From Darkness

When did we lose our way?
Consumed by the shadows
Swallowed whole by the darkness
Does this darkness have a name?
Is it your name?

-Disclaimer: This story is a sequel. Summary quote from One Tree Hill.


3. Chapter Three

There weren’t any dreams. There was nothing but darkness. But it wasn’t a blank empty darkness. It was a living moving thing that seemed to stretch and think on its own. The moment I realized it was alive, I woke up.

I woke to the sound of garbled voices. Like a language I didn’t understand being spoken through water. No, it wasn’t water. It was a radio. I could feel the gentle rock of a vehicle and hear the engine humming as we moved. The seat had been pulled back, so that was leaning. My feet were still bare and sore, but warming beneath a heater. Every time the car moved, I was jerked to the side and held back by the seatbelt around my waist.

I groaned as the darkness faded and I tried to make sense of where I was and what was happening. My head was still searing with pain, but my stomach now felt sick and nauseous. The haze made it difficult to pry my heavy eyelids open. When I did, I saw nothing but trees briefly illuminated by headlights as we passed.

I got my head to move and turned toward the man behind the wheel. He was concentrating on the road as he pushed the car to its limit. He had a handheld radio on the dashboard as he listened to the sound of conversations over the airwaves. He seemed to be making sense of them.

“Where are you taking me?” I asked.

He finally seemed to notice me. He shot me a glance and looked mildly surprised before he turned back to the road. The sun was long gone, and all I could see was the road and quickly moving trees.

“Someplace safe,” he told me. I tried to sit up and shake off the dizziness, but my stomach rolled, and I only managed to flop against the door. My hands moved for the door handle.

“Let me out,” I whispered.


“I said let me out. Stop the car. I need to get out.”

“I can’t stop the car. Not here. They're looking for us.”

I pulled uselessly at the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. So I fumbled in the dark and felt for the lock. But he’d been expecting that. By the time I went to open the door again, he’d flipped the switch on the other side. The lock clicked back into place.

“He’s going to bleed out if we don’t get him somewhere safe, Jo,” he told me.

I spun back around. I hadn’t even noticed the body in the back seat. The man had his legs up so that he could lie across the bench. His hands were draped over his stomach where a jacket had been tied tightly around his waist. I couldn’t make out the color, but it was already soaked through with blood.

“What happened?” I asked.

“You don’t remember?”

“What did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything.”

My heart was racing, and my stomach still felt sick. I had to get out. I had to get away. I had to throw up. So I put my hands on his shoulders and shoved him as hard as I could. He hit the door on the other side with a solid thump and the car swerved again.

“What are you doing?” he snapped as he pushed me back with one hand.

“Let me out!”

“Where are you gonna go? The woods?”

“I’m gonna throw up!”

He finally listened. The car slowed, and when I turned back around to unlock it, he didn’t try to stop me. I yanked my seatbelt off and jumped out before we even came to a complete halt. I made it to the bank on the side of the road when the dizziness overwhelmed me. I couldn’t stay upright, and I knelt with my hands on my knees just to stop myself from falling over. I heaved, but my stomach was empty.

I could hear the door open behind me. I could hear the shift of his clothes and the tap of his boots on the cement. He was at my side a moment later, patting my back as I leaned over and gripped my knees.

“It’s the tranquilizer dart,” he told me. “They make you sick.”

“You shot him,” I replied.

“I didn’t.”

The panic was still coursing through my body. My mind was still dizzy and hazy. All I knew was that bad things happened when I wasn’t in control, and I had to take control. It was winter, so the trees alongside the road had shed branches and leaves that were buried under a dusting of snow. There was a branch not far from me, and I reached for it without thinking. I swung back and felt the branch connect with the side of his head. He hit the ground and lifted his arms to block my next strike.

There was something inside of me telling me to stop. But I had to do it. I had people to protect, and I couldn’t trust my gut to guide me anymore. I had to do what was right. So I pressed the tip of the branch against his chest and forced him back onto the road before he could get up.

“It’s me,” he was saying as I lifted the branch up above my head again. “It’s Bucky. You know me. You know I won’t hurt you.”

I brought the branch back down, and he jumped out of the way before it could touch him. It struck the cement just inches from his face. I could feel it crack against the pavement, sending a shock of pain through my bandaged hands.

“Jo,” he continued. “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m trying to help you.”

