. He shot to the surface of the pool and levered his lanky frame up to sit on the edge. He wiped water from his face and cleared his throat.

“We were here, at the village.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “No one else was around except for Pops McGee.”

“Who is Pops McGee?” Kate asked

“He’s the caretaker of the village. He’s worked here for years, but has been out for a few weeks because of a knee surgery.”

“Not important!” Trip growled.

“Right.” Donnie reached for a towel and tussled it through his hair while he continued. “So we were over by the tractor barn, not the stables, but the one behind the softball fields.” He draped the towel over his shoulders and continued.

“Trip worked to hang the barn doors. Somehow they’d come off their hinges. Pops and I stood about 20 feet away calling instructions to him. I’d say ‘a little to the left’, but Pops would say go right. If I said up, Pops would say move it down.”

Trip snorted.

“We went on and on like this trying to get the door hung right, getting frustrated with each other.”

Trip interrupted. “I got so mad at them.”

“Finally, he got the door on nice and straight and these black clouds rolled in, and lightning flashed through the darkening sky, freaky as heck.”

Trip nodded. “Yeah, it was. We watched the dark clouds for a few seconds and when I turned around the barn doors were gone. Just vanished.”

“Then a flash of lightning and we were back in time a few hours and the whole scene started over again. Pops and I called instructions, Trip hung the barn doors, the storm rolled in, a flash and rewind. It happened six times. The exact same thing. Then the last time…”

“I got ticked, completely exhausted.” Trip took over. “I threw the screwdriver down and yelled. ‘Donnie Dudgeon! I’m not hanging any more of your barn doors!’”

“Pops disappeared, the clouds descended and engulfed us in black fog and we came back to the Scriptorium.”

Silence claimed the Keepers as the images Donnie described flashed through their imaginations.

Crickets chirruped in the night and a bat fluttered high above.




Finally, Dirk broke the silence. “Tara? Mel? Who wants to start?” His features softened.

Mel searched Tara’s face and gnawed on her thumbnail. Mel didn’t want to be the one to rip out Corey’s heart, but Tara pressed her lips together and jutted her chin defiantly. Corey’s expression, full of dread, lingered on Mel. He already expected the report to be bad. Kate must have been thinking along the same lines, because she made a squeaking sound in the back of her throat and pressed closer into him.

Tara buried her face in her hands and massaged her forehead. Mel moved to Donnie and hung from his feet into the pool. She needed him near if she planned to get through this.

“I’ll go,” she sighed.

Tara nodded, but kept her head down. Corey watched her with trepidation. Mel knew he wondered what could possibly happen to turn the bravest woman he’d ever known into a coward. Trip returned to his dark mood and stared into the dark night, oblivious to her needs.

Kate climbed out of the pool and walked around to the diving board and slid over to put her arms around Tara. Tara smiled shakily, and then turned to Corey. Deep forlorn sadness emanated from her. Trip suddenly jerked out of his dark mood when Kate sat next to Tara. His attention fastened on them.

“I think we went to the future.” Mel reached for Donnie’s hand as she started the story. “Or a tentative future, possibly.” She crinkled her brow. “I don’t know, almost as if we entered a future jump.”

“You mean a jump that
have yet to take?” Dirk waved his hand around the circle.

She nodded. “The beings who ruled that world were not human, but alien, beastlike in appearance and mannerism. They had enslaved a population of humans and forced them into service. They wouldn’t let them wear clothes, but tattooed every inch of their bodies. They were treated worse than animals, kept in cages, chained and dragged around like pets, forced to do things I can’t begin to speak aloud.”

Tara shuddered. Corey climbed out of the pool and grabbed some towels. He handed one to Kate who draped it around Tara. Corey wrapped himself in one, and then he tucked another one around Kate. Trip listened intently now, and his eyes followed Kate and Corey’s actions.

“Tara and I were high above the—I can’t really call it a city.”

“Slag heap comes to mind,” Tara inserted.

“What exactly is a slag heap?” Kate asked.

Tara lifted the corner of her mouth. “No clue, my granny used to say that, but it sounds horrible, doesn’t it?”

“It’s a place they pile up waste products from—” Dirk started, and then shook his head. “Never mind. Go on, Mel.”

“So disgusting, the human deprivation. They were building something on the opposite cliff face from where we were hiding. Tall ladders were erected to reach the heights of the contraption. Slaves scaled the ladders carrying huge loads of rock or mortar.” She shivered. “About every third or fourth one would succumb to weakness and topple off of the ladders to smash on the rocks below. The task masters would push them aside and lift their burden onto the next slave’s shoulders.” Mel’s eyes watered, and she nibbled at her thumbnail, remembering the horrid conditions of that world.

Her attention snapped to Kate and a flash of fear, and then anger registered.

“We heard someone climbing up behind us so we hid ourselves deeper in the bushes. A group of the creatures trundled up and grunted as they watched the slaves’ backbreaking labors. We heard a female voice and peered through the bushes to see an enormous green dragon with the woman straddling him. She spat out commands to the barbarians in their language, and they left her on the edge with the dragon. Once they were gone she began speaking in English. We thought she spoke to us but realized she directed her words to the dragon. She called him by name. ‘I told you this would work. My people have a long history of slavery, and fear can elicit the most banal of responses.’”

Her voice seemed familiar to us, but we didn’t recognize her. Completely covered in the tattoos, like the slaves, she reclined along the dragon’s neck. Up close we could see they were vile and heinous acts of perversion inscribed on every inch of her naked body. Tattoos were inlaid in her scalp, her ears, her face, every part of her. She continued speaking to the dragon. ‘He will believe they have captured me and he will give his life to save mine, and because they hate me so much, they will turn on him and revile the one they said they loved merely days before. Then we will be free to rule again.’ The dragon roared and shook open his wings and turned toward us. We got a look at the woman’s face.” Mel shivered at the memory and swiped at the tears streaming down her cheeks.

Then it seemed we were moving forward in time, or rather time moved swiftly forward around us. The scene changed. The contraption loomed, completely built. It turned out to be some kind of torture device. They strung the man into it. The crowd, worked into a frenzy, screamed and shouted at the man who hung above them.

The woman and her foul beast men came to the cliff edge. The woman, clamped in chains like one of the slaves, yelped as the beast on the other end yanked on her chain, toppling her backward. She muttered menacingly, ‘You idiot! If you do that again I will have Dagan eat your entrails!’ The green dragon roared at the bottom of the hill behind us in response. Then she added, ‘Now just as we rehearsed.’

The beast man yanked her chain up into the air lifting her off her feet. She had on a belt that had been painted into her tattoos and the beast lifted her from her waist but it appeared he tried to hang her. She kicked and thrashed until the beast dropped her.

She collapsed onto the ground making quite a scene of being ill-treated all the while giving commands to the creatures around her. The man in the torture device raved into madness watching the beasts harm her. She mouthed something to him across the expanse. He screamed out his last words of love and purposely stood up to drive a spike into the top of his skull. He convulsed violently and then died.

Mel rasped out the hated words, a death rattle.

Tears streamed down Mel’s and Tara’s faces as she finished the story. “The woman on the ground began to cackle in insane laughter. ‘He’s dead! He’s gone! We have defeated the mighty Corey Chastain.’”

Kate gasped and whirled around, her hands grasping for Corey’s. “No!”

Tara locked his gaze, grieving, she said simply. “Corey, the woman who betrayed you is now your wife. The woman with the tattoos, the one who killed you, is Kate.”

He shook his head in disbelief and confusion.

BOOK: The Keepers Book Two of the Holding Kate Series
5.06Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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