Timing is everything.
Everyone will tell you that.
Kade had no sooner said those words when a huge bolt of lightning hit the ground nearby, temporarily bathing the entire room in light before disappearing as quickly as it came with a resounding crash of thunder. If I hadn’t found the whole situation a bit scary before, I sure as hell did now.
Kade’s admission that we had likely just met Unknown Dead Guy’s killer had my skin crawling and suddenly I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of dodge.
Of course, during all the excitement, I had completely forgotten that Sam sat outside alone and clueless to what the hell was going on.
“I need to go,” I said, suddenly jumping up from the couch.
There was no mistaking the confused look exchanged between Ghost and Kade, and I can’t say that I didn’t understand where they were coming from. Two seconds ago I was ready to fall to the floor in a dead faint, and now I was ready to leave. If only I had the forethought to listen to Kade when he had told me to get lost moments before.
“Sam,” I replied, answering the unasked question that hung in the air. “I left her outside. She’s probably worried sick. If I don’t get out there soon, she’s likely to come charging in. And knowing Sam, I can only envision what inventive method she’ll come up with to rip off your balls.”
“Whoa,” Ghost said, jumping up from the couch. “She’s like that? Go straight for the twins without knowing what’s going on?”
I nodded slightly with a “yeah kinda” shrug.
“Krav Maga,” I replied casually.
Ghost clutched at his chest. “Damn. Why I haven’t I met her yet?” he asked with a sly grin as he waggled his brow.
“Really?” I asked incredulously. “We all just got jumped by a lurking killer after stumbling over Unknown Dead Guy over there and you’re turned on by the fact she would come storming in here and rip off your nuts?”
He gave me a look that said “duh”.
“You’re not sane, are you?”
He was quiet for a moment, pondering.
“No, can’t say I’ve ever been accused of that before,” he replied with a grin.
I threw my hands up.
“Oh. My. God. Now I really need to go,” I said, shoving past the two as I practically raced to the front door.
Kade grabbed my arm as I shoved past, halting my exit.
“You’re not going out there alone,” he said matter of act.
“Are you kidding me right now?” I asked exasperated. “Five minutes ago you were trying to throw me out of here. Now I can’t go?”
“That was before we knew we had an uninvited guest,” he replied. “Well, before we knew we had a second uninvited guest.”
I was too freaked out and all over the emotional map to think of a witty response to his less than subtle insult.
“Fine,” I said. “But can we please get the hell out of here before anymore killer shadows attack us?”
Kade looked over to Ghost and motioned him forward.
Ghost turned on his heel and walked toward the front door first. Even injured I had to admit I was impressed with his abilities. I caught a glint of the gun in his hand as he passed the front window. I hadn’t even seen him retrieve it from wherever the hell he had been hiding it.
Kade kept me back as Ghost disappeared outside.
A couple of minutes passed in eerie quiet before Ghost returned and gave the all clear.
I rushed outside and immediately caught my foot in one of the many holes puncturing the front porch. Since I was practically running to get the hell out of the house, gravity wasn’t on my side and I knew that when I finally hit the ground, it was going to hurt a lot.
Lucky for me Kade grabbed me around the waist less than three inches from impact.
Ghost, who had been walking down what was left of the porch steps, turned back and shook his head.
“Not the most graceful, are you?” Ghost asked with a wink and a smile.
I stuck my tongue out at him and he laughed.
Kade stayed in step with me, keeping a firm grip on my upper arm, probably in hopes of keeping me upright. My track record for standing on my own two feet wasn’t very good around him and undoubtedly he was getting tired of having to catch me each time I fell. Tucked in his other hand was the gun that I was beginning to notice seemed like a natural extension of his arm.
We followed Ghost in silence. Well, truthfully I wasn’t sure how silent it really was. The rain was coming down so hard I couldn’t hear anything else. I was getting soaked by the second, but it was a small price to pay for finally getting out of that house. Though I was completely chilled to the bone, it felt wonderful to not have the constant feel of things crawling up and down my skin.
