Home > The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)(5)

The 13th Prophecy (Demon Kissed #5)(5)
Author: H.M. Ward

Eric watched me. His eyes darted between my face and my grip on his hand. Finally, he replied, “I realize that you think I know everything, but I don’t know what happened with this. My mark’s gone. I can lie, so I’ve not reverted to my previous angelic form. And yet, I still have some power.” He shrugged looking down at me. “But I don’t know whose power it is, or why it worked. Maybe it’s some of your power. Maybe it’s something new. You changed me. Again.

“And when you asked me if I could effonate before, there was no way I could harness the power to start it. But now?” He shrugged. “I might be able to. It’s hard to tell. Maybe slamming my soul back into my body didn’t mix well. How the hell should I know?” I stared at him, willing him to give more of an explanation. But Eric shook his head, saying, “What do you want from me, Ivy? I couldn’t effonate before, but with you—after it started—I could lend to it … and remove some of the pain you felt.” He tilted his head, his eyes searching my face. Pain had fascinated him, especially my pain. His action didn’t jive with crazy evil Eric, but the placid expression on his face did.

“So, you’re not hellbent on torturing me anymore?” I asked.

A wicked smile twisted his lips, “I didn’t say that. Make no mistake—nothing has changed. I still want to watch you cower as I tear you apart. Pain and pleasure, Ivy. Your pain is my pleasure. However, I’m not stupid enough to allow it to destroy us both. I can siphon pain off, if I choose to do so. And at that moment, I would have reveled in watching you cry out as you burned, but I wasn’t going to go down with you.” He jerked my hand to his chest, placing it over his heart. “Feel that?” His heart was racing. I swallowed hard, staring at his eyes, leaning in closer. Bloodlust was overpowering me. My mind was growing hazy, my eyes unfocused. I nodded slowly. “That’s what you do to me … Every time I see you, my pulse shoots through the roof at the thought of watching you suffer for everything you’ve done to me.”

My throat was tight. It felt like I could barely breathe. The dried blood on Eric’s face smelled so good. I couldn’t pull away. It didn’t matter that he was crazy. I leaned into him harder, pushing my body against his, leaning on my tip toes. He watched me with delight, as I flicked my tongue across his cheek. I pressed my eyes closed, savoring the taste of him in my mouth as he laughed. “Do you want more, little slave?” A beautiful smile lined his lips. The blood I’d tasted held little power. I wasn’t sure why I did it. Why I didn’t try to control the urge.

I shoved away from him, fighting the haze from being too close to him when Collin appeared next to us. We broke apart like we’d been caught doing something we shouldn’t have been doing. I had difficulty hiding my hatred for Eric. The way he used me and manipulated me, without fear, made me nuts. He didn’t think I’d fight back. He should be afraid of me. I was stronger than him! And yet, he dared to do this to me over and over! And knowing Collin was coming right behind us. He made me lick dried blood! Disgust rushed through me. Eric had a cocky smile on his face. He lifted his eyebrows once, as he folded his arms over his chest to taunt me. My fists balled at my sides as I glared at him.

Collin sucked in a gasp of air, and coughed. He glanced at us, knowing something happened. Whether he saw it or not, I didn’t know. And I didn’t want to admit I’d swallowed Eric’s blood. Or that I was addicted to it. The more demon blood I had in me, the more I became like them. The demons. I was losing myself. I could feel myself being drowned out by his blood, being forced to be something I was not. The worst part was, I felt nothing looking at Collin. He was so close, but he might as well have been a lamp pole. I felt nothing around him. Eric used his blood to play on my emotions. That was the only time I felt anything.

Collin looked at me. I smiled at him, trying to ignore Eric. Collin said, “I remember meeting you here—how you didn’t even give me the time of day.” He smiled, remembering me blowing him off. He looked around at the rest of the theater, moving toward the center of the stage. Turning back to me, he said, “We’re lucky this was still here. Most of the places we used to go are gone.”

“Thanks to you.” Eric was still leaning against the wall. His arms were folded over his chest as he glared at Collin. Glancing at me, he added, “You can’t seriously think he’s coming with us?” He spoke as if he forbade it, as if he could tell me what to do. Anger coursed inside of me, but I didn’t get a word in.

Collin laughed and turned around, walking back toward Eric. Eric remained where he was, his confident slump unfazed by Collin’s approach. “You can’t think I’d let her wander off with you. Last time I saw you, you shredded a pack of demons and turned their scales into confetti.” More things Eric wasn’t supposed to be able to do.

Eric pushed off the wall, standing eye to eye with Collin. “I wouldn’t bring up that day if I were you. Possessed by a demon or not, you’re the one who killed the Guardian and opened the floodgates of Hell. It was your hand that destroyed her life—her world.” Eric tilted his head to the side, gesturing toward me. He made it clear that Collin f**ked up my life. A smile slowly slid across Eric’s lips. “That day things changed, and I ended up fighting for the other side. Her side. I protected her. You did not.”

