Home > Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(7)

Demon Kissed (Demon Kissed #1)(7)
Author: H.M. Ward

Our gazes locked, and I felt the tension claw at my gut. But I had to know. “Tell me Shannon.”

“It’s supposed to be someone evil. Someone malicious that is so freaking evil that they...But, it’s you. How is it you?” She shook her head, advancing toward me quickly. Her white fist opened, and she pressed her silver pendant to her mark. A blue sheen glowed over the necklace, and then extinguished, as the silver changed shape. The tiny piece of metal melted in her hand, shifting its shape into a small silver dagger. Unblinking green eyes stared at me, while she held the blade pointing directly at me.

Heart pounding, I jumped away from her—shocked. My back slammed into a stack of books. I felt their balance shift under my weight. “Shannon, what are you doing?” I squealed. The silver dagger gleamed under the bare bulbs. I couldn’t take my eyes off its lethal blade.

From that point, everything went wrong. My best friend vanished and I was left with this crazy girl. She looked like Shannon, but she didn’t act like her. Something was warring within her, causing erratic jerky movements of the dagger. I could see it in her eyes. My heart was pounding, not believing this was happening. The similarity to last night was unreal. It couldn’t be happening. I knew her so much longer than Jake. She wouldn’t hurt me. There was no way. My stomach lurched, making me feel sick. My hands shook as I held them up, palms facing her.

She moved quickly. Her face pinched tightly, as the dagger hovered near my throat without touching my skin. I sucked in air, trying to shrink away from the blade. My body pushed into the stack of books. I resisted the urge to push back further, knowing they would collapse.

I screamed, “Shannon. What the hell are you doing?”

She seemed lost, standing there, unable to move. Her lips pressed together in a small line. Her eyes were glassy, but the blade didn’t move. Her voice was faint—apologetic in a way. “They commanded us to destroy the Prophecy One. I have to,” she shook her head. “I can’t save you.” Tears streaked down her face.

“Save me from what? Shannon, you’re scaring me. Put the knife down.” My muscles were so tense; my skin felt like it would explode.

Her unblinking gaze was stoic. The only clue that revealed that she was conflicted was the tears streaming down her face. Her voice was soft, “They told us to kill you, before you learned what you were. Before you could fulfill the prophecy.”

“There’s got to be some mistake. Shannon, it’s me! You know me.” My eyes darted around the room, looking for a way out. I pushed back against the books that formed a wall behind me.

Shannon stood there, frozen with her eyes darting between my face and her blade. She spoke so faintly I could barely hear her. “If I could save you, I would. But I can’t. No one can save you.”

“Shann, you got the wrong girl. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Why would they kill me? You don’t have to save me. I’m still me.” Holding my body rigid, I tried to stay completely still. Her arm shook, and the cold metal dagger touched my skin. I couldn’t stand it anymore. Something snapped inside of me. I wasn’t a fighter, but I wasn’t going to get killed in a church attic. Forcing my hands to my sides quickly, I closed my eyes, and shoved. My entire body pressed backwards into the tower of books, precariously stacked behind me. The stack gave. The middle section slid back, forming a hole that engulfed me, before the rest of the wall of books collapsed forward.

Books crashed down from above, knocking over the surrounding stacks. By the time my butt slammed into the floor, books were raining down in every direction. That’s when I heard it—the sound of metal scraping across the wooden floor. Her blade fell. Pulse pounding in my ears, I pushed the books off of me, and jumped up. There wasn’t a clear spot on the floor, but I saw it. I crawled over a pile, scurrying like a crab, rushing through the haze for her blade.

Shannon was already on her feet, trying to get to her dagger. It was just out of her reach. I had to get there first. I jumped, colliding with the wooden floor, and grabbed her dagger. Not thinking, I ran to the attic window and hurled it into the air. It fell to the ground below, stabbing the lawn.

“No!” Shannon lunged at me, but she missed, and fell to the floor.

“What the hell is wrong with you?” I yelled at her. She sat by my feet with tears streaming down her face. “Why do they want to kill me? Why did you… ?” Exasperation overtook my vocabulary, and I couldn’t finish the sentence. I stamped the wooden floor in front of her, yelling, “Tell me what’s going on! Tell me now!”

“I can’t do it! I can’t!” she stammered, rocking, not looking at me. She looked utterly tormented.

This betrayal was more than I could bear. She always had my back, and I had hers. Shaking, I tried to control my rage. My voice left my body in a tight monotone, “If my friendship ever mattered to you, you better stop screwing with me and tell me now.” My eyes were burning a hole in her face. My fists clenched tightly at my sides.

“Ivy, you do matter to me. What’s going to happen to you is unbearable.” She wiped her eyes, as her voice took on the tone of someone too grief-stricken to speak. “The prophecy said this: Purple mark above thine brow, gently conquer the reds as they are now, or to them succumb, devour the lead, and rise as one.” She sat quietly, wiping her hand across her face. “Everyone thinks it means that the girl with the purple mark is the one who ushers the massive onslaught of evil into the world. You’re the girl with the purple mark, Ivy. It’s you!” Her emerald eyes stared up at me, unblinking.

