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Authors: Inger Iversen

Awakened

BOOK: Awakened
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Awakened

A Few Are Angels Novel

 

 

 

 

Inger Iversen

 

Awakened © 2013 Inger Iversen

All rights reserved.

Published by: Inger Iversen

All of the situations and characters in this novel are fictional. Any similarities
to actual people or situations are completely coincidental and wholly unintentional.

No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical
means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing
from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts
in a review.

Editing done by: Misti Wolanski of Red Adept

Cover Artwork, Cover fonts, Spine, and Back Cover done by: AMDesign Studios

Formatting by: Bob Houston eBook Formatting

Inger Iversen

www.ingeriversen.com

 

D
edication

 

In memory of Kaii Iversen and Don Burford Sr.

“TRAGEDY IS A TOOL FOR THE LIVING TO GAIN WISDOM, NOT A GUIDE BY WHICH TO LIVE.”

–ROBERT KENNEDY

 

P
rologue

Hélène

The grass is green and soft to touch, each blade softer than the next. I recline and
breathe in the warm fragrant air, splaying my fingers through the spongy blades. The
sun is warm, and the swelling clouds release little sweet drops of rain that cool
my face and refresh my mind.

How does something as simple as rain feel so good? The cool drizzle kisses my skin
in a sweet contrast to the affectionate warmth from the sun, pushing me into a trance
while I await his return.

I shouldn’t be out here, in plain sight, where Laurent’s men could find me; but it
has been too long since I was afforded the pleasures of the sun, the scent of the
dew rain, or the warm embrace of the soil. Though I understand Kale’s hesitancy to
allow me outside, I still can’t resist.

I close my eyes and relax in the grass. I have learned how to control this power of
second sight, and in doing so, I can recall things on my own, but I have yet to learn
to recall a specific memory of my choosing, only what my gift allows me to recall.

I allow the memory to take me deeper and further away from where I truly am. Darkness
surrounds me, stealing the light from the sun, and the vision is murky and bleak;
so much so that I can’t see a thing.

A delicate girl lay crumpled on the snow-covered ground. Her grief floats around her,
a heavy shroud that covers her along with a thin veil of snow. Her hair fans above
her like a black halo, her eyes are closed, and her lips are blue. Danger surrounds
her, but I know that she won’t succumb to the cold, because the darkness he brings
is a worse fate than the snow. He will control her, use her to hunt and kill Council
Members. Exactly as he forced me to do.

I have learned his scent, his movements, and his voice. The man could not hide from
me in my memories if he tried. For too long I had been with him, studying him as he
studied me. Learning of his wants and fears, though most see him as unafraid. His
fear does not take away from the power he wields; it only strengthens it, and without
the knowledge I have of him, the girl in the snow is beyond help. He will feed her
lies and false hopes, all the while stealing information and plotting her death.

I have learned more from his actions than from his words, and though I am sure that
this girl in this memory is the next Arc, I am not sure that she is the one that will
save us from his wrath. She doesn’t fight as he takes her, and my hope that she is
the soothsaying Arc is gone—and with that, so is my hope that she will someday end
Laurent’s tyrannical rule.

 

Chapter 1

Alex

My dad paced the living room, burning a path in the hardwood floor. He’d said every
curse word that I’d ever heard and a few more that I didn’t think really existed.
My mom hadn’t said a word since she discovered Ella was missing. She only sat on the
stairs in her flannel pajamas, her curly golden brown hair a furry mess atop her head
as she stared at the clock on the wall, my sister Leah slept beside her.

I looked at it, too. Ella had been missing for three hours and twenty minutes. Kale
and Jace stayed behind long enough to create the story that I would tell the sheriff,
cleaned up the mess that had been left behind, and then took Mia home. Though I was
pissed with Kale for allowing Ella’s friend to be placed in danger, I knew Mia had
been there to say goodbye. When Ella had called me, it was impossible to convince
her to not leave town, which was why I’d gotten on a plane and headed home as soon
as I could. My cover story was simple: I came home early from college to surprise
my family and found Ella and her things missing. Short and simple—which Kale had said
was supposed to leave no room for error on my part—but as I repeated it, I thought
I was going to puke.

Sheriff Making seemed suspicious, and I couldn’t blame him. Fear and uncertainty rang
through my voice so loud even I could hear it. I was normally a great liar, not that
I was proud of it or anything. I mean, I only told simple lies, like, “Yeah, Mom,
it’s just gonna be a couple of guys at the library,” or, “No, Mom, I didn’t take the
car; maybe Dad moved it when he shoveled the snow,” kind of lies, but not the kind
of lies that hid a truth as significant as this.

Ella was alive and being held hostage by some lunatic who believed that she was some
key to his power. Never had I seen that coming when I stepped out of the rental and
watched her leave the house.

Everything had been normal but odd at the same time. The moonlight traced her skin,
causing Ella to glow in its soft light, her dark hair stark against her pale smooth
face. Her scent was amazing. She hugged me gently, and I stiffened, trying to seem
stronger than I really was, but I was anxious. Her green eyes sparkled as she looked
up at me and smiled innocently. If I had just believed her, maybe—

A knock at the door yanked me back to reality. Sheriff Making and Deputy Clae brought
in a few bags of evidence they’d collected from the front yard, and I nearly fell
to pieces. I wondered what they’d found out there. Kale and Jace managed to clean
up what they thought would lead the police to believe that Ella was taken and hadn’t
run away, but at this point, I wasn’t so sure if that had been a good idea or not.
The story Ella had told me was unbelievable, and I couldn’t imagine anybody, cop or
not, believing it. Even if I did get someone to consider her story, I’d have to explain
why I’d lied for Kale and Jace, two men I didn’t know from Brett—but I’d seen what
they were capable of for myself. They wouldn’t be above killing cops that were nosing
around.

