Fallen by Lauren Kate - Free download as PDF File .pdf) or read online for free. Enjoy this chapter sampler from Fallen by Lauren Kate. Published 12/08/ Download Fallen PDF by Lauren Kate from Reading Sanctuary in PDF format. Read online Fantasy, Fantasy, Fantasy book "Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass) " by Sarah J. Kingdoms collide in Sarah J. Maas's epic fifth installment in the.
|Language:||English, Spanish, German|
|PDF File Size:||16.50 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Regsitration Required]|
Fallen Lauren Kate Pdf is available here. You can easily Download Fallen Lauren Kate Pdf, Fallen Lauren Kate Pdf by meteolille.info Fallen Series by Lauren Kate. Fallen. Torment. Passion (6/14/). 2. Wolves of Mercy Falls Series by Maggie Stiefvater. Shiver. Linger. A 4-book digital collection of the bestselling FALLEN novels: FALLEN, TORMENT , PASSION, and RAPTURE, available together for the first time in an ebook.
Arianne tells her that his name is Daniel Grigori, and proceeds to mock her for staring at him. Daniel is standing with another boy named Roland, and upon noticing that Luce is staring, Daniel smiles and raises his middle finger towards her. In class, Luce encounters Cam again, who attempts to flirt with her once more.
She still is thinking about Daniel, leaving her distracted throughout the lesson. Randy, the enrollment attendant, arrives and gives all three of them detention. She says that she chooses to stay at the school because she has no other options. The two become friends as Penn helps to clean Luce up. Also in detention are Daniel, Roland, and Molly. After a while, Arriane disappears, and Molly arrives to confront Luce and warns her to stay away from Daniel.
Upon hearing his name, he comes over after Molly has left to ask what has been said about him. While there, the statue she had been cleaning breaks, and Daniel saves Luce from being crushed and quickly disappears. Cam invites Luce to a party loudly in front of Daniel, inciting the rivalry between the two of them. During the party, Luce encounters a strange event in which she can grab a Shadow; a paranormal, ink-like smudge that she has seen since childhood.
This scares and excites her as she has never been able to interact with them before. You 15 going to stay mad at me the whole time? She thought of and refused to give voice to hundreds of questions, frustrations, accusations, and—ultimately—apologies for acting like such a spoiled brat.
At the turnoff for the Anderson Valley, Daniel forked west and tried again to hold her hand. She really wanted to not be fighting with Daniel right now. In the roiling sea of new state, new school, new dangers everywhere, Daniel was the only rock she had to hold on to.
And he was about to leave her? A full moon shone down on a cluster of buildings: Daniel pointed east, into a dark, dense forest of redwood and maple trees. The park looked sad and lonesome, a dull line of low-ceilinged cookie-cutter boxes set along a cheap gravel road. Your father in that lifetime brought your family out from Illinois during the gold rush.
The man was wearing a white undershirt and flannel boxers. Yet it was so clear to Daniel. You had these blue gingham curtains that I used to part so I could climb through your window at night after your parents were asleep.
Luce closed her eyes and tried to fight back her stupid tears. Hearing their history from Daniel made it feel both possible and impossible. Hearing it also made her feel extremely guilty. Better even than she knew herself. Would Daniel know what she was thinking now? Luce wondered whether, in some ways, it was easier to be her and to never have remembered Daniel than it was for him to go through this time and time again.
Daniel smiled. One night around dinnertime I was walking past your house. Your mother had the cabbage going, and it stank so badly I almost skipped your house. But then I saw you through the window. You were sewing. Daniel reached for them across the console. What was that like? In the side mirror, Luce watched the mobile home park grow smaller, darker, until it disappeared completely.
But then, a few seconds later, Daniel parked the car in front of an empty all-night diner with yellow walls and floor-to-ceiling front windows. The block was full of quirky, quaint buildings that reminded Luce of a less stuffy version of the New England coastline near her old New Hampshire prep school, Dover. The street was paved with uneven cobblestones that glowed yellow in the light from the streetlamps overhead. At its end, the road seemed to drop straight into the ocean.
A coldness sneaked up on her. She had to ignore her reflexive fear of the dark. Daniel had explained about the shadows—that they were nothing to be afraid of, merely messengers. Which should have been reassuring, except for the hard-to-ignore fact that it meant there were bigger things to be afraid of.
