Unraveled, p.41

Unraveled, page 41

 part  #2 of  Intertwined Series

 

Unraveled
 



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Page 41

 

  “Thank you,” Aden said, speaking in Dr. Hennessy’s nasally voice.

  Welcome, Caleb replied with no small amount of pride.

  Aden took stock. The doctor’s body was cold, empty and hungry…so hungry, but underneath the cold and the emptiness and the hunger was a rush of power, unnatural power, glittering like that strange, clear mask Aden sometimes saw underneath the doctor’s face.

  Dr. Hennessy wasn’t human.

  So what was he? Figure that mystery out later. Aden glanced at the clock on the wall. Thirty-three minutes until the end of his session. He got to work. He looked through files, but only a few were out in the open and none applied to him. Dr. Hennessy’s scribbled notes were quite interesting, though.

  More than human, but no powers.

  Completely human, but could be useful.

  Warmer than most. Reasons?

  Linked.

  What did that mean? What did any of it mean? The cabinets were locked, and he tried to jimmy them loose so he could read other files. When that failed, he searched for a key.

  The desk was neat, tidy, a few unimportant papers. Inside the drawers, there was nothing but paper clips, rubber bands and pens. No photos, no personal notes. No booze. No snacks. And, of course, no key. He moved to the bookcases. To his surprise, he found hidden drawers at the bottom. Inside them? Tattoo equipment, of all things. Everything from needles to body paint to gloves.

  Aden made sure to put everything back in its place so that Dr. Hennessy would never know what he’d done. He’d suspect, maybe, but he’d never find proof.

  You gotta get into those file cabinets, Julian said. That voice recorder he stuffed under your nose might be in there.

  “I know. Elijah? Any ideas?”

  Sorry. Drawing a blank.

  Trying not to drown under a wave of frustration, Aden returned to the desk and fell into the chair. If he couldn’t get to the files and the recorder, maybe he could gain the information he wanted by traveling through Dr. Hennessy’s past. He still possessed the ability, after all.

  Eve, though, had been the one to manipulate time. She’d merely had to visualize a scene, and she had been able to transport Aden there. With Shannon, Aden had had no control. He’d simply whisked from one scene to the next, tugged by an invisible chain. Still. He would try.

  “Get ready, guys. I’m gonna try and go back to that last session and see it through his eyes. ”

  Elijah groaned. I don’t like this.

  You can do it, man, Caleb said.

  Julian sighed. God help us.

  Aden closed his eyes, blanked his mind, drew in a deep breath…exhaled…slowly…He thought back, painting the dark canvas of his mind with images from his last visit here. He’d been on the lounge, lying down, staring up at the ceiling. Dr. Hennessy had been behind him.

  A spike of dizziness caused his heart to speed up. He continued. Soft music had played, was playing even now. The ceiling had blurred. Darkness had swallowed him whole.

  Aden’s skin tingled, the dizziness spreading, strengthening, and suddenly he was falling, whisking through a never-ending pit, arms flailing for some kind of anchor. This was it. He was doing it, traveling back. In control.

  When he stilled, when the dizziness subsided, he slowly cracked open his eyelids. Yet still he saw only…static? There was no office, no desk, no lounge. At the very least, he should have seen himself lying down.

  He frowned. He closed his eyes, shook his head, then looked again. Once again, he saw only a void of static, as if the cable had been unhooked from the TV.

  What’s happening? Julian asked, and he sounded scared.

  I see nothing, like when Mary Ann is with you. Caleb’s voice trembled.

  I have a bad feeling about this, Elijah said gravely. Something’s wrong here.

  “I know. ” But what? His hands fisted, the answer eluding him. He couldn’t picture another scene, because he didn’t know any other details about Dr. Hennessy’s life. And there were no photos in the room, so he couldn’t study them and use them as a guide.

  Not knowing what else to do, he willed himself back to the present. As the darkness faded, he began to see the office through Hennessy’s eyes. Nothing had changed. He still sat at the desk, that handful of papers around him. Reeling, he could only watch the clock, waiting as time ticked away. When his session reached its limit, he walked Hennessy back to his chair and sat him down. Then Aden pulled himself from the body, returning to solid form, and dropped back onto the lounge. Waiting. Dreading.

  There was a moment of suspended silence.

  Hennessy would know only that time had elapsed. He wouldn’t know what had happened during those missing minutes.

  “Time’s up,” Aden gritted out.

