Diabolus: The Lost Phoenix

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Chapter Thirty Two

WARNING: THIS CHAPTER CONTAINS VIOLENCE

KAI WOODS

Caden doesn’t try to hide under that anger and cockiness anymore; being cut, having no hands, his face shows nothing but burning pain now. At first, they all try to show themselves. But when I start, they cry like puppies.

A single tear rolled down his cheek, down his blood red stained face. His eyes, now filling with tears glistening in the dim light, bouncing unbearable pain through the atmosphere. Do they ever learn? How many times will I have to do this until they realise?

No one can mess with me. No one.

I grab a few coins of gold when Caden looks at me, turning it in front of his eyes, just inches away from him, to let him see its shine, the thing he wants the most.

“That’s what you wanted, right? To be rich with all this gold?”

I chuckle before throwing the coins back to the pile and straightening myself, looking at him from the height; hopeless, helpless, but most importantly, heartless. I might be heartless myself, in moments like this; but my values aren’t money or treasure. It’s love. Loyalty. Sacrifice. Devotion. Family.

“But you know what? It’s more important to be rich from the inside.”

“I would like to make his dreams come true, then.”

Brent’s voice echoes through the place and I take a step back from Caden; my job here is done, I know that the moment I see Brent’s eyes, burning with desire for revenge, and a hellish smile, playing on his lips. And I don’t mind, I get him; if I was him, oh God. I would feed Caden’s own limbs to himself.

With quick moves, he goes straight to the boiler where Aaron keeps stirring the already melted gold. Before pulling out a big syringe; the one that’s never used for medical treatments, he turns to Caden. Looks at him. Really looks at him. Reads him. Like everything was hurting him the way it hurt Avery.

“This is going to hurt as hell.”

He quickly gets the boiling liquid inside the syringe, and as fast as he can, walks to Caden. With one fast movement, he rips a part of his shirt, where his inner elbow is. Where he could reach his veins easily.

And I know that in that moment, he lost his humanity. He would do every brutal thing to Caden without even blinking. Without thinking. He would rip him into pieces using only his hands, until there’s nothing but a pile of blood left. But also, I know that the softness of him is still there. He’s doing this for Avery; and yet he’s also not doing what he wants, just because of her. Unlike Beverly, Avery wouldn’t be able to understand those things. She would never look at him the same way… even if he would do it for her.

Instead, he controls himself, even though it’s so hard for him. I know that because of his shallow breath and clenched jaw; there’s so much hate inside him, and yet both of us know that Caden’s death will change nothing. There will be one bad person less in this world, but it doesn’t mean that Avery is not in danger anymore.

That’s why the treasure has to be destroyed.

“Just know one thing, Caden.”

One move, and the needle is inside Caden’s vein. Brent slowly pushes it, and the shiny, but boiling hot liquid flows into his system. In an instant, Caden arches his back, his head drops backwards as he widens his eyes to up to the ceiling. But no sound comes out. No screaming. Nothing. That’s when I know, we’ve done enough.

“Now you’re made out of gold, but you will never be as rich as Avery is.”

I watch the almost empty syringe, and how Caden’s body starts to shiver in pain. Not like a person that feels cold, would shiver; he’s almost squirming, but it seems like the blood that he lost and the hot gold inside his system did its job and took away all of his energy. The liquids flowing from his mouth, the foam, that breaks through the sock and flows down to his chest is the nastiest look I ever saw; but he deserves all of it.

Like he said himself. Every. Single. Moment.

“I can’t watch this anymore. Let’s end this madness, and leave this damned place.”

I turn to Beverly, whose eyes are full of burning anger. As if her usually soft, sensuous pupils were hidden under a clystar clear layer of hate, disgust, and anger. Every little feeling that she tried to hide, all this time, come out in rampant waves, I can see all of that in her eyes, and in her hands; her nails, digging into her skin.

“As you wish, my love.”

I try to calm her anger down with my soft words, but it seems like they’re not affecting her at all. She still looks at all of us with that anger in her eyes, like we’ve done something she can’t forgive us for. And honestly, the thought that was hidden somewhere deep inside my mind, finally reaches me. It’s so fùcking hard to understand her. I’m not sure if this is about her parents, or Leonardo, or me… but she’s always so full of anger.

