A Hard Way to Heaven

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Chapter 12

Akir stood at the windows of the loft they had procured for their use in the east side of Port Lewis. The top floor had a commanding view of the skyline of city and the lakefront. The mid-morning sun was deceiving in such a location due to the winds that blew off the lake and swirled in among the buildings. It may look warm outside, but the temperature hovered around a chilly, fifty-two. He had finished examining the pages Dac had complied, and there was no doubt about it, Élan was back in the picture. His taking of innocent life was a sure tell he was building to something big. They were his calling card, beckoning them to play. Akir felt that this time though, the man he hated with pure passion was calling out to him specifically, taunting him to come, test his skills, and catch him. But the recent increase in killing of innocent bystanders, indicated the man had crossed a threshold into the sublime, wanting to leave an even greater foot note in history.

Akir would answer his invitation and eliminate the threat to human existence, to his family. He stepped back from the windows and walked to his bedroom to unpack his things. As he saw it, there was three options if this played out. One he caught Élan, bagged him up and took the remains back with him to Europe. If things tanked and soured, either one of them would be dead or perhaps the both of them. Then his bràithrean, his cousins would come and retrieve his body, their enemy and return to Scotland. The worst case scenario was his death and his enemy continuing his killing spree. He hoped it would be the first option with his enemy dead, and he returning home. His intuition was telling him differently, that this was not going to be a cake walk. Lars, and Reiser would scout the area while he and Raven got some sleep. He stretched out on the queen size bed, and let the jet lag take him.

He bolted up in bed, cursing the dream that had held him fast. Akir threw off the covers, untangled his legs, and swung them over the side of his bed. He buried his head in his hands, his mind still trapped in the vivid images of the nightmare. His heart still raced as his fingers rubbed his sweaty neck, his face, through his damp raven hair. The files of the killings had opened old wounds. No, he thought, ones that had never, ever healed. He stopped absently feeling the puckered scar at his hairline that was the result of a bullet grazing his head and almost killing him. If only he had died that day in Budapest, instead of the two people that had, the two people he cherished. They were all gone, his mother, his father, his elder brothers and two sisters, haunting his every step in this life. All except Roric, and his life was existing on a thin thread. He reached a shaky hand for his SMART phone, scrolled through his contacts, and hit Wynne’s number, waited for the connection.

He had failed them, failed them all. He was the warrior, the solider and his training should have been enough to keep them safe. But his mortal enemy were just as cunning, with just as many gifted killers as his own. The voices of leadership of his family, the elders echoed in his mind.

Failure is your own fault, do not lay blame, but at your own feet.

He hated them with a passion. The phone connected and Wynne’s agitated voice answered after three rings. “About bloody fucking time.”

“What is wrong?” Akir stood, pacing.
“It’s Roric…” The world shifted beneath Akir’s feet, and he couldn’t find the words to speak. Wynne spoke quickly, “Hold on…”

Akir paced back and forth, trying to control his emotions. He heard the distinctive repetitive clicks of Wynne establishing a secure line as his worry deepened. Finally, Wynne came back on, and spoke very clearly. The white noise gradually built in Akir’s ears, dampening Wynne’s voice till he heard nothing but a constant ringing. The phone slipped from his hands, and bounced on the bed. He stumbled, catching himself on the bed as his knees crumbled. Akir couldn’t breath. The rage built slowly in his gut, built till it escaped his lips in an anguished bellow.

Raven burst into the bedroom, found Akir on the floor, knees drawn up, gripping his hair. His rapid Gaelic curses, and rambling scared him. He snatched the phone off the bed, hearing Wynne’s voice calling. “It’s me, what?”

“It’s Roric.”

“What?” Raven stuttered, sitting hard on the bed, “When?”

“Just listen to me, don’t say anything. I am going to give you explicit instructions.”

“Aye, go on.” Raven leaned forward, his free hand gripped Akir’s shoulder. As Wynne explained, his fingers squeezed, trying to offer comfort. Roric had been taken in the middle of the night by Stuart Lamont, and his henchmen. William and their men had tried to stop them, but they had brought too many. More than a dozen of their bràithrean had been injured, two seriously. The family waved it off, as watching out for Roric’s best interest, but Wynne believed they were holding him hostage to force Akir’s hand. “Right…right. I got it, yeah. I’ll do my best. Yeah.”

“Call me on a secure line once you get him calmed down. Get him to sleep.”

“Aye…”

Akir snatched the phone from Raven, his voice breaking, “Ye tell those motherfuckers to watch their backs…when I return…I am going to burn that fucking place down...”

Wynne calmly spoke to him, “Do your job, and when you return, we got your back, whatever you need.”

“Damn straight.”

The connection severed, Akir gripped the phone hard, and then threw it even harder, slamming it up against the far wall, crushing the casing.

“Ye need to sleep. We need ye at peak performance.” Raven said, “We canna do anything. Let Wynne and Dac handle everything back in London. Let’s get this guy, and go hame.”
Akir stopped and looked at him, “Anna…Anna is behind this to get to me.”

Raven flinched at Akir’s lethal stare, “If that is so, then the only way we can gie him back, is to let Dac and Gordon build their net.”

“Aye…I’m going to burn it all down till there is nothing but ash.” The words rumbled in his throat.

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