The Last Guardian | Darkling Academy

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chapter one | the mysterious app

‘The sensation of an endless void of nothing claws its way through me. There’s no emotion of any kind, just a hollow figure overflowing with darkness. Or maybe I’m darkness itself.’

That’s the emotion I feel as let my finger tips delicately glaze over the bloody object before me.

I rip my slender hand away from the shoulder pad that’s lying on the large metallic desk and stumble back until I feel the cool wall behind me.

What the hell? I barely even touched it. I usually have to be focused and completely touching an object with both my hands to feel such strong emotions.

I clench my fingers into a fist and gently push myself away from the wall. Eyeing the torn school logo on the object, I cautiously move towards my black leather gloves sitting beside it. Leisurely pulling them over my naturally tanned hands, I glance around the dimly lit room. My hazel eyes roam over to the metal tables lined up in the middle of the vast space as the icy breeze coming in from the vent above brushes against the goosebumps layering my exposed skin.

Even in a morgue that’s hardly been used it’s still as morbid and creepy as any other. An area only meant for death, I guess.

Swiftly, I pull the plastic bag over the shoulder pad, being careful not to touch it again. Even through my black, glossy gloves and plastic case I placing it back into, I can still sense its dark emotion radiating from the object.

Ever since I was six, I’ve had this strange ability to feel the emotions of the last person to touch an object with just a stroke of my hand. Yet, throughout all those years, I’ve never felt that specific feeling before. It was like I felt the emotion of darkness itself? If that can even be an emotion.

As my mind ponders over the question, I pick the bag up by the top of the bag and chuck it into the cardboard box beneath the desk, not wanting to have to be around it any longer.

Probably should have done that a lot more gently, especially since I’m not meant to be down here. If dad found me in this room, I’m certain he would ground me for the rest of the year...or maybe even longer, and I’m not really in the mood to find out which one it is.

In one swift motion, I pivot around on the back heel of my sneaker and stride towards the exit door, eager to leave the chemical invested aroma. My hand moves towards the door handle but the sound of someone opening the creaky white door on the other side stops me from moving any further.

The muscles throughout my body tense as panic tares its way up my constricting throat. The door swings open and my widened eyes fall upon a short teenage girl with wavy bright purple hair. A heavy sigh falls from my mouth as relief washes throughout my taunt body.

“Bloody hell Ronnie, you scared the living live out of me.” I whisper-shout as I clutch a shaky hand to my chest.

She arches a perfectly plucked brow.

“Well, that would make sense, we are standing in a morgue after all.”

I try to give her a deadpanned stare, but my lip ends up quirking up at her usual sarcasm. Moving past her, I turn my attention to both sides of me as I glance along the hallway, making sure no ones there. The fading lights down both hallways flicker slightly as my black sneakers squeak against the white lino floor.

“So, this is what I found in your dad’s office. By the way, you should really tell him to redecorate in there, it’s bleaker then this morgue is.” Ronnie says.

I turn around and notice the case file rolled up in Ronnie’s hand as she extends it out to me. Her deep honey brown eyes never drop down to it as she focuses solely on my face.

“Also, you should probably hint to your dad that he should hide his police files a little better. It only took me a minute to find this,” Ronnie jokes as she tensely plops her free hand her hip.

A chuckle falls from my lips as I slip the file out of her tight grip and open the pale-yellow paper case. My eyes skim over the first few sentences.

Name - Jason Wilson.

Age - Seventeen years old.

School - Danforth High School.

Last seen - Missing since last Friday and last seen at the after-match party.

Evidence – The victim’s shoulder pad used in football.

Suspects - Maria Novikov.

My eyes glide over towards the boy’s photo in the top corner of the page. Wavy golden locks flop around his face as he gives the camera a dazzling grin, showing off his impeccable white teeth and the dimples on either side of his tanned cheeks. His sea-blue eyes gaze back at me with the same warmth they do every time I’ve seen him.

Something I may never see again.

I flip the pale-yellow cover over the thin file and our best friends photo as I scrunch my nose up, trying to stop the stream of tears building behind my eyes from slipping down my face.

Ronnie clears her throat, “You know.” I glance up towards her voice and notice her gazing at the spot where Jason’s photo just was as her usual playful smirk sinks away, now only showing the sorrow clouding in her eyes.

“That night, just before the game, I told him I loved him,” she moves her eyes towards me.

“I told our best friend that I’ve loved him since grade six.” She let’s out a choked laugh as her eyes start to water. “And you know what he did?” her eyes go distant as she gazes at me, like she’s seeing something else right now.

“He kissed me,” a smile pulls at her moist lips. “And he told me to meet him after the game, just across the street from the party. That’s why I had that stupid grin on my face the entire game.” The purple glitter on her eyelids glistens in the flickering light as a tear falls down her cheek.

She quickly whips it away with the back of her palm

“Anyway, after the match, I went across the road from the after-party, but he wasn’t there. So I went inside to the party and looked for him, but again, I couldn’t find him. I asked all his teammates if they knew where he was, but they all said he was across the road where he was meant to meet me.”

Her last words came out weaker as though she was trying to keep her composure. She focuses back on me with tears welling in her eyes.

“Hayden, what if it’s my fault he’s missing?” she chokes out.

So this is why she’s been avoiding me all week, because Ronnie believes she’s the reason he went missing.

After Jason was reported missing, she stopped talking to me. I tried calling her and stayed by her school locker every morning to see if she would come. She never did though. After a week of her avoiding me, I decided I would just go to her house and try to talk to her.

And we did. We talked for hours actually. It was just after midnight when she said.

“Hayden, what if we were to find Jason ourselves? The police haven’t found him yet and it’s been over a week now. On top of that, he’s our best friend, we have to at least do something.”

So, I said yes. There really wasn’t any other answer, well not for me and Ronnie anyway.

Shoving the file into the back of my black jeans, I take a step towards her to place a gloved hand on her shoulder. I go to tell her that none of this is her fault, but the sound of footsteps coming around the corner stop me from saying anything further. I turn my attention away from Ronnie and towards the people in the police uniform pushing a woman with her hands cuffed behind her back down the hallway.

Black wispy hair shields part of her pale face, but I still know who she is just by a mere glance.

Maria Novikov.

Someone who’s a suspect in Jason’s case. No one apart from the police know why she’s a suspect. All that we have heard so far are the multiple reports that if you see her call the police immediately.

She turns her face our way and locks eyes with me. A moment later, the corner of her lip turns upwards as the guards push the woman into the room beside her. The door closes with a thud and she’s gone from our view, but I can’t seem to shake the look in her piercing blue eyes. It seemed as though she had just locked onto her prey. My breath shallows as I gaze at the words ‘psych ward’ written across the creamy white door in thick black letters.

A few moments later, my phone vibrates in my back pocket. I slip it out and turn the black screen on to see a message on my home page.

One app has been downloaded.

My brows furrow as I stare at the square maroon box with the words ‘Darkling Academy’ written beneath it.

What? I don’t remember downloading this app. And what the hell is Darkling Academy?

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