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Out of Darkness

By: Michelle Areaux
Published By: Books by Michelle Areaux
Copyright: Copyright © 2017 by Michelle Areaux
Sixteen Chapters / 35,000 Words
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What would you do if you had to fight against the hands of time to save the life of someone you love?  After escaping death twice, Nora lives for danger and the rush that makes her feel alive.

Liam has been given a second chance at life, but he see's his new gift as a punishment.  When the unlikely pair meet, their lives become intertwined as Liam's secret could destroy not only his relationship with Nora, but her life.

In this young adult fantasy novel, good meets evil as two teens rush to break through the darkness and save themselves.

Prologue

I died when I was fifteen-years-old.

Well, that is the time the doctors started to pronounce me dead before I came back to life. I should have died. If it hadn’t been for the stranger who pulled me out of my mom’s blazing car and brought me back to life, with only his touch, I would not be alive today. Everyone called it a miracle. They said I shouldn’t have survived the car crash, that I was unconscious with no vital signs for too long, and that I shouldn’t have made it out alive. But somehow, my heart began to beat again. No one believed my story about the boy who was there and saved me. Everyone thought I was going crazy, that it was just my mind trying to block out the horrific images of that night and replace them with something else. My survival had been called everything from a blessing to a miracle. I guess it would be a miracle if my mom hadn’t died in that very same accident...

Three Years Ago

“Nora, can you stop texting and please have a real conversation with me?” Glancing toward me, my mom diverted her eyes away from the dark stretch of highway and looked straight at my I-phone.

Finishing up a quick text to my best friend Rhonda, or Ronnie as she demanded to be called, I tucked the phone back into my purse. “Sorry, mom.” I yawned as I turned my attention to the empty highway in front of us.

We had been driving for three hours, and it was almost midnight. When we left my grandparents’ house earlier in the evening, they begged my mom to stay one last night and leave the next morning. I think more than anything they wanted us to stay longer so they could talk my mom into moving closer to her hometown in Eastern Kentucky. Since my dad left my mom six months ago for his young assistant, my grandparents had made it a ritual to call every single day to check up on us. The affair had taken everyone by surprise. Once my dad began going on more business trips without my mom and staying much later than he used to at his high-end luxury car dealership, the signs were all written out for us. Only, we all believed his lies until I came from school one day to find his bags packed and my mom crying in the kitchen. He sat me down and told me he still loved me, but had met someone else.

My grandparents had come the next day and begged my mom to come back home with them. I knew they wanted her close to them so they could help, but my mom wanted her independence. I had overheard her telling them how much it hurt her that he left, how he destroyed their marriage, and how he didn’t even fight for me in the divorce. Pretending the divorce didn’t bother us, was the only way my mom and I were finding it easy to cope with the huge life changes we were forced to make. As a nurse, my mom made a decent living, but we couldn’t afford to remain in our large three story home we had once shared with my dad. Ready to be back home, or at least to our new apartment we now called home, my mom and I had insisted we would be fine driving home late at night.

“Mom, maybe we should pull over and find a hotel for tonight. I’m exhausted and I know you must be too.” Sweeping my eyes over my mom, I suddenly realized how tired and sad she looked. Her once sparkling blue eyes seemed gray against the dashboard lights glowing in the car. Her always styled hair was pulled into a tight bun away from her thinning face.

Mustering a smile, she pretended to be fine, even though I could see for myself she was anything but fine. She tucked a strand of my caramel colored hair behind my ear before speaking. “No honey, I am fine. We only have about an hour left then we will be home. If you are tired, close your eyes and get some rest, I will just listen to the radio if I get bored.”

Too tired to fight her, I slumped down in the seat and rested my head against the cool glass of the passenger side window. The rhythmic sounds of tires against asphalt slowly lulled me to sleep. I was just about to hit my deepest form of sleep, when I was suddenly jerked upright in my seat.

Eyes shooting open, I found two bright yellow headlights blinding me. I had just enough time to let out a scream before our car was hit head on. My head slammed against the glass of the window as our Toyota Camry began to flip and roll across the lonely highway. All I heard was the sound of metal crunching beneath me and the sound of my rapid heart rate. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as the car finally landed on its side. My head throbbing with a piercing pain, I tried to search for my mother, but she was no longer in the car. A large hole was shattered through the windshield of the car where my mom had crashed through and now blood seemed to occupy the space of the car.

As fear and panic began to take over my body, I tried to unhook my seat-belt. I had to find my mom, to help her. My body was stuck against a large piece of crumpled metal that was once the passenger side door. Screaming, I yelled for help. The other car, they had to have stopped to check on us. Maybe they were hurt too.

My eyes scanned the pitch black area of the roadway, only to find nothing but blackness in front of me.

“Mom,” I screamed out as I continued to try to free myself from the wreckage. “Please someone, anyone help us.” My voice pierced through the lonely night as no other sounds were heard. The eeriness of the quiet began to frighten me even more than the wreck.

