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Darkbeam part i, p.4
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       Darkbeam Part I, p.4

           Adrienne Woods

  Game on.


  Destruction and mayhem you cannot hide.

  Darkness coiled deep inside.

  The monster no longer under the bed.

  He’s always lived inside my head.

  Screaming and aching to be set free.

  The temptation so strong it won’t let me be.

  A hope deep inside so light struggles to shine.

  A bond so promising, but yet not mine.

  Good and evil, both I know

  Which is friend and which is foe.

  I sat with my journal open in my lap, rereading one of the entries I had written before Lucian came. It was penned right before I got the news about what he was planning to do. He’d celebrated his sixteenth birthday with a claiming. Mine.

  I didn’t think the Council would give it to him, but they had. They’d granted it.

  After a dark few days, I felt semi-normal again. All thanks to that night on the docks.

  The darkness was satisfied... for now.

  But my mind was reliving the nightmare, the horror of it, over and over again.

  I’d killed that man.

  I didn’t even flinch. No, Blake, the beast didn’t flinch.

  I was Mr. Hyde when the wings and the scales came out, and Dr. Jekyll had to live with the consequences of what he had done.

  It hadn’t always been like this. There was a time when the beast had been good. A time before the clock started ticking down.

  Sometimes I wished that I’d never gotten my human form. It was a curse; it had been at that exact moment that the first grain in the hourglass fell. The hourglass that ticked off the time until I was fully dark.

  I took another long drag on my cigarette. Sometimes, I liked to sit on the roof and gaze at the stars. Gaze until I couldn’t focus on them anymore. Until my mind was numb.

  Tonight was such a night.

  I tried to soothe my mind, clear my thoughts away from the blood and murder that had taken place a few nights ago.

  The beast slept like a baby, but I couldn’t.

  The hatch to the roof opened and snow-white hair appeared, almost glowing in the moonlight.

  I sighed deeply and hoped that my irritation wouldn’t show too much.

  What the hell is the Snow Dragon doing here again? Why did she always come back? I treated her like shit each time I was done with her. Still, a few days later, she would hunt me down and beg for whatever she needed from me like a lost little puppy.

  “Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”

  “I couldn’t,” I answered. She was lucky to get that out of me.

  “You know, I have the perfect thing for that.”

  I already knew what she was going to offer me, and she usually did on a silver platter. “Oh yeah?”

  “You have such a dirty mind. I’m talking about milk and a shot of vodka. It’s really good at soothing tired minds and nerves. You’d be asleep in no time.” She gave me her dazzling smile.

  I couldn’t help but laugh. Okay, so my mind went to only one thing when it came to the Snow Dragon.

  “Okay, if you say so,” I finally said.

  She lay down next to me and watched the stars too.

  “Ever wonder if what they say is true?”

  “If what is true?”

  “You know, about our ancestors and when they die.”

  I squinted. She was one of the smartest girls at Dragonia and she was asking me about the supernatural.

  “I know logic and science don’t back that theory, but I always wondered. Of all the things we don’t know yet... Could our ancestors really be among the stars, watching over us?”

  Okay, now I was really wondering if Snow Dragons were actually the smartest dragons out there.

  She slapped me playfully. “Don’t look at me like that. I’m serious.”

  “No, it’s not possible. That would mean there’s a higher power and I don’t believe in that.”

  “You don’t believe in a higher power?”

  “No, ’cause if there was, he would never make something as dark and evil as me.”

  Compassion filled her eyes. I didn’t like that look. It reminded me too much of pity.

  “You are not that dark and evil. Not yet. And King Albert always believed that with the right influence, Blake, you might be surprised at how good you are, deep down.”

  “With the right influence?” I humored her even though I already knew where this was going. “Oh? And who do you think that right influence could be?”

  “No idea,” she played along. “I’m way too naughty so it has to be someone who is truly good. You might try that book nerd, the one who always sits in the library. You know, with the glasses and long brown hair.”

  I roared with laughter; I knew exactly who she was talking about. “Brittainy?”

  “Yes,” she smiled. She propped herself up on one arm. Her face was inches from mine.

  “You might have a point with her, though. Maybe her goodness will rub off on me and maybe, just maybe, I might rub off on her, and then we’re back to square one.”

  “Ah, man, and here I thought I was setting up a match made in heaven.”

  I shook my head. “Yeah, sorry. I would lead poor Brittainy to hell.”

  She laughed. “Damn.”

  Our conversation meandered. She mused about her life, her worries about her brother and that he had a man crush on me.

  I laughed again, but I knew that wasn’t why he kept asking Tabitha to tell me he needed to see me. He wanted me for something.

  “He either owes someone a shitload of money, or he has a bunch of illegal money.”

  I huffed, a small smile tugging at my lips. “There’s nothing wrong with breaking the rules a little bit.”

  She squinted. “Did you even hear a single word I said about my brother, or were you busy staring at my eyes?” The way she said eyes, told me she didn’t actually mean her eyes.

  “I’m not three years old anymore, Tabitha. If I want ass, I get ass, as easy as that.”

  She swallowed hard and bit her lower lip. It was sexy in an unwanted way. “So you want ass?” She asked in a seductive smile.