If she was going to trust Daniel when he said he had to abandon her after longing all her life for this reunion—well, maybe she just wanted to understand the origins of that trust. To know when and how it had all begun. Luce bit her lip, trying to think back to the research she and Penn had done. The Grigoris are a clan. Because they watch and learn from what happened when … back when I was still welcome in Heaven.
And back when you were … well, this all happened a very long time ago, Luce. Where was I? Is that what happened? Did you …? The world was newer, but you were just the same. He nodded.
The only difference was, in the beginning, you were off-limits to me. Things were very violent in Heaven. Because of who … I am … I was expected to stay away from you. You were a distraction. The focus was supposed to be on winning the war. Daniel would have to be important in Heaven in order to have caused such a big rift. In order for his love of a mortal girl to be so off-limits. For me?
She felt heavy, like she was dragging. Dragging him down. The air was cool and moist with sea spray. Just to the left of the steps, a trail led away. Daniel smiled at her, straightening his shoulders, and unfurled his wings. Slowly, they extended up and out from his shoulders, unfolding with an almost inaudible series of soft snaps and creaks. Fully flexed, they made a gentle, feathery fwump like a duvet being flung over a bed.
There were two tiny, otherwise invisible slits, which parted now to let his wings slip through. Or did he have certain, special things he wore when he knew he planned on flying? Either way, his wings never failed to leave Luce speechless. They were enormous, rising three times taller than Daniel, and curved up into the sky and to either side like broad white sails. Their broad expanse caught the light of the stars and reflected it more intensely, so that they glowed with an iridescent shimmer.
Near his body they darkened, shading into a rich earthy cream color where they met his shoulder muscles. But along their tapered edges, they grew thin and glowed, becoming almost translucent at the tips. Luce stared at them, rapt, trying to remember the line of every glorious feather, to hold all of it inside her for when he went away.
He shone so bright, the sun could have borrowed light from him. The smile in his violet eyes told her how good it felt for him to let his wings out. As good as Luce felt when she was wrapped up in them. I have to give you something to remember me by. With her back pressed to his chest, and his head over her shoulder, Daniel traced a line of kisses down her neck.
She held her breath, waiting. Then he bent his legs and gracefully pushed off the edge of the cliff. They were flying. Away from the rocky ledge of the coastline, over the crashing silver waves below, arcing across the sky as if they were soaring for the moon.
The night was absolutely quiet. As if they were the only two people left in the world. Daniel laughed. Maybe one day soon. They were far above the tallest building in town and moving incredibly fast. But Luce had never felt safer or more in love in her life.
The sounds of the ocean grew louder again. A dark single-lane road wound off the main highway. When their feet touched down lightly on a cool patch of thick grass, Luce sighed. The Shoreline School. She could see a large building in the distance, but from here it looked completely dark, merely a shape on the horizon.
Daniel held her pressed to him, as if they were still in the air. She craned her head around to look at his expression. His eyes were damp. They have been for millennia.
They will do anything they can to stop us. I love you, Luce. More than anything. When he let her out of his embrace, he opened his palm and a small red shape inside it began to grow. Her duffel bag. In just a few seconds, it had filled out entirely, back to its full size. A single light went on inside the building.
A silhouette appeared in the doorway. She let everything else fall away, let her heart brim over. And the future. The figure in the doorway was walking toward her, a woman in a short white dress. The kiss Luce had shared with Daniel, too sweet to be so brief, left her just as out of breath as their kisses always did. It was all happening too fast. Not yet. Her heart went after him as she opened her eyes and saw the last trace of his wings disappear inside a cloud, into the dark night. Luce winced and rubbed her face.
Her nose stung. Now it was her cheekbones. Her eyelids drifted open and, almost immediately, she scrunched up her face in surprise. A stocky dishwater-blond girl with a grimly set mouth and major eyebrows was leaning over her. Her hair was piled messily on top of her head. She wore yoga pants and a ribbed camouflage tank top that matched her green-flecked hazel eyes.
She held a Ping-Pong ball between her fingers, poised to pelt. Luce scrambled backward in her bedsheets and shielded her face. Her heart already hurt from missing Daniel. She looked down, still trying to get her bearings, and remembered the bed she had indiscriminately collapsed into the night before. Even in her stunned stupor, Luce could tell that the woman was beautiful. She was in her mid-thirties, with blond hair brushing her shoulders, round cheekbones, and large, soft features.
