Tasting Darkness By Jessica Hall Chapter 78

Read Tasting Darkness By Jessica Hall Chapter 78 – It was like watching a timeline of the most significant memories he had, those that shaped him into who h e is today. A glimpse into the depths of who Kalen truly was and the things that haunted him, made him happy, everything that made Kalen, Kalen. His youngest memory was horrible. At first, I was an outsider watching until the vision warped, and I was suddenly Kalen, seeing the world through his eyes. Feeling what he felt, enduring what he endured. I found myself running into some room with gray walls with peeling wallpaper, exposing the mold-covered walls beneath. Beds lined the room in rows, large bay windows overlooked the city, and the room was ice cold.

He crawled underneath his bed by the window only to be ripped out by his ankles, his nails clawing at the wooden floorboards, making his fingertips bloody as they tore away his fingernails. His screams were horrendous and hurt my soul. The fear he felt made my heart race, and at first, I had no idea what he was running from until he was rolled over.

It was other children, Kalen crawling on his hands and knees is, blocked by legs and backed into a corner. The kids huddled around him in the corner of the room. He tried to cover his ears with hands over his head as they screamed and taunted. Throwing things and kicking and hurting him. Most of his childhood was spent being bullied relentlessly for being the weakest amongst the Fae. But Kalen wasn’t just the weakest; he was also the smallest amongst his peers.

The bullying was horrendous, the things they did to him. Setting him on fire, urinating on him, beating him bloody, and the teachers or those responsible for looking after him turned a blind eye to it or outright condemned him by telling him he deserved it. Kalen’s childhood was tragic up until one day, and that day changed everything for him. Kalen was worried as he sat in the playground by himself, and a new kid walked out the doors.

He thought it was another person to add to the list of bullies he already had. The boy reminded me of someone, and it didn’t take long before I recognized who he was. It was Lycus. He was younger in this memory. Lycus was just a boy, like Kalen. Only he was frighteningly bigger, and Kalen watched, horrified a s he argued with one of the teachers before stomping off to sit on one of the bench seats. Lycus watched the other children play, his eyes falling on Kalen, and Kalen dropped his gaze, cursing himself for making eye contact with the scary-looking boy.

When the bell went to signal class and he had to return back into the orphanage, he ran for the doors, hoping to go unnoticed. However, Kalen knew his bullies weren’t going to give him a day off when the one he hated most stepped into his path. The boy was a teenager and almost looked too old to be still in the orphanage that Kalen called home. Kalen had to have been at least half the other boys’ age.

As the bully steps out the door into the concrete playground, he takes a step back. Kalen’s eyes scan his surroundings, looking for an escape. He notices Lycus watching curiously from where he still sat, ignoring the sound of the school bell. Kalen goes to make a run for the door across the quadrangle, only for the teenage boy to tackle him.

Kids rush out the doors, circling around and taunting him while the other kid grips the front of his shirt and repeatedly punches him, making his nose bleed, and his eyes blur as they swell. Pain rippled through me as I experienced what he did, the helplessness, and the acceptance. Kalen doesn’t fight back. He knows it is useless and only brings on more pain.

So instead, he just takes it. He thought the boy would surely kill him that day. He promised Kalen he would before he aged out of the system. Kalen accepted it. In some ways, he hoped this was it, the day his torment ended. Just as his bully gripped his head in both hands, Kalen closed his eyes, knowing his head was about to be slammed into the pavement. Yet the deadly blow never comes.

Instead, the weight holding him down was gone, and a collective gasp was heard from the surrounding crowd of children. Kalen’s eyes flew open to find his tormentor beside him on the ground, and the new kid that had arrived was punching into him, the bully’s head bouncing off the ground as Lycus pounded his face with his fists. Blood spurted out of the Bullies nose and mouth covering the new kid.

Kalen was shocked but also petrified that Lycus would turn his attention to him when he was done. Lycus’ eyes were a demonic black, and he foamed at the mouth in his rage. Kalen just laid there and stared, too scared to move. Lycus growled loudly when Kalen’s bully fell unconscious.

The other kids had scattered and ran away in fear as Lycus stood upright, breathing heavily before his gaze turned to Kalen, who cowered away from him as Lycus stepped over the kid. Yet instead of offering Kalen a fist, he offered him his hand and pulled him to his feet

“Are you okay?” Lycus asked him and Kalen just stared at him. No one ever asked if he was okay, and he suddenly found himself mute for another reason.

“You got a name?” Lycus asks him. Kalen nods, and Lycus raises an eyebrow at him.

“Well, are you going to tell me, or can’t you speak?” Lycus asks him,

“Kalen,” he stuttered out.

“I’m Lycus,” Lycus told him, and Kalen looked down at his bloody bully lying unconscious on the ground.

“Come on, let’s find a first aid kit,” Lycus tells him, grabbing Kalen’s arm, but Kalen shakes his head, pulling away. Lycus stops and stares at him.

“I will get in trouble. The teachers don’t help,” he whispers to Lycus. That seemed to anger Lycus, who chucks his arm over Kalen’s shoulder.

“They’ll help, or I’ll make them,”

“They won’t listen. They don’t care, ” Kalen murmurs nervously:

“I’ll make them listen,” Lycus tells him. 1

Kalen looks at Lycus, and he smiles, flashing his canines. “Because if they don’t, I’ll bite,” he says, and Kalen laughs, letting Lycus lead him back inside.

After the day he met Lycus, they were joined at the hip, drawn to each other. Lycus always defended Kalen and taught him how to protect himself as best he could. However, when they were both fourteen, Kalen’s mental health declined, and his depression worsened until Lycus got sick of watching him hate himself.

His teacher had hit Kalen across the knuckles with a cane when he was trying to explain the work to Lycus beside him. Kalen’s knuckles split open, and Lycus lost it, standing up and ripping the cane from his teacher’s fingers. The man was cruel and hated both Lycus and Kalen and used any excuse to punish them. Lycus pulled the cane from his hand before wailing on him with it. Lycus was then shot with a dart gun after one of the student’s raced into the halls to alert security. Kalen watched on helplessly as Lycus was then hauled away to the infirmary, and Kalen wasn’t allowed in with him, so he waited by the door for him to wake up.

“Kalen! Now.” his teacher called to him. Kalen was waiting in a corridor for Lycus when he heard his name called. Kalen pushed off the wall he was leaning on as the burly vampiric Fae stalked toward him. Kalen glanced at the door where Lycus was before turning his attention to the headteacher.

“Follow me,” the man said.

“But Lycus,”

“I am not here for the were-Fae. Now hurry up,” the man said, turning on his heel and walking into the

gymnasium. Kalen followed. He had never had issues with the headteacher; he was only new to the orphanage, so he didn’t suspect anything wrong. When he entered the gymnasium, his Math teacher sato na chair. Lash marks covered him where Lycus had beat him.

A few other teachers stood off to the sides as they entered, and Kalen followed behind, thinking he would probably be issued the cane. He got the cane. Not a piece of his skin was left untainted when they finished beating him. This was their punishment for Lycus. They knew Kalen was Lycus’s weak spot and the only person he cared for, so they hurt Kalen to teach Lycus a lesson. Then they fed on him, nearly killing him before dumping him outside the infirmary door for Lycus to find. A few days later, Lycus had enough.

 

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