Evermore Academy Spring - Audrey Grey
The darkly beautiful beings that rule the western half of my world call themselves the Evermore, but we have other names for them.
My favorite is pointy-eared dickwads, but that’s a mouthful so I usually stick with Fae.
They came eighteen years ago in a bright wave of magic that demolished half the North American continent. They claimed the explosion—now cleverly termed the Lightmare by the media—was an accident . . . as if wiping out half a country is a simple mistake.
No apologies, no real explanation beyond a Fae war that got out of hand.
Just oopsie, we effed up. But since we’re here and the space is unoccupied, mind if we move in?
Typical Fae logic.
My younger sister, Jane, claims she saw one once on the edge of the forest. Her depiction was only slightly terrifying. Daggerish, elongated ears. Sharp, angular faces. Huge, inhuman eyes. Craploads of magic oozing out of their pores.
Her words, not mine, and probably not true. She has a flair for the dramatic.
My brain refuses to believe the more creative tales. That the Fae have horns and wings and hooves and predatory fangs made for ripping our flesh to ribbons.
Either way, I honestly didn’t think about them much. It’s hard to focus on mythological boogiemen when we have very real, very human monsters to deal with.
And Cal Miller is the worst of the worst.
Which makes my close proximity to him unsettling, at best. Lucky me. Wiping a sweat-damp strand of pale blonde hair from my eyes, I peer at the man-child where he sits on a giant stash of baby products—formula, diapers, wipes—his reddish brown Cavender boots propped up on green barrels of drinking water.
As if he knows he’s being appraised, he tips back a Coors Light can, drains it, and crushes it inside his hand.
Here we have the redneck in his natural habitat, I think in a terrible British accent. But my running commentary on Cal and his disgusting habits is running dry.
I’ve been here way too long.
With a belch that could wake the dead, he chucks the can into a trash bin dangerously close to where I hide. As he laughs at his own amazingness, his man-belly jiggles.
Someone hasn’t missed a meal in a while.
Sweat beads down my forehead. The warehouse is hot as the Summer realm, and the tiny fan whirring in the corner barely keeps the flies away. I would have opened one of the doors to let in a breeze . . . but it isn’t my warehouse. It belongs to the Millers, aka worst humans on the planet, aka ass-hats.
Did I mention I’m not supposed to be here?
I peek my head from the two crates of potatoes I’m wedged between, barely breathing for fear Cal will hear me. My neck has a crick, the girls are smashed against my chest, and my butt has lost all feeling.
Who thought this was a good idea?
Oh, right. Me.
Cal leans over and grabs another beer from a red ice chest. Then he walks over to the garage door, lifts the heavy metal with a loud crank, and pisses into the bushes.
Cal’s twenty-one, just three years older than me, but it’s hard to remember that sometimes. Especially when he’s guzzling beer like it’s orange Gatorade and overseeing his family's illegal smuggling operation.
The muscles inside Cal’s flannel shirt bulge as he returns, his wrangler jeans about two sizes too small, which doesn’t help the beer gut that’s formed since he graduated high school. A Glock pistol is tucked into his jeans just above his right hip.
I’m hoping he’s drunk enough that his aim is crap. Actually, I’m hoping he never sees me at all. I mean, who’s crazy enough to hide in the Millers’ warehouse with him in it?
This girl right here. I’m either smart or crazy-dead.
Not for the first time, I question my sanity. This is madness. Hiding in plain sight. All Cal has to do is squint real hard while looking to his left and he’ll see me.
What the hell am I doing?
In my defense, I thought there would be more places to hide . . .
Pushing strands of my hair from my eyes, I take a calming breath and busy myself cataloging the necessities—only the necessities—like this is a trip to Walmart. I can’t take much, a few armloads at most, so I’ll have to be picky.
Stacks and stacks of packaged food are everywhere. Cans of spaghettiOs, boxes of fruit loops, and sacks of flour. Bags of rice line the shelves to my left, canned