Angel, Luce decided almost instantly. Other than the stranger I wake to find squatting in my room. Other than the kid disrupting my morning mantra with her weirdly personal sleep-babbling.
Just a Californian girl with a strong sense of entitlement. Luce sat up in bed and looked around. The room was a little cramped, but it was nicely appointed, with light-colored hardwood floors; a working fireplace; a microwave; two deep, wide desks; and built-in bookshelves that doubled as a ladder to what Luce now realized was the top bunk.
She could see a private bathroom through a sliding wooden door. And—she had to blink a few times to be certain—an ocean view out the window. Not bad for a girl who had spent the past month gazing out at a rank old cemetery in a room more appropriate for a hospital than a school. But then, at least that rank cemetery and that room had meant she was with Daniel.
And 21 now she was back to starting from scratch. Sterile chic, as Callie had once said. This room, on the other hand—there was something about it that was strangely … groovy. Wait, how did you know my name? She pictured Shelby darting across a whole network of ledges on the roof to get back here in the middle of the night. Shelby made a show of yawning. Especially not Lucinda Price. Luce wanted to know what it meant. And where Shelby had been until three.
And who were the Nephilim kids? But though Arriane had seemed intimidating and even a little dangerous, there had been something charmingly off-kilter about her from the start. Shelby popped off the bed and lumbered into the bathroom to brush her teeth. After digging through her duffel bag to find her toothbrush, Luce followed her in and gestured sheepishly at the toothpaste.
She spat out a mouthful of froth. Not one brush of an angel wing. Not one kiss of his lips. Luce needed the girl to help jog her memory.
She must have been dreaming about Daniel. Next time, try enunciating. You coming or what? Shelby shrugged. Whatever takes the least amount of time. She would have liked to spend a few more minutes on her first-day-of-school look, but she just grabbed her backpack and followed Shelby out the door. The dormitory hallway was different in the daylight. Everywhere she looked were bright, oversized windows with ocean views, or built-in bookshelves crammed full of thick, colorful hardcover books.
Every few steps, the hallway seemed to split off into small tributary hallways, with spiral staircases leading further into the dimly lit maze. Two flights of stairs and what looked like one secret door later, Luce and Shelby stepped through a set of double-paned French windows and into the daylight. It smelled like the ocean, but not really like home.
Less briny, more chalky than the East Coast shore. This lawn was bordered on three sides by thick blue hydrangea bushes, and on the fourth by the steep, straight drop into the sea.
As they approached the terrace, Luce saw another building, a long, rectangular structure with wooden shingles and cheery yellow-trimmed windowpanes. A large hand-carved sign hung over the entrance: It was certainly the nicest mess Luce had ever seen. The terrace was filled with whitewashed iron lawn furniture and about a hundred of the most laid-back-looking students Luce had ever seen.
Most of them had their shoes kicked off, their feet propped up on the tables as they dined on elaborate breakfast dishes. Eggs Benedict, fruit-topped Belgian waffles, wedges of rich-looking, flaky spinach-flecked quiche. Kids were reading the paper, gabbing on cell phones, playing croquet on the lawn. Luce knew from rich kids at Dover, but East Coast rich kids were pinched and snotty, not sun-kissed and carefree. The whole scene looked more like the first day of summer than a Tuesday in early November.
Luce wished she could turn to Arriane now. It would be good to be able to laugh. Looking around, she accidentally caught the eyes of a couple of students. A pretty girl with olive skin, a polka-dot dress, and a green scarf tied in her glossy black hair.
A sandy-haired guy with broad shoulders tackling an enormous stack of pancakes. But … neither one of these kids glared at her. The biggest surprise about Shoreline was not the crystal sunshine or the cushy breakfast terrace or the buckets-of-money aura hovering over everyone. It was that the students here were smiling. Well, most of them were smiling. When Shelby and Luce reached an unoccupied table, Shelby picked up a small placard and flung it to the ground.
Luce leaned sideways to see the word RESERVED written on it just as a kid their age in a full-on black-tie waiter suit approached them with a silver tray. Gotta slave to get by. She picked up the San Francisco Chronicle from the middle of the table and unfolded the front page with a yawn.
It was right around then that Luce had had enough. She was tall, with an imperious bearing, and was put together with a style that came across as effortless. Her lips were glossy pink. She wore a cool fitted black sheath dress with a blue belt and matching peep-toe stilettos.
