The Rising Page 9

“Get him in the woods,” I said, motioning to the forest that flanked the road.

As we did that, Corey had recovered enough to dry-swallow the pill and walk on his own.

“At least I didn’t actually puke this time,” he said. “That’s a bonus.” He winced and rubbed the back of his neck.

“Sit down,” I said. “We’re early and it’s only a short walk.”

He seemed ready to argue, then took another step and looked like he was going to throw up. He made a face and lowered himself onto a tree stump. We said nothing, just waited.

After a moment, he waved to head out. We did, but Daniel and I kept shooting glances at Corey. The St. Clouds had been keeping his headaches under control. They knew what was going on. We didn’t. We couldn’t. No one could, not even other supernaturals, because there was no one like Corey out there. If we never went back to the St. Clouds, never had contact with them again, how could we help—

We’d figure it out. We had to.


AS WE NEARED THE aquarium, Corey stopped suddenly.

“It’s a trap,” he said.


“I—” He took a deep breath. “I think it’s a trap. I mean, are we sure this chick is who she says she is? All we know is that someone emailed us.”

“Using an address you just set up and we only gave to Mitchell’s daughter,” I said.

“What’s wrong?” Daniel said.

Corey shook his head. “Nothing. I just . . . I think we should reconsider.” He glanced toward the aquarium. “I think we need to be really, really sure that the person showing up is a woman. We should scout first.”

Which made absolute sense. Except that Corey was never the guy advising caution; he was the one we had to caution.

“It’s not a woman waiting for us, is it?” Daniel said.

“I don’t know. I’m just saying—”

“No, you’re not.”

Daniel instinctively took on his persuasive tone, then seemed to catch himself. He cleared his throat. Earlier we’d talked about this, how he didn’t want to use his powers on us. Now, without thinking, he was doing it and he looked abashed, but I wasn’t sure he had a reason to. It was a skill as much as a talent. Something he’d always done, except with me. Maybe because he knew I was too damned stubborn to be persuaded of anything.

He cleared his throat again. “You’re not ‘just saying,’ Corey. You saw who’s waiting for us. You had a vision with the headache.”

“What?” Corey said. “Um, no. You’re confusing me with Maya. She gets the visions.”

“This is different,” Daniel said. “You see images of things that don’t make any sense. Like Maya with Rafe when we thought he was dead. You saw him with Maya in her backyard. Exactly the way they looked when we found them, right?”

Corey glanced at me.

“I didn’t tell him.” I said. “You know I wouldn’t do that.”

“I overheard,” Daniel said. “You’re never as quiet as you think you are, Corey. It didn’t make sense at the time, but after, I started wondering. Then when we were in that van, you knew it was Maya rescuing us before she got the door open.”

He was right. Both about Rafe and the van. I just hadn’t made the connection.

“What did you see?” Daniel asked before Corey could deny it.

Corey stood there, cracking his knuckles.

“You see visions of the future,” I said. “That’s your power. What’s wrong with that?”

“Seriously?” He looked over at me. “Daniel is a demon-hunter. You’re a shape-shifter. Apparently, I’m a fortune-teller. On a cool scale, that ranks about a five. Add in the headaches and puking, and I’d knock it down to a two.”

“So, because you’ve decided your power isn’t cool enough, you’re going to let us walk into a trap?”

“No. I warned you, didn’t I?” He caught Daniel’s look and shuffled his feet. “Fine. But if anyone starts buying me crystal balls and Tarot cards . . .”

“Of course not,” I said. “We can’t afford it.”

He grumbled, then shoved his hands in his pockets. “There’s not much else to tell and I don’t know whether it’s real or not, so I don’t want you guys relying on what I say. Deal?”


“There’s a guy waiting for us. A kid, I think. Maybe our age. Brown hair. Wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Tanned. I didn’t see much of his face. I’m not even sure about the—”

“We understand,” I said. “Don’t second-guess.”

“He’s in the woods. In a tree.”

“A tree?”

“Don’t ask me. I just get flashes. Images. I saw Maya in the woods right over there”—he pointed—“and there was a guy in a tree.” He jammed his hands into his pockets again. “Hell, now that I’m saying it, I don’t even know if he’s waiting for us. It could just be a kid goofing off.”

“Okay, well, let’s just keep that all in mind, then.” Daniel turned to me. “Are you ready?”

I nodded.

No one was waiting for us.

After ten minutes, I said, “Maybe this isn’t the right spot. We said just inside the forest, but . . .” I peered deeper into the woods. “I’d say we should split up, but considering what Corey saw—”

I stopped and looked at them. “That’s what Corey saw. We’d split up. I was in the forest alone.”

“Okay,” Daniel said. “So we don’t split . . .” He trailed off and scowled at me. “That’s not what you’re going to suggest, is it?”

“Corey didn’t see me getting attacked by some guy in a tree—”

“Hey, no,” Corey said. “I see still pictures. No action. A snapshot. You were under a tree with a guy in it. For all I know, he jumped you two seconds later.”

“But now I’m ready, so we’ll get the jump on him.”

We had to at least pretend that we’d split up to search for our contact. That meant I couldn’t exactly walk around gaping at the treetops. I kept glancing up, but with the dense trees and shadows, every nest looked like someone crouching on a branch. Then, as I passed under a tree, I heard a limb creak.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies