Chapter Thirteen

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The frigid waters shut down her senses, and Shade couldn't feel a thing. Everything was dark, but she heard a faint call of sparrows high above her over the gurgling sound of water. She attempted to move her fingers and arms, but they barely responded. Her eyes felt like weights were on them, gluing them shut. She was blinded, moaning as she rolled to her side. Her bones creaked in protest at the shift and moving her fingers sent a sharp, stinging pain up her arms.

The light was searing as she opened her eyes, blinking a few times so they could adjust. Am I dead? Where the hell am I? God, my body is burning! She was sure if this was heaven, she'd feel nothing but peace. Hell, on the other hand... well, you can burn in pain there, she thought nervously.

Lying there on the bank of the river, she could feel her feet, soaked and frozen, still in the water. The earth was cold underneath the rest of her body. Her backpack felt dry, probably due to the spells Braelynn casted. Shade's clothes were another matter; they were sopping wet and molded to her body, making her teeth chatter involuntarily. It felt like she'd never be warm again. She sat up very slowly and surveyed the muddy embankment, seeing nothing but the sand that irritated her skin.

At least the sun still shines, she thought, trying to hold on to the slightest bright spot in this situation. It occurred to her she had to at least try and move or she'd freeze to death. If I don't get moving, heaven will be my next stop. She groaned, feeling the sting of every scrape that marked her body, remembering the rocks on the bottom of the waterfall. She wasn't sure if anything was broken and struggled to get to a drier area on the shore. Her left arm was sore and wouldn't cooperate. Craning her neck to the side, she found her shoulder not quite in the right anatomical position.

I must have dislocated my shoulder.

She thought it was strange that it didn't hurt until she'd looked at it. Whimpers escaped her mouth, but she continued to drag herself up the embankment with her good arm and two heavy legs. A rush of nausea from the pain pressed at her, threatening to make her pass out. It hung on like sticky syrup until she leaned to one side and let whatever was left of breakfast shoot out. Her dark blue lips trembled, her hands were cyanotic and oddly lovely in the glowing daylight. The color reminded her of arctic blue ice.

When the heaving stopped, she found herself sobbing. She didn't hear anyone around her, and, fortunately, she probably lost Blythe in the froth of the falls. What was so great about getting away if she was just going to end up freezing to death, anyway, covered in filthy mud? Shade prayed that her mom would find her here, helpless and in dire need of a doctor, and whisk her away. All she wanted was to believe this was all a bad dream, and that she'd wake up and find herself in a safe and warm place. Shade lay there for what felt like an eternity before she heard the crunch of crackling leaves. Swallowing down the last sob, she blinked through the tears in her eyes. Her heart beat like a fluttering hummingbird, banging in her chest.

"Who's there?" She heard the crack in her voice, sounding faded and rough. She wondered how long she had screamed heading down the falls.

"Hush now. You're hurt. Don't move or you'll hurt yourself even more. One moment. This might, unfortunately, hurt a bit," a gentle voice warned.

She felt a hard tug on her body and screamed as an unbearable pain flared up her left arm. Her body shifted and dragged farther up the shore, over more beach sand, and onto a dry blanket before she looked up at her rescuer. It was becoming nearly impossible to keep her eyes open. Her head rolled from side to side as the pain from her damaged shoulder burned through her body. Before the darkness came, she caught sight of a pair of gleaming green eyes, dried autumn leaves, and a flash of brown linen. Trying to open her mouth to speak was futile as she slipped away into the silence of unconsciousness.

Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale #1) by Alexia Purdy (complete)Where stories live. Discover now