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  • Home > Samantha Young > Fire Spirits > Smokeless Fire (Page 13)     
  • Smokeless Fire(Fire Spirits #1)(13) by Samantha Young
  • They’re not real, Ari. Figment meet Imagination.

    “Right,” she breathed. “ I’m crazy.”

    Just a dream .

    Ari’s whole body froze; her muscles tensed, her shoulders hunched to her ears, her ears pricked up, her heartbeat did its best to drown out her hearing by rushing her blood around her body super-fast. It was the kind of reaction someone might have to the sound of a thief breaking into their house at night. Ari was reacting to the low, deadly growl that rumbled from somewhere over her shoulder. She gulped. Just a dream, just a dream, just a dream . Slowly, hands trembling, Ari turned, placing one foot carefully after the other. Her eyes widened as she turned full circle and faced…

    “Holy mother of crap.”

    …the thing before her… oh god, oh god, what is it, what is it?

    The growling grew deeper and louder as she began backing away slowly towards the room she had just come out of and she felt the bile rise as the thing took an awkward unbalanced step towards her.

    You are so seriously messed up if you can dream this kind of stuff up, Ari!

    The monster – for that’s what it was – snarled. As far as Ari could tell its mulch-shaped head was really only half of a face. It had one eye, dark and lidless with thick, pulsing red veins flowing out from under its mud-colored skin, skin that crinkled like paper when it moved. It had no nose cartilage, no bone structure, just a hole in the middle of its… face?... that grew bigger and then smaller as it breathed its fury at her presence. As for the thing’s mouth…

    “Just a dream, just a dream,” Ari chanted, backing all the way into the room now, her knees dying to buckle in terror as it followed her predatorily, saliva dripping between its black gums and razor-sharp teeth. The ugly horror of the creature was only increased by its lack of a left arm and lack of a right leg. Its twisted malformed body slithered towards her, somehow balanced despite its deformities. Its long, blackened claws clacked and scraped harshly in a high whine against the mirrored floors as it continued to back her into a corner.

    Feeling faint and nauseous Ari stopped, struggling to draw breath.

    “It isn’t real.” She shook her head, trying to still her body. “It’s OK.” She exhaled, opening her eyes to stare the creature down. “Just let it happen. It’ll attack and you’ll wake up. That’s what happens in dre—” She cut off into a silent scream as the monster launched into the air towards her, its mouth open wide. Ari threw her hands up to cover her face, closing her eyes tight and waiting for her subconscious to rip her out of the nightmare. Instead she felt the impact of it hit, her body slamming to the floor with a painful thud that knocked the breath right out of her, her head smacking against the mirrored floor in eye-watering pain. A sharp streak of light shot across her eyes and then she felt wet heat clampdown on her forearm.

    Agony ricocheted through her whole system as the monster’s teeth tore through her flesh. She screamed, her eyes rolling back in her head as a wave of nausea swept over her.

    “Vadit. Heel,” a deep, male voice commanded quietly and Ari felt the heat of the monster disappear. Air flowed across her wounds agitating the pain, and she felt the warm blood slip down her arm at too fast a current.

    “It’s not real,” she whispered, tears leaking out from her closed eyes. It’s too real , she shook, gulping back panic, her body starting to shudder with the shock. Her chest tightened as her heart raced too fast and she felt her brain grow fuzzy, like there was too much crammed inside it. I’m going to die, I’m going to die. She struggled to draw breath as the panic attack took control.

    “Ari,” a hard voice whispered in her ear and she felt the heat of someone bending over her. “Child, open your eyes.”

    Dad? The thought of the familiar, of having someone here on her side in a dream world she couldn’t awaken from, eased the tightness in her chest and her heart began to slow. Despite her pain, the overwhelming belief that she was going to die dissipated and she pried her eyes open. “D-d-d-dad?” she stammered through the shock.

    But it wasn’t Derek who knelt beside her in dark trousers hand-sewn to his body, his muscled chest bare beneath his rich voluminous robes. The man was huge, perhaps in his mid-thirties, his dark face chiseled hard as if from stone. Ari’s heart clenched at the sight of this mammoth man and not because he was a stranger but because of his bleak black eyes that blazed down on her without feeling.

    They were empty.

    “Yes,” he whispered, stroking her hair back from her face, seeming oblivious to the fact that she was in agony and bleeding all over the place. “Child. It is your father.”

    Ari’s heart stopped. “M-my w-w-w-what?”

    Slowly her thoughts swam up out of the murky waters they’d been drowning in and Ari gulped, drinking in the air of consciousness. It took her a minute to remember the dream. The nightmare. The pain.

    She groaned, feeling achy all over.

    And then her body caught up with her mind.

