Home > Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(16)

Torn (Demon Kissed #3)(16)
Author: H.M. Ward

She continued, "One mistake doesn't define a person - it takes a lifetime of actions to do that. You will not sit here and wallow in guilt over this anymore. Push past it. There are bigger things to deal with, and you need your wits about you. We need to get the poison from your chest before something happens. For us to do that, you need to let go of guilt you feel about Eric. You don't have the luxury of time, Ivy. Grieve for him later. I'm not telling you to forget him, or forget your mistake. We just don't have the time to process all of it now. "

I felt sheepish for a second and nodded, swallowing the lump in my throat. "Does this kill me, Al? I know you've seen it. I know you've seen how all of this ends..." My words hung in the air as she tilted her head, studying my face.

"No," she replied, "you overcome this. The poison does not kill you. But it doesn't end the way you think." She shook her head, looking away from me.

"Then tell me what you saw, so we can fix this," I said. I added, "And I know it couldn't have been giving Collin a demon kiss. I'd never do it. So what else is there, Al? Tell me what you saw in your vision?"

The old nun sat down and looked over at me. She seemed distraught. With her fingers laced together tightly, she said, "You find Satan's Stone. I saw it. That cursed rock does exist, even though most of us thought it was only a fable."

Skepticism washed over me as I arched my eyebrow at her. "I find a magic rock that belonged to Satan?" A smile pulled at the corners of my mouth. I tried not to laugh. I wanted to believe her, but it sounded impossible.

Al shook her head, "Believe me; I know what it sounds like. If visions didn't reveal the truth, I wouldn't have believed it either. The legend of Satan's Stone is a story that's so old that no one remembers it anymore. Some called it the Devil's Rock, while others called it Satan's Stone - either way, it's the same thing. And its power is real. Very real. You find it... And you're healed.

"The last time that rock was seen was during one of the early battles in the Angel Demon Wars. No one won that first battle. It was documented that the fighting just stopped when a young warrior held a stone up in the air. By now you know Martis document everything. The library at Rome is extensive, so I went looking for the document and found it. The section of text concerning the stone is marked as a translational error."

"And..." I promoted, wanting to know more.

Al hesitated. Her eyes were wide, but she quickly blinked her emotions away. Watching her closely, I noticed she hid the fear in her eyes as quickly as she could, but I'd already seen it. Whatever Satan's Stone was, it scared her. "And if it is a translation error, we can see for ourselves, because I know someone who has seen the original document - someone that you and I used to know as well; someone intelligent, cunning, and very resourceful; someone who left you half nak*d after he tried to give you a demon kiss."

"Damn it! Eric! Eric is the person I need to help me?" I couldn't believe it. I ran my fingers through my hair resisting the frantic urge to rip it all out. "He saw the war letters and knows about the Satan Stone?"

She nodded at me, "He never mentioned Satan's Stone to me, but I knew he must have seen that passage in the original letter. He came across it while he was hunting you over the years. He mentioned finding the original translation. He was excited about it at the time. He always got a kick out of stuff like that."

Springing out of bed, I grabbed a pair of jeans, asking Al questions as I got dressed, "So if Eric isn't Eric anymore, I'm screwed right? Or do you think if I went to his old apartment, the papers will still be there?" I paused, and looked up at her as I pulled on a boot. There was a surprised expression on her face, so I added, "He had a book, you know - a book with tons of writing in it, and pictures of stuff. He threw it in my face when he found out I had Valefar blood, and made me look at the pages. He said it was years and years of work.." Eager to know more about it, I sat next to her and asked, "Do you think he still has the letter? Do you think it's in that book?"

She nodded. "Maybe. He wrote that book over his life. In the early days, I'd see him scratching notes in it when he stayed with me. I haven't since it since. I didn't realize that he still kept it, but that would make sense. He'd keep record of things so he didn't forget over the years. If that's the same book, there'd be notes in it about everything and anything. Better go get it before someone else does. Do you know where it is?"

Pausing, I shook my head. "The last time I saw it was the night that Jake came through his window. Shannon snatched the book when we ran. There were Valefar everywhere. After that, we were separated and I didn't see what happened to the book. Do you think it's possible that it's still in his apartment?"

Al looked uncertain, "It's possible. Eric would want it hidden if it contained information like that. After the attack, I didn't think he went back, but I didn't see the book either. He didn't have it with him the night you two closed the portal at the old church and forced the demons back into the Underworld. After that, Julia banished him and I didn't see him around these parts again. There's a slim chance he hid the book in the same spot, until he could return and take it, but Ivy..." she shook her head at me, "the odds of it being there are slim. The Martis leaked to the landlord that Eric was killed in a horrific accident. All of his things were destroyed. The only way that book is still there is if Julia didn't take it, and it was well hidden."

Ice dripped down my spine. I turned to Al, "Would she take it? Really?" Before Al nodded, I knew that Julia would take the book. Of course she would. The Martis covered their tracks and would have removed any proof of his existence. They thought he was a traitor. I wondered if they had any idea what their actions resulted in. If they didn't condemn him to die, he wouldn't have followed me into the Underworld and become one of the most evil Valefar I'd ever seen.

