Sun Kissed (Guardian Angel #2) - Page 19
Eli ran his fingers through his hair in exasperation.
“Why are you so on edge?” I asked.
“C’mon.” Eli pulled me back out into the garden.
A sinking sensation filled my stomach. It had to be something bad if it had Eli so on edge.
“Are you okay?” I asked him. I don’t think I’d ever had the chance to ask him that before. It was always the other way round.
“Aleksandrov is going to help us.”
“What? When? How?”
“When we leave for our first assignment at Gerald Harbor in three weeks… Aleksandrov, other wizards, and half of the school’s guardians will be there.”
Hope, excitement and happiness filled my stomach.
“He’s doubled up on charms to protect the school. If we can make it back there, we’ll be safe. However, we can’t risk it. We need to draw Lucian away from his minions. We need to kill him, just to be safe.”
I was worried that if I spoke, it would be in a high pitched excited squeal, so instead I nodded.
“There’s something we need from you as well.”
“You need to be able to use all of your elements and your sun power. You’re our secret weapon, Ruby.”
I nodded again.
“Let’s go back to the party.”
Ugh. Another party. Was it going to be like this every night? I didn’t go to my room to put on a dress; I didn’t have to energy to. Instead I joined Eli and Lucian at the dinner table and we ate the exact same way we did the first night. When it was over, I crawled back to my room and climbed into bed, still in the pyjamas I wore last night and trained in today. Oh well, dirty or not, I still happily welcomed sleep.
Here I was again, watching red and white rose petals float down from the twilight sky. I glanced down and I was wearing a long, white gown, a wedding dress. My gaze met smiling faces as they watched me in awe.
The walls of bright green mossy trees that surrounded us were so surreal, so beautiful. In the branches nestled a dozen scarlet tanagers, their deep red feathers standing out against the vibrant green moss. For every two scarlet tanagers, there was one white dove perched perfectly in between them.
“Are you ready, dear?” an old man in a white robe asked.
I glanced beside me and met Eli’s handsome face. I smiled at him. He was so perfect. Now he was going to be my husband.
The robed man began to speak. His mouth moved but no words came out. I strained my ears, I could hear the birds flutter their feathers and guests shuffle in their chair but I couldn’t hear the priest.
“I can’t hear you,” I said but he made no sign that he could hear me, either.
The distinct sound of sticks snapping and leaves hitting skin filled my ears. I crouched down, holding my ears. Why was the sound so deafening?
“I object,” an emotionless voice called.
It seemed like I was the only one to hear it. I searched the surrounding bushes but I couldn’t see anyone.
Then they stepped out from nature’s cloak, it was Lucian and Hunter. They both stared at me, crazy-eyed. No one else could hear or see them, only me. One by one, they tore the throats from my unknown guests before dashing up the aisle to the altar where Eli, the priest, and I were standing.
“Eli!” I screamed, but he couldn’t hear me.
He turned and smiled down at me. ‘I love you,’ he mouthed before Lucian broke his neck and he fell into a lifeless heap. Hunter was feeding on the priest and I was left curling into myself. My dress was splattered with blood and dirt. Through my tears I looked at the trees. Crows were devouring my beautiful birds.
“I told you I was a possessive man, Ruby.” Lucian chuckled.
“He’s my creator, I don’t have a choice,” Hunter begged.
I lay on the ground, crying up to the sky. Lucian towered over me. “See you when you wake up.” His muddy boot came down on my face and I was knocked out.
My eyes shot open and I was breathing rapidly. Sweat beads ran down my face and my hands twitched. I looked around the room, wide-eyed, making sure I was in my room. My alarm clocked blared, sending me a meter into the air. I slammed my palm down hard on top of it.
Why was the dream freaking me out so much? It was, in fact, only a dream. My body ached as I climbed out of bed. My muscles screamed, informing me they didn’t want to exercise today. I convinced myself a hot shower would help loosen some of the tension, and it did, whilst I was in the shower at least.
I rummaged through my boxes and found a pair of track pants and a pink tank top. Good enough.
“Right on time,” I mumbled to myself when Eli knocked on my door.
I opened the door and a smile broke over his face.
“You’re a fast learner.”
“Kill or be killed.” I shrugged.
Eli’s smile faltered.
“I’m not scared anymore.”
Training was harder than yesterday. We warmed up with stretches and a jog, and then moved straight on to weights. When that was done, we practiced defensive fighting. My muscles were threatening to seize up but I fought against their threats. I needed to be in prime condition, I couldn’t let anyone down. Our lives depended on it.
“Okay,” Eli began. “I’m going to teach you some basic defense. If we were under normal circumstances I’d tell you to defuse the situation, the last thing you want is a fight. However, we aren’t under normal circumstances and there’s no way you’re going to be able to talk a vampire into backing off. So first, before the situation escalates, you must pick the right places to hit before the attacker gains full control.”
I listened carefully, amazed by his seriousness and professionalism. He was definitely in his element.
“… This doesn’t mean you go into a panic mode and start throwing your punches into the air like a crazy person. Conserve your energy when possible, for you need the energy to escape given the opportunity.”
Eli came within inches of me and my knees grew weak.
“If I grabbed you by the shoulders,” he placed his hands firmly on either side, “What would you do?”
“Ruby, this is serious.”
“I don’t know what to do …”
I tried to shrug him off but I couldn’t. I punched his chest and he gasped slightly but he didn’t budge.
“This is no time to be civil, remember to hit where it hurts: the eyes, nose, neck, groin, knees, and legs.”
I swung my leg hard and kicked at his knee but he dropped his hands and caught it just in time.
“Not bad, but if I was a vampire, you’d be dead. Next session we’ll focus on strength.”
