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Darkbeam part i, p.12
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.12

           Adrienne Woods
 
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  Music was his life.

  It used to be mine too, but too much bad shit had replaced it.

  I could only imagine what he would think if he knew the truth. How would he look at me if he knew I was a killer? A druggie? I didn’t want to think about it.

  I reached the Academy just before nightfall.

  I hated the elevators. They were unnatural. I’d taken them once when I was younger and said never again. I’d felt off balance for almost two weeks after. If I really thought about the way they transported people, sure it was magic, but mixed with science too. Science that broke a body up in code, like sending an email, and rebuilt the code on the other side. But the rebuild had its flaws too.

  So now, I trusted only the things I could see and feel: my wings.

  Tabitha found me in the cafeteria.

  I suddenly remembered what Irene said.

  “May I?” she asked.

  “Sure, it’s a free world—if you don’t count the Wall.”

  She smiled. “Getting technical again?”

  I gave her a lopsided grin.

  “So...” She set her tray filled with salad and steamed fish on the table. “Are you done ignoring me?”

  “Ignoring you?” I frowned.

  “Yeah, you always do it right after we have sex.”

  I felt... not bad. It was weird. “Sorry,” I lied. “I’ve been a bit occupied lately.”

  “Does it have to do with my brother?”

  I shook my head. “No, it’s me and my shit.”

  “Blake, you don’t have that much shit. But you have something else that is irresistible to a Snow Dragon, that much I know. My mind screams that I should just back off. It even fights with me now.” She pulled a face that made me laugh. “But I can’t. There’s just something about you I can’t stay away from.”

  I always knew that she was a bit pathetic, but she’d never been this open with me before.

  “So that’s why I keep coming back.” She started eating.

  She was a suitable cover-up. “I’m no good for you, Tabitha.”

  “Nobody is good for anyone.” She shook her head and scooped another forkful of leafy greens into her mouth.

  I huffed. “Okay, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

  She stared at me wordlessly for a minute. “What?”

  I shrugged. “I can’t seem to lose you, so I’m giving in, if that’s what you want.”

  She smiled. “I have to think about it first. Having you as a boyfriend does have more disadvantages than perks, so you don’t mind, do you?” There was that joke in her voice.

  “Not at all. I’m not going anywhere.”

  “That’s good to know. Cause I’m not going anywhere either.”

  I smiled. At least the cover-up was done. It was easier than I thought it would be.

  It was hard to get used to Tabitha. I constantly had to remind myself why I was doing this. She was just a cover-up so Irene and I could keep our secret.

  But I didn’t like how everyone twittered that the Snow Dragon had finally tamed the Rubicon. It was working on my nerves. And the guys didn’t help.

  “Dude, you seriously settling for the Snow Queen?” George asked.

  We were playing a preorder game. Perks of being the Rubicon: if a gamer could get an endorsement from me, they made a lot of money. So most of the programmers who had games releasing soon sent me the first copy.

  George was a gaming whiz. If he could play something for more than a day, it was a good game. If not, we tossed it.

  “I just go with the flow. I can’t seem to get rid of her, so…”

  “That’s your reason?” George didn’t buy it.

  “Okay fine, she fucks like a wildling. That better?”

  “Much,” he smiled.

  Our fingers were proclaiming war as the game’s intensity ratcheted up.

  “It’s not bad. Better than the other one.” George changed the subject, for which I was grateful.

  He winked lewdly. “Still, she couldn’t be a better fuck then Ashley.”

  “Ashley who?” I asked.

  “Seriously? She’s a fifth year.”

  “Fifth year?” My eyebrows climbed.

  “She’s hot too. You’d never say it.”

  “So, you and this Ashley?”

  “Don’t,” he said. “No bitch will tame me.”

  “Oh, excuse me.” I tried to sound unimpressed about that last statement, that his words didn’t bother me as much as they had, but they did.

  When he finally left, I felt irritated with George. I knew what was going to happen. I was going to track down Ashley and find out if the rumors were true.

