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Darkbeam part i, p.10
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.10

           Adrienne Woods
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  “I told you, Milly, you should’ve stuck with us.”

  “Suck my dick, Isaac,” she joked and disappeared.

  Everyone congratulated us. They loved “Never-Breath.” They’d soaked it up.

  I was on top of the world again and this time I didn’t need a snort of Fire-Cain to get me there.

  I stayed the night at Isaac’s and celebrated. I needed to buy myself a phone with my cut of the prize money we’d won. The rest, well, my mom needed it more than I did.

  Isaac had already gotten a few calls from studios wanting to record “Never-Breath.”

  I hated when that happened. It was hard to choose. Although the money was good, I would find a way to spend it on bullshit.

  But not this time. The house needed it more than I did.

  On Monday, I was in Irene’s tower again. More specifically, her bed up in her tower.

  She was driving me insane. Our time was limited whenever she summoned me for our sessions.

  “Have you decided who you are going to use to record ‘Never-Breath’?”

  I shook my head. “I don’t know if I should. The record labels always find a way to screw you over.”

  “C’mon, Blake, it can’t be that bad.”

  “Shows how little you know about the entertainment business. We need to fix that.” I forced her on her back and kissed the soft flesh of her neck. She smelled great, fresh. It was addictive.

  Gazing into those bright blue eyes, I asked, “Why do you never tell me about your past?”

  “You never asked.”

  “So if I ask you anything you’ll just tell me?”

  “I will.”

  I squinted. “Okay, how did Tansee die?”

  “Long story. One I’ll need a few bottles of gin for before we get into that conversation.”

  “You were Dents?”

  “No, but after a while it felt like that. She was my everything.”

  “Your everything?”

  “What, you didn’t know?”

  “Know what?” I squinted.

  “I’m not just into boys, Blake.” She bent over and kissed my lips softly.

  “You like girls too?”

  “Oh, women are the best damn lovers one can get.”

  “Excuse me?” I felt intimidated.

  She laughed. “You are quite impressive yourself, but if you don’t leave soon, I’m afraid someone will find you. Then all this will be over.”

  “Yeah? Let them try.”

  She laughed just before my lips kissed hers one last time. She took a strand of my hair and played with it. “Do you have any idea how beautiful you are?”

  “I’ve heard that one a couple of times,” I joked.

  “Well, you are. I can tell you this. If your father finds out, he will literally kill me.”

  I squinted. “Why does he hate you so much?”

  “Easy. I couldn’t see who was going to betray Al. He lost his rider. He lost everything that night. And he blames me.”

  “It’s not your fault.”

  “I know, but…” She sighed.

  “It’s not your fault.” I kissed her again and that was that. The nail in my coffin. Irene was starting to become more than just a tool to calm the beast.

  She was starting to become my everything too.

  The next few weeks flew by. I became more and more content with my life. I was starting to feel like the old me.

  Isaac selected one of the recording labels. He didn’t go with Frank this time. He was a fucking sleaze-ball, good with his mouth but with very short arms when it came to money.

  So Isaac chose a boutique record label that was treating us like kings. It took an entire weekend to record “Never-Breath.”

  For the music video, they got a blonde and used a spell to transform her hair and dust her with freckles. She didn’t look anything like the girl from my dreams, even when her brown eyes became green.

  Another Dragonian played the part meant for a dragon, but the less they knew, the better.

  It came out great. It was fun. Even though the hole in my gut tore each time we did another take. I didn’t want to feel it. The darkness would return again soon. I was sure of it.

  We wrapped up on Sunday. Now we just had to wait for the single to come out.

  I snuck off again and spent the day with Irene. I quickly forgot about the hole the weekend had left me with. Irene’s presence healed me. I forgot about the redhead, about the dreams and how I felt.

  Maybe Irene was enough…

  The next week our sessions became longer, but because of that, more people started to notice.

