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Dark Isle

By:Shannon Mayer

Dark Isle

The only way of finding the limits of the possible is by going beyond them into the impossible.

Arthur C. Clarke





1

I had never felt such a yawning chasm of despair as the one that opened within me while sitting in that helicopter as it flew us away from Ashling. My sister, the one person I loved better than any other, had just been left behind. The only thing I had to combat the depression that threatened to roll me under its tide of pain, was anger. Anger at myself, Luke, my mother; all of us were, in some way, responsible for not getting Ashling out. My heart gripped that anger for all it was worth and held on; I let the fury burn away the pain in my soul.

“You know, perhaps I could come with you to Ireland. I mean, after all, this whole debacle has interrupted my vacation there,” Mom said. As she spoke, I knew I’d never call her that again; from then on, she’d be Darcy to me.

Luke answered her; I didn’t even hear the words. A low thrum of anger rippled through me, and I did everything I could to not lash out and to keep my hands still in my lap. Cora’s coils tightened across my shoulders and she let out a low hiss of irritation.

Ignore the fool, Quinn. She does not understand the great gift that both of you girls are. Cora’s voice inside my mind did little to soothe the raging anger. If Darcy had been honest with us, if she had told us of our heritage, we wouldn’t be here now. Ashling would not have been captured by the Fomorii and I would not . . . no, I would still have to face the prophecy, but at least I could have been prepared for it. Trained for it.

The last few days had been a whirlwind. From the moment our grandfather, Blake, had Quickened my blood, nothing had been even close to normal. Spinning the events through my mind, I tried to see where I could have changed things. Could I have stopped the Fomorii from kidnapping Ashling? Or could I have done more to rescue her? Then there was the emotional tug of war as Bres pulled my heart in one direction and Luke another. I glanced at Luke, taking in his perfect golden features and blue eyes. He seemed so arrogant and sure that he was the other person the prophecy spoke of; that he was the man I was supposed to fall in love with. Bres was the son of Balor, my enemy, but he’d helped me survive the Labyrinth, and had been the only reason I’d even gotten close to rescuing Ashling. In the end I’d still come away without her. I scrubbed my hands over my face, my mother’s words finally reaching my ears.

“Quinn, you and I should go to the spa when we get to Ireland; I know this great little . . .”

Wrenching my seatbelt off, I stood shaking above her my voice low and controlled, yet still icy with intensity. “Shut up. Right now, before I throw you from this helicopter.”

Darcy’s green eyes, so like Ashling’s, widened, and her hand fluttered to the base of her throat. “You’re threatening me?” she whispered.

“No threats. I’ve had enough. As far as I’m concerned, you are not my mother. No mother would sacrifice her children for her own safety,” I said, the certainty of the words filtering through me slowly. I could still see her face as she offered up Ashling for her own escape; the image wouldn’t leave me. Her eyes filled with tears and I felt . . . nothing. “That won’t work on me anymore, Darcy. You and I are done.” I thought of the one moment that she’d attacked Balor and given Ashling a chance to get to me, and my heart softened a little. Of course, she’d never been in any true danger; Balor hadn’t wanted her. My heart closed over, the old wounds sealed off for good this time.

Darcy let out a little sob and buried her face in her hands. Even if the tears were real this time it was too late for remorse. She’d lost her chance to be anything but the woman who gave birth to me, certainly not someone I would ever call mom again.

That was harsh Quinn, Cora said. The pain in her voice nearly undid me, but I steeled myself against the emotions that were swirling. Grief, foremost, but a keen sense of being alone in this world overrode even that. A pang around my heart took me back to the days when I’d still dreamed of having a father. Someone who loved me unconditionally; unlike Darcy.

“I don’t care if it was harsh,” I said aloud, spreading my legs for better balance as the helicopter dipped in an air current. Fists at my side, I stared down at Darcy, a cold well of anger keeping any tears I would have shed at bay. She sniffled, her small shoulders shaking as she cried, and still I could feel nothing but the pain she had inflicted on me and Ashling. The years of neglect had finally burst through the damn of control I’d kept such a tight rein on. A part of me was relieved. No longer did I have to try to make her love me.

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