The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 70

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“Well,” Heidi said, drawing the word out. “This is really—”

I turned to Heidi as she made this weird choking sound. Her mouth was moving, but no words were coming out. Her entire body jerked like something had grabbed her.

Heidi blinked as her bag slid off her arm and hit the floor.

Time stopped.

Something red leaked out of the corner of her mouth. Confusion swamped me. What was that red? My gaze dropped. There was—oh my God—her shirt was ripped open over her right shoulder, and red—red was everywhere. Horror seized every part of me in its icy grip.


She fell—folded like an accordion—and I shot forward, trying to catch her, but my feet slipped under me, and her sudden weight was too much. I went down, my knees cracking off the floor, and I tried to hold her, but she slipped out of my arms, rolling onto her back.

“Heidi,” I whispered, grabbing at her shirt. “Heidi.”

Her eyes were open, and her face was so pale, too pale. She started to speak, but the only sound that came out of her was a wet, bloody cough as she clutched at my arm.

Slowly, I looked up at April.

She held my camera in one hand, and her other … wasn’t right. Her hand looked almost see-through, but her forearm was covered with blood … and tissue. Pressure clamped down on my chest.

Smoke wafted from my camera. The smell of burned plastic mingled with the overwhelming scent of blood. April’s gaze met mine, and I shrank back. Her eyes—oh my God, her eyes.

The entirety of her eyes was as black as obsidian, but her pupils shone like white diamonds.

I’d seen eyes like that once before.


The girl Kent strongly believed had turned into a zombie and launched herself out the window.

April dropped the ruined, smoking camera. “Look at what you made me do.”17Every muscle in my body locked up as I stared at April.

She laughed as if someone had just told a joke. “You should see your face right now. It reminds me of Andy before, well, you know. He died.”

I jerked, my gaze swinging back to Heidi. The deaths Micah had said he hadn’t caused. Andy. Those families …

“You,” I whispered. “It was you.”

April’s mouth twisted into a semblance of a smile. “Guilty.”

Heidi’s hand slipped off my arm. Rage rolled over the horror, and I wanted to dig into April, rip into her with my nails and teeth like an animal, but the logical part of my brain was in control. Heidi was the priority. I knew I needed to get her out of here fast. Luc could heal her—fix her like he’d fixed me before, because Heidi was not going to die.

I would not allow that to happen.

April reached for me, and my heart seized as I threw my arm out but didn’t make contact. Her ponytail lifted off her shoulder as she stumbled back several steps. She caught herself before she went down.

Her chin dipped as she bared her perfect, straight teeth in a growl that did not remotely sound human.

Holy crap.

Springing into action, I scrambled backward. I shot to my feet and turned, running toward the wall behind me—to the red metal square. Wrapping my fingers around the white lever, I pulled the fire alarm.

The high, shrill buzz of the alarm was immediate. I spun as the small bright lights flashed up and down the hall.

April stepped back, her head swiveling toward the increasing sound of voices and footsteps. She whirled on me, letting out an unnerving trilling sound that sent a chill down my spine.

It was the same sound Sarah had made.

April blew me a kiss, smirking as she spun away. She was gone in a heartbeat, nothing but a blur.

I didn’t give her a second thought. Not right then. I rushed to Heidi’s side and gripped her right arm. “You’ve got to get up, Heidi. Please. You have to help me get you out of here. Please.”

Heidi groaned as I pulled her upright. She didn’t speak.

Panic blossomed in my chest. “Heidi. Please.” My voice broke. “Oh God, please get up.”

Shoving my arm around her waist, I used every ounce of strength I had in me to lift her up onto her feet. Her entire body was trembling as I guided her down the hall to the nearest exit. “It’ll be okay. I promise. I’m getting you help.”

Even though Luc and I hadn’t spoken since our argument, I needed him. I didn’t know if Zoe could heal Heidi. I knew it wasn’t something all Origins or even Luxen could do, but I knew Luc could. “I promise. Please hang in there.”

Using my hip, I pushed open the door, and we tripped onto the gravel part of the back parking lot. Reaching into my back pocket, I found Luc’s number through the haze of tears. Please, answer the phone. Please.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance