Chapter Twenty Eight
A shout behind me; silent, but enough for me to hear, makes me stop from walking and turn around. Beverly comes running to us, her eyes widened, her face as white as chalk.
Something is wrong. I can sense that.
“What’s going on?”
“We have to make a different plan. Avery told me, that every Caden’s weapon is soaked in snake’s poison. One cut, and we’re dead.”
For a moment, my breathing stopped, before my brain could work enough to accept this information. Before I feel my blood starting to boil. That's when my anger comes, unleashed without thought of consequence. I turn my eyes to Daryl, the rage, pounding in my temples, I feel the heat drying my skin.
“You f*cking lying rat.”
As if my anger was controlling my every movement, my hand immediately raises up and suddenly, I feel his neck between my fingers. Squeezing it, holding the knife in my other hand with thoughts about using it; Daryl grabs my arm, choking, spitting, his face turning red like a ripe tomato.
“No… I didn’t…”
“You’re trying to get us all into the trap, aren’t you!?”
With a corner of my eye, I see how everyone just freeze on their spots, watching me, strangling Daryl, his face turning blue with every moment. His fingers on my arm, trying to push me away to fight for his life; yet when I get that rage, I know I’m stronger than I am without it. Until I feel a gentle touch on my shoulders; Beverly’s tiny fingers, placed on my body, as if they were sucking the rage out of my veins.
“He didn’t know, Avery said he didn’t know. It’s not his fault.”
It’s like a vexing of the soul, and what I feel, is not human, it’s twisted and distorted, but it’s something strong that keep me being the person I am today. My fingers, still holding on Daryl’s neck, his nails, digging into my skin and leaving bruises; but the only thing I can feel is Beverly’s touch, and how my mind, my body is calming down.
The only way for me to control myself. The only way that makes me more a human than a monster, is Beverly’s energy, Beverly’s touch, Beverly’s voice. It’s calming down the storms inside me, like a rise of the spring after the coldest winter.
“And why I should believe that Avery knows the truth?”
“She had been with Caden for thirteen years! And I know she knows a lot more than all of you do!”
“Come on, Kai, let go of him!”
Everyone kept silent, except Kevin; who took a step closer to me, and his voice, for the first time, was angry and overbearing. For the first time, my brother isn’t asking. He makes sure to show me that this time, I’m the one that’s wrong, and I shouldn’t be doing this to Daryl. After all, he got the weapons for us. He made sure we got into the right place. And if he actually hid something from us…
…he’ll be my next victim.
Each passing moment only leads me to rest, my muscles slowly relaxing, my fingers loosen around Daryl’s neck. When my skin releases his, in an instant, he bends over and starts coughing as if there was something stuck in his throat, before lifting his reddened eyes back at me.
“I didn’t know, I swear. Caden is not the one that would share a secret like this.”
“You better not be lying, Daryl.”
He clears his throat before straightening himself and being at the same confident posture, with a cocky look on his face that he usually has.
“But I must say, the things I’ve heard about you, were nothing but true.”
“So what are we going to do now? I’m not ready to die from some f*cking worm’s poison.”
I could never say that Lexi is a warm, polite or nice person; though there are so many things about her that everyone could learn. But this time, her face is different. Her eyes have deadness, stillness in them; they flashed with indignation and anger, also, a tiny glimpse of fear, much like lightning on a pitch black night.
“If Avery knows what kind of snake’s poison he’s using, I could probably tell how dangerous it is, or what is the antidote.”
“That’s a great idea, Aaron, but we don’t have time for this.”
My mouth forms a rigid grimace. With arms folded tightly across my chest, feeling my heart beating in fast rhythm, I tap my foot furiously, turning my eyes away and all the while staring at the sun, that daughter of the sky, taking her rightful place on the horizon once again.
This changes the game, this changes everything. Before, during every other fight we had, our goal used to be kill as many people as we can. Not this time. Now, or goal is to kill Caden. And to get out of there without a scratch.
Because now, with one scratch, comes death.
“What I can say now, Caden is a clever person, and Daryl was right. We don’t have time to create our own weapon that could be as lethal and dangerous, but we have to be smarter than he is.”
“And how we’re going to do that?”
“If you will feel that you’re too weak to fight, or that you’re not strong enough to defeat all those men… Leave. Leave, and wait for others.”
The way Daryl’s eyes squinted when I glared back at him reminded me of a pit viper's slit-like pupils. I force myself to keep my eyes at him, as if our stare at each other was a fight for dominance. A burning animosity is developing in his amber orbs, and now I know his words were nothing but true. The pain in his eyes, something that even starts to hurt my heart like thousands of blades, scratching it.
Now I know that this fight is not only to get his revenge. It’s for him, to get back the peace to his soul; which I know won’t come back. Killing does nothing, first moment, it feels good, but the truth is; it won’t bring his daughter back.