  “I thought you’d never ask.” I pushed her down and rolled on top of her.

  She laughed as I pinned her tightly to the ground and our lips touched.

  The kiss was vigorous. Her cold essence lodged deep inside her cooled my boiling fire. Her hands were always cold. Her entire body an ice sculpture. It made mine feel absolutely perfect.

  She was wearing a skirt and I ripped off her panties as she fiddled with my jeans.

  When she touched me, it felt for a second like I was going to die. The cold touch on my sizzling skin felt like ecstasy.

  “You like that?” she asked as she moved her hands up and down my shaft.

  “You know I do.” I growled in her ear. I opened her legs with one hand as I pushed myself inside of her.

  I grunted. I really didn’t want to wake up the beast, but the way Tabitha was moaning in my ear, it was only a matter of time. She complained harder. I covered her mouth with my own again, trying to drown out the sounds.

  “You’re really loud,” I spoke against her lips.

  “Sorry.” She laughed. Then she waved her hand. A soft tingling sensation sparkled around us.

  My thrusting stopped. I squinted. What the hell? Okay, so that was impressive.

  “How did you do that?”

  “What, the shield? It’s not just the Dragonians who can wield them, Blake. We are superior to them. You think we don’t have the gift to enchant things like shields?”

  “Teach me,” I said.

  She laughed again. “Oh, I will, if you promise to be super nice to me.”

  I thought about it for a second. “Done.” I kissed her once more.

  The rest of the night was one long fuck session.

  I woke up at nine the next morning. “Ugh.” It had to be at least third period or something. Thank heavens I
was alone.

  My body ached from last night. Who would have thought that the Snow Dragon had it all along?

  I was positive that last night had broken a world record for the longest fuck.

  My mind was filled with her smell still. But it wasn’t really about what she’d done to me; it was all about what she could do. She’d found a way to wield a spell that only Dragonians could do. I needed that spell for hiding who knew what shit I would do later on.

  I pulled myself out of bed and got dressed. For the first time in a long time, I had a purpose. I was driven to learn something new. Driven to master it.

  And master it I would.

  The next two weeks flew by. Tabitha kept her word. She taught me the enchantment, and I’d practiced every single day.

  The first few days, nothing happened.

  She just smiled, and said of course it wouldn’t. “We aren’t meant to be the ones casting spells. You need to take it. See it like you’re stealing something you really want.”

  If I could kill, well, then I was certain that I could steal too.

  The next four days were quite different.

  The enchantment wasn’t hard to speak, but what mattered were the intentions as I spoke it. That was what made magic spells so difficult to begin with.

  I couldn’t be pathetic or needy, and that was why I struggled.

  It kept backfiring on me. It would either throw me ten paces from where I stood, or send a rush of pain that forced me to my knees, grinding my teeth. The worst was when a jolt broke my arm.

  I pushed it back, and it took a day to heal. But the next day, I tried again.

  I had to learn.

  Tabitha was a natural, because she was a Snow Dragon. If there was a scale from one to ten that listed which species were the closest to humans, Snow Dragons would be a twelve.

  No doubt that was why she had all these spells. She had the key.

  “I really pretend that I’m in danger, and it happens. I have to feel it. That night I had the urge to hide and...” She smiled and shrugged. “It’s like breathing to me now.”

  “Breathing.” My tone was annoyed.

  “Your problem isn’t that you can’t do this. It’s that you don’t need it, Blake. Need it and take it.” She got up. “As much as I enjoyed you that night, I didn’t want to get caught. It’s why I could wield it. You don’t care if you get caught. Everything is a breeze to you.”

  “A breeze.” I was starting to get pissed off.

  “You don’t get what I’m saying. You don’t need it, Blake. It won’t come if you don’t really need it.”

  Then what the fuck was I doing with her?

  I got what she was saying. I wasn’t the type to be scared. The Rubicon wasn’t built to be afraid of anything. I usually instilled the fear.

  She bent down and kissed me softly on my lips.

  I didn’t return the kiss and she smiled at me.

  “You know where to find me,” she said and sauntered away.

  I watched her go.

  I wasn’t going to give up.

  Around the tenth day, I worried this was all a waste of my time.

  She had said she went through this difficult phase too. Tabitha’s voice kept playing over in my head. Magic wasn’t meant for dragons. It was meant for the ones who wanted to tame us. The ones who were born with the mark.

  Dragonians. I hated everything about them. The way they thought they could just walk into that ring and we would yield.


  It wasn’t in me to yield. Not inside my human body, and definitely not inside my dragon.

  And on the fourteenth day, exactly two weeks of working my ass off, something finally happened.

  I had it. Only for a few seconds, but I had it. I couldn’t see it, but I could hear it. I could feel its tiny pricks in the air. I heard it coming, too—a click and then a zing. The same sort of sound that bugs made as they baked in the sun.

  A faint popping noise surrounded me. But it became difficult to hold on to that need and it disappeared.

  “You did it!” Tabitha yelled.

  I didn’t even know that she was close by. She was a bit of a stalker.

  She ran into my arms. I had to catch her as she literally jumped onto me.

