Black Sun, Teaser #2
“Emory, stop!” I screamed.
He slammed on his brakes, and his convertible skidded to a stop just in time. Shielding her eyes from the glare of his headlights, Megan stood in the middle of the road not five feet from his bumper, right at the blind curve where we hit Ashley.
In the twilight, dressed in dark jeans and a black hoodie, she was completely invisible.
I hopped out of the car. “Megan, you idiot, we almost hit you.”
She squinted in my direction, and her mouth fell open. “Leona? Holy crap, is that you?”
“Why didn’t you freaking move? When you see headlights barreling toward you, you move.”
“Dude, this is so crazy. What are you doing here? Wait—” she raised her hand to her mouth, chewed her fingernails, “what am I doing here?”
“Okay, what’d you find?” I hurried over to her and glanced around.
“Whoa, I think I blacked out.” She looked around with equal bafflement. “Wait, is this…is this Foothill Road? Uh…Leona,” she clutched my arm, “why are we on Foothill Road?”
I stared at her, my heart sinking. “You forgot.”
“Forgot what?” She rubbed her temples. “Not going to lie, the last few days are a bit of a haze right now.”
“Megan,” I groaned, “you texted me, remember? Just now. Like, twenty minutes ago. You said you found something…” I searched her blank gaze. “Please tell me remember.”
She shook her head, eyes wide.
First Emory wouldn’t tell me what happened when he touched Ashley’s corpse, and now Megan had discovered a vital clue…and forgotten it. I wanted to scream.
Maybe the text message would jog her memory.
“Look, you sent me this.” I fished my phone out of my pocket and pushed it toward her face.
“Hmm…something crazy,” she muttered, reading from my screen. “I found something crazy?” She scrunched up her eyes, and her gaze slid to her own phone, still clasped in her fist.
“Yes, you texted me. You came here, you found something, and you texted me. Now try to remember what it was. Try really hard to remember, Megan. This is really important.”
She opened the text on her own phone, stared at it for a moment, then shook her head. “It’s…it’s all gone. I don’t even remember sending this.”
I cursed and scanned the dark street, hoping maybe whatever she’d found would jump out at me. But the sky had darkened to a deep, murky shade of blue, now twinkling with stars.
We couldn’t hope to find anything now.
“Check her pockets.” Emory stepped into the glare of his headlights, pulling on his backpack, and for an instant his blond hair glowed like a neon halo. “If she found something, she might have put it in her pocket.”
“Yeah, check your pockets,” I said. “Maybe you put it in your pocket.”
But Megan only gaped at Emory. “Leona,” she hissed, “what is he doing here? Are you crazy?”
“For the tenth time,” I groaned, “give it a rest. It’s fine.” I patted her hips and her butt, feeling for objects—
She swatted my hand away. “I can do it myself.” She grabbed my elbow. “Can I talk to you? Alone?”
Megan seriously needed her memory back.
“Look, it’s a long story. I’ll tell you later.” I wondered if she could smell the sex on me, and my skin instantly heated. The reminder made me want Emory all over again. Suddenly, I felt his eyes on me, lighting my face like a spotlight, and knowing he could probably sense it only made me want it more. Oh my God, why was I so horny all of a sudden?
Hadn’t that need kind of been taken care of?
I caught his brooding gaze—a mistake—and only blushed hotter. I tucked my hair behind my ear, breathing faster.
“WAIT!” Megan staggered backward and jabbed an accusing finger between us. “I know what’s going on…you guys just had sex.”
“What?” I glared at her, mortified. “No, we didn’t.”
“You totally have sex hair.”
“Megan, just check your pockets,” I said, desperate to deflect the attention off me as I smoothed my hair back.
She reached into the pouch of her hoodie, and something jingled. “Hey, I think I found something—”
Bright high beams swept over us, blinding me. I shielded my eyes as a car rolled up next to us, window descending with an electric hum, and I tensed up. A middle-aged guy leaned out. “Everyone okay here?”
I relaxed. “Yeah, we’re fine. Thanks.”
He looked me up and down—yep, looking at the sex hair—gave me a knowing smile, and drove off.
I let out my breath and turned back to Megan.
“Sorry, just car keys.” She waggled them.
“Your car!” I snapped my fingers. “Megan, where’s your car? If we can find your car…”
“There—” Emory pointed across the street, where her Ford was parked in the shadows.
I glanced both ways and darted to the other side while he pulled his own car off the road.
“Come on, it’s got to be around here somewhere.” I dug through the sticks and dried leaves on the ground and felt around the back of her tires. Nothing.
“Maybe I put it in my car?” Megan opened the passenger door and peeked in. “Nope.”
I stood up, brushed the dirt off my knees. “No, we’re being idiots. You would have parked and then looked around. Where you parked doesn’t mean anything.”
“You’re right.” Emory knelt next to me, rubbing his jaw. “We found her in the middle of the street, not here.”
“Wait a minute…” I glanced back to where she’d been standing, but the manhole cover was sealed—and she’d been ten feet away. If she’d gone down into the sewer, it would’ve been open. “Do you remember why you were in the middle of the street?”
She scratched the back of her head. “I think…I think I was confused. It’s all kind of a blur.”
“So the first thing you remember, you woke up, and you were just standing in the middle of the street? That’s the first thing you remember?”
“No, there was something else before that, but…oh man, it’s right there…it’s right there.”
“Megan,” he said slowly, “where were you when you first started remembering? Where were you standing?”
She looked up. “I was over by that tree.” She pointed to the big, gnarled oak tree across the street.
Emory and I shared a glance.
We dashed back across the street, and I dug around the roots, my cell phone screen illuminating the sludge of damp leaves in the valleys while he shrugged off his backpack and pulled out a larger flashlight, which he panned in a wider perimeter.
“Dude, sweet glow stick,” Megan said.
I glanced back to see her sliding the vial of Agent Blue out of Emory’s backpack. In her hand, the substance squirmed around like it was trying to get out.
“Don’t touch that!” I stepped toward her, my heel sinking into the damp earth.
“What is it?” Her face glowed from its light.
“Just put it down. I’m serious.”
“Megan,” I warned.
“Fine. I’m putting it down, okay?” She laid it clumsily on the backpack, and it rolled off onto the curb. The glowing threads continue to thrash and wriggle against the glass, as if searching for cracks. I’d never seen the stuff act that way.
Reluctantly, I tore my gaze off the vial and went back to my search. My shoes squished in the mud.
I paused, and looked down.
Mine weren’t the only footprints. Around the base of the tree, another set of tracks formed a dense cluster—Megan’s, the ones she’d made before she lost her memory.
“Wait, bring the light over here.”
Emory shined the flashlight over my shoulder, and I followed her footprints to one of the big roots. A scuff of mud caked the top of the root, imprinted with the tread of her boots.
“She stepped up here,” I said. “Look, she stepped up onto the roots.”
Slowly, Emory raised his flashlight beam up the side of the oak tree. He stopped four feet up. “Found it.”
I stared at the circle of light, and my lungs suddenly felt too tight. Carved into the pale bark were four words.
Here I killed Dark
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