Home > Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(11)

Fallen Academy: Year Two (Fallen Academy #2)(11)
Author: Leia Stone

“Sera,” I whimpered as tears filled my eyes.

Lincoln frowned, looking lost. “We’ll figure it out. What’s going on with the other girl?”

Right. I needed to keep it together for the little girl.

“Noah! We need help. She’s still alive,” I informed the healer.

I glanced around the room. The one little girl Lincoln had been protecting was sitting on the bed crying. He had tied a cloth around her eyes so she couldn’t see what happened, while Noah helped the two other soldiers, who were now conscious and sitting up. He stood and nodded for me to lead the way.

Again, I looked back at where the portal had been.

“You can’t,” Lincoln said sternly.

I wanted to have Shea open it back up and go in after her, even though I knew it was insane.

‘Sera? Can you hear me?’ I asked as I led Noah into the living room, and pointed to where the little girl was lying. She was moving now and moaning, thank God.

No response from Sera.

As Noah went to work on the girl with Bonnie’s assistance, I turned to Lincoln.

“Are you okay?” he asked, pulling my hands into his and turning the palms up to the ceiling as he checked them out.

The black magic whip. I’d almost forgotten.

“Sera” was all I said. It felt like I’d just watched a cherished friend or family member fall into that pit.

Lincoln frowned. “Yeah… we’ll figure that out. I’ll ask Raph.”

He was stroking my wrists, but I pulled them back and met his eyes. “I don’t want to talk about that.” I indicated my hands.

“It was pretty incredible,” Lincoln hedged.

My emotions were raw from the loss of Sera, and now I had yet another dark gift I couldn’t deal with it.

“Lincoln,” I warned.

He nodded. “Let’s get the girls in the van and head back to Angel City.”

I frowned. “We’re not leaving them?”

Lincoln’s face hardened. “No way. More Succubi might come back. I’ll sneak them in if I have to.”

I nodded, taking a look over his shoulder. “Maybe if I could just have Shea open it, for one minute….”

Lincoln looked at me agonizingly. “Something else could crawl through. We need to get these girls to their mother.”

I swallowed my selfishness and nodded. Now wasn’t the right time, but I would get her back. That was for sure.

I didn’t have kids yet, obviously, but I knew what it was like to lose someone. The day my father died changed me forever. It had completely ripped me open, and in trying to put myself back together, the pieces never fit right.

When the mother on the bus saw both of her daughters were indeed alive, she fell apart, and we all fell apart right along with her. The relief and joy she felt was tangible. Even Lincoln looked a bit misty-eyed, but he quickly brushed it off, and ordered us in the bus.

As we were making our way out of Inferno, Lincoln got on his cell phone and called Archangel Michael.

He had his cell number.

No big deal.

“Hello, sir, can you talk for a minute?” Lincoln asked.

I leaned forward in my seat so when he lowered his voice, I could still eavesdrop.

“I’ve got three civilians, a mother and two little girls. We just saved them from a Succubus demon, and I need to get them into Angel City tonight,” Lincoln explained.

Something Michael said must have pissed him off, because his face turned menacing. “I don’t care if the shelters are full.”

More listening. More anger. “She’s a free soul. What about a transfer to San Diego?”

Free soul. That term still made me angry inside. I hadn’t even noticed her forehead was free of the demon mark. Lincoln was always looking for things like that.

My poor mother. Will he ever trust her?

“What if I can find them housing?” Lincoln asked.

There was a pause. He was scowling.

“Yes, sir. I know.” Lincoln sounded dejected. A shadow crossed his face, and then his scowl morphed into a look of determination. “I’ve secured them housing, sir.”

I frowned. Huh?

That fast, without making a call? Michael must have been as confused as I was.

“Yes, sir, you have my word. Long-term housing for all three of them.” Now Lincoln was smiling, looking pleased with himself.

He finally ended the call, and I met his gaze. “What housing did you secure?” I whispered.

He raised one eyebrow. “You were listening?”

I rolled my eyes. “Linc, where are they gonna go?”

Running a hand through his hair, he sighed. “I had a two-bedroom apartment through the army when my parents died. Part of my compensation package. I’ll ask to be reassigned a place, and they can stay in my trailer.”

My heart burst into tiny emoji hearts that floated around his head. Or at least it felt like that’s what it would do if this were a cartoon. “Where will you sleep in the meantime?”

“I’ll crash on Noah’s couch.” His dark lashes framed his crystalline blue eyes, making them pop and look arresting.

“You’re amazing,” I told him. “Seriously.”

He gave me a weak smile. “We saved three tonight, but there are millions more, and with the shelters full and Angel City against seeing homeless tent cities… it’s not enough. But I helped a little.”

