The End of Days

By: AE Watson & Tara Brown

The End of Days

The Light Trilogy

Book Three

Chapter One

The cool whisper on my cheek stirs me. I blink and jerk back, startled by the old woman staring me in the eyes.

She’s familiar.

I’ve seen her before, maybe not standing in my room looking down on me like she is now, but from somewhere else—a dream maybe—unless this is a dream.

But can I dream and wonder if it’s a dream or do the dead always let me know it’s a dream? I don't remember.

Either way, I don't know where she’s from, but she reminds me of something or someone.

Unfortunately, that recognition doesn't take away the alarming feeling of being watched by her. Her dark eyes dart to Wyatt sleeping next to me as she lifts a gnarled finger to her lips, resting it on the wicked grin. I suspect any second now she’s going to produce an apple that I am meant to eat, and I will fall asleep forever.

Real sleep too. The kind where you wake and stretch and you’re refreshed.

God, if only I could sleep like that. The exhausted feeling overwhelming me confirms this is in fact real and I am not dreaming.

The old woman is real.

She is really in my room.

I don't know how that could be possible, unless she’s a fire witch, but I haven’t seen her before. I wouldn't have forgotten this face. She looks just like the evil queen from Snow White.

“Oh my God.” She rolls her eyes as she slow-blinks the way Mona always does, like I’m being annoying. “I don't have any apples, child,” she whispers, saying “child” just like the evil queen but more like she’s mocking me. “So stop calling me the evil queen.”

Oh crap, she can read my thoughts.

“Of course I can read your thoughts, you imbecile. The magic is in me now.”

My brow furrows, but I don't say anything. I hum and focus on not thinking.

She rolls her old eyes at me. “It’s me, Mona. You idiot. What do you think, you’re dreaming? You can’t dream.” She sounds like Mona, I’ll give her that.

I swallow hard, desperately searching for even a single trace of resemblance between the hideous old woman and my beautiful friend.

“Stop thinking I’m ugly. I’m only able to be here for a second, and I had to disguise myself. I needed to tell you something. It’s plaguing me. Do you remember the way you felt when you met Wyatt, like you already knew him, right from the moment your eyes met?”

I nod once, scared that I might not actually be dreaming.

“Focus on that, Rayne. There’s something in everything, hints everywhere. There have been clues scattered across time. I think it all starts there—you and Wyatt. Two sides of the same coin. You already knew each other, even when you met. That’s part of the two sides of the same coin. That's what I keep hearing in the woods.” She whispers it in her creepy old-lady voice.

I blink and then she’s gone.

The word “woods” lingers somehow, repeating like an echo. But she has disappeared, leaving nothing but a slight rustle in the air around me.

“Mona?” I whisper but she doesn't answer back.

Confused, I lie back on the bed and look over at Wyatt, wondering if I was somehow awake and yet dreaming.

But I know that's impossible.

My sisters, the dead, have not come for me in weeks. Which means I have been awake for weeks. I doubt insomnia is improving my mental stability. Mine was already fairly questionable. Pondering it leads my mind to the possibility that Mona was a hallucination. That is a possibility. I am that crazy right now from lack of sleep.

Sighing, I glance at Wyatt’s bare back facing me. He’s sleeping softly, breathing regularly. I run my fingertips up his back, grateful the whip marks that once spelled out my name are gone. Seeing him that way was horrible. I felt responsible. I still do.

My fingers roam his lush dark hair. I can’t stop myself from touching him. It’s magnetic—we’re magnetic.

Every bit of me wants to ravish him. Every bit but the part that whispers I’ll have to eat if we have sex. Since we pulled the daggers from our chests it hurts him when I eat. The ability to sense each other is gone too. I’m scared we’ll be right back where we were when we met.

His touch doesn't hurt me, but my feeding is enough to nearly kill him. The whole thing blows.

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