“That’s not what we agreed to do, Diabolus.”
“Caden will be dead, I promise you. But first of all, I have to make sure none of us dies.”
“You know there’s a big chance that you will die.”
I feel a gentle touch on my right shoulder, and the warmth of the skin makes me turn my eyes back, to meet Beverly. One glance, and another invisible blade starts to cut my heart; but it’s not less painful, just because of the fear in those ocean blues. Her smoky eyes begin to glint like the aftermath of a lightning strike. Clouds of grey threaten to flood, but she takes a shuddering breath and gathers her strength, before opening her sweet lips.
“No. I won’t let you. We don’t have to do this.”
“We have to, Bev.”
I slowly draw my fingers onto her cheek, the slight touch of her skin, melting on mine and I feel her body shiver. Our eyes locked on each other, like there was no one around us, like the space, the time just vanished away. Her eyes glisten, the way that it seems like I’m looking at the mirror; if I would concentrate, I could see my own reflection, but all I can see is her eyes.
God, what am I doing. I should take her, and leave the place, end everything, and let us be happy, somewhere else, somewhere, where no one could find us. But I can’t break my promises, and the most important thing, I have to get out of there alive.
Our hearts beat together, like one. If mine stops beating… so will hers.
“Everything will be alright, you know that. My promise to you is, that we all will get out of there. Alive.”
When the last words that leave my mouth, I see her eyes soften, her body stops shivering. But mine starts to. Not because I’m afraid, or anxious; because, God, I’m holding everything I ever wanted to have, in my hands.
In her I see the chance for that kind of love that I always thought, doesn't exist anymore. The type that spans far longer than one lifetime. She’s my light in the ash of winter time. She lifted up me from these cold grey flakes that were once all I knew. We drink from the same cup of life yet remain our true selves - two souls joined yet forever unique.
“We need to go. Now.”
I growl as Daryl breaks the moment between me and Beverly; yet I know he’s right. We have to end this. I turn around to face others, their anxious, nervous faces; I see some of them biting their lips, or watching their shoes as they’re trying to find an escape in them. But the only escape, is the fight.
“I hope you are all ready.”
It takes a moment, but ultimately, I spot everyone’s nods. Brent’s. Aaron’s. Lexi’s. Kevin’s. Brooklyn’s. And Beverly’s. But after everything, no matter how afraid they are, no one is backing away. No one is leaving me in this fight.
That is one more proof, that we are a family.
“Let’s end this.”
No one needs an invitation when we all start walking towards the Yellow Eye’s mansion, foot by foot, aggressively, all drowning in our own thoughts, but all fearful of only one thing. Death.
When we reach the last line of trees, standing in front of us like soldiers, protecting the place, we stop. Only a few meters left to reach Caden’s place. I watch four men, walking around the iron gates; looking more like robots than actual people. With one last sigh, remembering the moment of silence, safety, and being us all together; I turn to Kevin.
“Are you ready, little brother?”
And the dance begins.
Kevin pulls out his handmade bomb; a tiny ball that fits between his two fingers, but doing as much damage as the grenade would. Before turning something in it, he places his lips onto the bomb; as the sign, and wish for good luck.
“Reach the spot, little guy.”
As if he was asking the tiny bomb to do what he needs it to do, he uses all his strength and throws it directly towards the iron gate. As it reaches the same height as the sun is, I feel my eyes burning from the blinding light; and the bomb leaves my sight. Which means we have to watch the gate, or any other place it might land on.
And within a few more moments, that feel like forever...
A blinding flash came from the point where the tiny bomb landed and a red cloud, like a punch to the sky, rises in the air. Smoke and fire rushed out. Thousands of pieces of iron, in rods, or simply destroyed iron ornaments; a deadly rainfall, showered down. We all leaned down to protect ourselves from the burning pieces, flying everywhere, until they all land on the ground all around us and I hear men, shouting by the mansion.
The smile starts playing on my lips when I already feel the taste of blood; more precisely, Caden’s blood. For everything that he did to Daryl, and especially, Avery. He will pay in the ways he never imagined. In bloody, painful ways.
We run forward with confidence in our eyes, strength in our veins, desire for revenge, burning in our veins. Fifty rifle shots, coming from Brent’s hands, broke the stillness of the day, shouts, screaming is all I can hear as we get closer to the place. Caden’s men are running around, armoring themselves, some of them already trying to protect the place that’s about to be destroyed forever.
I watch every men, shooting, screaming, then falling onto the ground with bloody wounds in their heads, or bodies; and none of them seem to look like Caden. Which gives me a pleasant tickling inside my stomach. That’s good. I don’t want him to die from a single shot.
I want him to scream, and beg for his mommy.
