Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(12)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(12)
Author: H.M. Ward

A fury of emotions whipped through me. I wanted to deny it - the entire thing. I didn't want to be the Prophecy One, but I was. My stomach slid into my toes, as I asked, "You don't believe in me anymore?" I looked at my feet, too afraid to hear her words. She'd lost faith in me. It felt like there was no air.

Al grabbed my arm and said, "Of course I believe in you," she snapped back to life, and the worried expression slid off her face and was replaced with determination. "I know you'll do what's right. I know you, girl. You have a big heart, but sometimes things happen and there ain't no reason. It just happens. It's the kind of thing that makes sense later if we're lucky.

"There's another war coming, Ivy. The angels and demons will fight. And you'll be the victor - there's no doubt about that. Remember who you are girl. It's what will make you into who you need to be."

Barely able to speak, I replied, "But it's already all laid out. I know who I'll be. If that prophecy comes true, I'll become the vile evil monster that Shannon told me about." My throat tightened as I spoke, "I'll be trapped in Hell." I slumped forward, resting my face in my hands.

"No, girl. That's the part that's up for grabs." I looked up at her confused. "There are staples in the prophecy - things that don't change - but there are still parts that are up to you, even if you win the war - even if you become the Demon Queen."

Swallowing hard, I could barely process what she'd said. There was so much happening, so many things that I tried to avoid, but now they were all crashing together and forcing me to become the one thing I dreaded most - Demon Queen. I didn't know what that meant. How could I possibly be ruler of the Underworld and be a good person? Life doesn't work like that. The wicked are punished and get sent to Hell. My entire life, I tried to be good enough to go to Heaven - but now there was no chance. My destiny was the Underworld - that horrible dark cold place where evil reigns. Swallowing hard I looked over at Al.

She patted my back. "Drop your preconceptions of good and evil. Most of life is lived somewhere in the middle, Ivy. Martis were supposed to be truly good like the angels who made them, but look at Julia. Look what she's done. And Valefar are supposed to be inherently evil like the demons that made them, but look at Collin. There are strange days ahead of us. An old Martis, a Valefar, and the Prophecy One will work together. I've seen it. It's the strangest vision I've ever had." Her eyes dropped before she looked at me. "You can do this."

"You saw me? You saw the vision of what happens to me?" I asked.

She nodded. "I have. I'm proud of you, although I can't tell you why." She had a sad smile on her face. "Just know that I'll be proud of you."

I nodded, not knowing what else to say. My life was being slowly destroyed by angels and demons, and their servants. There was no ideal of normal anymore. Al was one of the only people I could trust. Her words gave me an anchor of hope that I would cling to as everything fell apart.

I didn't want to talk about the prophecy anymore. I didn't want to ask her how I would destroy the world or what would happen to everything. Instead, I skipped to the practical question that had been lingering in my mind, "So this Lorren guy; is he trouble?"

Al shrugged. "I don't know. If he wanted to do something with you, he could have. Obviously he thinks killing you is bad, and that is exactly what the Martis have set out to do. No doubt that no one realizes you gave part of your soul to someone else - someone who's been possessed by Kreturus - although, I didn't detect anything different about him. Is he possessed now?"

"I don't know," I answered through gritted teeth. The pain from my wounds was still intense, but the need to tell Al what happened before Collin returned made me talk through it. "I tried to find out, but I can't tell - I can't tell from the bond or from touching him. I tried a kiss too, and there's no way for me to know." I hesitated to ask the question that was burning in my mind. I'd thought of it a thousand times since Lorren mentioned that Collin could still give me a demon kiss. "Do you think he'd do it? Do you think Collin would demon kiss me? Lorren seemed to think it was foolish for me to be around him. But, I thought that Collin could have taken my soul several times already, if that was what he wanted. But he hasn't. Al, I don't know what to do." I slumped forward wanting to hold my bandages tightly to make the pain stop. Cascades of curls fell over my shoulders, when I leaned forward.

Al swatted my hands away from my bandages. "You'll make it worse. Don't touch." She sighed, fussing at my bandages. "Ivy, there are moments in life that define us. They happen and it's in that moment that we know who we really are. Those times aren't the ones where you get hours to decide or even seconds to prepare - they happen in a snap - and just like that," she snapped, "you made your choice. And so far, I can't say that I've seen you choose wrong."

"Neither have I," Collin stood tall and handsome in the doorway. He walked over to us and kneeled in front me. He touched my cheek gently. "I have something to help heal your effonation wounds. It'll burn, but what else is new?" He smiled at me. In his fist was a tiny black stone. "It's coal. I can mix it with milk, and when it's poured over brimstone, and then onto your skin, it'll heal. Althea, is there somewhere I can mix this up?" Al directed him to the kitchen, and Al and I were alone again.

She asked quickly, "Does he know? The poison in your chest...does he know it's there and what it's doing to you?"

