Chapter Twenty Nine
The atmosphere, charged with evanescent energy of death, seeing, feeling the blood on my hands, intoxicates me. I feel like a flower held under the surface of champagne; I take a deep breath as the walls of the house, the fighting people become a part of a fun house, changing figure in a blink of an eye. I’m still not sure if that’s my fright, or anger; or if that snake’s venom is already doing its job.
Like nothing was going around us, I feel Kai’s hands suddenly appearing on my shoulders. One of them, just under the bloody wound that might be already killing me. But from what I feel now, I think it does.
It’s nothing different than panicking, Tension, growing in my face and limbs, my mind creating the best and the worst scenarios of this day. My breaths come in gasps and I feel like I will blackout, my heart, hammering inside my chest. Just this time, everything spins. I feel how slowly, my legs refuse to hold the rest of my body. Like I was drunk.
Opening my eyes to the softening sun, I gaze at the clouds, brilliant white against the blue. What a beautiful day. A beautiful day to die. When I feel that the sky is pressing me to ground, out of nowhere, Kai’s strong hands grab me before my body lands on the perfectly smooth asphalt.
“Beverly! Oh, fùck!”
When our eyes meet again, I realise I can’t see his, clearly. The view is blurry; one moment, I can see his sharp jaw and pursed lips as clear as a day, and the other one, it seems like a piece of paper was placed on my eyes. But even the disappearing view couldn’t hide one thing that I saw in those beautiful, green pupils.
A crystal clear layer of tears, that covered his eyes. That was everything that I could see; and his look showed, how his heart broke.
“I love you.”
“No! No! No!”
I barely can hold my eyelids and I feel like I’m falling asleep, the wound seems to start pounding in my shoulder. That’s when I know it’s not my fear anymore. Kai’s strong body, holding mine, is still shaking when he starts to look around, to search for something in the battlefield.
“Aaron! Come here, fast!”
When he draws his eyes to me, for the first time, I see a perfect rounded tear falling down the smooth skin of his cheek. His eyes, locked on mine. His fingers, stroking my hair. And his heart, that I can see from his eyes; is breaking. That’s when I realise I’m not afraid of death. I’m afraid of what my death will do to Kai.
Suddenly, I hear Aaron’s voice right next to my ear, breathing heavily. He dropped everything he was doing, stopped fighting and came all this way, because Kai asked him to. That is, probably, a sign of a good leader. Everyone always hears him, listens to him, wherever they are, whatever they’re doing. But I know Kai doesn’t consider them as his soldiers.
He considers all of them as his family.
“Bev got cut. I don’t know if…”
“What the fùck I should do now?! We have to save her!”
“When she was cut?”
“I don’t know… maybe about a minute ago.”
“It means that the venom already started to spread through her system. You can do nothing, but I, however, can try to.”
With my eyes almost closed, I feel how Aaron gently draws his arms on my back, and in moments, holds me in his embrace.
“I need a lighter. This motherfùcker is going to hurt.”
“What!? You’re going to burn her!?”
“You want her alive, or not!?”
I already feel how Aaron is running, holding me in his hands, taking me somewhere; there’s a shout next to me, also, a run of gunshots, people are still dying all around me. And hopefully, not one of us.
“Where the fùck do you think you’re going?”
Daryl’s loud voice, just next to me, makes me open my eyes; as hard as it is to do. To see his eyes, red in anger, dots and lines formed in his iris. He didn't just raise his voice, his muscles are tense, and he got right in close for maximum impact.
“Beverly got cut. The deal is off.”
“Nothing is off. You have to do what we agreed for!”
A man behind Daryl starts running to him, and before he draws his eyes to me and concentrates on my voice, the tip of Kai’s knife reaches the man’s throat and cuts it, making a million drops of blood fall down to his chest.
He killed that man like it was the most simple task he ever got.
“I don’t care what we agreed for. She’s dying!”
He looks at me; and I notice that he can hardly keep his eyes from running around the place. Panicking. But if it takes my life away, it has to take Caden’s, too. For everything he did. For Avery.
“Do it, please. Do it for Avery.”
“Do it for me.”
After a moment of hesitation, I see him getting close to me and placing his lips onto my sweating forehead. The feeling of his warm lips on my skin, takes all the fear away, like he just sucked it out of me into his body with one simple touch.
“I love you.”
“I love you.”
Aaron doesn’t wait anymore, turning around and heading straight out of the battlefield, carrying me in his hands, and as much as uncomfortable it is for him; shooting our enemies with his gun. Still trying to protect me, and himself. Doing everything to save my life.
I realised that I never got a moment with Aaron; after all this time, I know him, but I never knew that he cares that much about me. Or if it is just because Kai told him to? But looking at Aaron, his sweating face, his widened eyes and parted lips, give me the feeling that he actually cares about saving me. Not because someone told him to, but because he wants to.
