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The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 22

“The islands,” Luke explained. “Josie thought you might go back to the islands you grew up in. That’s what she was planning to do. She—”

“She went to Andros?” Surprise stowed my breath. How in the hell did she figure out that was where I was going? I’d mentioned the islands only a few times.

Because she loves you, whispered that same voice in the back of my thoughts, and it was one hundred percent right. Because she loved me, she knew enough about me to figure out what my next steps would be, and she was going to come for me.

I needed to get back there. Gods, if she showed up and Basil found her—if she saw the temples and met Karina and—I could feel my form beginning to flicker out.

“Seth, wait.” Deacon’s eyes were wide as he called out to me. “Josie didn’t make it.”

I stopped. My heart. My lungs. Everything stopped, except for the earth, because it felt like it had shifted under my feet. “What do you mean by that?”

“Hyperion came after her.” Luke’s jaw tightened. “We’d left Gable’s house and moved to one of his relative’s houses so we could have time to plan what everyone was going to do. Josie was outside with Alex. They fought Hyperion—Aiden went out there, but he got her.”

The edges of the room started to blur and turn white. “Hyperion has her?”

Deacon lifted his chin. “He got her and he’s . . . he’s had her for about nine days now.”

Nine days.

Hyperion had had Josie for nine days.

Terror exploded in my chest as red-hot rage pumped through my veins. He had Josie.

Marcus was standing again. “Alex and Aiden left to find you, Seth. They’ve headed to the islands.”

I was already halfway gone when I heard Deacon say, “You should’ve been there.”

~

Nothing.

I couldn’t feel a damn thing.

There was no trace of Josie, just like there had been no trace of the Titans. Panic clawed deep into my chest. There was nowhere to look—nowhere to truly begin.

He’d had her for nine days.

My stomach twisted, and I thought there was a good chance that I might be sick as I stood in the sand, several feet from the gently rolling ocean.

There was nothing stopping the steady stream of images flowing through my thoughts, invading every second. They had her, and I knew what they were doing to her.

Nine days.

You weren’t there for her.

I hadn’t been.

Not when she learned that her mother was dead, and not when Hyperion had come for her. If I had been, I could’ve comforted Josie. I would’ve made her forget all the heartache and pain. If I had been there, I could’ve stopped Hyperion.

If I had stayed a few days, Josie would be safely stowed away here, because now, when it no longer mattered, it was clear that Basil and Karina had been right. The only place Josie would’ve been safe from the Titans would’ve been here, with me.

“Fuck,” I spat out. Centering myself once more, I searched for her, for anything, and there was still nothing.

Spinning around, fury pounded through me. I roared as a bolt of akasha slammed into a tall tree halfway up the cliff. Who knew how long the tree had been rooted precariously to the rocky slope? Probably centuries, if not longer, withstanding high winds and downpours and mudslides.

Akasha obliterated the tree in a second.

This couldn’t be happening.

I was a god—I was the God Killer, and according to Ewan the nymph, Basil, and Karina, I was the Appointed God of Death and Life.

I was fucking absolute.

And I was standing here, blowing up trees, and I could do nothing to help Josie.

Lightning cracked overhead and the air sizzled as dark, tumultuous clouds rolled in, blotting out the sun. Turbulent emotions thundered inside me and into the environment around me.

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