The revenger, p.5
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       The Revenger, p.5

           Debra Anastasia
 
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  “I want to trust you. I’m scared shitless, but I’ll go. For tonight anyway.” He held his arms open.

  She walked into his embrace and patted his back. Her mind should have been on this, her brother, but it was on her bed. Maybe I can get them back.

  *~*~*~*

  Bugs’s computer didn’t look like much, but as he tapped the keys, other people’s secret information was revealed to his hungry, worried eyes. When the officer typed her report on her bugged computer at the station, her description of the Good Samaritan’s sprint and restraint of the convicted pedophile had triggered his web of alarms. He’d saved it to his own computer and prepared to move. He now put the laptop on the passenger seat and started to drive.

  The officer kept impeccable records, and her description of the woman—who was to come in to give her statement—was very close to the sketch he’d drawn for Mr. Sagan. He had to make it to the station to intercept her.

  *~*~*~*

  Savvy couldn’t get them back, no matter how still she stayed. She’d received her reward and would have to earn another. Sitting up, she found her phone, called down to the station, and told them she would be in soon.

  The only thing motivating her to keep her word was the prospect of red auras. Criminals go to the police station all the time. She’d been stupid not to consider it as a source before.

  She parked her car in the lot and tucked her keys in her pocket. She’d left her purse and phone at home in a calculated move; Savvy was reluctant to let the cops have her information on file.

  She moved toward the building, but an aura across the parking lot drew her in immediately. The man leaned against a sports car, watching her.

  Red. Yes.

  She almost ran as she felt herself growing powerful. Kal and Sara would in be her arms again tonight, and she couldn’t wait.

  His words stopped her. “Your brother’s name is Toby, right? I ran your plates so I have your address and, after some hacking, his place of business.”

  “What do you want?” Savvy had to bite her tongue. Her fingers wanted to tear him apart.

  “My boss would like to meet you.” Bugs looked above her head, rather than at her, like he really didn’t want to do what he was doing. “Your brother is being followed as we speak. If you want to keep him alive, you’ll get in my car and refrain from snapping me in half.”

  Savvy was quite certain she would crack his skull against the steering wheel before they even got out of the parking lot, but she got in when he held open the passenger door.

  Chapter 9

  Cracked

  Sitting in a car had never been this tough before. God, it was so hard. That red aura demanded a pounding, with or without the reward she hoped would follow. Savvy sat on her hands and tried counting the trees that passed. This failed to calm her. She peeked at the driver. He seemed pretty shaky too. When he spoke, she jumped.

  “My name’s Bugs. I handle the computers and surveillance cameras at the house.”

  Savvy was afraid to talk. She didn’t want him to talk. She was so very close to losing control. Any insult, any tidbit of evil-doing would tip her over the edge.

  The clock ticked off twenty painful, but silent, minutes on the dashboard. They were heading toward the beach; she could smell the change in the air coming through the vents.

  Bugs pulled out this phone and hit send. With her currently enhanced senses, Savvy could hear everything coming from the device. Thanks, red aura. The ringing stopped, but the person on the other end of the call said nothing.

  Bugs filled the silence with hurried words. “Yes, I have her right here. She came peacefully. Do you want her delivered straight to your bedroom?” Bugs’s hand clenched and unclenched around the phone.

  Savvy heard the silky reply as if the man speaking was whispering in her ear. “No. Put her in the Blue Room. Bring her through the back entrance.” The phone clicked as Bugs’s boss hung up.

  Another ten minutes passed before Bugs pulled up in front of a gated entrance. He lowered both their windows, and a screen appeared from the ground on each side of the car. Bugs put his hand out and a laser tasted his fingerprints. Savvy imagined tearing the screen from its pole and beating him with it.

  Steady, girl.

  “Put your hand up to the screen, please.” Bugs waved in the direction of the technology.

  Savvy turned her head slowly and met his eyes. “Kiss my ass. I’m not putting my hand on that thing.”