Collin gnashed his teeth. His fists were balled at his sides. The muscles in his arms were corded tight, ready to fight. “I had no choice that day or any other before it,” he growled. “But you did. How did you survive if you didn’t kill mortals? You should have been weak, but you weren’t. What did you do?”

Eric was staring at Collin. His body looked like it would explode. He breathed through his teeth, ready to attack. But when Collin said the last question, Eric’s eyes flicked to my face. It was a split second that wasn’t intentional. But I saw it. Me. I was the answer to that question. He wasn’t weak because of me. He didn’t have to kill because of me.

Rage exploded in my mind. And I shoved myself between them and slammed my fists into Eric’s chest. His fingers crushed into my wrists after the first blow, grabbing my hands hard. “Me. It was me! Wasn’t it? You used my soul. You used my body to sustain yourself!” I looked up into his face and knew my words were true. I knew that I guessed right. Eric’s face made no movement to show remorse. There was no apology in his eyes. If anything, there was laughter—a slight arrogance that he was able to take from me for so long. Collin moved to help me, but I twisted out of his grip on my own. And then I shoved him, yelling, “You didn’t kill anyone, because you took everything you had to have to survive from me. That’s why I felt weak when you searched my memories. You were stealing my soul!”

Anger coursed through me and connected in a sudden jolt. I felt it flare up my arms. I smacked my palms into Eric’s chest again, but this time the force was loaded with power. It sent him flying through the stone wall that separated the stage from the seating area below. The cinderblock cracked as he flew backward into the carnage that was left of the auditorium. Half the roof had been ripped off, revealing the wintery sky. Eric landed hard, ripping out a row of chairs as he slid across the floor. The power of my hit surprised me, but I didn’t stop. He couldn’t keep doing shit like this. And stealing my soul! What the fuck?

I sprang through the hole in the wall and went after Eric, before Collin could stop me. Eric wasn’t mortal. I didn’t know what he was, but I kept making him worse. More vile. More deplorable. And the whole time he’d been draining me, he’d been making me weaker. Making me more likely to fail. Before Eric could get up, I slammed my fist into his stomach and pinned him to the pile of rubble, kneeling hard on his stomach.

“You know you liked it,” he hissed as my fist flew. The punch connected with his face and I heard bones crack. Blood poured from his nose and dripped down his chin.

The rage that fueled me allowed me full access to my emotions. And the crimson trail that was on his lip made my back go rigid as the scent of his blood slammed into me. I didn’t expect it. And from the look on his face, neither did Eric. The scent of his blood filled my mind, freezing me in place. It was too much. There was too much raw emotion within me. I wanted a taste. A drop. I had to have it. I leaned forward and licked the trail of blood, pressing my eyes closed as I did it.

Before I had more than a tiny taste, Collin grabbed me by the waist and yanked me off of Eric. I went slack in his arms, instantly regretting what I’d done. Eric made me so mad. I just wanted to best him. I wanted to win and show him that he shouldn’t screw with me. And now my message was blurred with blood. My throat tightened as Collin gently lowered me to the floor. Eric’s blood burned inside of me, like a warmth that I was missing. It sealed out the coldness, and connected me to him in a way that I didn’t want.

“Enough!” Collin yelled, as he pulled me back. Shock was in his voice. He scolded me, not saying anything about the blood. Not saying anything about the shame plastered across my face. “You have to stop. Ivy, you know about Akayleah. You know you can’t let it control you.” I breathed hard, fighting the instincts that were warring inside of me. One wanted to rip Eric’s clothes off and lick the blood from his lips—the other instinct just wanted to rip him apart. Akeyleah and bloodlust warring within me.

My voice cracked, “Collin, I… ” I wanted to explain. I felt the need to tell him what Eric did to me. Why I acted like that, but he turned on Eric before I got out another word.

Collin’s eyes rimmed. He looked at Eric as he pulled himself up and wiped the blood from his face. Collin approached him, saying, “And you...” Eric’s eyes darted toward Collin, narrowing. “You have two seconds to explain before I kill you. I don’t care why she wants to protect you. Not after this. You’ve been giving her blood! Convince me that you didn’t weaken her. That you weren’t feeding off of her soul...” Collin moved toward Eric. With each step, my heart lurched inside my chest. “Convince me or I’ll kill you myself.” Collin drew his blade. The jagged black edge pointed toward Eric’s gut.

Eric glanced at the blade and back at Collin’s face. “I held my own when you had Kreturus’ power. What makes you think you could possibly kill me now?”

“Wrong answer,” Collin hissed and moved his arm to land the blade in Eric’s stomach.

Before I knew what happened, I was between the two of them, blocking Collin’s blade. “You can’t,” I breathed. “I need the stone. He knows where it is.” This was the second opportunity Eric had to run and save himself, but he didn’t leave. The scent of his blood filled my head, as Collin forced me behind him.

“He’s using you, Ivy. His blood is still filled with demon blood. I can smell it. And I know you want it.” Collin’s eyes were pooling blood red. He spoke to Eric, “I let you live last time. Make no mistake about it. But this time, this time you aren’t leaving this place alive.” Collin’s threat didn’t make Eric move. Instead it appeared to enrage him.

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