Nightshine, p.41
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       Nightshine, p.41

         Part #4 of Kyndred series by Lynn Viehl
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Page 41

 

  “You can pray later. Start helping the wounded up to the house. ”

  The dark-haired woman, whom Drew recognized from news photos as Charlotte Marena, reached out to Taske. “Sam, I need you to help me with Ihiyo, right now, or he’s going bleed to death. ”

  PART FOUR

  Burning Dawn

  Chapter 18

  September 29, 1987

  Malibu, California

  Emily woke to the sound of a heavy thump, and rubbed her eyes, which were still sticky from crying. Before she called for her nanny, she listened for the voices of the fairies who told her everything, but for once they were silent.

  The door to her bedroom opened, but instead of her nanny it was Daddy. The fairies told her how happy he was to see her, and that everything was going to be all right now.

  “You’re supposed to be asleep, you little minx,” her daddy teased as he sat down next to her.

  Emily hugged him. “Is Mommy still mad?” The fairies had told her terrible things about her mother, that she was going to hurt Daddy and make Emily go away, but Emily didn’t believe them.

  “No, baby. She’ll never be mad at you again. I promise. ” Her father picked her up. “How would you like to go for a car ride?”

  Daddy’s mouth was smiling, but he felt so sad about Mommy that the fairies started crying in Emily’s ears. “Why is Mommy sleeping on the floor downstairs?”

  He gave her an odd look before he said, “She’s very tired. ”

  Daddy carried her out into her nanny’s room, where Emily saw her nanny was also sleeping on the floor. “So is Miss Mary,” he whispered in her ear.

  Emily smelled something bad and wrinkled her nose. “Did Nanny mess in her bed?”

  Daddy didn’t answer her, and neither did the fairies, who were still crying. He carried her down to the garage, where he put her in the front seat of his car.

  Emily, who was never allowed to sit in the front, looked all around her. Daddy’s car was beautiful, and Mommy said she must never touch, but she couldn’t help stroking the polished wood in front of her. As soon as Daddy got in she snatched her hand back.

  “Where are we going, Daddy?”

  He smiled at her. “Someplace wonderful. ”

  Daddy drove through the city toward the park where Nanny sometimes took her to play, but he didn’t stop there. He went past it toward the big water.

  The fairies were sobbing so much that Emily had to press her hands against her ears to talk. “Can’t we go back to the park, Daddy? I want to go on the slide. ”

  “You like sliding, don’t you?”

  She nodded. “It makes me feel like a bird. ” Sometimes she flapped her arms on the way down, hoping she would rise in the air and soar over her nanny’s head, but that never happened.

  Daddy drove into a little parking place by the water and stopped the car.

  When he came around to open her door and help her out, he said, “I need you to hold my hand now, Emily, and don’t let go. ”

  She looked at the big red bridge. “Are we going up there?”

  He nodded. “We’ll see the whole city. ”

  Emily skipped alongside her father as he led her to the entrance of the walkway. He had to boost her over the little gate, which was locked, and then he jumped over it, pretending to fall and making her laugh.

  “Good thing I don’t have to do that every day,” he joked, dusting off his trousers before he took her hand again. He pointed toward one of the big towers. “Let’s walk up there. ”

  Emily would have told him how much she liked going out at night and walking on the bridge, but the fairies wouldn’t shut up. They were yelling in her ears so loudly that her head began to ache, and her footsteps dragged.

  Daddy noticed. “Don’t be afraid, Emily. ”

  “I’m not; it’s just . . . ” Mommy had said the fairies weren’t real, and she didn’t want to make her father angry, not when they were having so much fun. She lifted her arms. “Pick me up?”

  Her father bent and hoisted her up in his arms, holding her close. “Better?”

  She nodded.

  Daddy carried her all the way to the tower, and then turned to look back at the city. It was so much prettier at night, with all the lights sparkling like jewels.

  “Put your arms around my neck and hold on tight. ” When she did, her father climbed up on top of the railing.

  Emily glanced down at the dark water far below. There was nothing for her father to hold on to, and if he slipped, they would fall. “Daddy. ”

  “It’s okay, Emily. We’re going to be together now. ” He kissed her forehead. “Together forever. ”

  The fairies began to scream.

  Chapter 19

  “All right. ”Charlotte stripped off her bloody gloves and dropped them in the trash bin beside the table before she moved back and leaned against the wall. “That’s all I can do for now. ”

  Samuel had spent the last hour working with her on Ihiyo’s internal injuries. They had discovered that while his healing ability could heal minor wounds, it would not repair damaged arteries or organs. “Will he make it?”

