Home > Dead Water (Kiera Hudson Series Two #6)

Dead Water (Kiera Hudson Series Two #6)
Author: Tim O'Rourke

Chapter One

Kiera

Potter had wanted to talk, but I had nothing to say. Well, that wasn’t entirely true – I had plenty I wanted to say to him. First, I wanted to get my thoughts straight. I needed to know each word that was going to trip off the end of my tongue; like placing one foot in front of the other. I didn’t want Potter to jump in – make his excuses – before I’d had the chance to say what I wanted to.

As I stood in the vacant bedroom, peering through the dirty window and down the hill, Potter paced the wooden floorboards behind me. I glanced to my right and spied the pool of black blood my father had left behind on the floor. In the colourless morning sun, I could see the blood had dried into the shape of a butterfly. It looked like one of those pictures kids did in year-one at school, where they folded over the sheet of paper, squashing the thick globules of paint and spreading it flat to make some abstract pattern. I looked back out of the window. Murphy was making his way back up the hill. He trudged through the snow, which covered his police trousers almost to the knee. I watched silently as he came towards the cottage, and his hands looked red as if covered in blood. I looked harder and could see that they weren’t covered in blood, but instead were red-raw with cold where he had dug his brother’s – my father’s – grave. Murphy’s silver hair flopped over his brow and sparkled in the morning light.

He looked tired. His face was drawn, thick, deep lines cut across it. The wrinkles gave the appearance that his face had cracked – turned to stone. I looked down and could see a mass of tiny cracks covering the backs of my hands. Potter must have caught me looking at them, as he came up beside me and took my hands in his.

I looked into his face. The bruises around his eyes, mouth, and jawline had started to fade.

They now looked like yellow and green shadows.

His nose looked bent out of shape, but then again, it had always looked broken; it’s what gave his face that rugged, thuggish look. Holding my hands in his, he stared at me with his jet-black eyes.

“Talk to me, Kiera,” he whispered.

“I have nothing to say to you,” I said, easing my hands free of his and looking back out of the window.

“You can’t ignore me forever,” Potter said.

“I’m not ignoring you,” I said, watching Murphy reach the police van which was parked outside. With his raw-looking hands, he clawed the snow from the windshield. “I’m angry with you.

You lied to me...”

“I know you’re angry with me,” Potter said, “But you still need me.”

“Need you?” I gasped, wheeling around on him. “I don’t need you for anything.”

Potter glanced down at my hands, then back at me. “Your flesh is starting to turn to stone again. You can feed on me if you want,” he said, loosening the collar of his dark coat and exposing his neck.

“I’d rather feed on a skinwalker,” I snapped, pushing past him.

“It might come to that if you’re not prepared to feed off me,” Potter said. “We’re right out of the red stuff – Lot-13.”

I shot a look at him, my innards starting to ache again. Slowly, I crossed the room, coming to rest inches from Potter. He looked at me, tilting his head back. I could see the thick veins running like wires beneath his pale skin. I wanted what flowed within them. I wanted Potter. I was in love with him, despite what he had done, and I hated myself for feeling like that. Taking a step closer, so our bodies brushed against each other’s, I reached out with my right hand and placed it gently on the nape of his neck. His skin felt ice-cold. Potter closed his eyes as my lips brushed against his neck. I placed my left hand into his coat pocket and reached for what I knew he had hidden there. I curled my fingers around one of the glass bottles.

“You lie,” I whispered in his ear, then pulled away.

Snapping his eyes open, Potter looked down at the glass tube of Lot-13 I held in my hand. “How did you know they were there?” he asked.

“The bulge in your coat pocket,” I said, taking no satisfaction from discovering that he had lied to me again. “I would’ve had to be blind not to have seen that.”

“It could have been anything,” he said, with a sideways smile, knowing that he had been caught out again.

“I heard them clinking in your pocket,” I explained.

“So you have super-duper hearing, as well as sight now?” Potter smirked. “Is that a wolf thing?”

“You bastard,” I breathed, rolling my free hand into a fist and smashing it into the bridge of his nose. Potter’s head rocked backwards as a fine spray of what looked like white dust seeped from between my clenched fingers.

Potter shook his head from side to side and looked at me. He said nothing.

“So you hate me now, is that it?” I snapped at him. “You hate me because you know I’m part Lycanthrope? We all know how much you hate the wolves.”

“I don’t hate you,” Potter said, his eyes fixed on mine. “I love you, Kiera.”

“You have a funny way of showing it,” I said, unscrewing the cap on the glass tube. My fingers trembled as it came free in my hand.

