Rock Bottom (Dragon Within #4)




Dragon Within Book Four


Kyra Dune




Rock Bottom

Kyra Dune


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book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products
of the author's imagination and are used fictitiously. Even resemblance to
actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


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I wrapped
air around the pile of leaves and sent them twisting skyward in a mini tornado.
As they whipped past, I watched for the one painted blue. There. I reached out
with my mind to slow the air around that particular leaf while still keeping
the rest spinning. It slowed, shivered, and then I had it.

The leaf
floated free of the bunch and drifted off to the side. A small pain had started
in the center of my forehead, but it was mostly drowned out by a feeling of
accomplishment. I grinned.

bad.” Zack pushed away from the tree he was leaning against and grabbed the
leaf with his hand. “Not bad at all.” And coming from him, that was quite the

I let
loose of my hold on the air, but instead of the leaves falling gently to the
ground as I intended, they exploded, showering Zack and I with their little
bits and pieces. I winced, expecting a hard rebuke. “Oops.”

shook the leaf bits out of his hair. “You still need some work on the

I laughed
at his drily delivered joke. More because I was surprised he wasn’t harsher
than because it was funny. “I didn’t knock any of us over this time. That’s an

He brushed off his shirt. “Do you want to take a break?”

Like I was going to admit to being even the least bit tired. No way. Not to
him. “I’m good to keep going.” Besides, I needed to train. I had to be ready to
protect myself and my friends the next time we were attacked. And despite how
easy things had been lately, I knew that day would come sooner or later.

Zack stepped toward me, moving through a shaft of sunlight that lit his hair
with golden highlights and seemed to make his eyes spark. “Let’s work on water

I nodded
because I didn’t trust myself to speak right then. I know it’s lame, but I
couldn’t help getting distracted by him sometimes. He was so cute, and every
once in a while something would happen to make me think of the kiss. And then
it was so hard to think about anything else.

It wasn’t
just the one kiss, either. There were other things. Little things, maybe, but
they’d made me think something was really going to happen between us. Instead,
he’d pulled away and not once since we started out on our hunt for Megara had
he given me any reason to believe he thought of me as anything but a friend.
And barely that.

“Wait a
minute.” Curtis lowered his camcorder. “My batteries are running down. Don’t do
anything awesome while I’m gone.” He darted off toward the cabin.

I sighed.
My cousin had insisted on videotaping every one of my training sessions since
we arrived in Oregon. I don’t know why, it’s not like he could show them to
anybody. But Curtis had always been interested in making movies and I didn’t
have the heart to tell him no. I figured if it made him happy, what could it

fell in my cousin’s absence. I shuffled my feet. Zack scratched the back of his
neck. We both looked everywhere but at each other. I wanted so badly to say
something, but even more I wanted
to say something.

He stood
there turned slightly to the side, making me think he was thinking about the
same thing I was thinking about. Why else would he refuse to meet my gaze
anytime we were alone? Which wasn’t very often anyway.

We had a
lot of things unspoken between us and it was easier to pretend those things
didn’t exist when other people were around. Which was another reason why I
hadn’t said no to Curtis. And probably the only reason Zack hadn’t either.

jogged back to us, a little red faced and out of breath. “Did I miss

“No.” I
glanced over at Zack, who was scowling at the ground, and bit back a sigh.
“Nothing at all.”

Curtis, clueless to my romantic woes, fiddled with his camcorder for a minute
before turning it on me. “Okay, I’m ready.”

I moved
over to a pail of water sitting on a tree stump. The funny thing about my
powers is the harder I try to concentrate, the harder I tried to
something to happen, the less results I would get. You’d think that being
distracted by thinking of Zack would help me then, wouldn’t you? It would make
sense, after all. But no. Because nothing about who and what I was made any
kind of sense at all.

I couldn’t concentrate on what I was trying
to do, but I couldn’t be distracted by other things either. I had to keep my
mind blank and I don’t know about you, but that is something that never came
naturally to me.

The water
glittered in the sunlight. I thought about that. Focused on it. Let everything
else drain away. With a push and a pull I soon had small waves lapping against
the sides of the pail. I found myself starting to smile again.

When this
all started I was so scared I would become the thing everyone seemed to think I
already was. A monster. Wild. Unpredictable. Dangerous. All words used to
describe people like me. People who were different from the other dragons.

I was
afraid I could never learn to control my powers. But by that day in the woods I
was starting to believe it wasn’t true. That maybe they were all wrong and I
could take hold of this thing inside of me. Control it. Short of getting my old
life back, there was nothing I wanted more.

