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I woke when Darius cut the turn into my driveway too close and the car's tires bounced over the curb. My cheek jerked from the window's glass, leaving a spot of drool and saltwater, and I blinked bleary eyes as I tried to get my bearings. Darius parked, and then jerked the keys from the ignition as I scrubbed salt from my lashes and flinched at the pain rising in my exhausted body.

The night pressed heavy and colorless upon the world outside the car, burdened by the quelling silence of an isolated suburb after hours. I eased from my left side and couldn't stop the pained whisper of breath from escaping me.

Darius' eyes tracked my movement and slid over my injuries, analyzing and assessing, his stolid expression never wavering. His face held nothing but tired, bone-deep lassitude, and the Sin spared me the same interest one would give their dying houseplant before ripping free the damaged blooms.

Unnerved, I left the car, my bare feet slapping on the pavement as I walked to the front door, thankful I'd left my purse in the glove compartment before visiting the docks, else it'd be on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean along with my shoes. Like a persistent shadow, Darius followed and wordlessly used my keys to unlock the door and shunt us both inside.

The door shut, sealing us in the solemn darkness of the lightless house, and the heat I'd regained after the Sin had dragged my struggling body from the dirty harbor evaporated in the rapidly building chill. The indicator lights on the microwave and the television winked out, and the soft hum of electricity in the house's wires died with a hollow sigh. I rubbed my arms and ice broke beneath my trembling fingers.

What's happening?

"Sara," Darius whispered, still hovering at the entrance, my name spoken harsh and unbidden into the frigid dark. All six feet of the otherworldly creature fairly trembled with the heat he stole from my home, and as I fumbled with the light switch and the fixture remained dark, I realized the Sin's abnormal temperature and fluctuating chill resulted from the changes in energy permeating his vicinity. I licked my chapped lips and, feeling arctic-like cold sink through my flesh and bones, concluded that Darius could somehow steal energy from heat and other sources, making it his own.

Why though? For what purpose?

One glimpse of the towering Sin cooled my curiosity and curbed my questioning tongue. Unyielding black color consumed the whole of his eyes, the sclera rendered reptilian, his irises and pupils lost to the pitch with only the barest whisper of red color lining his lower eyelids. His eyes had been this black before, only once, when I'd shot him in the chest and he nearly killed me. His features narrowed and looked almost starved, cheekbones high and sharp, bones prominent, and when he bared his teeth in a fierce grimace, they were subtlety elongated, his canines more defined than they should be.

He was not human. Not in the slightest.

I swallowed in trepidation as my back smacked the wall.

"Sara, I'm hungry," he said, voice soft, fingers curling and uncurling in a restless, repetitive pattern. He crossed his arms over his chest to hide the motion.

Hungry?! "Hungry for—?!" Had tonight pushed the creature too far? Had it driven him over the edge? Would he steal my soul now to feed this sudden, terrifying mood of his?!

"For food, you idiot!" he snarled, jerking with the effort to control himself. A loud snap echoed in the sitting room, and I felt something lash out, a curve of undiluted energy and heat swinging overhead, slamming into the wall, where a frame cracked and fell, glass shattering on the floor. Spooked, I leapt away from Darius and darted into my kitchen.

There wasn't much inside my desolate cupboards or refrigerator. I lived alone—or had lived alone until the Sin had moved in—and so I stored few perishables and kept a barren pantry. Typically I ate in the city during my lunch break and maybe picked up something on my way home for dinner. Scouring the house, I grabbed a questionable box of granola on one of the lower shelves and, when I shoved it into Darius's waiting hands, he devoured the two bars inside within seconds, hardly pausing to shed the wrappers.

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