The scream reverberated in my ears- and I turned, confusion foremost out of the swirling hurricane of emotions I had come.
Renae had been lifted into the air, her head falling back. Screaming, an incessant screaming. I ran to her, yelling her name. But before I could get her down myself, she fell, collapsing onto the grassy ground. Her eyes darted around desperately and I could hear her moaning something softly.
Something was wrong.
"Renae!" Liam called from behind me. I bent down to her, Liam dropping to her other side. My hands found her's and I held tight, as if the closer I held her, the lesser chance there was of her slipping away.
"Renae, what's wrong, what is it?" I asked, my voice spitting out a thousand words. I was panicked, I was afraid, I hadn't ever heard her scream like that. It had been bitter and it had been terrified. It had been the kind of scream you might scream when you knew you were about to die.
But I wasn't about to let that happen. I had to check for her injuries. If they were bad, we would carry her out of this place. If she could run, we needed her up and now, running and running far away from this place. Something whispered to me that she wouldn't be up and running, that she wouldn't be escaping, but I didn't let myself believe it for a second.
I didn't want to.
"I can't," she whispered faintly, labouring over the simple word. My heart skipped a beat. Several times, her eyes closed, but she forced them back open each time, almost like she was fighting with death herself. Maybe she was.
Not this again, I thought, panic overcoming me. I couldn't have Renae leave me, not now, not when we were escaping- not like this!
"You will," I said fiercely. "Come on Renae, we're not- we're not going to leave you. We have to go and we have to go now. Just tell us where the pain is."
"It's everywhere Danielle," she whispered. "I can barely talk it's bad. You have to- you have to go."
Her eyes closed, her dark feathery lashes stroking the pale skin underneath. It was only then I realised how ghost-like she was. Her skin was losing all colour. It was like she was becoming transparent. A tear emerged from under her lashes and when she opened them again, her eyes were fierce and bold.
"We're not leaving without you," I snarled. "Lean on me, come on." Ignoring her complaints, I hoisted her upwards, letting her lean on my shoulder. Her weight was heavy but Liam helped support her. There was determination on his face as well; we weren't going to let Renae slip through our fingers a second time.
"You can't!" she cried out in frustration, flinging us away from her. Without support, Renae was unsteady on her feet, swaying like a reed. "Can't you see?"
I opened my mouth to shout sense at her but I never got that far. Her arms were flung out, almost as if she was trying to present herself to me. The cool alabaster of her skin wasn't just white. Now, it had become streaked with black lines. As I watched, they grew, criss-crossing and curving through her ski- as if they were travelling through her veins.
"Renae, what is that?" Liam asked, sucking in breath. His eyes were wide, but they were not stricken like mine. They didn't know what those black lines meant. They didn't know about The History of the World. They didn't know why demons' attempt at resurrection always failed.
"Raxis brought you back to life with his own power, didn't he?" I cried out. I was almost shouting because I was angry. Because I had been given something only to find out that it had a sting in its tail, that it wasn't really a gift but a curse.
"You know what's happening to me, don't you?" Renae replied, walking to me. She fell as she tried to get to me, her hands flying out. I struck out and held her, letting my body absorb her weight. She stared up at me, her eyes big and scared. Renae didn't even know what was happening to her.
"When demons bring mortals back to life," I started, choking on my words. "It doesn't work. Unless mortals have a bad heart, the two powers are too different- light and darkness. They're brought back, but only for a short time. As soon as they stray too far away from their sire, they die. It's a half-life, a cursed one."
"No," she whispered. "No! I can't die, not again!" Renae started to beg, sinking to the ground so that her arms encircled mine like vices. "God help me, I can't go back there, I can't go back to him."
|Vanessa Hudgens||as Danielle|
|Alex Pettyfer||as Liam|
|Rachel Bilson||as Renae|
|Oliver Goodwill||as Raxis|
|Miley Cyrus||as Maia|
|Ian Somerhalder||as Ryan Carter|
|Cameron Diaz||as Danielle's mother|
|Gwyneth Paltrow||as Felicity|
|George Clooney||as Danielle's father|
|Bailee Madison||as Carmen|