Red River Song, p.1A. R. Mummey
Red River Song
Copyright 2016 Ashley Mummey
Anxious, I flick my wrist, popping my knife open in the dim light as I stare at the warehouse across the street. I feel people moving into place in the darkness. My backup. I sense them through our bond. I close the knife between my fingers and palm only to flick it immediately back open. Close, open, close, open, my obsessive compulsive tendencies kicking in as tension and fear war within me. My body humming with the need to set it free along with the rage I’ve been holding back for twenty-four years.
Everything has come to this.
I count to myself as I pop the knife open and close, finally stilling when I reach nine. Multiples of three, odd numbers calm me. I’m weird, I know.
The stench in the air has me clinging to my blade like it’s a life preserver. It won’t do me any good against what I’m about to face, but it’s comforting and I’m getting pretty good at using it. It’s strange how I never noticed the smell before. As I inhale deeply, the acrid tang assaults me. Fear. Not mine, theirs. The faces of my friends swim in my mind, and I know it is time—time to kill my lover, save my friends, and defeat my Queen.
There’s no use trying to hide. My presence here is required. Not many people would be brave or dumb enough to come anywhere near an empty warehouse in the middle of the night, in this neighborhood. Steeling myself, I walk toward the entrance, settling my blade in my jacket pocket, my hand
gripping it tightly. The face of the warehouse is chipped and peeling, a once white coat faded to grey by grime and years of use. There are two doors, a normal-size steel door and a large garage door for loading and unloading trucks. I opt for the regular door. As soon as I pull it open, I hear whispers. Voluminous, all-consuming. Nothing coherent, just deafening.
For an old warehouse, it is relatively small. The small door I came through leads into a narrow hallway that opens up into one large space. While I make no effort to hide myself I also don’t take pains to be found. I glance around, squinting at the harsh light illuminating the middle of the space. A small platform is there. I gasp sharply, realizing what I’m looking at. Two forms are suspended from a beam above, dangling by their tied arms, their feet hovering just above the platform. Immediately I know it’s them. Their innocence rips through me as shock turns to coarse anger.
Even though I know what my lover is capable of—what she is capable of—I move forward swiftly without thought. Raising my arm, I feel energy bubbling through me. The ethereal fire radiates from my fingertips, a warning of what’s to come. I fling my arm forward, focusing my thoughts, my desires. I picture an arc of light cutting through the ropes binding my friends. Holding it in my mind, I release my arm, and the energy rips across the space.
Something slams into me from behind, sending me sprawling across the concrete floor. Moving up on my hands and knees, I wince at the pain. Yup, definitely going to bruise. That’s when I realize my fatal error. It wasn’t something that had slammed into me—it was someone. I feel him standing behind me, my lover, his presence menacing.
Breathing slowly, I think how to play it. I am the first person to admit that I am more than a little dead inside, but Patrick didn’t see that—and maybe … maybe that was a good thing.
“Patrick,” I whisper. When he moves, all I feel is the rush of cold as he breezes around me. His hands grip my arms so tightly one might think it was a romantic embrace, but we both know it’s so I can’t fry his ass with my Gift.
“Lorelei, Lorelei, Lorelei. So sweet, so sad, so pathetic.” His eyes are cold and unfamiliar.
“Patrick, please. We have to get them out of here. Please.” I struggle against him, but his grip only hardens.
“My Queen is almost here. She wants you.”
“She can have me! But we have to get them out of here. You know them! They are innocent.”
“Don’t be so naïve and pitiful. Have some backbone! You and I both know they never had a chance. The innocent ones, the sweet ones, they’re always the first to die. Worry for yourself.” Patrick sneers.
Without another word, he throws me into the wall. My head meets a piece of metal with a resounding CRACK. My vision blurs as two Patricks come my way. Deciding to split the difference, I aim for the middle of the two looming Patricks, but it doesn’t matter; he has the upper hand here. His knee hits my chest before he flings me across the warehouse. My body slides gracelessly, skidding mercifully close to the platform. With my left hand, I reach desperately into my pocket, pulling out a small vial of clear liquid. Ripping the cap off one-handed, I swallow the contents, praying for it to kick in quickly. With my right hand and my aching, woozy legs, I attempt to pull myself closer to the platform. To the huddled masses lying there.
