“Somebody has to, don’t you think? You’re dead inside, Keiran, and if you don’t—”
“Stay the fuck away from me…” I cut her off mid-sentence. “…or the nice couple you ran to before you ratted me out will pay the consequences of your actions.”
Shock and disbelief registered on her face. “How did you know?”
“I always knew where you were. It wasn’t hard to figure out. There is nowhere you can go that’s too far, and no one who can protect you from me.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” Her voice hardened with each syllable that passed through her lips, and her eyes narrowed to slits. “You may have been able to escape the law thus far. However, I promise you, if you go anywhere near them or harm them in any way, there will be nowhere you can run or no one you can call who will protect you from me.”
Careful not to show my true reaction to her threat, even though she mentally knocked me on my ass, I smirked down at her and leaned closer to whisper in her ear.
“Then you’d better be ready to pay the consequences. You don’t want me the way you think you do, and you definitely don’t want me as an enemy. This isn’t going to end with love, baby. This is just another tragedy waiting to happen.”
“Like Lily?” she asked. “Was that really her tragedy or yours, and whose will it be this time? Yours? Or mine?”
“It will be both of ours.”
Ten Years Ago
“I have a job for you, son.” I looked up from drawing in the collecting dust on the wooden floor. He left hours ago saying he would be back soon. Night had since fallen, and I was relieved that he had come back. I hadn’t eaten since last night and my stomach had begun to protest—not to mention being in the old house alone scared me. Nothing much had happened since he rescued me from the compound. He barely looked at or spoke to me. He would provide food and tell me everything would be right soon.
I recognized the word and tensed at the meaning of it and the look on his face. He was smiling, but it was a smile meant only for devils who knew an evil secret.
“Yes. I have heard so much about all that you have learned from your training, and now I would like to see. Can you do that for me, boy?”
He knew my master? Did that mean he knew Frank, too?
But, if he knew where I was all this time, why hadn’t he come before? What took him so long?
He waited for me to say or do something, but I continued to sit and watch him, feeling confused. Lily said daddies were nice and protected you. They weren’t supposed to do bad things and they would be upset if we did bad things.
His face had changed to anger before he smoothed it over again. “Don’t you want to make your father proud?”
So maybe killing wasn’t a bad thing. He said it would make him proud. If I make him proud, then maybe he will keep me. If I go back, then they will think I ran away and kill me.
I nodded though it was a lie. Whatever he wanted me to do, I knew it wasn’t good. I thought my father rescued me… Why did he want me to do bad stuff?
I followed him out to the main room, and immediately, I noticed a strange woman balled in the corner. She looked as if she’d been beaten or worse. I didn’t know what could be worse than being beaten since she wasn’t dead, but whatever it was, it was there in her eyes.
She made a sound when she saw me that sounded like she was in pain, but it was weak.
“No,” she moaned. Her eyes widened and tears streamed down her face, running over her trembling lips. She reached out her hand to me, but it was a sluggish attempt. She managed to lift it only for it to slump back to her side.
She tried to speak, but she couldn’t seem to manage more than a mumble. “I think something is wrong with the lady.”
I moved forward to help her, but his hand on my shoulder stopped me. In his hand was a gun. “She’s fine, son. For now. I want you to kill her.”
“If you simply kill her, you’ll be free.”
“But, Dad, I don’t want to hurt the lady.” It was the first time I had called him dad, and strangely, it didn’t feel right. He didn’t feel like a father. He didn’t feel like my father.
He pressed the gun in my hand and lifted it with my hand to aim. “You’ve already done this many times. What’s one more?”
The gun felt much too large for the hand I held it in. I’d only begun to practice with them before the life I knew changed drastically. It was loud, and my arm would always be sore after they made me shoot it. Each time I held one didn’t do anything to diminish the foreign and uncomfortable feelings.
The last time I used one was still fresh in my memories. It was the first time I’d ever used one on my own, and, unfortunately, I remembered my training too well.
Lily was gone.
I blinked away the tears, afraid my father would mistake them for something else. I managed to keep it steadily trained on the woman who knelt in the corner. She was much too pretty for the tears streaming down her face. Her eyes were much too bright for the sadness it held. I knew she must have been afraid to die, but why didn’t she beg and plead for her life like everyone else?
“Gabriel, my sweet boy,” she whispered soothingly, finally finding her voice. Her voice held an unnatural quality to it, and her eyes, wide when I entered, drooped. Her whole appearance just seemed to fade. “It’s okay, my little boy. Do it.”