Unmarked by Kami Garcia


  A summoning circle from the Goetia.

  The demon had used the circumference of an existing symbol to hide it, the cryptic writing hugging the black lines of the drawing.

  The words, which meant so little before, created a hidden message. A name was written over and over within it.

  Bastiel.

  How did he do it?

  I hit rewind, and my mind searched the mental snapshots of the wall it had recorded, and separated the layers of images.

  Layer one: the night Alara left to look for the Shift—

  Strange alchemic symbols drawn in repeated sequences over the names of the dead girls—

  Layer two: the night Andras revealed Jared’s secret to everyone and Elle got jealous when she saw me with Lukas.

  The inner circles and the name Bastiel written seven times, the letters hidden among other words—

  Layer three: today—

  The outer circle and the looping characters of a forgotten language—

  “I know what he did,” I called out. “He drew a summoning circle using the symbols that were already in the cell. It’s hidden underneath a ton of useless characters I don’t recognize. The other demon’s name is Bastiel.”

  Andras roared like an animal, and the muscles tensed and rippled up his arms. He curled his hands into fists, pulling against the chain securing his wrist shackles.

  The iron snapped, and the links fell to the floor.

  Gabriel shoved me behind him, even though Andras was still inside the cell. Could he break out of there, too? “I don’t know how you figured that out, but nice job.” Gabriel held Azazel in his hands, whispering.

  “From the bones of my enemies and

  The blood of my allies,

  The bargains with devils

  And the truces with angels,

  With the promise of my soul,

  I call you

  To come together as one.”

  The whip reared and lunged through the air, curling around itself and twisting in midair. Azazel cracked against the demon’s back. Andras cried out, but he was stronger now and quickly recovered.

  Andras sneered. “You make promises you cannot keep, Gabriel. And for that, I won’t harvest your soul. I’ll make you my slave.”

  Dimitri rushed through the tunnel carrying an armload of books, with Lukas, Alara, and Elle right behind him. He slid a heavy book across the floor to Priest. “The Rituale Romanum. Quickly.”

  The Rites of Exorcism.

  “The pages are marked,” Dimitri yelled. “Read.”

  Priest had the book open in seconds, and he and Alara began reading. Dimitri and I were the only ones faster, having committed the rites to memory.

  “We exorcise you, every impure spirit

  every satanic power, every incursion

  of the infernal adversary, every legion

  every congregation and diabolical sect.”

  Lukas and Elle joined in, her voice shaking so hard I could barely understand her.

  “Thus, cursed demon

  and every diabolical legion, we adjure you.

  Cease to deceive human creatures,

  and to give to them the Poison

  of Eternal Perdition.”

  “Go away, Satan, the inventor and master

  of all deceit, the enemy

  of humanity’s salvation.

  Be humble under the powerful hand of God

  tremble and flee—I invoke by

  us the sacred and terrible name

  at which those down below tremble.”

  Gabriel cracked the whip and Azazel snaked through the bars, biting into Andras’ flesh. Andras cried out, but he didn’t fall. Instead, he focused his gaze on me, and I felt a surge of energy hit me—the same way it had the first time I saw him on the streets of Boston. A heavy sensation spread through my limbs, paralyzing me.

  “Kennedy?” Dimitri called my name, but I couldn’t answer. My muscles had stopped working, the heaviness in my arms and legs replaced by the sting of numbness.

  My body rose from the ground. Silence spun around me, cocooning me inside it. Hands reached for me. The others called out, soundlessly. My arms stretched out at my sides, the crumbling ceiling above me.

  Azazel’s barbs snapped in the air, but I couldn’t hear the tiny demon bones wailing. The whip caught Andras, slamming him into the bars. I kept rising.

  The metal door flew open at the end of the tunnel, and someone stepped into the dim light.

  A man.

  He carried an open book, larger than any of the volumes Dimitri had dragged from his bag. The man’s lips moved as his eyes darted from Andras to the book, then finally to me.

