Cranking my neck, I tried to see if Nate reappeared, but he seemed to have vanished. At least he was still alive. That was good.
“Evie?” Eaton snorted, shaking his head as he one-handed the steering wheel of the cart and sped down the steep hill.
I turned toward him. “What?”
“Makes me laugh when you introduce yourself and answer to that. One of these days…,” the general said. He spun the wheel, and the cart went up on two wheels. Under the rumble of the engine, I heard what I thought was the Lord’s Prayer coming from Jeremy. “You’re going to take back the power the name you were born with gave you.”22It was strange how something I’d been trying to figure out could leap right out of General Eaton’s mouth and smack me upside the head.
Take back the power the name you were born with gave you.
Kat had said there had to be something Luc had done that snapped me out of it in the woods. There was something he’d said. It was the same thing that had pulled me out of my sleep.
He’d used my real name, or as Eaton would say, the name I was born with. And that wouldn’t be such a big deal except that the Daedalus hadn’t trained and programmed me when I’d been Evie.
I’d learned everything when I’d been Nadia.
There had to be a connection there.
What, I had no idea, and right now wasn’t the time to figure it out.
I was trying to stay alive.
General Eaton drove like we were in the safety of a steel tank, and Jeremy had definitely been reciting a prayer. Several times I almost flew right out of the vehicle, and I was only seconds away from joining in on that prayer when we bumped over a meadow where grass was as tall as the sides of the cart.
I half expected a damn velociraptor to pounce on us.
Except it wasn’t a dinosaur from Jurassic Park that almost took us out as we cleared the tall grass but a slow-moving cow getting her late lunch on.
I almost died three times in the ten minutes it took us to get where we were going.
The entry house turned out to be a farmhouse, one that was still operating based on the cattle Eaton dodged with impressive ease. When the cart slammed to a stop beside a similar one, I jumped out of that thing with speed that even impressed me.
“Doc Hemenway is here.” Jeremy looked like he might vomit as he poured himself out of the back of the cart. He looked down at his stained clothing. “Good. That’s good.” He was trying to convince himself, and all I could think about was the blood covering him and what kind of wound would cause that.
My steps slowed as I neared the back door. The home looked normal, but at the same time, it seemed to pulse as if it had a heartbeat. Or as if the bones of the house were having a hard time containing whatever was inside. I hadn’t felt anything like that before, not with a Luxen or an Arum. “Spencer is a … friendly?” I asked.
“Yeah.” Jeremy’s voice was hoarse. “Yeah, he is.”
Eaton was stalking toward the open back door, the limp all but gone now. “Where are they?”
“In the dining room.” Jeremy motioned me to follow.
Eaton had already disappeared into the recesses of the farmhouse as we entered through a cleared-out mudroom. Different types of awareness swept through me. There was definitely a Luxen here. I could also feel what I now recognized as an Origin, and the sensation that accompanied a hybrid, but my skin was prickling in a peculiar way. I felt something else. It lay on the tip of my tongue, tasting like summer in the streets. Heated asphalt.
Leaving the mudroom, I entered a narrow hallway, and I wasn’t thinking about unexplained sensations or tastes.
That was the first thing I noticed. Actually, pretty much the only thing I noticed. A llama could’ve belly-danced in front of me and I would’ve only seen the guns.
So. Many. Guns.
Rifles of every length and caliber leaned against the wall of the hallway, enough to arm a—wait. I did a double take. Was that a rocket launcher?
A scream of pain tore through the house, snapping my attention forward. Jeremy took off, his boots smacking off the worn hardwood floor.
I didn’t see the kitchen I crossed through as my steps slowed, every part of me fixated on the tableau in the dining room. A room that had presumably once hosted family gatherings, holiday parties, and had once been a place of joy, but it would be hard to remember that seeing the tragedy playing out in the room now.
Out of everyone in the room, I saw Luc first. It was as if every cell in my body knew where to find him. He was at the side of a trestle table, his hands planted on a chest that looked oh so wrong. I couldn’t see his fingers under the intense white glow of the Source, but I saw the blood smearing his forearms. Stark concentration marked his face as he stared down at the man, who bucked and withered.