It was the kind of outfit that would make anyone feel dowdy by comparison. And maybe not worn her mud-crusted Converses. Luce just cleared her throat. Most of our gifted students just ease right in. Or just lean on Shelby. Her laugh was a gruff, gravelly thing, the kind of chortle Luce would have expected from an old man, a lifetime smoker, not a teenage yoga enthusiast. Luce could feel her face pinching up into a scowl. She belonged with real people, people with soul instead of squash rackets, who knew what life was like.
She belonged with Daniel. She still had no idea what she was doing here, other than hiding out very temporarily while Daniel took care of his … war. After that, he was going to take her back home. Or something. Enjoy breakfast! When she was gone, Shelby took a big slurp of her coffee and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
Part of her wanted to find another table. There were happy buzzes of conversation going on all around her. But she was confused by what Francesca had said. Why pitch Shelby as some great roommate when it was clear the girl was a total hater? She raised one giant eyebrow. So what if I have a few questions? She folded and set down the paper and 25 leaned back in her chair. Every semester, they wage a campaign. And every semester, Francesca has to make up some bunk unpassable test to keep him out.
That means anything with angel in its DNA. Mortals, immortals, transeternals. We try not to discriminate. Would you want to be called a nephil? It sounds like a bag you carry your shame in. No, thanks. She just seemed kind of coarse and cranky. Do you go on to angel college after this?
A lot of kids take a year off and do Nephilim Corps. You get to travel, have a fling with a foreigner, et cetera. The girl whose big-shot boyfriend pulled some strings. Was that … the truth? Just leave me out of it, okay? Maybe she and Shelby needed to rewind again. Suddenly, the girl with the green scarf was standing before her, grinning and nudging another girl forward. Luce glanced past them, but Shelby was already far away—and probably not worth catching up to.
Up close, the green-scarf girl looked kind of like a young Salma Hayek, with full lips and an even fuller chest. The other girl, with her pale coloring, hazel eyes, and short black hair, looked kind of like Luce. She had very small white teeth and was using them to hold a couple of sequin-tipped bobby pins while she twisted a few dark tendrils into little knots. Ohmigod, what was Cam like? I saw him once at this death metal concert … of course, I was too nervous to introduce myself.
This is Jasmine. This was new. We always say how you and Daniel are, like, the greatest love story. Okay, does it make you want him even more? I bet it does! She glanced around the busy terrace, wondering whether anyone could overhear them. Speaking of burning up, her cheeks must be beet red right now.
An iron bell rang from the roof of the mess hall to signal the end of breakfast, and Luce was glad to see that everyone else had other things to focus on. Like getting to class.
It sounds so totally romantic and awesome. Luce had never been on the receiving end of one of those giggles before. Not what you want to hear. This was maddening. Luce was fiercely embarrassed. And, okay, a little excited. And absolutely unsure whether any of it was true. One thing was sure: Luce was suddenly kind of … famous. But it felt strange.
Like she was one of those unnamed bimbos next to the It-boy movie star in a paparazzi photo. All the time! She had to keep reminding herself: This was only temporary. Temporary, but still stunningly beautiful. The three of them walked along the hydrangea path, which curved around the mess hall. The waves rolled toward the small stretch of tawny beach at the foot of the cliff almost as casually as the Shoreline student body rolled toward class. An impressive two-story A-frame cabin stood alone at the end of the path.
It had been built in the middle of a shady pocket of redwoods, so its steep, triangular roof and 28 the vast open lawn in front of it were covered with a blanket of fallen needles. There was a nice grassy patch with some picnic tables, but the main attraction was the cabin itself: More than half of it looked like it was made of glass, all wide, tinted windows and open sliding doors.
Like something Frank Lloyd Wright could have designed. Several students lounged on a huge second-story deck that faced the ocean, and several more kids were mounting the twin staircases that wound up from the path. It looked more like a vacation home than a school building. He had a thin face, stylish rectangular glasses, and a thick head of wavy salt-and-pepper hair. He looked at Luce long enough to make her veer toward nervousness, but the smile stayed on his face.
She is shameless. And you call them by their first names? Who teaches what? Frankie and Steven teach it jointly. Part of the deal here, sort of yin and yang. You know, so none of the students get … swayed. Everyone else was starting to amble through the sliding glass doors. They just sort of … live in sin. Come on, we gotta go. It was broad and had three shallow risers, with desks on them, that led down to a couple of long tables. Most of the light came in through skylights.
