I thought I’d lost you, he said into her ear. Oh, Christ, I thought I’d—
A jagged gash running from my hand to my elbow had opened up, coated in grit, stinging as though someone had poured vinegar over the length of my arm.I scrabbled to my feet just as Autumn grabbed my unharmed elbow and steered me away at such a pace my feet caught on the uneven tufts of grass, and I would have toppled if she had not been supporting me, seemingly unaware that I was almost dragging her to the ground. She shouted something over her shoulder to Fallon in her language and rounding the rock, I stole a glance back.
The vampires seemed unaffected. They were grouped beside the edge of the forest, not even looking our way. So what’s the urgency? Tugging me along, she didn’t say a word until we came to a halt near the pile of coats.‘Put pressure on your inner elbow,’ she said, indicating to my arm. I did so and she began running a finger down the length of the cut, making it sting even more.Muttering something under her breath, a pool of water appeared in her cupped hand, which she poured over my arm. I winced as the cold water trickled through the wound and looked away, clenching and unclenching my hand in an attempt to combat the stinging.
‘Was that you, back there? That stopped us from falling?’ I asked, trying to ignore the pins and needles sensation passing through my fingers.‘Yes,’ she said, as a particularly painful stab shot through my arm.
I mumbled a thank you through clenched teeth, silently wondering how she could have acted so quickly – she must have been standing nearby. Did she hear what Kaspar said?
It bothered me, somehow, that she might know me and Kaspar were – well, I wasn’t even sure what we were – and I definitely wasn’t sure what we were if he was the cloaked figure. But how could he be? He was standing in the same room as a cloaked figure before we left for London. But doubt was entering my mind. Why would he claim to be the figure if he wasn’t? After all, the figure in the entrance hall could have been anyone.I smiled. Settling onto my back and staring up at the dark ceiling I sunk into the relaxed, almost numb state I had craved all those months back before the London Bloodbath, when the clubs had been my hunting ground.
But nothing … I mean nothing, could compare to Kaspar … and I would never feel it again, considering that in just a few hours the King would return and impose his new rule on touching. My heartstrings tugged, and I felt the tears well. I blinked them back, hoping he was not watching me.‘She would have liked you.’
I turned to him, confused. He was looking straight ahead, his eyes, a mix between emerald and misty grey, fixed on the painting above the fireplace.‘They’re your parents, aren’t they?’
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