Rise An Eve Novel - By Anna Carey Page 0,1

nearest couple two yards away. Finally he spoke. “You’re getting better at this,” he said with a laugh. “Then again, I guess you’ve learned from the master.” He looked different today, nearly unrecognizable. It took me a moment to realize what it was—he was smiling.

“It’s true,” I whispered, glancing at the inside of his sleeve, where his cufflink was threaded through his shirt. I half expected to see the small packet of poison nestled against his wrist. Ricin, he had called it. Moss had been waiting months for the substance, which was to be supplied by a rebel in the Outlands. “Your contact came through?”

Moss glanced at the King’s table. My aunt Rose was speaking animatedly to the Head of Finance, gesturing with her hands as my father looked on. “Better,” he said. “The first of the camps was liberated. The revolt has begun. I got word from the Trail this afternoon.”

It was the news we’d been waiting months to hear. Now that the boys in the labor camps were free, the rebels on the Trail would bring them into the fight. There was speculation that an army was forming in the east, composed of supporters from the colonies. A siege on the City couldn’t be more than a few weeks off. “Good news, then. You haven’t heard from your contact, though,” I said.

“They promised it for tomorrow,” he said. “I’ll have to find some way to get it to you.”

“So it’s happening.” Though I had agreed to poison my father—I was the only one who had unguarded access to him—I couldn’t quite comprehend what it meant to actually go through with it. He was responsible for so many deaths, Caleb’s included. It should’ve been an easy choice; I should’ve wanted it more. But now that it was close, a hollow feeling spread out in the bottom of my stomach. He was my father, my blood, the only other person who’d loved my mother. Had there been some truth to what he’d said, even now, even in the wake of Caleb’s death? Was it possible he did love me?

We took a slow lap around the outside of the ballroom floor, trying to keep our steps light. My eyes lingered for a moment on the King as he laughed at something Charles said. “It’ll be finished in a few days,” Moss whispered, his voice barely audible over the music. I knew what it meant. Fighting along the City walls. Revolts in the Outlands. More death. I could still see the faint cloud of smoke that had appeared when Caleb was shot, could still smell the stink of blood on the concrete floor of the airplane hangar. We’d been caught while escaping the City, just minutes before descending into the tunnels the rebels had dug.

Moss said they’d taken Caleb into custody after he was wounded. The prison doctor recorded the death at eleven thirty-three that morning. I found myself watching the clock at that hour, waiting for it to stop for the minute on those numbers, the second hand quietly circling. He’d left so much space in my life. The expansive, hollow feeling seemed impossible to fill with anything else. In the past weeks I felt it in everything I did. It was in the shifting current of my thoughts, the nights now spent alone, the sheets beside me cold. This is where he used to be, I’d think. How can I possibly live with all this empty space?

“The soldiers won’t let the City be taken,” I said, blinking back a sudden rush of tears. My gaze settled on my father, who had pushed his chair back from the table and stood, walking across the ballroom. “It doesn’t matter if he’s dead or not.”

Moss shook his head slightly, signaling that someone was within earshot. I glanced over my shoulder. Clara was dancing with the Head of Finance just a few feet away. “You’re right, the Palace does come alive this time of year,” Moss said loudly. “Well put, Princess.” He stepped away from me as the song ended, releasing my hand and taking a quick bow.

As we walked off the dance floor, a few people in the crowd applauded. It took me a moment to locate my father. He was standing by the back exit, his head tilted as he spoke to a soldier.

Moss followed after me, and within a few steps the soldier’s face came into view. I hadn’t seen him in more than a month, but his cheeks were still

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