The revenger, p.24
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       The Revenger, p.24

           Debra Anastasia
 
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  She tossed off the blanket and headed for the door. “Sagan, you motherfucker!” She screamed then, just a wild, primal howl of pain.

  Chapter 33

  Run

  Boston watched as Savvy lost her mind, or what was left of it. Her pupils shook, turning a kind of silver that was completely wrong. He hated to do it, but there was nothing else. He hit her on the side of the neck and caught her with his shoulder as she fell, slack. He hefted her as Sagan entered the room at a run.

  “Put her down.” Sagan stepped toward him in the dark. “You know what this means.”

  “I do.” Boston punched him with one hand, twice, and stepped over him when he collapsed.

  Boston could feel tears running down his face as he navigated the stairs, descending them as quickly as he could. Sagan began screaming about retribution, but Boston didn’t have time to run up and finish the job with his gun. The starting pistol was engaged. The gears were already turning.

  He set Savvy in the passenger seat of his vehicle, and Trooper whined at the sight of his lifeless-looking lady. Boston was driving before he even had the door shut. Cars raced toward him on the road, and he knew then that Sagan had more than just him close by for protection.

  Back in Maryland, Boston had a few friends. But not many, and in this trying time he wasn’t quite sure how strong his alliances would be. And he still didn’t have a clue who the assassin was.

  *~*~*~*

  Silas knew better than to run after Boston. He was lethal and ridiculously talented in the art of death. In his head, Silas had him as a backup for the assassin. He heard his men’s cars pulling up. Bugs’s audio surveillance and the front security cameras were obviously working. He met the arriving backup on the stairs.

  “Is someone chasing them?” he demanded.

  “No, sir. We wanted to get here first. Make sure you were okay.” The four men in the foyer looked panicked.

  “Damn it. Go! Boston has her. Shit. God knows where they’re going. Go!” He pointed at the door, and his men slammed themselves back through the entryway.

  He spoke to Bugs, who he knew must be still listening. “Get me the assassin on the phone!”

  Silas hunted for his cell as the ringer sounded. “I need to see some bad things happening to Match. Right now!” he yelled, not waiting for the assassin to speak first.

  “Sir, it’s me.” Bugs’s voice came over the line. “I’m sorry. He’s missing.”

  “Who? The assassin? Is there no one loyal without me standing on their neck?!” Silas tossed the nearest thing he could find. The foyer’s vase exploded against the wall.

  “Well, actually they’re both gone. The assassin stopped checking in soon after your last visit with him. And Boston’s brother stuffed a set of clothes and put them in a computer chair. The men thought it was him and…” Bugs trailed off.

  Silas said nothing, but he saw red. He’d had so many safeguards in place.

  “Send men over there—I want to know who took the brother.” Silas collapsed on the stairs.

  “Well, I tapped into the security, and it appears the maid who shot up the beach took him, with the help of a delivery man. I just—”

  “I need this contained. Damn it. Contain it, Bugs. For fuck’s sake!”

  There was a knock at the door, and Silas found his gun before answering. When he did, the chemist stood there, looking disheveled. “She was having difficulties?” he said.

  “Yes. But now she’s fucking gone, so go get the rest of the essential element from the volcano. Now.”

  “That’s impossible.”

  “Why?” Silas threw his hands in the air.

  “Have you not seen the news? They’re evacuating right now. The volcano went into pre-eruption, and we lost sight of the chamber where we believed any remaining element to be. The mountain collapsed on it. All we have is her.” The chemist paused in his panic to catch Silas’s hand. “What’s this?”

  Silas pulled his hand back to look at the silvery substance there. “What? It’s from her—from her eyes. It was her tears.”

  “It has the same sheen. Very telling. Iridescent a bit. I’ll be right back.”

  Silas watched as the little man hurried out and then back into the house. He began a process of collecting the material into a very sturdy-looking bowl made of rock.

