Remnants of Gods [Book 1 of the Remnants Trilogy]

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter 2

Annabel made her way down the corridor, not paying attention to where she was going. She had walked those hallways so many times that it would have been a pleasant surprise if she got lost or confused.

The Compound, as everybody called it, was an old mansion in the middle of nowhere, which was more than perfect for people who didn’t want to be found. However, this also meant that they couldn’t leave or go anywhere outside its grounds. For six months, she had seen nothing but these walls and the surrounding forest.

Patience, she thought. One day, very soon, you’ll get your chance.

Too busy daydreaming of that day, she failed to see the figure that appeared around the corner. The clash was not that painful, but she lost her balance, reaching out to grab onto something, but her fingers just slid over the smooth wall. Preparing herself for a disgraceful fall, she almost screamed as a hand grabbed her by the elbow, steadying her on her feet.

Heart racing in her chest, Anna opened her mouth to apologize, but no words came out. Instead, she kept staring straight into the blue eyes of the stranger like a complete idiot. He said nothing, just studied her back with a tired look.

Shaking her head, Anna cleared her throat. There was something about this man that made her want to build a protective wall around herself, but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. His face seemed deathly pale, with deep, dark circles around his eyes. He was tall, almost a whole head taller than her, but he stood slumped, leaning on the wall as if he needed its support.

“I-I-I’m sorry,” she finally said. “I didn’t see you.”

He said nothing and simply released her from his grip. Her eyes moved to his chest where his hand had returned, pressing his side with unspoken urgency. His shirt was stained with something dark that spread over his fingers and even dripped on the floor.

“You’re hurt!” she blurted out without thinking. He winced, his face tense with pain, but no sound escaped his lips. Before she could say anything else, his body swayed forward and Anna rushed to catch him, sliding his free arm over her shoulders. He didn’t protest, but a low hiss escaped his lips as they moved forward.

Judging by the fact that he was much older, and she had never seen him before, he was probably an active member returning from a mission. If she could save him, he could be her ticket to joining the Order’s ranks. But if she couldn’t… how would she explain the body?

Annabel glanced at him. There was almost no color left on his face, and the blood vessels under his skin seemed disturbingly prominent. But he was breathing, and he was conscious, so he should be fine for a bit longer.

She could handle this.

“This way,” she grunted under his weight, veering him to the left. They were already close to her room, so she just needed to get him there and run for a healer.

When they reached the door to her chambers, she placed her open palm on its surface, waiting impatiently as the runes of her ward flickered a few times before disintegrating into thin air. She pushed the creaking door open, half-supporting, half-carrying him to the single bed in the corner.

Anna helped him slide his jacket off, throwing it on the ground. She tried to pull his shirt over his head, but when he tried to lift his hands, his whole body stiffened. Pain twisted his features, but he still didn’t cry out.

Annabel swallowed nervously, placed her palms next to each other while facing his chest, then abruptly separated them, focusing her energy on the cloth. The front of the shirt tore, revealing firm muscles twitching as blood oozed from the gruesome wound on the side of his stomach. Annabel bit her lip in panic, her insides turning.

The wound looked worse than she expected, his pale chest moving in uneven intervals as she was studying it. Something went through his side and got out, which was a good thing, but the damage looked severe.

“You need a healer,” she said after helping him lie down and putting pressure on the wound with one of the towels she had washed yesterday. She moved to stand when his hand locked around her wrist.

“No,” he said firmly, his face going paler by the second. “Do what you can.”

“Are you crazy? I can kill you if I try! I can kill us both! I’ve never healed anything so serious!” She tried to free her hand from his grip, but despite his weakened state, he didn’t budge. “You need a real healer! You’re losing too much blood!”

“No,” he insisted. A second later, a click came from the door as if somebody had locked it twice. Anna turned to look at it in surprise, just as a semi-transparent energy shield spread over it. She could feel its power even from where she stood, and it amazed her how a person already on their way to greet Death could produce a ward that strong. Who was this guy and how did he do it without even moving his hands? “Heal me or I’ll die. That door will stay locked until one of those things happens.”

Annabel stared at him in disbelief. Why was he so insistent on not getting a healer, on putting his life in the hands of a complete stranger? Was he crazy? Or was he hiding something? He was an Ascendant, so he couldn’t have been a spy for the humans, but then why…?

“Fine,” she sighed in defeat, and the grip around her wrist loosened. At least this way if he didn’t die he’d really owe her his life, so helping her become a member should be a small price to pay.

She removed the towel carefully, giving the wound one last glance before getting to work. She dipped her fingertips in the blood that was seeping out of his wound and drew a healing rune on the good part of his stomach. Hard muscles tensed under her touch as he tried to stay still while his fingers dig into the sheets as if desperately trying to hold on to life.

Anna rubbed her hands together, then placed them on his stomach. Before she closed her eyes, she noticed he was still watching her with that unnerving blue gaze of his.