  Those eyes.

  The whip snapped again, the vertebrae and claws unhinging in the air beside me. This time, I heard the bones scream. Andras cried out. I couldn’t be sure if it was a result of Azazel’s attack, or the Rituale Romanum my friends were still chanting, or the words the stranger was reading.

  I was falling—

  Air and light. Sounds and screams.

  My body fell into someone’s arms. Priest stared down at me, panic and determination in his eyes.

  Gabriel had Andras against the wall, chaining his hands as the demon thrashed against him. Azazel was wrapped around him, pulsing like a heartbeat each time he strained against the barbs.

  Alara charged into the cell, throwing handfuls of ash over Andras’ wet body. Dimitri stood in the middle of the tunnel, with his back to me, staring at the man approaching us.

  Clean-shaven, wearing jeans and a rough canvas work jacket, he could’ve been anyone. But the moment his green eyes found me, I knew exactly who he was.

  My father.

  32. DIARIO DE DEMONI

  Stay away from him,” I called out. “Bastiel could be shape shifting again.”

  I remembered the night Elle acted jealous after seeing Lukas and I talking, and the night I found her reading the book about summoning demons. When I mentioned the book the next day, she acted like she had no idea what I was talking about.

  Because she didn’t.

  Dimitri’s eyes narrowed. “He’s not Bastiel. A demon can’t touch the Diario de Demoni.”

  The battered leather book in my father’s hands was the diary of the Vatican exorcists, the one thing the original Legion members had taken when they fled. My dad held it in front of him and recited the words. He looked different than I remembered, worn out in a way that had nothing to do with age.

  “I exorcise you, unholy spirits,

  Servants of darkness,

  Infernal legions of the Labyrinth.”

  “Heavenly warriors, protectors of light

  Free us from this shadow;

  Destroy this unblessed deception.”

  “I call on Samael, Raphael, Michael,

  And all celestial soldiers.

  Darkness trembles before you.”

  Andras twisted and jerked, as if the words were more painful than Azazel’s barbs. His body swayed dangerously to one side, and he hit the floor.

  Dimitri rushed to clamp the shackles around his wrists, the whip still wrapped around his neck. But the demon didn’t move. His chest rose and fell, the only real indication he was still alive.

  My father closed the book. For a moment, neither of us moved.

  When Dimitri dropped the chain on the cell floor, it startled us both. “Alex. You’re the last person I expected to see here.”

  My dad turned toward Dimitri. “And you’re the second to last person I want to see.” My dad’s eyes fell on Gabriel. “But based on what I just saw, you two aren’t capable of cleaning up the mess you’ve made without help.”

  Dimitri fished a Dunhill out of his pocket. “The demon is the Legion’s mess, not ours.”

  “It’s my fault.” My heart hammered in my chest. “I’m the reason Andras is free.”

  A worried crease formed between his deep-set eyes. “You shouldn’t be involved in any of this, Kennedy.”

 
; A shiver ran up my spine when he said my name.

  My dad turned away and joined Gabriel and Dimitri in the cell, circling around them like they were infected with a deadly virus. “I assume this is the Andras, the demon responsible for killing my sister?” He rested his boot against Jared’s side and pushed his body over. “I didn’t realize the Illuminati was keeping them as pets these days. Which is the only reason I can come up with to explain why you haven’t killed him.”

  “We’re trying to save my brother,” Lukas said, from where he stood outside the cell. “And they’re helping us.”

  When my dad saw Lukas, a troubled look passed across his face.

  “It’s a delicate situation.” Dimitri flicked the cigarette against the wall and walked toward my father. “One that just became even more complicated before you showed up.”

  “There’s a second demon,” Gabriel said.

  My dad whipped around at the sound of Gabriel’s voice. “Gabriel Archer. I thought you crawled back into your hole after the last time I saw you.”

  Gabriel stiffened, and he looked at the floor.

