Read Through His Eyes: An Institute Series Novella (The Institute Series Book 4) Online
Authors: Kayla Howarth
Through His Eyes
Through His Eyes Copyright © 2015 by Kayla Howarth
Cover Illustration Copyright ©
Cover Design by James,
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This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher.
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Kayla Howarth - permissions - [email protected]
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Table of Contents
WHY THROUGH HIS EYES WAS WRITTEN
When the gunshots pierced the air, my instinct was to use my ability and shield us from the assault. As it turned out, the bullets were faster than my reflexes.
Scorching hot lead ripped through my skin, lodging itself in my chest. The smell of metal infused with my senses, and I’m pretty sure I could taste it. But that was nothing compared to the searing pain burning through me.
“I love you,” I murmured when I knew it was the end.
Allira sobbed as she lowered me to the ground. She tried to be gentle, but she, too, had been shot. We hit the ground with a thud, both of us wincing in pain. She let out a bloodcurdling scream that made me want to comfort her, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t even hold my head up anymore.
Once I was down, the blood flow slowed a little, but I knew it was too late.
There’s no coming back from this.
There was so much to say in that moment. I didn’t realise how much I’d kept inside until I knew I wouldn’t have the chance to say it.
“Not your fault,” I told her. I knew she was going to blame herself for this. “I love you.”
She was shaking her head. “You can’t leave me. You can’t. Because, I love you.”
I managed a smile … at least, I thought I smiled.
She loves me.
Everything I’d done in the last six months had been for her. The most amazing person I’d ever known, she was confident, yet so self-conscious at the same time. She astounded me. Loyal to a fault, she was stubborn, annoying, and never listened to what I had to say … but I wouldn’t have changed her for the world.
If I’d known this was how it was going to end, maybe I wouldn’t have been so quick to be nice to her. I should’ve kept up my not-so-friendly demeanour so I could’ve protected her from this moment. All I ever wanted to do since meeting her was protect her. Not that she ever needed it, or wanted it. She really was that stubborn.
It didn’t take me long to realise just how special she was. The second she punched me as hard as she could and almost broke her hand, I was hers. Unconditionally hooked. Remembering that moment made me want to go back. I would’ve given up my freedom in a heartbeat if it meant I got to spend every day by her side.
But now it’s too late.
“I can’t do this without you. I can’t live—”
“Yes. You can,” I said, my voice coming out raspy. “I should have shielded us.”
The pain coming from my chest was nothing compared to the hurt I felt, knowing her heart was breaking into a thousand pieces. But I had to believe there was a reason for this.
I was put on this earth to guide her, to get her to this moment. This will end up making her stronger. She’ll fight to the end, and succeed in our cause. It’s meant to happen this way. I know that now.
you to be with me.”
“I always will be,” I said as the remaining life left my body.
It all happened so quickly, but I knew it was time when the coldness of death began to creep in.
I welcomed the icy darkness.
“What am I still doing here?” I asked for the
time. All I got in return was their silence.
It’s all I ever get.
“When I told you I’d always be with you, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.”
I’d heard about purgatory, but I never believed it was real. If I was completely honest, I didn’t believe in any form of afterlife. Now I was stuck here, wherever-this-was, a constant state of being here, but not being here. I could see and hear everything, they just couldn’t see or hear me.
Even when I yelled, she still couldn’t hear me. No one could ever hear me.
My death was meant to make her stronger. It was meant to make her want to fight. Instead, she turned into this shell of a person.
There was no more light in her eyes, no warmth in her heart.
She was no longer the girl I knew, and certainly not the girl I gave my life for.
“You’re wasting your life!” I yelled. I knew it was futile. She’d never hear me, but yelling made me feel better.
Allira and her mum, Seph, climbed into the car, and like I’d done so many times before in the last two months since losing my life, I followed. “So, where are we off to today?” I asked.
“It’ll be all right, Lia,” Seph said. “We’ll get Aunt Kenna to do a test. No matter what the result, we’re all here for you.”
“What test?” I asked. “Is she sick? Did I miss something?”
The whole ‘being a ghost’ thing sucked … if that’s even what I was meant to be. No one could see me, and I couldn’t rattle chains or make the lights flicker. Old ghost tales and campfire stories totally glorified this shit. I couldn’t do anything. No walking through walls, nothing. Wherever I needed to be, I’d blink and I’d suddenly be there. Because of this, I tended to miss a lot.
Allira’s Aunt still worked for the Institute. I had to endure a whole car ride, over two hours of almost complete silence, just begging them to tell me what was going on.
