Home > Here Lies a Saint (Here Lies #2)

Here Lies a Saint (Here Lies #2)
Author: C.L. Matthews


Prologue

 


I know my life isn’t promised a happy ending.

It isn’t offered closure.

But with my death, my sister can thrive.

She can live.

She can love.

She can exist.

My being gone won’t fix everything, but it will protect her and allow her the room to succeed. Hopefully, she can one day forgive me.

My sins.

My faults.

My story.

Until then, I’m hoping she’ll overcome and be stronger than ever. Because that’s who Colton Hudson is. She’s a fighter. She’s a warrior with her own swords brandished to ward off evil.

Now, it’s time for goodbye.

I love you, little sis.

 

 

Chapter One

 


Night of death

Cassidy

I'm not ready for tonight.

It can go two ways. One, I'll find the ledger, or two, I'll waste another night pretending to party with people who mean nothing to me.

After trailing toward my walk-in closet, I stand in front of my mirror and notice the raggedness of my eyes. Usually, they're this barely present opal color. It changes in the light, drawing in less color more often than not. Right now, though, they're lackluster and raw. Tiredness surrounds the blue, almost a warning of what sleeplessness can do to the pallor.

My cheeks are fairly gaunt. In all fairness, I haven't been able to eat. Between staring at books, files, and the internet most days and nights, I'm pretty exhausted, and I often forget that my body needs sustenance. It’s not rugby season, so I haven't been a slave to the gym either.

What has my life become?

This is my last chance, my last hurrah to find out everything and save Colt before she has to be forced into a life she’s not prepared for. I've spent the last few years running toward the truth while hiding from my own truths. It's a conundrum not lost on me.

Right now, as my gaze slices through my attire, I cringe a little. What's life without a little loss? I've lost love. I've lost weight, and I'm minutes away from losing my soul.

All in good time, right?

My fingers caress the pocket of my navy polo, the emblem of Arcadia. The logo is made up of a black emblem with an emerald green serpent in the center, around it are more serpents, snaking their way around the crest. It's something that never appealed to me. Being compared to snakes isn't exactly a simile I'm fond of.

Lennox and Jordan told me to wear trunks. Apparently, they’re all planning on swimming. While I don't intend to be around long enough to mingle, I put on my duo trunks. They're almost cargo shorts but are also lined with swim-wear material.

They already gave me a talk about going to the party—Jordan saying shit he shouldn't, Ross flirting with my little sister, and Ridge pretending that doesn't bother him.

They think they're sly, that they and Colt can hide and I wouldn’t notice. They're wrong. I’m aware of it all.

Their brief touches.

The whispers late at night.

Hickeys—which are gross by the way—lining their necks.

I'm not stupid, let alone ignorant of what goes on around me. To be an Emerald and in the position I'm in, no less, seeing everything is a requirement.

I'm a Hudson.

The only son of my bloodline after my uncle Reid. I'm the only one who can be where I am.

My place at the top.

Next in line is Edgington.

While Maxim would have been an amazing president before me, he never got the chance, and unlike him, my secrets will die with me. My bloodline will continue on, but I'll never make my kids do this bullshit.

I'll infiltrate from the roots and pull them free, taking every motherfucker along with me. This academy will know blood, and their archaic methods will die along with their pride.

Anything to free us all is my sacrifice to make.

Removing my polo, I decide it’s better to sink into the background rather than be a beacon of Arcadia. By the time I trail over to the event, my fingers twitch with nervous anticipation. Tonight could change everything.

Everyone has already arrived at the party. I'm the loose end, so to speak, but being the last to show up at this party will prove what I need to know.

That they are involved.

If they are involved, I'll know where to find the ledger while they’re preoccupied. If they’re rats, I won’t make it out of here and I’ll find a workaround.

Every place in this tower brings a sense of disdain. Not only is it where blood is spilled every year when people get too drunk at events, but it's also where I watched four guys paw my sister, thinking it was in secret.

They really fucking believed I fell for their bullshit, that they cared about her. If they cared about her, if their hearts beat for her and they loved her, truly, then why hurt her by lying?

Colt doesn't know about the Emerald Vestige, nothing more than I've explained before I knew what it was. Even then, I knew nothing. Now, I would never let her join, but she's already a foot in. Becoming part of Student Government is a death sentence she signed in blood.

It's the beginning.

And she fucking fell for it.

I grab a glass of water and watch. Colt dances in the center. Ross and Lux surround her. Those fuckers better keep their distance. They're not worthy. They'll never be worthy as long as they're part of the societal death sentence.

She smiles at them, truly smiles. Her face morphs into one of happiness. Denying my little sister anything isn't something I'm keen on doing, but them? The toxic brutes who aren't who they say they are, the secrets they hide, and the life Colt could never have are all too much. She needs to get away. Get out of here.

My sister and I are always mistaken for twins. They're not far off. She's my Irish twin. Our eyes, our hair, and even our facial features are eerily similar. Being born eleven months apart is supposedly how our similarities happen, but in reality, I think it's our father.

His DNA is strong.

Pure.

A bloodline erased and eradicated from Arcadia years ago.

But Colt doesn't know, and I'll never tell her. Holding onto that information practically promises bad health and the inability to live freely.

Rotating for my water, it's refilled. I take a drink and notice when I turn around Colt is gone. As much as I would love to hunt her down, I have so much more to do.

After sipping the last drink of my water, I set it down and head toward the back entrance of the cabin, leaving the Crystal tower altogether. It's where initiations happen. There are five rooms and the main living area. A fireplace is here, a hearth.

Upstairs, there’s this old attic. All of us have tried breaking the lock to no avail. I'm hoping to get inside tonight, but with the lock, I’m a little nervous. I’m sure it’s like the books state, that there’s only three founding families who hold the keys and will be able to get in, my hope may be fruitless.

I take out my lock-picking kit. I've learned a thing or two over the last few years. It's what you have to do when you're determined to detangle a century's worth of lies and secrets.

Getting to the trunk of a tree isn't what matters. It's going to the roots tangled in the earth spread out as wide as the treetop itself and killing it from there. That’s where it begins to make a difference.

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