Iniquities (Alysium, #1)

Alysium, a city punished by the Gods. The Curse states that darkness will invade the city, driving the city to the brink of recklessness, a city divided between those that seek the darkness and its powers, the Iniquities; those that seek the light and the goodness of humanity, the Purities; and those that seek a balance between light and darkness, the Impartials. In a world so ravaged by its own society, where trust is rare and everything you know is stripped, one must know themselves. Choose wisely.

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          I blink at the space where the arrogant guy should be. I look at the room I'm in again and that's when I notice, there aren't any doors. What fresh Hell is this?

          I pace around the room and trace my fingers across the wall. Concrete, impenetrable. The pads of my fingers push gently at it, seeking a trap door of sorts or maybe a hidden button or something, but I come up with nothing. I feel the panic seeping into my veins, my fingers get fidgety and my pace quickens. I feel the roar of power trailing close behind the panic, a slither of darkness nudging me. But I remember the last time I trusted it, nothing good came out of it. But you escaped, didn't you? 

          I bite my lip and all I taste is blood. Blood, blood, blood. And I can't think straight.

          "I'm getting bored, Andrea Hesper. Do something, blow something up, tear off your own limbs, anything will do at this point."

          It's his voice. The one with the arrogant smile and the eyes filled with oceans, the one who can freaking disappear. His words bounce of the walls but he's still nowhere to be seen or felt. I can't feel his presence, I can't hear him breathe. All I can hear is his voice echoing and I'm angry, angry, angry. 

          He sighs. "If I knew you were so pathetic, I wouldn't have made sure you recovered. You're wasting our time."

          My blood boils at his words, and he continues throwing insults at me, adding fuel into the fire until it's so bright that I can't see or think straight. My fists clench until my knuckles are as white as these damn walls, until my nails pierce my skin. My teeth grind at each other, jaw locking. The darkness seeps in, and I shake my head violently, as if that could help me.

          What do you have to lose? 

          What do you have to lose?

          Again and again and again, the question rises out from the shadows, and each time I have no answer. Because I have nothing. I have nothing to lose. The tears trail down my cheeks in a steady stream, and I can hear him laugh and it bounces off the walls and slaps me across the cheeks. 

          What do you have to lose?

          I uncurl my fingers and let the darkness creep in on the light. It shouldn't be this easy, but it is, and I should be scared, but I'm not. He continues his onslaught of insults, but they ricochet off me. My tears have stopped and the only evidence of them would be my salt stained cheeks. I flex my fingers, and he lets out a bark of laughter as if I amuse him. 

          Show him what happens when people underestimate you. He will never laugh again.

          I slip on a smile that's equally as arrogant as the one he wears. The room falls quiet, and it's my show now. I rest all my fingers on the walls, relax and I enter the darkness within me. It rushes towards my fingertips and pools out onto the walls until there is no more white. I envisage cracks appearing on the wall, I imagine the crumbling of foundation and the tremors beneath my feet when the slabs hit the floor around me. I imagine the dust, the aftermath and how I will be left standing with nothing but an easy smile. 

          I feel a breath of heat against my ear, causing me to falter. A scent fills my nostrils but I can't place what it is, and it frustrates me. He frustrates me. 

          "You can stop now."

          I look over my shoulder and come within inches of his face, or rather his chin. I quickly notice that his jaw is set and there's a certain strain in his voice. There's a crease between his eyebrow, his blue eyes, a dark storm now. His lips are set in a straight line where they should have been lifted in amusement or arrogance, and I beam back.

          "I'm not done yet," I say. 

          "You've shown me enough." His words slice through the air between us. 

          "I haven't shown you anything." 

          "Exactly."

          In a blink of an eye, my fingers have curled around his throat and his back is rigid against the wall. I feel his Adam's apple bob up and down against my hands, and a new scent replaces the one that invaded my senses before. I know this smell. It's fear. My smile grows a little bigger. 

          Destroy him.

          He lowers his gaze, lashes fanning against his cheek. He doesn't lift them back up, and it's in this lack of defence, that my anger starts to simmer away and a cloud lifts from my mind. I don't remember making the decision to hold him by his throat, I don't remember moving. The smile slips off my face and my fingers stay rested around his throat but not in a death grip. But the darkness is still there at my fingertips, refusing to disappear. 

          "Who are you?" I whisper, my breaths coming at short bursts as I slowly remove my fingers one by one.

          He finally meets my eyes, and they are the colour of the seas and oceans, and my sudden burst of anger drowns in it. His voice, when he speaks, is a fraction of what it was before. "Marcin Basford. I'm in charge of new recruits."

          "Recruits for what?" 

          "The Iniquities' mission," Marcin states. 

          I wait for him to expand but the silence continues to grow and so does my impatience. Marcin probably senses this because he adds hurriedly, "You will find out more later. For now, you need to devote time to learning how to control yourself or else you'll hurt everyone around you."

          Control. It's enough to get my mind spinning and heart racing. I needed control, desperately. I was beginning to fear myself, if I couldn't even get a grip on the stupid darkness. "If you're in charge of new recruits, why are you so afraid of me?" My voice sounds small and I scold myself for it. But then Marcin's face softens and I'm glad for my moment of weakness.

          He slips on a small smile. "Andrea Hesper, you're something else entirely."

          I wonder whether it's a good thing or not but I decide that question could be answered later, because the white walls crumble away at a swift hand gesture from Marcin, and standing a few metres away is my brother.

 

 

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