Once we arrived, Seph took Allira straight to the infirmary.
Kenna passed Allira a pee cup, and she went to the bathroom. I didn’t follow her in – I didn’t want to be
type of ghost.
She returned just moments later, handing Kenna the
cup. Even in my state, I liked to look at the positive. I smiled at my own joke; I never did much of it when I was alive –smiling or joking.
“It’s positive,” Kenna said.
“I know, right!” I replied without thinking. “Wait … what’s positive?”
Can she hear me?
Allira started sobbing.
“What’s positive?” I asked again.
I wished I could kick something, throw something,
It’s like I’d been given the silent treatment for nine weeks. I was starting to lose it.
“We need you to have a sonogram,” Kenna said.
Pee test? Sonogram?
Oh holy shit.
Is it possible for ghosts to faint? Because I’m pretty sure that’s what I did. Next thing I knew, we were in a small examination room, a bluish clear gel was being applied to Allira’s stomach, and Kenna had some weird stick-looking thing that she placed on Allira’s lower abdomen.
whoosh, whoosh, whoosh
noise started coming out of the speakers on the machine.
“That’s it?” Allira asked, astounded. A tear escaped, and she clasped her hand over her mouth.
“By the measurements, you’re about eleven weeks along. Does that sound about right?” Kenna asked, her tone sympathetic.
“Eleven weeks? I’ve been dead for nine … I’m … I’m…” Stumbling backward, I tried to find somewhere to sit, but the room was small, and I’d clearly forgotten I was a ghost.
I’m going to be a father.
Allira was completely quiet on the drive back home and went straight to her room when we arrived. Sitting on the bed, staring blankly at the wall in front of her with her expression completely devoid of emotion, she was clearly still in shock.
“Say something,” I urged.
She continued to stare until there was a knock at the door. “Allira?” Seph asked. “Uh … Shilah and Tate are here.”
“I’m not really up for visitors,” she replied, her voice croaking.
“Sweetheart, you need to come out for this.”
“Can’t you just tell them?”
“Uh … they’re here to tell you something, actually.”
With a sigh, Allira scooted off the bed and made her way out into the living room.
Shilah and Tate were all smiles as they greeted Allira with a hug, even when she flinched at Tate’s touch. He was getting used to her cold attitude, but I could see he was going to snap soon.
“You needed to tell me something?” she asked with an iciness to her voice that almost reminded me of my mother.
“We’ve decided …” Shilah started, then looked at Tate lovingly.
“Nothing,” Tate cut him off. “It’s nothing, really. Uh …”
Shilah looked at him with a confused expression, but didn’t push. I guess he must’ve realised Tate heard something in Allira’s head that warned him against telling her whatever-it-is they had to tell her. Probably the fact that she was pregnant with my child.
She’s pregnant with my child.
A child I will never meet.
I needed to sit down again. The mere thought of the baby sent me crumbling to my knees.
“You got me out of bed to tell me
?” Her face paled when she realised Tate knew her secret. “You heard it in my head, didn’t you?” she asked Tate quietly.
He nodded once.
“I tried to block it out … I … I—”
“Will someone please tell me what’s going on? Tate and I are getting married, and yet you all look like we just killed someone.” He winced, before looking at Allira. “Sorry. Bad choice of words.”
“You’re getting married?” she croaked.
Tate nodded solemnly. “We can wait, though. Put it off.”
“Why are you suggesting we do that?” Shilah asked.
Tate turned to look at him, before glancing back at Allira. His mouth opened, then closed again.
“Tate, why do you want to postpone the wedding?” Shilah asked.
“Because I’m pregnant,” Allira answered for him, her voice coming out just above a whisper.
“What? How?” Shilah asked.
“Well, sweetheart,” Tate said dryly, trying to lighten the mood, “when a man and woman love each other very much…”
“Shut up,” Shilah said, before facing Allira. “Chad’s baby? Really?” His face lit up, like it was the best news ever. “I’m going to be an uncle?”
Happy tears pooled in Shilah’s eyes as Allira nodded, a small smile finding her face.
Shilah rushed to her and wrapped her in a giant hug. “We’ll be there for you, you know that, right? We’ll babysit, we’ll go with you to those birthing class thingies, we’ll do whatever it takes to help you through this.”
“Thank you,” she sobbed into Shilah’s shoulder.
Tate ran his hand over his head, clearly not dealing with this bit of news. “Umm, I’m just going to get some air.” He left Allira and Shilah to talk.
Allira’s eyes followed Tate out. She remained gazing at the door as if she was hoping, or waiting, for him to come back in to console her.