“Is it my turn already?” Mithras called, leaning against the same weathered wall as yesterday.
“Let’s just get this over with,” I growled.
Eli stood against the tree watching us as we meditated under the sun. My skin was hot and my hair stuck to my skin. It felt gross.
“You know, you don’t need to be trained on how to control the power.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s natural, whatever you want the power to do, it will do. If you want it to come out of your hands, it will come out of your hands. If you want it to come out of your entire body, it will come out of every pore in your body.”
“Don’t believe me? Try it.”
I opened my eyes. My hands were resting in my lap. I thought about the sun and its warmth. Then, I imagined it coming out of my hands. My palms became illumined with a hot light and I stared at it curiously.
I extended my hand in front of me and tensed my muscles. Sure enough, the light shot out from my palm.
“Wow.” I examined my hands slowly. It was like I was in an entirely different body. My wondrous thoughts were interrupted as I was shoved over. Immediately I sprang to my feet and poised in an attack stance. Eli was doing the same thing beside me. Mithras’s palms began glowing.
“You think you can just come in here and take from me?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Go find your own vampires!” he shouted.
“He’s crazy, remember?” Eli muttered under his breath.
Mithras had a crazy gleam in his eye. He was willing to kill his own daughter if it meant he got to keep the vampire bites to himself.
“I don’t want your stupid bites,” I snapped.
He screamed. I couldn’t tell if it was anger or pain, but his whole body glowed.
“He’s going to explode. We need to get out of here!” Eli yelled. We couldn’t get past him; he was blocking our only exit back into the gardens.
“Get behind the wall,” I yelled at Eli.
We turned and sprinted away from Mithras. My hands grasped the top of the wall and somehow, despite my fatigue, I managed to heave myself over the wall as a ball of sun collided with it.
Please let him explode before he manages to climb the wall.
Eli wrapped his arms around me and pulled me close. My head was on his chest and I could hear his heartbeat. We waited for a few more seconds and nothing happened.
Eli gestured to me silently that he was going to peer over the wall.
“It’s okay,” he said, taking me by my hand. “Your friend took care of him.”
I peered over the edge of the wall and Anna was standing over Mithras, checking his vital signs.
“He’ll be okay,” she said.
“Oh, goody,” I replied sarcastically.
“We should get him back to his room. We don’t want Lucian to find out about this. If Mithras dies, I’d hate to see what that means for you two …”
“Why are you helping us?” Eli asked suspiciously.
“Because I need a favor.”
“No,” he replied dryly.
“Wait, hear her out.”
“If you ever get the chance to get out of this place, take me with you.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Please, don’t leave me here., I need to get out of here. Please?” she begged.
I shot Eli a sympathetic glance but his face stayed hard and tense.
“How do I know we can trust you?”
“Take my hand.” She extended her hand to me. “I’ll show you.”
I took a few steps toward her but Eli grasped my wrist. “I trust her.” I pulled my arm free from Eli’s gentle but firm grasp and placed my hand into Anna’s.
As soon as our skin connected I was transported to another world. It was night time and I was walking home from the shops. In my left hand I had a bottle of milk and in my right was a warm loaf of bread. Someone else was in control of the scene. The road was empty and the earthy scent of fresh rain hit my nostrils. My heartbeat increased as I turned down an alleyway. The moonlight cast a murky glow upon everything, making the shadows darker and more menacing. It smelled strongly of stale urine and trash.
Where am I going?
“You’re about to see how I came to live with Lucian,” Anna’s voice echoed in my mind. Her memories seemed so real to me, the smells, the details, even the feeling of the hard ground under my shoes.
I sighed a breath of relief when the alleyway was well and truly behind me. I climbed a set of stairs and fumbled in my purse for a set of keys. My hands were shaking, I was still on edge. I hated walking alone at night time, especially now with all the strange disappearances and murders that have occurred. I could hear some of Anna’s thoughts from that night.
The door creaked loudly as it swung itself open.
Strange. My parents wouldn’t go to bed after sending me out for milk and bread.
“Hello?” Anna’s voice, my voice called.
I ran my hand along the rough wall until I found the light switch.
Click. It remained dark. Click. Click. Still nothing.
I forced one leg in front of the other slowly. The floorboards creaked under my feet, forcing my heartbeat to quicken. I approached the living room door; a faint light glowed through the cracks.
I stretched my hand out in front of me.
“I didn’t want to turn the knob; I didn’t want to see whatever is waiting on the other side … but I did,” Anna said.
The door opened and another creak sounded through the otherwise silent house. I tried to squeeze my eyes shut but I couldn’t. I had to see what Anna saw.
A high pitched scream rang through the house as I saw two bodies ripped apart and strewn all over the room. I had no idea where the scream was coming from. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of myself — of Anna — in the mirror. She was the one screaming. I could feel my heart shatter and my chest squeeze. My knees hit the floor and I wrapped my arms around myself, curling into a ball to try to ease the ache within my chest. A cool hand brushed over my hair and I recoiled, crawling rapidly over to my parents.
A loud chuckle filled the room.
“Now, now, don’t be scared. I’m not here to hurt you.”
I turned my face toward the door but I didn’t see anyone. The man hid in the shadows and it frightened me more. I began chanting in a foreign language, one I didn’t recognize.
“I’m saying a protection spell. It’s Latin.” Anna added. She was my own personal voiceover.
I didn’t want to do this anymore, It was hitting too close to home, too close to my mother and what Hank did to her.
Please stop! I begged her.
The door of the room slammed shut, separating Lucian and I from each other. It didn’t last long. He kicked the door down, sending it flying to the other side of the room.