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     I climbed back into bed, staring into Jace’s eyes. He stared back, a smile playing on his lips.

         He reached up to stroke my cheek, his finger making contact with my skin.

         “Ahh!” I cried, jumping back. His touch had ignited a flame to my skin. It felt like my neck was literally burning off. Jolts of unpleasant electricity flew threw me.

         “What- what did I do?” he asked, worry creeping into his voice.

         “Oh, god, Jace, the Mark… It burns.”

**************, Ava, I’m so sorry. Are you alright now?” he asked.

         I nodded, sinking back into the bed. “I-I… Yeah.”


    “Is it only when I touch you?”

         I thought for a moment before nodding. “Yeah, I was fine before.”

**************. I’m really sorry.” He sounded like he blamed himself.

         I rolled my eyes. “It’s not your fault.” Really, though, I was absolutely terrified. Was this normal? Was I some kind of freak or something? What was wrong with me? Maybe it was a sign- maybe Jace and I shouldn’t even be together at all. Oh, god, please don’t let it be a sign- not after he Marked me. Is there even any way to turn back?



         My fists still clenched, I stormed out of the cabin, hopping off the bridge, sliding my hands down the ladder.

         I walked along the beach, coming at a stop near a jetty. There was something farther up ahead, some kind of figure on the ground. I couldn’t really see it clearly- even after Ava was Marked- so it must’ve been far.

         I hurried over to the figure, praying it wasn’t Ava.


         My lungs were filled, salt stinging my tongue, and the cold ocean breeze sending chills down my already-soaked body. I hiccupped, a bit of water spraying out of my mouth. I fell onto my side, defeat coursing through my body.

         I’d swum so long. At least I’ll get to die on the land. I made it to an island- The island. I made it, I thought, a small sense of accomplishment running through me, making me crack a slight smile.

         Warmth wrapped around my body, and I felt the world spin around me, the sky becoming closer.

          Maybe this is what dying feels like.

         My head lolled to the side, all strength leaving me. The last thing I saw before I closed my eyes was a handsome man’s face.



         It was a girl. Not Ava, no, but a beautiful girl, nonetheless. Her wet dark, dark hair fanned out around her head, her eyes closed, long eyelashes fluttering the least bit. Her skin was pale, but she had a sort of elegance as if she was a porcelain doll- probably some type of supernatural, I thought.

         I gathered her small, fragile body in my arms and set off down the beach. Her eyelids opened once, revealing little brown stones in place of her eyes. I sighed, hoping I could save her.

         I had to save her.

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