Home > Sins of the Immortal : A Novella (Providence)

Sins of the Immortal : A Novella (Providence)
Author: Jamie McGuire

 

Chapter One


 Bex

 


 I’d heard Nina cry before, but I’d never heard the sound she made in the moment we lost Eden. The wail that came from her throat gave rise to goose bumps on my skin; the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. The room was filled with her broken heart.

 “Come outside,” Jared said, gently moving Nina toward the door. “Claire?”

 “Yeah?” our sister said, still in shock.

 “Cynthia.” Jared pointed to the chair where Nina’s mother sat, holding a dainty handkerchief to her hairline just above her temple.

 Just as Claire began to walk over, Cynthia stood, holding up her hand. “I’m fine. If none of you mind, I believe I’ll retire to my room.”

 “I’d feel better if you stayed at the loft, Cynthia,” Jared said. “We should all go back there, actually. This place is still swarming.”

 Cynthia breathed out a laugh. “I’m staying for the same reason I persuaded you to bring Nina back here. This is the still the safest place for us.”

 “The safest?” Nina said, looking up at her mother. “Can you really say that with a straight face, Mother?”

 “You have a head wound, Mrs. Grey,” Ryan said, preventing Cynthia from responding. “Let us take you to get checked out, and then I’ll drive you wherever you want.”

 “I was the PTA president for seven years, Mr. Scott. I assure you, I’ve faced worse.”

 “With all due respect, Mrs. Grey. What made you think you could go toe-to-toe with Satan?” Claire asked. “Did you really think you could stop him because angels fell out of your family tree?”

 “She’s like Kim was,” I said, staring at Cynthia. She didn’t know I knew, but I always had. I could sense the darkness in her blood, just like I could sense the power magnet she held within her somehow. “Except she can turn it on and off. She wasn’t strong enough to take Lucifer’s power.”

 “I used to be,” Cynthia said, looking defeated.

 Nina looked at her mother, horrified. “You…”

 Cynthia looked caught. “We have a lot to discuss, I’m sure. Just … not now,” Cynthia said, struggling to stand. Her heels clicked slower than usual, and she touched every piece of furniture she passed for stability, but she made it to her room.

 Nina was reduced to tears again, only emanating a combination of moans and cries, her cheeks wet. She couldn’t fight her husband. Instead, she reached for the space where Eden had been, inches from where Levi sat on his knees, bent over until his forehead touched the ground. It was weird to appreciate that my niece’s body had been reduced to ashes before our eyes once Lucifer took her life and disappeared. Somehow, it seemed better than staring at her lifeless body on the floor, but the image of her sweet face and tiny body being grayed and then blowing away into nothing would be forever burned into my memory.

 “Darling,” Jared said, cradling his wife in his arms. “Come with me.”

 Nina’s knees collapsed next to Morgan’s limp body, her eyes glossed over and bulging. A vein in her forehead protruded as if every one of her senses were about to boil over. “She’s not gone. He took her somewhere. She’s not gone.” She clenched her eyes shut, pushing the tears out and down her cheeks.

 Jared tugged on her a few times. “Love,” he said, encouraging her.

 Levi’s hand scooted a few inches away, resting on Nina’s outstretched fingers. “I’ll find her.”

 Nina sniffed, wiping her nose, her wide eyes staring at Levi. “Can you … can you do that?”

 “I can. And I will,” he said, standing.

 “Levi,” I said. “Given the situation, maybe you should take a minute to form a plan. You can’t bring her back, and even if you could, it’s not without permission.”

 “I don’t ask permission,” Levi said, staring at something I couldn’t see.

 “Jared?” Nina said, looking to him for answers. “Tell me he’s right.”

 “I … I don’t know. I hope so.” Jared was lost when our father died, and again when Nina left him almost twenty years before. This was something different; deeper. The almost silent grunting noises he made trying to hold his breath to avoid releasing his anguish made me wish I had Nina and Ryan’s human hearing.

 “But … you don’t believe him,” Nina said, broken.

 “Come with me,” Jared said, lifting her in his arms, tears filling his eyes and tumbling down his face.

 Claire kept her eyes on the floor, but when Ryan cupped the back of her neck, her expression crumbled. “I’ll be the one to say it. She isn’t coming back, Nina.”

 Nina leaned over again, the pain too much to bear, too much to stay upright. “What could we do?” she asked, wiping her cheek with the underside of her wrist. “It was what she wanted.”

 “There was nothing we could do,” Ryan said, his voice cracking. “She was stronger than all of us. And she believed saving Morgan was what she was meant to do.”

 “You don’t?” Nina said, her eyes swelling and red, her upper lip wet.

 “There’s always more we can do,” I said.

 “Bex,” Jared scolded.

 “I still feel her,” I said, closing my eyes.

 Nina closed hers, waiting. “I told you, Jared. I told you. She’s not gone.”

 Morgan coughed and turned on his side. His clothes were bloody, but at least Lucifer had repaired the bones he’d fractured while trying to bait Eden before he’d left her friend’s body for good.

 I kneeled next to him, checking his pulse. “He’s alive. I don’t know for how long. He needs medical attention.”

 “We’ll take him,” Ryan said. He lifted Morgan in his arms, and even then, the boy only whimpered.

 “How are you going to explain that to hospital staff?” Levi asked.

 “We’ve been doing this for a while,” Ryan said. “We’ll think of something.”

 “You,” Claire said, nodding to Levi. “You can’t just jump into Hell and start a fight. Your Bex’s Taleh. If you get killed, Bex does, too, and I’ll be damned if I’m losing anyone else today.”

 Ryan carried Morgan out, followed closely by Claire. His heavy steps were contrasted by his wife’s. She barely made a sound.

 Jared guided Nina out, and I watched Levi, wary.

 “Come with me,” he said, finally meeting my gaze. “We’ll burn it all down.”

 The temptation was overwhelming. I thought about losing control, destroying everything between my niece and me, but that wasn’t my path.

 “I have to stay here,” I said, staring at the place where I last saw her. “I don’t know why. It should be the opposite. I should stay close with you. But I’m supposed to stay here.”

 “Then you should,” Levi said.

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