But I couldn't think about that now. It'd have to wait until later, when this was over. After lacing up my other boot, I grabbed a sweater and yanked it over my head, and said to Al, "Then I need to hurry and hope to God it's not already gone. Here's to hoping Eric paid rent several months in advance." I kissed Al on the cheek and ducked out and into the night.


Collin was waiting for me outside the church, but when he came running up to me we didn't hug like a normal couple. When I ran out the doors and into the night, I saw him standing in the shadows. My stomach twisted. There were so many things to tell him. We ran toward each other and stopped, toe to toe. He seemed unsure of something, although I couldn't tell exactly what was bothering him without touching him. The expression on his face was torn between anger and guilt.

I brushed his hand gently with mine and said, "He ambushed us. It wasn't your fault."

"I should have stayed with you. It was my fault. When I realized a Valefar took you, it was too late. Tell me who it was. Who did this to you?" There was fury in his eyes. He'd realized that it wasn't just any Valefar who tricked him - it was someone very intelligent with skills that equaled his own. Al's silence hadn't bought me much time, but it did buy me enough that I knew what I had to do.

Swallowing hard, I looked up into his face. I couldn't keep lying to him. And if Eric was trying to make a grab for me, and Collin happened to see him, I didn't want Collin to be caught off guard. Plus, he'd know that I lied and it would tip him off that something was wrong. "It was Eric. He's a Valefar..."

"But how is that possible?" he asked shaking his head. "You said he died. Ivy, I didn't want to press you about it before, but you need to tell me what happened. This is bad. Eric was a powerful Martis. He was very skilled. He'll be a difficult adversary if he wants to attack you." His lips remained parted and he blinked at me as he tilted his head, "Why does he remember you?"

This was the part I was dreading. I felt the words on my lips. I was about to tell him that I did it - that Eric remembers me because I was the one who gave him the demon kiss. Courage fled at the sight of his blue eyes. I couldn't think about anything but losing him, about never hearing his voice or feeling his touch again.

Lies suddenly tumbled out of my mouth in an unstoppable wave, "I was there when Eric died. That's why he remembers me. He was covered in brimstone dust and left him to rot. By the time I found him, he was nearly dead. I tried to help him, but it was too late. There was a Valefar there, someone I didn't know. I thought he killed Eric. I tried to fight him off, and I did. But it was too late. Eric was dead..." my voice trailed off. Looking down, I wrapped my arms around my waist, and I pulled tightly, trying to hold my mouth shut so I wouldn't spew more lies. Why couldn't I just tell him that I was the Valefar who drained him? I kissed Eric.

Collin wrapped his arms around me. "Ivy, you've been through so much. I wish I was there to stop it. I'll never let anything like that happened to you again. I promise." He kissed the top of my head as I cringed inside. I was scum. I had to tell him, but I couldn't. When he released me, he asked, perplexed, "But then why is Eric hunting you?"

The question came fast and loose. It sucker punched me in the stomach and I felt my jaw flap open, but no words fell out. Why was Eric stalking me? Oh yeah, he thinks I tossed brimstone on him and then demon kissed him. I was the one who pulled the trigger on his immortal Martis life and turned him Valefar.

I squeaked before clearing my throat and saying, "Who's not hunting me?" That statement was true enough. The bond wouldn't register it as a lie. There were tons of immortals looking for me...and one angel waiting for me to attack Collin, drain his soul, and return with my soul intact. I cringed at the thought.

Collin reached for me, gently brushing his fingers against my cheek and brushed back a stray curl from my face. "I know. I know everyone is after you. We can do this Ivy, but you need to tell me things like this."

"I didn't know..." I started to say, but Collin cocked his head sensing the lie. I let out a rush of air, "Fine, I did know. But I didn't think he'd find me so fast. And I kind of hoped he'd remember me a little bit. Isn't he supposed to? My sister has memories of me." I'd told him about Apryl as we were walking out of the Underworld. I wanted to take her with us, but Collin said she was bound to the Pool of Lost Souls and there was nothing I could do to help her leave that horrid place. So we left without her. My throat constricted thinking about it. I pushed down the feelings before rage overtook me. I hated that she was trapped there.

"That's different. She remembers bits and pieces of you because it was put there to haunt her. It reminds her of the life she had - the joys of the life she lost when she was turned Valefar. I'm sorry Ivy, I know you don't like to talk about it, but they aren't the same anymore. They need their souls back to recover, but you already know that's not possible. Once a Valefar acts like a Valefar, there is no way for the soul to rejoin the body...there is no way for them to go back to who they were before it happened. I'm sorry." His words felt like rocks dropped on my chest, one at a time until I couldn't breathe.

Stepping away from him, I looked up at the sky. "So Eric didn't spare me because he remembered me?" I looked back at him. "That's what you're saying, right? That he knows I was there when he died and is going to kill me when he catches me?"

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