  Bugs looked from the clock to his phone, seeming to run through his options. “Look, if you don’t put your hand out soon, this car will be lit up with gunfire. It’s programmed to kill us.”

  Savvy smiled at the thought of Bugs being physically separated from his evil aura.

  “Okay, I get it. You don’t care if I die. You don’t care if you die, but my boss? If he doesn’t talk to you because you’re dead? He’ll kill your brother.” Bugs pointed to the screen again.

  He could very well be lying, but the sweat on his forehead told her he was at least scared. She shook her head. She’d already lost two battles: getting in the car and now this. She placed her hand on the square. The laser engaged, and it felt like a butterfly’s wings were tickling her palm. She was marked in their system now. Who knew what they could do with her fingerprints.

  The gates slid open, and Bugs gunned the engine. Even before opening fully, the doors were closing again. The driveway was insanely long, and the landscape grew more and more sandy as they got closer to the house, which nestled next to the water. Bugs was talking again—warning her with rules and etiquette that she guessed she should listen to, but she couldn’t. The mansion in front of her called her name and enflamed her enhanced sense of righteousness. With the compass she now had for evil, she could tell there were many, many red auras inside. So many. She looked at her knees and tried to breathe.

  Bugs was opening his door. He had parked the car on a huge circular driveway with a spouting fountain in the center of it.

  “We need to go in the back entrance, so you’re not seen.” He had come around to her side of the car.

  Savvy got out and walked past him. He hurried alongside, begging her to follow him, though he was too smart to put his hands on her when she didn’t. Savvy’s high heels clicked loudly on the marble stairs that led to the two-story front doors. When she was close enough, she kicked the doors and smiled when they smashed wide open.

  She waltzed into the foyer and looked from person to person. Almost every man had a gun out or was in the process of drawing a weapon. The women stifled screams and hit the floor. Savvy tracked a potential path of destruction, wondering how many she could tear to pieces before their bullets felled her.

  A man jumped in front of her and stood between her and the men defending the mansion. “No! He wants this chick alive. Put your fucking guns away.”

  The man’s neck was Savvy’s only view at the moment, and she wanted to snap it in half. But his aura was confusing. It was definitely red, but closer to his body it glimmered gold.

  She reached out to touch it. The red exterior radiated heat, and it fed her strength, but a little deeper, the gold felt cool. His peculiar aura may have been the only thing that kept him alive while he stood so close.

  He turned to her. “I take it you’re the new one? He wants you in the Blue Room. My name’s Boston. I’ll show you the way.”

  He had dark hair and deep blue eyes. When he smiled to encourage her, he revealed dimples as well. She didn’t move. The onslaught of red auras had taken her sense. Her eyes were drawn to each of them again. Several of the women also glowed red. To be loose in here for five minutes would be amazing. Her brother’s name brought Boston’s face back into focus.

  “Toby will only be safe if you cooperate.”

  The gold turned darker around the man. What was that?

  “Can you walk with me?” he asked.

  He wasn’t being polite. She knew he could tell she was paralyzed from the inside out. Savvy had to recov
er. She had to. Tobias’s life might depend on it. She looked at the floor and nodded, keeping her gaze down, away from all the temptation around her. But her skin still felt the red. She could feel the pull.

  One step, another step.

  It took forever to get to the Blue Room. Finally Boston opened a large door, and Savvy noticed belatedly that Bugs had left. Like his namesake, he’d disappeared when the action started.

  “Just go in and sit down.” Boston closed the door behind her, and she heard a large bolt slide into place.

  Savvy couldn’t sit if she tried, so instead she stood in front of the conference table, hedged in fancy boardroom chairs. She waited. The room was blue, as she’d expected. Its only decoration was a large mural of the surf. Savvy figured the real thing was right behind the mansion.

  She waited some more. She had no idea how much time had passed now. She knew this was a mind game, and frankly she sucked at those. There was so little of her rational mind left.

