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Authors: Tatiana Vila

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The Ylem

BOOK: The Ylem
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The Ylem

 

Tatiana Vila

 

Published by Tatiana Vila at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 Tatiana Vila

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal
enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to
other people. If you would like to share this book with another
person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not
purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com
and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work
of this author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places and incidents are either the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual
persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales
is entirely coincidental.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

Prologue

Chapter 1-
Silver Eyes

Chapter 2-
Magnetism

Chapter 3-
The Mission

Chapter 4-
The Wolfdog

Chapter 5-
Expectation

Chapter 6-
Bad Movement

Chapter 7-
The Dreamcatcher Girl

Chapter 8-
Rendezvous

Chapter 9-
Ski Apache

Chapter 10-
Bumps Along The
Way

Chapter 11-
Confusion

Chapter 12-
Enigma

Chapter 13-
At Long Last

Chapter 14-
Water Crystals

Chapter 15-
The Beginning

Chapter 16-
Scornful Looks

Chapter 17-
The Old Lady

Chapter 18-
Breakthrough

Chapter 19-
True Nature

Chapter 20-
Disrupted Party

Chapter 21-
White Sands

Chapter 22-
Sweet Sacrifice

Chapter 23-
Windfall

Chapter 24-
Down Memory Lane

Chapter 25-
Can of Worms

Chapter 26-
Close Encounter

Chapter 27-
Fiery Ordeal

Chapter 28-
Deadly Nightshade

Chapter 29-
Cast-Off

Chapter 30-
Please

 

 

 

 

For Mom and Dad,

my guiding stars.

 

 

 

 

Love, unconquerable,

Waster of rich men, keeper

Of warm lights and all-night vigil

In the soft face of a girl

Sea-wanderer, forest-visitor!

Even the pure immortals cannot escape
you,

And mortal man, in his one day's dusk,

Trembles before your glory.

Sophocles, Antigone.

 

 

 

 

PROLOGUE

Sherborne Abbey,
Dorset, England

 

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be
thy name,” he whispered with hands folded in prayer, fingertips
pointing at the fan-vaulted ceiling of the yawning church. “Thy
kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” he
continued with eyes closed, struggling to ignore the echoing
footsteps growing near.

Every time Alec’s ears caught noises behind
his back, anxiety swamped him, pulling him under a wave of fear.
Ever since his grandfather shared with Alec the secret he’d kept
hidden amid dusty shelves and tattered pages—Alec’s life was torn.
Was he an ordinary English lit student or one of the few people
harboring a world-shaking secret—the kind that one struggled to
exorcise from one’s mind, the kind that roused wars and ambition
among mortals and…immortals.

He flinched at that thought.

After his grandfather’s death, he’d taken
refuge at the church, going whenever he could to lessen the fear
chilling his blood. He knew
they
were searching for him, and
that maybe one day
they
would find him. And kill him. Those
images had been haunting his dreams every night, drawing purple
rings that never seemed to fade under his eyes. The house of God
was the only place he felt in peace, so there was no reason to fear
those measured steps behind him, he thought to himself.

“Give us this day our daily bread,” he
continued, steadying the hard thumps within his chest with the holy
words. “And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who
trespass against us. And lead us—”

“…not into temptation,” a man said, trailing
off his words. Alec turned around, startled. “But deliver us from
evil,” the man continued, eyes aimed on him. “Amen.” He stopped a
few feet away from Alec and cracked a twisted, vicious smile.

It was as if the church had been suddenly
shrouded with a deep charcoal cloud, announcing the arrival of a
dreadful storm. The dark clothes wrapping the man’s tall frame and
the black tattoo on one side of his neck seemed to turn him into a
creature of death. The threat in his eyes…Alec had never seen
anything so downright feral. His whole body shouted at him to run
away as fast as he could, until his lungs failed him.

Without thinking twice, he slid to the end of
the pew but found the dark man already blocking his way. “How did
you—” Alec’s voice trailed off.. He knew the answer already. His
muscles tensed, anchoring his feet to the floor.

The dark man cracked that vicious smile
again. “Find you here? Why, your daily offering of prayer and
praise,” he said. “How marvelous to catch a glimpse of the glory of
God!” He stretched his arms, as if being there filled him with
extreme bliss and wonder.

The sarcasm playing in his voice however,
told Alec otherwise.

“Don’t you dare speak like that in here,”
Alec said, surprising himself. “You’re standing on sacred
ground.”

The dark man chuckled and looked down at him.
“Are you giving me an order…boy?” He cocked his head as if
amused.

“Boy?” Alec spat the word. Anger and fear
raged inside him. “You’re no more than, what, five years older than
me?”

The dark man burst out in reedy laughter,
soaking the serene air with danger. Alec swallowed. The moment he
feared had finally arrived. He could feel it. The church would be
his grave and the Lord his only witness.

“Five years older?” the dark man said. “I
thought you were smarter than that, surrounded by books and all.
But what can I expect from a fragile human like you?” He stepped
closer, not taking his sharp eyes away from Alec’s. “Oh, yes. How
stupid of me! I almost forgot—I do expect something from you.”

Alec had to swallow hard to speak again. The
possibility of death made him slow with words. They had never been
a problem. He managed them even better than breathing. “I-I don’t
have it.”

