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Cataclysm (Four Horsemen #4)
Author:Sarah Bailey

Cataclysm (Four Horsemen #4)

Sarah Bailey




Author Note



This is a DARK romance and therefore it comes with a content warning. I don’t give this warning lightly, so please be sure you want to read this before you continue any further.



If you want specifics, then please check out my website for full details.





To those who live under the night’s sky, who experience darkness in every corner, who have been through hell and back and who are ready to walk into the abyss with me You are who this tale of the men fated to bring the apocalypse and their goddess of the night is dedicated to Blessed be your dark little hearts





One


Scarlett





ELEVEN MONTHS AGO





“One more day in the darkened cell. One more day in hell. One more day in the pitch-black cell. One more day…” I sang almost brokenly, my voice hushed and hoarse.

The room was cold. There were no windows. No way of letting the light in. Only me and the darkness.

I curled in on myself in my corner, trying to preserve what little heat I had. Who the hell knew how long I’d been in here? The minutes passed slowly, time ticking away without me. The world outside was nothing to me. I hadn’t left the estate in nine years. This prison where my parents held me under lock and key. It was a lonely existence. One marred by violence and pain when I stepped out of line. Like now. That was the reason I was here in the darkness. I’d done something they didn’t approve of.

Arguing with my father was always futile. The older I got, the less patience I had for his rule. This time it had been about me refusing to stay out of sight when they had guests over. Dad caught me sneaking down to the kitchen. I’d been thrown in here for my sins.

Now I was cold and utterly alone, wishing I was anyone else, anywhere else. All I’d ever wanted was to leave the estate. To see the outside world. I’d only ever seen it on a fucking TV or computer screen.

I sighed and buried my face in my knees, curling my arms tighter around them. Everything hurt with the chill in the air seeping into my bones. Closing my eyes, I tried not to let the agony consume me. Tried not to allow myself to fall apart. The futility of my life was most pronounced when I was in this room. It haunted me. Made me feel like I was nothing. Nothing and no one.

I faintly heard a noise coming from a few feet away. The sound of the door opening and closing. The shuffle of footsteps was followed by someone placing things down on the floor. Then a body settled next to me.

“Scar.”

I opened my eyes slowly. Mason sat beside me. He’d brought in a lamp with him. I didn’t turn to look at him, but I could see him out of the corner of my eye.

“Let me see.”

I didn’t want to show him. All I wanted was for everything to go away. I wanted to… die. Then perhaps I would be free of this hell.

Letting out a sigh, I raised my head and met his brown eyes. There was so much sympathy in them, it threatened to decimate me further. He leant closer, capturing my chin between his fingers. There was a small damp cloth in his hands. With absolute gentle care, he wiped away the blood from my chin. I’d accidentally bitten my tongue after Stuart smacked me in the face. I’d spat the blood at his feet. It only earned me another fist and the reward of being thrown in here.

My face hurt, but I was used to the pain now. Used to being beaten and left to nurse my own wounds. Well, Mason usually snuck in here when everyone else had gone to bed and cleaned me up. He was the only person who gave a shit about me, even if he never protected me from Stuart’s temper. His violence. His fists.

After wiping my face up, he applied some cream to the bruise forming on my jaw. Then he sat back, having put both the cloth and the tube of cream down next to me.

“Do you know what day it is?” he asked, his voice hushed.

I shook my head.

Mason shifted, turning to grab something from behind him. When he presented it to me, I stared at the plate with the little cake sitting on it with a lit candle.

“Happy birthday, Scar.”

I took the plate from his hands, stretching my legs out and staring at the cake he’d clearly had the chef, Gio, make for me. I could see it had little chunks of apple running through it. Leaning closer, I inhaled the scent. Apples and cinnamon. It made me bite my lip. My favourite scent in the whole wide world.

“Go on, blow it out and make a wish,” he encouraged me when I didn’t say a word.

There were so many things I wished for in this world, but two things stuck out more than anything else.

I wish for freedom and to remember who I was.

I blew the candle out and set the plate in my lap.

“I hope it was a good one.”

“It was,” I whispered.

My eyes remained on the cake, staring at it with abject misery. My chest ached with a longing that threatened to have me turning into a sobbing mess. I couldn’t cry in front of Mason on a day like this. He had no idea of the void inside me.

I was missing something. Missing something huge. It left a giant gaping hole in my heart. In my whole soul. There was no escaping it. No hiding or running away. It annihilated me every single time. Today marked the tenth year I’d had to experience it. And for the first time, I could admit to myself it wasn’t only one thing. It was four separate voids. My missing pieces. I didn’t know what or who they were, only they weren’t here with me.

Shoving all of my emotions down, I plucked the candle from the cake and picked it up, taking a bite. The burst of flavour soothed me a fraction. It couldn’t heal the holes in my heart, but it could make me feel less… empty. Even if it was just for a moment.

“Good?” Mason asked.

I nodded around my mouthful.

“Gio made it especially for you.”

I swallowed and picked at the cake.

“Thank him for me… please.”

Mason would have asked Gio to do it in secret, considering I was in the doghouse with my parents. No doubt they’d forgotten it was my birthday. I didn’t care about whether they did or not. I spent most of them with Mason. He was the only friend I had.

Mason nodded as I bit into the cake again. It was the only food I’d had in god knows how long. A small slice of heaven. A small treat in my otherwise lonely and tragic existence.

We sat in silence as I finished the rest of the cake. I handed him the plate when I was done. He set it beside him and took my hand, running his thumb along it.

“I’m sorry I can’t do more to help you celebrate today.”

I shrugged.

“S’okay. It’s not your fault… it’s mine.”

“Scar…”

“I should have done what Dad said and stayed in my room.”

His sympathetic look made my chest ache. I didn’t want his pity. I just wanted to leave this place and be free. For this void inside me to be filled. To find the missing pieces of my soul.

“You shouldn’t blame yourself.”