Home > Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(11)

Fallen Academy: Year One (Fallen Academy #1)(11)
Author: Leia Stone

“What’s wrong?” I asked frantically, bending down to try and help him.

Noah looked down at Lincoln with an unreadable gaze. “Celestials with Raphael’s healing power don’t heal wounds on other people. They take the pain into themselves, and then heal it from within. He’ll be okay after a day’s rest.”

Oh God. He… took my pain and now he’s feeling it?

“Why would you do that?” I asked Lincoln, perplexed.

He was panting on the floor, holding his rib cage. “Go,” was all he said.

Darren gripped my arm and hauled me outside. The last thing I saw was Lincoln sitting on the floor, in pain, and it changed the way I felt about him.

It changed everything.

Chapter Six

I was in a mild state of shock, and barely remembered the drive across the city border to my mom’s office at the reanimation clinic. I was seven minutes late and hoping my new boss wouldn’t notice. I didn’t want to tell Lincoln, but I’d only learned to drive barely three months ago, in my mom’s beat-up Volvo, with no power steering. I took the bus everywhere, so I didn’t need to learn but my mom had insisted. Now, I was throwing a brand new, fifty thousand dollar SUV into park, outside of a Necro clinic where I was most likely going to wash dead bodies.

Joy.

As I jogged through the front door, I could feel some mild burning at the site of my tattoos, but nothing as major as it’d been before. Lincoln had taken everything from me so I could get through my shift reanimating the dead.

Why would he do that?

“You’re late!” Master Burdock screeched from behind the desk.

I skidded to a stop, clutching my chest. Dude had come out of nowhere, as Brimstone demons often did. I knew better than to offer excuses. “Sorry, sir. It won’t happen again.”

He peered at me from behind his glowering black beady eyes, his horns casting menacing shadows on his face. When he got really pissed, the tips smoked. It was beyond freaky. In the hierarchy of demons, Brimstones were up there. Rumor was, they were almost directly under the Prince of Darkness himself. In his inner circle.

“Did you learn anything at your fancy school?” He leered at the tattoos on my arms.

I wasn’t sure what answer would please him, so I offered the truth. “Not really, sir.”

He nodded and stepped out from behind his desk, careening to his full seven-foot height. “My source says you’ll learn enough to control your powers in the first year. After that, you’ll be with me full time.”

Terror flushed through me. “Oh, but it’s a four-year course,” I mumbled.

He stepped closer and crouched down. The ends of his horns started to smoke, and I nearly pissed myself at the smell of sulfur. My mom said he could breathe fire when really mad. I hoped I wasn’t going to experience that firsthand.

“You’re mine. Don’t forget that. You think I’m going to allow them to initiate you into the Fallen Army and have you working against me? Not on your life, child. One year, that’s all you get.”

I swallowed hard. “Yes, sir.”

He nodded again, and the smoke began to dissipate. “For now you’ll assist your mother, wash the bodies, mix her potions. Once you’re trained, I’ll have bigger assignments for you—things that can change this war in our favor. So learn to fly, and whatever else it is you Celestials do, because I’m counting on you to be powerful, and make me a lot of money, lending out your services.”

Shit.

“Yes, sir,” I said, eyes on the floor. Lincoln was right to hate me. I’d been naive in thinking I could be a demon slave and not really have to hurt anyone.

“Well go, get to work! We got six bodies today,” he roared.

I took off past the reception desk, and through the double doors. The second I arrived in the back room, the stench of death, formaldehyde, and sage smoke hit me.

Mom.

I’d helped my mom out a few times in the clinic when she was swamped, so I knew my way around the back. She was elbow-deep in a soapy washbasin, scrubbing a fifty-something female’s body with a sponge.

She turned to me, her face lighting up. “Bri! How was your first day?” Her eyes fell to my tattooed arms. “Oh, wow… tattoos. Okay….”

I rubbed my arms. “Yeah, I guess they’re needed for controlling my powers and stuff. Each one relates to an angel whose power I have or something.” I wasn’t sure I fully understood it.

Her brow furrowed. “How many are there?”

I winced. “Four.” I whispered.

She dropped the sponge. “Four! Is that normal?”

My eyes widened. “Mom, is that really what you want to ask your daughter with black wings after her first day? If I’m normal?”

She winced. “Okay, true. Well, it is what it is. Can you finish cleaning up Mrs. Culpo? I’ve got to get the potions ready for Mr. Denner.”

Ugh. Double freaking ugh.