  “If I find out you had anything to do with Faith’s death after what you did to her, I swear I’ll kill you with that aberration you’re holding.”

  Gabriel Archer.

  “You’re the one who spied on my aunt? The one who used her and broke her heart?” I waited for Gabriel to deny it.

  “Your mom and I were mixed up with the wrong people, Kennedy.” Gabriel raised his eyes to meet mine. “We thought we were doing the right thing.”

  “Shut your mouth.” My dad pointed at Gabriel. “Don’t talk to her. When this is over, I’m going to bury you.”

  “How did you find us?” Priest asked.

  “Bear.” My dad said the Doberman’s name, and the dog trotted over to him and sat at his feet. My dad scratched his ears. “He has a chip. I went to check on Faith and found the grave.” He frowned and swallowed hard. “When I realized she was gone, and I saw that crap all over her bedroom walls, I tracked Bear here.”

  “What’s the radius on the GPS?” Priest asked. “In square miles.”

  Alara elbowed him.

  “Ouch.” He rubbed his arm. “It was a scientific question.”

  “You were serious? There’s another demon?” My dad stared at Dimitri. “Want to explain how you superheroes let this happen?”

  I pointed at the summoning circle hidden within the writing on the walls and the symbols that were already in the cell when Dimitri and Gabriel locked him up. “He summoned her.”

  Dimitri fumbled through the pockets of his long, black coat until he found of cigarettes. “Which means the Gate is at least partially open.”

  “Nice work.” My dad’s voice was full of contempt. “So what’s your plan?”

  “After we figure out how to get Andras under control, we’ll go after her. But we can’t leave while he’s this strong.” Dimitri cocked his head to the side, studying my father. “Does that mean you’re in?”

  Gabriel watched my dad from lowered eyes.

  “Do I have a choice?” My dad asked.

  “There’s another complication,” Gabriel added.

  “Lay it on me.”

  “The other demon is a shapeshifter, which means she can be anyone. Or any one of us.”

  “Kennedy, can I have a minute?” My father caught me as I came up the stairs from the containment area.

  You could’ve had thousands of minutes if you’d bothered to stick around.

  I stood in the sterile steel hallway. I had imagined this moment—the one where he’d finally come back and tell me how much he regretted leaving, and promise that he’d spend the rest of his life making it up to me. Those were the fantasies of my eight-year-old and twelve-year-old selves.

  By the time I was fourteen, I started thinking about what I’d say to him. How I would find a way to emotionally scar him the way he had scarred me.

  It was only when I saw him standing on the other end of the tunnel that something else occurred to me—something that could bring me more pain.

  What if I threw every hateful thought I’d been saving at him, and he didn’t care?

  “I don’t know what your mother told you—” he began.

  “She didn’t tell me anything. I memorized the note you left, even though I couldn’t read it.” All the pain I’d bottled up inside for so long poured out. “Mom wouldn’t tell me what it said. She cried herself to sleep at night for years after you left.”

  “It wasn’t your fault.” His emerald eyes seemed even greener than I remembered.

  “That’s not what I thought when I was old enough to read it.” I pictured the lined sheet of paper, ripped on the corner.

  Elizabeth,

  You’re the first woman I ever loved, and I know

  you’ll be the last. But I can’t stay. All I ever

  wanted for us—and for Kennedy—was a normal

  life. I think we both know that’s impossible.

  Alex

  “ ‘All I ever wanted for us—and for Kennedy—was a normal life. I think we both know that’s impossible.’ What part of that doesn’t sound like it’s about me?” I asked.

  My dad raked a hand through his salt and pepper hair. “When I found out about your mother, I had to leave. Faith didn’t know how to protect herself. I don’t know how much she told you, but the Illuminati hunted her for years.”

  “Dimitri and Gabriel?” I had to know.

  “No. But Gabriel had already destroyed Faith. She never trusted anyone except me after what happened. She’s my younger sister, and our parents were dead. It was my responsibility to protect her.”