  “Holy fuck,” she moaned in my ear as we both came to climax.

  She turned out to be a dragon too. Huge bonus points; she wouldn’t get pregnant in her human form, and because of my awesome healing ability, STD’s and other sickness weren’t a concern, so no condoms required.

  I bit my lip. George had no idea what a great fuck was. Ashley was just easy, nothing more. Her brown hair and dark eyes glinted. I let go of her, scooted away, and zipped up my trousers.

  “You are one heck of a dragon. Pity they only make one of you.”

  I smiled.

  “Great sense of humor too. I guess I was wrong about that.”

  “Oh, I’m sure you’re wrong about plenty of things.”

  She gave me her panties and put them in my pocket. “Don’t forget me, Rubicon.”

  The library would never be the same again.

  I shook my thoughts away. Irene would probably be furious. I’d used my shield, in case it had any effect on her sight. Hardly heard it this time. I didn’t even think Ashley heard it.

  I was getting really good.

  I sauntered out of the library a few minutes after Ashley and went straight to my room.

  Rumors spread fast and within two days, everyone knew that Ashley and I had sex in the library.

  She found me in my room after she heard. “Is this true?” Tabitha yelled.

  “Would you keep your fucking voice down?” I asked through gritted teeth but she kept shrieking like a banshee.

  “Just answer me!”

  I rolled my eyes. “Is what true, Tabitha?”

  “Did you have sex with Ashley in the library?”

  I shook my head in annoyance.

  “Answer me!” she yelled again.

  “You are not my mother!” I yelled back without looking at her.

  “You are a fucking asshole, Blake.” Her voice broke. Part me felt a tiny bit sorry for her.

  Getting around Irene, however, wasn’t so easy.

  “Why?” Irene asked. Hurt shone in her eyes.

  “She doesn’t mean a thing to me.” My hands itched to cup her face; my lips wanted to kiss her.

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

  “Irene, c’mon.” Frustration built in me.

  “Why do you do that, why do you keep on doing it?”

  “I don’t know, okay? It’s what the beast wants.”

  She narrowed her eyes. “What the beast wants?”

  I fixated on the ceiling for a moment. “I know it sounds stupid, but if I don’t think of it as a separate entity from myself, I’ll lose my mind. It’s the only way not to give in.” My eyesight blurred. I wiped my face hard with the palms of my hands.

  I hated this sign of weakness, but it happened every time I hurt someone I cared for. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how else to hold on.”

  Her arms wrapped around me. “It’s okay,” she whispered close to my cheek. “I don’t want to fight with you, but you have to tell me when something like that happens. I’m more understanding then you think, Blake. I’m not twenty years old anymore, darling.” She forced me to meet her eyes.

  “We’ll deal with your darkness together, okay?”

  I nodded and it seemed as if I was out of the doghouse.

  The sex was amazing as always. I drifted away to another di
mension of pleasure. Irene was one heck of a lover. I could just love her forever.

  She lay in my arms afterward as we both took turns dragging on her pipe. It didn’t soothe the darkness as much as the Fire-Cain did, but it was settling nicely.

  “You have to go. I see Cheng in thirty minutes.”

  “Cheng, the geek?”

  “Yes, he’s actually one of the few dragons whose futures I see clearly. Lately he’s showing things that I don’t understand.”

  “What things?”

  “I’m not allowed to share them, Blake. Unless they end up in the Book of Shadows. You know the rules.” She smiled. “But I’ve got a feeling that somehow they are linked to you.”

  “What?” Did I hear her right?

  “I don’t understand yet what I’m seeing. My vision works strangely. What I say doesn’t have anything to do with what I see. And somehow the two are connected.”

  “So what do you see?”

  “Blake?”

  “I’m not referring to Cheng. Use me. When you speak mumbo jumbo, what do you see?”

  “With you, it’s only darkness. It scares me at times. I feel suffocated. Defeated.”

