Home > Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)(8)

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)(8)
Richelle Mead

“He wouldn’t be here in person if he didn’t have news,” I said excitedly. I jumped out of the car and sprinted across the grass, my earlier lethargy replaced with a new sense of purpose. This was it. Marcus had come through. Marcus had found answers.

“What is it?” I demanded. “Have you found her?”

“Not exactly.” Marcus got to his feet and smoothed back his blond hair. “Let’s go in and talk.”

Trey was nearly as eager as me when we ushered Marcus inside to the living room. We faced him down with mirrored stances, arms crossed over our chests. “Well?” I asked.

“I got a list of locations that may have possibly been used as Alchemist re-education holding facilities,” Marcus began, not looking nearly as enthusiastic as he should have for news like that. I clutched his arm.

“That’s incredible! We’ll start checking them out and—”

“There are thirty of them,” he interrupted bluntly.

I dropped my hand. “Thirty?”

“Thirty,” he repeated. “And we don’t exactly know where they are.”

“But you just said—”

Marcus held up a hand. “Let me explain it all first. Then you can talk. This list my sources got is from cities in the United States that the Alchemists were scouting for re-education and a few other operations centers. It’s several years old, and while my sources confirm that they did build their current re-education facility in a city on the list, we don’t know for sure which one they ended up picking—or even where in that location they chose. Are there ways of finding out? Sure, and I know people who can start digging around. But we’ll have to do it on a city-by-city basis, and each one is going to take a while.”

All the hope and enthusiasm I’d felt upon seeing Marcus shattered and blew away. “And let me guess: ‘A while’ is a few days?”

He grimaced. “It’ll be a case-by-case basis, depending on the difficulties of researching each city. Might take a couple days to knock one off the list. Might take a few weeks.”

I hadn’t thought I could feel worse than I had over the exam and Jill, but apparently I was wrong. I threw myself down on the couch, defeated. “A few weeks times thirty. That could be over a year.”

“Unless we get lucky and she’s in one of the first cities we search.” I could tell even he didn’t think that was likely, though.

“Yeah, well, ‘lucky’ hasn’t really been the way I’d describe how things have been going for us,” I remarked. “Don’t see why that should change now.”

“It’s better than nothing,” said Trey. “It’s the first real lead we’ve got.”

“I need to find her dad,” I muttered. “I need to find him and compel the hell out of him so that he tells me where she’s at.” All attempts at locating Jared Sage had proven unsuccessful. I had managed a phone call and been promptly hung up on. Compulsion didn’t work so well over the phone.

“Even if you did, he probably wouldn’t know,” said Marcus. “They keep secrets from each other, for the very purpose of protecting against forced confessions.”

“And so there we are.” I stood up and headed for the kitchen, off to make a drink. “Stuck just like we were before. Come get me in a year when you’re able to verify your list was a dead end.”

“Adrian—” began Marcus, looking more at a loss than I’d ever seen him. He was usually the poster boy for cocky confidence.

Trey’s response was more pragmatic. “No more drinks. You’ve had too much today, man.”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” I snapped. Rather than actually making a drink, I ended up just grabbing two liquor bottles at random. No one tried to stop me as I went to my room and slammed the door.

Before I began my one-man party, I made another attempt to reach out to Sydney. It wasn’t easy since some of this afternoon’s vodka was still hanging around, but I managed a tentative grasp of spirit. As usual, there was nothing, but Marcus’s certainty that she was in the United States had made me want to try. It was early evening on the East Coast, and I’d had to check, just in case she was calling it an early night. Apparently not.

I soon lost myself in the bottles, desperately needing to wipe away everything. School. Jill. Sydney. I hadn’t thought it was possible to feel this low, to have my emotions so black and so deep that there was no way to raise them into any sort of constructive feeling. When things had ended with Rose, I thought no loss could be more terrible. I’d been wrong. She and I had never really had anything substantial. What I’d lost with her was possibility.

But with Sydney . . . with Sydney, I’d had it all—and lost it all. Love, understanding, respect. The sense that we’d both become better people because of each other and could take on anything so long as we were together. Only we weren’t together anymore. They’d ripped us apart, and I didn’t know what was going to happen now.

The center will hold. That was the line Sydney had coined from “The Second Coming,” a poem by William Butler Yeats, for us. Sometimes, in my darkest moments, I worried the poem’s original wording was more fitting: Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.

I drank myself into oblivion, only to wake up in the middle of the night with a raging headache. I felt nauseous too, but when I staggered to the bathroom, nothing came up. I just felt miserable. Maybe that was because Sydney’s hairbrush was still in there, reminding me of her. Or maybe it was because I’d skipped dinner and couldn’t remember the last time I’d had blood either. No wonder I was in such bad shape. My alcohol tolerance had built up so much over the years that I rarely felt ill from it, so I must’ve really screwed myself up this time. The smart thing would’ve been to start hydrating and drinking gallons of water, but instead, I welcomed the self-destructive behavior. I returned to my room for another drink and succeeded only in making myself feel worse.

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