The natural lighting and high ceilings made the room seem even bigger than it was. An ocean breeze blew in through the open doors and kept the air comfortable and fresh. She wondered if Daniel was thinking about her. Did he miss her the way she 29 missed him?
Luce chose a desk close to the windows, between Jasmine and a cute boy-next-door kind of guy who was wearing cutoffs, a Dodgers cap, and a navy sweatshirt. A few girls stood clustered near the door to the bathroom.
One of them had curly hair and boxy purple glasses. But when the girl turned toward Luce, her face was a little squarer and her clothes were a little tighter and her laugh was a little louder and Luce almost felt like her heart was wilting. It never would be, ever again. Luce could feel the other kids glancing at her—some of them outright stared.
There were two dry-erase white boards behind the tables. Two bookshelves on either side. Two trash cans. Two desk lamps. Two laptops, one on each table. And the two teachers, Steven and Francesca, huddled near the front of the room, whispering. Francesca sat on top of one, with one leg tucked beneath her and one of her high heels skimming the wood floor. Steven leaned against the other table, opened a heavy maroon leather portfolio, and rested his pen between his lips.
But none of that happened. And most of the kids were still sneaking glances at her. Steven smiled, showing a flash of brilliant white teeth. They were actually turning in their seats to focus on her. She could feel her heart race and her palms grow damp.
She shrank in her seat, wishing she were just a normal kid at a normal school back home in normal Thunderbolt, Georgia. But there was where her anxious, tumbling mind always came to a full stop: How to be normal and still have Daniel? Who was so very far from normal. It was impossible. So here she was, sucking it up.
So Luce had just gotten her out of a presentation. That had to be worth something in roommate points. Luce expected the chorus of groans that those words usually evoked from a classroom of teens. But these kids all seemed so agreeable and well-adjusted.
They were actually just going to go with the flow. Lines had been drawn on the page, dividing it into twenty boxes. Each box contained a phrase. The object was to go around the room and match a different student with each phrase. Mostly, she was relieved; there were definitely more embarrassing icebreakers out there. She thought back to the nervous waiter who had brought her and Shelby their breakfast.
Maybe Luce would be more comfortable among the scholarship kids. She could levitate? Trying not to show that she was feeling more and more inadequate, Luce searched the page for something, anything she knew anything about. Has experience summoning the Announcers. The shadows. Both Jasmine and Dawn looked up at her, a little awed but not disbelieving, before moving on to fill in the rest of their sheets. She had three boxes left when Shelby tugged the paper out of her hands. Luce stared at the paper, thinking about all her own past lives and how frustratingly off-limits they were to her.
She had underestimated Shelby. But her roommate was already gone. He was a good half foot taller than Luce, with a bright, friendly smile, a splash of freckles on his nose, and clear blue eyes. Something about him, even the way he was chewing on his pen, looked … sturdy. He tossed his head from side to side and wrote his name in the box. Miles Fisher. Freaked my dad out for about ten seconds, but then it faded.
It was just so hard to process all these hints that other people here knew more about her than she knew about herself. My powers are embarrassingly low-grade. Miles rolled his eyes good-naturedly. She your roommate? Music to her mortal ears. Alone for the first time all morning, she looked down at the sheet of paper in her hand, unsure how to feel about the other kids at Shoreline.
Too far away. She pressed a finger to her lips, remembering his last kiss. The incredible embrace of his wings. She felt so cold without him, even in the California sunshine.
But she was here because of him, accepted into this class of angels or whatever they were—complete with her bizarre new reputation—all thanks to him. In a weird way, it felt good to be connected to Daniel so inextricably. Until he came for her, it was all she had to hold on to. He was wearing a vintage yellow T-shirt with a Sunkist logo on it, a baseball cap pulled down just above his blue eyes, flip-flops, and frayed jeans. Feeling inspired by the very relaxed dress code at Shoreline, Luce had swapped out her standard black getup.
She was wearing a red sundress with a short white cardigan, which felt kind of like the first day of sunshine after a long stretch of rain. She dropped a spoonful of sugar into her cup and laughed. Maybe my roommate, who I think snuck in just before sunrise this morning and was gone again before I woke up. Anonymous freak, I got used to. As he dabbed the side of his mouth with his napkin, Luce half-marveled, half-chuckled at his occasionally impeccable table manners.