  “What about your responsibility your daughter?” I demanded.

  He leaned against the wall, his shoulders sagging. “I couldn’t take you from your mom. You would’ve hated me, and she loved you. She never would’ve done anything to hurt you.”

  My father dug in his pocket and held out a stack of photographs. “But I made sure you were okay.”

  He fanned out the photos, and my childhood unfolded like a deck of cards: a shot of me sitting on the slide with pigtails in my hair and my Osh Kosh overalls, wearing my second grade Little Red Riding Hood Halloween costume with the stuffed wolf puppet my mom sewn over the shoulder, me and Elle eating ice cream cones in front of Baskin Robins a block from our junior high school, last year carrying a canvas to the art fair in a different pair of baggy overalls with charcoal smudged on my cheek.

  There were at least a half dozen more.

  “Did you take all these?” I couldn’t look away from the photographs.

  “I’ve always kept track of you, Kennedy. But I didn’t want to put you or Faith in danger. She was kidnapped by the Order once. They wanted information about her painting. Faith had what they call prophetic dreams, and she painted her visions of the future.”

  I thought about the entry in Faith’s journal that predicted my birth and called me the white dove. “She told me about the kidnapping.”

  He gave me an incredulous look.

  “Are you the fifth member of the Legion now?” As much as I hated to ask him, I needed to know for sure.

  My father put the photos back in his pocket. “I’m afraid so.”

  I closed my eyes and nodded, trying to swallow the knot in my throat. “Guess I’ll never be a black dove, after all. Glad I didn’t rush out and get the tattoo.”

  “Faith used to say black doves fight the battles that need fighting, but the white dove ends them and sets us all free. For what it’s worth, she always said you were our white dove.”

  It wasn’t worth anything coming from him. He obviously didn’t know I’d read the entry in Faith’s journal. She was the one I believed.

  “It didn’t stop you from leaving.” I sounded heartless and cold, but he deserved every word.

  “I hope you’ll be able to forgive me one day. I’ve always loved you.”

  The walls that started to slip during the co
nversation went right back up. “One day I might forgive you, but it won’t be today.” I walked by him, letting all the missed birthdays and Christmases, all the nights I was afraid and he wasn’t there, rebuild the walls around me, one broken promise at a time.

  And I’ll never forget.

  33. SERPENT OF BONES

  Can I touch one of the bones?” Priest asked.

  Gabriel cracked the whip against the ground, and Azazel’s bones uncoiled, rippling forward like a dragon’s tail. “Be careful. Demon bones are almost as unpredictable as demons themselves.”

  Bear ran back and forth in front of the whip like he still didn’t know what to make of it.

  Priest poked at a claw with his finger, and the bone recoiled, drawing itself closer to the hooked claw behind it.

  After four hours of sleep—for those who had actually slept—I woke everyone up. We didn’t have time to sleep, not until we figured out how to save Jared.

  “I think we’re approaching this the wrong way.” Priest stood up and started pacing. “Andras is so strong now, he’s practically showering in holy water. Your whip is one of the only things that still weakens him.”

  “Go on.” Gabriel sat on the edge of the table, listening.

  I couldn’t stand to look at him now that I knew he was the one who betrayed Faith. I was probably next.

  “What if there was a way to expose Andras to Azazel’s power all the time? Would it weaken him enough to buy us some time?” Priest stopped.

  Gabriel looped the bones around his arm. “In theory. But a demon whip can only be commanded by its maker.”

  “Can I borrow your black marker for a minute?” Priest asked me.

  I handed it to him and watched as he drew a diagram on the back of an old receipt. “Is that a necklace?” I asked.

  “No.” Priest shook his head. “A collar.”

  Everyone crowded around to get a better look.

  “Azazel needs a whip master because by nature, a whip requires someone to handle it,” Priest explained. “A collar just needs someone to wear it.”

 
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