Krista rolled over just in time to see the Seeker rise up over the cliff edge, her pallid face glowing in the swirling darkness and her arms reaching out to Noite, who still wore her own clothes but Krista’s face and hair.
Noite screamed as she was grabbed and yanked off the edge. There was a breaking, crackling sound and then...nothing. The Seeker was gone, and so was Noite.
“I ’m sorry.”
Krista looked at the faces ringing around her, and fear began at the base of her neck and shot down her spine. Would they kill her now? She could not blame them, she had managed to get two people killed...
“We don’t know that Noite is dead,” Steven said.
She blushed. “How did that...Seeker thing...even know how to get here?”
“Seekers are Naturals. They are stronger than even the strongest Prime because their talents are inborn. They can sense other Naturals, and, to some extent, Primes and Betas.”
“So they work for DARK?”
“Yes, voluntarily.” Blake said grimly.
“What? Why would they do that?”
Connor stood at the edge, staring down at the abyss. “In Nazi Germany people who had friends who were Jewish made the decision to turn their backs, to be part of the killing machine rather than get caught in its teeth.
“That happens every day, everywhere. Decent people enable criminals to keep their own safe, or themselves. They close their eyes and bow their heads to the yoke.”
“Gee,” Krista said in as sarcastic a voice as she could muster, “You talk like you are a hundred years old.”
“Close, but not quite.”
“Never mind. We have to get Noite back.”
“It’s too late.” Blake’s face held no expression. His high cheekbones looked sharp enough to cut the skin of his face.
“You don’t know that!”
“By now she is in the machine. They discovered she was not you as soon as she got yanked back.”
“Then why haven’t they come back?”
“They probably killed the Seeker for her mistake, and Steven is throwing a block now because your thoughts are too loud. You need to learn to control them.”
“That’s what they tell me,” she muttered, and Blake gave her a lopsided grin that made her heart cramp. How could he be such a giant nozzle and still be so hot? That question seemed to be one she was going to be asking herself a lot.
Tawny interjected, “I think it was one of the new Breeds of Seeker.”
“That’s all we need,” Blake snorted.
“What’s a new Breed?”
“They can sense Power being used instead of just people with it. You can see why DARK takes them on. They can track down Naturals, and anyone using Power they can sense, or at least the new ones can, but I thought they were not operable yet.”
“I guess they rushed production,” Steven said.
“I don’t care how or why or anything else,” Krista interrupted. “It’s my fault, and I am going to go get her back.”
Blake shook his head, “You are going to get us all killed. She stays where she is.”
“That is bullshit!”
“That is life. Noite knew the risks.”
Stony faces stared back at her aghast one. They could not be serious! They were just going to let their friend die off down there, held in thrall to the machine! “You people are sick.”
“We are not people, and neither are you, not really.” Tawny said.
Krista stomped off, but there was really nowhere to go. The wind cut off everything from sight, but it could not disguise the darkness at the rim of things. She ended up sitting up on a pile of rocks. Her face hurt, and when she wiped it with her hand, there was blood on her fingers and palms.
Her whole body was scratched and bruised and cut in one way or another. Her shorts were filthy, her socks were dirty, and she had the overwhelming urge to just put her head in her hands and cry until she could not cry anymore.
“I know it sounds really mean.”
She turned her head to look at Tawny. “Mean? It is downright heinous.”
“You have to