Chapter 28: Target Locked
The time has come. The music is over, the arena is quiet. The final match of the night is on. I get up from the bed and I go to the glass door, my body tense to the point of pain. Vik moves behind me and I glance at his reflection on the glass. He lifts his chin to me and I smile.
A smile that withers when a choir of women start chanting through the speakers. Salome instilled so much fear coming out in the arena with that calm, sacred song. She always kept her hood down letting her bright blonde hair show, looking up to the sky. She looked like a warrior Virgin Mary ready to tear heathens apart.
Then the curtain is pulled and the door hisses open. I clench my jaw and I take one step out, Vik mirroring my moves. The crowd goes wild upon seeing me, probably liking the fight with Riona and the bloody sport I provided. I keep my head down and I swallow hard avoiding looking in the cage but still feeling a pair of eyes following me. Salome. Not Salome. Salome is dead. I am still breathing.
I glance up to the part of the balcony where Daniel is. His look is tense and I know it has nothing to do with the gun pointing at him. I nod to him but it changes nothing in the way he looks at me. Fuck, I grew up practically alone, scrapping for food and necessities but I never knew that having Daniel look at me as if I am the most precious thing in existence would be the one thing I was really missing. And damn me if I am going to let the ghost of a dead woman take that away from me.
I reach the cage and I go up to stand before the metal door. I lower my head and I look up though the cage. My opponent is with her back to me and I can see the full back crucifixion tattoo under her black sports bra. Her blonde hair is gathered in an elaborate boxer braid. I flinch. The hair is the same color as Salome’s. The door buzzes and I push it open.
“Come back to me. Whole,” Vik demands.
I bite down my jaw and I dare a glance his way. His beautiful face is brutal, his tone hard. How funny life is. Few weeks back I had nothing to live for. Now...Now I have him. I walk in and the door shuts behind me.
Only then does she turn to me. And delivers her first blow without even lifting her arms. She looks so much like Salome that they could be twins if Magdalene wasn’t obviously younger. I roll my fists to keep them in control as two blue eyes look upon me with the greatest hatred, spite dripping from her tight lips. And I know instantly. When Salome went back for her, it was already late. Their crazy father had taken her, had damaged her soul, had torn down the barrier in her that kept her human.
“Ready?” the MC asks.
I nod. Magdalene just looks at me, her eyes a promise of death. I see that her troubled soul was zeroed in on vengeance, giving her purpose. And had she found a way to bring me back to the cage few weeks back, I might have let her kill me. I am not so magnanimous right now.
With a clarion cry, Magdalene lunges at me with fury. I take the first hit with my hands dropped down. A tribute to Salome, a long overdue show of respect for making me live, for bestowing that gift I was going to throw away. One hit. One punch. Magdalene doesn’t miss her opportunity, gets me straight in the jaw and my head spins violently.
“Lysa!” Vik is heard over the frenzy that fills the arena.
I turn to her and meet her eye for eye. The fight is on. I raise my hands and it’s my fucking turn. I daze her with an onslaught of lighting jabs and when she leans to her right to avoid me, I am there with a hammering hit that makes her take one step back. When she looks back at me, I see that she gets it. I don’t give a fuck how she dreamt this would go down, she’ll have to fight tooth and nail to take me out.
Magdalene’s face hardens and her blue eyes narrow. If Vik is wondering which one of the Riders she is, he struck out. This one, this cold, soulless, single-minded machine is...me. My worst enemy, the real adversary. Me. She recovers quickly and comes at me, mirroring my move. She has studied me and has perfected herself for one reason and one reason only. To kill me.
Let’s put that to the test.
It could be days, months, years, a lifetime since I walked in the cage with Magdalene. Time has stopped being relevant and soon the outside world seized to exist. There is only me and her in this cage, fighting with more than each other. Ghosts of our pasts, the burden of fathers, grief for a sister of blood and bond. They are here with us, dancing this deadly dance toe to toe. And none is backing down.
I see her legs shift and I prepare for the kick coming in, already calculating how fast I can move and get a good hit. Her foot flies over my head and I push my feet forward and I get one good punch in her inner thigh, shaking her stance as she walks back to keep her distance. No, I push for more but Magdalene is quick. Not only does she defend her face against my uppercut but she delivers a full-force cross that has me thrown against the cage.
Blood is streaming down my face and gets in my eyes. I wipe it quickly off and I turn to her. Her face in mangled as well, blood all over it and she spits blood from her mouth. But when she looks to me, there is no hint of retreat or surrender. She hasn’t said a word, hasn’t attempted to make me acknowledge I killed Salome. She knows it, I know it. Her fists speak louder than words. Each is carried with her whole soul, laden with hate for the one that took her sister away.
And to prove her point, she attacks flying to me, her knee aiming for my head and I am not fast enough to stop it. A sharp pain surges through my body and I use all that I have to keep standing. I shake my head to keep my consciousness but Magdalene is relentless. Before I can focus through the blurry haze of ache, tears and blood, her fist connects with my jaw and I feel the metallic taste of blood. Fuck.
“Lysa!” Vik’s voice pierces through the cocoon we have encased ourselves in.
It’s the despair in his voice, the pain, the agony that stabs my heart and floods my mouth with a sour taste. Every hit I take he takes, every gash bloodies him, every bruise hurts him. This needs to end now.
I focus on Magdalene and take sharp breaths. She has studied me well, replicated all my moves, worked hard to be the one thing she needed to be: a killing machine for the Cold Bitch. And she has excelled. One thing she doesn’t know. I am not the Cold Bitch anymore.
Like a movie, flashes go through my mind. Meeting with Daniel in that sad diner, the party at the clubhouse, seeing Vik for the first time, spending time with Daniel in Cisco, breakfast with Iris, the day off at the escort, training with Vik, the restaurant by the sea, the first kiss on the beach, making love on the bike. Each one of these tore the Cold Bitch down. And one last thing Magdalene didn’t plan on: I know motherfucking BJJ now.
So, when Magdalene comes to me with a whirlwind of kicks to finish me off, I keep my guard and I wait for her to land. And when she does, I go in under her arms. I pray that I am moving as quickly as I am feeling and with one handle, I take her down on the mat.
“Yeah!” Vik yells.
I twirl my body swiftly and her head is between my thighs, the rest of her body held firmly by my legs, her left arm tucked under her body in this angle. Without hesitation, I hold her right arm and pull falling on my back with force. A loud crack is heard and I feel her shoulder dislocate. She is not Riona so she screams in pain but I don’t let go. My legs tighten and I use my arms to keep them locked. Magdalene writhes, tries to free herself but it’s pointless. The handle is locked down, her arm is useless and if I twist just right, her neck will be snapped.
It’s Jack’s voice that prevails this time. And right after, a gunshot.