“You’ve lied to me.”

“I didn’t mean to,” Potter said, his voice calm, just above a whisper.

I threw my head back and let the red stuff wash over my tongue. Its taste was bitter, a poor substitute for the real thing, but it would do. At once, those hunger pangs in my stomach eased.

As I re-screwed the cap, I glanced at my hands and watched those tiny cracks fade again. For how long, I didn’t know. I placed the empty tube into my pocket, and wiped the last of the Lot-13

from my lips with my fingers. I then licked them clean, not wanting to waste one drop.

“Better?” Potter asked.

“Not that you care,” I snapped at him. The hunger inside of me had quickly been replaced with anger for Potter.

“I cared enough to come after you...” he started.

“Yeah, so you keep saying,” I sneered.

“You took your time, but now I know why. You were too busy getting it on with that teacher – the wolf.”

“I thought she was you, Kiera,” Potter started to explain. “She did that mind-f**k thing on me. She messed with my brains.”

“That must have taken all of two seconds,” I barked at him.

Ignoring my remark, Potter continued.

“She was trying to frame me...Jack Seth was trying to set me up. His plan was for you to hate me...so you would choose him over me.”

“I’m not going to choose anyone,” I said coldly. “The only side I’m on is my own from now on.”

“And that’s just what he wanted,” Potter said, coming across the empty room towards me.

The floorboards creaked beneath his boots. “He wants to drive a wedge between us.”

“You drove the wedge between us!” I hissed at him. “You lied to me about Murphy coming back. You lied about knowing my father was alive in this world...”

“I did it to protect you...” Potter cut in.

“And what about Sophie? Huh?” I said, folding my arms across my chest. “Sneaking off to see her was protecting me too?”

“In a way,” Potter said thoughtfully. “She was the only person I could think of in this pushed world who might know what the f**k was going on.”

“And where is she now?” I shot at him.

“Keeping a bed nice and warm for you somewhere?”

“She’s dead!” Potter snapped back, losing that calmness he had fought so long to hold on to.

“Nothing happened between us.”

“You expect me to believe that?” I said, remembering how the Elders had shown me a statue of Potter and Sophie together. “You’re in love with her. You end up with her – not with me!” I screamed at him.

“What are you talking about?” Potter shouted, looking lost and bewildered.

“It doesn’t matter,” I breathed, turning away. How did I explain what I had seen, when I didn’t truly understand it myself?

I heard the floorboards creak again as Potter came and stood behind me. He didn’t dare come too close – leaving a foot or two between us. “Nothing happened between me and Sophie because I love you, Kiera,” he said, his voice sounding softer again. “You’ve got to believe me.”

“And Eloisa?” I pushed.

“I’ve explained that,” Potter sighed out loud. “She tricked me...”

“Another wolf who messed with your brains,” I sneered. Then turning to look at him, I added, “I was wrong about you. I don’t think you hate wolves at all. It’s all just been an act. You can’t get enough of them.”

“I hate them,” Potter said, fixing his dead black eyes on mine. “I hate every last one of them.”

“Then you hate me, too,” I said, turning away.

Silence fell between us, as if both of us had run out of words to say. I smelt the scent of a freshly lit cigarette, then the sound of Potter crossing back towards the bedroom door. He paused.

“I do love you, Kiera Hudson, but I just don’t know how to get you to believe me,” he said. “But one thing I do know is that no one could hate you as much as you hate yourself.”

Potter left me standing alone in the room. I watched Murphy through the window as he readied the police van for our journey to the Dead Waters.

Chapter Two

Potter

Why did she have to be so impossible? I roared inside, heading back down the stairs. I only lied about not having any bottles of the red stuff so I could have a kiss. Is that so f**king bad? But I knew it was more than just the lie about the red stuff. It was all of the shit I had managed to get myself into. Shit that Kiera didn’t deserve. Did she really think I would hate her because she was part wolf? I couldn’t give a monkey’s toss if she was half chimpanzee – I loved her regardless. But what was the point? I might as well give up. I was only going to have my heart ripped out, stomped all over. That had happened once before. Sophie had taken out my heart and walked all over it. But that was going to feel like nothing compared to how hurt I would feel if I lost Kiera. Sophie would have merely tiptoed all over my heart, whereas losing Kiera would feel like it had been torn out and trampled over by a f**king army. That was gonna hurt real bad when it came. But what could I do to stop that fast-approaching army? I’d tried to tell her how things had happened. I’d tried to tell her how much I loved her. How come it had been easier talking to Kayla about my feelings for Kiera, than it was in person?

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