The Vault (A Farm Novel)

Free The Vault (A Farm Novel) by Emily McKay

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Authors: Emily McKay
tangible proof. Not like that. Yeah, there’d been times when I’d influenced someone’s actions. Maybe. Like when Mel had been dying and I’d ordered Sebastian to bite her, turn her into a vampire and save her life. But that had been just one guy. At the time I’d thought I’d just made a really convincing argument. And then again at El Corazon when I’d ordered people to save themselves. But it was hard to believe you had special powers when you’d just convinced them to do something logical and in their own best interests. It was easier to believe when you’d single-handedly created a lynch mob.
    After a minute, I asked, “How bad is it?”
    He opened his eyes at least as much as he could. One was already swollen shut.
    His lips twisted into a cocky grin. “Bad enough.”
    “You gonna live?”
    “I’ve had worse.”
    “I don’t believe you.”
    He tried to shrug, but winced instead. “I deserved it.”
    “Is that why you came here? Because you think you deserved it?”
    This time, Ely laughed, which must have hurt more than shrugging, because he cringed and nearly doubled over. “Nah,” he said after a minute. “I got caught. I tried to sneak in and steal supplies. Guess I’m not as good as I thought I was. My boy Zeke took over security and he’s got Greens patrolling the fences during the day, too.”
    “You were right about him,” I told Ely. “He’s a good guy.”
    “When he’s not trying to kill me.”
    I could only nod. Maybe Ely could make a joke out of that, but it scared the crap out of me. What the hell was I going to do? I had to find a way to manage this. Fast. Problem was, I was all out of ideas.
    “So,” Ely said after a minute. “I’m guessing you’re one of those
things Sebastian told us about.”
    “I thought you didn’t believe in that crap.”
    In the Before, the academy had been attacked by Ticks, and after we’d fought them off, Sebastian had told us all the truth about vampires and about
, the humans who worked side by side with them to control the will of others. He’d described it as a symbiotic relationship that allowed vampires to accrue power and
to chart the course of humanity, for better or for worse. The guys who’d believed Sebastian had all banded together against Roberto. The idea was, if we could kill Roberto and his
, then humanity might have a fighting chance.
    Some of the guys, Ely included, had thought Sebastian was full of crap. Ely had had other plans. The rest of us could go save humanity. He was going to find his family and get the hell out of Dodge.
    Ely shrugged. “It’s a lot harder not to believe in
once you’ve been attacked by an angry mob because you pissed one off.”
    I couldn’t argue with that, so I said nothing.
    After another minute, Ely asked, “So why’d you stop them? I thought you didn’t have time for me.”
    “I don’t. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to let a mob kill you. Hell, those people have no idea you tried to turn Lily over to Roberto. Most of them have no beef with you.”
    “People want a scapegoat. When someone like you gives it to them, they take it.”
    I shot a look over at Ely. He was sitting up a little straighter. He sounded less wheezy. “A scapegoat?” I asked.
    “Yeah. Someone that’s easy to blame when shit goes bad.”
    “I know what a scapegoat is. I was just—”
    “Surprised I knew? What? We were in class together for two years. You think I never paid attention?”
    That reminder, of our shared history and years of friendship . . . it only pissed me off all over again. I felt anger boiling inside of me and sucked in a deep breath to cool it down.
    As it was, I felt sick to my stomach looking at the damage that had been done to him, not by me but by this force within me that I could barely control.
    But I had to control it. I had to. I couldn’t let it rule me. I refused to be the kind of person who abused this power. I

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