Chained by Darkness (Sensor Series, Book 2.5)

By: Susan Illene

Chapter One

There comes a time in a man’s life when he looks back and wonders what he might have done differently. When he realizes a series of events brought him to a point where he can no longer alter his course. Death is easy. It’s the waiting to die that proves difficult. Endless weeks spent in a black hole, deprived of every sensation, and Lucas still didn’t know how he could have changed anything. He wasn’t a man to wallow in regret, but they’d left him with far too much time to think.

His body had long since gone numb. The bite of the chains, holding him suspended in four directions, were the only reminder that he still lived. Not even oxygen reached this hellish place. He’d have killed for a breath of air, but his lungs had caved in as soon as his captors sealed him inside the dark tomb.

Total sensory deprivation.

His enhanced vision couldn’t see a damned thing and the manacles were spelled with magic to suppress every one of his powers. The frigidity of the place kept his naked body uncomfortable, but he could handle that. It was the endless waiting that was getting to him. He fought to hang on, to not lose his sanity—for however long it took.

He felt certain this was his longest stay in the hole yet. Remiel and his angelic cohorts should have killed him already, but Lucas suspected they wanted to make him suffer before the end came. The fools seemed to forget he’d been a regular guest in Purgatory for centuries. He could endure it, so long as he didn’t think of her. The memories might have helped keep his mind occupied during the endless hours, but they also reminded him of everything he’d lost. He needed to stay focused if he was to get out of this current predicament.

A loud screeching noise broke the monotony of silence.

Lucas lifted his head as the heavy door sealing him inside opened. A rush of air surged into the room and he sucked it in, savoring every bit as it entered his lungs. It took several short breaths before he could fill them completely. He squinted against the light filtering in through the doorway. Even with the shadowy figure blocking much of it, he still needed a moment to adjust from the darkness.

The first thing he noticed was the man’s swirling gray eyes. They glowed with an eerie light common to his kind. Then he saw the wild mane of silvery hair that ran past his shoulders—a less frequent trait. Lucas knew exactly whose hulking form stood there. Kerbasi. The man in charge of all living prisoners in Purgatory.

Fucking bastard. If ever there was a man that needed killing, it was him.

“I do hope you’ve calmed that temper of yours down. I’ve never seen you quite this…out of control upon arrival,” Kerbasi mused.

There may have been a minor altercation when they brought him in—he’d definitely not gone gently into this good night. Before, they’d always sentenced him first and then taken him to a prison cell before anything else happened. He’d hoped for a chance to argue his way out of confinement and hadn’t been too pleased when that opportunity got shoved into the dark. They’d changed the order of things this time around.

“Free me from these chains and I’ll show you control,” Lucas growled.

Kerbasi stepped forward. “Something about you has changed since your last visit. What could it be?”

Lucas cleared his mind of any telling thoughts. They would only be used against him.

“The only thing that has changed is my tolerance for you, guardian. It now ranks somewhere between mosquitoes and YouTube commercials—annoying and practically unavoidable.”

Kerbasi shook his head. “You say the strangest things, nephilim.”

The guardian pressed his cold hand to Lucas’ forehead. It felt as if hundreds of needles pierced his skull as Kerbasi worked to penetrate his mind. Lucas gritted his teeth and focused on food. Not a difficult thing to do. He was hungry enough to rip a cow open just to get a chunk of steak out of it. Too bad this place didn’t have livestock—or any native animals for that matter. On the rare occasions they did serve food, he couldn’t identify it.

“You never cease to amuse, nephilim. Is our hospitality not up to your expectations? Not to worry, I’ll provide an opportunity for you to win a meal soon enough.”

“I’m sure you will.” Lucas knew what the guardian had in mind, but he didn’t care. Anything would be better than sitting in this black hole for much longer.

Kerbasi pressed into Lucas’ mind with more force. “I have been informed you’re here because you failed to protect your sensor. Did you finally give up on your duty after all this time?”

Images of Melena flashed through his mind before he could stop them. The look on her face just before he’d been taken away. How she’d tried to argue with the archangel, Remiel. Lucas had wanted to resist leaving, but she would have joined him in the fight if he had. Watching her die once had been enough.

She’d become important to him and seeing her lifeless body after the demon attacked her had almost driven him insane. Willingly going with Remiel had been the only way to keep her safe, especially since he and his brother had used forbidden methods to resuscitate her.