Home > Whispers in the Dark (KGI #4)(5)

Whispers in the Dark (KGI #4)(5)
Author: Maya Banks

Why were they keeping him alive? Why didn’t they just kill him and end it all?

His emotions bombarded her, a mixture of determination to survive and the desire to be free of his pain. He hated that he was so weak, and self-loathing was sharp and bitter in his mind.

It wasn’t your fault. You can’t blame yourself for his death. Turn your hatred to the animals who deserve it. Not yourself.

Who are you?

The demand was strong. He was still in the grip of a terrible rage. It consumed him, even more so than his pain. She could feel it sizzling through his veins and into hers. It was white, nearly electric and blinding in its intensity.

Someone who wants to help you.

How can you possibly help me?

The weary question slipped into her mind. She knew he expected no answer. He didn’t even think she was real.

She went completely still when he was suddenly hauled to his feet and roughly dragged from the room where the dead man lay. It was silly. They couldn’t detect her. And yet she was afraid to move, afraid that anything she did might make the soldier react and draw more abuse from his captors.

When he was thrust back into his cell, he hit the floor hard and then crawled toward his corner, the same corner he huddled in day after day. Night after night.

Unable to resist, she wrapped her arms around him and held him as he shivered violently in reaction to the torture he’d endured. The air around them was stale and warm and yet he quaked as chills raced up and down his body.

She closed her eyes, drew in a deep breath and then focused on her task of ridding him of his pain.

This time she didn’t make a single sound. Her jaw was too locked, her body too rigid. She didn’t think she could have cried out, though in her mind she was screaming at the things he’d endured.

When she was done, she lay limply to the side, her head tilted sideways as she struggled to regain her senses. She sensed his question, knew his brow was furrowed in confusion as he mentally took stock of his painless state.

He rubbed the marks on his body, ran his hands over his wounds, testing, poking, baffled by the fact that he no longer felt anything.

Do you know where you are?

She tried to inject strength into her question. Confidence. But she failed miserably. The inquiry came out as a faint whisper, barely audible in his mind.

Immediately his frustration was strong and a sense of helplessness gripped him, as strong as any pain he’d previously felt.

No.

There has to be something we can do. You can’t continue like this. Is there anyone who can help you?

She felt his sigh. He rubbed his head tiredly and then pushed both palms into his eyes and curled his fingers over the top of his skull.

My brothers are looking for me. I know it. They won’t give up until I’m found. Dead or alive.

I could contact them.

The offer spilled out before she thought better of it. Regret was instant. How could she place herself and Grace in danger? How could she trade themselves for this unknown man?

And yet as soon as the question rose, she knew that she had no choice. She wouldn’t leave him to die. His survival had become all-important to her. She didn’t even know why exactly. Or how they’d forged the connection they had. It was just another random aspect of her gift. As random as everything else when it came to her abilities.

He laughed. It was hoarse, cracked and ugly sounding. His voice was rusty from disuse. He rubbed his eyes again.

How can you help me? You aren’t real.

She wasn’t going to argue her validity to him. She barely had the strength left to maintain her connection to him, but now more than ever, she sensed that he couldn’t bear to be alone. He was inching ever closer to the edge.

Assume for the moment that I’m real, that I’m standing in front of you and yet no one else can see me. I can move in and out without detection. What would you tell me that could help you? How would I contact your brothers?

He shook his head. I can’t believe I’m having this conversation with myself.

Damn it, talk to me! She pounded her fist against the steering wheel in frustration. Stop with the denial. What have you got to lose? If I’m not real, then no one will come. But is anyone going to come anyway? Tell me what I need to know to help you. There has to be something I can tell them.

He went silent as he weighed her words. Hope slid through his mind, but he extinguished it as soon as it came alive. He refused to descend into fantasy. He believed it was the final straw, that if he allowed himself this hope, he would truly be checking out.

Tell me your name. Tell me who you are so I can help you.

Nathan…He drew in a breath and then let it out. Nathan Kelly.

She dragged herself upward in her seat, worried that if she remained on the side of the road for too long, she’d draw unwanted attention.

Wearily she pushed her hair from her face and fumbled with the keys as she attempted to start the car again.

Nathan.

She hadn’t realized she’d sent the name out until he responded.

If we’re making introductions, I’d at least like to know what the insane part of me calls herself.

She bit her lip as she maneuvered back onto the highway. Exhaustion dragged at her, pulling relentlessly until she could barely keep her eyes open.

He frowned and put a hand to his head. Are you…Are you all right?

He was irritated that he’d ask, that he’d accept that she wasn’t his own crazy manifestation, and yet he could feel her just as she could feel him, and he sensed her weakness and pain, especially now that his was gone.

   
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