Boundless Page 84

Stop! I scream at her.

She slows and hovers, her wings threshing the air almost gently. She’s tired.

“Enough,” she pants when I’m about twenty-five feet away, her voice ragged. She turns to me in the air. Tucker is limp against her, his arms and legs dangling, his head thrown back. We’re so high up, seemingly level with the tops of the Grand Teton. I worry that he can’t breathe at this altitude. I worry that she’s stabbed him with the black dagger. I worry about that half-crazy look in her eye.

“Give him to me,” I say.

She smiles slightly, ironically, and I can see Angela’s “oh yes, I’m scheming” expression on her face. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to see Angela the same way again, as only herself and not related to these people.

“Then come and take him,” she spits out.

The sorrow blade singing through the air catches me off guard.

It’s a bad throw, but it clips my shoulder and part of my left wing. The pain is intense, piercing, the kind of pain that slows the mind, and so it takes me a few beats longer than normal to understand what she’s done.

She’s flying off again.

And Tucker is falling. Down, down, he’s falling.

Toward the lake, so very far below us.

I forget about Lucy. There’s only Tucker, and I know the moment I start for him that I’m not going to be able to catch him.

I try. I narrow my body, I push toward him through the air, but he’s still too far away to stop him.

It’s terrible, those few seconds, but a peaceful kind of terrible, the way he turns over and over in the air as he falls, gently, gracefully, almost like a dance, his eyes closed, his lips parted, his hair, which has grown longer over the months I haven’t seen him, caressing his face. The world opens up below us in a rush of blue and green.

And then he strikes the water.

I’ll hear that sound in my nightmares for the rest of my life. He comes down on his back, hits the surface so fast, with so much force, that he might as well have hit concrete. The splash is enormous, obscuring everything. I hit the water a few moments later, only thinking to retract my wings at the last second. The water closes around me, over me, cold as a knife stabbing me, knocking the air out of my lungs. I push upward, break the surface, gasping for air. There’s no sign of Tucker. I turn in the water frantically, searching, praying for a sign, some bubbles, something to give me an idea of where to look, but there’s nothing.

I dive. The water is dark and deep. I kick downward, my eyes open wide, my fingers out and groping.

I have to find him.

Feel for him, comes that voice in my head. Feel for him with more than just your hands.

I push deeper, turn in a different direction. My chest asks for more air and I deny it. I dive deeper, reaching for him with my mind, a tiny flicker of something that might be him, and when I’m about to give up hope and go for more air, my fingers catch his boot.

It takes an agonizingly long time for me to get him to the surface, then to the shore, then out of the water. I drag him up on the rocky bank, screaming for help at the top of my lungs, then fall to my knees beside him and put my ear near his chest.

His heart’s not beating. He’s not breathing.

I’ve never learned CPR, but I’ve seen it on television. I’m crying raggedly, stifling my sobs so I can breathe into his mouth. I press on his chest and hear a bone crack, which makes me cry harder, but I keep doing the compressions, willing his heart to pump. I can feel when I touch him that he’s already hurt so badly, so many bones broken, organs inside of him injured, maybe beyond repair. Bleeding inside.

“Help!” I scream again, and then stupidly remember that I’m more than a human girl in this situation, that I have the power to heal, but I’m so shaken that it takes me a few tries to summon glory. I lean over him, the glory shining through me like a beacon on the shore of Jackson Lake, where anybody out on an early morning hike could see me now, but that doesn’t matter. I only care about Tucker. I put my glowing hands on his body and will his flesh to mend. I stretch my body along his, my cheek to his cheek, my arms around him, covering him with my warmth, my energy, my light.

But he doesn’t take a breath. My glory fades with my hope.

I hear wings behind me. A voice.

“Now you know how it feels,” she says, and I raise my arm to block her dagger, but I’m not quick enough. She’s going to kill me too, I think dazedly.

But then she doesn’t. There’s a strange noise, something whistling by my head.

And then there’s a glory arrow sticking out of Lucy’s chest.

Jeffrey’s standing behind her, his face resolute but also shocked, like he didn’t even know what he was doing up until now. He drops his arms.

Lucy’s dagger is gone. She crumbles to the ground, gasping like a beached fish.

“Jeffrey,” she says, reaching for him. “Baby.”

He shakes his head.

She turns onto her stomach like she’s going to drag herself away from us. Then without warning she rolls into the lake, and she’s gone.

I turn back to Tucker and bring the glory again.

Christian comes down on the shore next to Jeffrey.

“What happened?” he asks.

I look up at him.

“Can you help me?” I whisper. “Please. I can’t make him breathe.”

Jeffrey and Christian exchange glances. Christian goes to his knees beside us and puts his hand on Tucker’s forehead, like he’s feeling for a fever, I think numbly, although that’s not what he’s feeling for. He sighs. Puts his hand gently on my arm.

“Clara …”

“No.” I pull away, grasping on to Tucker more tightly. “He’s not dead.”

Christian’s eyes are dark with sorrow.

“No,” I say, scrambling to my knees. I pull up Tucker’s T-shirt, lay my hands on the strong, brown expanse of his chest, over the heart I’ve heard beating under my ear so many times, and pour my glory into him like water, using all of it, every bit of life and light there is inside me, every spark or flicker of light that I can find. “I won’t let him die.”

“Clara, don’t,” Christian pleads. “You’ll hurt yourself. You’ve already given too much.”

“I don’t care!” I sob, swiping at my eyes and pushing at Christian’s hands as he tries to pull me away.

“He’s already gone,” Christian says. “You’ve healed his body, but his soul’s gone. It’s slipped away.”

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