“If he knew and did nothing,” Sahara said, so angry her body vibrated with it, “it made him as culpable and as depraved as Enrique. I would’ve killed him, too.”
“No,” he said, “you wouldn’t.”
Sahara shook her head. “For what he did to you? Yes. I am fully capable of erasing the memories of anyone that monstrous to leave them a walking dead shell. I did it once,” she said, needing him to understand that she wasn’t lily-white. “It was a guard who’d hurt me so much.” The orders may have come from Tatiana, but the male had done his task with a relish that betrayed the ugly truth about Silence. “He came too close and I took everything, every memory, every wish, every dream, leaving him a shell with no past and no future.”
“I know,” Kaleb said, icy approval in his tone. “Tatiana documented the incident in her files.”
“Then you know I’ve walked in the darkness,” she said, hand fisting on his heart and voice fierce.
“I won’t ever judge you for doing the same.” No one had any right to do that. No one.
The world had abdicated that privilege when it abandoned a child to a monster. “I will fight you endlessly if I think you’re wrong,” she said, taking his lips in a passionate, possessive kiss, “but I will never judge you.”
The stars returned to his eyes when she didn’t flinch from him, and he told her about something that had nothing to do with hatred, but rather the opposite—how the Ghost had first met his fellow rebels Judd Lauren and Xavier Perez. “Judd thinks I approached him because he was a trained assassin who had already begun to quietly rebel against the status quo, the perfect partner for the Ghost.”
“That wasn’t the reason?” Sahara asked, straddling his thighs so she could watch him as he spoke.
“It was only a peripheral one.” Kaleb put one of his hands on her own thigh, his thumb brushing the inner seam of her jeans. “The real one was that he never forgot his family. Regardless of the risks, he did everything in his power to protect them.”
Unspoken was a truth Judd couldn’t have known—that in the other man’s refusal to give up on his family, Kaleb had seen an echo of his own relentless hunt for Sahara. “Xavier was Judd’s connection first,” he continued, “and I didn’t see the point of bringing him in when Judd suggested it. What could a human offer, after all?”
Compelled by the story of how these three disparate men—cardinal telekinetic, assassin, priest— had come together, she leaned forward, her arms around his neck. “What changed your mind?”
“The Ghost had a conversation with Father Xavier Perez.” Eyes of obsidian potent with memory.
“He understands evil better than any other person I’ve ever known. We disagree in how to eliminate it, but we do not disagree that it exists.”
“I hope I can one day meet them both,” Sahara said, knowing she owed Judd Lauren and Xavier Perez in a way the two men would never understand. They’d not only kept her Kaleb from walking always alone, they had questioned his choices, and in so doing, kept him from becoming the darkness that lived in him. “Will you continue to maintain your shadow identity?”
“It may come in useful on occasion.” His hand around her throat, drawing her closer. “The Ghost is a hero to many people, while Kaleb Krychek is a threat. So perhaps the Ghost will endorse Krychek after a suitable period.”
Laughing at the calculation on his face, she bit down on his lip. “Do you ever think in straight lines?”
“Only when it comes to you.”
It wasn’t until she was about to fall asleep in his arms that she realized he’d deftly avoided going anywhere near one particular subject, the same subject her mind still kept from her. Sahara had a dark suspicion she knew what it was—but given the reaction of her body the last time she’d tried to access that particular memory, she made the decision not to force the issue.
It was, she thought as sleep took her under, going to take every ounce of her intelligence to dance with Kaleb. Spreading her hand over his heart, she smiled and thought of a phrase she’d heard one of the DarkRiver guards use when issuing a friendly challenge to a packmate: Game on.
PSYNET BEACON: BREAKING NEWS *Hong Kong fire contained. Unknown number of casualties—estimates range from two to three hundred thousand dead.
**UPDATED** Pure Psy sends letter to all major comm networks. Text as follows.* We take total, unmitigated responsibility for the Hong Kong strike. It has never been our intention to hide what we do—because what we do is necessary to awaken our people to the reality of our ruined society.
Our actions could not have been successfully completed had the world been under the leadership of a strong Council. It is the weak who lead us now, and that weakness will destroy us all. Silence is the only way to counter what has proved to be a fatal flaw.
Without Silence, this is who we will be—a people without protection or will, a people who can be picked off by the inferior races until the world is ruled by savages. We will not permit such a future to come to pass.
This is a call to arms to all who believe in Silence, in the superiority of our race.
PSYNET BEACON: LIVE NETSTREAM The letter is nonsensical gibberish. Where in the Protocol does it mandate wholesale slaughter?
It is not the “inferior races” who masterminded this attack, but our own. Does that not make us the savages?