Focus or he dies, she scolded herself. Healing a minor wound like a scratch or a cut would have been a piece of cake, but something so serious would pose a challenge even for more experienced healers. She hoped she could do it - or at least patch him up enough so he wouldn’t die.

Annabel focused on the damaged tissue under her palm, the blood pouring out of the wound, leaving a sticky, warm sensation on her own hand. His breaths came out sharp and uneven, muffled by the painful groans that one by one escaped his lips.

As she poured more of her power into the rune, a jolt of pain rushed through her, starting from her fingertips and spreading to every cell of her body. The rune pulsated brighter and brighter as she gave it more and more of her energy, focusing on the torn muscles and blood vessels and imagining how every one of them started repairing itself.

The man groaned louder.

Anna wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but she felt her energy flow decreasing, becoming harder and harder to grasp. It finally slipped away, leaving her breathless and exhausted.

Before she could even take a breath, a familiar sensation of weightlessness engulfed her. She tried to resist it, opening her eyes in an attempt to block her ability from taking over, but it made no difference. Her powers set forth, sliding through the crevice of his now weakened mind and thrusting into his consciousness.

At first, all she could see was a vortex of colors, shades, and shapes. Then gradually everything faded away, turning gray and dull, settling in an outline of a small, dark room. A skinny boy huddled in the corner as two men kicked the door down and jumped on the woman that tried to place herself between them and the child. One of them slashed through the air with a knife, thrusting it into the woman’s chest.

Her scream quickly died down as her body collapsed in their feet. Annabel drew back, trying to calm her racing heart. Nobody paid any attention to her as the two men stepped towards the boy, blocking his way to the door.

Tears streamed down the boy’s pale cheeks as he clenched his hands into fists. A moment later, there was no trace of fear in his eyes, only pain and pure, blinding rage. The men advanced with heavy, threatening strides. A barely audible buzzing filled the room and suddenly they both dropped to their knees, eyes bulging and limbs shaking violently. Blood leaked from their eyes, nose, and ears, mixing with the sweat and tears.

Their screams intensified as they collapsed on the floor, their entire bodies writhing in pain. The boy just stood and watched, no sign of remorse or pity in his eyes. No surprise either.

It wasn’t long before it all grew quiet, with both men lying in a pool of their own blood. The child didn’t move, just stared at their lifeless shells, his small, bony hands finally relaxing. Annabel watched him, her own breathing slowing down. She had no idea what she was seeing, but at least it was over and she could get out of there.

The boy’s head snapped towards her and she clasped her mouth with her hand to stop the scream that rose in her throat. Panic swept through her and she took a step back. They stared at each other for a few long moments, although Anna wasn’t sure if he could really see her or not. She was there, and she was not - an odd piece in his memory, his dream, this painful moment of a past that couldn’t be changed.

Pain pierced her head, so intense that she wished she would die. She opened her eyes, but the darkness remained, still and terrifying, holding her in a chain of horror.

Slowly, the familiar white ceiling appeared, barely visible under the dim light of the lamp. She found herself lying on the floor of her room, struggling to breathe as if she had been running for hours. Anna staggered to her feet, moving further away from the bed as if the motionless man in it was going to attack her. To her relief, his face was calm, and he appeared to have lost consciousness. Her eyes quickly located the place where the wound was supposed to be, only to find bruised but intact skin in its stead.

She had done it. She had actually healed him.

Her short-lived satisfaction vanished as her senses pulled her back to reality. Every part of her body felt heavy and stiff, even her eyelids required enormous effort to stay open. A dull ache pulsated in her head, pulling her vision in and out of focus.

Annabel dragged herself to the bed to make sure he was still alive. She had already gone this far for him, letting him die now would have made all this for naught. She just hoped he would show his gratitude by putting in a good word for her.

She pulled herself to her knees, reached out, and pressed her fingers to his neck. There was a pulse - slow but steady. His short, dark hair was covered in sweat and dust, which had made him look much older than she initially thought. Now that she had a closer look, he looked no older than his late twenties.

Anna looked away from his straight, handsome features to the rest of her room, which had turned into a bloody mess. There were dirty towels lying around, staining the carpet; her covers and the mattress looked ruined, too.

“Damn it,” she murmured, looking at the door. Now that he was unconscious, there should have been nothing stopping her from leaving.

Anna pulled herself up. She reached for the handle, but stopped her hand just before touching it. She could feel the palpitations of the energy field in the air, just as strong as before.

She sighed, taking a few steps back and sliding along the wall. She leaned her head on the faded wallpaper, closing her eyes just for a second. Somebody had to look after him and he conveniently had locked them inside.

I just hope you are worth it, she thought.

Anna tried to open her eyes, but her body was too tired to comply with her wishes. Instead, she sunk deeper into slumber, the last thing on her mind being the face of the child she saw, the cruel, empty stare into the darkness within.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.