I shook my head. "I can't tell him. Lorren said the only way to fix it is to take my soul back, and I can't do that. It might kill him. Or...make him like Eric." A terrible hollowness moved through my stomach. I wanted to vomit. I didn't tell Al all the details of Eric's death, just that someone else killed him and I thought I could save him like I saved Collin, but that it didn't work. He turned Valefar and was totally crazy. Since I didn't know if Collin noticed, I asked her quietly, "Does he know? Did he see the scar?"

Al shook her head, "No, but you need to tell him. You try too hard to hide everything and fix it on your own, but this is one mistake that can't be undone without him. And eventually, he will find out - whether you tell him or not." She hastily changed the topic when Collin walked back through the door. Al was right. I had to tell him, but there were so many ways that conversation could go wrong.

Collin took a piece of brimstone from his pocket and tossed it in the pitcher of black sludge. After unwrapping my bandages, he poured the thick coal and milk slushy over my wounds. My flesh sizzled and hissed as the liquid came into contact with my body. I writhed, unable to brace myself for the pain. Slowly, and painfully, skin regrew. When he was done, it looked as if it never happened. Now, that was some of that Valefar magic that didn't look all that bad. He healed me with, but he wouldn't tell me about it. Maybe making tar-colored slushies wasn't considered a Valefar power?

Rubbing my arms gently, I said, "Thank you. I had no idea how to fix that." I smiled up at Collin.

He put the pitcher down and kissed my forehead. "I'm glad I was here to help you."

"Me too, but I gotta ask... Wasn't that kinda weird? Evil Valefars using wholesome milk in their witches brew?" I smirk pulled my lips into a smile. The pain was gone and I felt much better.

Collin laughed, pushing his hair out of his eyes. "It was hardly a brew. And even evil people like milk. I enjoy cookies, too."

Al cleared her throat, "You two are sitting ducks in here. If the Martis come back or anyone asks me what I did tonight, you two are going to have a world of trouble. Better be off now." She stood and walked toward the door. Collin and I rose and followed her down the dark hallways.

Before we left the building, she leaned in and whispered, "Remember, you decide who you are. Not no words, not no angel, not no one. And, Ivy, don't leave your pie to get burnt. Got it?"

I smiled and hugged her, assuring her that I would take care of my "pie." In this case, my pie was my massive secret - that I had sapphire serum poisoning me and that I'd die if I didn't get my soul back from him. That couldn't be hidden from Collin much longer anyway. And even if I didn't tell him, he'd eventually find out. What was the worst that could happen?


There weren't any safe places for us to go, and I wasn't able to effonate anywhere without burning my skin off. I wondered if that was the effect of transporting Collin as well, or if it was the consequences of having sapphire serum in my chest. Either way, I didn't want to find out. Weakness plagued me, making my movements slow and awkward. Collin asked me if I was all right, but I couldn't tell him what was wrong, so I put on a fake smile and nodded, then continued to chatter about nothing.

But, as we continued to walk east on foot it became obvious that it was going to be an insanely long walk. I'd seen several run down churches out east by the sod farms when we were at the old stone church months ago. I hoped to find a church that was still occupied to keep hungry Valefar away, and then we'd only have to worry about a Martis stumbling on us. Collin's fingers were threaded through mine and he swung our arms slightly before turning me toward him.

A soft smile spread across his lips before he said, "Why are we walking? Are you afraid of effonating yourself to bits again?" His fingers wrapped around some loose curls hanging over my shoulders. His piercing blue eyes searched my face, looking for an answer.

I shrugged, "Maybe." The corner of my mouth pulled into a crooked smile. I broke his gaze, not wanting him to sense the lie. "I know it's stupid, but I'd rather be outside with you and avoid some pain - for now anyway. I'm turning into a neurotic mess, constantly having my heart ripped out of my chest and enduring crazy amounts of pain." Biting my lower lip, I looked up at him, "Can we skip effonating for a while?"

Pulling me close, his arms wrapped around my waist and he buried his face in my curls. "Of course. I'm sorry I can't take both of us. I wish I could. I wish I could save you from all the things you've been through." He broke the hug and held my shoulders. "But, we can't walk to Montauk, or wherever you're taking us."

I knew he'd say that. We didn't have money for a cab, and besides - it wasn't smart for anyone to know where we'd gone. The area was crawling with Martis and Valefar. The odds of stumbling on one of them were pretty good. And since we couldn't be certain if any of the people surrounding us were human or not, it was best to keep to ourselves. "Collin, there's no other way to get there."

"Yes there is." He smiled, crossing the street with his arms behind his back. He gave a little skip as he turned and ran off into the darkness. In a matter of seconds I heard an engine purr, and a dark blue car pulled up next to me. The blackened window slid down to reveal Collin grinning, "Get in, beautiful."

My jaw was scraping against the ground. It was his car. The same car he drove me in before. But, how did it get here? Slowly I reached for the handle like I expected the metal machine in front of me to be a mirage. "Collin...how?" was I all I could manage to ask.

He laughed, "You're always the most impressed by the simplest things. It's not the big stuff that fazes you - it's a car." I slid into the seat and slammed the door as he pulled away and found the nearest road that would lead us to Route 25. Bobbing and weaving through traffic, I sat there dumbfounded. My fingers slid over the leather seats as I examined the interior.

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