So, the first ticket I could get for a night bus took me all the way to the state capital. It was a huge city, and I’d never even been out of Happenstance before. I got off the bus and wandered through the station, jumping at every noise. I’d always thought the Happenstance trailer park to be dirty and dire, but this inner-city terminal was another level.
Homeless people slept in the doorways and under graffitied benches. Police patrolled with hard, emotionless eyes. Was it possible that the crappy life I’d hated in Happenstance had been sheltered and lucky in any way? I felt wretched as I walked through the terminal and out into the still warm city night.
The street was busy, cars zoomed past on the road and the smell of fumes and rubbish filled my nose. Billy’s necklace still felt coo
“You came? I didn’t know if you would,” I murmured to him. He was leaning against a huge rock that sat at the water’s edge. His arms were crossed and he looked deceptively relaxed. Stone, of House Acanthus, was never relaxed. He didn’t know how to.“I will one day, just not today, and certainly not here,” Stone said. Shit, had I said that aloud?I was glad it was dark and he couldn’t see me blush. “Why not today? There’s nothing expected of you here?”“Isn’t there?” Stone’s voice was closer, and I realized that he’d straightened up, and entered the water. He strode through it like it didn’t matter that he was wet up to the knee. His dark eyes were fixed on me, making my heart race. When he got close enough, he reached out to grab me, and I heard myself giggle and move away. Giggle? I take it back, this clearly wasn’t a dream
AriaI woke for the second time in a few hours, to the immediate realization that everything would not seem better in the morning, because I woke up just as someone carefully tried to pull my backpack out from under my head. I shot up and whacked my head on the branch again, and spun around, just in time to see a young kid, wearing a stained white hoodie and ball cap, running away with all my worldly possession.Oh no, you don’t.“Hey! Stop him!” I bellowed and jumped up, taking off after him. Oooff, the night on the ground hadn’t made me faster at all, and my leg immediately began to throb as I ran. It was still early, only a few commuters were making their way through the park, and they simply stared at me as I ran after the kid, like a possessed woman. “Stop him, he’s getting away!”I rounded a corner and stopped dead. We were out of the park now, and the small street we had run to was deserted. I couldn’t see a single sign of where the kid might have gone. I listened as carefully
StoneHunting Aria was frustrating. The smells of the human world were something else. There was so much blood and decay and just plain old garbage in this world. Of all the places that William could have chosen to hide my bride, he had chosen the human world.I wished I could go back and kill him for treating my betrothed so carelessly. Thanks to him, Aria had grown up in a poor, hellish world, mistreated by men like the one I had killed.Only I was allowed to treat Aria poorly. No one else.She was mine.She’d dreamt of me last night. I could feel it. The dream was really a memory. Of course, the Aria in the dream had known me, remembered me, unlike the naïve, wild, little human she’d become.She was once poised to become my graceful fae queen and now, she would need training and re-education.She’d need taming, and my hand itched to carry it out.I’d loved her once, and I’d paid the price of my foolishness by losing her. She’d tricked me, and escaped from the Fae realm. She might n
AriaBastian took me on a winding path through the city, past the parts that were pretty and into the parts that were anything but. We entered an area that looked abandoned, and I suddenly started to question the wisdom of wandering quiet streets with a stranger. Who was he? Why was he helping me?“We’re nearly there,” Bastian suddenly spoke, jolting me to the present. He was climbing through a broken door of an old warehouse. Wind whistled through the cracks in the broken windows and the air was damp and full of old, dead things.“Nearly where?” I muttered, following him slowly. He smiled at me, and didn’t respond. We walked across the cement floor and Bastian found an old rickety staircase that led downwards into a dark space. I paused at the top.“I’m not sure I want to go down there,” I confessed.“You have to. It’s too cold up here to sleep, and besides, I can be dangerous to sleep out in the open. I promise I’m taking you somewhere legit. Don’t worry so much.”Bastian swung down