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       Frostbite, p.8

           Adrienne Woods
 

  “No, it makes perfect sense.” She looked past me again.

  I shook my head softly and turned my gaze to see what she was looking at. I found her brother flirting with Tabitha.

  “You were right,” Sammy said.

  I looked back at her. “About what?”

  “You’re just like him, evil and dark, but for some reason you share some sort of a connection.”

  “What?”

  “It must be a Rubicon thing,” she said without taking her eyes off her brother and gave a small chuckle.

  I turned around again and found his entire table laughing.

  “What’s a Rubicon thing?” Becky asked as she and George put four trays of food on the table. I turned my head as Blake’s gaze fell on our table.

  “Tell you later,” Sammy whispered. “Too many ears.”

  DIDN’T WANT TO go back to our room. I was scared of confronting the horrible deed that I’d done an hour ago. Blake and Tabitha found my gaze and I watched them walking out hand in hand, bumping one another playfully as they exited the cafeteria. A part of me wished for the first time that it was me. I’d never felt this way about Blake before. I hated the jealousy of wanting to be Tabitha. She was shallow and only cared about herself and Blake.

  “Let’s go,” Sammy said.

  “Can we stay a bit, please?”

  “You’ll be fine Elena. Tomorrow is Monday again and you’ll be training with him in the afternoon,” Sammy said and both Becky and I just stared at each other as none of it made any sense to us.

  Sammy giggled as she saw our expressions. “I’ll explain inside the room, now let’s go.” We said goodbye to the boys at the stairs and started to climb. My heart pounded as Becky unlocked the door and I gasped again as I walked into the room.

  Everything was fixed. My bedpost looked as if it’d never gotten attacked by a crazy person, and the torn piece of carpet was back to its normal thick, lush brown self. Sammy’s dresser was back in one piece and I didn’t see Becky’s clothes on the floor anymore. The feathers were gone, and all the pillows were fixed.

  “See, everything can be fixed, Elena.”

  “I still did it Becky,” I felt angry with myself again.

  “It’s going to be okay.” She gave me a gentle smile and looked at Sammy again. “So what is this big Rubicon thing you couldn’t tell us in the cafeteria?”

  “Yeah, what did you mean that we share a connection?” I wanted to know.

  “For some reason you and my brother are each other’s salvation, you both are like light to one another. Your hatred disappeared because Blake was near.”

  “I don’t understand, are you saying that we turn darker the more we are apart from each other?” It didn’t make sense but it did explain the black out and me going psycho on our room. It was also followed by a new fear: “What if he refuses to carry on with the training?”

  Sammy’s eyes rose. “Don’t tell him. You can’t let that happen. He needs you just as much as you need him. He can’t turn evil with you close to his side. It explains why he is so friendly.”

  “This is so messed up,” Becky said and looked at Sammy.

  “Welcome to my world,” I said and both just looked at me.

  Becky touched my shoulder. “I agree with Sammy, Blake can’t know about this. He would cancel the training if anything like this happened. He would feel tied down and you know Blake.”

  I nodded and looked around the room again. “Who fixed the room?”

  “Master Longwei took care of it.” Sammy smiled. “It’s normal, Elena. He understands.”

  I sighed. “I’m so sorry you guys. I’ll somehow find a way to repay you for your clothes,” I said to Becky

  “Seriously, you didn’t know what you were doing, Elena. I so blame the psycho inside of you.” She laughed, and I smiled. I wished that I could feel the same way she did over my split personality. “Hey, it’s okay. I can buy new clothes. We just have to find a way for you to get your daily Blake doses.”

  Laughter filled the room.

  “You make it sound as if I’m addicted to him.”

  “Well you have no choice, so it could be called an addiction.”

  “I don’t want this.”

  “Neither do junkies.”

  “They have a choice, there is a cure for them and they can stop whenever they want. There is a difference.”

  She smiled. “Whatever makes you sleep better at night, darling.”

