Chills run through my body and not from the cold tomb we’re walking through but from the darkness, I felt earlier. I touched something inside me that I never knew existed. It opened up and almost suffocated my friends. I knew that if we weren’t forced to be close together in this tight place that they would be far away from me.
I regret even telling them about any of this because now it seems they won’t look at me the same way. Cain hasn’t changed so far. I think he’s more afraid for me than of me. I need to talk to him about what he knows. Now is not the time but once we get his Loyal he’s going to answer my questions whether he likes it or not.
We walk through the semi-dark tunnels with only a few torches lighting our way. Cain and I are in front, Mira in the middle and Patrick and Cynthia in the back.
“Can you feel him?” I asked Cain.
“Yes, he shouldn’t be far.”
“Don’t you guys think this was a little too easy?” Patrick said.
“I had to lift all that crap. It wasn’t easy.”
“No, I mean it’s Lilith. I would have expected booby traps or guards. Something. If she hid your Loyal for this long why would she just let us find them?”
“This better not turn into Tomb Raider. I’m not wearing the right shoes to be fucking Lara Croft.” Mira complained.
“Nobody asked you to come.” I shot back.
“You think I wanted to? It’s your fault I’m even here. If you weren’t such a fuck up like your crazy ass mother I wouldn’t be dealing with this. ”
I turn around ready to give her a piece of my mind. When I hear a growl.
“Please tell me that was someone’s stomach.” I gulped.
Cain sniffs the air before looking irritated.
“Hellhounds. Lilith’s pets.”
“Should we run?” Cynthia asked in a fearful tone.
Cain shakes his head. “No. They like the chase. We’re going to have to fight.”
“Elsie, use your new power to like throw them,” Cynthia suggested.
“You think I have control over it?” I shouted-whispered
The growls and barking get louder. We keep moving slowly and with more cautiously through the tunnels. It isn’t long before we see two pairs of glowing red eyes. The hellhounds are almost taller than me with razor-sharp teeth and black fur. They look between a Doberman and a rabid wolf. We all stop because every time we move a step their growls gets more aggressive.
“Does anyone have any treats?”
“Elsie now is not the time for jokes.” Patrick snapped.
“Cain what should we do?” I asked.
He cups his hands together and closes his eyes. I hear a humming noise coming from his hands before he slowly opens them revealing a ball of ice. Now he’s an elemental too? What can’t this guy do? The ball of ice gets bigger until it’s the size of a basketball. He holds it steady and then launches at the first hellhound. Ice covers the hellhound’s body and it’s whines fill the air. Instead of looking scared, the other hellhound looks angrier.
I look back to see Mira, Patrick, and Cynthia running away. So much for being there for me. I get my magic ready. Hoping a spell comes to mind. Before I can chant anything Cain’s eyes burn with red. His eyes glow and he stands in front of me blocking me from the hellhound. I think he’s going to fight the hellhound but instead the hellhound whines and shows his belly in submission.
“What did you do?”
Cain slowly turns to face me and grabs me by the neck. He lifts me against the wall. His hand is around my throat but isn’t choking me. He leans in close to my ear.
“What is it about you?” his voice doesn’t sound like him. It’s darker and more powerful.
“What is it about you that draws him to you? You’re beautiful of course but you’re also something else. Something more.”
“Why are you talking like that?”
He releases my neck and gently sets me on the ground. He blinks a few times before his eyes go back to the green ones I know all too well.
He takes a step back and shakes his head. He looks over at the two whimpering dogs like he can’t believe that just happened.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
He nods. “Yeah, I’m fine.” He looks around. “Where did your friends go?”
He doesn’t look fine but I let it go for now.
“Guys it’s safe!”
All three of them come around the corner.
“We just went to go make sure everything was okay on that side.” Patrick cleared his throat.
I roll my eyes. “Sure you did.”
We step over the hellhounds and keep walking through the tunnels. Nothing else jumps out as we get to a room with a coffin sitting in the middle of the room. The room is plain with stone walls. Dirt is all over the ground and there is less light in here.
The coffin is plain wood with a chain and lock around it. I expected more hellhounds guarding it but it’s just a simple coffin in the room. Cain goes to open it while the rest of us stay behind. Cain easily breaks the chain. He rips off the lid revealing a very pale skin man with dark hair. As soon as Cain reaches inside the coffin to touch Pierre, he sits up suddenly like he just woke up from a nightmare he looks around, eyes widened with fear.
“Pierre, you’re safe,” Cain said and started speaking in what I know in French.
I turn to Cynthia because she speaks the language fluently.
“What are they saying?”
“Cain is telling him that he’s safe and that he has nothing to worry about.”
I look back over to find Cain hugging Pierre in a way that makes my heart swell because they look like two brothers who finally found each other again. Cain helps Pierre out of the coffin. He’s wearing a loose white button shirt, black pants and he’s barefoot. I see a colorful smudge of what looks like paint on his shirt. It’s not only on his shirt but his hands too. He must be some type of artist.
They whisper before Cain walks over here.
“He’s going to shapeshifter into his crow. He said it’s been too long since he’s been able to fly.”
Before our eyes, Pierre turns into a black crow that’s bigger than the ones I’ve seen. He flaps his wings a couple of times like he’s getting used to them before he races through the tunnel and we follow behind him. The hellhounds are gone as we make our way back to the outside. The fresh air feels so good as I breathe it in.
