Darkness Awakened | Chapter 14 of 43 - Part: 1 of 5

Author: Stephanie Rowe | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 6564 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter Eleven

 

Grace grimaced at the stale odor of cigarettes and dirty toilets in the small restroom. There were two stalls, and the wooden doors were barely covered with chipped black paint. Metal fish-eye hooks hung loosely to keep them closed.

There was only one sink, with a cloudy mirror and porcelain stained with rust from years under a dripping faucet.

Grace tried to ignore the stench and the depressing sense of abandonment of the room, and instead focused on her sister. She softened her mind and took another look around the room using her Illusionist senses. The moment she shifted awareness, the room literally glowed with violet dust. It was all over the floors, kicked up more thickly against the walls. “Ana.” Grace whispered her name, as if she could bring Ana to life right there in that moment, simply by connecting with her.

Grace walked over to the corner, crouched down, and brushed her fingers through the dust. The pads of her fingers tingled, and she smiled with relief. The dust was still active. It hadn’t been that long since Ana had stood right there, living and breathing. Alive.

“I’m coming for you, Ana. I promise.” Excited by her progress, Grace cupped her hands and scooped up a handful of dust. She lifted it to her face and breathed deeply, letting the dust float into her nose, throat and lungs, dispersing through her body and spirit. A tingling began to spread over her body, and she felt a pulsing deep within her as her own Illusionist spirit rose to meet her sister’s, recognizing Ana’s presence.

Grace closed her eyes, opening herself to experience the joy of Ana’s illusions, then suddenly darkness ripped into her. Images of death, blood, and tortured bodies burned in her mind. Grace stumbled to her feet, horrified by the torment flooding her senses. Dear God, she was going to do an illusion! “Quinn!” She backed toward the door, gripping her head… and then realized her head didn’t hurt. There was no pressure building inside her. The poison wasn’t coming from within her. As she stood there, it faded away, like a gentle wave on a beach at low tide.

She frowned and looked around the small bathroom. What had she just felt? There was no shift in pressure indicating an illusion building nearby, but she’d definitely felt the brutality of a dark illusion. Quinn?

I’m going outside, sweetheart. I’ll be out of range when I’m in back. You all right?

She rubbed her forehead. Fine. Is everything okay? Do you sense anything wrong?

Quinn was quiet for a moment, and she knew he was double-checking. I’m not picking up anything. His voice became more urgent. What’s wrong? I’m coming in there.

No, no. Everything’s okay. Keep looking. I want to get out of here as soon as we can. Chills slithered down her arms as Grace looked around the unkempt bathroom. Had that darkness been her imagination?

You’re sure? Quinn didn’t sound convinced.

She felt better simply connecting with Quinn and hearing his voice. His immediate focus on her made her feel not so alone, more empowered to take a risk. I’m sure. Let’s just both hurry. This place is giving me the creeps.

Okay. But be careful.

You, too. They cut off communication, and Grace felt a little tense realizing that Quinn was moving out of range. Yes, he was close, and it wouldn’t take much for her to get his attention, but she still felt increasingly nervous. Something deadly had just brushed against her, and she didn’t know what it was.

She cleared her throat, facing the room again. “Okay, Grace, focus. Read Ana’s dust and then get out. That’s all you need to do.” She walked back across the room and scooped up another handful. Her skin began to tingle right away, and she bent her head and breathed it in again—

Darkness swirled through her. Pain. Fear. Death. Blood. She saw the flash of a blade and stumbled back. The dust fell from her hands and the deadly images stopped.

She stared in growing horror at the dust floating so gently back to the dirty floor. “Ana?” No, no, it couldn’t be. Ana wasn’t like that. She hadn’t been cursed. Numbly, Grace dropped to her knees and ran her hand through the dust. “Please God, don’t do this to her. Don’t give her my nightmare.”

Grace scooped up the dust and tried a third time. This time, she was prepared. This time, when hell came again, she was ready. She closed her eyes as the nightmares took over, grief for her sister welling in her chest. It was Ana’s dust that was so tainted. It was her sister who had created such terrors. “Oh, Ana,” Grace whispered, “I’m so sorry.”

The pain, the fear, the horror pervading the illusion was what Ana had been feeling at the time she’d created it. Ana wasn’t just creating darkness, she was living it. “Ana.” Grace’s heart ached for the anguish she knew her sister was facing, the terror she’d tried so hard to protect her from all these years.

Grace pressed her lips tighter, fighting against the tears. It wouldn’t help Ana to cry for her. She didn’t have time to grieve for her sister. It was now even more urgent she find Ana, before things became worse. Jutting out her jaw, Grace opened her senses more, trying desperately not to think about how much Ana must have been suffering in order to generate such a dark illusion. What must have happened to her to make her cross that line? What was happening to her right now?

Grace shook her head, knowing that she couldn’t afford to go there. She had to focus. She clenched her fists, reaching with her inner eye through Ana’s tortured emotions, past her fears...and then Grace saw the face of a man. A long, narrow face, haunted eyes, dark hair and a smile so evil it make her skin crawl. That was who was hurting Ana. The man who had killed Elijah. It hadn’t been her sister. It was him. “You bastard—”

“Excuse me?”

The image vanished and Grace jumped to her feet, startled. A man stood in the doorway...the man from the corner table who Quinn had stared down. It wasn’t the man in her vision. This intruder was grinning, his teeth yellowed and crooked, his hair greasy, his clothes smelling like he hadn’t washed in far too long. Ignoring the racing of her heart, she set her hands on her hips and gave him her hard look, the one that always set men back at the distance she felt comfortable with. “This is the women’s bathroom.”

“My name’s Red.” He didn’t move away. “I was here that night.”

She had no idea what night he was talking about, and she didn’t want to know. He was blocking the door, but at least it was still open. She could see into the hall. She could see freedom behind him, if only she could get past him. “Not interested.”

A woman with a brown ponytail and a black rain jacket tapped his shoulder. “Hey. This is the women’s room. Out.”

Comments

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Alice
Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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