  As if he couldn’t help himself, he began explaining. “This is volcanic rock. It’s the best thing I’ve found to hold the compound for a bit. But this isn’t that. I don’t know what this is, but perhaps it might be a workable byproduct. We need more from her. Her tears you say? Surely I can agitate her eyes enough to produce more.”

  Silas had a million things running through his head: how to get back to Savannah, how to prevent her from meeting her deadly end, how to shore up his organization, the fact that his decision to have only one active assassin was possibly a shitty one… He looked down to find the chemist still scraping at his skin. “You might get more upstairs. That’s where she was crying.”

  The man took off, mumbling.

  Silas walked to the open front door and looked out. He needed her back before the agency that was on to him got to her. They wouldn’t care if she lived. He’d heard her scream about him being a motherfucker. But he was hoping, still hoping she’d just been warning him about Boston. She had to know that what they’d just done mattered to him. They’d shared, and he’d never done that.

  Nevertheless, it was time for beast mode. He had to put his newfound concern back in his chest and seal it there. Obsession suited him better, and so it began again.

  He would have her back.

  *~*~*~*

  Jack came to in a living room he didn’t recognize. Standard handcuffs on one wrist fastened him to a couch arm. He shook off the haziness and turned to see Teresa, who handed him a glass of water and two aspirin.

  “I’m sorry for your headache.”

  “You kidnapped me? Surely there are better ways to get in my bed.” He gave her a smile.

  A tall, well-built man with sad eyes entered the room and put his arm possessively around Teresa. So that’s how it was. Something about him seemed familiar, pricked at Jack’s subconscious. As he mulled this over, he didn’t let on that he knew the sullen man slumped in the recliner chair was Boston’s brother, Match.

  “Sorry, didn’t know she had a guy.” Jack put his head down and set the glass and pills on the table. “I’m a recovering addict. Never allow myself pain pills.”

  Teresa looked surprised, then regretful. He knew she was most likely thinking of the drug she’d hit him with.

  “Wait, aren’t you Savvy’s brother?” Jack added after a beat, turning toward the tall man. “I thought you were dead?”

  Teresa patted the man on the arm. “No. He’s alive. This is Toby.”

  Jack surveyed the room. He could be out of this place in under ten minutes, leaving behind everyone Sagan was worried about. Not the best. Whoever these people were, they’d put all of Sagan’s #1 MVPs in one house—their first mistake. Always spread out your assets. He should at least gather more information. For one, why was Toby among the living? Who went to all that trouble? Whoever it was had access to a lot of resources.

  “Do you know why I have you here?” Teresa sat on the coffee table in front of him.

  “Sagan. He’s the reason anything strange ever happens to me.” Jack stretched his neck while canvassing the house from his spot. He could see three other men, and a brief glance outside let him know he was on the upper floor of a house. He thought he saw a shape outside as well. Match remained lump-like in the corner.

  “We need to know where he is, Jack,” Teresa said. “It’s very important that we get Savvy to safety. I know you worry about the women involved with Sagan, and this one has a very volatile medical condition. She needs treatment for it as soon as possible.” Teresa sat forward—candid, friendly. “Toby, can you and Match head downstairs for me?”

  Toby made a very male noise of disapproval.


  “It’s okay, baby. I got this. Jack’s one of the good ones.”

  “He put a gun to your head.” Toby refused to look away from Jack’s gaze and crossed his arms.

  “I backed him into a corner,” she explained. “He’s not armed now. It’s really okay. I’ve got tons of backup. This guy is not going anywhere. Trust me, I can do my job.” She gestured to the crew lurking around.

  “I want my sister back,” Toby said, still looking directly at Jack.

  Jack nodded, dropping his stare so Toby would feel his message had been received.

  After Toby and Match shuffled down the stairs, Teresa’s manner changed.

  “I know you think we’re amateurs here. And I watched you case the joint just now, Jack. There’s a lot more you can’t see from where you’re sitting.” She removed a thin, wand-shaped device from the roll-top desk in the room.

  “Pretty Teresa, is that even your name?” He sat back and crossed his legs.