“You don’t?” The dark man arched his
eyebrows, voice calm and patient.

Alec shook his head.

“Then where is it, Mr. Bostwick? Under your
pillow? Beneath the floorboards of your room? Hiding in your
grandfather’s grave by his rotting, worm-eaten body?”

The man’s patience was slipping away, his
face as hard as a cemetery slab. But Alec remained in silence. He
refused to tell the man where it was. If he was going to die, he
didn’t want his death to be in vain. Instead, Alec focused on his
own rapid heartbeats, listening to them for what could be the last
time.

The dark man pushed his face a few inches
away from Alec’s, breathing hard. “I don’t have time to play stupid
games with you, Mr. Bostwick, so let’s cut the crap.” The man’s
eyes turned deep black, as a shark about to attack its prey.

Alec’s eyes locked with those dark pools, and
his body froze. He was entranced by that vast, deep blackness,
hopelessly lost in the night of that color.

“Where is it?” The dark man asked again,
pitching his voice to a low, feral tone.

Words exploded from Alec’s mouth without
giving him time to think. “America. I went to America and gave it
to an old woman.”

“On your grandfather’s instructions?”

“Yes.” Sweat snaked down his forehead. He was
struggling to keep his mouth shut. He wanted to save the secret his
grandfather and several other Keepers had guarded for so long,
risking their lives. But he couldn’t, he just couldn’t. Alec’s
mouth seemed to have a mind of his own.

“Where exactly?”

“Taos, New Mexico.”

“Her name?”

“Samantha Collins—but it’s fake. She just
used it for the delivery.”

“Smart move,” the dark man said as if it
didn’t surprise him. “What does she look like?”

“I don’t know,” Alec answered.

The dark man groaned, crumpled Alec’s shirt
with his right hand and pulled him up in a blur. In less than a
second, Alec’s feet were suspended in the air. “Tell me!” he
ordered, unleashing a paralyzing darkness over Alec’s eyes.

“I didn’t see her! I talked with her through
a confessional!” he managed to say amid the choking trepidation of
his heart. But more than fear, he felt disappointment. He’d
betrayed all the Keepers, and most of all, his grandfather. Though
the words had come out against his will, it was his mouth that had
spoken them. He was going to die as a traitor.

“A church again?” The dark man held him
higher, effortlessly. “Well, I hope you enjoy dying in one, too.”
He smiled and shoved him into the air. Alec’s body crashed against
a large pipe organ, head cracking as it bent the long metal tubes
with echoing low notes of failure and death. His corpse fell to the
ground, a limp bulge under the shadows of flickering candles. The
light gone from his eyes.

The dark man turned and left, walking past
the gaze of stained glass saints on either side of him. The
condemnation in their glassy eyes produced not even a tug in his
callous heart.

Five men dressed in black waited for him
outside, fusing into the night as dark ghosts of death. He stopped
in front of them. “Well, you heard the boy. We know what to
do.”

“Aren’t you going to consult first with
Moyset?” one of them asked.

“No. He gave me a free pass on this. We’re
leaving tomorrow.” He started, striding through silent graves that
clawed the earth, as if they were keeping a lid on the dead,
blocking them from joining the living.

The ghostly men followed.

“Leaving to where, Gavran?” a younger voice
said behind him.

“Pay more attention, Caleb. Mooners aren’t
welcome here,” Gavran told him severely.

“I'm not a mooner.” Caleb said furiously,
wrinkling his eyebrows in deep disapproval. “I’ve earned my place
in here more than anyone and you know it.”

Gavran smirked, his smile full of wicked
knowledge. “You have. You have…That’s why I'm taking you to New
Mexico.”

 

 

 

 

1. SILVER
EYES

 

KALISTA

I sat up in bed with a jerk, breathing in
long, deep gasps. My heart drummed wildly within my chest and my
hands tingled, as if small bolts of electricity dotted my
fingers.

Taking a nap hadn’t been the best idea after
all. Instead of resting on a white cloud of peace, a thunderstorm
of dread had filled my head with shadowy images of creatures moving
through the woods.

Weird.

It must be this town. Almost a week had
passed since we’d moved from New York City. The sheer peacefulness
that pervaded everything around here was still unreal to me—so
unreal I needed ridiculous nightmares to compensate,
apparently.

I released the striped comforter from my
iron-grip, my fingers still tingling. I climbed out of the bed and
looked around, confused by the brightness filling the room. I’d
fallen asleep with the lights on. Great. The curtains on the
balcony doors were open, and the bathroom door was open, too, the
light on there as well.

Jeez. Keep helping the world’s energy
crisis, Kalista.

I reached the curtains to close them and a
jolting shock struck my fingertip. I jerked back my hand with a
frown and encircled the throbbing tip with my mouth. I hated when
that happened. It was as if I was the human version of a battery,
always releasing electrical charges.

I had a fat list of uncomfortable
moments—some embarrassing enough to color my scalp a deep shade of
red. Really. I didn’t know if I was dragging my feet too much or if
I wasn’t using good dryer sheets, but static was a big bummer in my
life. And this town only seemed to have increased the problem,
turning my Rayovac-like body into a Duracell-like one. Doorknobs
and car handles were a nightmare now. I had to think twice before
touching them.

BOOK: The Ylem
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