“Right,” he says. “Thomas, I’m leaving this up to you. You, again, have three choices. This time, I’m going to deal with all of them, but you’re going to choose the order in which I’ll go about it.”
I swallow. “I’m not doing this,” I mumble.
He leans over me. “Sorry, what? I didn’t quite catch that,” he tells me.
“I’m not doing this,” I shout. “I’m not playing your sick games any more.”
He smirks. “Right then, Cole’s first. I didn’t quite finish him off before.”
My eyes dart to the hallway and I bring my focus back to the Reaper. “Fine,” I tremble. “I know who to pick first.”
I can see his ears pricking up from the back of his head as though he’s cracking a genuine smile at the thought of this. He slowly turns around and proceeds towards me. “Who?” I ask.
I glance at Cole, then to Lenny and then to my dad. “My dad,” I say.
“Okay,” he says. “But why?”
I raise my head and face him. “He’s as good as dead anyway, and I hate him for what he did. He deserves it.”
The Reaper nods. “I’m glad you’ve finally let your true colors show. We’re really not that different, Thomas. We’re the same, you and me.”
I nod. “That we are,” I tell him.
He cracks that evil smile and stalks towards Dad, who’s pressing his hand to a cut on his chest. His eyes are filling with terror. It’s going to be okay, Dad, I think. It’ll be over soon.
I gulp as he stands before Dad and towers over him, the knife in his hand. My heart beat continues to increase as I look to the hallway and nod my head fervently.
“Put, the knife, the hell down, now,” her voice booms.
I release a deep breath as Lucy steps into the kitchen, her finger nested on the trigger. He sighs and slowly turns her, greeting her before even coming face to face with her. “Lucy,” he sighs. “How are you?”
“I said put the knife down,” she says. She catches eye contact with me for a moment and glimpses briefly at the frying pan on top of the oven. I nod and crawl towards the oven.
He shakes his head and gestures to the knife. “What, this?”
“I’m telling you, I won’t hesitate to put a bullet through your skull, and trust me, you really don’t want to test that theory out. And I’d rather deliver you to the police alive.”
He releases a quiet chuckle. He looks to the knife in his hand and raises it. As I take hold of the pan and rise to my feet, he makes a sudden lunge towards her and my heart skips a beat. She bottles a scream as he steps closer to her. I dive forward and swing the pan as hard as I can across the back of his head. He falls to the tiled floor and the knife falls from his grasp. I swipe it from the kitchen floor and head for Cole, Lenny and Dad, cutting the tire wraps from their wrists. I pull the tape from Dad’s mouth. Cole and Lenny rush towards Lucy, who’s leaning over him. “Is he dead?” Cole asks.
She shakes her head. “No, I think he’s just unconscious.”
“Not anymore,” he whispers as he slowly lifts himself upward. Lucy jerks backwards and pushes Cole and Lenny backwards. “Stay down,” she orders. “Or I’ll kill you.”
He cackles. “You won’t really do that, though, Luc, will you? Because you know what that’ll mean for your boyfriend.”
She lowers the gun and Dad rushes towards her. He grabs the gun from her. “I am finished with you threatening my town, my family and my son. I am going to put an end to this myself,” he spits.
The Reaper gives him an innocent look. “What ever do you mean, Mr Mayor? I’m not threatening your son. I’m just stating the facts. If I die, so does he. Part of my soul resides in him, so if I’m killed, then that fragment of my soul will kill him from the inside out until it leaves his body to re-attach with my soul.”
I bow my head as Dad turns to face me. “Is that true, Thomas?”
“No,” I swallow.
“Yes it is,” Lucy says. “He’s just saying that to get you to do it, Luke.”
“Lucy,” I hiss.
“Thomas,” Dad says. “Tell me the truth.”
“Okay,” I concede. “Yes, part of his soul does live in me, and it’s possibly true, but he could be bluffing just as easily Dad. Don’t hesitate, just do it. He deserves it.”
Dad swallows. “I know,” he says. “But, I can’t risk losing you, Thomas. I’m sorry.”
“The Police are on the way,” Lucy says. “I called them before I got here. We just need to wait.”
Dad nods. “You are going away for a very long time,” he says.
I shake my head. “No Dad, it’s not enough. He deserves to die for what he’s done.”
“Thomas,” Dad says. I make a grab for the gun. “If you’re not going to do this, then I am.”
I swipe the gun from his hands and aim it at the Reaper. “Thomas, no,” both Lucy and Dad shout as I pull the trigger. The sound of sirens blaring from approaching Police cars, racing down the street, rings through my ears. Cole runs outside to meet them. Lenny watches on in horror at the corpse lying at our feet. “Thomas,” Dad gasps, taking a step towards me.
My dad pulls me close to him and encompasses me in a tight hug. “Are you okay, son?” he asks.
I nod as I continue to sob. “I’m sorry Dad. I had to. He didn’t deserve to live.”
He nods and pushes me so I’m facing him. “It’s okay. Are you okay?” he asks, looking me over frantically.
“I’m fine,” I say, my breaths slowly starting to even themselves out. “He was bluffing, all this time. I feel okay. I’m going to be okay.”
He nods and cracks a smile at me. “Are you okay?” I ask, gesturing to the wounds saturating his shirt and the smears of blood on his face.
“I’ll be okay,” he smiles. “I’m just so glad we’ve got you back, son. I love you.”
For the first time in my life, I feel the urge to throw my arms around my dad. I give in to it. He places his hand to the back of my neck as I rest my head on his shoulder. “I love you too, Dad.”
We continue to hug tightly as the Police make their way in to the house. I lift my head slightly and lock eyes with Lucy, who smiles at me. I smile back and break away from Dad. He follows my gaze and we both approach me together.
“Lucy,” he says. “Before I leave you and Thomas in privacy, I want to thank you. For saving my life, the other two kids and, most importantly, Thomas’. We wouldn’t be alive right now if it wasn’t for you.”
She smiles. “You’re welcome.”
He nods and walks outside with one of the Police officers. I turn back to Lucy. She smiles at me. “Are you okay?” she asks.
“Yeah,” I smile. “And only because of you. Thank you for coming when you did.”
“What can I say?” she asks. “I think it’s just in my job description to save your ass, at this stage.”
I chuckle at her. “Yeah,” I agree. “I’m sorry about leaving you back in the room, I just--”
“I know,” she says. “You wanted to put and end to this. Which you did.”
I nod. “Luc,” I say. “I love you.”
She smirks. “What’s not to love?”
I grin and lean my face towards her. I brush my lips against hers.