Dark Wings (Never Dark Book 1) (10 page)

BOOK: Dark Wings (Never Dark Book 1)
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“Miss Ashton?”
a voice called, pulling me from my thoughts.

Damn
! I was almost in the lobby. Slowly, I turned around. It was Jenga, my assistant. In the beginning I refused to have one, but the Obss angels forced it on me. Apparently, a heavier workload brings more paperwork and meetings. Jenga keeps all of that in check for me while I’m gone. Sometimes when I’m in a weird, remote place, she calls my headpiece and tells me where to go and what to do—most of the time I never switched the headpiece on. Once I got used to Jenga, my arrogance wore off and I realized she was pretty helpful. I don’t know what I’d do without her now. The Obss angels are angels that are second in charge under the Council. They keep everyone in line while the Council deals with more
pressing
issues. Basically, they’re a bunch of bossy dickheads in
really
cool robes.

Jenga’s jet black fringe slides down her forehead and into her eye. She swipes i
t away with a colorful manicured hand. Before I left, Jenga had bright blue hair and people would always laugh when they saw us together. It was annoying, to say the least. Black was better, but it made her ivory skin seem almost porcelain-like. I was afraid that if she fell, she’d smash into a million pieces.

“Welcome back!” She smiled as she straightened her mahogany silk blouse.

“I’m happy to be back,” I replied. “I’m gonna go home. Come find me tomorrow and we can go through everything I missed.”

I turned away from her, desperate to get out of here. My legs complained with every step I took and my eyes longed to be closed.

“You can’t go home just yet,” Jenga called after me.

I threw my hand backward
s, gesturing for her to go away and I kept on walking.

“It’s the C
ouncil,” she called.

I stopped dead in my tracks and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. As I turned to face her, my skin began to prickle with an eerie feeling. People walked all around us, but I
was oblivious to them. I hadn’t seen the Council in years. What could they possibly want now that couldn’t wait until tomorrow?

“They need to see you
now
,” Jenga said as she paced hastily over to me.

S
he ruffled through her green folder. Her jade eyes locked onto mine as she handed me an exemption form for the Council room.


Fuck.”

Relinquish

 

 

Lucas

 

I turn
ed the shower on and set it to maximum heat. The cold streams of water that hit my back quickly turned into small blades of fire and it hurt… but I liked it. The searing pain from the shower took away from the pain I was really feeling. Eva used her location spell and confirmed that Violet had indeed left Earth. I was meant to be happy, and I am in a way, because it meant I wouldn’t have to worry about my brothers getting their filthy paws on her, but it also meant that we’d probably never see each other again. Now that I had seen her
and
touched her again, the thought of not doing those things enraged me. Inside me, I could feel my demonic side trying to push away the vulnerable feelings. I know I should let it and I will later, but for now I just wanted to savor the moments we spent together.

 

***

 

I stood in front of my floor-length mirror, sizing up my outfit. Running a club and planning the end of the world was hard work, but not draining enough to
not
look good. Although I did like the way my custom suits looked, I missed the days when my comfort took precedence over my appearance. When I was an angel, I had a uniform. It was both snug and comfortable, and when I wasn’t working, I stuck to jeans and t-shirts. Occasionally, when I was trapped in the office, I chose to wear dress shirts and slacks. I ran my hands down the front of my steel gray suit. I don’t usually wear gray, black tends to be my color of choice, but tonight I was after something to lighten the mood. I tightened my blue tie and ran my fingers through my hair. The tie contrasted well against the steel dress shirt I’d chosen to wear. With one last glance, I decided I was ready to go. I strolled over to the minibar and poured myself a drink. The glistening traffic down on the ground below caught my eye and I walked over to the window. I sure was going to miss this place. It beats living in the Underworld. Even though it was lawless, had awesome bars, and strange demon-women, it wasn’t peaceful. Not like Earth. Walking through the heart of Concave City, listening to car horns and people screaming was more peaceful than the Underworld. My sight got caught on the gleaming red brake lights in the sea of traffic below and my mind was taken back to Violet once again.
She’s gone
. I slammed down a large mouthful of whiskey and bared my teeth as it stung the back of my throat.

“I’m done
,” I mumbled. “I’m ready to move on.”

I inhaled deeply, relaxing all the muscles in my body. I felt darkness and anger wrap around my organs and constrict my chest. I’d managed to hold my demonic side
down whilst Violet was here. Now she’s gone and I’m ready to move past everything that had happened between us. The worry I felt for Violet’s safety slowly diminished and it was replaced by the regret that I didn’t squeeze the life from her. I liked blood. I liked the way its warm stickiness clung to my skin. The feeling of taking another’s life force is addicting and I’m angered that I couldn’t add Violet’s to the mix. I felt a sick smile spread over my face as a thought dawned on me.
I’ll make up for time lost. I’ll replace Violet’s blood with the blood of others.

