words, at the simple statement that cut through the air with blood and fire as the voice in my head began to laugh.
I hadn’t meant to say that.
Other words had been forming in my mind, yet those were the ones that had come out.
Sain’s face blanched as the pressure of his hand against me increased. I could feel his pulse through my skin, feel it accelerate as mine did, as my body tensed and tightened at what was coming. I pressed myself against the wall in fear, almost wishing there was a place I could escape to, that there was any place on the earth that was safe for me.
However, I knew better.
Joyful laughter was already filling my head, and the sounds grew the more I tried to push them away, to focus on what I knew to be real, to stay astride that narrow plank that splintered underneath me.
“I want to kill her.” The words felt sane as they seeped from me. My voice wasn’t pulled into the depth of my madness, yet I knew they had been wrought in the same subconscious place. I knew they were real.
And it scared me.
That’s my boy.
I flinched at the familiarity of his voice, at the feigned love that oozed through it. My heart sped up at the acceptance I had always wanted, despite knowing what that meant.
“Kill,” I hissed.
Sain’s lips pressed into a tight white line. He knew what was coming as much as I did.
“I want to kill her.”
“Ryland,” Sain pleaded through the flickering light of his magic, but I knew at once his plea was useless.
“Kill!” It was a roar the echoed round us, the light fading to black for a moment as my magic smothered it. “I want to kill her.”
“No, you don’t.” I jumped at the new voice as much as the snake that lived inside me did, the slimy creature retreating into my belly like a heavy lead weight.
My body tensed as I pushed myself into the wall again, and a bright orange light joined Sain’s green one, leaving us sitting in a puke-filled room as Wyn slowly walked toward us.
A pained smile on her face as she leaned against the table then the wall and, finally, Thom. I had almost forgotten he was there, as quiet as he was.
My magic flared with a violent spark, as if it was reacting to an enemy, one who had awakened the dragon of my madness I had been trying so hard to restrain.
“I need to,” I hissed through gritted teeth, wishing there was a way I could restrain it, wishing I wanted to.
I need to go.
“No, Ryland, you don’t,” Wyn’s face was wrinkled in a pained grimace as Thom helped her to sit, gently leaning her against him when he sat beside her.
I looked at her as I shook, as my back hit against the wall, as we sat in the darkened, stone room the way we always had.
“I do.” The words were a moan.
“No,” Wyn said, a smile turning up the corners of her mouth, though pain still haunted her eyes.
For one frightening moment, I wondered what my father had done to her, how she had gotten here. For one moment, I opened my mouth to ask, but the same word ran through my mind on repeat, and I didn’t want it to escape. Therefore, I slammed my back into the wall with a little more force, part of me hoping the impact would be enough to shake my father out of my mind.
“You don’t, just as she doesn’t want to kill you,” Wyn continued as if nothing had happened.
My eyes darted to hers for only a moment before continuing their tour of inanimate objects around the room.
She wants to kill you, too.
No, she’s good.
Don’t fool yourself.
You can see it in her eyes.
She wants me dead.
I want you dead, too.
The thought came unbidden. The truth of the phrase, the knowledge that I wasn’t alone in my desire, no matter how wicked it might be, calmed me. While I should have been able to grab that calm, it only angered the monster that lived inside of me, trapping me with his screams as I began to shake and rock in place.
She wants you dead.
Look at her.
She’s going to kill you.