Home > Vow of Deception (Deception Trilogy #1)(2)

Vow of Deception (Deception Trilogy #1)(2)
Author: Rina Kent

He’s motionless, like a cold statue, as I remain suspended in mid-air. His face is shadowed and I can’t see anything except the contours of his jawline and hair.

Since I know he won’t make a move to help me, I try to use my hold on his sleeve to pull myself up.

“You ended a life.” His calm yet threatening tone stops me in my tracks.

I shake my head violently. “I d-didn’t want to.”

“It still happened.”

“No, please…don’t…”

“Die for your sins.” He yanks his hand free and I stumble backward and down the cliff.

I open my mouth to shriek, but no sound comes out. The fall isn’t as painful as I expected it to be. If anything…it’s peaceful.

After taking one last look at the silhouette peering down on me, I close my eyes, letting the tears loose.

It’s finally the end.

 

 

1

 

 

Adrian

 

 

The scent of roses has morphed into the stench of death.

I stare down at the blood gushing from her wounds, at the life stubbornly leaving her body without pause or second thoughts.

The red color is marring her fair skin, painting rivulets down her arms and legs and contouring her soft face.

Her eyes are open, but she’s not looking at me. Their blue is blank, vanished, already existing someplace else where I don’t belong.

I cradle her head in my arms, gently stroking her dark brown hair. Lifting a wet strand, I inhale deeply, searching for what’s possibly my last fix of roses. It doesn’t matter if they’re thorny and would prick me in the process. The method holds no importance to me as long as I get things done.

What greets me is the furthest thing from roses. It’s not even death. It’s worse.

Nothingness.

Numbness.

A place where she can’t and won’t feel me. Where she ended everything just so she could seal her heart and her soul.

Just so she could…disappear.

I sweep her hair away from her face and brush my lips over her forehead. “I’ll find you again.”

People say death is the end.

For me, it’s only the beginning.

 

 

2

 

 

Winter

 

 

I think I’ve stopped feeling.

It’s not that I’ve turned off my emotions, but I’m pretty sure I’ve lost sense in my hands and feet.

I can almost see the blisters from the cold on my fingers inside my torn gloves and between my toes that are covered with old socks and man shoes that are a size too big, making my feet slouch with every step I take. The frigid air is even moving past the barrier of my four thin sweaters and the coat that’s three sizes too big.

Snow season hit hard this year in New York City. I feel like I’m a walking snowman with the weight of the clothes I’m wearing. None of them feel soft or protective enough, but it’s better than dying from hypothermia.

It’d be ironic if I died from the cold when my name is Winter.

Is Fate a little too cynical, or what? He must have thought of this moment when he whispered to my mom that she should name me after the coldest, harshest season.

Fate also chose the worst state to throw me in. Not only are the winters here cold, windy, and wet as hell, but the summers are also unbearable with all the humidity.

But who am I to complain? At least here, I can slip through the crowd unnoticed.

As if I don’t exist.

Invisibility is a powerful tool. In a city that harbors over eight million residents, it’s actually easy for someone like me to go unnoticed.

The cold forces me to stand out more, though. As I walk down the wet streets among the hundreds of thousands of people, I get looks sometimes. They’re not always out of pity—oftentimes, they’re judgmental. I can hear them say, You could’ve done better, young lady.

But most New Yorkers are so desensitized that they don’t give a flying fuck about a nobody like me.

I try not to focus on the people exiting bakeries with takeout, but I can’t ignore the divine smells that waft past me. I open my mouth, then close it as if that will get me a taste of the goodies.

If only I could have some hot soup right now or a warm piece of bread.

I swallow the saliva that forms in my mouth at the thought. Whenever I’m starved and don’t have access to food, I picture a table full of delicious meals and pretend that I’m feasting on them. But my stomach just believes it for half a minute before it starts growling again.

It’s hard to deceive that one.

As hungry as I am, however, what I’d really love is more to drink.

I lift the can of beer that’s wrapped in a brown paper bag and down the rest of it. There goes the final drops that were supposed to get me through my day.

It’s only the afternoon and I haven’t eaten for the last…when was it again? Two days?

Maybe I should go back to the shelter for a meal and a piece of bread…

I dismiss the thought as soon as it comes. I will never return to that place, not even if I have to sleep on the streets. I guess I should search for another shelter where I can spend the rest of the winter or else I’ll really freeze to death outside.

My feet come to a halt in front of a framed poster hanging on the side of a building. I don’t know why I stop.

I shouldn’t.

I don’t—usually.

I don’t stop and stare, because that would draw attention to me and ruin my chances of having invisibility superpowers.

But for reasons unknown, I halt this time. My empty can is nestled between my gloved fingers, suspended in mid-air as I study the ad.

The poster is for the New York City Ballet, advertising one of their performances. The entirety of it is occupied by a woman wearing a wedding dress and standing on pointe. A veil covers her face, but it’s transparent enough to distinguish the sadness, the harshness, the…despair.

‘Giselle’ is written in script over her head. At the bottom are the names of the director and the prima ballerina, Hannah Max, as well as the other ballerinas participating in the show.

I blink once, and for a second, I can see my reflection in the glass. My coat swallows my small frame and my oversized high-top sneakers resemble clown shoes. My faux fur winter hat covers my ears, and my blonde hair is disheveled and greasy, its ends hidden inside my coat. My hat is pushed back a little, revealing my dark roots. Feeling somehow subconscious, I pull the hood of my coat over my head, allowing it to shadow my face.

Now I look like a serial killer.

Ha. I’d laugh if I could. A serial killer is smart enough to not end up on the streets. They’re smart enough to not drown so much in alcohol that sustaining a job becomes impossible.

I blink again and the poster returns to view. Giselle. Ballet. Prima ballerina.

A sudden urge to gouge the woman’s eyes out overwhelms me. I inhale, then exhale. I shouldn’t have such a strong reaction toward a stranger.

I hate her. I hate Hannah Max and Giselle and ballet.

Spinning around, I leave before I’m tempted to smash the poster to the ground.

I crumple the can and toss it in a nearby trash can. This change of mood isn’t good—at all.

It’s because of the lack of alcohol in my system. I haven’t had enough beer today to get drunk in the daylight. The cold becomes more tolerable when my mind is numb. My thoughts aren’t as loud and I don’t get murderous feelings over a harmless ballet poster.

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