I headed for the door, placing my empty glass on my desk as I passed.
Tonight should be fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compulsion

 

 

Violet

 

I sat in the C
ouncil room on a cheap wooden chair. I had the same unsettled feeling as the day I was interviewed after Lucas was taken. The room was dark and a luminous green
LED
strip lined the shape of the floor before it dissipated into darkness behind me somewhere. I could see in the dark, and yet here I was, totally blinded. It was unnerving. Security angels dressed in our uniform (but in a deep shade of red) were aligned against the wall and it did nothing to help my comfort level. Or my anxiety level, for that matter.
What the hell is going on?
I haven’t been called to see the Council since Lucas’s abduction. That was three years ago.
Maybe they just want to see how you are? They could be concerned about yo
ur feelings? I cleared my throat to stop the scoff that threatened to seep past my lips. The Council didn’t care about anyone’s feelings. They cared about victory against the demons and that was the extent of it. Three years ago I was chastised for not killing all of the Horsemen when they’d come for Lucas in his hotel room. I was a baby angel! I couldn’t have done anything, and it wasn’t for lack of trying, either.

“Rise!”
someone, somewhere, shouted through speakers.

The
deep voice was intimidating and it echoed throughout the hall. Now I know how frightened Dorothy and her crew were when they finally met the
Wizard of Oz
.
It’s just a voiceover
, I reminded myself.
It was only a tiny old man behind that curtain in the end of that movie.
I relaxed a fraction, but not enough to let my ‘carefree do what I want’ attitude show. If there was anything in this world that scared the shit out of me, it was spiders, the Council, and becoming a demon—not necessarily in that order. Quickly, I rose from my chair.

One by one the Council members entered. As they crossed my vision and took their positions at the high desk in front of me
, I placed their faces to their names. Ahearn was the tallest one. And the meanest. He’s of Russian descent and a total badass. If there was anyone on the Council you should avoid offending at all costs, it was him. His dirty blond hair was tied neatly into a short ponytail at the base of his neck.

Every C
ouncil member is represented by a color. I couldn’t help but wonder if Ahearn’s robe was red because he’d soaked it in blood. I could totally see him doing something like that. That’s how scary he was. His eyebrows knitted together and I freaked, moving my gaze quickly onto Ahriman, the blue Council member. Ahriman was Persian and our more ‘famous’ Council member. Back in his prime, he’d managed to take down his demonic twin brother, also named Ahriman. Ahriman came out of that battle with more than a scratch, that’s for sure. He had a large, thick scar on his jaw line that ran down his neck before disappearing somewhere into his robe. His blue robe looked quite nice against his caramel skin and short black hair. His bright blue eyes connected with mine and I dropped my gaze to the ground. The last thing I wanted was him to think I was gawking at his freakish scar. Willow, the green Council member, cleared her throat, dragging my attention to her. Her dark skin and frizzy hair told me she was African, but I had no proof to back that theory up. Zeon and Nektosha, a.k.a., the Latin twins, occupied the colors purple and yellow. Zeon and Nektosha were the exact same in every way. If Nektosha didn’t have long hair, you’d think they were both boys. When I say they’re the same in every way, I mean it. They were born together and they even died together. Both of them were murdered by their parents at the age of twenty-one. The last Council member to step out and take their seat was Sebastian, the orange Council member and the one representing us white folk. All the female angels here in the Never Dark swooned over Sebastian. He was younger than the rest of them and appeared softer. His long brown hair curled under his chin and he flashed me a sympathetic smile, but I didn’t respond. We weren’t allowed to. Looking at the Council from here was nice. It was one row of pretty colors. Any newcomer would see them as harmless softies. If only.

“Sit
,” the deep, scary voice in the speakers commanded. I sat.

“Miss
Violet Ashton,” Ahearn began.
Great. Of course he had to be involved. Why couldn’t he just sit in the background like last time?
“Welcome back to the Never Dark realm.”

“Thank you, sir
,” I replied, proud that I’d managed to sound confident. “It’s good to be home.”

“Yet you do not return home with exciting news?”
he growled.

I swallowed hard. “No
, sir, I am afraid I don’t have any exciting news for you.”

His
eyes narrowed.
Shit
.

“You did not fulfil your task? I was told that you begged for this assignment
,” Willow said, irritation clear in her voice.

“Yes
, ma’am, I did beg for it. I had every intention of tearing Death’s heart from his chest, but—”

“I didn’t ask for an excuse.”

I nodded sheepishly.
Ugh. I hate feeling like a child.

“Do you remember what you told the Obss angel before they granted you the mission?”

I knew they were going to use that against me. Again, I nodded.


Answer me!”
Damn, Willow was on a power trip today.

“I told them that I was more capable of killing Lucas than anyone else.”

“And?”

“And that he and I used to be involved so I could use that to my advantage.”

“And yet here you sit,” Ahriman interjected. His Persian accent was thick and deep. “Tell us what happened.”

I cleared my throat. “The first night I saw him, we had a fight in the alley of
the Sequin nightclub. My mission was only to threaten him and tell him to leave. I did. Soon after, I found out Lucas was still on Earth, so I came up with a new plan and ran it by Cole Nark, which he approved. I went to Lucas’s nightclub and I was going to kill him, but he injected me with some drug and I passed out. When I woke up, I was handcuffed to his bed.”

