Rising Darkness (Rylee Adamson #9) - Page 57

Milly’s voice cried out. “Wait, please, not like this!”

Frank made a fist with his hand and the zombies pulled her flat to the ground and dragged her partway under the dirt.

“Orion has fled her body again,” he said.

I looked around us. “Are you sure?” A quick nod from Frank.

“That’s good, isn’t it?”

“I doubt it.”

I would have asked another question, but I wasn’t given the choice. A wild gust of wind swept me up into the air to face a very, very angry air elemental.

Nimbus glared at me, lightning forking over his head in time with the flash in his eyes. “I was going to keep you for my own, train you, and use you to my own devices. I do believe I’m just going to kill you now.”

He spun me up into one of his tornados and I thought at first it wouldn’t be that bad. I might throw up on myself, and landing might hurt, but . . . it took me a minute to realize I couldn’t draw breath. The wind tunnel sucked the air from my lungs, collapsing them.

Blaz roared and I tried to make eye contact with him. But everything happened so slowly, I couldn’t think. Couldn’t do anything.

“I did my best,” I whispered. And that was all I had left.

Crossbow in hand, I fired a bolt into the head of the elemental with his back to me. The bolt slammed through, brain and bone exploding through the other side. The body twitched once and fell from the sky.

I dropped the bow and ran to where Pamela fell. “Eve!”

“I’ve got her!” The Harpy swooped in and scooped Pamela before she hit the ground. Eve’s eyes met mine. “She isn’t breathing.”

Dropping to my knees, I flipped Pam over and put an ear to her chest. No heartbeat. But she wasn’t gone yet. I could feel her, there, just on the cusp of dying. I blew a breath into her mouth then did chest

compressions. Air, compressions, air, compressions. “Come on, Pam. Don’t you fucking give up on me!”

I screamed the words as I pounded on her chest.

Her eyes opened, but they weren’t hers.

They glowed red and black, staring at nothing.

“She’s mine, Tracker. And now you will die at her hands.”

Rylee tightened her arms on me. “Orion, you can’t have her. I won’t let you.”

My voice rippled, the words not my own. “She let me in, Tracker, and now I own her. Another step or two and I won’t have to use Milly’s body to do my work. I’ll have the little witch all to myself.”

As if my body already wasn’t my own, my hand reached up and called down a bolt of lightning. A natural element, and while driven by my magic, it wasn’t in and of itself magic. And in that instant I knew it would kill her.

Unless I stopped Orion from using my body. My eyes found Rylee’s and I willed her to understand. “I’m not strong enough to stop him this time. You have to kill me.”

She drew me to her, so our foreheads touched. “He doesn’t own you, Pamela. No one does. But we love you, and it’s love you have to hang onto if you’re going to defeat his hold on you.”

The lightning bobbed and arced over our heads, lighting up the sky as if it were mid-day instead of midnight. Orion jerked on my power, forcing it away from me.

“Rylee!”

“I’m here, Pamela. We’re all here, and we aren’t going anywhere. We love you.”

Behind her, I saw him. Liam. His face blurry, but his eyes as bright as ever. “Come back, Pamela. Leave the darkness behind. It isn’t for you. I’m sorry I asked you to wield the knife. More so than I can ever say.”

They were wrong. I felt it in my heart. I wasn’t worth saving.

And then a black, clawed hand

gripped my leg and Alex peered around her body. “Pamie, come back to us.”

And Blaz put his head over Rylee’s shoulder.

Come back, little witch.

Peta crept close and laid her head on my legs.

Marco and Eve ducked their heads.

Frank knelt beside me, holding my hand. “Pamela, come back.”

But I wasn’t really seeing them. I knew I was in trouble. My heart still wasn’t beating. Orion was keeping me alive.

Rylee held me tightly. “You are family, Pamela. We are your family for good or bad, we are stuck together.”

A sob slipped from me, and something around my heart cracked. A shell of pain I’d built. “I’m not good. I was going to hurt you.”

Rylee laughed softly. “But you couldn’t. We could all see that. And you’re right, you aren’t good.”

The tears flowed in earnest. There, I knew it. I wasn’t good. I was evil through and through, the darkness had claimed me.

“You’re fucking amazing, Pamela, so far beyond good that the word doesn’t hold a candle to your flame.”

I wrapped my arms around her and held onto her for all I was worth. “I love you, Rylee. I love all my family and I don’t want to hurt them. I just wanted to be strong enough, strong enough to save you from being hurt again. Strong enough that no one would have to die anymore.” The words, my truth spilled from me. “I thought Milly could help me.”

“She could have, if she were in control. Milly isn’t evil, any more than you are, Pamela. Orion tricked you both. He’s good at that.”

She stroked my hair, and it made me think of a time in London when she had braided my hair for me, soothing away the fear of what was surrounding us.