The Rise (The Alexa Montgomery Saga)

BOOK: The Rise (The Alexa Montgomery Saga)
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Book three of the Alexa Montgomery Saga

 

The Rise

 

 

 

 

 

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.”

 

-A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

 

 

 

 

 

Copy right by H. D. Gordon, all rights reserved worldwide under Berne Convention. May not be copied or distributed without prior written permission. If you have this file (or a printout) you are depriving the author and publisher of their rightful royalties and are punishable under law.

 

 

 

 

 

For my Mommy, who told me to get back on my unicorn and ride.

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

“Oh, I believe I understand what you’re asking for quite well, young Sun Warrior. My question for you is how much are you willing to give to save her?”

 

 Cold sweat ran down my back. My left eye twitched. My answer sounded in the voice of my monster; cold, flat, but I felt it come from deep within the heart and soul we shared. “Everything,” I said.

 

“That silver on your arm, has it reached your back?”

 

I just stared at the back of his hooded head, only his left hand visible, where it ran the paintbrush along the wall. Yes, the silver had reached my back. I had the feeling that he knew this, so I didn’t answer.

 

He turned for the first time, just his head, and underneath I caught a glimpse of eyes like milky marbles, all white, for just a moment, and then his attention turned back to the wall.
 “I suppose it doesn’t matter either way then, does it?”

 

I said nothing. No, it didn’t matter. It never had. I would sell my soul for her, die for her and walk the Shadowlands for the rest of eternity, if that’s what it took. That had never been a question. During all the points in my life when I had been lost,
really
lost and terrified at the horrors that seemed to love to haunt me, my love for her had been the one thing that pushed me forward. She was my
purpose.
When I knew nothing else, I knew this.

 

The words fell from my lips as if they had always been there, just waiting for their moment to spill out. “Tell me how to save her,” I said, “and show me where to sign my name.”

 

 

 

 

 

Alexa

 

We could just kill her, you know.

 

I leaned my head against the window and rubbed my temples. The world beyond was dark and quiet and rushing by at a break-neck speed that could not be fast enough, so I shut my eyes. I felt a little nauseated. I had gone a full twenty-four hours without sleep. I was too full of adrenaline and nerves to sleep now, even though it would be wise. We were still four and a half hours from our destination. The voice of the
other
in my head was not a welcome one at the moment.

 

Just kill her. Shut her up once and for all. What do you say, Warrior?
It teased in my head. I hated the inflection it put on that last word.

 

Needing distraction, I opened my eyes a bit and looked to my left. Kayden sat in the driver’s seat of my friend Tommy’s Mercedes. His grip on the steering wheel was firm, and his handsome face said nothing. His golden eyes were focused intently on the highway, and the set of his jaw made me hold my breath a little too long. He was as nervous as I was. I could tell, even if he was a master at hiding it. Somehow, I had a feeling like we were going to be
too late.
In the space of an hour, I had grown to loathe and fear those two words.

 

My Mother was lying down in the backseat, still in poor physical condition due to the treatment that she had received in the prison Kayden and I had just freed her from. Her body was not much more than skin and bones. Her complexion was ashen and her face was sunken in and hollow. But she already looked better than she had a few hours ago. I had been feeding her my blood since we rescued her. I’ve got pretty good blood.

 

Unfortunately for me, my Mother’s mouth seemed to be working just as well as ever. Some things would never change.

 

“Let’s hope Nelly is okay,” she said. “You never should have left her to save me. Foolish.”

 

I couldn’t agree more. Why
did
we rescue her, Warrior? I can’t remember now.

 

Ignoring the voice in my head, and my Mother’s slightly more annoying voice, I rubbed my sweaty palms on my jeans and took three deep breaths. Everything was going to be all right. I had to believe that. My sister Nelly was a smart girl. She was strong. She would be all right.

 

“Nelly is the one they want. If they get her, there’s no telling what could come of it,” my Mother continued. “And here you are so eager to start a war. Do you understand what kind of destruction
you
are capable of, Alexa?”

 

Laughter rang out in my head. The voice of my other, my
Monster
, was amused.
Oh, yes, Mother, I believe our little Warrior understands
perfectly
just what she is capable of. Have you taken notice of the silver on our arm? It has made its way across our back.