Ghost turned back and said something I couldn’t decipher. Kade must have it heard it with his bat like hearing because he smiled before flipping him off. Ghost laughed as he faced forward.
The circumstances of our meeting sucked beyond all repair, but I had to admit, I liked Ghost. Not exactly sure why, and he did have quite a few points against himself for pointing a gun at my head, but I really liked his ability to go from serious solider to wise cracking smart ass in seconds flat. And I really, really liked the fact that Kade seemed to be a different person around him. With Ghost around, Kade was less guarded in his emotions and showed a normal human side that I had only glimpsed briefly at the hospital the first time we met. Kade was already unbelievably sexy before. Now that I knew he was actually human under all that mystery, I knew I was in for a world of hurt.
We hadn’t gotten very far from the porch when I realized rather belatedly that Ghost was leading me back to where we had hidden Sam’s car when we first arrived. Apparently our secret hiding spot hadn’t actually been that secret.
Ghost was the first one to the car and I worried how Sam would react to when she saw this random stranger suddenly appear in her window. The rain drowned out the sound of our footsteps so she wasn’t likely to hear us coming in advance.
I tried to get Ghost’s attention, but he either didn’t hear me or he was ignoring me. I was betting on the latter.
After the way he had talked about Sam, I didn’t have a hard time believing he really did want to see what all the hype was about. Ghost clearly had a few screws loose if the idea of a girl going straight for his nuts was actually a turn on, but who was I to judge?
Ghost walked over to the car and Kade pulled me back a step, preventing me from getting any closer. Ghost reached out and banged on the driver side window. When Sam didn’t open the door (probably because she had just pissed herself with fright), he banged on the window again then grabbed the door handle and yanked it open.
He bent down and stuck his head in, then popped up again suddenly shaking his head.
I looked up at Kade in confusion, but he was scanning the area. For what, I had no idea.
Ghost slammed the door shut and started to walk over to where Kade and I stood.
I was just about to ask him where the hell Sam was (as if he would know) when another dark figure suddenly jumped over the roof the car and came down hard on Ghost who hadn’t seen or heard them coming because of the rain.
Creepy-Figure-#2 knocked Ghost to the ground, and sat on his back as Ghost lay sprawled down on the ground face first. A flash of metal glinted in the dark as it was forcibly slammed over his head.
Kade pulled me back a step so that his body was partially blocking mine as he raised his gun, finger hovering over the trigger.
Creepy-Figure-#2 kept hitting Ghost on the head, but the force of the hit wasn’t enough to keep him down and I watched as Ghost pushed himself up easily and threw his assailant to the ground behind him.
Kade aimed at Creepy-Figure-#2 just as a flash of lightning lit the dark skies and started to squeeze the trigger. In a moment of sheer and utter desperation, I rushed him with all of my strength.
Unfortunately my body weight, even with a little of bit of momentum behind it, wasn’t enough to throw Kade off by much. The impact of my weight shifted his outstretched arm less than half a foot off from where he was aiming at the exact moment he pulled the trigger.
The blast echoed and left me momentarily stunned and a little deaf.
I didn’t have time to gauge Kade’s reaction or to even clearly see what Ghost was doing at that moment. I had a very small window of time to react before another body landed at my feet.
Shoving past Ghost, I threw myself over Creepy-Figure-#2.
I pushed Creepy-Figure-#2 back on the ground then turned around quickly, arms held up in surrender as both Ghost and Kade advanced on us with their weapons drawn and fingers hovering over the trigger. From the murderous looks on both their faces, I knew I was in deep shit.
“Stop!” I yelled as they both attempted to grab ahold of me at the same time, presumably to yank me away from Creepy-Figure-#2.
My sudden outburst stopped them both and they retreated a step, guns still aimed toward us.
Creepy-Figure-#2 sat up behind me and yelled out my name.
I turned around with rivets of water streaming down my face that left me temporarily blinded.
“Next time,” I yelled back, “make sure they don’t have guns before you attack them with a flipping umbrella Sam!”
