Five months ago
IT WAS THE PERFECT NIGHT FOR REVENGE.
It was a shame it had to end this way, that it had to be towards one of their own, but they had no choice. Those who betrayed all that the clique stood for would reap whatever plot of weeds they sowed, and then some. It was Val’s night to shine, the thrill of letting anger out in such an unorthodox manner euphoric to her.
There were eight of them, each equally intriguing and mysterious as the next, all with identical reasons for doing what they’d become so accustomed to for a year now. The hunts weren’t meant for blood. They were only meant as a sort of therapeutic activity when the world stepped on anyone’s toes.
And tonight required special attention, for eight would become the lucky number seven. Betrayal wasn’t tolerated. They were only as strong as their weakest link. And it was better to trim the hedges now before the vines could consume everything in its path.
Rogue Anderson’s eyes followed the streetlights as they whizzed past her window, the destination a few blocks from the street they were ghosting now. She’d taken every lost soul she could find under her wing, hardly expecting to find love through it all. Jack Frost was her world. With everything going on at home, she wasn’t sure where she’d be if she hadn’t found him.
Jack steered left, leading them into a desolate parking garage three stories high. A handful of lights on the first level had busted, casting an eerie shadow that danced about the walls. The car stopped at the beginning of the second row, Val’s target well in view.
She took no time slipping out of the car, smoothing out her bangs before proceeding. Tracy stood on the opposite end, running a shaky hand through her hair at the sight of Valencia. Her eyeliner streaked down her cheeks in an ebony waterfall. She was afraid to say the least. She knew that her actions under the scrutiny of seven souls besides herself wouldn’t go overlooked.
Somehow, she knew threatening them to keep quiet regarding her crime would eventually catch up with her. And betraying the girl she considered her sister was the last straw. “Val, I--”
“Save it,” Valencia hissed. Each step she took forward grew in force thanks to the anger building up inside of her. “You knew how much I loved him. And you were the main one I trusted!”
“I know,” she pleaded. “But it wasn’t all me. When your aunt. . .” She paused, swallowing the sentence that would only push her into hotter water. “You withdrew from him, and instead of being there for you, he wasn’t, and I’m sorry about that.”
“Sorry?” Val’s voice was cold now. This was nothing like what they usually did on nights like this. It was much like a funeral in progress, but no one was dead. At least not yet.
It all happened so fast, the fact that she even thought about bringing up her aunt’s divorce taking her over the edge. Valencia’s hands clawed at Tracy’s throat, closing around it in response to the writhing body beneath hers, Jack Frost releasing Tracy from her current prison just before her breathing stopped.
Tracy sat up in a fit of coughs, clutching at her chest, fear in her eyes. “This isn’t over!” she rasped, bringing herself to her feet in search of the handle of her driver’s side door. She veered out of the parking lot, headed towards the very place that could lock an odd number of misfits away.
Seven, to be exact.
“Val!” Rogue’s voice was sharp. “Get in the car. Now.” Jack ushered her to the waiting back door, a tight hold on her in case she tried running after Tracy’s car.
They were intimidating, on purpose, sure, but their intent was only to scare. Never to kill. They couldn’t stay here any longer.
When her seatbelt was buckled and the air between them was silent, Rogue spoke. “Meet back at my place in an hour.” The hum of the engine spoke for everyone. They knew what they had to do. “We’re moving.”