The last senten
ce came out awkwardly, but the Council’s faces remained unchanged. I proceeded carefully. The last thing I wanted was to slip up about the
almost
sex. “When I woke up, we had a long conversation and I realized he was too strong for me. I couldn’t kill him.” I cringed. Even I realized how stupid it sounded.

“How did you get away?” Ahriman asked.

“He teleported me back to my apartment and that was it.”

Willow rose f
rom her seat and I copied. It was a rule. If you are in front of the Council, you can’t be seated unless
all
of them are seated.

“Guards!”
Willow called.
Yes, the hearing is over
. Relief filled me and I was ready to go. “Get the chains!”

“Chains? Why the chains?”
I ignored the ‘only speak unless spoken to’ protocol. The panic was clear in my voice and no doubt on my face, too. Willow turned away from me and glanced at her fellow Council members. “She’s been compelled.”

Compelled?
“What? No!” My voice was strained and I turned my back to the Council—a big no-no, by the way—and faced the advancing guards. “I haven’t been compelled!”

At least twelve guards
stepped slowly toward me, all of them carrying a portion of the chain. I backed away from them, but I had nowhere to go. It was a big offense to approach the Council desk without being summoned. I was stuck, powerless. I turned back to the Council. “I haven’t been compelled. Please,” I begged desperately.

I’ve heard storied about angels that have been compelled and what they do to break it. It’s gruesome. It’s
a painful five hour process. If they can’t break you out of your compulsion, you die. I guess this meant I was going to die because I
wasn’t
compelled. The Council watched me with no emotion on their features. I stood shaking with fear as the guards wrapped a thick chain around my torso.
I’m not going to cry. These Council-fuckers won’t get the pleasure of witnessing me cry.
I bit my lip and walked behind the twelve guards as they dragged me away into the darkness.

 

***

 

The high pressure hose burnt my skin as the ice cold water hit the naked flesh of my back. I screamed out in pain, still holding back the flood of tears. I’d try to run and get away from the hose, but I was chained in a standing position, my bare back taking the bulk of the assault. For two hours they’d sprayed me and that was only the first segment. Who knew what’d come next. As soon as I finished that thought, the hose stopped and guards entered the room. They took my chains down from the wall and I fell onto my knees. I didn’t have the energy to get back up. The skin on my back continued to tingle and burn and I wondered if there’d be any permanent damage. I kept my gaze on the sterile floor tiles as a masked-guard slipped a black t-shirt over my head. I was released from my chains and he slipped my arms through the holes. The cotton fabric clung to my wet breasts and I was thankful it wasn’t white. The same masked-guard advanced on me with a black pair of sweatpants. I stared at the skin-tight black mask. In the reflection of the glossy eye coverings, I saw an exhausted female. Me. I looked deathly pale and tired.
Only three more hours
, I reassured myself.
You’ve been through worse.
I was right. I had been through worse.
Much worse.

When my pants were on, I was pulled to my feet and dragged from the room. The next room was the opposite of the steril
e washroom. It was pitch black. The only light came from a small bulb above a small wooden chair.

“You just came back from Earth?”
the guard beside me mumbled.

I nodded slowly.

“Some homecoming…”

The two guards
dropped me into the chair and my hands were tied behind my back. Soft clicks echoed throughout the room, but I remained focused on my wet feet. Someone approached me.

“Head up
,” her icy voice commanded.

I looked up and made eye contact with her violet eyes. She raised her hand
. It collided with my cheek and I was back to staring at my feet. I grunted in pain.
Man, this chick can slap.
Tears stung my eyes and I gritted my teeth against the burn. “Slapping is the next phase?” I groaned. “This should be fun.”

I lifted my
head up again and her hard fist forced it back down. It went on like that for a while. My face went numb and staying conscious became difficult. Before I knew it, I was in a different room, a kitchen maybe, having various herbs stuffed down my throat by an old woman that hovered over me. Something about an old woman chanting in a foreign language seemed familiar to me, but I couldn’t place it. Once I was drugged up on herbs and every inch of my skin was soaked and aching, I was left alone in a private room. Room was a nice way to put it. In reality, it was a small six by eight foot cell with a mattress, a silver toilet, and a steel shower. I rolled onto my side, trying to make sense of what was happening to me. I could feel the herbs crawling through my veins, trying to make their way to my brain. Plucking and pulling at my memories, trying to rid my body of the supposed compulsion. With every passing second the pain grew sharper and I gasped as searing pains tore over the back of scalp. I was alone, so I let the tears flow. I could feel bile creeping slowly up my throat as my mouth began to foam.
Was I having an overdose?
I crawled on my hands and knees across the jagged concrete over to the toilet. I hovered above it for a little while, looking at my distorted reflection. My hair was a mess, my face swollen and bruised. A bout of nausea rolled over me and I felt like I was dying.
Maybe I am? Good. Death would be better than this.
I threw up into the toilet and I kept throwing up until I had nothing left in my stomach. Just when I thought it was all out of my system, my vision turned blurry again and I passed out.

 

 

BOOK: Dark Wings (Never Dark Book 1)
13.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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