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Chapter Sixteen: "Again"

Only surrender will help you now
-Again, Flyleaf

The days went quickly after that. I had explained to Madison that the dance between Riven and I was just that-a dance. She didn't seem like she believed me, but she let it go.

Riven and I finished up our project and we were set to present on Monday. Riven seemed to always be around. Like, always. He shadowed me like a bodyguard and I had a feeling I knew who he was protecting me from.


He had been creepy. His grey eyes always found mine from across the cafeteria or when I was getting in my car, preparing to leave school. His eyes seemed to hold deep, dark threats and it scared me more than I was willing to admit. It unnerved me how much he resembled the man in my dreams. The same menacing eyes, the same intimidating physique and the same calculating smirk.

I had no more weird dreams. I had received no more notes. But I still couldn't get over what the man had said: that I should ask my father. Then I recalled how Riven, Raveena and Phillipe had been talking. They were talking about my father, too. Him and this thing called Essence.

And the song from my dream was still haunting me. I couldn't get over the melody and the haunting notes. I especially couldn't get over the words.

Her blood is the key.

I kept wondering who this girl was and what her blood was the 'key' to.

Josie on the other hand was still pining over Riven. He seemed completely uninterested now and that seemed to irk her. She didn't seem to like the way Riven followed me around. I often caught her shooting accusatory glances my way.

When Sunday finally rolled around, I was surprised to hear my dad in his study. He was talking in a hushed voice to someone. I listened as closely as possible.

"...be starting," Dad was saying, his voice worried. "She's been acting strange. I think he's been visiting her."

"Well, the killings have been getting worse," said a terribly familiar voice. "And now he's sent his son. It's almost time."

Dad sighed.

"How many killings this week?" Dad asked, sounding like he really didn't want to know.

"Twenty-two," answered a tinkling voice that was just as familiar as the first voice.

Riven and Raveena. What were they doing here? Why were they talking to my father?

"You know when I did this, I didn't expect them to come after her," Dad told them, sounding tired. "I thought they were dead."

"You can't exactly kill him, Johnathan," Riven said. "And his son is almost as powerful as he is. The only hope we really have is her. She has the Essence. That alone is enough to destroy both of them."

"If he doesn't kill her first," Raveena interjected gently.

"He won't," Dad and Riven chorused.

Raveena sighed. "Let's hope not. We really need her. Can you imagine the chaos this world would be in if they got their hands on the Essence."

It was quiet. I imagined them all shuddering.

"Anyway, we should be leaving," Riven finally spoke up. "We just wanted to fill you in."

"Well, thanks," Dad responded. "Take the back door. I don't want George or Siberia to see you."

The door to his study open and then closed. I heard footsteps walking past my room before disappearing.

I leaned back on my pillows, thinking that maybe the man in my dreams was right. Maybe I should have a serious talk with my father.

An hour later, I was knocking timidly on the door of my father's study.

"Come in," he said.

I pushed it open and saw him sitting behind his desk, looking over business papers. When my dad wasn't home, he worked as a lawyer. One of the best lawyers in our town.

"Siberia?" He looked at me in confusion. "What brings you here?"

I rarely ever stepped foot in my father's study. I could actually count on one hand how many times I had been in here in all my seventeen years of living in this house.

"Dad, I need to talk to you."

He raised a brow and gestured for me to take a seat in one of the chairs in front of his desk.

Once I was seated he merely looked at me to continue.

"I don't really know where to begin," I said truthfully.

"I've always found it's easier to start at the beginning," Dad said encouragingly.

"A month ago, I started getting weird messages," I began.

The words flowed like water after that. I told Dad about the notes and the dreams. I told him about Phillipe and how I'd heard him talking to Raveena and Riven about 'Essence.' Finally I told him about my last dream. About the song.

By the time I was done, my father looked tired. His hands slid down his face and he was shaking his head, mumbling to himself.

"I knew it was happening, but I didn't realize it was happening this fast," he was saying, his voice sounding hollow.

"What's happening?" My heart was pounding. I knew whatever was happening couldn't be good. The man in my dreams was right.

Dad knew what was going on.

Dad sighed and shook his head.

"He wasn't supposed to find you. Not this time," Dad was mumbling to himself. It was like I wasn't there.

His words were making panic flow through my body.

"Dad, what's happening?" I repeated.

His eyes focused on me. "I should've told you this when I first suspected that he was here. But now that he's visiting your dreams..." Dad sucked in a breath. "You need to know who you're dealing with, Siberia."

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