“Sebastian, behind you!”
The shot fires the moment that he turns around. My scream isn’t as fast as the bullet approaching us. A quick shove and Sebastian has me tumbling to the ground. He grunts and roars as the bullet tears through his shoulder. He slumps, reaching for the wound.
That bullet was aimed at me, not him. He saved me from being killed by taking the bullet himself.
Still, his eyes are on me, focusing solely on me. “Run. Now.”
I scramble to my feet, grasping the opportunity to flee. Without looking back, I make a run for it. I don’t know where I’m going or what is happening, but I know that I have to get out of here. Some part of me is worried about Sebastian and another part wants him to be killed. I don’t know which side to pick.
It’s then that I hear them yell at each other.
“What the fuck, Lewis!” It’s Sebastian.
“Sorry, but you moved! I was aiming for her.”
“Fuck you! You fucking shot me! And now she ran again!” Sebastian yells. “Goddammit, I had her.”
“Well, you should’ve taken her when you had the chance.”
“I told you that I could handle this. Now let me do it before I shoot a fucking bullet at you, too.”
“Fine, but if she gets away, you know it’s your head that’s on the line, not mine.”
Their voices grow fainter and fainter, and I can’t help but notice how Sebastian weaves his way out of this like nothing happened. He wanted me to run, and yet he tells Lewis a very different story. Something’s not adding up.
My breathing is loud and rampant and my legs are shaking, but I keep on running. After a while, I sink to my knees, unable to suck in another breath. It takes me a while to breathe. When I stand up and try to walk again, I’m tackled to the ground.
I squeal, fighting my attacker.
“Get off me!”
I wriggle until I’m facing him. Only then do I notice that it’s Sebastian.
I try to slap him. “Asshole!”
I only get one hit in before he grabs both of my wrists and pins them down on my chest. “Stop. Listen to me.”
“No! First, you shoot at me. Then he shoots at us, and then I hear you yell at each other that you’re both hunting me? I’m not going to spend any second longer with you!” I push him away. Surprisingly, he flinches and backs off. That was too easy.
He frowns, grinding his teeth. “Don’t fucking run from me. Run away from them, but not from me. Not anymore.” He grabs his gun from the ground and points it at me.
“How can I trust that you won’t just use me and then kill me somewhere in the woods anyway? Somewhere no one can find my body?”
“Because I fucking need you,” he snaps. “And yes, I will kill you if you don’t come with me. I will not let anyone else have you. Ever.”
I swallow as he gets off me. He helps me up from the ground, too, even though he’s making a face while doing it. The muscles in his arm are weakened. Red stains darken his coat. He watches me with raised gun, pinpointing my next movement, which I don’t even know. All I hear are his shallow breaths and groans.
“Yes, it does.”
“Not now,” he growls. “We have to get out of here.”
I turn around, trying to walk away, but he grabs my arms and holds me down again.
“I didn’t say you could go without me.” He pushes the barrel of the gun into my back.
“But why? Why do you care? You’re one of them!”
“Not by choice.”
“So, you’re not out to kill me?”
“But you are one of them. So then, you call them and tell them to stop.”
“No, I can’t, and it won’t help one bit. Once they have something in their minds, they have to do it. It’s in their nature.”
I groan and sigh. “What do they want with me then?”
“Either they kill you or they take you with them. You jumped from the train when I told you not to. This is what happens when you don’t listen to me.”
“They’re coming after me? For running away from you?”
“Exactly, and neither of us wants you in their claws,” he says. “Now, are you going to come with me quietly, without a fight, or do I have to shoot you in the leg and carry you over my shoulder? Because, by God, I will do it if it means that you’ll come easily.” He takes the barrel away from my back as I let out a big breath.
He hauls me with him, and I almost tumble over from the ferocity in his stride.
“Jesus, I can’t believe you’d go that far to keep me away from them.”
“If there’s a problem, I solve it. You were the problem, and I solved it.”
