The Ties That Bind: Family Over Everything

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Chapter 40

Chapter 40:

If James hadn’t pulled me behind a wall, just as we reached the Stadium, I would have walked right into the line of fire. “Too many guards. I’ll create a distraction, you enter through the trophy room.” James speed signed. I grabbed him before he could bust out his gun.

“There are too many of them and only one of you. I left you once, I won’t do that again.” My voice was an octave higher than usual. The image of James’s body being hauled away flashed in front of my eyes. James cradled my face before signing again.

“We fight together, but as soon as you see your chance, go through the trophy room. There is a keypad on the outside, code 0-9-0-1.” I choked on air.

“That’s my birthday.” My thoughts reeled. My mother had memorialized me as the code to the trophy room. As if I needed more evidence that I was only a prize for her. I stared at James’s stony face. His eyes were lite with a fire within his soul. His energy electrified me. The lion that had been buried under so much pain was ready to spring out. “I’ll see you on the other side.” James grinned like this was a fire fight he had anticipated all his life. We sprung out of the shadows and began picking off our unsuspecting enemies.

­­­­We were as fluid as water, with each strike we brought down the guards. But for each one that dropped, two more replaced them. They swarmed out of the building like ants streaming towards food. Sweat dripped from my head, but I forged through the crowd. A man clocked me across the face. I grabbed his arm and stepped into his body, causing him to go flying over me, landing on the group with a crunch of his neck. “We need a distraction!” I yelled over the chaos. When I got the chance to glance back at James, he had thrown a glowing blue sphere into the crowd of enemies. I caught a glimpse of the sphere turning orange and then it exploded. Bodies scattered into the air. James took that moment of distraction to grab me and throw us out of the view of the enemy.

“Go now.” His fingers were dripping in blood. “I can hold them off now. Your grandfather has neat little distractions.” He showed off at least a dozen bomb spheres in his pockets. He gave my hand a squeeze before signing, “Finish this Myra.” He gave me a gentle shove before throwing another bomb into the crowd. As soon as it detonated, I sprinted and weaved through the herd of guards until I reached the trophy room. Looking into the room a shudder passed through my body. The last time I was in that room, I woke up with Reena hovering over me. Now was not the time to creep myself out. When I found the keypad, my heart sank. In addition to the code, there was a card reader and a retinal scanner. Suddenly, a metal barrel was buried in my back.

“You’re not supposed to be back here.” A deep voice breathed down my neck. “Raise your hands slowly or say goodbye to your spine.” Cold pricked at the nape of my neck. When I raised my hands to halfway in the air, I swiftly brought my left hand back pushing the barrel of the weapon to the right, all the while throwing my body in the opposite direction. The man looked just as astonished as I felt by my brazen act. I smashed the butt of the weapon into his nose. Blood gushed from his face and he collapsed to the floor. I patted his clothing until I found a badge. I lugged his body up to the retinal scanner, then swiped his card through. The keypad pulsed with a ghostly blue. Before I could punch in the code, the man stumbled to his feet. As he charged me, I somersaulted and kicked his legs out from under him. The loss of balance caused him to careen into the trophy room. The second his fingertips passed through the invisible laser barrier, his body zapped like a mosquito flying into UV light. His body convulsed like an eel out of water, then he lay completely still, his eyes frozen wide open with fear and never moving. I shuddered to think what would have happened if that was me. With renewed haste, I punched in the code, 0-9-0-1. A green light flashed but that was the only indication I had the system had been disarmed. I held my breath as I stuck my pinky toe through the barrier when nothing happened I leaped into the room. Much to my own relief, I wasn’t zapped or sliced into thin strips of flesh. I was surrounded by priceless worldly objects, each one only valued for their heritage and beauty. I snaked through the pedestals, holding my breath with until I reached the very last artifact, the hope diamond. Its captivating shine threw me back in time when Reena and I were here together. Reena. Another person who had yet to repent for their sins. As I turned away from the hypnotizing artifact, my blade sheath hit the glass encasing surrounding the necklace. My lungs leaped out of my body and I dove for the exit. Just as I slammed into the floor on the other side, an enormous metal enforced wall slammed down and millimeter from my nose. As I rolled away from my near beheading, I felt a rip in my skull. Stands of my hair lay beneath the metal wall.

“Oh hell no.” No one messes with my hair. With an indignant huff, I drew my sword and stomped through the stone archway, no longer caring if anyone heard me. The alarms would have gone off by now, alerting everyone to my intrusion into the treasury room. My breathing reminded me of an angry bull, ready to charge and skewer anyone who stood in my way.

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