The Dark Calling

By: Kresley Cole
1


Day 512 A.F.?


Castle Lethe





Do you not know you’re pregnant?

Do you not know?

Do you not know?

I sputtered, “I-I . . . what?” Tick-tock.

Tick freaking tock. I’d been struggling to wrap my head around Jack’s possible survival, trying to decide if Matthew was bent on driving me crazy.

Now this?

Aric’s blond brows drew together. “You’re carrying our child.” Though he sat beside me on the edge of the bed, he sounded miles distant. “I was wondering why you hadn’t told me. Clearly you had no idea.”

This. Could. Not. Be.

I was seventeen, riding out an apocalypse and counting on a one-way trip against Richter. I clutched the sheets as the bed seemed to spin. “I didn’t know—because it can’t have happened. I’m on something. There’s no way.”

“There must have been. Paul tested your blood.”

“You let him take my blood when I was passed out?” The idea of the two of them administering a pregnancy test on me rankled.

My reaction seemed to surprise Aric. “Yes. After my wife lost consciousness, I bade our medic to determine what ailed her.” When he put it like that, I sounded ridiculous to question his actions. “You were out for an entire day.”

“That long?” I glanced out the window. A blizzard raged in the never-ending night. Lightning flashed as brightly as daylight, illuminating the dense shower.

Last I knew, we’d been hightailing it away from Richter and Zara’s attack after meeting up with Finn. Then Matthew had contacted me, giving me a blinding headache and a nosebleed, but letting me hear Jack.

Matthew could have pulled up an old memory of Jack’s voice, fooling me into believing he lived. But why?

“Sievā, when you lost consciousness, I was frantic.”

I turned back to Aric. Silvery rays of light shot through the blinds, accentuating how tired he looked. He obviously hadn’t slept. “Something else must be wrong. I can sense a seed deep in the ground—wouldn’t I be able to tell if something was growing inside of me?”

He frowned. “Not necessarily.”

“So how far along does Paul think I am?” For weeks, I’d had that ominous countdown feeling in my head. Had I been sensing this?

“His test could only confirm positive or negative. I was so stunned that I asked him to run it twice.”

Of course Aric would be stunned. He’d longed for a kid. Yet even when he’d wanted to try to start a family with me, he’d doubted Death could help create life.

My heart twisted for him. When he found out he’d been duped . . . “Paul’s lying to you. I took a shot. Remember? You and I talked about it.” Aric had been delighted that I’d premeditated sleeping with him.

“We did. But I have to wonder how you’re pregnant if a contraceptive was administered.”

“He must’ve faked the test results.” I knew how insane this sounded, but I still expected Aric to trust my word. “You believe his story? That he tried to get me on birth control and I refused? Why would I do such a thing?”

Seeming to choose his words very carefully, Aric asked, “Why would he lie?”

“I don’t know.” Paul had always been the most helpful person in this household. He’d taken such great care of my grandmother that I could’ve nominated him for sainthood.

“During that time, you were going through intense stress. And you admitted that things had gotten confused in your mind.”

Before the Flash, I’d been programmed by Gran, then deprogrammed in a psych ward. After our reunion  , she’d nearly programmed me again. In her last days, I recalled thinking that my brain felt like Swiss cheese.

Or a bloody battlefield.

“Perhaps they have again?” Aric offered gently. “Are you so certain of your own memories?”

Ugh! I wished I hadn’t admitted my memory issues to him. “I remember the prick of the needle. I remember counting the shots Paul had left, figuring that Lark might want some once she found Finn.”

What if Paul had given me a dummy shot? No! I refused to believe that. Because it would mean . . . Nope. Not going there.

God, I didn’t need this right now; I needed to find out if Jack was alive. What if I’d . . . imagined Matthew’s call?

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