“We must. There is no other choice,” I pushed.
“But the teachings, the prophecies!” Lilah stressed. Beads of sweat formed on her head in the sweltering summer night and Maddie began rocking in fear.
“You will have me. We will survive. We will all survive.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.”
Every inch of me froze.
I slowly turned my head, only to see Gabriel, Noah, and Moses. All three stood, towering over us, covered in blood, gripping their rifles. Vehemence was clear in their stares.
Standing up, I spread myself to cover the gate, ushering Lilah and Maddie with my hands to withdraw to the rear of the cell.
“Gabriel, be gone. They will be coming for you,” I warned, but my voice broke, betraying my fear.
The three elders approached. “Do you know what your sinner and his butchers have done?” he asked in a deep, gruff voice.
Darting my eyes around the line of trees, I shook my head and whispered, “No.” Gabriel knew I was lying. I could see it in his murderous glare.
“He killed Prophet David. He murdered our Messiah!” Gasps of shock burst forth from inside the cell and dread seeped into my bones. The elders were beyond furious and their wrath was aimed at me.
“Prophet David gave us one final revelation: if he is to be taken by force from this Earth, his people must follow.”
I stopped breathing and my eyes widened. They must kill us all.
Reaching forward, Gabriel grabbed my arm, pulled me to the center of the clearing and threw me to my knees. He lifted his gun, loaded a magazine and hissed, “Say hello to Jezebel, Satan’s whore.”
It took about ten minutes and the interrogation of a whole lotta guards to finally get a sound lead on Mae after Rider hauled her the f**k away. Two hundred yards north in the forest, we found the ring of flowers she’d had on her head caught on a low branch, and her tiny footprints in the dried dirt path.
She was close. And so was Rider’s death.
Holding up my fist, the brothers came to a sudden halt behind me.
Mae was at some kinda holding cell and the elders were closing in on her as she knelt on a patch of grass. She had a f**kin’ terrified expression on her face and that bastard Gabriel was pointing a gun right at Mae’s head. The other two bearded f**kers stood beside him, smirking.
Where the f**k’s Rider? I signed. My brothers scoured around, but he was long gone.
Then I heard Gabriel speak aloud. “Say hello to Jezebel, Satan’s whore.”
My blood boiled and I f**kin’ broke.
I’m done dealing with this cunt.
Lifting my 9mm, I open fired at the sadistic bastard; two bullets, one through each of his knees. Screaming like a f**kin’ baby, Gabriel hit the deck as Flame and Ky ripped outta the forest cover to tackle Noah and Moses to the ground. The Hangmen easily took control. Ky held Noah by the neck; Flame held Moses by the hair, his switchblade braced at Moses’s throat.
I pounded out into the clearing and kicked Gabriel’s AK47 outta his reach. Mae had curled up on the ground, her hands protecting her head, eyes down. I walked straight to Gabriel, lifted the f**ker by his long hair, took my Bowie knife from my boot and sliced open his throat, watching him flop to the ground and choke on his own blood.
I spat on his shocked face and signed, Burn in Hell, ass**le.
Mae was still on the grass so I bent down beside her, gently running my hand down her back. She stiffened and scrambled to the side, wolf eyes huge; until she caught sight of me. Her big blues instantly filled with tears. I stood and jerked my chin. I needed my woman back in my arms.
“Styx?” she whispered in disbelief. Standing up on shaky legs, Mae suddenly ran right at me and jumped, wrapping her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist. Her nose tucked into my neck and she sobbed, her tears dripping onto my skin.
I clutched her to me as tight as I could, breathing her in. Mae reared back, wiped her cheeks, and met my eyes. A huge f**kin’ watery smile spread on her lips and she crushed her mouth to mine, her tongue plunging into my mouth, frantic, desperate… relieved.
Breaking the kiss, Mae pressed her forehead to mine and placed her palms to my cheeks. “I knew you would find me. I knew you would come. I love you so much.”
I nodded in agreement, unable to find my voice and squeezed her closer.
With a knowing smile, Mae whispered, “I understand, baby…you love me too.”
I groaned at the sight of her f**kin’ beautiful face and crashed my mouth to hers.
“I am going to take that as a yes.” She giggled against my mouth as I pulled back. She could take that as a huge f**kin’ yes.
“Err… Mae?” Mae turned her attention to Ky. Brother Noah lay at his feet, a knife sticking up from his heart. I looked next to Flame who was walking back from the edge of the forest, blood spatter on his leathers, his black eyes crazy f**kin’ wild. He gave me a curt nod and smirked. Moses was with the boatman. I dipped my head to see the clear path to a large tree set a few yards inside the forest. Moses was staked to the trunk, four knives in his torso to keep him off the ground.
Flame: f**ker always got inventive.
“They friends of yours?” Ky’s question to Mae caused my woman to gasp. She shimmied down my legs and ran to the low stone cell.
“Lilah, Maddie!” she shouted. “Are you okay?”
We all watched, fascinated, as four hands reached outta the cell toward Mae.