Dark Longing

Selena Abbott discovers that she isn't what she thought she was and neither was her mother. Plunged into a dark world will Selena be able to resist the darkness or will she give in to the dark longing?

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31. Chapter Thirty One: The Perfect Meal

I STUMBLED BUT didn’t fall. Someone had caught me. I blinked up at the dark skinned man that was gripping my arms tightly.

“I told you, Abena,” the man said smugly.

The spiky haired woman, Abena, landed beside me, saying, “She was here with Rhyker.”

Rhyker? Wasn’t that the name the soul eaters that had knocked on Hayden’s door had used?

Arching an eyebrow, he ran his violet eyes over me. “He lied then when we spoke to him.”

“Is that really so surprising, Idir?” Abena huffed, coming into view. “You know what he’s like. He probably wanted her all to himself.” Now that she was closer I could see that Abena also had purple eyes. Her dyed blonde hair contrasted sharply with her caramel skin. I hadn’t paid any attention to her outfit before but Abena was wearing leather trousers with cuts in them as well as a leather jacket with a pink crop top underneath. Idir’s clothes were similar but instead of the crop top, he was wearing a navy shirt.

“What’s your name?” Idir asked me, forcing my chin up so that our eyes met. He was quite handsome in an angular kind of way.

When I didn’t speak, he yanked on my ponytail making me cry out.

“Selena,” I hissed, blinking away tears.

“How old are you, Selena?” Idir stroked my jaw and over his shoulder I saw Abena’s expression darken. Were they a thing?

“Eighteen.”

“And do you know what you are?”

I nodded.

Abena edged nearer and asked, “Does Rhyker feed from you?”

“No.” I squirmed in Idir’s grasp, trying to escape.

“That is a surprise,” he said, holding me tighter. Glancing at Abena, he grinned. “Would you like to go first?”

Excited, she licked her lips and stepped closer. Idir pinned my arms to my side by wrapping an arm around me. He covered my mouth with a large hand when I started to scream. Abena placed a hand over my heart and for a moment I could see neon blue light hovering over her chest but then I blinked and it was gone. Her hand slid through my chest like it was made of butter and pain lanced through me.

It only lasted for a few seconds because I was thrown to the ground. Gasping, I looked up to see Hayden pinning Idir against the wall. It was still raining and I had to wipe the water away from my eyes to see clearly.

“Are you alright, Selena?” Hayden asked his voice strained as he kept his attention on Idir.

Abena was on the ground half in a puddle nearby, clutching at her bloody head.

“I’m fine,” I said, checking my face for wrinkles and sighing in relief when I didn’t find any.

“Was that concern, Rhyker?” Idir asked, spitting blood on the floor. “Since when do you care for anyone but yourself?”

Hayden snarled and whacked Idir’s head against the bricks behind him. “Stay away from her.”

Idir’s violet eyes watched as I got to my feet. “That’s not going to happen. You know what she is. Everyone will be coming for her and like you I want her all to myself, though Abena can take what she wants as well.”

“No one is going to lay a finger on her,” Hayden snapped angrily.

“It’s a bit late for that,” Abena said as she struggled to sit up. “Her life force is like nothing I’ve ever tasted. She was delicious.”

I backed away from her and wrapped my arms around myself as I shuddered.

Hayden’s animalistic roar echoed around the alleyway as his hand disappeared in Idir’s chest. I watched in horror as Idir’s face aged several decades in mere seconds. When Hayden was done Idir’s lifeless body slumped to the ground and disintegrated into ashes.

Someone gave a sob and I realised that it was me and that hot tears were falling down my cheeks. When Hayden turned to face me his face softened. He enveloped me in his arms and I clung to him.

“It’s okay,” he murmured soothingly. “No one’s going to hurt you ever again. I won’t let anyone touch you.”

“Am I . . . Do I . . .” I took a deep breath. “She ate some of my soul, didn’t she?”

Kissing my hair, Hayden nodded.

“Do I look older?”

Gently tipping my head back, he examined me. “No, Selena, you don’t.”

“How is that possible? I felt her take some of my soul.”

Hayden hesitated a moment before saying, “Your soul regenerated. I know it sounds impossible but I saw it with my own eyes.”

“It did?”

“No one can find out,” he said half to himself. “If they do . . .” Hayden trailed off but I knew what he was trying to say.  If my soul could grow back then that meant that I was the perfect meal for a soul eater; whoever had me would have a never ending supply of soul.