My head was still pounding and my vision began to blur as I reached up and felt a warm liquid running down the side of my face. Allowing myself to focus, I realized how much by body ached. I was bleeding from a large gash across my scalp and I couldn’t feel my right leg anymore. I tried to fight against my eyes as they tried to close and shut out the pain that was taking over my body.

Smoke was filling my lungs as I gasped next to our car. The car that had hit us, was in flames, red and yellow sparks providing the only light for miles.

Just as I had decided to give in to the pain and darkness, I felt a pair of strong hands pulling me out of the car. I seemed to float effortlessly as the arms that now carried me out of the car felt weightless. I struggled to focus my eyes on the person who was rescuing me, but the face was a blur of black and white. I felt my body being placed gently on the hard pavement of the road and I managed to get a quick glimpse of my savior. He had hair the color of coal, it was so dark it was hard to see against the backdrop of the black night sky. His eyes were almost like ice, a shade of blue so clear, as they stared at me with a look of intrigue and sadness. My senses seemed to be turned off, but he smelled like vanilla and peppermint, a sweet combination that turned my focus to his chiseled, young pale face. He couldn’t have been older than sixteen, but his eyes seemed to be full of an eternity of sadness. He frowned, his eyebrows furrowing as he looked down at me, placing one hand on my cheek, and gently stroking the side of my face.

The touch of his rough hands against my cold skin sent shivers down my spine. With every slow, calculated movement he made, my body began to relax and pain began to subside. It was almost as if his hands were healing me, spreading calmness over my body. Looking down, he slightly smiled, and I could just make out a hint of a smile as he gently caressed my face.

Reaching up, I placed my hand on his rough face, I could make out a small scar above his right eye. His mouth was tight and his eyes seemed to be in shock as I touched his warm skin.

I tried to speak, to tell this man to help my mom, but I seemed paralyzed into submission. I don’t know if it was the pain pulsing through my body, the loss of blood, or his stunning rugged features, but I was unable to communicate in any way.

My vision was blurred and I couldn’t stop myself from going further and further into the darkness of my mind. Voices boomed all around me, yelling and screaming protruding my mind.

“Where is Abel?” I heard a man ask, his voice shaky and worried.

“Abel isn’t here. I am here to take the girl with me,” a rough voice hissed from behind me. Footsteps surrounded me, their steps driving into the ground and causing the vibrations to shake my lifeless body.

“This wasn’t part of the deal. She is just an innocent girl,” a smooth voice spoke near me.

I couldn’t open my eyes to see the faces of the men, but their voices filled my head and I couldn’t stop listening to their words. Warmth rushed to my face and my body felt cold as I could feel my legs shivering.  Was this the end? I thought to myself as I felt a strange comfort take over me.

“It seems we are both breaking the rules tonight, aren’t we?” a rough voice spoke again, his voice breaking the silence of the night. “I saw what you just did with her, you brought her back. I don’t believe that was part of your redemption.”

Touching me again, the boy began whispering words I couldn’t make out or understand. I bit my lip, trying to stifle a cry that I feared would escape my lips and make this all too real. White and silver light began to explode all around me and my eyes shot open unable to look away at the brightness piercing my vision and the erasing the darkness of the sky. In a violent move, my body lifted off the ground and I felt lifeless as I floated through the air. Closing the growing distance between us, I felt the boy’s arms grab me around the waist and pull me back to the ground.

My chest heaved and a heavy breath escaped from my lips as I cried out before everything came crashing down on me once more.

Suddenly, a raspy voice yelled out into the sky, diverting the beautiful face away from mine. “We have to go, the woman is dead. The passengers in the other car are dead too. How is the girl?” His tone was sharp and fast and I tried to move my head in his direction, but all I could see was a dark shape in the distance. He was looking down and as my eyes began to focus, I saw my mom lying beneath him, dead.

“No,” I managed to scream. “You have to help us.” I pleaded with the men in my mind.

The boy who had just been sweetly caressing my face, leaped to his feet like a leopard on high alert. The fast movement took me by surprise and I looked at him with a face full of bewilderment.

“Abel…” the boy tried to speak, but his words were cut off like a knife.

“I said let's go.” The other man screamed again, this time with a harsh undercut. “Are you taking her or not?” The man asked as he began to stride over to us. Running to his side, the boy stopped him before he could take another soul-crushing step toward me.

Running a hand through his messy hair, the boy finally spoke. His voice sounded like an angel, melodic and low. “No, she is fine. I called the wreck in, an ambulance should be here any minute so we need to go.”

I watched as the two figures walked away deep into the darkness as a pair of red and blue lights made their way toward me. They seemed to disappear, like they were never there. I couldn’t understand why they would leave me lying in the road. Why didn’t they wait for the ambulance to arrive before they left? How did they get here? While I lay motionless watching two police officers run toward me, I struggled to remember what the men had said. Why would he take me anywhere? My mind reeled with questions as voices rapidly spoke to me, breaking my thoughts.

