Cinder X (Death Collectors, #2)

By: Jessica Sorensen

Prologue





My life has become a series of book pages, dead bodies, death omens, Angels and Reapers. That’s it. I go to school, come home, read, and then fall asleep in the silence of my house while feeling the lingering sensation of death omens that I’ve felt that day. When I shut my eyes, I see the faces of the dead I saw—my curse, my weakness, my torture.



Today was a rough day because I saw Asher, or so I thought, but when I went up to him, it was just a guy with black hair who looked like him. When I stopped the guy, shouting out Asher’s name, he looked at me like I was a lunatic, especially when he realized I was Ember Rose Edwards, town weirdo that everyone believes is a murderer.



I ended up leaving school early and going home to read, like I do every day, hoping I can find something that will give me a clue as to what the hell my purpose is. What I face in the future if I become the last Grim Angel standing. How I will know when I am the last one standing. Or, better yet, how I can get rid of the Anamotti, a secret society group of Reapers who banded together to eliminate the Grim Angels one by one, including me.



I’ve become a huge target with them lately and fighting the insanity by myself, well, it’s getting harder. I feel my mind bending in ways I haven’t thought were possible. I black out sometimes. Hear voices. See death. And the worst part is, I have no one.



I stop writing as the painful truth throbs in my chest. I stare down at the page I just filled up with pretty much the same words as the day before. “God, I’m becoming so repetitive.” Deciding I need a break from writing, I close my journal and exchange it for a book; the one Raven gave me about Grim Reapers and Angels of Death during the Halloween dance about a month ago. I recline against the headboard of my bed, propping my knees up and putting the book on my lap. Then I find the spot where I left off last night, where the topic shifts from how a Reaper removes a soul to some sort of hidden realm.



There is a place between life and death where souls that carry the blood of the Reapers can roam freely. It’s known as the shadow realm, a barrier between life and death. The area allows Reapers to see into the world yet stay undetected, hidden in a shadow which cannot be seen by anyone that doesn’t possess Reaper blood. This allows them to wreak havoc on unsuspecting victims…



Shadow realm? Is that how Reapers stay so well hidden? How they can appear out of nowhere?



In the warped and twisted part of my mind, I wonder if I can see this shadow realm since I have Reaper blood inside me. I wonder if I could enter it. I wonder what this means about me. How much evil thrives inside me, how much of my Reaper blood owns me?



I decide to add the shadow realm information to the list on the wall of stuff I’ve discovered about Grim Angels over the last few weeks, which isn’t a hell of a lot, but it’s better than nothing. I grab a marker from my nightstand and move to the Angel painted on my wall that Raven drew. Below the feet, I’ve started a list of things I’ve discovered about Grim Angels:



1) Grim Angels can see death.



2) They experience blackouts, lose track of time, and sometimes hear voices.



3) They were created because there was a battle over the control of human’s souls between the Angels of Death and Grim Reapers.



4) Angel and Reaper blood runs through Grim Angel veins to create a balance between the species so neither of them can steal souls.



5) They’re what binds Angels and Reapers to earth as a punishment for getting in the battle to begin with, which makes them a target of torture even though they’re supposed to remain untouched. Reapers have broken the rules, though, and try to drive Grim Angels into insanity or to give into their evil blood.



The problem with number five is that the only person who can punish the Reapers and Angels for breaking the rules is their leader, and Asher told me his leader, Michael, won’t do that. Then there’s the fact that, of course, the Reaper’s leader doesn’t give a shit. It’s a weeding out process for them to get to the last Grim Angel because the last one standing has to make a choice; if good or bad will rule over all souls. If the Reapers or Angels will win. There’s more to it than that, though. One of Asher’s last words was that I needed to find out what happened to the last Grim Angel, but I have yet to discover anything about that.

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