  “You can take those pills orally or…” She motioned to the “aspirin” he’d put down.

  “Please say anally. I’ll even undo my belt for you!” Jack winked as he put his free hand on his belt buckle only to find it missing.

  “I took your belt. Don’t worry, you’ve been completely stripped and redressed. So anything I’d administer anally was already delivered while you were unconscious.” She winked back.

  “You take the fun out of everything.” He leaned forward and took the pills. Whatever she held was cutting edge. He’d never seen anything like it.

  “My motivator catching your attention? Don’t worry, as soon as your pupils are dilated you’ll find out what it’s all about.” Teresa flipped a switch on it. She then had him show her his mouth, to prove he’d swallowed them, and open his hands as well.

  They sat in silence for a while. He examined the handcuff on his wrist as they waited for whatever she gave him to take effect. He could get out of the cuff easily enough by dislocating his thumb. Or, his wrist had been fractured when he was a kid, and he’d found that if he quietly re-broke it, he could get out of even the tightest of cuffs.

  He knew when the drug had started in on his system because his tongue began to feel like pins and needles were poking it. She sidled close to him and slipped the device under his middle finger’s nail. She hit a button, and it was as if he’d been paralyzed.

  “What you’re experiencing if a version of sleep paralysis. The combination of the drug and this make it so you can speak, but do little else. I can make this last for minutes, hours, days—or even permanently just by adjusting this. Crazy, right? So I need to know where Savvy is. Go ahead and tell me.” She adjusted the device and his tongue was able to move.

  “This is some new shit. Some well-funded shit.” He couldn’t move his toes. He tried his fingers, and he was able to get his pinkie to move.

  “Where’s Savvy?” Teresa asked.

  Jack could blink, and he could breathe. “I don’t know.”

  “Where’s Sagan?”

  The truth bubbled up. “Fixating on her, wherever he is.”

  “What do you do for Sagan?” She adjusted the device again.

  He wanted to say friends. He wanted to say brothers. Both of those were true. But instead he said. “I don’t work for him.” Which was also true, but quite a bit less helpful.

  *~*~*~*

  Savvy had pain in the back of her head. Trooper nosed her cheek, but she was unsure of where she was. Then she realized Boston was driving on a dirt road. Bouncing around, she sat up and held on to the dashboard.

  “What happened?” Her headache was blinding.

  “We’re getting out. Now.” He gave her a quick glance.

  She reviewed what she remembered as she reached over and scratched Trooper’s head.

  “My brother? Did you tell me he was dead?” Savvy stopped petting Trooper to grab Boston’s bicep.

  “I did. But I just heard from my brother, and Toby is fine. They’re both in the same safe house right now. It’s crazy. I’m sorry for scaring you like that.” His aura glowed golden.

  “Whose safe house? Sagan’s?”

  “No. We’re not sure whose it is. I think it’s a shady organization. They have your brother and mine and Jack. One of each of our loved ones. My brother says he’s not free to leave. I think he took advantage of a chaotic moment to reach out in the first place. He hasn’t responded to my messages since then.”

  “What do they want?”

  “Simple. You. But more important at the moment, this area is evacuating because the volcano is moving toward eruption.”

  Savvy held her head. It hurt so very much. “How is Sagan not hearing this?” She motioned around the inside of the car.

  “This is the second vehicle I’ve stolen tonight.” Boston downshifted. “I gotta get us out of here, and I know he’s watching.”

  “Boston, stop the car.” She touched his cheek.

  “What? No.” He ignored her and alternated between looking at the map in his lap and the road.

  “Please. I have to talk to you.”

  He gave an exasperated sigh and pulled of into the grass. “He’s scouring this place, and if some agency knows where we are, then they’re looking too.”

  Trooper crawled up between their seats and settled in Savvy’s lap, as if he knew what she was going to say.

  “Listen, let’s tell them where I am—these shady people. Let’s trade me for your brother and mine. And Jack too. I like him.” She smiled at Boston’s confused face.