  “Well, we were certainly productive today, weren’t we?” the doctor said, unemotional as always. His clothes rustled as he stood. Soft footsteps sounded, and then Hennessy was in front of him, peering down at him, hands fisted at his waist. “Before you leave, I need to issue a word of warning. If you ever again invade my mind and body, I’ll cut the souls out of you, one by one. Are we clear?”

  Aden and the souls didn’t have time to panic. Their entire world fell back into that black, black sea.

  NINETEEN

  IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WOODS, with trees stretching all around, the quickly dimming sun, a cold wind slithering past every few seconds, Mary Ann stood in the midst of pure testosterone. Riley and his brothers formed a triangle, each at a point before and beside her. They’d arrived right on time, at her two-hour limit, and had escorted her here. Away from civilization.

  She’d spent every minute of those two hours trying to research Drainers, magic powers—again—and all kinds of other paranormal stuff. Two hours that now seemed wasted. She’d learned nothing.

  Hopefully, that would change now that she was with the wolves. Not that they were informative, or even helpful. Once again, they’d walked beside her, silent.

  Now she studied them, searching for a weakness. One word described them all: gorgeous. Nathan was all white, from his hair to his skin, with eyes so pale a blue they were almost eerie. But like Riley, he was tall and leanly muscled, with a hard expression that said, I’ll do anything, yeah, even stab you. Maxwell was tanner…a golden variation of him.

  They were warriors, definitely, who looked like they ate glass shards for breakfast and anyone who got in their way for dessert.

  “So we’re not hunting witches?” she asked. At this point, any other activity seemed extraneous and unnecessary. She’d thought Riley understood that, which was why she’d been so surprised to see his brothers. Had he told them what she was—or rather, what she might be? He still hadn’t accepted the truth.

  “Hunting?” Finally, something from one of the brothers. Nathan’s voice was low and husky, like a shiver over her skin.

  “We’re teaching you how to defend yourself,” Riley said. “Hunting can wait. ”

  “And let me state again that I think this is stupid,” Nathan added.

  “She’s human. ” Maxwell, the other brother, had a much harder, more determined voice. “She’s also fragile as hell. We’re…not. ”

  “Just do it,” Riley snarled at them.

  Mary Ann would have cringed at his tone, but it wasn’t directed at her, so she took heart. Besides, he’d never looked sexier. He wore all black, and there were cuts along his forearms, as if he’d recently fought something with claws.

  Her knees were actually weak at the thought; she wanted to throw her arms around him and hold on forever, basking in his strength. You’re broken up, remember?

  Don’t cry.

  Nathan shook his head. “She’s yours, Ry, and we know how you are. If we bruise her…”

  “I’ll behave. ” Another snarl from Riley. “Just don’t scratch or bite her. ”

  She noticed that he didn’t d
isabuse them of their “she’s yours” notion. Well, she wouldn’t either. Right now she felt a little too much like the cheese in a mousetrap.

  “You’re right. Learning to fight is important,” she began. “But right now there are even more important—”

  “No,” Riley said, cutting her off without looking at her, “there aren’t. Teach her how to defend herself against wolves and vampires. Everything you can in the next two hours, then she and I will be on our way. ”

  Mary Ann gulped as realization set in. Even before saving her from the death spell, he wanted her to know how to defend herself against wolves and vamps. Which meant he thought they would figure out she was a Drainer very soon. Which meant he thought they would try to kill her. Painfully. He wanted her prepared, able to defend herself.

  Would they later punish him for that?

  A tremor swept through her, and those tears she’d fought against burned her eyes. She’d made the right decision, ending things. She would not hurt him. Ever. Even accidentally. Even after she…died.

  Look what he’d done—was doing—to protect her right now. He deserved better than she could give him.

  “Fine. ” Maxwell sighed.

  “Sure. Why not?” Nathan shrugged.

  Such enthusiasm. Didn’t matter, though. She would listen and she would learn. She would never have another chance like this one.

  “You’re—you’re not going to help them?” she asked Riley, blushing at her stutter.

  His gaze didn’t flick to her, but remained on his brothers as he gave a stiff shake of his head. She remembered what she’d once told him, that if he taught her how to fight, he’d have to put his hands on her, and if he put his hands on her, she would want to kiss him, not learn from him. Did he remember? Did he not want her lips on his?

  Oh, God. She wanted him to want her, wanted to keep him. Don’t you dare cry.

  How many times would she have to issue the command to herself?

  “Do it,” he said, backing away from the group. He stopped at a tree, pressing his back into the wide trunk, and folded his arms over his middle. His expression was dark, stormy.
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