When she feels like it. For some reason having both sides present gives students here the most freedom to develop. But develop into what?
It could only apply to the kids who were Nephilim. Not Luce, who was the lone full human in her class of almost-angels, waiting until her angel felt like swooping back in to save her. Whether you two really do it on the clouds?
Everyone else, that is. I try not to, um, speculate. As much as it sucked, Luce understood why Daniel and Mr. Cole had forbidden her to reach out to Callie or her parents. But Daniel and Mr. Cole were the ones who had enrolled her at Shoreline. Especially since he already knew some version of the truth. But basically, Daniel is an important angel. I guess he was kind of a big deal before the Fall. She felt nervous. The surreal battle in the cemetery.
At the end, she felt lighter. Feels really good to say it aloud. And Nephilim like you. For the first time, she noticed a clear line dividing the tables of the Nephilim kids from the rest of the student body.
The Nephilim claimed all the tables on the west side, closest to the water. There were fewer of them, no more than twenty, but they took up a lot more tables, sometimes with just one kid at a table that could have seated six, while the rest of the kids had to cram into the remaining east-side tables. Take Shelby, for example, who sat alone, battling the fierce wind over the paper she was trying to read.
Luce had met some of the other non-gifted kids yesterday. After lunch, classes were held in the main building, a much less architecturally impressive structure where more traditional subjects were taught. Biology, geometry, European history. Some of those students seemed nice, but Luce felt an unspoken distance—all because she was on the gifted track—that thwarted the possibility of a conversation.
But seriously, do you think anyone over there could have handled what you did, and lived to tell about it? Her death had been so senseless.
None of it was fair. Francesca and Steven are big on teaching us about the present and the future, but not really the past. Something to do with empowering us. But the early stuff you were talking about? None of the lessons here ever really go into that. You want to do this again sometime?
He was friendly and had the kind of sense of humor that put Luce instantly at ease. The battle that was coming. If even the Nephilim were preparing for it, where did that leave Luce? Steven and Francesca had a way of dressing in complementary colors that made them look better outfitted for a photo shoot than a lecture. It had a loose bow around her neck and matched, almost exactly, the orange tie that Steven wore with his ivory oxford shirt and navy blazer.
They were stunning to look at, and Luce was drawn to them, but not exactly in the couples-crush way Dawn had predicted the day before. Watching her teachers from her desk between Miles and Jasmine, Luce felt drawn to Francesca and Steven for reasons closer to her heart: They reminded her of her relationship with Daniel. Of course that had something to do with their powers as fallen angels, but it must also have had to do with the unique way they connected.
Most of the students had taken their seats. Dawn and Jasmine were going on to Luce about joining the steering committee so she could help them plan all these amazing social events. Luce had never been a big extracurricular girl. She was adding her name to the roster when Steven stepped forward, tossed his blazer on the table behind him, and wordlessly spread his arms out at his sides.
As if summoned, a shard of deep black shadow seemed to part from the shadows of one of the redwoods right outside the window. It peeled itself off the grass, then took substance and whipped into the room through the open window. It was quick, and where it went the day blackened and the room fell into darkness. In fact, most of the students inched back nervously in their desks as Steven begin to twirl the shadow.
He just reached his hands in and began wrenching faster and faster, seeming to wrestle with something. Soon the shadow was spinning around in front of him so quickly it went blurry, like the spokes of a turning wheel. Steven manipulated the shadow, arms straining, from a messy, amorphous shape into a tight, black sphere, no bigger than a grapefruit. In her heels, she was nearly as tall as Steven. And, Luce imagined, she was just as skilled at dealing with the shadows.
But do you really know what they are? Do you know what they can do? She was still too new to Shoreline to feel comfortable calling out the answer, but none of the other students seemed to know. Slowly she raised her hand. Francesca cocked her head. But harmless? Her tone betrayed nothing about whether Luce was right or wrong, which made Luce feel embarrassed. The shadow bulged and stretched out like a balloon being blown up.
It made a thick glugging sound as its blackness distorted, showing colors more vivid than anything Luce had seen before. Deep chartreuse, glittering gold, marbleized swaths of pink and purple. A whole swirling world of color glowing brighter and more distinct behind a disappearing mesh of shadow.