  Finally, the mural crackled to life. Savvy stepped into her fighting stance and watched. Instead of a picture, she now looked at a flat screen TV—much like the ones Tobias ogled in Best Buy as he dreamed of hitting the lotto.

  Soon it had a picture again, and it took a few seconds for Savvy to put the images in context. She could see Tobias on the very screen he dreamed of buying. He was parking in the lot at the police station and dialing his cell phone. After what must have been an unsuccessful call, he cursed. Although there was no sound, Savvy recognized her name on her brother’s lips. He spotted her car and trotted over. The video faded out as Tobias used his elbow to break her driver’s side window. The mural returned. They weren’t bluffing. Someone from this place was watching her brother.

  As she pondered this predicament, screaming filled her head, and Savvy fell to one knee while holding her hair. The sound was so clear and so desperate. She recognized it immediately. It was Sara’s scream during the accident. Savvy hadn’t heard it since that night—her brain had saved her from recalling it. Or maybe it was her soul’s survival instinct that kept her protected from the sound. Until now.

  Sara, scared and screaming, filled Savvy to the brim.

  “No, no, no, no…” she whispered.

  The screaming became a pinpoint, the center of a black hole located just behind the mural.

  Savvy snapped her head up and looked closely. She could make out his outline. A man stood on the other side of the mural in another room. Sara’s screams came from him. Rather than being visible, his aura was the sound of her pain.

  *~*~*~*

  Silas stood in his office waiting, watching Bugs’s surveillance camera. The girl’s name was Savannah Ann Raine. So much could be determined from a license plate number, and her fingerprints had confirmed it. After so much time looking for her, it turned out they already had her in their system. She’d been the lone survivor of an accident with one of their trucks more than a year ago. Funny how life worked sometimes. And she had deliberately defied him and kicked down the front doors of his house. Silas bit his lip as he watched her entrance again on the monitor.

  Boston had worked his magic and calmed the beast that she was. Now she stood instead of sitting in the Blue Room. Antagonizing him yet again. God, that’s refreshing.

  He’d watched her fidget for 18 minutes before he had Bugs run the footage of her brother’s arrival at the police station. He loved the locale. It let his new acquisition know he was everywhere, his power more potent than any law.

  She’d looked furious and worried by the time the painting returned to its passive seascape. He’d checked his hair and straightened his tie, though both were surely impeccable. He’d nodded at Boston as he entered the observation room behind the mural and shut the door behind him.

  But the minute he’d entered the small, narrow room, Savannah had fallen to one knee in obvious pain. At first he’d just been fascinated to see this seemingly invincible woman in such a vulnerable position. The room was well wired, so he heard her whimpering whisper: “No, no, no, no.”

  After another moment, he decided to call Doc. Savannah seemed like she might need medical attention. Then she looked up, right through the two-way glass and into his eyes. She scarcely seemed human. Her hair was wild from where she’d dragged her hands through it, and her face set in determination. Silas licked his lips. It was like watching a hungry tiger in a zoo.

  When she came at him, her movements were flawless, as if she’d choreographed them and practiced for weeks. She grabbed the back of one of the chairs and stepped to the mural. The chair didn’t make a dent on its first downward strike, but Savannah didn’t stop. She kept pounding on the bulletproof screen until it started to crack.

  Boston stepped into Silas’s private sanctuary. “Sir, you need to get out of here.” Boston pulled out his handgun and aimed it at her.

  Silas waited.

  Her gaze had never left his eyes, like she could see right into his mind. The screen cracked again, a sure fissure now running from the top to the bottom. She was actually going to break through the impenetrable glass.

  Finally, she dropped the chair. She walked to the mural and put one hand on it. Silas mimicked her motion despite Boston’s protests. Hand-to-hand they stood, and he could feel her hot hate. This close to her, he could see into her cloudy, gray eyes. They held so much pain. Could he be the source? The accident with its terrible chemical spill?