“Eric, can I speak to you in the other room for a second?” Sheriff Making asked my
father, giving me a sideways glance.

I looked away quickly. Too late, I realized how guilty that made me look, but I didn’t
have the guts to look at him again, and I didn’t think that I could save face, anyway.
I was sure he knew something. I didn’t know what, but I was sure that I’d find out.
My dad looked grim as he headed into his office and shut the door.

My mom still looked lost. I hadn’t noticed her move to my sister, Leah. Mom stroked
Leah’s hair as she slept quietly on the couch. Dad had been pissed when Mom went and
woke her up, but Mom said that she couldn’t leave her baby in her room alone while
there was someone out there taking girls from their bedrooms and leaving their mutilated
bodies in the woods. Dad and I had both flinched at her words, but no one said anything
else to her.

I blamed myself for her worry. Mom felt as though she’d let Ella’s parents down by
not being able to protect their daughter, after we’d taken her in after they died.
I understood the feeling, because I felt the same way. Had I talked to Mom and Dad
when I first thought something was going on, maybe I could have saved her. I closed
my eyes so tightly that stars stared back at me. I had to hold my crap together until
I could get back to Kale. He would tell me where Ella was and how we were going to
get her back or—

“Alex!” my dad yelled. My mother and I both jumped, and Leah stirred under my mother’s
petting. Mom’s eyes were wide and lined with tears. I couldn’t stand the way she was
looking at me with fear and confusion. She mouthed ‘Hurry,’ and I jumped up and ran
into my father’s office, just as another deputy entered through the sliding glass
door with another bag of evidence. I was screwed, and I knew it.

In the office, my dad stood in front of the window, his face was marred with harsh
lines and dark circles under his eyes as he turned to me and spoke.

“It looks like Ella didn’t run away,” he said. Both he and the sheriff just stared
at me as I took in that news. I wasn’t sure if my reaction was believable or not,
but as the adrenaline and shock wore off and the fatigue set in, it got harder and
harder to play the part of an innocent kid.

“But I thought—”

“Son, let me ask you something,” the sheriff interrupted, and my dad motioned for
me to sit down.

I shuffled over to the chair and sat. I was amazed at how my muscles clenched more
tightly even as I willed them to relax.

“Let me ask you about tonight.” The sheriff crossed the room and leaned against the
mahogany desk that Ella’s dad had given my dad years ago. He pushed back the paperweights
and papers my father had sitting on his desk as he adjusted his heavy frame on the
desk.

Ella flashed in my mind, in the white summer dress and ugly sandals she used to wear
just to annoy me. I hated gladiator sandals, but I didn’t mind how she looked in them.
I wanted to smile at the memory, but I realized where I was and how stupid and inappropriate
smiling would be.

“We have reason to believe that Ella was taken, and it was set up to look as if she’d
run away.” The sheriff grabbed his belt and hefted it further than necessary. “Now,
son, what I am wondering is: Do you know of anything that you think we need to know
about?”

I felt sweat drip down my back, cold and slow despite the heat that blasted through
the vents in the room. My head felt light, and I fought to remember the story that
Kale and I had come up with. It had been so simple, but I struggled to remember. “I—I,”
I stuttered.

My dad shook his head and looked at me, disappointment evident in his dark stare.
I swallowed hard and sputtered even more as I tried to answer his question.

The sheriff seemed pleased. Maybe he thought that he’d caught me in a lie, and for
a moment, I thought he had.

“Son, I know you and Ella are close, but if there is something you need to say, you
had better spit it out,” my dad demanded. The fatherly protection that he’d given
me during the first line of questioning was absent, and present was the tone of a
man at the end of his rope. My father had never been the type to yell or show much
emotion, but tonight was different. I could see in his eyes that there was no room
to screw up.

I recited what Kale and I had practiced. “No, there wasn’t anything going on that
I thought was weird, and she didn’t know that I was coming home early.” I looked at
my dad before finishing, “No one did.”

The lie left a bitter taste on my tongue, and it took all I had not to spit it out
and tell the truth. I ran my hand through my hair then wiped my hand on my jeans.
I was sweating like crazy.

“So, what happened when you came inside the house?” Sheriff Making pulled a notepad
from the inside of his jacket pocket and prepared to take notes.

“I came in.”

“Was the front light on or off?” Sheriff Making eyed me, waiting for my answer.

“What?” I tried to gather my jumbled thoughts and piece together a coherent thought.

Sherriff Making placed the notepad on my dad’s desk and crossed his arms over his
chest. “Was the front light on or off when you pulled up?”

I had to stop and think. Kale hadn’t said anything about it, and I didn’t remember.
Sheriff Making continued to stare at me as if he was willing the truth from me. I
looked to my dad and got nothing but another icy glare. I couldn’t tell if he was
mad at me for my unexpected return from college, since he disapproved of my reasons
for transferring to UVA, or if he was just so worried about Ella that he thought I
was up to something.

“I think it was off,” I guessed, since I couldn’t remember.

The sheriff looked at my father and then pulled the evidence bag from the table. Handling
it carefully, he dangled it in front of my face. “This was on the front steps outside,
Deputy Clae found it.”

It looked like crushed, opaque glass, like the shattered remains of a light bulb.

Sheriff Making placed it back on the table and showed me the second bag. “Now, son,
this is a serious matter, and until I get this to the lab in Elmwood City, I won’t
know if it’s Ella’s blood or her abductor’s.”

BOOK: Awakened
9.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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