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Neon Drops
Author: M. Sinclair

Prologue

 

 

Lorcan

 

 

“Got a ticket to the moon

I'll be rising high above the earth so soon

And the tears I cry might turn into the rain

That gently falls upon your window

You'll never know.”

-Ticket to the Moon by Electric Light Orchestra

 

 

Beneath my feet, terrain crumbled as pulsating tension mounted in the back of my head and neck. Shocks of white-hot pain had my body convulsing as the screams echoed around me, their voices resembling metal against fucking metal. They grew louder by the second, and pastel blood trickled down my neck and chin in a spectacle of color against a dark background. My vision went blurry from the pain radiating over me.

I was on the verge of begging. Begging it to stop. Begging for relief. I was going to lose my goddamn mind if it didn’t. Everything hurt so fucking much.

My voice went hoarse from my screaming, but nothing compared to those larger, demanding bellows of pain. I felt my head hit the marble floor underneath me as the slick crimson blood of his victims soaked my skin and hair. I squeezed my eyes shut, sending a prayer to the Cosmos god that it would end. That he would kill me.

Of all times, why a star call now? Why during the massacre going on around me?

My eyes closed as expensive leather shoes made it into my vision, a whimper breaking through my lips at the threat of the predator standing above me. Coming in for the kill. Then, before he could reach me, I was yanked from my body.

My energy snapped against me like a whip as fresh tears leaked out of my closed eyes in relief. I knew that I would be okay soon. I could feel myself ascending further and further along the universal plane as all the pain disappeared. All the screams stopped. The nightmares that tethered me to the Earth were absent, leaving me in a dazed, numb state.

No expectations or judging eyes on me.

No pressure or cruel hands that pulled at me.

No pain that was so severe I ended up begging for death. Every single time.

It was a moment in time, like this, that I wondered if I’d made a terrible mistake. I should have stayed in Arizona. The Reid brothers would have never done this to me. Never. They had spent our entire childhood protecting me obsessively. I imagine they would be fucking horrified to see the situation I’d landed myself in.

The shame associated with my position, along with a million other fucking reasons, was why I had yet to go back.

Slowly, as I began to float amongst the stars, the pain and thoughts of my past disappeared. My mind numbed, and I twisted my ethereal form so that I was relaxing against the silky, warm substance that our universe consisted of. I wondered, briefly, if this had been a true star call or if I had subconsciously forced it in order to detach from the horror that was around me back on Earth. The horror that Toris had crafted expertly— and very specifically—for me.

Maybe it was both.

Forcing my eyes open, I reached out to grab onto anything around me, feeling a bit dizzy as I tried to keep myself anchored. My celestial form continued to loop throughout the stars in a dizzying pattern that had me smiling a bit. Still, I had no idea where I was, any concept of direction completely gone and making it impossible for me to find my way back home.

Home. I used to have a home, but not anymore. Did I even want to make it back? Maybe I could stay up here, safe and unaffected. I knew I’d reached where the cosmos wanted me when everything came to a standstill. I breathed out a sigh of relief, my form floating between two large chunks of asteroid. Tears slipped off my face and began to glow, turning into small specks of star dust that would get lost in our endless cosmos. Even my tears lived on forever.

I looked around, trying to figure out how this place seemed to grow more and more beautiful every time I visited. It was stunning. The colors of our galaxy whispered secrets to me as I tried to ignore the faint screams of pain coming from my physical self back on Earth.

Toris would do as he wished, and nothing I could do would stop him. I was surprised he’d even pulled back his power enough to allow me to scream. Then again, he was a sick fuck, so it didn’t shock me all that much.

My eyes finally flickered down to my suffering, where my limp physical form was strewn across Toris’s marble foyer. My eyes were closed, and I watched a gash on my head bleed a periwinkle blue. It mixed with the crimson saturation beneath me in a stunning purple-tone effect. It should have made me feel fucking sick, but instead… I found it oddly beautiful.

Around my unconscious body laid dismembered young men, leftovers from the spectacle he’d forced me to watch only moments ago. All because they had talked to me earlier in the day. All because of me, a group of seventeen-year-old kids would never go home to their human families.

It was all my fault. Why had I left the house? I shivered as Toris came to stand over me, his expression filling with malicious intent. I wanted to scream at myself to wake up as he produced a large silver knife and brought it to my face. Why was no one stopping this?!

Suddenly, in a way, I got my wish.

Muscular arms wrapped around me tightly, instantly easing my fears. The solid encasing was made of stars like myself and vibrated with a dark, terrifying magic that was damn near intoxicating. Yet, instead of being scared, I felt far safer than I ever had. The King of Nightmares’ magic exploded around me as everything shattered like a glass mirror.

The explosion exposed the moment for what it was… a fucking nightmare.

A gasp brought air into my lungs as I flung up in bed, tears soaking my face in the darkness of my large air-conditioned estate suite.

Holy. Fuck.

Even-patterned breathing surrounded me in the dark, unaware of the horrific images moving through my head like a nightmarish collage of memories. I was thankful that our group bond seemed to only transcribe memories, not nightmares.

No one needed to see how fucked up my brain could get. Well, no one except for the steady presence behind me that was very much awake and alert, his eyes boring into the back of my head where I sat looking forward, trying to steady my breath.

I was awake.

Toris was dead.

I was safe.

I was afraid to look behind me to where I would find him leaning back against the headboard. I was afraid to see pity or judgement. Not for the first time, I wondered if letting him into my dreams had been a good idea or a terrible one. Possibly both.

“Princess.” His voice was low and quiet, making me bury my head against my knees as a wave of emotions nearly drowned me. The heavy black and gold material of my comforter wrapped around me, shielding me from everything for just a moment.

I whimpered as his arm, large and burning in temperature, wrapped tightly around my waist before he tugged back so that I was plastered to his bare, muscular chest. My eyes fluttered as I melted into Adriel, his lips pressing to my temple as his fingers gripped my body possessively so that I didn’t have an inch of space to call my own.

I begged my brain to come up with something, anything. To tell him ‘thank you’ for pulling me from that horrible nightmare. Or, you know, yell at him because I was insecure about the vulnerable state he continued to find me in. Tremors rolled through me as he let out a hum in his throat.

The low sound immediately had a soothing effect on me. My tremors stilled, allowing me to breathe far easier than before. It wasn’t a familiar tune, but it was comforting and a bit sad. I closed my eyes as the man wrapped me up so tightly that I wondered if I would wake up completely absorbed into him. Something I wasn’t positive I'd mind, if we were being honest. Worry hit me again as the thought that had been plaguing my head for a few days surfaced once again.

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