Damon has been trapped in the earth for hundreds of years, now he's out, he's looking for his trappers descendant and the sweetness of revenge.
Then he meets Arella.
And it all goes to hell...


16. Smoke


Smoke clogged in my lungs but I couldn’t bring myself to move. Just sat on the grass and watched as the flames retreated, hissing and writhing, under the powerful jet of water the firemen aimed at it.

Corbett stood in front of me, his chest still heaving, coughing every so often as choking air caught in his throat.

Tears dribbled almost silently down my cheeks.

Maybe she’d escaped? Passed out somewhere and they hadn’t found her? Maybe she’d gone home early and not signed out?

  “Corbett,” I said, voice breaking.

He didn’t seem to hear me.

I wobbled to standing and touched his shoulder.


  “No, she’s alive Arella. Don’t….” he trailed off, a sob choking him. I turned him around and held him close, letting him bury his head in my shoulder as I watched the burning embers of the school smoulder.

Brenna’s cremation site.

Someone cleared their throat behind us. A teacher come to lead us towards the school counsellor until our parents came. A fireman trying to tell us they’d found her body. Maybe it was one of the paramedics standing around, waiting for it to be safe to recover the body.

I ignored them but Corbett, able to see them over my shoulder, tensed.

Then he crumpled.

As if his bones had turned partially liquid.

He melted out of my arms and was gone.

I turned around.

  “Brenna?” I breathed in disbelief.

Damon shifted her into Corbett’s arms and shoved his hands in the pockets of a pair of PE shorts.

I was dimply aware that at some point he had changed clothes, but it was the barest flicker before all thoughts turned to my unconscious best friend.

I knelt beside Corbett, helping him put her in the recovery position and laying my jacket on top of her.

Looking over my shoulder, I smiled at Damon.

  “Thank you.” I said sincerely, my voice hoarse and barely audible over Corbett’s cry to the paramedics who rushed over.

A strange look passed over his face, a ripple of emotion I couldn’t identify before he smiled a small, sad smile.

  “You’re welcome.”

He held my gaze, melting mahogany seeming to swallow my consciousness.

  “Excuse me.” A male paramedic said, a slight Scottish accent twisting his words. “You the lad that saved her?”

Damon nodded, becoming guarded.

  “I just need to check you over. You seem fine but…”

  “I am fine.” He interrupted, his voice firm and persuasive.

The paramedic blinked, silent for a moment.

  “Alright then.” He nodded and walked away.

Goosebumps rose on my arms.

I frowned.

I wasn’t cold, the school was giving out more than enough heat, not to mention Damon…

  “Arella,” Corbett breathed, slightly out of breath as he jogged over to me. “They’re taking her to the hospital now. I’m going with her.”

  “Okay, text me how she is okay?”

He nodded, his eyes flicking over to Damon before he grabbed my face and kissed me.

Smoke clinging to his skin flooded into my airways, making my throat itch and burn.

I resisted the urge to cough.

  “How about I come over later?”

 I nodded, not able to speak as the smoke still choked my airway. A no would mean explaining.

He wouldn’t leave Brenna’s side until she was better anyway. And with smoke inhalation they would keep her in on oxygen for a while.

He smiled and turned, jogging over to the ambulance before jumping in the back.

I ignored the urge to turn and see what Damon had made of the little scene.

Why should I care?

Why did I care?

  “You coming?” he said, voice huskier in the heat and smoke.

It twisted my insides.

Turning, I saw that he partially had his back at me, seemingly headed towards the field.

  “What?” I asked, the cough I’d been holding finally breaking free and making my eyes water.

  “My dad won’t be picking me up,” he said, something in his eyes telling me there was some sort of joke there. “What about your parents?”

  “Mum’s at work.” I said but didn’t make a move to follow him.

I have a boyfriend.

I have a boyfriend.

He raised an eyebrow.

  “And your dad?”

Another round of coughing started up again and, despite the pain, I was grateful. It gave me time to rebuild my shattered composure.

  “Dead.” I choked out.

  “I’m sorry.”

I’m not.


  “So where we heading?” I asked, grabbing his arm and making him lead the way.

I didn’t want to talk about my dad.

I wouldn’t.

Damon shrugged, I almost believed he’d let my strange reaction slide, but a glance at his clever eyes told me he missed nothing.

 “I just thought it would be relaxing to sit on the grass. The weathers nice and you look like you could use some calming.”

Something caught in my throat.

But it wasn’t smoke.


Then he turned his devilish grin on me.

I had a feeling time with Damon was hardly going to be relaxing.



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