  “Hardly,” I said, more agitated than anything else. I let her go.

  “Hardly?” Her smile still sprawled over her lips. Damn, she had a beautiful smile. “It took me almost three months to master just that, Blake.”

  I frowned. “Three months?”

  “Yeah,” she nodded. “Guess you are a hell of a dragon.”

  “I’m the shit,” I joked and she laughed.

  I tried again.

  It was weird how easy it was for me to get used to the idea of spending time with Tabitha. At least I wasn’t calling her Snow Dragon anymore.

  It took an entire year for me to call her by her name. Still, as beautiful as she was, and as dazzling as her smile, she wasn’t the one the beast wanted.

  She would never satisfy his needs.

  I practiced every day, every minute I could. Even in my room.

  I didn’t like being in my room that much, though. Without Lucian’s presence, even though his light still made me feel sick, I felt guilty for what I’d done.

  Why wasn’t he back yet?

  They had Swallow Annexes.

  I hoped that whatever he was going through had taught him never to try and claim me again. But I knew him too well. In a few months, after a gazillion trainers prepped him again, he would stand before that Council once more, begging for another chance to face me inside the Colosseum.

  Just thinking about that made my skin crawl.

  The popping sound came quicker now. It lasted a few seconds longer than the first time. A minute was the longest I’d held on before it disappeared.

  It made me wonder how many other spells I could learn. There were so many. I could use them to protect myself, not that I would ever need them. My fire was my protection, the Pink Kiss as I called it.

  I wanted this kind of protection badly.

  It didn’t come.

  “Why are you ignoring my brother?” Tabitha asked. “He’s driving me insane.”

  I huffed at the way she said it.

  “Please, just call him.”

  “I’m not ignoring him. I just don’t have the time to speak to him right now, okay?”

  “Seriously? What does he want with you, anyway?”

  “Your guess is as good as mine.”

  “Well, if Phil is calling me to get a hold of you, all I know is that he’s desperate. Be careful. His gigs can cost you your life.”

  His gigs? I laughed. “Sweetheart.” Wrong. I shouldn’t call her that. “The only gig I have is with my band members. At the moment, we’re not doing so well. So when your brother calls, tell him I will call when I’m damn good and ready.”

  I turned around and walked the opposite way.

  “I’m just the messenger! No need to bite my head off.”

  I shook my head and put on my hood.

  What does that Night Villain want from me this time?

  I still felt fear. That was the only thing that kept me fighting. My fear was a good sign.

  As evil as some of his schemes were, Phil did help the darkness. He fed it and it would stay away for a long time. So of course I was intrigued.

  But it was the idea of feeding my darkness that scared me a little. There would come a time when he was not going to be able to satisfy it.

  Then what?

  I couldn’t call Phil, no matter what schemes he had.

  I found myself in the Colosseum. I hated the fucking place. What am I doing here?

  I could still hear the chants from the crowd, cheering Lucian’s name that day. Cameras flashing. More chants and a pissed-off dragon.

  I still smelled fear, his adrenaline mixed with excitement. He’d really thought he would get me on the first try.

  He was in many ways my perfe
ct match; both of us would never give up. But I wished he would; one day, he wasn’t going to walk out of the Colosseum alive.

  They wouldn’t prosecute me. Everyone knew that what happened in the ring, died in the ring. If a Dragonian wanted to be stupid and claim a dragon that didn’t belong to him for starters, then the idiot must be ready to die.

  Still, it was Lucian.

  Although he had this strange effect on me at times, he was still my very best friend in so many ways. But I needed him to back off, not just for my own good, but for his too.

  He would never be ready.

  “Wakey, wakey.” A voice spoke my name. I couldn’t place the voice, but it was familiar. Fucking weird.

  I opened my eyes and found a redhead staring at me. Her hair reached her shoulders. For some reason, she reminded me of King Albert. I frowned.

  “What’s up?” I said.

  What’s up? It doesn’t even sound like me. Way too chirpy.

  “You need to get dressed. Otherwise we’re going to be late.”

  Late for what? Who the fuck are you? “Do we have to go?” I asked instead.

  “Blake, yes. My mother and father will be there.”

  Your mother? “Fine. Give me a minute.”

  I got up against my will and walked to the bathroom. I saw myself in the mirror. I was smiling, and I started to whistle. I touched my torso, but the Blake in the mirror did not mimic me.

  This was fucking weird.

  Was I high? Had I called Phil? What the fuck was going on?

  The girl’s arms wrapped around me from behind. I knew one thing: I liked her. She felt familiar, like home. She was where I was meant to be.

  My hand glided over hers. “Let’s just stay.” I turned around. My arms wrapped around her tiny waist. She was sort of beautiful. Freckles sprinkled her face under vibrant green eyes. “My bed has been very lonely.”

  “Your bed is always lonely, Mr. Leaf,” she teased. “If my mother catches us, she’ll pull all your scales off and use them in her potions. Don’t tempt her. Get dressed.”

  She kissed me. It was nice.

  Then I woke up.

  I was in my dorm room. It was still dark. I lifted my head and saw Lucian’s empty bed.

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