Home > End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3)(3)

End of Days (Penryn & the End of Days #3)(3)
Author: Susan Ee

There’s not a lot, but at least one woman had settled here, at least for a while. I reach in and pull out a white blouse and linen skirt. Thong underwear. A lacy bra. A sheer camisole. A cropped T-shirt. A pair of stretchy men’s boxers.

People were funny during the early days after the Great Attack. Even when they evacuated their homes, they took their cell phones, laptops, keys, wallets, suitcases, and shoes that would have been great for tropical vacations but not for running on the streets. It was as if people couldn’t accept that it wouldn’t all blow over in a few days.

Eventually, though, those things ended up abandoned in cars and streets or, in this case, in the drawers of a museum house. I find a T-shirt that’s almost as big as Paige. There’s no chance of finding a pair of pants for her, so a T-shirt dress will have to do for now.

I tuck her in upstairs and leave her shoes beside the bed in case we need to go in a hurry.

I kiss her forehead and tell her goodnight. Her eyes shut like a doll’s, and her breath deepens almost immediately. She must be absolutely exhausted. Who knows the last time she slept? Who knows the last time she ate?

I head downstairs to find Raffe leaning over the dining table with his wings laid out in front of him. He’s taken off his mask, and it’s a relief to be able to see his face again.

He’s grooming his wings. It looks like he has washed the blood out of them. They lie on the table, damp and limp. He plucks out the broken feathers and smooths the healthy ones.

‘At least you have them back,’ I say.

The light hits his dark hair, showing his highlights.

He takes a big breath. ‘We’re back to square one.’ He sits on a wooden chair, almost wilting into it. ‘I need to find a doctor.’ He doesn’t sound optimistic.

‘They had some stuff on Alcatraz. Angelic surgical supplies, I think. They did all kinds of experiments there. Could any of that stuff be useful?’

He looks at me with eyes so blue they’re almost black. ‘Maybe. I should probably scope out that island anyway. It’s too close for us to ignore.’ He rubs his temples.

I can see the frustration stiffening the lines of his shoulders. While Archangel Uriel is creating a false apocalypse and lying to the angels to get them to vote him in as their Messenger, Raffe is stuck trying to get his angel wings sewn back on. Until then, he can’t return to angel society to try to straighten things out.

‘You need some sleep,’ I say. ‘We all do. I’m so tired my legs just want to give out.’ I sway a little. It was a long night, and I’m still surprised we all made it through alive to see the morning.

I half expect him to argue, but he nods. It just confirms that we need the rest that badly, and maybe he needs time to figure out how to find a doctor who can help him.

We trudge upstairs to the two bedrooms.

I turn to Raffe in front of the doors. ‘Paige and I will—’

‘I’m sure Paige will sleep better alone.’

For a second, I think that maybe he wants to be alone with me. I have a moment of crazy awkwardness mixed with excitement before I see his expression.

Raffe gives me a stern look. So much for my theory.

He just doesn’t want me to sleep in the same room as my sister. He doesn’t know that I already shared a room with her when we were with the Resistance. She’s had plenty of chances to attack me.

‘But—’

‘You take this room.’ Raffe points to the room across the hall. ‘I’ll take the couch.’ His voice is casually commanding. He’s obviously used to having everyone obey him.

‘There’s no real couch. Just an antique settee made for ladies half your size.’

‘I’ve slept on rocks in the snow. A cramped settee is a luxury. I’ll be fine.’

‘Paige isn’t going to hurt me.’

‘No, she’s won’t. You’ll be too far away to tempt her while you’re asleep and vulnerable.’

I’m too tired to argue. I peek into her room to make sure she’s still asleep before walking into my own room across the hall.

The morning sun shines its warmth through the window of my room and onto the bed. There are dried wildflowers on the bedside table, adding a splash of purples and yellows. The scent of rosemary wafts in through the open window.

I take off my shoes and lean Pooky Bear against the bed within easy reach. The teddy bear sits on top of the gauzy dress that covers the sword’s scabbard. I’ve felt a tinge of emotion coming off it ever since we’ve been back with Raffe. It’s both happy to be near him and sad to be forbidden to him. I stroke the soft fur of the bear and give it a little pat.

Normally, I sleep in my clothes in case I need to run. But I’m sick of sleeping that way. It’s uncomfortable, and the welcoming room reminds me of what it was like before we were scared all the time.

I decide this will be one of those rare times when I can sleep comfortably. I pad over to the chest of drawers and rummage through the clothes I found earlier.

There’s not much of a choice, but I make the best of what’s there. I choose the cropped T-shirt and the men’s boxers. The T-shirt is loose but fits okay. It comes down to the bottom of my ribs, leaving my midriff bare.

The stretchy boxers cling to me perfectly even though they’re for guys. One leg is frayed and unraveling, but they’re clean, and the elastic isn’t too tight.

I crawl into bed, marveling at the silky luxury of sheets. The second my head lands on the pillow, I begin fading away.

The soft breeze flows in from the windows. Part of me knows that it’s sunny outside and warm in the way that October can be sometimes.

But another part of me sees thunderstorms. The sun melts into this rain, and my room with the garden view turns into storm clouds as I drift deeper into sleep.

I’m back where the Fallen are being dragged away to the Pit in chains. The spikes in their necks and foreheads, wrists and ankles drip blood as the hellions ride them.

It’s the same dream I had through my sword when I was at the Resistance camp. But a part of me remembers that I’m not sleeping with the blade this time. It’s leaning against the bed but not touching me. This doesn’t feel like a sword memory.

I’m dreaming about my own experience of being in the sword’s memory. A dream about a dream.

In the thunderstorm, Raffe glides down, brushing hands with a few of the newly Fallen as he heads toward the earth below. I see their faces as Raffe touches hands with them. This group of Fallen must be the Watchers – the elite group of angel warriors who fell for loving Daughters of Men.

 

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