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Dead and beyond, p.18
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       Dead and Beyond, p.18

           Jayde Scott
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  He shook his head. “I didn’t. They gave it away in exchange for something else, but that’s another story. Anyway, the power of the witch’s blood is released through this emerald. The gold alone wouldn’t work, and neither would the emerald. They build a symbiosis, just like the vampires and the witches have for years. This ring helped me find you in London. It’s been in my possession for centuries, and never let me down. That is, until the Sofia incident, and now again.”

  For a few seconds, silence ensued between us while I tried to understand the meaning of his words. I resumed our conversation first. “Do you think Seth is using the same kind of magic as Gael and that’s why you can’t find him?”

  “It’s possible.” He hesitated. “But the strange thing is, two days ago I found out Gael was at the shed in the woods. I could sense him. I just don’t understand why I couldn’t see him.”

  “How do you know it was Gael?”

  “Remember the first time he was here to pick up Sofia a few weeks back?” he asked. I nodded. “I picked up his blood’s scent. You know, I’m wondering what he’s still doing here with Sofia gone.”

  “Did you say he’s at the shed?” I raised my brows. “That’s where I think Angel is.”

  “Your Shadow friend? What’s she got to do with it?”

  I tried to read his expression. Was he just pretending he didn’t know about Angel’s disappearance or was he indeed clueless? His mind remained blank as I pushed past his barrier and saw…yet more blankness. He had no idea what I was talking about.

  pushed past his barrier and saw…yet more blankness. He had no idea what I was talking about.

  “Stop that,” Aidan said.

  I ignored his comment. “Angel disappeared while under Shadow surveillance. A few days ago, right before you stormed off to Layla’s gig for the first time —”

  “I was summoned,” he corrected.

  I waved my hand. “Yeah, whatever. Anyway, I had a vision of Angel trying to get in here. Judging from her expression, she was pretty distressed. I thought we had the same vision because you just tuned out.”

  “I told you Layla summoned me. It wasn’t really a matter of choice, Amber.”

  “Got that part,” I muttered.

  Aidan leaned in, suddenly suspicious. “Since when do you have visions? You’re just a necromancer.”

  “Just?” I couldn’t believe the cheek! “Well, as far as I remember I’m very popular. Everyone wants a piece of this.” I wanted to point at myself but ended up pointing down my chest. Aidan’s expression darkened.

  “No one but me is getting a piece of that,” he growled. “And having visions isn’t part of your job description.”

  I moistened my lips as I tried to find a way to diffuse the situation. “It was just once or twice and it always involved your gates, so I’m assuming it’s a vampire protection thingy. No biggie.” I waved my hand in his face. His mistrust softened just a little bit…until it came back full force. I realized the guy would’ve made the perfect mother-in-law: prying and overbearing.

  “Who told you about Angel’s disappearance? And what were you looking for at the shed? You still haven’t disclosed that bit of information.”

  “A friend told me.” I shrugged. “And I went to the shed because I was looking for Angel.” A frown crossed Aidan’s forehead, and I knew he wouldn’t drop it until he had his answer.

  “Was it Devon?”

  I shook my head. “I have other friends, you know.”


  The guy made me sound so unpopular. I rolled my eyes, irritated. “If you must know, it was Angel’s boyfriend, Brendan.” Aidan’s face remained blank.

  “Doesn’t ring a bell?” I smiled triumphantly. “Yeah, you probably don’t know him.”

  “That’s not what I’m thinking about.” He got up and started pacing up and down the room. His sudden restlessness made me nervous. I tapped my fingers against my jeans as he asked, “What made you think you’d find Angel at the shed?”

  I shrugged again. “Don’t know. I can feel she’s there.”

  “Just as I can feel Gael’s presence.” He stopped in front of me. His gaze bore into mine and his voice became a mere whisper. “Do you know what this means? They’re both there. Gael must somehow be involved in her disappearance. That reminds me of Sofia. He whisked her away to Brazil to kill her and get hold of her powers.”

  “That’s ridiculous. Angel has no special powers. I always thought Shadows were trained to cast a spell, perform the odd ritual, and astral travel.” I scoffed even though Aidan’s words left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth.

