“Please don’t,” I beg, forcing my eyes to stay closed. “I’ll do anything you want.”
“Unfortunately for you, Thomas, there’s nothing you can do.”
The tears in my throat are choking me. I bow my head. “Please,” I gulp.
“What if we help you get your revenge?” Lucy quivers.
I open my eyes and look to him. He’s watching Lucy intently. He bends down to her level and slowly lowers the knife. “I’m listening,” he says.
Lucy swallows. “You’re angry that Craig Burton killed your great grandfather and stole the businesses from under your family’s nose and then drove you from Eventide. So, what if we attack the businesses? Destroy them? I know Thomas wants nothing to do with them. He hates what his family did and I think he’d be glad to help you destroy them, right?”
Lucy shoots me a piercing look and gives a slight nod, as though ordering me to agree. “Yes,” I say. “I’m sorry, it’s disgusting what my family have done and I want no part in it. My dad will likely try force those businesses on me when I leave school, so I’d be more than glad to help destroy them.”
“So, what do you have in mind?”
She turns to face him and cracks a wry smile. “I say, we burn Burton Industries to the ground, one business at a time. I mean, it’s Thomas’ dad you’re after right now, and he doesn’t seem to really care for his son, so I’m thinking, we should go after the thing he cares about most. His livelihood.”
He nods and smiles churlishly at her. “I like the way you think, Lucy.” He darts his focus to me. “However, I can read your boyfriend’s mind and I know he’s not fully on board with this plan. he’s not going to partake, so it’s just going to be you and I. But, you’re going to be the one to set it alight.”
She nods. “Sounds good to me,” she says. “But only, if you let us both go.”
She looks me in the eye and I swallow. She can’t be serious about this.
“You have my word,” he says, tossing the knife to the ground. He swipes it across the floor. He grabs the gun and proceeds towards his desk. As he has his back turned, I see Lucy reaching into her coat pocket. I widen my eyes at her and she shakes her head at me, as though she’s telling me to look away to avoid raising his suspicion. I swallow as she rises to her feet. He turns to face her, raising the lighter in his hand. “I’ll give this to you once we reach Eventide. Before we proceed to Burton’s industries’ main office, we’ll stop by for some petrol. And once you burn the building, I’ll allow you to leave. For insurance, however, that you’re not trying to deceive me, Thomas will remain locked in this room until you have gone through with it, after which I will release him.”
“No way,” I object. “There’s no way you’re going alone with her.”
“Thomas,” Lucy says. “It’s fine, okay? I’ll be fine.”
I swallow as he turns to face her. “Come on, what are you waiting for?”
She takes in a deep breath and as quick as a flash of lightening, she brings her hand to his face and presses down on whatever she’s got in her hand. He screams out as the misty spray continues to spray from the can in her hand. He continues to cry and places his hands to his face. He rubs his eyes and lunges forward, trying to make a grab for Lucy. She jerks to the side and he stumbles forward, holding his hands out for guidance. “You bitch,” he shouts.
She whips her head around to face me. “Come on, now.”
I bring myself to my feet and take hold of her hand. Together, we dash from the secluded hut and sprint further and further into the woodland. “Lucy,” I call. She stops dead on her feet. “It’s pepper spray,” she pants.
I raise my eyebrow at her. “After Matt, I wasn’t taking any chances. How stupid do you think I am? Did you seriously think I would go looking for the Reaper unarmed?”
I nod in response and pull her close to me. I wrap my arms around her. “Are you okay?” I ask.
She nods. “I think so,” she gulps. “That was just really scary, I thought I was going to die.”
I smile at her and blink my tears away. “So did I,” I admit. “I’m sorry, but you got us out of this alive.”
She flashes a teasing smile. “I’m not just a pretty face, you know.”
I smirk at her. “No, you’re not.” I slowly brush my lips against hers. She runs her fingers through my hair as I push her hair off her face and place my hand on her cheek. She breaks away and looks at me with a sense of alarmed urgency. “Thomas,” she scolds. “We’ve got to go. There’s a killer about fifty yards away who I’ve just really pissed off and probably has nearly cleared that spray from his eyes.”
“You’re right,” I say. “Come on.”
Hand in hand, we dash towards the bus stop in Eventide.
“Lenny, Cole,” Lucy calls, rushing towards the spot of the extinguished fire. “We’ve got to go. We really pissed off the Reaper. He knows we’ve been here and he’s likely going to come for us. Take what you can carry and let’s go.”
They look to me, alarmed. I nod and they rise from the forest floor, grabbing hold of the blankets and stuffing them into their rucksacks. As we step out onto the desolate winding country lane, Lucy turns to me. “Now,” she says. “You need to leave this to Lenny, Cole and I. We’re going to take the Reaper down, but we can’t tell you any plans that we’ll make. It’ll be too dangerous for all of us if we do. The Reaper can read your mind and he can see what you’re doing, so we can let him see what we’re up to. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” I say. “I’m sorry, I wish I could help.”
“And you can,” she says. “Which is why I’ve bought a notebook, it’s in my bag. I’m going to leave it by your bed, and every time you have a vision or a dream, or his thoughts start going through your heard, we need you to write down everything.”
“Okay,” I say. She nods. “Stay here a second.”
She pushes Lenny and Cole back and huddles them into a small circle. I watch as they exchange muffled responses. Lucy breaks from the circle and approaches me. “Right, we’re going to relocate somewhere else. We’ll get a bus there, but for the bus journey and until we get to where we’re going to stay, you need to keep yourself blindfolded. You can’t see where we’re going.”
“I understand, Luc. But, how is that going to work?”
“When we board the bus, you’ll cover your face with your hood and we’ll guide you until we get there, okay?”
This sounds like a ridiculous plan, I think. But, at the same time, it kind of makes sense.
I nod and we proceed down the road, side by side, until we reach an empty bus stop.