A loud crack of thunder - only more powerful - reverberated through the valley. It was like a sonic blast that shook me to the very core. There was no time for the driver to see me or stop. I threw up my arms, as if they could somehow protect me. The truck's loud roar filled my ears. I braced myself for the bone-shattering impact, my last thought of my mom and what my mangled body was going to do to her, but the impact never came.

I could've kissed the bumper; it was that close. My hands mere inches from the hot grille.

Slowly, I lifted my head. The driver sat motionless behind the wheel, eyes wide and empty. He didn't move, didn't blink. I wasn't even sure if he was breathing.

A cup of coffee was in his right hand, frozen halfway to his mouth. Frozen - everything was frozen.

A metallic taste filled the corners of my mouth. My mind balked.

The engine was still running, roaring in my face.

I turned from the frozen driver to see Daemon. He seemed to be concentrating, his breathing heavy and his hands were clenched at his sides.

And his beautiful eyes were different.

Wrong. I took another step back, now out of the path of the truck, my hand held in front of me, as if to ward him from coming close to me.

"Oh my God..." I whispered, my already-pounding heart faltering for a mere beat.

Daemon's eyes glowed iridescent in the dark, lit from the inside. The light seemed to be growing more intense, and his fists started to shake, the trembling moving up his arms until his entire body seemed to be reverberating in tiny, miniscule waves.


And then Daemon began to fade out, his body, along with his clothes, disappearing and being replaced by an intense reddish-yellow light that swallowed him whole.

People made of light.

Holy crap...

Time seemed to stop. No, time had already stopped.

Somehow, he'd kept that truck from hitting me. Stopped a seven-ton truck from surely breaking every bone in my body with what? A word? Thought?

So much power.

It caused the air to vibrate around us unnaturally. The ground shivered under his sheer strength. I knew if I tried hard enough I could reach down and feel it quake.

In the distance I heard Dee, confusion pouring from her voice, calling to us. How had she found us?

Right. Daemon was lighting up the entire street - he was that bright.

I looked back to the truck and saw that not only was it shaking, but the driver was, too. It was trying to break past the invisible barrier that seemed to hold it frozen in time. The metal beast shuddered and the engine screamed, the driver's foot still on the gas pedal.

I ran, not out of the road, but beyond that. I vaguely heard the truck howl past me. I ran up the twisting road that led to our houses, nestled at the mouth of nowhere. I briefly saw Dee running up to me before I dodged her. I only knew she had to be like him.

What were they? They weren't human.

What I saw was not possible. No human could do that.

No human could stop a truck on command, stay underwater for several minutes, or fade in and out. All the strange things I'd been noticing seemed to make sense now.

I continued to run, past my driveway, having no idea where I was running or why. My brain wasn't working. Instinct had taken over.

Branches ripped at my hair, at the pretty dress I'd worn. I tripped over a large rock, but I pushed myself from my knees to keep moving.

Suddenly, there were footsteps racing behind me. Someone called out to me, but I didn't stop, pushing faster into the dark woods ahead of me. I was not thinking at this point. I only wanted to get away.

A curse sounded from close behind, and then a hard body crashed into me. I went down, surrounded in warmth. Somehow, he managed to cushion the brunt of the fall with his own body by twisting in midair. Then he rolled me under him, pinning me.

I pushed on his chest and tried to kick him.

None of it worked. I closed my eyes, too afraid to see if his eyes still held that eerie glow. "Get off!"

Daemon grabbed my shoulders, shaking me gently. "Stop it!"

"Get away from me!" I screamed at him, trying to inch away, but he held me down.

"Kat, stop it!" he yelled again. "I'm not going to hurt you!"

How could I believe him? Some small part of my brain that was still thinking reminded me that he had saved my life. I stopped thrashing.

Daemon stilled above me. "I won't hurt you, Kat." His tone was softer, but still laced with fury as he tried to control me without doing any real damage. "I could never hurt you." His words made my stomach quiver.

Something inside me answered, believed him even as my mind rebelled at the idea. I didn't know what part of me was that foolish, but it seemed to be the part winning. My breathing still rough, I tried to calm down. He loosened his hold on me, but he still loomed above. His breath was ragged against my cheek.