And it’s destroying me from the inside. Because I have no idea how to help her.

“Caden!”

Suddenly, Avery’s shout shakes the place. The shout that’s full of pain, the one that she felt all those years that she spent away from civilisation. From Brent. Having no hope to be saved, forgetting what it’s like to feel safe. To feel happy. To feel loved.

“Look at me, you heartless monster!”

Her face is all soaked in tears, and I see how Caden struggles to take a breath into his lungs. But slowly, giving it so much effort, he leans his head straight and looks at her with his eyes almost closed. With life, finally abandoning his body.

“I hope you regret now. I hope you regret everything that you did. I hope that you feel disgusted with yourself, just like I am.”

After the last word leaves her mouth, she turns around to the tunnel, to leave this place. With no hesitation, Brent follows her with his quick footsteps, and they both disappear in the darkness.

“Bev, baby, you should all go now. This place is about to turn into a bloody hell.”

“But you…”

“I’ll be right behind you. Don’t worry.”

The anger disappears from her eyes when she quickly, aggressively walks to me and slams her lips onto mine. It seems like the moment doesn’t exist anymore. The kiss, her tender, sweet lips suck out all the anger and hate that was boiling inside me just a moment ago. And every moment with her, I feel like the most blessed man in the world.

“I love you, Kai.”

“I love you. And I promise, I’m right behind you.”

She immediately turns around and goes back to the tunnel, and others follow her after a moment of watching the treasure; I understand them, it’s tempting. But also, they understood me. Things like that bring nothing but cockiness, pride, praise; and these are the things we don’t need.

But not Daryl. He stands at the same spot he was, watching me intently; like everything we did wasn’t enough for Caden to die.

“That was nasty, Diabolus. But however, you amaze me. All of you do.”

“Remember - now, you owe me.”

“After everything I saw, there’s no discussion. Remember, whenever you will need my help, I will be there.”

“You better be.”

I grab a canister of gasoline that Kevin left, and a box of matches. Pouring it straight on Caden’s head, all the way around him, on the gold that he was craving for. And now I know he’s craving for death. But what is more painful than burning alive?

Carefully, without spilling it on myself, I put the canister right next to him, taking a few steps further away. Watching his almost closed eyes, looking at us. And the match lits up with a tiny flame.

“It’s a pity you won’t meet Annabelle. People like her go to heaven.”

“Don’t forget to send me a card when you reach the hell.”

It doesn’t matter if the fire won’t destroy the gold. What matters is that it will destroy the way in here.

And just like that, I throw the match onto his lap. Suddenly, there’s a lot more light, that burns and destroys leaving it horrible. Its job is to burn everything in its sight. The largest danger, and the greatest enemy of water.

The bright, menacing flame is visible from a distance. I watch in upmost horror as I witness the fire slowly starting swallow the entire place. Toxic fumes shot up into the air every few seconds and the thick, poisonous smoke threatens to choke us. Just when I finally hear Caden’s scream, and see him squirming, I can finally turn around and leave with Daryl by my side.

It’s never pleasant to take a person’s life away, yet it’s a necessary part; because people like Caden shouldn’t even exist in this world. I have my own methods to make the Earth a safe place to live; I don’t care if I will go to hell after. But I will know that I did everything I could, for my family.

And saying family, I mean all of them. And especially Beverly. Because now, it’s her turn to get the answers and justice.

To get back to Chicago, and see her heartless father.


BEVERLY WOODS

After slowly knocking for three times, I enter the room. The walls are cream, but not like the stuff I pour in my coffee, there is a hue of beach sand there. The floor is a dark walnut, squeaking a little under your steps, showing the real age of wooden boards. And Brooklyn, sitting on the bed; her folded yellow shirt on her lap, the one that she usually wears when she feels happy, or excited.

And it’s been a long time since she have worn it. She just looks at it, her fingers stroking the smooth, soft cotton, as if she was seeing something in that sun colored fabric.

“Brookie?”

When I close the doors behind me, her brown eyes leave the shirt and instead, she looks at me. Her eyes, darker and more intense than the bottom of the sea, a fierce dusky brown with subtle golden flecks towards the center. But she’s my little sister, for my whole life, she was my best friend; and I can read those earthy hues like a book. She feels down. Sad. Confused.