  Master Longwei asked her if there was any change when it came to me since she was seeing me so many times. She was worried. She needed me just as much as I needed her.

  She handed me a joint. The sex I had with Irene was like a drug, but the joint just sealed it somehow. It was as if she knew my darkness needed everything she offered.

  “What do you suggest? What are you going to tell him?” I had to know.

  “I don’t know. I cannot lie, Blake. And I have no idea what he wants me to say to him.”

  “You told him about my messed-up dreams?”

  “Believe me, I used that one first. It has to stop eventually.”

  “No!” I was adamant.

  She smiled. “I meant using the dream as the reason. Dreams usually stop and the reasons do too.”

  “I’ll think of something.”

  “Blake, you already have too much on your plate.”

  “I need this, Irene. I need you.”

  Her cheeks became a darker pink. I couldn’t believe she was still blushing from my compliments. She was so beautiful. She gave me a soft kiss and took the joint from me again. “You need to leave. I’m seeing Stephanie at noon.”

  I looked at her clock. It was five minutes till.

  “Okay.” I kissed her once and slid out of her bed. I jumped into my jeans and pulled on my shirt. “Same time tomorrow?”

  “Not tomorrow, Blake. It’s getting dangerous. We need to be careful.”

  “Then when?” I demanded.

  “Two days from now, okay?”

  I huffed.

  “We have to be careful,” she pleaded.

  “Fine, whatever.” I turned around and left.

  “Don’t be like that,” she called after me, but I didn’t slow. I had no idea how the fuck I was going to last two days.

  As I left I almost knocked Stephanie out of the way.

  “Sorry,” she said.

  “It’s fine. She’s in a terrible mood. Just a heads up,” I mumbled.

  “Okay.” She sounded really confused. I got it. I’d probably never spoken a word to her before now.

  I didn’t look back. Just slung my backpack over my shoulder and strode back to my room.

  I opened my door and froze. Lucian stood in the bathroom.

  He looked fine until he started to walk. He had a limp. How was that possible? He was the Prince of Tith. Swallow Annexes could heal him.

  “I’m back,” he said.

  I nodded and frowned.

  “You’re wondering about the limp?” He smiled. “You and everyone else.”

  “Why?” It was all I could get out.

  “I healed the normal way. No Swallow Annexes, Blake.”

  “Why would you do that to yourself?” I was upset. Not just with myself for putting him through it, but with him too. He could have been healed easily. It wasn’t that easy for us dragons. A Swallow Annex’s touch couldn’t heal dragons. Only humans. And here he was refusing it. Why? To make me feel shittier.

  “To remember how it was, how it felt. Each time I turned, that pain. It’s my fuel.”

  “Fuel for what?” I roared.

  “To do better next time, Blake.”

  I huffed. “Are you insane?”

  “I made you a promise, Blake. And I’m going to keep it. I don’t need you to understand why I do things the way I do. But you’re like
my brother. I will find a way to claim you.”

  I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and opened them. “We were thirteen years old. I don’t expect you to keep that promise.”

  “I am a man of my word. Just think what sort of king I would be if I cannot keep my word.”

  “You’re wasting your time.”

  Lucian chuckled. It made me feel small. It was as if I didn’t see the bigger picture of why he must claim me. “If I don’t claim you, then I must kill you, Blake. I don’t think I can live with that. So that is why I chose to heal normally. I need the pain. It fuels me to do better.”

  I got what he was talking about. Nobody would ever be brave enough to face me if I turned. Nobody except him.

  This was a fucked-up world.

  I swallowed hard and left.

  Over the next few days, everything came crashing down. Not being able to see Irene took its toll on me.

  Master Longwei was doing more harm than good with his constant questions. My family got that I needed certain things in order to stay good. Why didn’t he?

  Lucian’s return only added more weight. If felt as though I was descending from high among the clouds to the earth.