I could see now that he tortured himself over this. Lincoln Grey would not rest until every free soul was saved.

I didn’t want to be the one to break it to him, but that just wasn’t possible.

Chapter Nine

The next three weeks were hard emotionally. Sera was gone, and Mikey still hadn’t shifted back to human. He was missing out in school, and my mom and I were going stir-crazy not being able to see him. I had a phone meeting with Clark, his alpha, after my history class, which I was barely paying attention to, focusing more on making the call.

“The underworld, Hell, down there. Whatever you call it, today we are going to learn all about it,” Mrs. Delacourt trilled.

My attention pulled to the front. I still wasn’t used to seeing Centaurs. Mrs. Delacourt was a magnificent white horse on her lower half and a tanned Greek goddess on her upper.

“The realm where the Prince of Darkness rules, lies directly under our world,” she called out.

More than a few eyes landed on me when she mentioned Lucifer. I’d taken to wearing high-collared shirts to hide my mark, but it was useless since everyone already knew it was there. I’d come to terms with the fact that the mark would be a part of me forever.

“If I were to open a portal today and look through, then open a portal next week and look through, I could see the same swatch of landscape. That tells us that the underworld doesn’t move or shift.”

Interesting. I immediately thought of Sera.

A hand shot up, and I inwardly groaned to see it was Tiffany.

“Yes, Tiffany.” Was that a curled upper lip I detected from the professor?

The blonde Light Mage wiggled in her seat. “Is it true that Celestials can’t go there? That it’s, like, a thousand times worse for them there than it would be in Demon City?”

I glared at Tiffany. What an annoying and stupid question.

“Yes, that’s true. They’ve tried, and crossing the threshold inflicts so much pain that it brings the person near death,” the professor admitted.

Tiffany glanced back at me. “But for someone who has no problem in Demon City, someone demon gifted, they’d be fine in Hell, right?”

Bitch. Why was murder illegal? Some people just shouldn’t be allowed to live.

Mrs. Delacourt glared at Tiffany. “Hypothetically, yes. Moving on.”

As our history professor started to draw a diagram on the board, I stared at the back of Tiffany’s glossy blonde hair and thought of all the ways I could inflict harm on her.

“I just want to see him. Just for a minute, to make sure he’s okay,” I pleaded with Clark.

“No.” Clark’s firm commanding voice flared through the phone, getting on my last nerve.

“He’s my brother!” I shouted.

“Yes he is. And how would he feel if he mauled you to death?” he snapped back.

Jesus.

This guy really had a way with people.

“My mom’s really worried and losing sleep over this. Can’t you tell us anything?” I decided playing the sappy mom card might work.

Clark sighed, followed by a long stretch of silence before he spoke. “Mikey is showing signs of being a lone wolf. He’s rejecting the pack and my lead. But at the same time, he needs us or he’ll be lost to the beast. If he doesn’t turn back to human before the next full moon, he may be too far gone for me to bring him back.”

My whole entire body sagged as I slid against the wall in my dorm room, emotion tightening my throat.

“Oh my God.”

Mikey was my little brother. I felt completely responsible for him.

Clark sighed again. “Look, kid, was there some trauma when you were younger or something? It’s like he wants to stay like this. He’s avoiding his humanity for a reason, which happens in cases where they went through some tough shit they didn’t properly deal with. The beast brings it all out and forces them to deal with it to make them stronger.”

Trauma.

That word was ugly. It meant you’d endured something horrific that left a lasting impression. But it was also accurate.

“My mom and I sold ourselves to the demons to heal my dad’s cancer when I was twelve. He was hit by a bus six months later and died.”

“Oh God.” Clark’s voice, for the first time, was full of empathy. “Yeah, that’ll do it.”

My whole world felt like it was caving in around me.

“Can you… I dunno, try harder? Get a shrink out there? Something.” I had reached the point of begging. If my dad’s death and my mom’s and my demon enslavement was messing with Mikey, I felt totally responsible.

“I’m doing the best I can, but I can try something different. Was your dad buried anywhere? You have ashes or anything?”

His question caught me off guard. When my dad died, we all agreed as a family that we didn’t want him buried in Demon City. It was nearly a month’s salary, but my mom bought him a plot in Angel City at the prettiest Catholic cemetery. We’d all gotten day passes, and she was given the time off work to lay him to rest. I’d been so used to not being able to see him that I didn’t even think of visiting him now that I lived here. Until now.

“Immaculate Heart in Culver City. Daniel Atwater is his name.” Speaking his name after so long sent tears leaking from the corner of my eyes. Thank God I was alone in my room, because this call had been way more intense than I’d intended. Some serious ugly crying was about to happen.

“All right, kid. I’ll keep you posted. Give me a week.”

   
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