  I didn’t like it. I was going to turn dark and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

  She touched my cheek. “I know it sounds scary, but don’t give up. I’m not. Someone will claim you in the end, Blake.”

  “You’ve seen it? Or is it something you hope for?”

  “Hope is sometimes much stronger than what I see. Wars have been won with only hope.”

  “Yeah, sure.” I blew out a gust of air and rooted around for my boxers under the covers.

  “Don’t lose hope, Blake. You can’t, you hear me?”

  I didn’t reply, just dressed, kissed her on the cheek, and left.

  She saw darkness. That was it.

  I was a goner.

  For the next few days it was all I could think about.

  The darkness Irene saw.

  When it was going to happen, I had no idea. That was worse than knowing it would happen.

  I wanted more time, and I didn’t know how much was still left.

  I didn’t want to destroy my world. I didn’t want to kill everyone I loved. I didn’t want to want to belong to him.

  Goran. The source of evil himself.

  Why had his dragon ever given him her essence? My dad didn’t speak much about that time, but I remembered.

  She had been a Swallow Annex. He was a frost wielder. That time nobody knew about the bonds or Dents. Sarafina was her name and she’d just perished from a poisoned arrow that had struck her during flight.

  Goran was broken for months, she’d given him her essence. I was unclear about what the procedure was, but I doubted I would give my essence to anyone.

  Not even Lucian.

  It wasn’t normal for the human race to grow that old. Sure, in biblical times they had, but only because dragons still roamed on their side. Before the Wall and before the wars.

  The Metallics just loved helping humans.

  They were so stupid.

  “Blake?” Tabitha’s voice broke through my string of concerns. I was in the cafeteria having lunch, or actually, ignoring my lunch.

  “What?” I snapped at her.

  “May I have a word?”

  “Tabitha, I don’t think it’s going to…”

  “Just hear me out before you think that.” She put an emphasis on the word that.

  Snow Dragons. Pathetic. “Fine, what do you want?”

  She looked at Brian and George, who were sitting around the table.

  “In private, please,” she murmured.

  Brian got up first. “Whatever the Snow Queen wants, Brian shall give.” He mimicked a stupid bow and grabbed George by the collar, literally pulling him off his chair too.

  “Why do we always have to leave?” I knew he was still pissed off about the Ashley thing, but if he thought I was going to leave, he had another thing coming.

  I watched both figures retreat to the other side of the cafeteria and plunge down at another table.

  “What do you want, Tabitha?”

  “I want you to stop fucking other girls. Am I not enough?” Tears glistened in her eyes.

  “Don’t cry. We were never an item. It is what it is, Tabitha. I need certain things and I don’t always want them from you. I mean, where is the fun in that?”

  She shook her head. “Fun. Is that all this is to you, fun?”

  “Don’t start. If you can’t handle it, then stop. Stop trying to get whatever it is you think you’ll get from me, cause I promise you, I’m not that kind of dragon.”

  She didn’t say anything, just shook her head, wiped her face, and got up. “You do know that I’m crazy in love with you, right?”

  “Tabitha,” I sat back into the pillow that served as my chair. “I don’t…”

  “Stop saying that you don’t care or you don’t feel the same way. Loving and caring for someone doesn’t make you weak, Blake—it gives you a reason to hold on, to fight. And if you can’t see it that way, then you’re weak.”

  She spat that word, and I actually flinched as if it was spittle. She stalked away.

  I grunted. For the rest of the day, her words haunted me.

  I didn’t want to pull more people in. I didn’t want so many to get hurt when things went south. I wanted as few casualties as possible.

  But Tabitha refused to give up.

  Later that night, as I lay in bed, I stroked my face hard. Lucian was already fast asleep.

  Pondering all these things today had drained me. Yet I didn’t feel tired. I felt wired, frustrated.

  I was actually looking forward to another fight.

  “Hansel! Hansel! Hansel!”

  The crowd cheered my name. Technically not my name, but who I was at the moment.

  A Green-Vapor named Patrick was filling the cage full of chlorine gas.