  “How old is she?” Aidan asked.

  “Seventeen.” And that’s when it dawned on me. “If she has any, they’ll only manifest when she turns eighteen, meaning she’s completely exposed to anyone trying to take advantage of her. We’ve got to find her.” I leaned in to brush his hair out of his eyes, my gaze begging him to help me.

  Aidan nodded. “We do because something’s not right. It wouldn’t hurt to find out who Angel really is and why Gael would need her.”

  “I have something that might help. Be right back.” I signaled him to stay there, and dashed down the stairs to my bedroom to retrieve the tiny mirror. When I returned, Aidan hadn’t moved from the spot. I smiled and squeezed the tiny mirror into his hand. His expression changed instantly.

  “Where did you get this?” He turned the mirror in his hand to inspect it from all sides. His thumb rubbed over the irregular edge until I could see a tiny trail of blood where it cut into Aidan’s skin. The red liquid spread across the surface and then disappeared leaving no trail behind—as though the mirror soaked it up. It was barely more than a drop, but it still managed to awaken something inside me. I bit my tongue hard and dug my nails into my skin until I felt the tiniest sensation of pain.

  “Why, a mere thank-you would’ve sufficed.” I slumped down on the bed, crossing my arms over my chest, so I could hide the red marks on my skin where my nails had cut in.

  “You got me wrong. I’m extremely grateful because I’ve been looking for this for centuries.” He grabbed my shoulders, forcing me to face him. “Do you know what this is?”

  “A mirror?”

  “It’s a key,” he explained. “There’s four of them and, once combined, they’re said to unlock the door to an unknown parallel dimension. Though, as far as I know, no one’s ever been able to find all pieces, so no one knows where it leads to.”

  “A parallel dimension? My brother would have a field trip with this one.”

  Aidan smiled, but I could see he didn’t get my joke. Even though Aidan tried to bond with Dallas, my brother couldn’t get over the fact that I was basically living with Aidan mere weeks after meeting him. Needless to say, they tolerated the other but never really warmed up to each other.

  I grabbed the mirror out of his hand and held it in mid-air as I inspected the ragged margin where it had been broken from another piece.

  “When did you find it?” Aidan asked.

  “A few days ago.” I tapped a finger against my lips and prayed he wouldn’t ask why I hadn’t told him about it earlier, but as usual Aidan didn’t get the hint.

  “And it never occurred to you to tell me about it?”

  “I thought it was just a mirror.” It wasn’t even a lie. I never really believed it had any special meaning…until I realized someone always lingered near the hut, guarding it, hiding something, maybe even searching for something they couldn’t find—because I had it? But I couldn’t share my thoughts with Aidan. He’d get mad, lock me up for the next twenty years and claim it was for my own safety. “There’s something weird about it. If you hold it up in the light and illuminate the wall opposite the window, you’ll see strange symbols, like carvings. I did some research.”

  “Of course you did,” Aidan muttered. “Where else could you be than in the middle of the battlefield, looking to solve the one mystery that has half the paranormal world on the edge of the
ir seats?”

  I slapped his arm playfully. “Getting involved is my second name. Now listen! There’s an eye hanging over a pyre. I thought it must’ve something to do with a Seer watching the trees or woods. Maybe it stands for the shed.”

  Aidan’s expression made me stop mid-sentence. “You’re right about the Seer part. But it’s not the woods they’re watching.” He hesitated. His gaze scanned the floor as he probably considered whether to tell me more or change the subject.

  “You’re such a moron. I swear next time I know something you’ll be the last person I’ll tell.”

  “All right.” He nodded. “You’re right. I’m sorry, bad habit. The Seer is watching Morganefaire, which is a town of witches.”

  “Why would a Seer be watching a town?” Aidan shook his head, signaling he had no idea. “The witches of Morganefaire,” I whispered, marveling at how “Why would a Seer be watching a town?” Aidan shook his head, signaling he had no idea. “The witches of Morganefaire,” I whispered, marveling at how grave my words sounded. “What’s it like?”

