The Damned (The Unearthly Book 5)(9)By: Laura Thalassa
I’m back on earth.
Holy shit, I’m really back.
I stared at the crowd, shocked. The ground trembled again beneath my feet, shaking pebbles loose and scattering sand.
I’m … free.
Power surged out of me at the realization and it rippled across the ground.
The screams intensified as the shockwave hit them and they lost their balance.
“Excuuuse me. Yeah you, asshole.” A head of ice blond hair bobbed through the panicked crowd, pushing his way forward.
My pulse hitched at the familiar face. A hand went to my mouth.
“Evening, sweets,” Oliver said, stepping out of the crowd. He wore all white, and with his pale skin and light hair, he looked like some strange angel.
“Oliver …” I had to be imagining things. “Am I … really back?”
He gave me a kind smile when he stopped in front of me. “Yeah, sweets, you really are.” He grabbed my wrist. “And now we’ve got to go.”
I stared down at his arm. “Where are we going?”
The crowd stirred, watching us uneasily. We made a pair—him in his white clothing, me a dress of dark cobwebbed lace. Darkness and light.
“Look at me, Gabrielle.”
I glanced over at him.
“Time to let your siren out.”
My siren? Even as I thought about her, she rushed to the surface, making my skin glow.
Gasps came from the crowd.
Next to me, Oliver’s skin began to glitter. It didn’t have the same effect as mine, but between the light emanating from my skin and the moonlight, he looked just as unearthly as I did.
Oliver stared at me strangely, then took a deep breath. He ran a hand behind my neck. My eyes widened as he leaned forward. And then Oliver was kissing me.
We appeared in the middle of the Braaid, the Isle of Man’s stone circle.
Oliver tore himself away from me and began wiping his mouth with his forearms.
“Ugh, ew, you taste like death. I’m never kissing a girl ever again—siren or not.”
I shivered, holding my arms tightly to my chest. A chill sank into my bones, a chill that had little to do with the cool evening air or my skimpy outfit. The last twelve hours …
I shouldn’t be here.
“Of course you should,” Oliver said.
I hadn’t realized I’d spoken out loud. I dropped my arms and began walking away from my friend.
“Hey, ho-bag, where are you going?”
“Away.” I didn’t bother glancing behind me when I spoke.
Something was wrong with me. In the Underworld I had felt normal. Here I felt unnatural. Wrong.
“No, no, no, no—that’s not how this works. I save your ass, so now you’re in my debt. Fae bargain, get it?”
I ignored him as memories surged. Memories not of this world. My skin prickled, and I shivered. Would I ever be warm?
Maybe near hellfire, but not here.
The grass flattened away from me. Wherever my feet touched, the ground blackened, and the foliage died. My gown slithered behind me.
Oliver jogged to my side. “You are not leaving me, ho. Wherever you go, I’m going too.”
I knew the first place I was going. “Fine. Take me to Castle Rushen.”
“And what’s at Castle Rushen?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said to him. “Will you take me there?”
Oliver sighed. “What about Andre?”
I stopped, my knees threatening to buckle. “Don’t say his name.” If the devil’s name had power to conjure phantom winds, then Andre’s had the power to crush the last of my soul.
“You should visit him, show him that you’re okay.”
My gaze snapped to Oliver. “I am not okay.”
I was the Queen of the Underworld.
I was a monster.
Wakefulness came in a short, shuddering burst. Andre let out a low moan. He was empty, absolutely empty.
She’s gone. Oh, God, she’s gone.
He bellowed out his anguish. The vampires that had pinned him to the ground woke at his cry, their hands reflexively tightening on him.
“Damn you all, let me go!” He could feel cool wetness on his cheeks where fresh, bloody tears replaced old ones.
“We can’t,” Vicca said. Her voice sounded like an apology. He didn’t want an apology, he wanted away.