VICIOUS meets DANGEROUS REMEDY
Ilari can see the ‘invisible’ monsters that emerge from fresh corpses—though admitting it would earn him a trip to the gallows. To escape the law (and the deadly creatures), he’s hunting for a cure. But when an unexplainable disappearance devastates his close-knit crew, Ilari’s boyfriend is accused of murder. Wading through lies, Ilari must make his choice—help his crew kill the boy he loves or fight beside him, feeding their world to the monsters.
“You,” Ilari told the dead man, “have ruined my evening.”
Perhaps that was heartless. After all, it wasn’t the man’s fault he’d been shot in the head and left to rot, face down in the desert sand. But Ilari was running low on both sympathy and time. The sun was falling fast, dripping shadows into the deep troughs between the mountainous red dunes. Ten minutes till nightfall, he estimated. Ten minutes to deal with the corpse and get to Aleksi’s camp, where he should’ve been an hour ago, safe.
He crouched, slinging his pack off his good shoulder. It held everything he needed to survive five days alone in Aurantia’s sweltering wastes: brass canteens, camping biscuits hard enough to break teeth, his lovingly polished revolver, and a stash of lighters and oil-filled jars for evening-ruining inconveniences like this. He had everything he needed—except someone to talk to. And after five days of silence, he was happy to accept a one-sided chat with a dead man.
He fished out a jar, popping the lid. “It’s time for you to burn, my friend,” he said, drizzling oil over the corpse’s back. “Poetic, naj? I’d bet my ship you were out here looking for the arsonist.” His gaze drifted to the blood matted in the corpse’s hair. “Looks like you found him.”