“Your face.” I reached up, my fingers grazing the corners of Hayden’s eyes. All of his wrinkles had gone. He was as young as when we had first bumped into each other at Ash’s party.

Placing his hand on top of mine, he explained, “Idir’s life force went into me.”

“I didn’t know soul eaters could feed from each other.”

“It’s not encouraged; it’s dangerous and is one of the worst things one of my people can do. It will sustain me for months though.”

 “How did you know where I was?” I asked.

“You were taking so long that Lisa went to check on you. She couldn’t find you so I excused myself saying that I needed the bathroom. The window in the ladies’ was open so I went out into the alleyway. If only I had found you sooner.” Hayden rested his forehead on mine and drew me closer.

“It’s fine. I’m fine. I’m grateful that you came when you did.”

Suddenly remembering Abena, I glanced around but couldn’t see her.

“She ran away,” Hayden said. “No doubt she’ll be back.”

“We should probably go inside. What are we going to say to Dad, Kayleigh and Lisa?”

 

 

Hayden ended up telling them that I had been mugged. They were all horrified and wanted to take me to the hospital in case I had a concussion but Hayden managed to convince them not to.

When we left the restaurant I hugged Hayden goodbye.

“Thank you again,” I said with a sad smile. Then, standing on my tiptoes, I whispered in his ear, “Can you come over tonight?” Hayden nodded and I kissed him on the cheek.

The minute we arrived home I disappeared to my room where I changed into my pyjamas. It wasn’t long before there was a light tap on my window. The moment he stepped inside I wrapped my arms around him.

“So this wasn’t a booty call then?” Hayden asked jokingly as he ran his hands up and down my bare arms. Noticing that I was shaking, he led me over to the bed and helped me get in. Hayden joined me and I curled up against him.

“I didn’t want to be alone.”

Trailing kisses along my neck, Hayden told me, “You’re safe now, sweetheart. I won’t let anything happen to you.”

“But I’m not safe, am I?” I met his gaze and he touched the ends of my hair. “Everyone will be coming after me.”

“Selena, you are the most important thing in my life. I’m going to do everything I can to protect you.” Hayden’s lips brushed mine as light as a feather. “Do you understand?”

I nodded and our mouths encountered again.

 

 

The dream started the way it had before with the younger version of me so excited to go into the forest.

“Hurry up, Mummy!” I cried, running towards the forest edge. “You’re being too slow!”

Laughing as she locked the car door, Mummy said, “You’re just too fast for me, Selly. Don’t go any further or I’ll never catch up.”

I jumped up and down, my red boots kicking at the piles of brown leaves. “You’re slow because you’re old!”

“Got you!”

I screamed in delight as Mummy wrapped her arms around me and kissed my cheek.

Scooping me up into her arms, Mummy said, “Old am I? If I was so old I wouldn’t be able to do this.”

Mummy ran into the forest, holding me tightly against her chest. After a while she stopped and gently dropped me onto the ground. Out of breath, Mummy tickled me. “You’re heavy, Selly. I don’t think you should have pudding anymore.”

Tears welled in my eyes as I sat up. Then I saw her grin. “You bully!” I cried, flinging leaves at her. Scrambling to my feet, I sprinted deeper into the forest.

“Don’t go too far!” Mummy called after me.

I wandered around for a while looking at the tree roots. Becoming bored I tried to find Mummy.

“Mummy!” I shouted. “Where are you? Come play with me!”

Weaving through the trees, I stopped when I saw a man. He was facing away from me. He was wearing a hat and I couldn’t see his face. The man was standing over a woman. My mummy. She looked like she was lying down. Was she having a nap? Silly Mummy. Her eyes were open. They were staring at me. Mummy didn’t blink. I was starting to feel frightened.

“Mummy?” I said, giving a sob.

The man turned around and I saw a flash of violet eyes. His hands gripped my arms. “Wake up,” he said, shaking me. “Wake up, Selena, it’s just a nightmare.”

My eyes flung open and I gasped for air. My heart was hammering in my chest and I was covered in sweat.

“Hayden?”

He was sitting over me, radiating concern.

“Oh God.” I pressed a hand to my mouth as I started crying.

“It’s alright.” He held me close, rubbing my back.

But it wasn’t.

My mum had been murdered by a soul eater.

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