Authors: Melissa Solis
My Soul to Take
My Soul to
Copyright © 2013
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, distributed, stored in, or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, without express permission of the author, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The characters and story lines are created from the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Cover Image Copyright © Jeff Thrower, 2013
Used under license from Shutterstock.com
Cover Design by Andrew Solis
Table of Contents
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I’ve faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. (1 Corinthians 13:1-7, The Message)
It’s a new year, and a new day. My house feels cold and empty. She too has resigned her party hat in lieu of a sobering realization. We brace ourselves against the icy January wind, staking our claim in the sand. We shall not be moved.
Elijah squeezes a firm grip on my shoulder and takes his place by my side. I can feel the distance he is creating between us. The trench is wide and deep, and I know he will not dare cross the ravine. It’s a strange feeling; less than twenty-four hours ago his body lay over mine, his silky skin warmed mine. I think back to that first day of school and the kiss that ignited our love. A love born too soon, not in the time designated unto us. Nonetheless, it’s a love that will span a lifetime without batting an eye. This is something that I know, like my lungs’ autonomic response to pull in and release air.
Elijah gives a light rub and a soft slap to the same spot.
“We’ll begin training today. Perhaps it will help take your mind off of things,” he says softly.
God, I hope so.”
Last night I hardly slept. Sam’s heart lay crumpled and broken under my pillow beating out why, why, why, as I tried and failed to drift off. The Keepers say we are destined to marry one day. He deserves so much more than half of my love. My Sam is worthy of a royal princess, a devoted loving wife who would never glance at another man, a wife
to sing praises of his generosity, his kind heart, to worship his well-formed body—and only his. I think this as my body practically purrs next to Elijah. I break away from his grip and walk to the water’s edge. I take another step and allow the ice cold water to lap over my bare feet. The sting of it steals my breath away.
“Brennen, come love, get out of the water. You’ll make yourself ill.” Elijah attempts to steer me back to dry land. A chill runs through my limbs as he rubs my arms vigorously while I stare at his beautiful lips. Elijah is inhumanly perfect. A creature that exquisite surely knows how divine he is. His brows knit together, and I know he is giving me every ounce of self-control he has.
Alright, Brennen, we will begin by testing your strengths and weaknesses. First, I want you to close your eyes.” His delicious voice drips Valium into my body and I instantly relax. I obey and close my eyes. “Listen to the sound of the waves coming in, building and breaking. Listen to the release of bubbles as the wave exhales on the shore.” The sounds of the ocean pull me in, music all on its own. It’s a song that I could never stray too far from in my life.
Now, try and hear your heart beat.” He takes my hands in his and my heart immediately pounds out its joy. I can no longer hear the waves, only my heart pushing out beat after beat for his touch. My mind floods with images from the last time we held hands. My breath escapes my lips as I think of the dream scene in which Elijah made love to me. My knees begin to grow weak. Elijah shakes my hands loosely to bring me back to the present.
Did he know what I was thinking?
Now, Brennen, try and hear my heart beat.” His hands are very still in mine. I nod when I’m finally able to sense his pulse. He releases my hands and moves his grip to my wrist instead. “Don’t lose the sound. Concentrate and keep your eyes closed. Now, there are others out here with us. I want you to try and listen for their heartbeats and tell me how many you hear.”
His hypnotic voice has me deeply relaxed, and one by one I begin to hear the others. Not only can I hear them, I also know exactly how close
they are. “Seven.”
Very impressive, dear,” Dr. Elena Kennedy chimes in. I open my eyes and see Elijah and six others dotted nearby—all other Keepers, I gather, seeing their striking beauty.
Elena, happy New Year.”
Brennen, Elijah, happy New Year to you two.”
Elijah releases my wrists and my arms fall limp.
“Cool party trick, but what does the ability to detect heartbeats have to do with any of this?” I look to Elijah first and then to Elena.
Safety, Brennen—you never know when you are alone. This gift is one way that I use to keep you safe. We will be practicing this often. Over time your mind will automatically know what is around you at all times.”
As silently as they appeared the others dissipated before I could blink.
“Why can’t you teach me to do that?” I gain a chuckle from Elena; Elijah just sighs. She walks over to him and pulls him aside. She whispers something to him, and he appears to argue with her for a moment. Elena digs in, and a heated conversation ensues. I want to shield him from her abuse, but she throws her hands up in the air and makes her way to me before my feet can move.