“Are you really okay with this whole baby thing?” Shilah asked tentatively.
“What could I do if I wasn’t?” she snapped. “I can’t … you know, get rid of it. It’s part of him.”
“So you’re just going to be a mother at nineteen?”
“You’re going to be a
“Touché.” He laughed, even though I didn't think she was joking. A part of me thought she really didn't approve of Shilah getting hitched. “Are you okay with Tate and me—”
“I’m really happy for you,” she lied.
Shilah smiled, and hugged her again, not picking up on the deception in her voice.
I began to wonder if I was always this perceptive or if it was an ‘after death’ trait I’d developed.
“You should go talk to Tate.”
She nodded. “I will.”
I followed her out to the narrow balcony of the small apartment. Tate was sitting on the old patio chair, and Allira slumped down next to him.
“He should be here for this,” Tate said.
Come on, dude. Did you have to say it like that? Prepare for the wrath of—
“Don’t you think I know that?” Allira yelled.
Yup, right on cue.
Tate sighed. “Can we not do that right now? I don’t want to fight with you.”
After a lengthy silence, she stood to go back inside.
“Where are you going?” Tate snapped.
“You said you didn’t want to fight, so I’m taking myself out of the equation.”
“You can’t keep pushing me away forever. I’m going to be your brother soon.”
“Yeah, and you waited a whole two months to pop the question after the guy I was meant to…” She breathed in deep and shook her head. “Never mind. You love him and you want your happily ever after. I get it. It’s just … you didn’t think about what this would do to me?”
“Not everything is about you, Allira,” Tate said through gritted teeth.
Yup. I knew he was about to snap.
“Can’t even give me a year to grieve? It’s been two months. Sixty-four freaking days, to be exact.”
“Don’t you get it?” Tate yelled, standing. “Because of Chad, I don’t want to put off living my life the way I want to. Because
still have that opportunity and
doesn’t. You’re not the only one who lost someone that day, and I understand you’re upset, but everyone putting their life on hold for you is unrealistic and selfish.”
She scoffed. “You really want to talk about being selfish? Want to talk about
you chose to stay at the Institute when you could’ve escaped with us? We wouldn’t have had to go back to save your sorry arse had you not been so fucking selfish.”
“So that’s what this is about? You’re blaming
for his death now? Really?” He shook his head. “Whatever.” He went to walk past her, but stopped in the doorway of the patio. “We’re having an engagement dinner tomorrow night. It’d mean a lot to Shilah if you’d be there.”
“But not you?” she asked, regret filling her voice. She went too far, blaming him for my death, and she knew it.
“I’ll always want you in my life, Allira. You’re my best friend, and that’s my niece or nephew you’re carrying.”
He walked inside, and she sat back down on the patio chair. She grasped her chest and looked up at the sky, tears streaming down her face. “I hate this so much.”
I couldn’t help wondering if that was directed at me.
She was crying again. I always knew she was a crier, but how can someone produce so much salt water?
Months of endlessly doing nothing. She lay on the couch, or her bed, day after day, nothing but the sound of her muffled sobs to keep her company. That, and she sometimes watched TV.
“Get up, Allira,” I demanded. It didn’t work. It never worked.
She continued to lay there, her face streaked with fresh tears, her hand rubbing her swelling baby bump.
After the initial shock of it all, she shut down and managed to hide her true emotions from everyone fairly easily. I guess I could blame Tate and myself for that – we were the ones who taught her how to deceive people. I’ve cringed every time she’s told someone, “It’s Chad’s way of never leaving me.” Her words were so false, I was surprised no one called her on it. Perhaps they were only hearing what they wanted to hear, or they didn’t want to push her into facing the truth.
She’s so unhappy.
The morning sickness, her swollen feet, sore back … they were all because of me, and she didn’t need the constant reminder.
She rubbed her hand over her stomach again, and her tears broke my heart … or they would’ve … if you know, I hadn’t been dead, and my heart hadn’t stopped beating a long time ago.
“It’s just you and me, kid,” she whispered.
“That’s not true, Allira. I’m right here. I’ve always been here. I wish you could hear me.”
“Fuck you, Tate.”
Ah, such class coming from my girlfriend.
“I know you’re in a lot of pain right now, so I’m going to let that slide.”
She glared at him with such intensity, I just knew they were having one of their telepathic conversations. And yeah, even though I was dead, it still pissed me off.
Things had gotten worse between Tate and Allira recently. I think it sucks that even as a ghost, I could still feel guilt. It didn’t matter how many times I yelled at both of them to stop blaming each other for my death, my ghostly voice landed on deaf ears.