“Hey, you packed your stuff already?”

“There’s not much to pack.”

As I walk to her, she puts a smile on her face; all of her white teeth show up, a fake smile, it’s as clear as a day. Brooklyn is one of those people that struggle at hiding her real emotions; she smiles when she doesn’t need to, draws her eyes away, when the situation gets too intense.

“I thought you might need some help.”

“With what? My three shirts to pack?”

Brooklyn lets out a silent giggle, before turning away. As I sit in the bed next to her, she places the yellow shirt into the black suitcase, right where her other things are. Truth is, we don’t have much things to carry with us. Mostly, they are weapons. A few clothes. A few products to maintain our hygiene. Being an assassin has its own perks; but I don’t think we need much, as long as we all have each other.

“Right. The truth is, I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Why, Bev? Why we’re going back to Chicago?”

The gloom of her eyes, when she turns back to me, creeps into me like the damp into bare timber. It seeps into my pores, travelling to my heart; which now beats more morosely. The words get stuck in my throat as I realise this won’t be as easy to talk about as I thought before. I thought that I finally accepted the fact that might not be related, like we thought for our whole lives.

“I thought we ended up things in there. After what dad did. After all those terrible things. Why now, Beverly? Why?”

“Because we need answers. I need answers.”

“Answers to what?”

All I try to do is to be strong. I have to be. I have to be strong for my friends, brighten their day with a smile as sincere as I can muster. For my family, to always love them and put their needs above my own. That is what I try, and do every day. But when the time came to talk about those things, it seems like the strength left me. I want to cry again. I want to scream again. Why is this always happens to me? Why in the world I cannot live like any other person?

“I might be… no, I mean, you’re…”

“Beverly, what the hell is going on?”

“We might not be biologically related.”

I spit the words like they were fire that burnt my throat. A little too loudly, a little too angry; but they had to be said, I had to finally admit that in words. Because in my head, they started to sound okay. In my head, I thought I accepted them. But when I say them, it seems like I just find that out all over again, for the first time. Breaking my heart. Messing my mind.

“Bev… what?!”

I take a breath before letting out a sigh; softly deflating, as if a tension had lifted yet left me with a melancholy instead of relief. The relief I expected after saying those words to Brooklyn. And yet they hurt me, once again.

“I haven’t told anybody, I just… couldn’t accept it. I still can’t.”

“How… how do you know that? How on Earth do you came up with such a thought?”

“It’s was all in the script. Kai hid that from all of us, before he found out himself. The script said that the treasure can be found only when two girls from the same bloodline get closer and-“

“You and Avery.”

The gloom and sadness leaves her eyes, replacing them with shock. Her breath stutters, as if every part of her goes on pause while her thoughts catch up. While she puts them together, in places, until she sees the things she never saw before. Just like I did. Just like everyone of us did.

“That bond that you have. That’s why you were able to find the treasure only when you touched each other. You saw the same vision, too. Oh my God. She might be…”

“She might be my relative, yes, I know.”

“But that just means I might be not.”

When she looks back at me, I feel a stinging in my nose and my throat starts to tighten. I opened my mouth to let in a small breath as tears welled in my eyes. A glossy layer of crystal clear tears form in Brooklyn’s eyes, too, before peal shaped tears rapidly stream down her face and she starts to whimper.

“No. That is not true.”

I quickly wrap my arms around her neck, crying myself as she buries her face into my shirt. It gets wet in an instant as she keeps crying out that pain and shock, and I gently rub her back.

“Dad lied to us… he lied for our whole lives…”

“He probably did, but I know you’re not surprised about that. Not after everything. And that’s exactly why we have to go back and find out the truth.”

“I can’t… I can’t believe that. I can’t believe that you might not be my sister.”

“I am your sister. I will always be. It doesn’t matter if it’s not the same blood that is flowing in our veins.”

I press her closer to my body, letting her cry all the feelings out. Stroking the thick strands of her chestnut hair. And just now, realising, that it changes nothing. It might change the facts, but not our feelings. Not our lives. And it doesn’t matter if we’re related, or not.

“You’re my sister, by heart and soul. And nothing will change that. Ever.”

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