Beguiling, bewitching yet extraordinarily peculiar. This ambush seems to be quite convincing and genuine at first, until time progressed and it started unfolding its treacherous, vile wings. The gunshots start coming at us, as more and more men are showing up to the battle field. At first, ten of them. Twenty. Thirty. Until my eyes can’t count, and I know there are about four times more men than us.
The acrid smell of gunpowder envelops my nasal cavities, and instinctively, I turn to Beverly. Who seems to be stronger, meaner than I ever saw her before. She’s running as fast as she can, straight to the men that are willing to kill her; quickly, harshly cutting throats, stabbing others. The blood already stained her clothes; but I know I have never been so captivated by her, yet also, scared.
But the murder’s haven’t changed her, not like they changed me. She’s still the same innocent, nice girl that I have fallen in love with the day I saw her. And as much as her life changed, hurtled her, I know she will always be different than all of us. Because she will always stay herself.
“Kai, watch out!”
As I get back to reality and Brent’s voice reaches my ears, I see a man in a black suit, only a few inches away from me; and I could swear my heart stopped for a moment. Until a gunshot crosses his head, the bullet, and the man, falling onto the ground with no life in his eyes.
“Thank you, partner.”
Brent winks at me with a huge smile on his face, continuing to shoot the men and sowing death all over the place. I start running forward, to the few men, standing in front of me. A gunshot flies just an inch away from my ear. The other one, between my legs.
At this moment, I feel so good that once, I was a cop. It taught me how to avoid the bullets, and protect myself.
And now it’s time for the blood.
“Good afternoon, ladies.”
As I reach the crowd of men, their guns pointed at me; some of them already falling from Aaron’s, Brent’s gunshots; I rise my sharp knife into the warm air. With a quick movement, I start waving it to the sides, fountains of blood showing up, spurting from their throats, faces; with one wave, at least two men fall.
I could describe this feeling as fulfillment, seeing the life abandoning my enemies eyes. Seeing them bleeding to death, or squirming in unbearable pain. Feeling how the tip of my knife reaches their carotid artery; putting them asleep for the eternity.
But at the same moment, as my knife takes away a few lives at the same time; I feel the pain. Somewhere by my stomach, something like a kick, or a punch; just something much more painful. I glance down to look at the spot on my stomach for a moment, seeing my shirt ripped, and a little rounded sag in my bulletproof vest. Someone succeeded to hit me. Someone just tried to shoot me.
It inflames more anger inside me, like someone just poured gasoline into my already burning veins. That’s when my moves start to get even faster, angrier, harsher. I could never count how many people’s blood are on my hands, my arms, painted in red, and probably, so is my face; but all I can feel is that we will make it.
Men scream in pain clutching their grievous wounds as bullets clang, sending snakes of deaths into the never ending army. One by one, they fall. Until my eyes stop on Beverly, once again. And her struggle to fight three men at the same time.
No questions need to be asked, and my legs start running towards her, like they weren’t even listening to my brains and knowing what my body needs to do. Protect her.
As I reach her, she looks at me. Her eyes are dark, glistening in anger; maybe it was just my imagination, but also, I see a flash of pain. Like something was hurting her. Something inside her.
I know there’s no time for the talk, and, both of us using as much strength, and anger as we can, our knives start cutting. They don’t care where they will reach, what part of the body they will cut; only seeking to do lethal damage, to see people dying, or screaming in agony.
“That’s my wife, you fùcking moron.”
The blood gets everywhere; on my face, my hands, my shirt, until the same men are lying by my feet, their eyes widened, but no life could be spot in them.
“Are you alright?”
I turn to Beverly, catching her eyes already looking at me. Dots of blood all over her face, and hands, and I feel my heart sinking to my toes. Not because of her looks, because of her eyes. And something in them, that seems to be destroying me from the inside.
It seems like a layer of glass covers her eyes, tears, glistening in the sunlight as her lips purse. I can't breathe. Everything is spinning and it feels as if the ground is melting under my feet when she turns to the right, and I see exactly why she fights her tears.
Her black shirt is ripped, and a deep wound is sliced in the flesh of her upper right arm. It's heavily oozing out blood and there's a bluish-purple bruise forming around it. Everything disappears around me as I watch the scarlet liquid, flowing down her skin, painting it in red.
“It’s just a scratch… It’s…”
Her head rolls as if she was intoxicated, eyes glazed. Her voice comes out thin and distant, and I can see that she’s breathing all wrong, beginning to gasp like there's not enough oxygen in the air.
“No. This can’t be…”
“Kai, it can be poisonous.”
I feel my ribs heaving as if bound by ropes, threatening to inflate my lungs. My head is a carousel of fears spinning out of control, each one pushing my mind into blackness. The fear that makes my whole body shiver is nothing I have ever felt before, not for a small wound. But as small as it is, it’s deadly. I’m losing her because of one scratch.
“I might be already dying.”