Be still,” she barks, taking my hand, and Elijah gives me a sorry-but-I-tried-look. I feel a strange ripple stir in my stomach, and the next thing I know, Elena and I are sitting on a bench in some mall that I don’t recognize. I’m even wearing shoes now. I panic and look for Elijah. “He’s not here. I left him at home so you could concentrate. Your dalliance has left you unfocused.”
People rush by us, eager to get to their New Year’s Day sale extravaganza. She thinks
I’m unfocused? Probably so, but what does she expect? I love Elijah, I love Sam, and last night I lost them both. My heart feels like the confetti flying out of Sam’s truck last night, bits and pieces left to the wind to scatter.
Well go ahead—practice your God-given talents on these nice folk,” she says with a mocking tone as a boy my age whips around an elderly lady and tosses his Slurpee near the trash. He misses the trash and nearly knocks the woman down, neither of which he pays mind to.
It makes my blood boil. I block the boy’s way, and he throws a nasty sneer my way. He looks me up and down and thinks:
Damn she is hot—yeah, she wants some of this
. I feel an urge to punch the degenerate in the nose, and try to quell it. I search his mind and spot something way in the back like an old book covered in dust. I open the cover and see a picture of his grandmother in a casket. More books appear, and it’s as if I’ve a personal filing cabinet to this loser’s mind. I comb through them all in an instant. He has had a hard life but it’s no excuse to treat people like trash.
Excuse me, but I believe you owe that woman an apology.” The boy begins to object but his mind goes to that image I saw buried in his mind. I see his eyes fill with regret and pain. He knows he was being a monumental jerk. He catches up to the woman, and I see the tears in his eyes as he makes a humble apology. They walk together for a while, and he holds a door open for her and watches from the glass door as to make sure she arrives at her car safely.
Elena approaches me quietly.
“Elena, I didn’t just read his thoughts—I could see into his mind. I saw images of him being berated by his father, and his mother seemed to look the other way every time. He was stripped of all of his kindness before he was ten years old. That was the year his grandmother died. She was the only one who gave him unconditional love.”
The way your gifts come so naturally to you is astonishing, Brennen. You are even more precious than I could ever have hoped you to be.” For the first time, Elena looks at me with honest compassion in her eyes. “Now, do it again.” The kindness evaporates as ephemerally as it appeared, and is replaced by her usual no-nonsense facade. I glare at her, wishing I were back home already.
I stretch my arms over my head as if I were warming up for my morning run. We stroll through the mall as I look for my next victim. I browse the minds of people I pass by. Most are thinking about returning items they got for Christmas, spending their gift cards. Their lives are colorful and happy, thoughts wrapped up like little presents inside. The children are the best; their simplicity is beautiful and innocent. I wish we could all stay that way.
I make brief eye contact with a burly man as he passes me. He’s not all that tall. A large round belly expands his T-shirt, unfortunately leaving nothing to anyone’s imagination. He’s thinking about what to eat for lunch, although breakfast is still fresh in his mind, as well as the pretty little blonde who waited on him.
In that instant, I see the most horrific images play out before me, and I shudder as bile begins to rise in my mouth.
I’m on him before Elena can stop me. I grab his arm and spin him around and grab his shirt collar, clenching it in my fist, wishing it were his throat. The man’s eyes widen as he is surely shocked by my attack. His mind quickly tells me he’s about to send me flying over the banister as he did the last girl he attacked.
I tighten my grip. My nails dig in under the rough skin of his neck.
“You’ll go to the police immediately and report every crime you’ve ever committed. Every vile thing you’ve ever done. Do you hear me?” Fear seizes his mind, loosening his grip on my hand. He releases me and nods. “Yes, especially what you did to your little sister! From now on, if you even think of doing that to another woman, you will do it to yourself. And you will suffer far worse for it.” I seethe the words out, wrought with disgust.
That’s enough, Brennen,” Elena whispers in my ear while gently pulling me off of the man. I whip around to her.
You didn’t see what he did, Elena. You didn’t see.” Tears roll down my face and I watch as the man runs toward the exits and flags down a local patrol car outside. “Get me out of here please.” People are stopping and gawking at me as I sob over the railing, unable to rip my hands off of the bars as I watch the man being handcuffed outside. Elena pulls us inside a store to an empty dressing room then blips us back to my bedroom. I take a moment to gather my bearings from the trip. Teleporting is nauseating.