End of Days Page 3

But first, I need to help my sister settle in.

It takes me an hour to clean her up in the bathtub. She’s covered in Beliel’s blood and gore. If the frightened people at the Resistance thought she was a monster when she was in a clean flower-print dress, they’d definitely turn into torch-bearing, lynch-mob villagers if they saw her now.

I’m afraid to actually scrub her because of all her stitches and bruises. Normally, our mom would do this. She was always surprisingly gentle when it came to handling Paige.

Maybe thinking the same thing, Paige asks, ‘Where’s Mom?’

‘She’s with the Resistance. They should be at the camp by now.’ I dribble water over her and dab gingerly between stitches with a sponge. ‘We came to look for you but got caught and taken to Alcatraz. She’s all right now, though. The Resistance came to rescue everyone on the island, and I saw her on the boat as they were escaping.’

Her bruises still look angry, and I don’t want to accidentally pop a stitch. I wonder if these are the kinds of stitches that dissolve or if a doctor needs to take them out.

That makes me think of Doc, the guy who sewed her up in the first place. I don’t care what his situation was. No decent human being would have mangled and mutilated little kids into man-eating monsters just because Uriel the megalomaniac angel told him to. I want to kick Doc to pieces when I see how bruised and abused Paige is.

So how crazy is it that I’m nursing a small thought that maybe he can help her?

I sigh and drop the sponge into the water. I can’t stand to look at her ribs sticking out of her stitched skin anymore. She’s about as clean as she’s going to get anyway. I drop her blood-stained clothes in the sink and walk into one of the bedrooms to see if I can find something for her to wear.

I rummage through the antique drawers, not really expecting to find anything. It seems like this place was some sort of historic tourist site rather than anyone’s house. But somebody has stayed here. Maybe even decided that this could be home.

There’s not a lot, but at least one woman had settled here, at least for a while. I reach in and pull out a white blouse and linen skirt. Thong underwear. A lacy bra. A sheer camisole. A cropped T-shirt. A pair of stretchy men’s boxers.

People were funny during the early days after the Great Attack. Even when they evacuated their homes, they took their cell phones, laptops, keys, wallets, suitcases, and shoes that would have been great for tropical vacations but not for running on the streets. It was as if people couldn’t accept that it wouldn’t all blow over in a few days.

Eventually, though, those things ended up abandoned in cars and streets or, in this case, in the drawers of a museum house. I find a T-shirt that’s almost as big as Paige. There’s no chance of finding a pair of pants for her, so a T-shirt dress will have to do for now.

I tuck her in upstairs and leave her shoes beside the bed in case we need to go in a hurry.

I kiss her forehead and tell her goodnight. Her eyes shut like a doll’s, and her breath deepens almost immediately. She must be absolutely exhausted. Who knows the last time she slept? Who knows the last time she ate?

I head downstairs to find Raffe leaning over the dining table with his wings laid out in front of him. He’s taken off his mask, and it’s a relief to be able to see his face again.

He’s grooming his wings. It looks like he has washed the blood out of them. They lie on the table, damp and limp. He plucks out the broken feathers and smooths the healthy ones.

‘At least you have them back,’ I say.

The light hits his dark hair, showing his highlights.

He takes a big breath. ‘We’re back to square one.’ He sits on a wooden chair, almost wilting into it. ‘I need to find a doctor.’ He doesn’t sound optimistic.

‘They had some stuff on Alcatraz. Angelic surgical supplies, I think. They did all kinds of experiments there. Could any of that stuff be useful?’

He looks at me with eyes so blue they’re almost black. ‘Maybe. I should probably scope out that island anyway. It’s too close for us to ignore.’ He rubs his temples.

I can see the frustration stiffening the lines of his shoulders. While Archangel Uriel is creating a false apocalypse and lying to the angels to get them to vote him in as their Messenger, Raffe is stuck trying to get his angel wings sewn back on. Until then, he can’t return to angel society to try to straighten things out.

‘You need some sleep,’ I say. ‘We all do. I’m so tired my legs just want to give out.’ I sway a little. It was a long night, and I’m still surprised we all made it through alive to see the morning.

I half expect him to argue, but he nods. It just confirms that we need the rest that badly, and maybe he needs time to figure out how to find a doctor who can help him.

We trudge upstairs to the two bedrooms.

I turn to Raffe in front of the doors. ‘Paige and I will—’

‘I’m sure Paige will sleep better alone.’

For a second, I think that maybe he wants to be alone with me. I have a moment of crazy awkwardness mixed with excitement before I see his expression.

Raffe gives me a stern look. So much for my theory.

He just doesn’t want me to sleep in the same room as my sister. He doesn’t know that I already shared a room with her when we were with the Resistance. She’s had plenty of chances to attack me.

‘But—’

‘You take this room.’ Raffe points to the room across the hall. ‘I’ll take the couch.’ His voice is casually commanding. He’s obviously used to having everyone obey him.

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