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Heart of Obsidian (Psy-Changeling 12) - Page 29


This feed will continue to be updated as further news becomes available.* PSYNET BEACON: CURRENT EDITION LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Your recent op-ed piece about the rumored disintegration of the Council sinks this highly regarded news bulletin to the level of a human tabloid.

Such sensationalism can only lead to confusion and destabilization at a time when it is integral we remain calm and rational.

Be assured I will be taking my complaint to the News Media Oversight Committee.

R. Vrruti

(Turin)

Bravo to the Beacon for finally stating what many in the populace suspect to be true. If the PsyNet is to survive in the absence of the Council, a new ruling order must be anointed.

Pure Psy are clearly setting themselves up as a choice, but their mindless attacks against the anchors aside, their recent loss to the cobbled-up forces in the California region does not bathe their martial abilities in a competent light. And it is clear that in the current climate, our new leadership must be willing and capable of using force to ensure the peace and Silence so necessary to our survival.

Name withheld by request

(Sioux Falls)

If the Council is in fact no longer in existence, then war among the former Councilors is not a possibility, as per the op-ed, but an inevitability.

As they are some of the most powerful Psy in the world, it is certain that each will seek to gain control of a piece of the Net. Civilians would do well to stay out of their way—collateral damage is apt to be in the hundreds of thousands.

K. Ichikawa

(Fukuoka)

Chapter 13

WELCOME HOME.

“How can this be my house?” Sahara whispered, hotly conscious of the muscled planes of Kaleb’s chest beneath her palm. “I was sixteen at the time of my kidnapping.” Telling herself not to give in to the craving that lived in every cell of her body, a craving that had just led her into a terrifying fall into blackness, she took a deep breath . . . but didn’t let go. Instead, she spread her palm over the cotton of his shirt and, tipping back her head, looked into the pitch-black of his gaze.

“It was a gift,” was the frank yet unfathomable answer. “For your nineteenth birthday.”

Sahara had no need to ask him who had given her such a lovely home as a gift, a home that seemed to have been plucked out of her very thoughts. Her heart a hugeness in her chest, she said, “Tell me,” aware of a vast gulf beneath her feet, a storm of knowledge that pushed at her mind but couldn’t penetrate. “Tell me you aren’t evil.” Please.

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Kaleb’s thumbs moved against her temples. “I’m sorry.”

Shaking her head in a mute refusal to accept what he was trying to tell her, she lifted trembling fingers to his jaw. “What have you done?”

“Too much that can never be undone.”

Crying in earnest now for a man she didn’t know, and yet who was in the most secret part of her heart, she wrapped her arms around his neck and held on, just held on, all the while knowing that he might already have slipped out of her grasp.

His arms came around her, locked tight, his breath harsh against her ear. “I’m sorry,” he said again, voice rough as sandpaper and body rigid, as if he’d clenched every muscle he possessed.

“It’s okay,” she said through her sobs. “It’s okay.” Cupping his nape, she murmured the words over and over, having no conscious knowledge of why she did so—but aware in her bones that while he might be the dangerous one in the room, right this instant, she was the strong one. “It’s okay, Kaleb.

I’m here.”

And I won’t let it be too late.

The silent vow a glowing brand on her heart, she was staring at the window over the breakfast nook when it fractured diagonally down the middle with a loud crack. The unexpected sound nudged loose another memory, one that had her struggling out of his hold. “I’m hurting you!”

Silence, she remembered too late, was built on a system of punishment for incorrect behavior, and while her conditioning might have been shattered out of existence, Kaleb lived within it. For him to touch her, hold her, was to lay himself open to an excruciating backlash of pain that had him wiping away a drop of blood from his nose, the color scarlet on the sleeve of his shirt.

“No, it’s—” Whatever it was he might’ve said was lost as there was a flicker at the corner of her eye that wrenched his attention sideways.

* * *

KALEB didn’t recognize the thickly muscled man who’d teleported into the room.

Flinging the intruder to the wall, he pinned the other man there with a telekinetic grip on his throat, sweeping out his shields at the same time to choke off the male’s mind so he couldn’t send any telepathic messages. The ability to stifle communication on that level wasn’t one possessed by most telepaths; Kaleb had learned it from a monster. “Identify yourself.”

The man’s mud-colored eyes went to Sahara, blood beginning to bubble out of his mouth as he clawed at the invisible hand that had cut off his airway. When Kaleb turned his attention to Sahara, he glimpsed a sickening fear that had her taking a trembling step backward, her hands in bloodless fists at her sides. “This man hurt you?”

A swallow, a jerky nod, one hand rubbing absently over the upper part of her other arm. And he knew that arm had been broken. Slamming the intruder’s head against the wall once more, he walked over to finish the execution by manually gripping the male by the neck and beginning to squeeze the life out of him. Eyes awash with panic begged for him to stop, never realizing that some things were unforgivable.

Sahara came to sudden life behind him. “Kaleb, stop.”

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