“You’re a liar,” I replied, twisting the branch in my hand so that the sharp broken end pointed downward. I lifted it above my head again and brought it back down with all my weight. It narrowly missed his head. The end of the branch snapped against the ground.

“Jo, listen to me,” he said when I lifted it again. “I understand if you're afraid of me. I don’t blame you, but you need to trust me. At least for now. Until the both of you are safe.”

“You think I don’t know who you are,” I realized. I lifted the branch again. It was starting to fall apart now, but still thick enough to cause damage if I really wanted to. I swung again, but this time he lifted his hand to block it. The branch slammed into his outstretch hand and sent a shock through my arms. His fingers wrapped around the wood and I paused to breathe. This didn’t feel right. “Let it go,” I demanded.

“You know who I am?” he asked.

It was so dark out it was nearly pitch black except for the lights from the car. I could see him lying on the road beneath me, not looking the least bit threatened by me and my stick. There was a scrape on his chin from where I’d first hit him. Even in the night, I could make out the color of his eyes and the blood beaded on his jaw. He didn’t seem so terrifying this time. Maybe she was losing her touch.

“Of course I know who you are,” I admitted as I slid the branch out of his fingers and lifted it over my head again. “I’m not like you. They wanted me to remember everything.” I swung, and he barely moved out of the way before the branch splintered against the cement beside his left ear. “My friend,” I said, swinging again. “He had a family. Twins. Two boys. You shot him in the head.” I swung, and he dodged it. “The other. He was going to propose to his girlfriend. He asked me to help him pick out the ring. You shot him in the throat.” I swung again, but he managed to dodge it.

“And Jimenez?” I continued. “He was going to take me on a date.” I stood back, breathing hard. I felt dizzy again. Breathing wasn’t easy. My arms were getting weaker. “I saw my mother,” I told him. “My real mother. What was left of her when they brought her in. Do you know what that’s like? When the only memory of your mother is the image of chunks of flesh and blood and bone? That was you."

I lifted to swing again, but he moved his other hand and placed it on my thigh just above my knee. He wasn’t wearing a glove on that hand, so his skin was shockingly warm against mine. My legs were bare from the thigh down. I froze and couldn’t bring myself to take another shot. I could remember when he touched me just like that. When he wasn’t in my head every minute of every day. Killing every single person that I loved. When he wasn’t a monster in my nightmares.

“If you remember all that—then you know I won’t fight you,” he said.

The panic was starting to fade now. There were some things that she’d just never got right. She could make you believe you were feeling things and seeing things, but there was always something off. The color of the eyes wasn’t sharp enough. His skin wasn’t warm enough. It usually didn’t take very long before he started ripping everyone apart.

He dropped his hand, letting his fingers slide over my knee before it rested on the pavement at his side. He was showing me that he wasn’t going to fight anymore. He was going to let me kill him if that’s what I wanted to do. That wasn’t right either. He'd never done that before.

I transferred the branch to my right hand and held it at my side. He was making this too easy, and for a moment, I doubted it. Maybe he was telling the truth this time. Maybe he really was just trying to help us.

Maybe this was real.

“You promised me,” I reminded him. “I remember.”

“You said it yourself,” he replied. “I lied.”

I swung again, but this time I came from the side like a golf club. The branch hit him just above his temple, hard enough to jerk his whole body onto his side. Then he laid there motionless as darkness seeped out from his hair like blood.

He looked helpless. I could kill him if I really wanted to. I knew it was what they wanted me to do. They asked her every time. Wanted to know if I’d finally done it. If I was ready. And every single time, the answer was no. And it just got worse and worse.

Maybe she wasn’t losing her touch at all. Maybe she was getting better.

The memory of his hand still lingered on my skin. I remembered when he’d touched me like that before. Not with his hands. With his lips. I didn’t know if she was just making me remember it, or if it was real. But I could feel it churning inside me again. Hope. And something else. Something stronger. Even if killing him to could spare me from having to do this again and again—I couldn’t command my hands to do it.

I tossed the branch to the side. I didn’t know how long it would be before someone drove down that road. There were no signs or painted lines. I didn’t even know where we were. I’d never been so confused in one of her dreams. She usually supplied the answer for every question, and I accepted it without fail. But it didn’t feel right this time. It was too cold. Everything hurt too much. In the off chance that it was real, I had to make sure no one drove over him if they happened to come this way.

