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Blinding Night is the new dark romance by Chantal Gadoury, and it's here in just a couple of days!

Get the novel on October 2nd. Today, read two sneak peek chapters exclusively on The Parliament House blog...

Chapter 6

With a simple wave of his hand, the door of the apartment opened. I wanted to ask him what his secret was to his ‘mystifying’ magic tricks, but it was probably too invasive. Besides the growing list of other more important questions, I knew every magician had their secrets. In his case, his secrets were far too great.

Inside, the apartment was quiet; deathly still. I wondered how many days I had been in the hospital. How many days had my parents been dead? The reality of my situation struck me like a hot bolt of lightning and my chest swelled like the ocean during a storm. I would never hear my father say ‘Sunny’ again. I would never hear his laughter or share a seat at the table with him anymore. Tears clouded my eyes as I walked towards the small sofa in the living room.

Darce didn’t say anything. He stood quietly by the door. I could feel him watching me; his eyes bore straight into my back. I wouldn’t cry, not right now, not when I didn’t know the man who had brought me back. So, I sucked back my tears and faced him with newfound confidence. I tried to look as stern and serious as my mom.

“You had better explain now.”

With a deep sigh, he crossed his arms over his chest, pulling the suit taut over his shoulders. He looked older when he did that – and by older, I mean ancient. It didn’t show in his face, but rather his dark eyes. How old was he anyway?

“Once I begin, do you plan to interrupt me with a series of questions? No doubt you have already listed them since we left the hospital.”

“Oh, yeah… I have questions,” I said, nodding. “But go ahead, explain.”

“Maybe you’ll want to sit,” he said, lifting his full brow and extended his hand towards the sofa. “It might be better for the both of us.”

I wrinkled my nose in confusion, but did as he suggested. I took a seat on the far side of the sofa and watched him as he dragged a chair from the kitchen table into the living room. He positioned himself comfortably far enough away that I felt relaxed. Again, he crossed his arms, but a little less defensively this time.

“Summer,” he began softly. “I–”

“How old are you?” I asked, mimicking his stature by crossing my arms.

“Where are you from? Clearly you’re a tourist, too.”

He tightened his jaw, biting back a smile.

“That didn’t take you long,” he said amused.

“Just answer the question,” I snapped.

“It’s sort of a complicated answer,” he replied with a shrug. “But for your own peace of mind, we’ll call it twenty-eight.”

Twenty-eight? Wasn’t he kinda old to be picking up girls at hospitals?

“My own peace of–”

“Are you going to let me explain?” He interjected a bit more forcefully than before. I bit my bottom lip and gave a curt nod. Darce leaned forward and pressed his elbows into his knees.

“In a different time...long, long ago–”

“Are you seriously about to tell a story?” I asked annoyed. Just as I was about to stand up, Darce threw his hands up, his expression pleading.

“Listen,” he said, shaking his head. “You’re familiar with Greek Mythology, yes?”

“What in the world does that have anything to do with this?”

“Yes or no?” he hissed as his brow rose curiously.

“Yes,” I snapped and glared. “Yes, Jesus. I am. I had to study mythology in high school. I don’t think anyone is allowed to graduate without reading The Odyssey.”

He stared at me closely, narrowing his dark eyes.

“Then, are you familiar with the story of Persephone and Hades?”

I exhaled and raised a brow, “Yes. The story about the seasons. She was stolen away and she had to be returned to her mother in the end.”

“She wasn’t stolen.” He shook his head.

“Pretty sure I recall something about the God of the Underworld falling madly in love with her, and Persephone’s mother being completely against it. Anyway, he steals her away from home.”

Darce’s face turned pale.

“But what does an ancient mythology story have to do with you?”

“What if I told you the story that you know, the story that had been told over a series of generations, was wrong?”

I shrugged. “I guess I’d say that’s what happens when a story is super old?”

Stories tend to get messed up all the time. It’s like a classic game of telephone. Somewhere along the way, the truth is lost and the story becomes something entirely different. I didn’t understand how this applied to Darce, or my hospital escape though.

“Wait.” I wrinkled my nose. “I’m so confused. Do you collect people just to correct history or something? Are you some sort of time traveler?” I had seen Doctor Who a few times with my dad. Was time travel suddenly a real thing? I mean, he had healed me after all. Maybe he set the clock back on my body before the crash. Then, as if he could read my mind, I saw the corner of his lips rise in laughter. Apparently not.

“I suppose you could say I’m a sort of time traveler. I’m a great many things to humans. But...” he hesitated with the weight of his next words, “I suppose you would know me better as the God who stole away the bride of Spring.”

I blinked. Wait, what? His expression remained neutral, as if he were just speaking casually about the weather.

“ dad hit you with the car? Is that what this is all about? Are you here to seek some sort of sick revenge?” I felt my stomach knot. “I’m sure we can figure something out in the court system. Greece has a court system, right? Or are you not from Greece?”

“What?” He asked, shaking his head. “No! Didn’t you hear me? Why do you keep asking me where I’m from—does it matter?”

“I think I heard you say you think you’re a God?”

“I am a God. The God of the Underworld.”

I jumped up from the sofa and pressed a hand against my forehead. “Aren’t you Asian?”

“What?” He asked, wrinkling his brow as he glared at me.

“How can you be Asian and a Greek God? Don’t you know how—”

“What makes you think Gods have any sort of race?” He quickly retorted.

“Gods aren’t confined to race or religion, Summer. We are...everything.”

“I think you need to leave,” I said, gesturing to the door. “You’re crazy. I think you need to get yourself up from this sofa and get your crazy ass out the door.”

“I can’t really do that, Summer,” he said. “I can’t leave now.”

“Why are you here? Why...why did you come to collect me? If…If you’re this ‘God,’” I emphasized his title with finger quotes, which I often reserved for special occasions like this, “...are you here to take my soul?”

“More like awaken it.” He murmured.

“Awaken my soul?” My eyes were wide. It was all I could do to keep myself from laughing out loud. Whatever was in the water here, I needed to steer clear of it.

“I’m here to help you remember who you are,” he said firmly. “I’m take you back home.”

“Home? Like America? Because that’s home to me. And now,” I glanced around the apartment; all of my parent’s belongings surrounded me. My were gone, “I’m not sure I have much of a home to go back to.”

“Home is in the Underworld,” he said, without skipping a beat. “With me.”

“Hell no,” I replied, shaking my head. “I’m not going anywhere but back to Rhode Island.”

“You said it yourself. There’s nothing back there for you. Your parents are dead. Your best choice is to come with me.”

“I don’t even know you!” I argued, but my body was shaking from the truth of his words. He was right. Absolutely, unmistakably right. “I’m... I’m totally not going to go live in a place that’s—”

Not real. This is not real. This cannot be happening. I froze. Everything hurt again, my chest, my heart; it was all crashing down around me like a dream I couldn’t escape. I was back in the car, tumbling through the darkness and fear of a world I didn’t want to come back to. A world where I was completely alone. A world where a stranger offered me a home that shouldn’t have been real in the first place.

My voice came out in a whisper, “Can’t you just leave now? Please? Can’t you just… leave me alone? I… I just want to be left alone.”

“I can’t. Not now,” Darce replied. “I’ve been waiting...searching for you...for thousands of years. I’m not going to just walk out that door without you.”

“Searching for me?” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. “For thousands of years?” I didn’t even know how to respond to that. “I hate to disappoint you, but you’re going to have to.”

I crossed the room and threw open the door. “Leave now, please.”

“I hate to disappoint you,” he said, obviously throwing my words back in my face. “But I’m not going to.”

“You’re demented,” I scoffed. “You honestly think you’re Hades?”