  “I don’t know. I’m not a surgeon. ” Her head drooped. “Half of what I did I’ve only read about in books. But he’s stable, for now. ”

  “I will watch Ihiyo, Charlotte,” Tlemi, who had been assisting her, said. “You should go see to the men. ”

  Samuel caught her arm as she headed for the door. “If you need to monitor him, I can check on the others. ”

  “No, it’s okay. ” She looked at Tlemi, and pointed to the monitor beside the table. “If the numbers on there start changing, yell for me. ”

  Samuel accompanied Charlotte downstairs to the living room, which they had converted into a makeshift infirmary. Nearly all of the islander men had been wounded by the bizarre creature who had brought Drew to the island, but most of the injuries had proved non-life-threatening.

  Charlotte went first to Colotl, who despite dozens of wounds remained conscious, and whose chest and arms were swathed in bandages. After checking his pulse and temperature, she lifted one edge of his chest dressing.

  “This looks a lot better. ” Knowing he didn’t understand her, she gave him a smile and a nod before meeting Samuel’s gaze. “The edges of his wounds are starting to pink up and close. ”

  “They heal like we do,” Sam’s red-haired friend said as he approached Charlotte and held out his hand. “I didn’t get a chance to introduce myself during the bloodbath. I’m Drew Riordan. ”

  “Charlie Marena. ” She ignored his hand and gave him a hug. “Sorry I snapped at you on the beach. What that thing did freaked me out. ”

  “Same here, sister. ” He patted her back before drawing away. “If you have everything under control here, I’ve got to go and get my woman. She’s still hiding out down by the beach. ”

  Samuel frowned. “You brought one of the other Takyn with you?”

  “No, but I found one when I came here. Long story. ” He glanced at Charlotte. “I’ll be back in a few minutes. ”

  Samuel noticed Liniz’s woman, Xochi, giving Drew a troubled look as he left. “Charlotte, did you see the woman on the beach?”

  “I saw Drew jump off the boat with someone. ” She closed her eyes for a moment, and surprise and something like pain flickered across her face. “I can’t read her. Ah. ” She rubbed one of her ears.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “She doesn’t think like a human being. ” She shook her head a little, as if to clear it. “All I get from her are these piercing sounds. Kind of like what bats make, I think. ”

  Xochi appeared beside her. “Agraciana. ” She pointed in the direction of the beach, and then covered her ears and shook her head.

  Charlotte smiled at her. “Honey, I have no idea what you’re trying to tell me. ”

  “We’ll figure it out when Dre
w returns. ” Samuel rested a hand on her shoulder, and then reached out to touch Xochi’s arm. As soon as his palm touched her skin, he felt her voice inside his head, this time speaking flawless English.

  —must tell Tlemi that the outcast is here so she can warn them about her—

  Charlotte flinched under his hand. “Sam, this woman is dangerous. She’s some kind of—”

  “Outcast, I know. I can hear Xochi’s thoughts. ” He noticed the island woman’s astonished face. “And I think she can hear ours as well. ”

  Yes, Samuel. Your mouths are speaking your language, but I hear you in mine. Xochi’s thoughts grew frantic. The woman who came to the island with your friend is not one of us. She serves the master.

  Charlotte’s mouth flattened. “What exactly does she do for this bastard?”

  “I obeyed him,” a cool voice said.

  Samuel turned around to see Drew with a petite dark-haired woman. Although her clothes were damp and her hair disordered, she projected an aura of calm disdain.

  The islanders all reacted in sync to her presence, the men struggling to get to their feet while the women formed a protective line in front of them.

  “What are you doing?” Charlotte demanded.

  A flood of voices answered her inside Samuel’s head, their replies terse and angry.

  “You must be Agraciana,” Samuel said.

  The woman ignored him and turned to Drew. “We have to leave. If I stay here, they will kill me. ”

  “Samuel. ” Colotl staggered over to him, grabbing his arm as his legs gave way. Charlotte caught him from the other side, and as soon as she touched him his voice echoed inside Samuel’s mind. Agraciana’s voice is her weapon. She can seduce or kill with it. You must silence her before she uses it on us.

  “Oh, for God’s sake, shut up. ” Charlotte’s blunt order silenced Colotl and the other thought streams. “Now, look. I don’t care what Circe here can do; I didn’t spend the last three hours patching you guys up just so you could turn into pigs. ”
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