A dark, malicious laugh echoes through the empty space. I feel a breeze as he zips across the area with inhuman speed, kicking me in the stomach, cracking my ribs. I roll on my back, coughing and sputtering for air. He leans down close to me, his hand gently caressing my head. As he draws his hand back, I see the reason for his touch. My blood. He smiles slowly, his eyes never leaving mine as he licks my blood from his hand. With his eyes focused on my face, I use my feelings to channel a spark as I reach into my jacket pocket slowly.
“You taste delicious,” he sighs slowly, closing in on me. His lips skimming mine, he looks at me, hungry. In his eyes, I see my death, slow and torturous.
Wanting to scream, instead I lean forward, teasing his lips softly with mine. My tongue sweeping the crease of his lips.
He chuckles, grabbing me harshly. “Is this what you want? You reek of desperation, Lorelei.” He grinds against me, and I moan softly before his lips crash against mine in a consuming, repulsive kiss. I feel nothing for him but regret and disgust. As he bites down harshly on my lip, his mouth claiming mine, I arch forward, making him believe I’m in his thrall, trying to get closer to him.
My arms encircle him as I wrap my legs up around him like a vise and strike like a viper. With a flick of my wrist, I plunge the blade into his back, angling the pure silver for his heart. He snarls, snapping his teeth like a vicious dog trying to rip out my throat. Feeling the power run through me, I hit him with tendrils of my fire while I stab him again. He shrieks, his body exploding into the air, flying away from me into a hidden crevice, blood weeping freely from his body.
Shakily, I rise. I feel the potion from the vial working as my pain ebbs away and my vision clears. It will take time to heal completely, but I just upped my chances of survival. I don’t chance a look down. I feel the blood all over me—his, mine. I know myself well enough to know I’ll lose it if I look. Instead, I take off on an unsteady sprint focusing on the task.
Ten feet … almost there.
“She’s here,” Patrick whispers from the shadows making me stumble, but it’s the melodic giggle that freezes me to the spot.
“Lorelei,” she sings my name. Wind rushes past me, fingers brushing my hair. Another airy breeze, a caress on the arm, and then there she is, five feet in front of me, blocking the path to my friends.
She claps her hands gleefully, and lights flicker on. I pale, tears welling as I sink to my knees, shaking uncontrollably. She laughs mirthfully, her eyes glowing ruby. Suddenly she’s in front of me, pulling me up, her face contorting into a deadly calm.
“Take a good look, Lorelei. You did this. You! You take what’s mine, you try to put me down, and I will take everything from you. The screams tonight, Lorelei … the begging, the pain. It. Was. Ecstasy. And now you get to watch while I finish them.” She gestures to the two motionless heaps behind her.
Letting me go, she steps back, forcing me to examine her. At first glance, it was the blood that brought me to my knees. From head to toe, she’s covered in it. Her once bouncy black curls have straightened beneath the weight of blood. The sweet metallic stench of it clogs my senses. But on taking a closer look, it’s the sheer maniacal joy that has me hyperventilating. The worst kind of enemy is the kind you can’t reason with.
“Don’t. It’s not fun if you beg.” Her hand slashes out a red orb, hitting me in the chest. Sailing back, I land on the floor, a cloud of dust choking me. Before I can move, she descends. A severely weakened Patrick standing beside her. A pang of regret hits me and I want to scream at her to let him go. I have no illusions. The Patrick I knew is gone, so deeply hidden beneath this version that Thea has created, I don’t know if he’ll ever be able to come back, or if he’ll want to. But there are people waiting for him. People who love him. Just a little longer.
“Now we play,” she says, her mouth opening, letting loose a stream of red embers flying straight for me. Terror breaks me. In my mind, I sound the alarm to my people outside, calling to them through our mental link. Then all I can do is open my mouth, and scream. Darkness descends as the walls cave in and all I can do is think about how I had gotten to this moment.
Red River Song by A. R. Mummey / Fantasy / Romance & Love have rating 3.7 out of 5 / Based on37 votes