    The floor was still cold and hard beneath her body, except from her shoulders that seemed encased in inexplicable warmth. When she gasped at the feel of wet licks across her forearm, she gulped down the overwhelming scent of spices and jasmine.

    Her eyes slammed open and met the belligerent one-eyed gaze of the monster who had attacked her and was now currently licking her arm. She jerked, choking down a scream.

    “Stop,” a soft, commanding voice whispered in her ear, stilling her movements. It was then she realized there was arms wrapped around her, that the heat behind her belonged to a person — to a ‘he’. “Vadit is a Nisnas. His saliva is the only cure to a wound made by him. I am his master but even I cannot control him if you incur his wrath while he saves what he would rather attack.”

    The wet slide of the Nisnas’ ( what the effing eff was a Nisnas? ) tongue across her flesh was nauseating to say the least. Ari’s whole body was a live wire, vibrating under the creature’s attempts to heal what he had ravaged. She watched in absolute silent terror and amazement as her flesh crawled towards itself, fusing the torn skin together under the swipes of the Nisnas’ saliva. Finally it grunted and backed away on its sliding, malformed body.

    “Vadit, leave us,” the man at her back said quietly. He hadn’t spoken above the low register and yet there was a chill, as icy as the room they lay in, in his voice, a treacherous black ice that you dared not ignore. The Nisnas did not. It left the room with screeching whines across the glass floor.

    “What the hell is a Nisnas?” Ari asked hoarsely. It wasn’t some weird, misshapen dog. It was too intelligent. There was a human intelligence in its eyes that scared the utter crap out of her.

    Suddenly lifted to her feet by the stranger, Ari swayed back from him and tried to center herself, rubbing her wet but healed arm against her t-shirt. She was no longer in shock but her body still felt weak from the attack.

    “A Nisnas is one of the Jinn,” the man replied, coming around to face her.

    Ari gulped, her neck arching back as she stared up at the weirdly-garbed guy who must have stood close to six and a half feet tall. “Jinn?”

    He nodded, those emotionless eyes so deep and penetrating Ari found her own glued to them. “Like me. Like you. Like your mother.”

    All of a sudden the air felt thin and Ari pressed a hand to her chest, breathing deep. The pink skin of her healed arm caught her attention and she shook her head, disbelieving that this was actually real and happening. “This is a dream. I’m dreaming. I’m dreaming. I have to be dreaming because if I’m not dreaming you’re telling me I was actually attacked by some monster and you’re claiming that monster is Jinn and that you’re Jinn and I’m Jinn and the mother that I don’t know and how the hell do you know is Jinn and from everything I’ve read I can only assume by Jinn you mean frickin’ mythological genies but the frickin’ scary kind and I can—”

    “Breathe,” he interrupted, his features harsh and impatient as he placed one huge hand on her shoulder. “I do not deal well with hysterical women.”

    Ari blinked owlishly, her cheeks blazing red at the insinuation she was some prissy idiot who couldn’t handle a bad situation. This wasn’t a bad situation. This was an EPIC situation. “I’m not your daughter,” she responded softly. “I’m Ari Johnson. Derek Johnson’s daughter. And this is a dream I would really like to wake up from now.”

    The man cocked his head, studying her, his jaw unclenching as his eyes washed over her. “You may ramble incoherently like a fool but the only tears you shed are ones of physical pain. Interesting.”

    Her patience snapped. She didn’t care how huge or sociopathic this guy was. “Who. The. Hell. Are. You?”

    He leveled her with that careful, expressionless gaze of his. “I am The White King.”

    “What?”

    “The White King. You are in my home in Mount Qaf, the realm of the Jinn. And you, Ari Johnson of the mortal realm, are my daughter.”

    ~7~

    I Found Me in a Cold Promise

    Her teeth chattered and she stepped back from the insane man before her, rubbing her arms briskly. “It’s c-c-c-cold. Don’t you think it’s c-c-old?” She shook her head, refusing to believe anything he said, refusing to believe what she could see and touch and hear and smell. “This is too real for a dream,” she whispered, shaking her head, feeling her chest tighten in panic. Did this mean she had become unhinged? Oh god. Oh god, she was crazy.

    “It is winter on Mount Qaf but the Jinn do not feel the cold,” the guy who called himself The White King explained, “You only feel it because you have never used the magic within you. Your body is waiting for your mind to catch up with the truth.”

    When Ari continued to look at him blankly, shivering, and hiccupping down little gasps of oxygen, he shook his head. There was no annoyance on his face but she got the feeling she was irritating him. “Rabir.”

    Before Ari could speak flames burst to life in the air in front of her, and as they swam towards the ground their flickering tails revealed a familiar face and torso, until all of Rabir stood before her, the last sparks of the flames hissing, extinguished.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire