Blood Will Tell

Page 25


Too close.
You’re going to have to do it sometime, Eden. Or you’ll die.
“Then maybe I’ll die,” she said out loud. Like a crazy person.
The hunger laughed at her. Easy to have those kind of convictions when you’re alone with no human souls tempting you.
Ignoring the monster within, Eden finished up in the bathroom and bought a bus ticket to Detroit. It was all she could really afford and at least in the city she could hide.
The bus ride itself was not fun. It wasn’t packed with people, but she ended up curling up into a ball in the back of the bus, taking as few breaths as possible and holding her hands over her ears so she couldn’t hear the humans. So they couldn’t tempt her.
In an effort to control the need, she resorted to masochism, calling on the image of her brother’s death, using the grief to numb her to everything else.
It was not like she knew Detroit well. She’d been there shopping with Celine a few times but since Eden didn’t have any friends it wasn’t like she’d had the chance to head into the city with a group of kids and hang out. She had been once with Stellan when he was checking out the University of Detroit. They had taken a walk up E Jefferson Avenue and then took a right to Rivertown, the Warehouse District. They had had lunch at pretty cool café. It had been a good day. Just the two of them hanging out.
The bus had dropped her off near Wayne Community College but she knew that was near Detroit University so she marched towards the University main campus and tried to retrace her steps. The Warehouse District was busier than she remembered, so Eden huddled into her raincoat and ducked her head, trying not to look at anybody or feel the blissful pull of their souls. Instead she kept walking towards the riverside. The wind had been blowing this crisp clean smell of the river over her but that soon began to fade to this metallic, industrial smell the further she walked. As an elderly woman, who smelled of lemons and molasses, passed her, Eden froze at the warmth of her soul. Deciding it best to tune out her senses, Eden breathed through her mouth and continued on. She gazed around her. None of this would work. It was too…nice. So she kept walking. She walked for a while, not knowing where she was really. But finally she found it. It stood alone on its block.
The building was perfect. An old red brick abandoned warehouse with broken windows and faded lettering along the top. She could just make out the word Trading.
Breaking in was easy. She snapped the padlock across the double doors near the back and pushed the solid iron door open. Her ears picked up the skittering of rats as her foots echoed around the shell of a warehouse. Shattered glass, naked steel, and waste decorated what was left of the place. It stank of rust and foul garbage… and old smoke. She wandered around it, staring up into the high rafters. There were holes. She’d have to watch when it rained. To her surprise she found a damp and worn sofa tucked behind one of the pillars. There were beer cans and cigarette stubs littered around it. She guessed someone had been using this place as a hangout before it had been locked up.
Eden heaved a sigh and sank down into the sofa, looking around.
It would do.
Chapter Twenty One
Rebel with a Cause
Eden had been gone a few days now.
Noah stared blankly at the television, watching the images flicker and muted mouths talk to him and to each other.
“Why is the sound off?”
He twisted his neck around at the sound of his mother’s voice, watching Emma wander into the sitting room. They were still in the rented house in Denton. It wasn’t nearly as nice as Cyrus’ home in Weston, Boston. But it was surely closer to wherever Eden was hiding. Hopefully. “I have a headache.”
His mother smirked and flopped down beside him. “We don’t get headaches.”
“Well I’m discovering new things about the Ankh every day. Like, who knew compulsion worked on us?”
That was mean. He felt a pang of guilt as Emma’s features tightened at the reminder of what Eden had done to her.
“Mom, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up.”
“No, you shouldn’t. Ever again,” she warned him, her blue eyes flashing. “Cyrus and Valeria told you to shut up about that, OK. If the Neith find out there is a soul eater out there who can compel Ankh, then Eden’s even more of a target. Do you want that?”
He shook his head slowly, feeling contrite as any normal seventeen year old son might. “Sorry. Where are Cyrus and Val anyway?”
Emma rolled her eyes. “Noah, I’ve told you not to call her that. The woman is a two thousand year old warrior, for goodness sake, not some waitress at Denny’s.”
Noah grinned, crossing his arms over his chest as he snuggled deeper into the sofa. He thought of the tall, leggy brunette and that grin grew a little lascivious. “Hey, she just looks like a hot thirty year old to me.”
His mother snorted and shook her head. “She’d eat you alive, child.”
“True. But I might enjoy it.”
“Oh.” Emma grimaced and swatted at his head. “Don’t talk to your mother like that.”
Noah flashed her another wicked smile, glad she no longer had that guilty look on her face. She felt responsible for Eden escaping, shocked that the girl had managed to compel her. The compulsion itself had freaked her out because she said she’d known what was happening to her but couldn’t do anything about it. She had felt violated and yet at the same time she had felt some kind of connection with Eden. The depth of Eden’s despair had wrenched at Emma. His mother had never been able to turn away from the damaged and broken. She was a fixer. Despite Eden attacking her, Emma was even more determined that the girl get help.
“Noah’s right, Cyrus,” she had said, as she had relayed the details of Eden’s escape. “I felt the humanity in her. Fighting. She’s in so much pain.”
Noah had known that. And although he was nowhere near ready to give up on Eden, he wasn’t sure they would be in time when they finally tracked her down. There was something in her eyes when she’d stabbed him. They both couldn’t believe she had done it - he still couldn’t - but it was like that final act had toppled her over the edge.
“I’m a monster, Noah.”
He squeezed his eyes shut, unconsciously rubbing the healed over spot on his stomach where Eden had plunged the dagger in. “Have they found out anything yet?”
“No.” It wasn’t his mother who responded but Cyrus. Noah and Emma shifted around to watch Cyrus, Valeria and Alain saunter into the sitting room. Cyrus’ features were drawn with strain and worry and Valeria had a hand wrapped around his wrist as if offering strength and comfort. “I have spoken with Adam Lincoln. He has discovered the identity of the Neith Rebel leader.”
Adam Lincoln was the Neith Councilman of Texas. The Texas Council was the largest in America and Adam was one of the most powerful and authoritative figures among the Neith. “Who?” Noah asked, half dreading the answer.
“Cosmina Arcos, the Councilwoman of the Bucharest Neith.”
OK. Noah had never heard of her. How on earth had a Romanian Neith, with little authority or standing, found out about Eden? The question must have been written all over his face because Valeria exhaled heavily and said, “Ridiculous, we know.” She strode away from Cyrus and flopped down into an armchair, smoothing her dark hair out of her exotic black eyes. “But apparently in her bid to hunt down Eden she contacted Adam asking him for help. He tells us she was very rational and calm as she discussed Eden. She discovered Eden’s existence because of a soul eater she hunted. The man was a Romanian, once hired by Ryan Winslow to guard over Eden. Out of boredom and curiosity the bodyguard eavesdropped on a private conversation between Ryan and his wife. He discovered the truth about Eden and decided to see for himself. He was fired when Eden was fourteen for lifting the hem of her shirt.” Valeria smiled coldly. “Looking for the Ankh birthmark. He discovered it and kept the information to himself until it proved useful. He returned to Romania and eight months ago he was hunted by Cosmina Arcos. Hoping to exchange freedom for information, he told Cosmina what he knew. Cosmina comes from a long line of Neith. A long line. Long enough to have heard of the legends of the Unforeseen.” Valeria grew stiff. “She had Eden investigated, and discovered Noah’s involvement. Apparently she contacted Jack Schumacher, the Neith working with Cyrus. Along with the broken nose Eden gave him, I added a broken arm and threw him in the basement. We’ll need to move him soon to Cyrus’ cells.”
Noah frowned. “Wait, why? What did he do?”
Valeria scowled. “In exchange for fifty thousand dollars he told Cosmina what we were doing. Who Eden was and that we were trying to rescue her. It appears we cannot trust anyone at the moment,” she spat in disgust.
“So, Cosmina knows everything and still wants Eden dead?” Emma murmured softly.
Cyrus nodded. “Yes. She’s adept at hiding. After Adam turned down her request to join him in obliterating Eden-”
“Why would she chance letting Adam know who the hell she is?” Noah interrupted, confused.
“Because one of her own was already on a plane to tell me. They hoped to get her at Logan International Airport but she slipped by them. The Neith was wily enough to get to my gates but my guards arrested her and were keeping her prisoner for when I came back. After I spoke with Adam I called the house and they confirmed they had a Neith in custody. I asked to speak with her. Her name is Adela. She confirmed Cosmina is the leader of the rebel faction. Adam has had contacts in Romania looking for her but she’s not at home or at any of her usual haunts which leads us both to conclude she is in the U.S. We already know she has recruited American Neith to her cause. I gave your description of the Neith you fought that night in Salton and Adam suspected he knew who they were. Seems he was right. They’re from Canada.”
“Christ, how many people know about Eden now?” Noah snapped, fear and panic bubbling under his surface. They had to get to her. This was getting out of control.