Steven and Francesca were still tugging, stepping backward slowly until the shadow was about the size and shape of a large projector screen. Then they stopped. There could be no preparation for this. The tangle of colors separated, settled finally into a canvas of distinct shapes. They were looking at a city. An ancient stone-walled city … on fire. Overcrowded and polluted, consumed by angry flames. People cornered by the flames, their mouths dark emptinesses, raising their arms to the skies.
And everywhere a shower of bright sparks and burning bits of fire, a rain of deadly light landing everywhere and igniting everything it touched. Luce could practically smell the rot and doom coming through the shadow screen. Other students around her were ducking their heads, as if they were trying to block out 37 some wail, some screaming that to Luce was indistinguishable. There was nothing but clean silence as they watched more and more people die. Not one but two cities were burning.
She knew what they were looking at: Sodom and Gomorrah, two cities in the Bible, two cities destroyed by God. Then, like turning off a light switch, Steven and Francesca snapped their fingers and the image disappeared.
The remnants of the shadow shattered into a small black cloud of ash that settled eventually on the floor of the classroom. Around Luce, the other students all seemed to be catching their breath. How had it done that?
It was starting to congeal again, the pieces of dark pooling together, slowly returning to a more familiar shadow shape. Its services complete, the Announcer inched sluggishly along the floorboards, then slid right out of the classroom, like the shadow cast by a closing door. He and Francesca shared a worried look as they glanced around the room. Dawn was whimpering at her desk. How you can change things for the better, however each of you decide to define that.
We like to look forward, instead of backward. Even I sometimes lapse into propaganda. They can hold very valuable information. In a way, they are shadows—but shadows of the past, of long-ago and not-so-long-ago events.
But someday, maybe, it will be a possibility. He gave her a wide-eyed smile, as if he were relieved to hear this. Her voice had the effect of aloe on a sunburn. Shadow-glimpsing is not done without great cost. It takes energy to look back even a few days, but to look back millennia? Well, you can feel the effects yourselves. They looked dazed, exhausted. When she stood up, her own knees were a little wobbly, but somehow she felt less shaken than the others seemed to be.
She tightened her cardigan around her shoulders and followed Miles out of the classroom. She was. Feel like I need a nap.
I am so conking out right now. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah had been horrifying. They took the shortcut back to the dorm, around the north side of the mess hall and into the shade of the redwoods.
It was strange seeing the campus so empty, with all the other kids at Shoreline still in class in the main building. One by one, the Nephilim peeled off the path and headed straight to bed. Except for Luce.
Instead, she felt strangely energized. She wished, again, that Daniel were there. In front of Luce were the stairs leading up to her dorm room. Behind her, the redwood forest. She went into the woods.
Her watch said 11 a. Goose bumps rose on her bare legs as she pressed deeper into the shady forest. She was about to enter uncharted territory. Forbidden territory.
She was going to summon an Announcer. The very first time was when she pinched one during class to keep it from sneaking into her pocket. Poor Penn. If she had known how to manipulate it then, the way Francesca and Steven had manipulated the one today—could she have stopped what happened? She closed her eyes. Saw Penn, slumped against the wall, her chest aproned with blood.
Her fallen friend. Looking back on that night was too painful, and it never got Luce anywhere. All she could do now was look ahead.
A slinking, black, familiar shape lurking alongside the true shadow of a low redwood branch a mere ten yards in front of her. She took a step toward it, and the Announcer shrank back. Trying not to make any sudden moves, Luce pressed on, closer, closer, willing the shadow not to slip away. The shadow twitched under its tree branch but stayed put. Heart racing, Luce tried to calm herself down. Yes, it was dark in this forest; and yes, not a soul knew where she was; and okay, sure, there was a chance no one would miss her for a good while if anything happened—but there was no reason to panic.
So why did she feel gripped by a gnawing fear? It was time to make a move. She could either stand here frozen forever, or she could chicken out and go sulking back to the dorm, or— Her arm shot out, no longer shaking, and took hold of the thing. She dragged it up and clutched it tightly to her chest, surprised by its heft, by how cold and damp it was.
Like a wet towel. Her arms were shaking. What did she do with it now? The image of those burning cities flashed into her mind. Luce wondered whether she could stand to see this message on her own. If she could even figure out how to unlock its secrets.
How did these things work?