  Silas almost felt sympathy. But more than that he felt something else—something more familiar: Want. Need. He was drawn to her in a desperate way.

  Her perfect lips, rose-colored from her exertion, began moving. He hoped the camera was still functioning so he could replay her words again and again. Her voice was reverent, a promise wrapped in a threat.

  “Know this: I will kill you. Take these words and carve them on your horrible soul.” She looked from his lips to his eyes and smiled. “I will be the one who kills you.”

  *~*~*~*

  Savvy could only see sand and a stationary ocean, but she could feel his eyes. She knew where his lips were as if they were the center of her universe. Her daughter screamed over and over in her head while she promised to kill the man who stood inches from her. He’d made Sara scream somehow. She knew it. It was him. Instead of hugging her daughter’s memory and feeling her soft hair, Savvy could now remember agony as crisply as if it were happening again.

  She stepped away to muster enough power to punch. Feeling the glass crunch under her fists was much more pleasing than the chair attack had been. She was making headway. Then it hit her: if he’s on the other side, there’s a door.

  She gave away her intention as she headed for the exit to the Blue Room. She leveled her kicks at the door’s sweet spot, but the bolt held for a few extra seconds. Finally, with a crack she was free, and she turned toward the most likely place for a secondary room. The door stood ajar, and the narrow room was empty when she looked inside. Savvy closed her eyes as she heard the clatter of approaching defenders.

  She focused on the red she knew their auras held, and Sara’s screams led the way. Savvy ran without hesitation down hallways she had never seen before. The screams led her to a terrace, and she busted through the glass doors to stand on a balcony. The ocean crashed against the shore below her, in motion and alive. From the roof she heard a helicopter’s blades pounding the air. She tilted her face to see it rise above the house. The man who emanated Sara’s screams sat in the passenger seat looking right at her.

  Right into her.

  He was devastatingly handsome, and he offered her a bit of a smirk as he realized he would succeed in getting away. Behind her, she could hear the army of red auras level all types of weapons. She paid them no mind; she was trapped in the eyes of the evil man above her. He waved at her now as the helicopter began to rise. Savvy pointed at him from where she stood. She mouthed her next words so only he would get her message.

  “Run. Run far. I’ll find you. I’ll always find you.” Savvy smiled as his tr
iumphant demeanor fell like a leaf from a tree. In heartbeat he was gone from her sight.

  She turned to face the angry mob. There was so much red she couldn’t even make out their faces.

  Savvy gave them the finger and did a perfect backflip off the fourth-story balcony.

  Chapter 10

  Superhero

  Savvy’s heels sunk into the sand as she landed. The contingency of evil clambered out onto the balcony to point their weapons down at her. But in an instant, she changed her line of sight from the threat above to the man in front of her. He once again held a hand up in their direction. Savvy guessed his controlling gesture was yet again the reason she wasn’t already riddled with gunfire.

  Boston didn’t pounce on her, but he did start talking. “Listen, I know you can easily run away right now, but I have to tell you, my boss keeps all of his promises. If he threatened your brother, he’ll be dead by the time you get to the main road.”

  Now he held an open palm in her direction. He had no weapon in his hand, but the one he was using on her brain kept her still.

  He seemed to take her motionlessness as a cue to go on. “My boss wants you to stay. He wants you to remain in this house. You can do with that what you want, but I have to let you know he’s very, very serious before you make your choice.”

  The gold closest to Boston’s body shimmered in the light, but the red outlining his aura remained a thick swipe of color, almost as if a child had colored it in on the edges.

  The idea of staying in this house was laughable, honestly. The car ride over with Bugs had been torture. To stay here, amongst the red? Surely she would lose her mind and her control. Nevertheless…

  “I want my brother safe.” She couldn’t bear any more loss.

  “Then stay. That’s all you have to do.” Boston put his hands in his pockets, as if she were not a threat at all. As if she hadn’t busted through the doors like a cracked-out demon.

 
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