I was feeling
so confident I decided to add a little wind to the mix to make the waves
stronger. In a couple of seconds they were so strong they had whitecaps
frothing at their peaks. It was like I’d trapped a tiny ocean inside that old
tin pail.

Curtis said. “We should try this at the pond.”

don’t get ahead of ourselves,” Zack said. “Abigail doesn’t have full control
over her powers yet. The wrong emotion at the wrong time could be dangerous.”

He was
talking about the time I accidentally whipped up a typhoon inside a hotel
bathtub, I was sure. And I really didn’t appreciate him bringing it up. I was
really upset that day and besides, I had come a long way since then. It wasn’t
fair of him to throw it in my face just because he was the only reason I hadn’t
done something worse.

I wanted
to tell him as much, but I guess I must have been more upset than I realized
because an especially hard wave hit the side of the pail, tipping it over to
splash water all over Zack’s sneakers. He gave me such a look that kissing him
was the last thing on my mind. As if the pail tipping over was
was the one who’d gotten me all upset.

done.” I turned and stalked away.

swooped ahead of me to slam open the cabin door. Hannah, who was painting her
toes at the table, didn’t even look up at my dramatic entrance. That kind of
took all the fun out of it. I left the door open and dropped down into the seat
next to her.

“I take
it training went well today.” She took one final swish of black nail polish
across her baby toe and put the cap back on the bottle. I don’t know how she
managed to keep her
look going when the only
place to shop was a tiny town where we bought our supplies. Of course, they
might have had a full on
shop for all I knew. I
wasn’t allowed to go.

“It was
so good I really wanted to blast something a little less solid than a door.” I
looked around. The sound hadn’t drawn the attention of Brandy and Derek which
could only mean they weren’t there. The cabin was only two small rooms so no
way had they not heard me. And they would have been more interested than

“You and
Zack having a lover’s quarrel?”

My face
flooded with heat. “Zack and I are not... Would you shut up before somebody
hears you?”

girl. Nobody in here but us chickens. So dish.” She blew on her toes. “Is Zack
still playing Ice King?”

I glanced
out the door. Curtis and Zack stood looking down at the screen on the
camcorder. Watching the video of me training most likely. Curtis seemed to be
getting kind of attached to Zack lately. I really hoped it was only in a friend
kind of way because my cousin developing a crush on the guy I was hopelessly in
love with was a complication I did not need in my life.

“I don’t
know w
he’s doing,” I said. “First he kisses me, then he acts like it
never happened. He’s looked at me like a guy would look at a girl he likes more
than once, but since we left California he barely even talks to me except when
we’re training.” I dropped my head onto my hands.

never felt this way before,” I said. “I’ve had crushes sure, but this is
different. I don’t know what to do about it and it’s making me crazy.
me crazy.”

“Why are
you sitting here telling me all this when you should be telling him?”

My head snapped up. “I can’t tell Zack any of
this. It would make things too weird between us.”

aren’t weird already?”

“No.” I
shifted under her skeptical look. “They might be uncomfortable and even
irritating, but not weird. Weird is what comes after you tell a guy who has no
interest in you that you’re in love with him.”

right, have it your way. Be miserable and alone.” Hannah leaned her chair back
on two legs. “As for me, I’ve been thinking I might get something started up
with somebody around here. Spice things up a little.”

I laughed even though I wasn’t completely sure she was joking. “Who did you
have in mind?”

haven’t decided yet, still weighing the pros and cons.” Hannah put her hands behind
her head. “There’s Brandy, who is easily the most gorgeous women I’ve ever
seen, but she’s kind of a bi--”

what did I say about calling my best friend names?”

shrugged one shoulder. “Right. Sorry. But you know it’s true.”

I did know, but that didn’t mean she could
say it. “Don’t you think her not being into girls might be kind of a roadblock
for you anyway?”

kind of roadblocks can be gotten around if you work at it,” Hannah said. “Might
be too much work though. Now, Derek, he’s a cutie and I’m pretty sure he’s into
girls. A little nice for my taste, but hey, when you’re desperate...”

I shook
my head, but I couldn’t help smiling. “How about we forget about hooking up and
concentrate on something important. You know, like finding Megara before the
trackers hunt us down and kill us.”

the point of being alive if you don’t have a little fun?” The front legs of her
chair hit the floor with a thump. “Do you have a problem with the idea of me
and your brother?”

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