Everyone started talking about other things again, leaving me alone. I sat there staring down at my hands, aware of how very much I didn’t really fit in with these people. Shades. Whatever they were. They all seemed so happy and carefree, and there I was, all withdrawn and terrified. I missed my old life. I missed hanging out with Nina. I missed my mom. I even missed my stupid stuffed rabbit, Mr. Boggles.
This excerpt comes from For Ever, the first book in my new series. I haven’t edited it. I’m going to be adding/subtracting from this particular scene later on in the writing process. For now, this will do 😀
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Emissary of the Devil: Testimony of the Damned
The Chronicles of Winterset: Oracle.
“Why aren’t you putting your two cents in?” Eric asked, looking over to me. The table grew quiet, and I looked at them nervously. Raiden was studying me with his green eyes. He hadn’t said anything either. Why weren’t they pestering him about it?
“I don’t have anything to say,” I cringed, biting my bottom lip. The closest I’d gotten to the deed was with Dylan, but that hadn’t ended well.
“Yeah, right! A girl as hot as you definitely has something to say about sex!” Aiden scoffed. I felt my cheeks redden. Everyone continued to stare at me.
“Well,” I cleared my throat and pulled myself together. “I think it’s weird.”
“Weird? Sex?” Owen looked at me like I was nuts. I glanced at Raiden to see him still studying me, a look of curiosity on his face.
“Well, yeah. I mean, isn’t it, like, necrophilia to have sex with you guys? You’re dead and all,” I answered. “Why would anyone want to have sex with a dead person.”
The table was quiet. Finally, Eric snorted loudly, laughing so hard that he shook. Everyone joined in. I looked to see Raiden smirking—actually smirking—at me, his always serious face alight with humor. It was a different look for him and made him seem younger, happier.
“We aren’t really dead,” Raiden’s accented voice pulled me out of my reverie.
“Huh?” I asked, swallowing thickly and looking up at him. He’d moved from his seat and was sitting beside me now—no, towering over me—and staring down at me.
“Us,” he nodded in the direction of his laughing group who were now engrossed in more sex talk with each other. “We aren’t really dead. It can’t be necrophilia if we aren’t really dead.”
“Oh.” I breathed out nervously. “Um, then what are you?”
“Somewhere between the two,” he replied softly. His eyes flicked to mine, making me drag in a shaky breath. They were so intense—he was intense. “You can’t be dead if you’ve never lived.”
“I don’t understand,” I frowned.
“I was not born in the mortal world. I was born in the Veil. Eric and Jasmine were, too. The others, they were born like you. They’ve all been dead at some point, but were returned to life by modern procedures.”
“Like me,” I finished.
“No, not like you,” he shook his head slightly, a lock of dark hair falling across his forehead. “You are not like them.”
“But I’m not like you either,” I pointed out, searching his face for an answer.
“You, Ever, are somewhere between all of it,” he gave me a small, sad smile. This was one of our first real conversations. I didn’t want it to end. He seemed like he knew a lot more than he projected. He was always quiet, cold, withdrawn—but commanding—people running when he spoke. Now, there was a calmness to him. It was odd to see him this way.
“Raiden,” I said his name softly, nervously. His eyes wavered a bit as he stared at me, a softness to them that I’d never seen before. “I died, too. I was dead for three days in a hospital bed with a machine breathing for me. I had no brain activity. My mom-she was going to let me go,” the words tumbled out of my mouth, my eyes burning with unshed tears. I’d never really talked about my days in the hospital to anyone. It had always been something I’d joke about, pushing the feelings away.
“Then I suppose we should be grateful that she didn’t,” he gave me another small smile, his eyes showing sympathy.
“Should we?” I asked, looking down at my hands. If she’d have let me, I’d not have had to endure it all. I’d have been somewhere else, hopefully, oblivious to all of this. A tear slipped out of my eye, and I growled in anger. I hated crying and now I was doing it in front of a group of people, their hot, scary leader staring down at me.
I felt a set of warm fingers slide beneath my chin. Raiden made me look at him, the small smile now gone, the look in his eyes making my heart hammer like a drum in my chest.
“Yes,” he said softly, his green eyes sweeping my face quickly. His fingers moved from my chin and he brushed my tears away. “Don’t cry, Evie. You’re where you’re supposed to be. Trust me.” He’d never called me Evie before. I wanted to question it, but I was too frustrated.
“Where is that?” I sighed. Here? At Dementon? Alive? Half-dead? I didn’t even know what I was anymore!
“Right here,” he said evenly. “At this table. At my side. This is your place. You belong nowhere else but here, Ever.” He rose to his feet and stared down at me, any semblance of emotion in his voice or on his face now gone. He was back to scary, brooding Raiden.
“You should finish your dinner. Tonight will be hard on you. You’ll need your strength.”
“Wait. What? What’s tonight?” I asked fretfully.
“Your first hunt,” he answered, backing away from me, leaving me speechless.
My first hunt? Oh, God.