My Soul to Lose Page 16

She waited expectantly, but I could only shrug and shake my head to demonstrate confusion, my lips still sealed firmly against the scream battering me from the inside.

“Close your eyes and let the pain flow,” she said, and I obeyed, because I didn’t know what else to do.

Suddenly my hand felt both hot and cold, like I had a fever and chills at the same time. Lydia’s fingers shook in mine, and I opened my eyes to find her shuddering all over. I tried to pull my hand away, but she slapped her other palm over it, holding me tight even as her teeth began to chatter. “K-keep your eyes cl-closed,” she stuttered. “No m-matter what.”

Terrified now, I closed my eyes and concentrated on holding my jaw shut. On not seeing the fog things in the back of my mind. On not feeling the thick current of agony and despair stirring through me.

And slowly, very slowly, the panic began to ebb. It was gradual at first, but then the discordant ribbon of sound leaking from me thinned into a strand as fragile as a human hair. Though the panic still built inside me, it was weaker now, and blessedly manageable thanks to whatever she was doing.

I dared a peek at Lydia to find her eyes closed, her face scrunched in pain, her forehead again shiny with sweat. Her free hand clutched a handful of her baggy T-shirt, pressing it into her stomach like she was hurt. But there was no blood, or any other sign of a wound; I looked closely to make sure.

She was funneling the panic from me somehow, and it was making her sick. And as badly as I wanted out of Lakeside, I would not take my freedom at her expense.

I still couldn’t talk, so I tried to pull my hand away, but Lydia’s eyes popped open at the first tug. “No!” She clung to my fingers, tears standing in her eyes. “I can’t stop it, and fighting only makes it hurt worse.”

The pain wouldn’t kill me, but from the looks of it, whatever she was doing might kill her. I tugged again and she swallowed thickly, then shook her head sharply.

“It hurts me, Kaylee. If you let go, I hurt worse.”

She was lying. I could see it in her eyes. She’d heard my aunt and uncle and knew that if I had another screaming fit, Uncle Brendon wouldn’t be able to get me out. Lydia was lying so I wouldn’t pull away, even though she was hurting herself worse—maybe killing herself—with every bit of panic she took from me.

At first I let her, because she seemed determined to do it. She obviously had her reasons, even if I didn’t understand them. But when the guilt became too much and I tried to pull away again, she squeezed my hand so hard it hurt.

“He’s cresting…” she whispered, and I searched her eyes in vain for a translation. I still had no idea what she was talking about. “It’s going to shift. Tyler’s pain will end, and yours will begin.”

Begin? Because it’s all been fun and games so far…

But before I couldfinish that thought, Lydia’s hands went limp around mine, and she relaxed so suddenly and thoroughly she almost seemed to deflate. For a precious half second, she smiled, obviously painfree, and I started to think it was over.

“He’s gone,” Lydia said softly.

Then the panic truly hit me.

What I’d felt before had only been a preview. This was the main event. The real deal. Like at the mall.

Anguish exploded inside me, a shock to my entire system. My lungs ached. My throat burned. Tears poured from my eyes. The scream bounced around in my head so fast and hard I couldn’t think.

I couldn’t hold it in. The keening started up again, more urgent than ever, and my jaws—already sore from being clenched—were no match for the renewed pressure.

“Give it to me…” Lydia said, and I opened my eyes to see her staring at me earnestly. She looked a little better. A little stronger. Not quite so pale. But if she took any more of my pain, she’d backslide. Fast and hard.

Unfortunately, I was beyond the ability to focus by then. I didn’t know whether or not to give her what she wanted, much less how to do it. I could only ride the scream jolting through me like a bolt of electricity and hope it stayed contained.

But it wouldn’t. The keening grew stronger. It thickened, until I thought I’d choke on it. My teeth vibrated beneath the relentless power of it, and I chattered like I was cold. I couldn’t hold it back.

Yet I couldn’t afford to let it go.

“There’s too much. It’s too slow,” Lydia moaned. She was tense, like every little movement hurt. Her hands shook again, and her face had become one continuous grimace. “I’m sorry. I have to take it.”

What? What does that mean? Her pain was obvious, and she wanted more? I pulled my hand away, but she snatched it back just as my mouth flew open. I couldn’t fight it anymore.

The scream exploded from my throat with an agonizing burst of pain, like I was vomiting nails. Yet there was no sound.

An instant after the scream began—before the sound had a chance to be heard—it was sucked back inside me by a vicious pull from deep in my gut. My mouth snapped shut. Those nails shredded my throat again on the way down. It whipped around inside me, my unheard screech, being steadily pulled out of me and into…


She began to convulse, but I couldn’t pry her fingers from my hand. Her eyes rolled up so high only the lower arc of her green irises showed, yet still she clung to me, pulling the last of the scream from me and into her. Pulling my pain with it.

Gone was the agony of my bruised lungs, my raw throat and my pounding head. Gone was that awful grief, that despair so encompassing I couldn’t think about anything else. Gone was the gray fog; it faded all around us while I tried to free my hand.

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