As he runs back to the same troop of trees we were hiding at before, it feels like it hums with life all around me. I twirl about, gazing up at their peaks, searching for the birds that sing sweetly. The sun breaks through the cracks, lighting up the grass under me when Aaron places me on it, letting me feel a slight tickling on my back.
He quickly takes off his belt and puts it around my arm, clipping it so tightly that the rest of my lower arm feels like it doesn’t exist anymore.
“Everything will be alright, okay? I’ll save you.”
The guy that’s usually joking around and making fun of others is gone when Aaron draws his eyes to mine and really looks at me. There’s no usual silly smile playing on his lips, nothing fun about him. His eyes, as shiny as glass in the sunlight that tries to break its way through the trees, shows how actually scared, and nervous he is.
“It’s already killing me… isn’t it?”
He looks at the wound on my right shoulder, studying it for a moment. Touching the skin around it with his thumb, wiping the blood away from my flesh.
“I’m not sure what snake’s venom it is… but I know there is something. From what I see now, it’s not as dangerous as I thought it is. I can save you, Beverly.”
“My head spins…”
“It’s the fear and adrenaline. Trust me, I know a lot more about venom and poison than any other man in there does. Just stay still, and I will save you.”
“Are you going to burn it?”
“No. I can now see it more clear, I don’t need to. I can suck the poison out of your system, it’s very dangerous, unless you know exactly how to do it.”
“Thank you… Aaron.”
Finally, that smile is back on his lips; just this time, it’s not hellish or silly. It’s genuine, friendly, the one I have never seen before. After all, I have never seen Aaron this way; so serious, concentrated, and at the same time, so scared.
His hand slides into my palm, probably, making sure I could hold on something; just then I notice that those hands are beautiful, precise, elegant. Fingers soft like a baby’s skin, but strong as the man’s that works out every single day. I admire those hands, and the way he treats me, for the first time; before his lips land onto the open wound.
It hurts, burns, like a thousand of needles were digging into my skin. Into the wound, into my blood, at the same time, taking it away. The pain has an unpleasant warmth to it, eating at my stomach, at my shoulder. There's nausea too, just enough to make me hold onto Aaron’s hand for support and breath slow. Right now, it owns me, dominates every thought, controls every action.
Everything feels scolded and, move or not, I'm in more pain than I could have ever imagined was possible. And at the same time, I can feel how all of the energy that I had is starting to leave my body, making me feel sleepy. The bed starts to seem like a piece of heaven to me right now, my eyelids as heavy as a rock was placed on them.
Only after a moment, Aaron pulls away. With a corner of my almost closed eye I see him spitting the blood onto the grass, before looking back at me. My eyesight blurs, but not because tears are welling up because of the burning pain. Everything becomes fuzzy, then I see nothing at all; my consciousness is floating through an empty space.
And the last thing I see is a drop of my blood on Aaron’s lower lip, when my body drained away until finally all was black.
“You’re safe, Beverly. You’re alive.”
I walk towards the mansion, my moves as fast as they can be; my mind ordering my body to fall in line. Retreat would be a disaster, a show of weakness an inlet for the enemy to surge through. Nothing in my face will betray my fear, it is a mask of defiance and surety, probably, it’s another reason why I’m the leader. Even though my heart is breaking, and I want to do nothing but run back to Beverly.
But one thing she reminded me of, is that I have to finish what I have started.
I trust Aaron to do what he can do best, and somewhere deep inside my heart, I know he will succeed. It’s his passion, the only thing he does for days, years, is studying everything about different kinds of poison, or more precisely, snake’s venom. I know he will save her.
Silently, I beg him to.
“I need to get into that house. You know what we came here for, I don’t want to waste anymore time on killing Caden’s men.”
“I’ll help you to get in there.”
As I finally make myself to look around, it gives me a feeling of winter. Cold, freezing your body up from the toes. Just this time, there are no snow making the surroundings beautiful. The snowflakes are bodies, lying everywhere, some still squirming in agony, some already with no life in their eyes. The blood covered that once smooth asphalt. Everything is painted in red.
I still spot Brent, Kevin, Lexi and Brooklyn fighting, shooting and sowing death all over the place like it was nothing. The view is nasty, but at the same time, it’s pleasant; because once again, we are winning. There are only about ten men left, and they’re dying as quickly as the time passes.
Just then, a surprise meets me. A man, standing by the front door, with his gun pointed at me. His eyes burning with anger, as he watches me, his fingers placed on the trigger. Only a matter of time.
“Finally, we met. It’s a pity that we can’t have a small talk.”
The trigger was pressed, and the moment feels like it froze, just the bullet, flying straight to my head. Just then, I raise my knife up, just in front of my head, hoping that I’m lucky enough to avoid the death.
The bullet hits the knife, with such power that it almost falls out of my hands; but suddenly, the bullet that wanted to kill me lands on the ground in front of me, rolling somewhere the gravity is taking it. The knife is folded at the spot where the bullet touched it. I lock my eyes at Caden’s, feeling how every vein in my body starts to burn. My mind is on fire. And from now on, there is nothing soft left in me. The monster that was hiding inside me, came out to play.
“That was my favourite knife, you motherfùcker.”
I grab the gun out of Daryl’s hand, who raised it up to shoot Caden; the revolver feels cold and heavy in my hand, but after all this time, I haven’t forgotten how to use a gun that is best to kill someone from the distance. The rifle follows the arc my body swings in, the sudden movement out the corner of my eye as Caden jumps to hide under the huge vase, placed on his front porch. I grab onto the piece of iron, left after the explosion, protecting myself from his venomous bullets.
Every gunshot is the one that rips me from this existence, that silences my laughter, anything that is good in me, and makes my eyes dull. Every blast to the gentle air is the one that lays my hands so very cold. I keep walking towards him, shooting, my footsteps getting faster with every second as I already feel the taste of his blood in my mouth. Imagining the ways I will kill him. Torture him. Make him suffer. Make him watch, how I turn him into a zombie.
As I reach the stairs, he gets out from behind that huge vase, that’s already broken from the gunshots; and I stop. For a moment, we just watch each other, both hesitating to move, reading each other, trying to guess what other is about to do next.
“You have no idea what you sentenced yourself for, Caden.”
“I wonder what you will do to me after I’ll kill you.”
Just then, I keep walking towards him again, seeing him, hiding under the vase again, throwing gunshots at me; just as I do to him. Until the last bullet gets out of the gun, flying straight to Caden. At the moment, he leans down and it touches his shirt, ripping it; leaving the bloody line on the skin of his arm.
I don’t have anymore bullets. I throw the knife away, walking towards him, his gunshots still hitting the iron piece that I’m holding with a loud sound that seems to make me go deaf.
“Fight like a man, not like a fùcking coward.”
With a movement that’s so fast that it surprises me, as well, I raise my leg up and kick the knife out of his hand with a tip of my shoe. Caden frowns and I drop the iron piece on the ground as we stare at each other for another moment.
“What? You can’t fight with your bare hands, tough guy?”
“I can kill you with my bare hands, you motherfùcker.”
And the real fight starts.
Suddenly, my fist is slamming into his hard as rock face when he kicks into my stomach. Blood pools in his mouth as I gag, but there’s nothing in me that would allow me to stop. Another fist reaches his cheek, and he turns away to the other side; a spurt of blood comes out of his mouth and lands on the front porch.
“I’m sorry, honey, do you need a napkin?”
I feel how others watch us from the distance when he throws his body weight behind the fist that edges closer to my face; it hits my jaw with such force, that blood pools into my mouth. Pain erupted from the point of impact, and my blood feels like water in the kettle, boiling everywhere in my body. Making me feel angrier. More cruel. Oh, God, he doesn’t even imagine what I will do to him.
Laughter escapes my lips, when with my two hands I grasp his head in my hands and bring my knee cap up to his nose; there’s blunt crack and I release his dark haired head. Crimson leaks from both his nostrils and his nose is twisted right. He draws his fist to my face again, his knee, kicking into my stomach; it feels as if my guts were smashed together. Blood floating from my mouth, the pain, taking all of my body; and yet it gives me more and more power.
I repay this by punching his jaw, my fist collided with all my body weight. The countless amount of punches were thrown at his once masculine and smooth jaw, both of our faces now covered in blood, feeling punches and kicks everywhere in my body.
Everything inside me hurts, but the moment he lands on the floor it seems he took the pain away from me. His chest gently rises and sinks with each shallow breath he draws in, and the only thing that is not covered in blood is his eyes; now locked on mine.
He squirms, trying to stand up when I place my feet on his neck and add more pressure to it; he starts choking, spitting with blood, his face turning more blue under all that crimson flooding from his lips and nose.
“Well, well. The famous Yellow Eye is giving up?”
“What was that? Oh, you need me to move my leg away?”
I add a little more pressure to my leg, and he starts squirming like a worm, taking the shallow breaths and fighting for his life.
“As you wish, milady.”
I quickly move my leg from his back and with all the strength of my muscles, send a kick to his jaw. His neck arches back and only after a moment, he lays down still, his eyes suddenly closed like he was sleeping.
“What the fùck are you doing!? Shoot him!”
Daryl starts walking towards us with another gun in his hand, his face frowning. As angry as he is, I remember what he asked me to do. He wants me to kill Caden.
But he never mentioned I have to shoot him.
“What do you mean no!? I said shoot him!”
“You want him to die that easy? When you asked me to do this, I never said I will shoot him.”
Daryl stops just in front of me, his eyes spurting with anger, but he refuses to look down at Caden. He looks at me, like he was trying to win this argument only with the look in his eyes.
“I’m heading to see Beverly, and you’re taking Caden to the car. How do you call it… a dance?”
“What the fùck are you talking about!?”
“I’m going to have a bloody, painful dance with Caden.”