  I threw a pillow at her and the two girls broke out in laughter.

  My lips vibrated like a horse’s with the heavy breath I let out. “This really is messed up.”

  “Just remember, you do the exact same thing for him. He becomes darker the more he is apart from you too, Elena.”

  “History has this so wrong,” Becky said.

  “That’s exactly what he told me. I asked him if he had the urge to kill me, since there are two of us living at the same time, and he said no.” I smiled as I remembered his stupid comment before he said it was a joke.

  “See, my brother is smart and I’ve got a funny feeling he’s known this for a very long time, Elena. It could explain why he always wanted to be around you when he was drunk.”

  “So it wasn’t my virginity that drove his Sun-Blast crazy?”

  “No, far from it.”

  N MONDAY AFTERNOON I struggled to handle our training session with the knowledge of Sammy’s little discovery.

  “You’re really quiet today. Was Tabitha that mean to you?” Blake joked.

  “No, she just left me with a shit load of paperwork to go through. It is going to take me forever to find him.”

  “She will find him, Elena. That is a promise.”

  “Yeah, I hope so.”

  “I forgot to ask you something.”

  “Sure, what is it?”

  “The day that Paul died. Did you see his body turning into ash?”

  I thought about that. I didn’t know what I saw. “Master Longwei put you up to this?”

  “Elena, we need to know.”

  “I don’t know what I saw that day, Blake.”

  He stopped and I came to a halt a couple of paces in front of him. “I can help, if you want.”

  “How? By reading my mind?” I joked.

  He didn’t smile. “I can’t read minds,” he said in a harsh tone.

  “It was a joke.”

  “My persuasion can calm your mind and you might be able to remember more.”

  “I don’t want to remember more. Believe me I’m struggling already with what it is I’m stuck with.”

  He sighed. “I know it’s hard, Elena. We all lost an amazing person that day.”

  “Blake…”

  “He was my best friend. If Paul is still out there…”

  “If he’s still out there? How could he still be out there?”

  “What did you see?”

  “You are not answering my question! Lucian drove an iron blade through his heart. Iron kills Wyverns.”

  “Elena, please, just tell me what you remember.”

  I looked to the ground and could feel furrows denting my forehead. What did I see that day? For a long time, I thought it could be paranoia, but Blake sounded adamant and if Paul was still alive…

  Anger boiled up in my throat again, but it disappeared immediately because of Blake. I looked at him and his peacock-blue eyes searched mine. He was still waiting for my answer. “I don’t know what I saw that day, but I heard her forcing him to drink something.”

  Blake froze and cupped his mouth as he turned around and paced for a while.

  “What is it?” I asked, but he didn’t answer. “Blake,” I pulled him by his arm and he faced me. “What is it? Is Paul still alive?”

  He looked to the ground with knitted eyebrows. “He might be.”

  “Might be, how?”

  He walked to the nearest boulder and sat, ordering me to do the same.

  I took a seat next to him and couldn’t stop stari
ng at him. He didn’t look at me.

  “There is a potion, it’s two different kinds that make a whole.”

  “Stop speaking to me in riddles. What do you mean two different ones?”

  “Two potions, but together they can do something unforgivable.”

  “Like what?”

  “It’s called the Calupso. One potion is drunk by the person that will become the host, the second is drunk by the one who needs the host. His body would disappear and his essence would be soaked up into the host.”

  “That doesn’t make sense!”

  “If you heard her say he needed to drink, it could only be that. Did you see her drink something too?”

  “I was busy turning into a dragon, I don’t know what I saw,” I grunted. “How does that work?”

  “She’s a hippogriff, or I assume, a shape shifter. Hippogriffs don’t have human forms.” The worry lines dented deep into his forehead and around his eyes. “If she was a Wyvern she could sacrifice herself and he would take her place inside her body, but because they weren’t the same, she would’ve needed another host, a Wyvern, in order to save his life.”

