I didn’t think it was possible, but I felt even colder at that. “With that shiny dagger of yours?”
“Grays consume souls. If they give in to their hunger, it can kill a weaker human. Stronger humans can survive losing their soul, but they will become infected—they’ll become a gray, too. Being gray changes them, and grays who feed too much, get too greedy, are incredibly dangerous. I’ve already seen it.”
Fear shuddered through me. “Change how?”
His gaze searched mine as if he was looking for more answers there. “Being soulless seems to strip humanity and reason away from the very start. But if a gray feeds, it makes it more uncontrollable.”
“But I don’t have a soul and I feel the same as I ever did. I definitely know right from wrong.”
Bishop’s dark brows drew together, still searching my face as if he couldn’t look away. “You’re different. I don’t know why or how it’s possible, but you are. Maybe it’s because you haven’t fed yet at all. You can’t give in to the hunger, Samantha, or it will change you.”
I realized I’d moved so close to him that my hand brushed against his. I took a shaky step back. “You’re lying to me. About all of this.”
“Angels don’t lie.”
I gaped at him. “I still don’t believe you’re an angel.”
“Do you believe Kraven is a demon?”
“I don’t know.” I blinked, thinking back to the scene in the alley last night. I frowned. “Do you have a tattoo like he does? Is that some sort of a sign of what you are?”
“It’s not a tattoo. Our wings are made of energy that isn’t visible or accessible in the human world. But their imprint remains on us.”
He just looked at me. “You can’t just take my word for it?”
“No. Show me your…your imprint, or whatever it is.”
“Will that be enough to convince you?”
“I don’t know.”
He gave me a stern look. “I don’t take orders from anyone. I’m the leader on this mission.”
I felt sick and confused, but determined, too. All I could focus on was one thing at a time or I would be overwhelmed. More overwhelmed.
“Here’s how I see it, Bishop. You were sent here to take care of a problem. I’m part of that problem, according to you. However, you already figured out that I’m different, I’m…special. I saw that light in the sky when you couldn’t—and you don’t know if you’ll be able to. You can’t find the others, not without me. And you have only a short time to find them or they’ll be lost forever.”
He didn’t look pleased by the reminder that he wasn’t necessarily the one in charge at the moment. That gave me the strength to continue.
“That guy up there.” I thrust my thumb in the direction of the upstairs lounge. “No question that he’s a total creep, but he also promised to help me. He said I was like him, like the others. That I had a place to belong now. So my question is, why would I want to have anything to do with you—another jerk who nearly killed me last night—when I can go hang out with my new friends?”
It was the last thing I wanted, but currently my only bargaining chip.
He was silent for a long moment. “Because if you say you really haven’t changed, then you must see how wrong all of this is.”
My jaw tensed. He was right, but I didn’t want to let on that was how I felt. Something was off about Stephen. Really off. He was cold, in both body and mind. He said this had freed him from his previous problems, but I wasn’t convinced. Something that felt this bad—feeding off other people’s souls—just couldn’t be right, no matter how he tried to spin it.
It wasn’t a matter of becoming a zombie and having a major craving for brains. To my knowledge, a soul didn’t have substance. But it existed and it was priceless. It was what went to Heaven after you died. Your spirit that lived on even when the rest of you was dead.
And mine was gone.
I swallowed past the thick lump in my throat and forced myself to stay strong. To not let Bishop think he had the upper hand. I had something he wanted and I still wasn’t sure I wanted to give it to him. But I needed something to believe, something that might make all of this remotely okay again.
“Show me your imprint,” I said firmly. “And maybe we can talk.”
Bishop’s blue eyes sparked with emotion as he studied me. Nobody had ever looked at me like that in my entire life, like he could overpower me in an instant but was trying very hard to hold himself back.
When he turned away from me, my heart lurched and I thought he was going to walk away. But he didn’t. After doing another sweep of the area, probably to make sure we didn’t have an audience, he grabbed hold of the bottom of his shirt and pulled it up. Not all the way, but enough for me to see some skin.
It was fairly dark in this corner of Crave, but there was enough light to see the imprint on his back. It was different from Kraven’s black, batlike tattoo. This was more of an outline with some light shading. It looked like actual feathers. Then again, Kraven was a demon and Bishop was…
I still wanted to deny it, but that was getting harder with every passing minute.
“You see it?” he asked, glancing at me over his shoulder.
I nodded. He was about to pull his shirt back down, but I wasn’t finished yet.