  “You’ll see soon enough when we pay it a visit. It looks like Morganefaire’s mark has been found. If the prophecy is right, the war between the three courts is about to begin.” Something flickered in Aidan’s eyes. At that time, I shrugged it off because I didn’t know what Morganefaire really was. Besides, Aidan was a pessimist with a tendency toward exaggerating, like thinking a war was about to start tomorrow when it might not for thousands of years.

  Let’s just say, sitting in his bedroom with the first raindrops of the day falling against the windowsill, my puzzle was slowly starting to take shape. While I didn’t understand the meaning of what was happening around us, I felt the magnitude of Aidan’s last words and it sent chills down my spine.

  Chapter 24

  In the end, I decided to share with Aidan everything I knew…upon one condition: that he no longer kept secrets from me, except for birthday and Christmas gifts. We ended up arguing for almost an hour, but eventually he realized I had something he didn’t have: a cunning mind. Well, he kind of called it ‘the unfortunate inability to keep out of trouble’ but I’m pretty sure deep inside he meant to say I had a cunning mind.

  Hours must’ve passed since our return from the house on the cliffs. Dusk was falling on the tranquil woods, but we were still sitting on Aidan’s bed, engrossed in our conversation.

  “I need to go,” he announced.

  “The Lore court. I completely forgot you need to sign in with Layla.”

  His gaze shifted to the floor. His lips pressed into a grim line for a second, but it was enough to tell me he was avoiding an answer because he didn’t want to lie to me. I had probably just given him a new lead and the guy was already trying to sneak his way out of our agreement.

  “I’m coming with you. A deal’s a deal.” I raised my chin a notch, ready to battle it out if necessary, but he just nodded.

  “We’re not visiting the Lore court though.”

  “Didn’t think you were,” I said, grinning. “You’re going back to the shed, aren’t you? To test the mirror.”

  He nodded again. “I need to see the drawings. Why don’t you wait downstairs while I get everything I need?”

  “Like that burning whip thing you attacked me with? Yeah, don’t you think it’s about time you stopped pretending that thing doesn’t exist?” I clicked my tongue. “Besides, I’m not going anywhere because I don’t trust you won’t just disappear and leave me behind.”

  “The thought never occurred to me but, now that you’re mentioning it, it sounds tempting.” He regarded me, amused. “I was actually talking about getting some chains from the basement. Since we’re no longer keeping any secrets, care to tell me why you kicked in the door recently?”

  Oh, shoot! I completely forgot I never fixed it. If I told him about my sudden bloodlust he’d freak out big time and he’d never let me join in his search. We didn’t have time for Aidan’s drama queen antics. “It’s a long story. I’ll wait in the living room while you get everything you need. Just hurry up.” I dashed past him and slammed the door shut before he could resume his interrogation. If I got through the next thirty seconds, he’d fall into his usual work mode and forget all about the door for the time being. But Aidan would get back to it before the day was over, no doubt about that.


  Wrapped around Aidan’s chest and waist, the rusty chains with loops as thick as two fingers looked like they weighed a ton, but Aidan didn’t even blink as we teleported behind a broad tree. The path leading straight up to the shed was about fifty feet to our right…through lots of bushes and scratchy thorns. Seriously, I couldn’t lose yet another pair of jeans. And what did he need the chains for? Was he planning to tie me up so I wouldn’t get in his way?

  “Why didn’t we just teleport up there? If you’re so fond of hiking through some bushes, we could’ve gone for a trek after this is over. And why the weird chains? Are you planning on towing a car?” I whispered.

  “I’m glad that you asked,” Aidan said, smiling. “I want you to stay here and watch them.”

  I raised my brows. “The chains?”

  “No, they’re for Gael in case I find him. I’m talking about the bushes.”

  I opened my mouth to ask him whether he couldn’t have a heart-to-heart with Gael like normal people, but he just disappeared. Well, if he thought I’d be pleased to wait in the bushes while he solved the mystery and reaped the metaphorical reward, he was in for a big surprise. I started up the path when my phone vibrated in my pocket. The caller showed Brendan.

  “Hey,” I whispered. “I think I have a bit of a lead on Angel. I just need to find out how to get to her.”