  Heal normally? What a joke. As much as I wanted to believe that he was going to be the one to claim me, I couldn’t. I didn’t.

  He wasn’t the royal Irene saw when my egg hatched. His heart and head were in the right place, but he was from the wrong bloodline.

  I’d just taken a drag from my cigarette when the hatch of the roof opened.

  The first thing I saw through the corner of my eye was snow-white hair. She wouldn’t give up. Weird trait for a Snow Dragon.

  “Thought I’d find you here,” she said, taking the cigarette from me.

  I just stared at her. What was her deal?

  “So, how is it going?”

  “Fine, I guess.”

  “My brother is looking for you. I told him you were occupied,” she said.

  “Occupied?” I asked.

  “Yeah, that was all I could think of. You are extremely hard to track down. It’s a wonder I found you here. Oh,” she said, handing me back my cigarette as she reached for her pocket. “Before I forget.” She took out our new album out a pen. “Mind if I get your autograph?” She said. “Pleeeease.”

  I huffed. The corners of my lips tugged up softly. “Sure, what’s your name again, honey?”

  “Ha, ha,” she said.

  I didn’t leave a sweet message or anything like that, but signed her name in a heart with “Blake” and placed my signature below before handing it back to her.

  She considered it. “Didn’t think you were the heart type of guy,” she observed. “But I do love ‘Never-Breath.’ Are you sure she had red hair and green eyes?”

  I chuckled. “Let me guess. Her hair is supposed to be snow-white and eyes bright blue?”

  “Oh, that would’ve been perfect.”

  A strong urge to kiss her seared through me. I acted on it, not giving it two thoughts as I pulled her in by her jersey.

  She smacked into me and our lips touched.

  One thing led to another and I wielded my shield.

  She stopped at the small popping sound. “I’m impressed, Mr. Leaf.”

  “Finally, someone is impressed,” I flirted. She kissed me again.

  I felt like a dog afterward. Even the beast did. I thought cheating would be something it loved, but I was wrong. It didn’t want Tabitha. Did my human side want her?

  No, I wanted Irene. Then it hit me.

  What if Tabitha was just a cover-up? Sure, I would pretend that I was okay with her constantly in my company, but I could fool Master Longwei and get some of the spotlight off Irene and me.

  It will work. It has to work.

  I couldn’t wait for tomorrow to tell Irene. But what if she didn’t buy it? What if she thought I wanted to butter my bread on both sides?

  No, I’d make her see it. I had to.

  Lucian was snoring. I pulled the pillow over my head.

  It didn’t work.

  I wished I could call Irene, but with Lucian back, it was no use. A lost cause. He would tell Master Longwei in a jiff and that would be it. They would lock me up and throw away the key.

  No, I had to be patient. I would see her tomorrow.

  My session with her was at noon, right after lunch. I found her standing at the window. She was smoking a cigarette. I closed the door, locked it, and went to her.

  “Don’t touch me.” She pushed me away.

  “Seriously?” I was pissed off. First she insisted on taking a two-day break and now this shit.

  “You and the Snow Dragon?” she asked.

  My body inflated. “How did you find out?” There was no hiding this shit.

  “Seriously?” she asked. “I’m a Moon-Bolt, Blake.”

  “It’s not what…”

  “Stop.” She laughed. “I’m three hundred years old. I’ve been through all this shit. I thought we had something.”

  “We do. Can you please just listen?”

  “NO!” she yelled. “It was fun, but it’s over.”

  “NO!” I grabbed her.

  She pushed me away before I could kiss her. “Get out, or I will scream.”

  “Just let me…”

  “Out!” She pointed at the door.

  I couldn’t talk to her when she was like this, so I did what she said and left.

  I had known that my deeds were going to backfire sooner or later. I just didn’t think this would happen. I had been sure that she would hear me out, but I was wrong.

  My mind rested then on something else.

  If she saw me on that roof, then why the hell didn’t she see what I was planning? That Tabitha was just a cover-up.