I guess it was better than being a Gristle. So far. Now that I was looking down at my tattoos, I noticed the angry red lines were already healing.

I’d heard about Celestials having self-healing powers, but now that I thought of myself having something like that, it freaked me out. It made me feel less human.

My shift at the clinic was from noon to four, and then I was free to go home, do homework, or whatever. My mom didn’t get off until five, so I told her I’d pick up Shea from work, and start dinner. After her shock wore off that I was now the proud owner of a brand new car, she let me leave.

Mr. Burdock wasn’t at the front desk when I left, which was a relief. Climbing into the SUV, I booked it to the strip club to pick up Shea. She was doing half days at Tainted Academy to learn her Mage craft, and then half days at the club to earn a living, her day ending at four thirty.

I pulled into the parking lot a minute early, and when I saw Shea come out the front door, I laid on the horn. Her eyes flicked up to my car and then she squinted. When she realized it was me, her mouth hung open in shock, which quickly gave way to a grin.

“Shut the front door! Please tell me this is ours,” she shouted, after yanking the door open.

“If by ours you mean mine, yes, it’s ours.”

“Eeeeek!” she squealed, flapping her hands like a lunatic. Her eyes then shot to my tattooed arms. “Holy tatted-up hottie, tell me everything.”

I laughed. “Other than the new car, it was actually an awful day. My new Celestial teachers are insanely hot, but the main guy is a total dick. I spent five hours straight in literal torturous pain, and then I spent the last four hours scrubbing dead bodies. Wanna smell my hands?”

She gagged. “I’ll take your word for it.”

I put the car in reverse, and pulled out onto the main road to head back to our apartment. “How was your day? Is Tainted Academy really haunted? Are the teachers really Abrus demons?”

Our schooling in Demon City, thus far, had been taught by humans, a contract the fallen had drawn up for us. Anyone under eighteen received a free, somewhat normal education—math, science, and all that crap, with a few magical classes for added flair. Yet, I heard that at Tainted Academy, all bets were off. Demons taught the classes, and the fallen angels had nothing to do with it.

Shea sighed. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”

I froze. Pulling the car over in front of a demon-horn trade shop, I shifted into Park. “Shea… shit, was it that bad?”

Shea never wanted to ‘not talk’ about anything, I couldn’t shut her up if I tried. Sure, she had her moments, but she always wanted to gossip. She was hands down the toughest person I knew, inside and out.

Unfolding her arms, she extended one to me. There, on her forearm, was a big black skull tattoo with a green snakehead coming out of the eye.

Holy shit. A Dark Mage mark. “W-why do you have that? I mean… isn’t it soon to do that?” I thought only advanced Dark Mages got one of those. After schooling, once they’d pledged their magic to the dark side until death. Or maybe that was just a story my mother told me to help me sleep at night.

“I imagine it’s the same reason why you got your tattoos so soon. To claim us for their side. Whatever, it is what it is.” She crossed her arms, and stared out the window as it started to rain.

No.

“Shea, I have a car. Say the word and I’ll drive us out of here. Well go to Canada, and live in the woods or something.” I’d promised her I wouldn’t let her go dark, and I’d meant it.

Her eyes filled with tears as she faced me. “The tattoo is also a magical tracker. Just take me home.”

As the tear slid down her face, I tried not to fall apart. I could count the number of times I’d seen Shea cry on one hand. This was bad, so very bad.

“We’re going to figure this out together, okay?” It was a total lie, I knew it the second it left my lips, but I had to say something.

“Okay,” She said in a flat tone. It broke my heart, because I would forever remember that as the moment she’d lost hope.

We ate dinner in silence. My little brother’s eyes kept jumping from my tattoos to Shea’s, but when he tried to ask about them, my mom kicked him under the table.

Now, Shea and I lay in our beds, in our shared room, while staring at the ceiling. We hadn’t really talked since the car, I sensed she was in a bit of a depression, and wanted some time alone.

“You awake?” she suddenly asked.

“Yeah.” I turned over, and looked across the room at her curly hair spilling onto the pillow.

“So you said your new teachers were hot. Like how hot?”

I grinned and sat up as she sat up too. This was the Shea I was used to. “It’s weird how hot they are. It’s also like they get cockier and ruder the hotter they are.”

She nodded. “That makes sense, actually.”

I grinned. “You’d like Noah. Total sweet-talker, loves to wink.”

She grabbed her chest. “I love a sexy winker.” I laughed. “Are the girls total bitches, acting all better than you?” she asked.

   
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