The Struggle (Titan 3) - Page 18

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Other times Hyperion . . . he was like a daimon.

He used his teeth.

Resting my head on my knees, I folded my arms behind my calves. There was one bite mark along my right wrist, just below the gold band. Wasn’t exactly deep, but it was bruised and raw, and it was healing. At least, I thought it was. The other on my left arm was rougher and fresher. The skin didn’t feel right and it still oozed blood, or maybe some other kind of fluid I didn’t want to think about.

Could demigods get infections?

I had no idea.

Wasn’t like there was anyone I could ask.

Once Hyperion was done, I’d be left alone for what I guessed was a day, maybe longer, to give my body time to replenish the stolen aether, just like a mortal body replenishes lost fluids and cells. That’s what Hyperion had explained . . . or taunted. It wasn’t like he actually conversed with me. Neither did the female Titan.

She was as cruel as Hyperion, perhaps even more so, but she was also afraid. That much I could tell, but Hyperion wasn’t. Not at all.

It felt like a lot of hours had passed since I’d seen Hyperion last, and that meant Hyperion would be returning soon.

And I knew what would happen.

He’d order me to follow him, and if I didn’t, he’d drag me from here. Literally. Then he would take me through what had turned out to be a warehouse, out through the loading docks and into the empty parking lot. He didn’t just let me sit out there and soak up the sun.

Oh no.

He had to talk.

And then he’d haul me back inside. I would fight at first, no matter how pointless it was, because I had to. He always won those battles, but I had the bruises to prove I didn’t go softly into the night or whatever.

I wasn’t sure if I could go through it all again.

I didn’t want to.

A raspy moan escaped me, and I lifted my hands, sliding them through the dry, matted hair, tugging it back from my face. My hair felt coarse and gross, as did the clothes I wore.

I hadn’t showered since I came here. I knew I stunk, and I was okay with that, because I preferred to look as unappealing as possible to Hyperion.

Lowering my hands, I let them fall to my sides. My body tensed as I thought I heard footsteps. Air catching in my throat, I lifted my head and strained to hear more.

Hope that someone, anyone, was going to rescue me had fizzled out and died after the second time Hyperion had fed on me, because I . . . I had screamed for my father.

I’d screamed for Seth.

Tears of humiliation burned my eyes. I’d screamed for him until my voice gave way, and Hyperion laughed.

Apollo never came.

And Seth . . . he never answered.

He’d left me, and even though I’d planned to find him, to prove that I loved him and to show him that he was worthy of that love, he’d left me and I . . . I was here.

I knew Seth didn’t know I’d been taken. Every part of my being knew that if he had known, he would’ve come for me. I knew that, but being here was like an open wound in my chest. It festered and rotted, breaking my heart every time I thought of him. Every time that I knew he wasn’t going to swoop in and save me.

No one was coming.

It was solely up to me to survive this, to escape.

The only chance I had was when he took me outside. Hyperion once said that it helped replenish the aether, and I guessed it had to do with my father being the whole god of the sun thing.

Running was the only chance I had now. Wasn’t the best plan, but it was better than accepting this was my future, my life, until there was nothing left of me to give.

And there wasn’t just me to think about. There was Mitchell, and if he was still alive, he was here somewhere. He was beyond helping himself. I had to get him out of here before it was too late.

I rubbed at my eyes, wincing since I was too rough on the raw skin. Resting my cheek against my knee, I closed my eyes. I must’ve dozed off, because the next thing I knew my head was jerking up as the door opened.

Hyperion filled the doorway. “Good afternoon, Sunshine.”

“Fuck you,” I spit out, tensing.

He chuckled as he crossed the short distance. “So elegant. Want to try again?”

I swallowed hard. “Go fuck yourself?”

“Not necessary.” He loomed over me. “Get up.”

Part of me wanted to refuse, but if I didn’t, he’d put his hands on me, and I didn’t want to deal with that, so I rose on weak legs and stepped around him. I started forward on my own, making it halfway across the room before he slammed his hand into the center of my back, shoving me forward.

I nearly lost my balance, catching myself with a hand thrown out. “That . . . that was rude.”

“You’re too slow.” His fingers dug into the flesh of my shoulder. “You walk like an overfed cow.”

I bit the inside of my lip as we entered the narrow stairwell. He all but pushed me the whole way up.

“You actually remind me of a cow,” he said as we went through a doorway where the double doors had fallen off the hinges. “A fat, spotted cow.”

“You have such a way with words,” I gritted out as we walked past wooden crates and empty, dust-covered work benches. “My heart is all aflutter.”

His fingers dug in deeper, causing me to wince. “I’d think you’d have lost some weight by now. Your body must be holding on to the fat for dear life.”

“Wow,” I muttered. Truth was, I had lost weight. My jeans barely stayed up.

Hyperion reached around me, opening up the gray door. Sunlight poured in, and I squinted at the brightness. He led me down the ramp. The parking lot was vacant with the exception of two empty delivery trucks that had been there since I’d first been brought outside. They were older models. The words MILL AND SONS INC. were painted in faded red paint on one of the trucks. Weeds poked through the cracked cement. Several yards away, trees crowded the edge of the parking lot.

There was nothing else around here.

I knew this, because I had never seen any buildings or heard cars off in the distance, and no one had . . . no one had investigated the screams.

My knees wobbled as I walked ahead of Hyperion, the cement blistering hot under my bare feet. I had no idea where we were, but I imagined we were somewhere in the south, if we were still in the States.

“Sit,” he ordered, dropping his hand.

Drawing in a deep breath, I started to do just as he said, but at the very last second, I sprung forward, forcing my legs to move. I took off.

“Really?” Hyperion laughed. “You’re going to try to run from me?”

Legs and arms pumping, I ignored the stiffness and pain, and ran—ran as fast as I could. Tiny rocks dug into the soles of my feet, slicing my skin, but I kept running. I cleared the parking lot, darting through the trees. My lungs burned, and my head thumped. I didn’t know how far I could run, but I would run as—

Fire erupted in front of me, swallowing a tree in a flash. Shrieking, I skidded and slipped. Arms pinwheeling, I whirled around just as pain erupted along the side of my stomach. My legs gave out, and I crashed into the ground.

“That was actually kind of fun.” Hyperion reached down, wrapping his fingers in my hair. He jerked my head back. “I was beginning to wonder if the fight had gone out of you already. If I’d broken you that easily.”

Panting through the pain, I forced my gaze to his all-black, soulless and endless eyes.

He smiled down at me. “That would’ve disappointed me.”

“I wouldn’t want that to happen,” I gasped out.

“No, you wouldn’t.” His grip tightened as he knelt, wrenching my head back. “Guess what I did, Sunshine?”

I grunted as he tugged on my hair again. “I don’t know. Walked an old lady across the street?”

Amusement flickered across his face. “I went back to visit your friends.”

I stopped breathing.

His lips curved up. “They weren’t there.”

Air rushed into my lungs. “They’re alive?”

“For now.” He reached out with his other hand and cupped my jaw. “I tracked the little group all the way back to the Covenant. We can’t get in there. Yet.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Titan Fantasy