  “So you’re telling me that Paul is still alive?”

  He nodded. “But we wouldn’t know who he is, as his human form wouldn’t be Paul’s. It would be the host whose life he took.”

  “She loved him, you know. How was that even remotely going to work? A hippogriff and a Wyvern?”

  “The same way it works between a dragon and a human.” He looked at me with soft eyes.

  I closed mine as Becky and Sammy’s stupid conversation jumped into my head again. Why was he helping me? If he didn’t want me to fall in love with him…why was he being so nice, so perfect? I pushed my hand through my hair.

  “I’m so sorry. I know how you felt about Lucian.”

  I looked at him. For someone who says they don’t read minds he clearly knew exactly what I was thinking.

  “What?”

  “Paul still being out there must be hard for you to take in.”

  Oh. “Yeah, I didn’t bargain on that.”

  “I’ll find him, Elena, even if it’s the last thing I do.”

  “Don’t say that. Lucian said that same thing, and then it happened. If you want to kill him, do it on your own terms, Blake. Not because of me,” I added. I couldn’t lose Blake now that I finally knew he was keeping me from the darkness.

  “Okay, my own terms. But I will find him, and he will die. That is a promise.”

  COULDN’T SLEEP THAT night. My dreams were so messed up I couldn’t tell up from down. Paul always found a way into them, and now I knew why. It was because the bastard was still alive.

  He was out there, heck he could be close by and I wouldn’t know it. Every night Blake turned into Paul, he would taunt me by laughing that horrible crazy laugh he had a couple of months ago inside the cave. I would always wake up with a dream that emerged a couple of weeks after I discovered what I was, with Dad yelling at me to wake up.

  When I finally came to, I went to the couch and picked up the pile of paper I hadn’t searched through yet. I didn’t understand how it’d never crossed my mind to search for him this side. I could’ve had so many questions answered, but then again, so many things had happened that there hadn’t really been time to worry about the dead, even though he would constantly haunt me.

  So far I had looked through two hundred Herbert Watkins and none of them were my father.

  It had to be Fox that night, otherwise why on earth had he stopped killing?

  That gave me an idea and when my digital clock struck six I found myself inside the library.

  I typed ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and found the list I was looking for. There were a couple of pages filled with faces and I scrolled down to the ones that had a huge ‘x’ over their faces.

  I froze as the image of a man with long black hair jumped on the screen. It was him, he had the same eyes and the same hard jaw. My entire body was pins and needles. The name read ‘Cullen Briochinni’ and in brackets it said ‘(The Fox)’.

  I found myself with my head in my hands, eyes closed. Why had he been after Dad? Why hadn’t he told me, why hadn’t I known? Everything this side just had a way of finding me, and yet, I knew nothing about my life, or who my father was.

  I decided to do a thorough search on Fox and printed out a list of the people he’d killed. I could tell by some of their eye color that they were dragons. The hair was normal, brown, blond and some even carrot red. Most of them were in their early thirties, others had peppered hair. There was no picture of Dad though, only a huge article about that night and that one of the corpses, or what was left of him, was assumed to be Fox through the dental records.

  My fingers typed other words and when the search was done a big picture of Lucian’s face jumped onto the screen.

  “Why did you leave me?” I asked even though it would be yet another question that would never get answered. The pain jolted through my heart and I expected tears to roll down my face, but they never came. I still couldn’t cry.

  I pressed the ‘x’ button on the right hand top side, and Lucian’s face disappeared.

  Becky and Sammy were still sleeping when I returned to the room. I planned on finding Dad this week and finding out once and for all if I had family left inside Paegeia.

  Most of the Herberts I searched through were from the other side. I found one Herbert Watkins this side. He was an engineer and owned his own company, making straddles, whatever they were. His picture looked nothing like Dad though, quite the opposite to be honest. For some reason the word ‘patsy’ came to mind, although I had no idea why.

