The Lost Saint Page 1


“Do what he wants, and you might survive,” a harsh voice said into the boy’s ear before he felt a sharp blow to the kidneys. He fell forward onto the concrete, his arms splayed out in front of him.

“So this is the one who tried to get away?” another voice asked from the shadows. It was a deeper, older, more guttural voice. Almost like a growl. “This isn’t a clubhouse, boy. You can’t just decide to stop playing and go home.”

The boy coughed. Bloodstained saliva dribbled from his mouth. “I wasn’t … I didn’t …” He tried to push himself up onto his knees, but a kick from behind sent him sprawling forward again on the ground. His mind raced, replaying what he’d done to get himself to this place.

This place.

They’d said he could call this place home. They’d said they were his friends. They’d called him their brother.

And that was all it took. That was all he’d wanted.

But this place wasn’t home.…

“You belong to me,” the man said as he stepped out of the shadowed alcove. “And that’s why you’ll tell me what I want to know.”

This place was a prison. And these people were not his family.…

The man the others called Father towered over the boy, glaring down at him with glowing, yellow, murderous eyes. “Tell me!” the man roared, and slammed his booted foot down on the ring on the boy’s extended hand, grinding into it with his heel.

The boy screamed—but not because of the searing pain he felt as the fragments of the ring sliced into his flesh, and his tendons ripped away from the splintering bones in his fingers. He screamed because he knew that for what he’d done, everyone he’d ever loved, everything he’d left behind, was going to die.


The Sky Is Falling


“You can do this, Grace,” Daniel said between sharp breaths. “You know you can.”

“I’m trying.” My fingers trembled as I tightened them into fists.

It was the pain of the transition that always surprised me—no matter how prepared I thought I was. It started as an aching sensation deep inside my body. Pooling in my muscles, making my shoulders shake and my legs throb. My biceps felt like they were on fire.

“Come on, Grace. Don’t quit on me now.”

“Shut up!” I said, and took another swing.

Daniel laughed and countered to the left. My blow missed his mitt entirely.

“Agh!” I stumbled forward, but Daniel caught me before I fell and pushed me back up. I gritted my teeth and rocked back on my heels in the grass. I was supposed to be more agile than this. “Stop moving around.”

“Your opponent”—Daniel panted—“isn’t going to stand still and just let you hit him.” He held his boxing mitts out in front of him, welcoming a new attack.

“He would if he knew what was good for him.” I jutted forward with a combination of a hook and a jab, which Daniel deflected with his mitts. He spun out of my way, and my next swing went wildly into the air.

“Gah.” I shook my head. My moonstone necklace bounced against my chest. It felt warm against my already flushed skin, pulsing with heat.

“You’re pushing your punches too much. Save your energy. Quick jabs. Send your arm out with a snap and then bring it back immediately.”

“I’m trying.” The pain in my muscles mounted. But it wasn’t from fatigue. It was my powers. My “abilities,” as Daniel called them. They were always lingering there, just out of reach, whenever we trained. And if I could just push through the wall of fire that stood between them and me, I could grab on to my powers and use them. Own them.

I cringed as the crescent-shaped scar on my arm throbbed and flared. I dropped my arm and tried to shake out the pain.

“Arms up,” Daniel said. “Rule number one: Never drop your guard.” He smacked me lightly on the shoulder. It was meant to be a playful hit, but the pain in my scar shot through my arm like electricity.

I glared at him.

“You’re getting annoyed,” Daniel said. That wry grin of his played on his lips.

“You think?” I sent another combination into his mitts. Three jabs and a hook. I felt a surge of power through my body—finally—and the last punch flew faster and harder than I expected. Daniel missed deflecting it, and my fist slammed into his shoulder.

“Whoa!” He jumped back and shook out his shoulders. “Rein it in, Grace. Don’t let your emotions have too much control.”

“Then why are you trying to annoy me?”

His smile edged from wry to devious. “So you can practice balance.” He smacked his mitts together and gestured for me to attack him again.

I could feel my powers pulsing through me—finally in my grasp. I laughed and bounced back several feet. “How’s this for balance?” I asked with a smile, and faster than I could think, my body went into a spin kick that landed squarely in one of Daniel’s outstretched mitts.

Daniel grunted and stumbled back. His knee wobbled and gave out from under him, and he went flying backward toward the ground.

“Oh no!” I lunged for him and caught him by the arm. But it was too late to stop him from falling, and I toppled with him onto the grass.

We landed side by side on the lawn. I was momentarily stunned—hitting the ground had knocked the wind, and my powers, right out of me. Daniel rolled onto his side and moaned, startling me back into reality.

“Oh no, I’m sorry!” I sat up. “I wasn’t thinking. My powers kicked in and I … Are you okay?”

Daniel’s moan turned into a half laugh. “That’s not the kind of balance I was talking about.” He winced and pulled off his mitts and tossed them aside.

“Seriously, are you okay?”

“Yeah.” Daniel leaned forward and rubbed his knee. He’d trashed it pretty badly when he fell from the parish’s balcony a little less than ten months ago. And since I’d cured him of the werewolf curse right after he fell, he’d lost his superhuman powers and had to wait for it to heal like any other regular person. Even after spending weeks on crutches and doing a regimen of physical therapy, he still had a lot of trouble with his knee. “Beatin’ up on a gimp. What would your daddy say?”

“Ha-ha.” I made a face at him.