In the Shadows (Lark #2)

By: Erica Cope

Chapter One





It’s dark in here. There’s a soft golden light surrounding me, casting eerie shadows on the stone walls. I see Brian’s face, his dark eyes pleading with me to stop. But I can’t. I look down at the glowing orb floating in the palms of my hands and I know what I need to do. I take aim and a blast of light hits him directly in the chest. His eyes widen in shock and the smell of burnt flesh fills the air as he combusts into nothing.

An evil voice cackles loudly from beside me causing me to jump. I turn and Dugan, king of the Dark Elves, is reaching out for my hand.

Instinctively I pull away only to have him grab my arm. His long, razor sharp finger nails bite into my skin. I try to yank my arm out from his grip but it’s no use. Blood drips down my arm in five intricate looking crimson lines.

“Come to me.”

“No!” I scream at him, but he just laughs.

“One way or another you will come to me. You will break the curse. It is your destiny.”

I wake up drenched in sweat and panting like I just ran up eight flights of stairs and my heart is about to pound right out of my chest. A thorough examination of my arm shows that it’s perfectly fine and I remind myself to take deep breaths; it was only a dream.

I’ve had the exact same nightmare every day for the last month. I destroy Brian and then Dugan tells me I’m one of them. You would think I’d be used to it by now, but I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the fact that Brian’s dead because of me. I killed him. The worst part is, I don’t think I really feel bad about his death, but more about the fact that I don’t regret that he’s dead. I’m pretty sure that’s not a normal response. It makes me feel like maybe there’s something wrong with me. Maybe there’s a part of me that is evil.

“Mia, are you okay?” Mom knocks gently and turns the knob of the locked door.

“I’m okay, it was just a bad dream,” I say, catching my breath.

“Another one?” She sounds curious, her voice full of worry like she’s afraid I’m on the verge of a mental breakdown.

“Yeah.”

“Want to talk about it?”

“Not really,” I tell her, trying to shake it off.

“Mia, you know if there’s something going on in your life, something that’s upsetting you, you can talk to me, right? I’d understand.” I know that she’s just trying to comfort me from the other side of the door and that I should get up to unlock it but I’m frozen in place unable to breathe.

Besides, what can I tell her?

Oh, Mom it’s nothing much. Just a legion of evil Dark Elves that want me to unleash them upon the human world and because I refused they tried to kill me and my boyfriend but instead I actually ended up killing a co-worker of mine who had turned out to be just as evil as he was creepy and I don’t really know how to feel about that. Meanwhile, I’m trying to keep up with my schoolwork like a normal teenage girl, while constantly worrying about the impending retaliation from the Dark Elves.

But I can’t really tell her that, now can I? Is it really any wonder that I’ve been having nightmares about dear old Dugan and the inevitable war between the Light and Dark? I finally get up and unlock the door, allowing her to come inside.

“I think I’m just stressed out, you know, with everything going on. Cheerleading tryouts are this week, plus there’s preparing for finals and work. I don’t know. It’s just a lot.” I try to convince her that it’s nothing more than that, but I’m not sure how well it worked. She continues to study me with concern.

“You just seem different the last few months,” she says with a forlorn smile. “Are you sure there isn’t anything I can do to help?”

“No, I’ll be fine. Just got a lot going on right now.”

“Alright, honey. I’ll be in my studio if you need anything. I’m going to try to get in a little work before Maddie wakes up,” she says, glancing at the clock on my bedside table. “You better get up and ready or you’ll be late for school.”

“Okay, Mom,” I smile at her.

As soon as she leaves, I drop the smile and fall back onto my bed lifting the faded yellow comforter over my head. My dreams aren’t always so vivid. They definitely don’t always feel that real. But when they do, it takes my heart a while to calm back down to a normal beating pace.

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