Opposition (Lux, #5)(6)

That would be the first thing I grabbed if I thought it was the end of the world.

I stuck close to Archer’s side as we headed to the pharmacy section and started scanning the endless rows of brown bottles with yellow caps.

Sighing, I glanced down at the list. “Couldn’t this crap be in alphabetical order?”

“That would be too easy.” His arm blocked my vision as he picked up a bottle. “Iron on the list, right?”

“Yep.” My fingers hovered over folic acid and I picked it up, having no idea what the hell that even was or what it did.

Archer knelt down. “And the answer is yes to your earlier question.”


He looked up through his lashes. “You asked if I was worried about Dee. I am.”

My fingers tightened over the bottle as my breath caught. “You like her, don’t you?”

“Yes.” He turned his attention to the oversize bottles of prenatal vitamins. “In spite of the fact that her brother is Daemon.”

As I stared down at him, my lips twitched into the first smile since the Luxen had—

The boom, like a sonic clap of thunder, came out of nowhere, shaking the rack of pills and startling me into taking a step back.

Archer stood fluidly, his shrewd gaze swinging around the crowded market. People stopped in the middle of the aisles, some hands tightening on their carts, others letting go, the wheels creaking as the carts slowly rolled away.

“What was that?” a woman asked a man who stood next to her. She turned, picking up a little girl who had to be no more than three. Holding the child close to her breast, she spun around, her face pale. “What was that—?”

The clap of sound roared through the store again. Someone screamed. Bottles fell from the racks. Footsteps pounded across the linoleum floor. My heart jumped as I twisted toward the front of the store. Something flashed in the parking lot, like lightning striking the ground.

“Dammit,” Archer growled.

The tiny hairs on my arms rose as I walked toward the end of the aisle, forgetting all pretenses of keeping my head down.

A heartbeat of silence passed, and thunder blasted again and again, rattling the bones in my body as streaks of light lit up the parking lot, one after another after another. The glass window in front cracked, and the screams . . . the screams got louder, snapping with terror as the windows shattered, flinging glass at the checkout lanes.

The streaks of blinding light formed shapes in the parking lot, stretching and taking on legs and arms. Their tall, lithe bodies tinged in red, like Daemon’s, but deeper, more crimson.

“Oh God,” I whispered, the bottle of pills slipping from my fingers, smacking off the floor.

They were everywhere, dozens of them. Luxen.


{ Katy }

Everyone, including me, seemed to be frozen for a moment, as if time had been stopped, but I knew that hadn’t happened.

The forms in the parking lot turned, their necks stretching and tilting to the side, their steps fluid and snakelike. Their movements were unnatural and nothing like the Luxen who had been on Earth for years.

A red truck squealed its tires as it spun out of a parking space, spilling smoke and the smell of burned rubber into the air. It whirled around, as if the driver planned to plow through the Luxen.

“Oh no,” I whispered, my heart thumping heavily.

Archer grabbed my hand. “We need to get out of here.”

But I was rooted to where I stood, and I finally understood why people rubbernecked car accidents. I knew what was coming, and I knew it was something I didn’t want to see, but I couldn’t look away.

One of the forms stepped forward, the edges of its body pulsing red as it raised a glowing arm.

The truck jerked forward; the shadow of a man behind the wheel and a much smaller body beside it would be forever etched into my memory.

Tiny sparks of electricity flew from the Luxen’s hand as a brilliant light tinged in red curled down its arm. A second later, a bolt of light radiated from it, snapping into the air, smelling like burned ozone. The light—a blast straight from the Source of what had to be the purest kind—smacked into the truck.

The explosion rocked the store as the truck went up in flames, flipping over into the line of cars next to it. An inferno poured out of the busted windshield as the truck crashed down on its roof, tires spinning aimlessly.

Chaos erupted. Screams shattered the silence as people ran from the front of the store. Like a herd, they pushed into carts and other people. Bodies went down on hands and knees, and the screams pitched louder, mingling with the cries of young children.

In a stuttered heartbeat and in the blink of an eye, the Luxen were in the store and they were everywhere. Archer yanked me around the end of the shelf, pressing our bodies against the sharp edges. A teenage boy raced past us, and all I could think was how red his hair was—like scarlet—and then I realized it wasn’t his hair color but blood. He made it to the body-wash section before a burst of light hit him in his back. The boy went down, face-first and unmoving, as a charred hole smoked from the center of his spine.

“Jesus,” I gasped as my stomach roiled.

Archer stared, eyes wide and nostrils flared. “This is bad.”

I inched to the edge of the aisle and peered around, my stomach flopping when I saw the woman who’d been holding the small girl minutes before.

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