  I held my breath. The chlorine did no harm, but I pretended it was a bitch. My eyes watered slightly because of the gas, but that was about it. Phil threw me a fake mask and I pulled it over my face.

  I stopped pretending when the prop was on my face. It was time. Time for the Green-Vapor to stop breathing altogether. I leapt and found myself at the end of one of his wings. I ran up toward his back and grabbed hold of his mane. Acid poured from my hands. Acid they thought belonged to my dragon.

  Dimi was in fact hiding my true appearance with his dark incantations. Nobody even saw his lips move.

  I could feel the magic holding who I was in place.

  Kiiiilllllll, the beast rejoiced inside me.

  The acid ran over the fin-like mane on his head and he shrieked.

  The sounds coming from him were deafening. They seeped deep into my soul. This wasn’t going to be like the others. Jeff, one of the guys at Dragonia, was a Green-Vapor, for crying out loud.

  I could just as well kill him too.

  Kill! the beast roared again. My acid ran stronger.

  I tore his mane. The sight through the mask was as gruesome as it was without. Nothing was hidden. Blood spilled from his neck where his mane had been.

  Nausea crept into my gut.

  Kill him now, you idiot! the beast roared.

  My hands, dripping with acid, traced his wings. Balls and balls of acid.

  He tried to grab me with his claws and teeth, but they just snapped at air.

  I was way too fast for him in my human form, and he wouldn’t have stood a chance in my true form.

  The sound of his wings being incinerated from his body would become my new nightmare.

  It was that deep, tearing through flesh sound.

  I lost it.

  I couldn’t contain it anymore. For a few seconds, I went crazy. Acid mixed with blood and guts spilled onto the floor. I slipped and fell, but it didn’t matter. It was over.

  The Green-Vapor was no more.

  “Hansel! Hansel! Hansel!” the crowd chanted. It did somet
hing to me. The sound of their voices. I screamed and lifted my arms in victory.

  I was a monster, killing my own kind.

  Killing Patrick was the last fight for the weekend.

  The prize was once again my stash: Fire-Cain.

  Phil hesitated. “I know my sister can be a pain in the ass sometimes, Blake, but she does care about you.”

  I stared at him. He was not giving me relationship advice.

  “Treat her nice.”

  I didn’t say anything. The beast was satisfied. He loved Phil and all his schemes that fed my darkness.

  I hated every single damn thing that came out of his mouth.

  I wasn’t hers to begin with.

  I was nobody’s.

  Not even Irene’s.

  I took my stash as Dimi approached.

  “Samuel wants to see you.”

  Samuel. That sadistic fucker. I couldn’t protest, even though I wanted to, because of that stupid contract. He could have my balls on a plate if I didn’t do what he said. I hated being tied to someone. It wasn’t who I was, what I was built for. The magic that he had over me compelled me to follow Dimitri to the locker rooms. If I didn’t, he would force me. The grip he had on me was tight. Real tight.

  I changed quickly. Getting to the limo was a mission. Everyone clamored for my attention, an autograph, a stolen kiss, a gleeful embrace. I liked the attention; it wasn’t as overpowering as the Rubicon’s.

  The limo finally came into sight. Dimi opened the door. I waved before climbing in.

  Inside, Samuel was staring out of the window. I’d learned the hard way not to speak or show any signs of life when he went silent like this.

  The limo purred away.

  “Why did you take so long?” Samuel asked.

  I didn’t understand the question.

  “Answer me, Blake.”

  “I don’t know. Maybe fighting isn’t as easy as you think.”

  “Next time keep under half an hour. I thought that you might lose this time. Don’t play with my money like that, Blake. If you die, nobody will protect your family.”

  I ground my teeth. I’d kill him myself if he ever tried.

  “Do you understand?” His hands encircled my neck and jerked me to face him, inches away, his breath hot on my chin. He slapped me hard on the cheek. “I’ve got way too much money on this, boy. Don’t fuck with me. You hear?”

 
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