  Familiar words suddenly entered my mind: A day will come and a day will go, a choice you have to make otherwise the truth will never be known.

  I promised myself never to wonder about those words again, but I couldn’t help but think about what on earth I needed to do to make them become red.

  Taking the wrong path would mean someone close to me will die, just like Brian and Lucian. I can’t follow my foretelling again, but I couldn’t stop wondering why it was so important that it had made the Book of Shadows.

  What truth couldn’t possibly be revealed if I didn’t make that certain choice? It was never going to be revealed and I refused to lose any more people I loved.

  I snuggled deeper into the duvet and thought about Queen Catherine again. For a couple of days after Lucian died I thought that she had prepared me for his death. He went into a forest and died after he came out, but a few weeks later she showed up again, pointing in that same direction, ordering me to go in.

  Now the question that I was constantly struggling with was what was inside that forest that she so desperately wanted me to know?

  HE NEXT DAY, I waited on the rocks for Blake for almost half an hour.

  Please come, I silently recited in my head.

  This was so messed up; for the love of blueberries I couldn’t figure out how the boy that despised me had turned into someone that would keep me from turning dark.

  I wasn’t going to tell him this. Becky was right, it would freak him out and he would just think that I’d broken my promise and fallen in love with him.

  Not that it would be hard to break. Blake was different when he was with me. Sammy and Becky said that and I could see it in Tabitha’s eyes whenever she saw Blake and me together. She didn’t like him spending this amount of time with me one bit.

  The uneasiness of my chest started to fade and it felt as if my lungs opened and I could breathe properly. I knew what it was. Blake was close. I smiled but it disappeared fast. I didn’t know if I loved this feeling or not. Why couldn’t Lucian be here to be this to me?

  I laid my head on my hand in thought, letting the sorrow rush over me.

  “Sorry I’m late.” His voice came and I didn’t look up because I knew he was butt naked like usual. He chuckled. “You’ll need to get used to that one way or another Elena.”

  “Today i
s not that day, just get dressed.”

  “Ouch, what Night Villain spat in your milk this morning?”

  “I don’t need a Night Villain’s acid, I’ve got my own.” I looked up and thanked the heavens he had his robe on. He dropped down right next to me. The smell of roast and musk filled my nostrils and for some reason it made me feel a bit drowsy. I swallowed hard and tried to get the dryness out of my throat.

  The scent was mixed with a horrible stench and I saw Blake taking in a huge drag of his cigarette.

  “I don’t know how you can smoke that.”

  “It calms me down.”

  You want to know what calms me down….don’t go there Elena.

  “So what do you want to talk about today?”

  I thought about it for a minute, I had to ask questions otherwise this training thing would end soon.

  “How many abilities do we have?”

  He gave me an unsure look.

  “Seriously. I’m not the enemy here, Blake, and one of my friends already has a dragon. My lips are sealed.”

  He blew out a breath. “Ten.”

  “Ten?”

  “Our flame is pink because of the Red and Blue fire. We can see the future the older we get, we can breathe lightning, chloroform and acid, we can persuade people with our minds.” He picked up a rock and folded it into his hands. When he opened his fist, the rock was frozen. “We can freeze things and as you know heal living things too. The healing part takes some practice and a lot of concentration.”

  I didn’t tell him how easily that one came to me.

  “We can move objects in our dragon form, and lastly we can make people see things that aren’t there.” I gasped.

  “Relax, it’s nothing special. All the Chromatics have that.”

  “Ten,” I said with a sigh. “How do you use them?”

  He grinned and bit on his tongue gently. My stomach turned. It was a power Blake had always had and wasn’t new to me. “Now that the flying part and hopefully the fear of heights thing is cured…”

  I giggled and he chuckled too. “I think it’s time to show you what we can do.”

  He got up and moved a couple of paces in front of me. I pushed myself up from the rock and stood right next to him.

 
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