  “Really?” The line crackled a few times. Brendan’s voice seemed to come from far away. “Where are you?”

  “At that weird, paranormal shed in the woods,” I said a bit louder so he’d hear me. “There’s something about a mirror and the wall.”

  Something moved in the bushes to my right. I turned sharply in that direction and listened intently. My hearing picked up a regular heartbeat but it was too faint to belong to a grownup. It was probably just a tiny animal scavenging for food, however, I took it as a reminder of the universe as to what usually happens in a slasher movie. Someone’s lost in the woods, talking on the phone or trying to get better cell reception, and that’s when bad things start to happen. Obviously, this wasn’t the time and place for a conversation.

  “We’ll talk when I get back to the mansion,” I said and disconnected the line, then switched off the phone just to be on the safe side.

  I had three options: follow Aidan’s command to wait for him, sneak up the path, or teleport. If I did the latter I might just interrupt something important and he’d be pissed. If I walked, Aidan might hear my approach and hinder me from joining in whatever he was doing up there. I didn’t even consider my third option—listening to his command—because I wouldn’t be bored to death while he had all the fun.

  Teleporting it was. For a moment, I felt bad for not listening to him, but I couldn’t let a man dictate my life. Besides, this new ability was tricky and I could really need some more practice. I closed my eyes and focused on the door outside the shed, imagining myself standing a few inches away from my target. The air shook around me and I was drawn into that scary sense of nothingness that always made my stomach turn. When I opened my eyes I realized I wasn’t standing next to the door but in the middle of the room and Aidan was regarding me with a huge frown.

  “You couldn’t just for once do as I said.”

  I peered from him to the blood red drawings on the wall. They looked just like the ones I saw through the mirror, only he had added more detail. I was obviously interrupting something important. “Did you do that?” I pointed at the red chalk in his hand and then at the wall. “Can’t believe you didn’t tell me you could draw like that. Let me see!”

  “Amber—” He drew a sharp breath but stepped aside. “Don
t touch anything.”

  “Don’t worry,” I whispered as I peered from the beautifully drawn eye to the pyre and the people surrounding it. Most were women of all sizes and shapes, clad in what looked like short dresses and armor, with long hair reaching down to their waist. Among them were a few men, standing tall and proud, as though to guard something. One of them caught my eye and I almost choked on my breath. I knew that face: dark eyes, bronze skin stretched over high cheekbones, a tiny scar above his brow, and black hair—a tad too long, just like Aidan’s—brushing the collar of his shirt.

  “Is that—” I didn’t dare say Blake’s name for fear Aidan might not take it well. And sure enough his frown deepened. “I thought he was a vampire.”

  “He is,” Aidan said. “But before he met Rebecca he was something else. No one needs to know, Amber. If his kind finds out, he’ll be dead. And even though we’re no longer friends, I wish him well.”

  I nodded, suddenly putting two and two together. “He told you about this all, didn’t he? Because you were friends.”

  Aidan averted his gaze, but I didn’t miss the tiny flicker of pain in his eyes. For the umpteenth time I felt bad because it was all my fault. If I didn’t enter Aidan’s life, he and Blake would still be best friends.

  Aidan’s life, he and Blake would still be best friends.

  “I’m so sorry.” My hand reached out to him and our fingers intertwined. A tiny spark of silver light wrapped around our hands like a shimmery cord. Seeing our bond gave me strength because it told me Fate wanted us to meet, but I vowed to keep my eyes open for Blake. Trying to kill me was wrong, but I understood his motives. Like Aidan, Blake was fiercely protective of his friends. He thought getting rid of me was the right thing to do.

  “I forgot to tell you I found drops of blood right here. I’m not sure whether the blood was Angel’s, but it was still fresh.” I pointed around five feet from the drawing on the wall. Aidan knelt down and brushed his hand through the layer of dust covering the floor. I saw the tiny spot, barely larger than a fingernail, a moment before he did. My lips twitched. My tongue brushed over my sharp fangs as a pang of hunger washed over me, weakening me so much I almost dropped to my knees, ready to lick the blood off the ground.

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