We all get into the car and Cain drives us back to his penthouse with Pierre flying in the air. When we all get inside everyone goes to their rooms while Cain and I wait for Pierre.
“Is he okay? Like mentally?” I asked.
“He will be. In time.”
I nod and go sit on the couch.
“Elsie, you don’t have to be here if you don’t want to be. Pierre and I can get the rest of my Loyal. I know our deal was I train you and you help me find my Loyal but I’ll still train you if you decide to go home.”
“No, I told you I’d help you and I am,” I said. “But Patrick was right. That was too easy. I meant other than the hellhounds. What is she planning?”
“I don’t know. Maybe this is a part of her game. Each Loyal will be harder to get to.”
“That’s one theory.”
The door to the penthouse opens and Pierre walks in.
“I have not felt the air like that in forever,” Pierre said, his voice has a rich French accent.
“You’ll never have to worry about that again, brother,” Cain promised.
Pierre nods and looks over to me.
“Have you brought me, someone, to play with?”
Cain growls. “You lay a hand on her and I’ll throw you right back in that coffin.”
Pierre doesn’t look scared like most would, instead he looks amused.
“You finally found someone. Good for you. I was getting tired of watching you with girl after girl. We both know I’m the only one who gets to be the playboy of the group.” He flops down on the couch on the seat that isn’t too close to mine. He kisses both of my cheeks. “I’m Pierre Boucher. And you are?”
I smile at him. “Elsie Clermont.”
“Beautiful name for a beautiful girl. Thank you, Elsie Clermont. I am in your debt.”
I’m not good with compliments so I just shrug. “It’s no big deal.”
“It is. I was awake for some of it. Trapped in the darkness with only my screams. A little while longer I think I would have not come out myself.” He looks over at Cain. “Where are the rest of them?”
“We leave tomorrow to get Keir.”
“I saw a store outside that I wanted to pick up a few things before we go.”
“You’re not coming with us. You need to rest.”
“Cain, I can’t stay here by myself. Not again. I need to do something. Let me be useful to you. At least let me find one of your Marks.”
“I don’t do those anymore. I won’t ever take another assignment from Hell.”
“What’s a Mark?”
It’s Pierre who answers.
“It’s where the name The Mark of Cain comes from. When Hell would give us assignments, Cain would put his mark on whoever we were searching for. It was a way to fuck with their minds to let them know we were coming from them.” Pierre smiled like he was reliving a memory.
I nod because i don’t know what to say to that. I knew Cain had killed for Hell but having someone else who was there tell me about it just makes it different. It doesn’t change how i feel about him but i do know that whoever he killed most likely deserved it. In a move, I don’t expect Pierre suddenly walks over and gets on his knees in front of Cain.
“I failed you. I should have known what they would do to you. I could have stopped it.”
Pierre does as he told. Cain puts his hand on Pierre’s shoulder and looks into his eyes
“You had no control over that. Those were my mistakes. I’m the reason I was put in Purgatory. It’s not anyone’s fault but my own. It’s me who should be apologizing. If I would have never fucked Lilith we wouldn’t be in this mess.”
“Yeah, that could have helped too.”
They both laugh. It almost brings tears to my eyes that the light in Cain’s eyes looks a little brighter now that he has one of his Loyal.
Time moves quickly as we get everything ready to go to the United Kingdom. Cain explained to me that he grew up in the U.K after they were kicked out of Eden. He moved around a lot before his family built a house in what is now a small town. I can’t imagine how hard it’s going to be for him to go back to the place where his whole life started and ended. Pierre, unfortunately, takes a liking to Mira and they giggle with each other while we’re on the jet.
Cain took a window seat and looks out the window. I’m sitting next to Cynthia while she reads on her kindle and Patrick is asleep on the couch.
“You should go talk to him,” Cynthia said without looking up.
“Because you’re his girlfriend.”
“I am not his girlfriend. What gave you that idea?”
She looks at me. “That magic blast we felt was filled with feelings. Feelings that weren’t just about Cain. Just admit you like him and don’t do the whole song and dance thing. It’s a waste of everyone’s time.”
“I’m not wasting time. I’m saving it. I don’t think we should talk about anything that’s not about his Loyal.”
She looks up at me “Don’t bullshit me. The reason why you won’t admit to him that you feel anything for him is that you’re afraid.”
“I’m not afraid.”
“You are. You’re afraid that if you admit it, he’ll leave you just like your parents did.”
I scoff. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, because being your best friend for nineteen years has taught me nothing about you.” She looks back down at her kindle. “He won’t leave you, Elsie. A guy like him doesn’t move next door to a girl and not stay in her life. Stop being afraid and go for it before you regret it.”
I hate how right she is. I guess mom going to prison and dad leaving could have some problems when it came to forming relationships. Is she right? Am I afraid? I don’t want to be. Despite Cain being an a-hole who will probably drive me to drink one day and the fact that he’s obviously hiding something from me. I like him. And I know it’s not the bond or any of that other crap. It’s him and our stupid connection. I want him. I wouldn’t say the word boyfriend but I haven’t thought about anyone else since he came into my life.
“I hate you,” I told her, knowing how right she is.
If I don’t say something now than i never will.