Pulling back, Daemon put a finger under my chin to turn my head to face him. "Look at me, Kat. You need to look at me right now." I kept my eyes closed. I didn't want to know if his eyes were still freaky. Daemon shifted up, moving his hands from my shoulders to my cheeks. I should've made my escape then, but the moment his warm hands touched my cheeks, I couldn't move. Carefully, his fingers smoothed over my face.

"Please." His voice lost its furious edge.

Letting out a shaky breath, I opened my eyes. His gaze searched mine. His eyes were still that strange, intense green, but they were his.

Not the ones I'd seen minutes before. The pale light of the moon broke through the trees above, slowly sliding over his high cheekbones, bouncing off his parted lips.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he said again softly. "I want to talk to you. I need to talk to you, do you understand?"

I nodded, unable to make my throat work.

He closed his eyes briefly, a soul-wrenching sigh escaping his lips. "Okay. I'm going to let you up, but please promise me you won't run. I don't feel like chasing you anymore right now.

That last little trick nearly wiped me out." He paused, waiting for my answer. His face did look tight with fatigue. "Say it, Kat. Promise me you won't run. I can't let you run out here by yourself. Do you understand?"

"Yes," I barely croaked out.

"Good." He slowly let go and leaned back, his left hand moving down my cheek in a small gesture he seemed unaware of. I remained frozen on the ground until he crouched on his heels.

Under his weary gaze, I scooted away until my back was against a tree. Once he seemed satisfied that I wouldn't take off, he sat in front of me.

"Why did you have to walk out in front of the truck?" he asked, but didn't wait for an answer. "I was trying everything to keep you out of this, but you had to go and ruin all of my hard work."

"I didn't do it on purpose." I raised a trembling hand to my forehead.

"But you did." He shook his head. "Why did you come here, Kat? Why? I - we were doing well and then you show up and everything is thrown to hell. You have no idea. Shit. I thought we'd get lucky and you'd leave."

"I'm sorry I'm still here." Pulling my legs away from him, I tucked them against my chest.

"I'm always making this worse." He shook his head, looking as if he wanted to curse again.

"We're different. I think you realize that now." I rested my forehead against my knees. I took a moment to gather what I had left of my thoughts and lifted my head. "Daemon, what are you?"

He smiled ruefully and rubbed at his head with the heel of his palm. "That is hard to explain."

"Please tell me. You need to tell me, because I'm about to lose it again," I warned him. I wasn't lying. The control that I had obtained started to slip the longer he was silent.

Daemon's gaze was intense as he spoke. "I don't think you want to know, Kat." His expression, his voice were so sincere they filled me with a deep sense of dread. I knew whatever he was going to tell me was going to change my life forever. Once I learned what he and his family were, I could never take it back, never go back. I would be inexplicably changed.

Even knowing all that, I had already passed the point of no return. The old Katy would be running again. I was sure of it. She'd rather pretend none of this happened. But I was different now, and I had to know. "Are you...human?" Daemon's short laugh was without humor. "We're not from around here."

"You think?"

His brows rose. "Yeah, I guess you've probably figured out we're not human," I took a shaky breath. "I was hoping I was wrong."

He laughed again but there was very little humor in his voice. "No. We're from far, far away."

My stomach dropped to my toes, and my arms around my legs tightened. "What do you mean by 'far, far away'? Because I'm suddenly seeing visions of the beginning of Star Wars." Daemon stared at me hard. "We're not from this planet."

Okay. There. He said what I'd pretty much already figured was the truth, but that told me nothing. "What are you? A vampire?"

He rolled his eyes "Are you serious?"

"What?" Frustration whipped through me.

"You say you're not human, and that limits the pool of what you can be! You stopped a truck without touching it."

"You read too much." Daemon exhaled slowly. "We're not werewolves or witches.

Zombies or whatever."

"Well, I'm glad about the zombie thing. I like to think what's left of my brains are safe," I muttered. "And I don't read too much. There's no such thing as that. But there's no such thing as aliens either." Daemon leaned forward quickly, placing his hands on my bent knees. I froze at his touch, my senses ran hot and cold at once. His stare penetrated me, locked me onto him. "In this vast, neverending universe, do you think Earth - this place - is the only planet with life?"

"N-no," I stammered. "So that kind of stuff...that's normal for your...Hell, what do you call yourselves?"

He leaned his head back as the seconds skipped by, and my heart doubled its beats in wait for his answer. He seemed to be wrestling with how much to tell me, and I was pretty sure whatever it might be, I wasn't going to like it...

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