Shaking my head, I said, “It’s not me. Look at me Shann! I’m not evil. I don’t care what the prophecy says. I’m not a Valefar. I’m not bad. You know that. Why can’t it be someone else?” With my hands clutching my head, I turned away from her.

Her voice was soft, “There is no one else with a purple mark. There never has been. You might have started blue, but you aren’t now. I have no idea how it happened. I just know that painting shows the prophecy of the girl with the purple mark. She’s you. You’re her. Somehow it happens. Somehow you become evil.”

“It won’t happen,” I bit the words off with contempt, irritated that she didn’t believe me.

I looked at her. Her eyes were enormous, and filled with grief. She flicked her head at the canvas, “See the guy in the painting?”

“Yeah,” I said looking at him. “What about him?”

“He also has a purple mark, but his is a scar. See, his skin is marred?” I nodded. She continued, “He was demon kissed—he’s a Valefar. He’s going to pull you down to become one of them. See your hands? You try to pull him up. You’ll try to save him. And fail. You’ll fail, Ivy. If you fail, you become one of them. And you’ll destroy all of us—the Martis, the world, everything and everyone. Ivy, you’re the straw. The Trojan horse. The end all. It’s you Ivy! Your futures are intertwined. If he wins, you lose.”

I swallowed hard, not wanting to believe anything she was saying. “Why would I be involved with one of them? They tried to kill me.” Shannon went to speak, but I cut her off, walking toward her, “Shannon, I’m not one of them. I’ll never be one of them.” I stopped before her, looking her in the eye. “Believe me. You were my best friend for seventeen years. You have to believe me.”

Shannon’s voice was strained, “I want to. But it doesn’t work like that. A prophecy is a glimpse of the future. This future is bad. And it’s because of you.” Her eyes revealed the sadness that consumed her soul, “Ivy, who is he?”

Sensing Shannon’s conflicting loyalty shifting in my favor, I glanced at the painting again, looking at his face. It felt like I knew him, but I couldn’t be sure. I shook my head, “I don’t know.”

“I can’t destroy you. I just can’t. But I can’t lie. Martis can’t lie, so if someone asks me, we have a problem. But they shouldn’t because I’m not the Seeker, but still. No, they shouldn’t ask me. But, hiding you is going to be hard. I’ll make sure you don’t have anything to do with that guy. I’ll guard you. It won’t happen. It can’t happen.” It sounded like she was talking, trying to convince herself, rather than me.

I latched onto a word, “What’s a Seeker?”

Her weary green eyes flicked to my face. “The Seeker has been looking for you. Her job is to find out when you are created—the second that purple mark forms on your head—and destroy you.”

I hesitated, sure that our friendship was toast. I couldn’t trust her anymore, even if she did spare me. My stomach sank. “So… ” I said, glaring at her. “You’re not gonna kill me? But there is someone looking for me, who will?”

Nodding, her green eyes bore straight into me, “Yes. And Ivy. Eric will kill you, if you tell him.”

I answered, “Then, I won’t tell him.”

“Ivy,” she hesitated, “It’s not that simple. We’re bound to certain acts. Some of us can’t resist. Destroying evil is innate—a reflex. I can’t kill you, because I know who you are and that you aren’t evil now. We’ve been friends for seventeen years. I know you. But Eric, he won’t hesitate. If something goes wrong, and he sees that the mark is purple, it will confirm that you are the one in the prophecy...He won’t let you walk. And he won’t stop hunting you until you’re dead.”

With complete certainty I said, “He won’t find out.” She started to object, but I cut her off. “He won’t find out. But what about you? Will you hunt me? If I didn’t throw your knife out the window, you wouldn’t have stopped, would you?”

Shannon looked at me, taking a step forward, and said, “I don’t need the dagger to kill you.” Tension laced my muscles, as we stood stone still, nose to nose. Finally, she breathed, and continued, “You’re not evil. You’re not the girl in the prophecy. Not yet. Maybe we can prevent it. And I’m not giving up on you until I see reason to.” She stepped back, and turned. The veiled threat was there. She would destroy me when she thought there was no hope.

“I’m not her,” I said, unfolding my arms, and pointing to the painting.

She walked towards me, arms folded, standing tall and slim. “You will become her. The prophecy says he’ll pull you to deepest pits of Hell with him. You’ll serve demons and monsters for eternity. The horror flicks that me and you used to watch at the movies - they pale in comparison to that place,” her finger pointed to the blackest part of the painting.

“Ivy, if that guy gets to you, you’re gonna change. Something inside you will snap, and you are going to want to be there. In Hell. To be with him. And I won’t be able to do anything to help you. All the Martis will swarm to destroy you, before you destroy everything.”

“I’d never betray my friends for a guy. I’d never let the world go to Hell for a guy. You won’t have to help me, because it won’t happen.”

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