“A fucking umbrella!” Ghost yelled, taking a threatening step forward. He was shadowed in the down pour which just added to his already menacing form. “Who the hell attacks people with a damn umbrella?”
I stood up carefully, now covered in mud and God knew what else, and motioned for Sam to do the same as I wiped my hair out of my face. The girl wasn’t a moron so she stayed behind me, purposefully out of the direct path of the pissed off stranger currently brandishing a gun.
I turned between them.
“Sam, Ghost. Ghost, Sam.”
“Somebody better tell me what the hell is going on,” Sam fumed.
“What’s going on is some crazy bitch decided to whack me over the head with a damn umbrella,” Ghost shouted. “You’re lucky I didn’t put a fucking bullet in your brain. What the hell is wrong with you? Didn’t you see I had a damn gun in my hand?”
She pushed past me, splashing me with more mud, and got right in his face.
“Yeah, I saw the stupid gun!” she yelled back. “But from where I standing, I saw two hulking figures with guns drawn, and one of them was holding my best friend hostage. What did you think I was going to do, sit back and do nothing? I’m going to try to stop you, weapons be damned.”
Ghost’s nostrils had been flaring and for a second, I wondered if he would make good on his threat to shoot her.
Without warning, Ghost howled in laughter. He hooked his arm around Sam’s shoulder and turned back to Kade.
“This girl’s got some serious brass balls,” he said between laughs. “I want her watching my back from now on. You’ve gone soft.”
Kade clenched his jaw.
“What?” Ghost asked mockingly. “You have. She was fucking attacking me from behind and you hesitated. The old Kade would never have even let her get over the roof of the car.”
And as if we were old friends, I walked back towards Kade, smacking Ghost in the back of the head as I went by.
“Ow,” he said, rubbing his head. “What the hell was that for?”
I turned back and shrugged. “Oops. I must have slipped.”
“Paybacks a bitch Walker,” he said with a wink.
“Your right, but I have teeth and I bite.”
That earned me another laugh.
“If you guys are done playing around, we need to get the girls out of here,” Kade said, stepping towards the three of us.
“I’m not going anywhere until you guys tell me what the hell is going on,” Sam responded, shaking off Ghosts arm (rather belatedly I noted).
“We’ll explain…” was all Kade managed to get out before a blast filled the air.
Ghost grabbed Sam and slammed her to the ground at the same time Kade rushed me and knocked me to the ground, sitting up slightly with his gun raised as he returned fire in the direction of the blast.
“Ghost, get them out of here,” he responded, as he kneeled in the mud and took aim among the trees across from us.
Ghost didn’t question the order, and hauled both Sam and I up quickly, pushing us toward the dark truck that had mysteriously appeared earlier and now was conveniently the only object standing between us and the shooter.
Opening the passenger door, Ghost yelled for us to get into the cab with our heads down, and returned fired toward the same wooded area that Kade was firing towards. Sam shoved me in, climbing in behind me as Ghost slammed the door closed.
A few pings echoed off the driver side of the truck, which took the brunt of the gunfire.
“Get down!” she yelled just as a bullet shattered the driver side window.
“Go,” I heard Kade yell.
Ghost returned a couple more rounds while skirting around the front of the truck. Within seconds he was in the driver seat and flooring it in reverse.
“Stop!” I screamed, sitting up. “We can’t leave Kade.”
“Not an option,” Ghost responded, fish tailing the truck as another couple of bullets punctured the side.
He floored the truck, which skidded a few times on the wet gravel before righting itself, and drove like a bat out of hell.
I looked through the rear window, barely making out Kade who had fallen back by the side of the house and was now almost shadowed by the same branches Sam and I had used for cover earlier.
We were almost out of sight when it happened.
A quick successions of light erupted from the woods, the sound of the firing gun drowned out by the heavy rain. Kade had almost made it to the side of the house when the impact of the bullets sent him flying back.
The last thing I saw as we turned the corner was Kade lying on the ground.
And he wasn’t moving.