  “That’s what they want. Then they’ll turn you into an experiment. You’ll die.” He gripped the steering wheel.

  She looked at her hands fisted in Trooper’s fur. “I’m going to die anyway. Soon. I can feel it. Why not use the time I have left to help the people we love?”

  He shook his head.

  “You stay with Trooper,” she said. “Stay safe. I can send Toby and Match to you. I’ll negotiate for Sagan, get him Jack back too. I know he loves that guy—”

  Boston cut her off. “Here’s what’s going to happen: We will find a place to hunker down and wait out the volcano. The government will hang on to our brothers until we’re found. And then—”

  She interrupted by covering his mouth with her fingers. “You’re talking weeks. I’ve got hours to bargain with. They’ll swap out our people for me, and than nature will take its course.” She shrugged.

  He kissed her fingers before moving them out of the way. “You’re forgetting that you’re one of the people I need to keep safe. I want to snatch up the chemist and force him to fix you.”

  “If I could be fixed, he’d have done it already. Sagan has probably been threatening him forever.” Overwhelmed by the finality of what lay ahead for her, Savvy felt her eyes fill with tears. As she wiped them away, she saw silver. “Boston, I have one job: stop the bad people; keep the good people safe. Those marching orders came right from my daughter. I think I can do that. I know how. Let me go back to Sagan. Trust me.”

  “Trust you to kill yourself?”

  “No, to use the inevitable to our advantage.”

  “I’ve spent so long looking out for you. I can’t let you do this on your own.”

  Frustration and anger burned through her now, along with the increasingly volatile mystery compound. “Do you know how hard it will be to get out of this nightmare any other way? You have a chance. I can get you your brother and your freedom. Your life. Your choices back. No more being a puppet for Sagan. I want that for you. Doesn’t that count? Please?”

  Trooper began to whine.

  “I can force you right now,” she added. “You know that.”

  “I think I’m in love with you, Savvy.”

  “No. When it’s love you never have to think about it. And that’s okay. Really, it is. I would have never made it through this without you. And everything is finally clear to me now.”

  She got out of the car and came around, but Boston refused to get out of the driver’s
seat. She was about to pull him when he caught her wrist. He swung his legs out and hugged her to him. Savvy wrapped her arms around him.

  “Let me come with you,” he begged. “I’ll make sure it goes okay, make sure it’s clean. Okay? I know you’ll do the end with or without me. Let me protect you until then.” Boston rested his head on her shoulder.

  She rubbed his back. “Okay. You’ve got some good in you, Boston.”

  Chapter 34

  Hours

  The very last thing Silas expected to see was Savannah walking through his open front door, hugging her middle.

  “You’re back.” He stated the obvious, and his hand flew to his ring, confirming it was still there.

  “We need to get back to Maryland. My brother, his brother, and Jack are in trouble. And also, Tobias is not dead.” She flashed a smirk and waited like she had all the time in the world, despite her obvious shivers.

  Boston stood behind her in the doorway, a defiant look on his face.

  “No. No.” Silas could barely comprehend the flood of information, and much to his chagrin, he had little success in making himself care about it. He just wanted to go to her, pull her upstairs, and make her be soft for him again. “You’re back. Come to me.” He held out his arms.

  She sighed. “Boston, can I get a minute here?” Savannah stared at her bodyguard until he finally agreed and stepped outside again.

  “I’m going to kill that guy,” Silas told her, his blood pounding through his veins. “What was he thinking?”

  Savannah took a deep breath and seemed to be choosing her words carefully. “The night my family died, in that split second I made a choice. It was the most important thing I’d ever had to do, and I wish I’d done it better. I didn’t get a warning. There was no scary music or narrator telling me how my life would go.” She took both his hands in hers. “But you’re getting that now: me. I’m telling you, this is the only warning you’ll have.”

  Silas felt his eyes widen.

  “I have hours left. I can feel it,” she continued. “Inside me, this compound that doesn’t belong has had enough.”

 
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