 

It couldn’t matter less right now that I was going more and more crazy by the minute. It couldn’t matter less that my Mother was going on and on about how much I’d messed up. It didn’t matter that the dark side of me was growing stronger and stronger, the voice of my Monster more persistent. Nelly was all that mattered. It was a good thing that I wasn’t driving, because I would put the pedal to the floor right now. I had never been so worried in my entire life.

 

Something warm and rough touched my hand, and I looked over to see that Kayden had placed his hand over mine. He was still staring straight ahead at the road, but I knew that he could tell that I was in a bad way at the moment. Kayden knew that Nelly was everything to me. He knew that my worry over her was practically killing me. He had said nothing when I’d woken him to tell him that we had to head back to Two Rivers immediately because Nelly was in terrible danger. He had loaded the bags in the car and hopped in the driver’s seat. Even if I weren’t in love with him for various other reasons, I would love him just for this. I didn’t need to hear how bad I had messed up. I knew.

 

There are some things that I don’t entirely blame myself for. The world I have found myself in is still very new to me. Until about a month ago I had no idea that vampires and werewolves and secret cities such as Two Rivers even existed, so I don’t blame myself for questioning my place in this new world. I don’t
entirely
blame myself for the lives I have taken, either. I am well aware that killing is wrong, under most circumstances, but I also know that I enjoy doing it very much. I accept only partial blame because I was born this way. I was born a monster. Also, some folks just need to die.

 

If given time, I may even forgive myself for all that I have done. I may forget the faces of those I’ve watched die at my hands. Right now that seems impossible, but I’ve learned time is not something to be underestimated.

 

However, if something happened to Nelly, I would never forgive myself. The only real purpose that I have had for my eighteen years of life has been to protect her. I have come to the conclusion that it was not only my Mother’s trainings, where she would drill it into me to keep Nelly safe, but my nature. I was born to kill, sure, but maybe that was because I was also born to protect. If I had a higher purpose, it was Nelly. I would watch the world die before I would see my sister fall. I believe I have mentioned that I have a few screws loose.

 

“This is exactly what I
didn’t
want to happen,” said my Mother. “They will
kill
her if they find out what she is, Alexa.”

 

I’m going to kill
her
if she doesn’t shut up, whether you agree or not, Warrior,
my Monster snarled in my head.

 

This made me cringe. The words, coupled with my Mother’s harsh way of delivering them, were almost enough to make me grip the sides of my head and scream. She acted as though by reprimanding me we would reach Two Rivers sooner. The solution to everything that my Monster always offered was awful – because it was kind of appealing at the moment. Then, a welcome rush of warmth and comfort went through me as Kayden’s hand tightened over mine. I swallowed hard.

 

“Ma’am,” Kayden said, his voice light and deep with his slight Scottish accent. He kept his eyes on the road. “I mean no disrespect and I have no intent of crossing any lines—

 

“Mr. Wallace,” my Mother interrupted, “In my experience, whenever someone opens with those words he means to do the exact opposite of what he says.”

 

Kayden continued on undeterred. “Alexa has been through, well,
hell
since you were captured. She has done nothing but her best to protect her sister. She is only eighteen, and in my opinion, she has done a great job dealing with all the things that have been thrown her way.”

 

My Mother offered some retort, but I had tuned out of the conversation in search of my pack of cigarettes. My Mother had no idea that I smoked, but at the moment, I could care less what she said about the habit. If I was old enough to kill and die for my people, I was old enough to have a cigarette when I pleased. Right now, I pleased.

 

I found the cigarettes and my lighter in the glove compartment and sighed as I removed a smoke and placed it between my lips. I could faintly hear my Mother telling Kayden off. Kayden was silent, and I had a feeling that he was hearing no more of what she was saying than I was. In case it’s not obvious, my Mother can be the type of person that you will either tune out or punch in the face. Choosing the former is a wise choice for most anyone. My Mother is a formidable fighter. After all, she trained me.

 

Flicking the lighter to life, I set the flame to the end of my cigarette and pulled smoke deep into my lungs. I felt no noticeable relief in tension. I was a cord wound ten turns too tight.

 

Or
too late.

 

Too late. Too late. Too late.

BOOK: The Rise (The Alexa Montgomery Saga)
3.66Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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