So I lifted his arm and ran my hands over it. Even though he was wearing a glove and a long sleeved shirt, I could feel the solid and smoothness of metal beneath the fabric. It was heavy, and so was he, but I gripped the arm and pulled.

I barely manage to drag him to the edge of the road before I ran out of strength to continue. I left him there and stumbled back to the car. I didn’t know where I’d go or if I could even drive like this. But I had to put as much distance between us as I could before he could hurt anyone. But first, I squeezed myself into the backseat to check on the man who was still lying there, pale and deathly. His eyes stayed shut as I held his face between my hands. He looked so hollow and worn. Like he hadn’t eaten in a long time. He hadn’t shaved. He already looked dead even though his skin was warm.

I remembered him talking to me in the dark. He used to say the same things over and over again. “It’s not real, Jo. It’s not real.” And then I remembered the feel of my finger slipping over the trigger of a gun. The moment my heart jumped and the way his face looked when he realized what had happened. It was me. I did it.

One of his eyes opened just slightly and a smile hinted at his lips.

“I’m alright, kid,” he murmured.

“I’m so sorry,” I told him. I wanted to cry. This wasn’t how she normally did things. It was my job to protect them. Not to kill them.

“You didn’t mean it,” he assured me. “It’s alright. I’ll be fine.”

“I’ll get you someplace safe. I promise.”

“We’re headed to Belarus. I know some people there.”


“Barnes. I gave him directions.” He shut his eyes again, and I glanced out through the door to where I’d left him on the side of the road. But I couldn’t make out the form of his body in the darkness.

My heart leaped, but he was quicker than I was. The car jerked and my arm was yanked back. He had my wrist secured to the handle above the window in a flash. I felt the snap of a cuff and then I couldn't move.

“We need to talk,” he said as he leaned in through the space between the two front seats. My wrist was stuck to the handle, and I had my back to him. I pulled uselessly at my arm, but he’d secured it tight enough so that I couldn’t squeeze my arm free.

“I can’t talk. I have to stop you,” I said.

“What do you think I’m going to do?”

“You’re going to kill them. Like always.”

“Who?” I shook my head and continued to try and pry my wrist free.

“My family.”

“What do you mean, like always?”

“It’s what you do. You kill people.”

“I don’t do that anymore.”

“You will. That’s what you were made for. They can make you do whatever they want. They'll regain control. One way or another.” He climbed back out of the car, and I stopped pulling on my arm. He appeared in the open doorway at my side and peered in as he leaned against the door. Blood had dripped down his face now, but he still didn’t look as terrifying as she usually made him out to be. He looked like he was as tired of this as I was.

“I’m not going to hurt you,” he told me. “I understand if you don’t want to see me ever again. But I promised to come back for you. Do you remember that?” I shook my head.

“I don’t—I don’t know.”

“Well, I did. And I’m going to keep that promise. But you’re not going to get very far on your own. Let me get you to a safe place, and then we’ll talk about it. Can you do that for me?” I didn’t think I had a choice. Until I could get free, I was stuck with him. So I nodded slowly. He shut the door and came back around to the driver’s side. I felt the car move as he climbed inside and turned the engine over.

“Get some rest,” he told me with a much softer tone.

“Hurts,” I told him.

“What does?” I took a deep breath and adjusted my position so that my legs wouldn’t cramp.


“I’ll let you go when I know you’re not going to try and bash my head in again.”

“I won’t.”

He didn’t say anything. He just reached over to pull the seat up so that I’d have more room and wouldn't be pinched between the seats. Then he got the car moving again and I rested my head against my outstretched arm. The man in front of me sighed loudly.

“Jo,” he whispered, though he didn’t open his eyes. I didn’t answer, but I reached out to pat his arm and let him know I was there. “You know who I am?”

“Of course I know who you are,” I told him. Then he smiled quickly.

“I’m glad to hear that.”

“Can I ask you a question?”


“Is this real?” He was silent for a long moment before his eyes managed to open. He looked around the car before focusing on me next to him. But he didn’t smile. He didn’t even try.

“It’s real, Jo,” he told me. "Don't try to bash his head in. You'll regret it." Then he shut his eyes again.


Hopefully more coherent this time. Jo is still very confused, but starting to focus better.

Also, I still have the urge to rewrite this entire series from 3rd person. I have a feeling it would make these chapters a lot easier to understand. D:

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