“You said she hit a button on a key fob?” He stood before me.
Placing the empty can on the end table, I leaned to the side and pulled out the key fob. It was black with a small red button in the center. “It’s this.” I handed it over. “She said … I think she said it was some kind of sound wave called the Cassio Wave? And that it only affected people with the Andromeda serum, unscrambling some kind of code in the serum. Do I have a code in my head?”
“Like a computer code?” He turned the key fob over. “I don’t think you have a computer code in your head.”
“Duh,” I snapped, rubbing my palms over my knees. “But there’s something in there, because besides the brain-killing pain, I had images, Luc. Like glimpses of memories. I saw a man; he looked strung out, and there was this smell of cat pee … and mold.”
Luc had become very still. “I think you saw your father—your real father.”
I jerked, somehow not surprised and yet … disturbed. “And I saw you—you as a young boy. Running by the river—by the Potomac. We were barefoot and muddy. I think … I think we were laughing. Did we do that?”
Luc took a step forward but stopped himself. “Yes. A lot.”
I let out a shaky breath. “When the pain stopped, she started to say something to me, and I finished the sentence for her. ‘A life for a life,’ and that sounds like some Stephen King stuff right there.”
His brows climbed up his forehead.
“I knew what she was saying then—what it meant—but now I have no idea how or why I knew that. Then she said to me, ‘Come. He’s waiting for us.’”
White light appeared in his pupils. “He?”
I nodded. “I have no idea who he is, but I did hear a man’s voice when my head felt like it was being pulled apart. It was the same voice I heard after I shot April’s handler. He said something like, ‘You’re not like them,’ and then I had a memory of being dressed in black pants and a shirt, holding a gun. I didn’t see him, but I heard his voice.”
His fingers curled over the fob. “And that’s when this voice said you aren’t like the others?”
“Yes, and he said something else. Like I needed to be faster and stronger. I don’t remember exactly.” I winced as a burst of pain lanced through my skull.
“Are you okay?” Luc was immediately by my side, his hand on my cheek.
“Yeah.” I breathed slowly as the pain receded. “Whenever I try to remember what was said, it makes my head hurt.”
“Then don’t. Stop—”
“I can’t stop. None of this makes sense, and I’m sure as hell not going to figure it out if I don’t try.” I pulled away, dragging my hands through my hair, holding the strands back from my face. “April acted like once she hit the button, I would be different, that I would willingly go with her or something. I thought…”
Placing the key fob in his pocket, he placed his hands over mine and gently removed my fingers from my hair. “What?”
I drew in a shallow breath. “I thought I was going to die. The pain was that bad, Luc. It felt like nothing was going to be left of me by the time it ended. I thought—” My voice cracked. “It was so bad. I don’t know how I’m alive…”
“Peaches.” He leaned in, resting his forehead against mine. “Stop. I can’t … I hear you saying this, and I want to blow something up knowing you felt that kind of pain and there was nothing I could do to stop it. That I didn’t even know it was happening—that I should’ve been there.”
Shuddering, I closed my eyes. “I don’t know what she did, but she did something, Luc. That Cassio Wave or whatever it is, it unlocked something in me, and I saw it, Luc.”
“What do you mean?” He pulled my head back, and when my gaze met his, I could see the worry etched into the striking lines of his face. “Besides turning into the Terminator?”
Clasping his wrists, I nodded and whispered, “I’m almost too afraid to say it out loud.”
“Don’t be afraid.” The tips of his fingers touched my cheek. “Never with me.”
Never with me. Those words gave me the courage to speak what was terrifying to even acknowledge. “I saw my eyes. They were like Sarah’s—like April’s. They were black, and my pupils were white. That’s why I couldn’t leave the bathroom. They went back to normal after a couple of minutes, but I saw them.”
His brows knitted. “That’s not possible.”
“I know.” I swallowed hard. “But I saw them. I didn’t imagine it. I saw my eyes, and that’s what they looked like.”