Taken (Breaking the Darkness) (9 page)

“You keep saying you don’t know what I’m talking about. Let us be clear that I do not believe you, and my patience will run out fast. I will tell you that you really do not want me to send any of my counterparts in here to deal with you. You should recognize that I’m trying to protect you from a much worse fate.” She continued to impose her intimidation on me.

“I don’t think you are without knowledge or use of some of your abilities. You might not be showing me your cards, but I know you have something up your sleeve. I can assure you that my associates will force their way with you. They will work you over in a way that you will offer anything for a chance to escape their inflictions.”

My breathing was enough to give away the fear rising inside me. I trusted nothing that this woman said to me about her being on my side at all. I did, however, believe in the possibility of this becoming much less pleasant. I shifted back and forth, staring down toward my feet. I tried to focus on my necklace without touching it. I didn’t want to give her any indication that she could gain an upper hand by removing it. I searched for a way to rope in the fears that were starting to fill me with doubt.

I couldn’t look at her. “Ziona, I really want to go home. I want to be able to give you the answers you’re searching for. I wish I had powers, and then maybe I could blast my way out of here or something. Throwing a fireball at you would be an exciting way of exiting this wretched darkness.”

I doubt she found humor in my little rant. Even if I could throw a fireball at her, I wasn’t so sure there would be a way to exit that room. I didn’t see her come through the doorway yet. I decided not to make mention of her vanishing act. I was sleeping or half asleep when she’d come and go. She must not be quite so human herself.

“Maybe you can tell me what kind of powers I should have. Or you could tell me how to activate the ones you assume I possess.”

Ziona lowered her leg and took a step forward. I kept my head down, but my eyes were focused in her direction. One thing that had been enhanced in the dark was my hearing. My ears were much more sensitive with the deprivation of light and sight. It was becoming easier to track her motion by sound.

She hovered over me with dominance. Her voice deepened and her skin took on a much more intense red glow. Her red lips were as pursed as they could be as she reprimanded me.

“Girl! I am not amused by you or your jokes. This is no joke! The sooner you learn that, the better off you will be. Laugh not in the face of danger that you fail to understand. You will find in yourself the truth of who you are or we will find it for you.”

Her less-than-feminine hand gripped my shirt and she pulled me in close to her. Surprised by the stench of her breath, I held my own.

“I will be back in a few hours. I suggest you find a way to search that memory of yours for what your grandmother taught you. I cannot believe she did not tell you of your true nature. You can expect to be sorry if I walk out of this room again without news of your progress. Am I making myself clear?”

“Perfectly,” I squeaked.

I felt myself flying through the air just before my body crashed against the wall. A grunt snuck out while I slid to the ground. Hunched over in a reminder of pain that she could easily inflict on me, I forced myself to stand.

Not surprising, by the time I got up on my feet, the room around me was empty and dark again. Either she was very fast at opening that door and getting out or she had some unnatural way of traveling in and out of my hellish prison.

I needed to sit. Holding my ribs that were probably fractured wasn’t helping. It’s funny how we always hold spots on our bodies that get hurt, as if that would help make the pain any better.

What was I going to do? Ziona was coming back. She made sure that was one thing I didn’t have to wonder about, along with all the other things I had to concern myself with. I still didn’t know too much about the claims Ziona made about my “abilities.” As for the little bit that I knew, I didn’t understand.

My ability to project was one of the few things keeping me sane. It was also my only possibility to communicate with anyone that might be able to help me get out.

Oh, crap. I need to find her. Follow her.

I hurried to lie down and project as fast as I could. I worried how hard it would be to follow her since I didn’t actually see her leave the room.

The last time I tried to project while I was lying in the bed ended with me falling asleep. I thought sitting in a meditative position had yielded me the most success. It also probably looked the least suspicious.

Dropping down to the ground, I pressed my back against the wall and crossed my legs into a lotus position. My hands rested on my knees with palms facing up, I began to slow my breathing. I vocalized a few oms out loud for effect.

Calmness sank in fast. My hair beginning to tingle was a sure sign I was disconnecting. The lightness started to flow down to my limbs. I was getting better at this for sure. It didn’t take but a minute or two and there I was, looking down at myself.





THOUGHTS OF ZIONA flashed in my mind. Whatever I could retrieve, I forced into my thoughts. Starting with her striking black glossy hair and her endless black eyes. She paired them well with her shiny black boots that kicked my ass. Her bright red lips lost their prominence when her skin began to glow in the same hue. The physical strength she possessed was probably not as strong as the way she carried herself. She would dominate any room and command the attention of onlookers.

Luckily I didn’t have to relive the brutality of her visits. I could feel myself zipping through time and space. The misty glimmer around me felt like a damp cool breeze against my skin. It was strange for my senses to be so heightened in the astral plane. I didn’t have a physical form to be touched, yet I could feel every last drop of dew in the air.

The effects of my travel were fading and Ziona came into focus. I couldn’t believe I found her. The only thing that sucked was that I didn’t know how she got there. I needed to find a way out of my prison. Maybe if I stayed with her I could follow her back, but that could take hours.

It wasn’t clear how long I could stay in this form. Concerns about whoever might be watching my physical body plagued my thoughts. I couldn’t imagine the consequences of anyone suspecting anything. Most people don’t meditate more than an hour. I also worried about any repercussions from being away from my body too long. I wouldn’t want to get stuck like this.

There she stood, tall and strong, commanding a room full of men. They sat beneath her at a large conference table made of black marble. Most of the room’s content was black. The chairs were matte black with tall backs, the tops angled to one side, very modern looking. So not my style.