  The next few days were shit. There were no other words for it. Irene made me feel like shit. Lucian made that feeling ten times worse.

  I had finally gotten my Cammy. Isaac called one day; his number was the first one I paired with. We had another gig in about three weeks.

  I told him that I don’t know what I would be in three weeks. I told him about the darkness.

  He wanted to come over, but I said no.

  Not this time.

  I put the phone down and didn’t speak to anyone. I found myself on Table View mountain a lot. All the shit I’d done lately was just making the crash harder.

  Starting a relationship with a much older dragon, not to mention the Viden and one of the school staff... It was fucked up. But I missed her. The beast inside still ached for her.

  Over the past few days, I’d written down some words. At first they didn’t make much sense, but then they started to form another poem. I called it “Forever Lost.”

  It was how I felt at this moment. Lost and no matter what I did to get out of it, I just ended up feeling more lost.

  Mind, heart and soul.

  Should be good, pure as gold.

  Darkness free was my forecast.

  But because I’m evil, I’m fading fast.

  I’m forever lost.

  I’ll be forever last.

  Aw, are we going to cry? The beast mocked me.

  “Shut the fuck up!” I replied but its laughter just echoed through my mind.

  He was always pushing, always showing me the truth, how it was.

  Why should I hold on? To what? If this was my destiny, why not just give in now? Why put myself through all this shit?

  I was inside the ring again. The sides of the cage sparkled with electricity.

  In front of me stood the Rubicon. He was an ugly motherfucker.

  This was it.

  I was finally facing him.

  We fought. No matter how hard I tried to get the upper hand, he would just do the unexpected and throw me against the wall. The electricity would jolt through me each time.

  It hurt like hell.

  My energy drained, but still I refused to quit.

  I tried again, failed again, and tried something
else. Failed, again, failed, again, failed.

  I was at my last breath when he picked me up.

  His mouth was wide open, just about to swallow, when he started to laugh. The mocking kind.

  “When are you going to get it, boy? I am you.”

  I woke up with a jolt. Sweat dripped off my forehead. I could still hear his laughter echoing. Echoing from deep within.

  Lucian was asleep. The entire Academy was asleep. I needed air.

  I found myself on Table View again.

  There, I roared until my throat felt shredded. I just needed to not feel dead. ”Alive” was maybe asking too much. Just... not dead. I need to know I was holding on for something. My life couldn’t end like this. I wasn’t ready.

  I screamed until I couldn’t scream anymore.

  I knew what I had to do. I knew how to hang on for a little longer.

  I took out the Cammy from my pants pocket where they lay crumpled on the ground and punched Phil’s number in manually.

  “Blakey,” Phil’s hologram appeared. “You are late.”

  “Back by popular demand!” The emcee yelled. “Hansel Borgendorf.”

  The crowds cheered. I was in the ring again and this time it wasn’t a fucked-up dream.

  The Green-Vapor hulked over me like a house. He was huge, but size never scared me. The bell went off and this fight was over faster than a ten-count.

  The night was over in a flash. I fought three times. The last dragon was a bit more difficult than the other two and was also a Green-Vapor named Henry. When I finally got hold of his wings, he squealed like a pig.

  The sound of flesh tearing, the spilling of guts and blood against the floor, the taste of it against my lips.

  My acid burning in between.

  Some spectators vomited. It was the most gruesome fight they had ever seen. It was replayed on the big screens endlessly.

  I knew that when Samuel phoned again, I would come. Samuel wasn’t happy about my taking so long to contact him. If it weren’t for that contract, Samuel would’ve known that I was nobody’s pet.

  But without Irene, the darkness would come soon enough. I needed this.

  I got dressed in the locker room. On my way out, I signed a couple of girls’ body parts, shirts, shorts, and pieces of paper adorned with Hansel’s face. I climbed into the limo with Samuel, Dimi, and Phil.

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