Drake (Book 1)

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[18]-Irene

10:01 p.m.

Lyn opened her eyes and found herself in a recognizable corridor. She inspected the rough carpet beneath her and grabbed a fistful. The texture seemed familiar along with the furniture and antiquities that lined the walls. Glass chandeliers lit by candles hung from the ceilings. She knew this place. The west gallery.

I thought I was in the observatory…

She took a single black pearl and placed it on a small table. She spun the pearl against the table and watched it rotate a moment. The pearl didn’t stop and continued rotating.

I must be dreaming.

Lyn snatched the pearl and walked down the corridor. The corridor at both ends was an L-shape, with one end leading to the main lobby. Between the balance of shadows and electric lamps brightening the lobby, she could still make out the major details. She stopped at the base of the Atlas statue, standing prominently as he held the world on his shoulders. Lyn smiled. She knew what it was like to carry a heavy burden.

She heard a voice and snapped her head towards its direction. Then she heard another. Two distinct voices to be exact. One of which she knew. Drake. The voices guided her to the short hallway that led to the library. As she peeked around the corner, the first floor was empty, with nothing but a burning fireplace. The fiery red tongues of the flames stretched as if they were ready to lash out to her.

The voices started again and this time they were more clear. She placed a hand on the base of the stairs and cautiously treaded up to the second floor. As she ascended, she passed a portrait hanging on the wall. It was an enchanting woman with silver hair and violet eyes. Then she was up stairs already.

Tiger wood lined the floors of the second stairs. Large paneled windows gave a view of the small courtyard outside that led to the cemetery path. There were a few more bookshelves filled with ancient tomes and literature. The smaller room by the windows had a table and few couches. But Lyn wasn’t alone.

Drake sat at the table, his back turned to her. In front of him, on the other end, was the same woman from the portrait. Irene, who wore a thin red dress that parted at her thigh. Lyn gasped. Drake remained invested in his conversation, but Irene’s gaze strayed to Lyn’s. Her body tensed and she narrowed her eyes at the sight of her.

Irene jumped from her seat. “What is she doing here!” she snapped.

Drake was flabbergasted as he turned around to find Lyn behind him. He stood up, but Irene had already grabbed a knife from the table. She stormed towards Lyn.

“IRENE! NO! NO! NO-!”

Lyn froze, and she could only watch as Irene plunged the knife into her stomach. She tasted a smooth metallic sensation. The taste of Irene’s sting and cold steel wormed its way into her gut. Irene twisted the knife just before Drake could pull her off. Then Lyn’s world went dark and she collapsed.

She awakened with a gasp, as if all the air was siphoned from her lungs. Beads of sweat covered her forehead.

“Lyn? Lyn?”

Drake rubbed her back and rested a hand on her thigh. His eyes were sincere and his face wounded. She was lost for words.

“What the fuck was that!” she asked, still struggling to catch her breath.

She left Drake’s embrace and stood, pacing around the platform.

“You ate the apple,” he replied. “Lyn, I need to know. Did it taste sweet or turn to ash in your mouth?”

Lyn gritted her teeth. She pondered a moment. “Sweet…” her voice was flat.

Drake released a relieved sigh. “Thank goodness.”

Lyn’s face was dark with anger. “So, this is what you’ve been doing at night? You’ve been coming here and- and tripping on these apples? Just so you could see her? Someone who isn’t even alive anymore?”

“Lyn-”

She raised a forestalling hand and wept. Her voice broke. “Do I really mean nothing to you?”

“Lyn, you know that’s not true-”

She left without another word, trailing tears behind her as she descended the spiral steps.

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