The only color in the room came from a raging fireplace that covered a large portion of the wall behind Ziona. The flames cast shadows throughout the room. The light flickered on the faces of the men on the far side.

A collage of televisions covered one wall. The volume was muted, but the images being projected were all news channels. The stock market looked to be an important concern at this meeting.

I felt like a fly on the wall. Careful not to move in too fast, I slowly made my way around the room to investigate what was going on and where we might be. I needed to be careful; Phaela could see me in this state so it was possible someone else could spot me too.

Much of what was going on in the room suggested it was a business meeting. In addition to the fact that almost no one was dressed in business attire, there was something off-putting about this crowd. Even with the fire blazing in the room, I felt cold. My astral body felt shivers of fear deep within.

Ziona was wearing a tight black pencil skirt that hugged her curvaceous hips. If she turned the right way, I could see the definition of her muscular thighs. They remind me of a gymnast, but she was more than double the size of the average gymnast. Her blouse was fitted and struggled to stay closed over her voluptuous bosom. She must’ve really loved those boots. They took that outfit to an inappropriate level of sexiness for any business meeting.

She had no problem making sure every man in the room considered what it would be like to bed her, regardless of their interest. She leaned in over her computer at the table, her hip kicked out to the side showing the curves of a perfectly round backside. Her breasts looked ready to fall out onto the table.

I was having a hard time hearing what she was saying, but clearly she led the meeting. Her finger pointed at the small man seated to her right, her face void of pleasantries. I took it the little man’s response was unacceptable by the slamming of her hand on the table. A few of the men kept their eyes downcast.

Looking around the room, her eyes stopped on someone whose face I couldn’t see from this angle. I approached the other side of the room and her voice suddenly registered.

“How about the Fromarian brothers? What is your update?”

I finally got to an angle where my view of this one had no obstructions. He sat tall above most of the others at the table. His shoulders were strong and wide. Even though he was seated, my guess would have been that he was over six feet tall. His black hair was pulled back tight and longer than I would have expected, but it was contained by a number of rubber bands keeping it very neat. His face and neck were shaved to perfection, probably by a straightedge blade.

A black T-shirt appeared painted across his chest. The sleeves squeezed at his massive biceps. The shirt displayed an image with a name of some kind. It was hard to make out the name from here as part of his laptop blocked the lettering.

Impeccably groomed eyebrows crowned his large grey eyes. His smoky discs were protected by long black lashes, which most women worked hard to achieve. A strong jawline accentuated his pouty lips. The frown lines around his mouth gave him just enough of a mature look to take him serious but youthful enough that most any female would crave his attention.

“Ma’am, my affairs are in order, as they always are. As for my brother, I know not of what he does. Last I heard from him, he was in the field. I ask nothing of him, as his business is his own.”

His eyes jetted over in my direction and met mine. My heart sank with fear. I wasn’t sure if I imagined the exchange. Oh, I hoped he couldn’t see me. I moved just behind where Ziona stood. If he could see me, I didn’t want him to inadvertently give me away.

Our eyes were locked in on one another. My heart started to flutter. His head tipped to the side in fascination. His eyes were like the ocean at dusk. I wanted to dive in. I knew I’d never seen this man before, but there was something so familiar about him. The level of recognition was perplexing. An unusual need to embrace him caught me off guard. What was wrong with me?
Focus, girl!

“Graven, don’t start. What are the projections for Reign Industries?”

Without taking his eyes from me, he replied, “My analysis of where we are to date along with the specs for the new club are included in my portfolio that I submitted to you at the beginning of the meeting. I also emailed both of you the preliminary forecast yesterday.”

“He is expecting to see the numbers for this club to more than exceed the profits of your other two. He’s also looking to find more of the missing elements. He expects you to find them and help him add to his collection.” Ziona stepped away from the table and forced her hand on her hip.

“I’m well aware of what is expected of me,” Graven rebutted. “I know my place. I have some new promotional concepts that should help appeal to both an exclusively unique clientele as well as employees. We will start our screening process for employees in about six weeks. That should give us enough time to flush out the unenlightened, shall we say.

“I have a special component being designed for an elite crowd, basically, for you and him to entertain or host any event or special guest. Of course, I’ll need to find someone who can help me with some enchantment issues. I will be submitting a request after the new moon.” Graven’s face hardened as if to challenge her.

Ziona gave him a hard look. “Something you would like to share, Graven?”

“No, I believe that covers it.” His eyes slowly and purposefully collided with hers. He didn’t blink once. I’d never seen anyone stare for that long without blinking. With his chiseled features, his stiff body resembled a perfectly carved statue.

“Well, it is unnerving when you stare off at nothing. I have to question if we have company. As it
one of your jobs here to guard our meetings from unwanted guests and spying eyes.”

Graven took a look around the room at nothing in particular. He did a slight roll of his eyes before addressing her concerns.

“My lovely lady of darkness, I assure you that you would be the first to know if we had an intruder. I have never let the council down at any meeting or function. You know it is in my nature to guard and protect what I must.” He spoke at her with conviction. “I understand your concerns, as they are mine as well, but I do not take kindly to being second guessed. Unlike many of our associates, I have always been here on my own time and desire to serve.

Other books

To Win the Lady by Nichols, Mary
Final Score by Michelle Betham
Bye Bye Baby by McIntosh, Fiona
Wendigo by Bill Bridges
Shatter (Club Grit Trilogy) by Jaxsen, Brooke
Fenrir by Lachlan, MD.
The Ruby Slippers by Keir Alexander
Emergence by Various
Unrequited by Emily Shaffer