“Sam, everyone is dead except the girl. We need the ambulance here now, she has lost a lot of blood, but she is still alive. This is crazy, from the looks of this crash and the amount of blood lost, this girl should be dead too.” A police officer was knelt down next to me, examining my broken body. He yelled to his partner, as he stared at me in disbelief.

When the paramedics arrived, they too seemed to be in shock that I had somehow survived such a horrific crash. I faded into unconsciousness as I was loaded into the back of an ambulance. When I woke two days later, my dad was staring at me while he spoke with two doctors.

Now, three years later, at seventeen years old, I hardly remember anything about that day. Whenever my dad or evil step monster try to bring it up, I refuse to listen. The fact is, the bits and pieces of that night never seem to make sense to me. Everything I see when I close my eyes is one big white blur. To me, that is a sign that I don’t need to remember the moment my mom lost her life and somehow I didn’t lose mine.

CHAPTER 1

“Nora, are you even listening to me?” As I slam my locker shut, I can feel my best friend Ronnie shaking my arm.

“Sorry, Ronnie,” I mutter as I quickly bring myself back to reality. Sometimes, I drift off into a dream state where all sounds and visions seem to disappear.

Staring at myself in my compact mirror, I hardly recognize the face looking back at me. My once emerald green eyes now seem to be a faded shade of green. My long, caramel brown hair is pulled up in a high ponytail instead of being fixed like I used to do. My short, thin frame seemed dull and lifeless instead of perky like I was before the accident.

“Come on, Nora. So what do you think?” This time she huffs as she realizes I had not been paying any attention to her story. Stealing my compact, Nora begins to fluff her long, red hair before she checks the mascara outlining her green eyes.

Running my hands through my long caramel colored hair, I try to find an excuse, any excuse to give her. My mind is blank. “Sorry, I was just…..”

Before I can finish whatever lie I was creating, Ronnie cuts me off. “I know, I know. You were just off in la-la land again. I swear Nora, sometimes you can be so flaky. Anyways, I was asking you what you thought about Cole. Rumor is he has been asking around about you.”

Mustering a smile, I began to walk toward my next class. The halls were crowded as the rest of Whispering Woods Private High School enjoyed their last free minutes. “I don’t know Ronnie, he has dated practically every girl at this school. I don’t really think he is my type.”

Quickly walking in front of me, Ronnie cuts me off mid step. Holding her hands in the air, she barricades herself in front of the classroom door. “Nope. Not this time. You are not going to blow off another cute boy that likes you. I am going to talk to him today during sixth period and see if he likes you. If he does, I am going to tell him to ask you out.” She continues her rant as students begin to pile into the class. Trying to walk around her, Ronnie refuses to move. For someone so thin, she is freakishly strong.

“Nora, you haven’t had a boyfriend in like three years, ever since your mom…” This time, she cut herself off before the words escaped her perfectly glossed red lips.

I can feel the tears stinging my eyes and my heart is pounding rapidly in my chest. Holding my breath, I shove past Ronnie, and this time she doesn’t fight me. She knows she crossed the line. My one rule, never, ever, talk about my mom. Ever since she died, I don’t like to talk about her. I have my memories of her; she was my best friend, and after my dad left her for my step monster, we became inseparable. Our time together is valuable. From her familiar sweet smile, the way she always smelled like lavender, and her loving eyes, are mine. I don’t share my memories about my mom, not with anyone, not even my best friend Ronnie.

I slide into my seat in the back of the class and pull my notebook out of my backpack. I keep my head down, I don’t want anyone to see how red and flushed my face is. Slowly walking in, I see Ronnie sit down next to me.

“Hey, I think I know why you are being so weird today,” Ronnie began.

She fumbled with her jacket as her eyes diverted around the room, and not at me. My heart began to pound violently as I silently pleaded for her not to say anything. I wasn’t sure why I thought she might forget today’s date. It was a date I hoped would be erased from my mind and those who knew me. However, I wasn’t that lucky.

“It’s not a big deal,” I began, trying to force a smile.

“Yes, it is,” Ronnie began. “Today is the day…”

Before she could get the words out, I cut her off mid-sentence. “Please don’t say it. We both know what today is. Let’s just leave it at that.”

Smiling at me, Ronnie just shook her head and dropped the topic. As my best friend, I know she wanted to console me and be there for me, but I didn’t want any of that. All I wanted was to get through the day and forget that on this day, three years ago, I lost my mother and myself.

“I get it, you don’t want to talk about anything relating to that night. Just promise me, you won’t do anything stupid,” Ronnie pleaded with me. Unfortunately, Ronnie knew me well enough to know that I couldn’t promise anything.

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