“With a gun? Are you insane? You could’ve called after me instead of shooting.”
“And you would not have believed me if I had told you the truth. Trust me, I’ve tried before.”
He’s not tried it with me, so I’d rather not think about what it means instead. I can’t even fathom the fact that he was helping them do this to us, let alone doing it to other women.
“I’d rather hurt you myself than let them do it. They’d hurt you in ways that you can’t imagine, and I will not let them touch my property.”
“I am not your property!” I tear myself away from his grasp.
“You were mine the moment that you stepped into my building. Now, come with me. Unless you want to die.”
I stare him down, contemplating if I could ever trust him again. I should’ve never trusted him in the first place, so why should I now? How do I know what’s the right choice?
My eyes grow wide at the sound of a shrill and harsh voice calling out Sebastian’s name. Sebastian halts, his eyes skimming the forest like a hunter on the lookout for potential game.
“Who was that?” I whisper, following his gaze. “Is that the same guy from before? I recognized him.”
“Lewis. One of them.” He directs his attention back at me and holds out his hand. “Come here. Now.”
The way he talks to me, like I’m some sort of pet that he’s commanding, makes me seethe, but I hold my tongue and grab his hand. Right now, getting out of here alive is more important than prying information out of him, but I will definitely come back to this topic. I’m not done with him. Far
from it. He has a lot of explaining to do, and I won’t stop asking questions until I find out the truth.
I struggle to keep up with his pace as he drags me along. We push our way through the dense forest, avoiding stumps and small rocks whenever possible but inevitable scrapes and cuts happen. Short bursts of pain to my legs and feet from running make me cringe, but I try to ignore them. Only the moon lights our path, but Sebastian seems to have adjusted quite well. His movements are hasty, without error, and I find myself questioning whether he’s done this —whether he’s hunted girls in the dark before.
However, now is not the time to think about things like that.
seems like an hour, we finally reach the road, but it’s midnight and there’s not a soul in sight. It’s then that Sebastian releases my hand and lowers his gun. “Stay here.” He fishes his cell phone out of his pocket. “Don’t move.”
I nod, wrapping my arms around my cold body. Shivering, I gaze at the trees behind us, expecting someone to appear at any moment.
“We’re here,” Sebastian grumbles into his phone, and then he checks a peculiar device that hangs from his neck, which I didn’t notice before. “Division road. The coordinates are 41.64 latitude and -71.59 longitude.” He puts his phone back into his pocket then sets his scorching gaze back on me. With a grunt, he grabs my hand and starts walking.
“Where are we going?”
He doesn’t answer as we keep walking down the road. Out of nowhere, a car seems to be racing toward us. For a second, I believe it’s coming straight at us for a hit and run, but then it stops and the car door opens.
“Get in,” Sebastian says as he hauls me to the door.
I step into the car as Sebastian walks to the other side and slides in. “Thanks, you’re a lifesaver.”
“Anything for you, Sir,” the man behind the wheel says.
“Let’s get out of here,” Sebastian urges. The driver nods and closes the blinds between us.
Suddenly, I’m aware of the fact that I’m alone in the backseat with the man who just tried to shoot me. I swallow away the nerves as he sets his gaze on me. The air between us grows thicker as the seconds tick by. I try to ignore it, but once he slips closer to me, it’s useless.
“Tell me where you’re taking me,” I demand, pressing my hands down on my lap as if it would keep him at bay.
I feel vulnerable, threatened, and stripped of everything that makes me human. Freedom has been taken away from me, but by God, I will fight to regain it. At the bottom of the well, there is only one way to go up, and that is by clawing your way out. I’ll do whatever is necessary to get back to my own life and help Ashley.
Anxiety storms through my head, causing irrational thoughts to take the upper hand. The urge to flee becomes too great. I move my hand to the door and start pulling on the handle. It won’t open, so I slam the window. “Let me out.”
“Calm down,” Sebastian says, placing his hand on my leg.
I swat him away. “Don’t touch me.”
He winces from the way I say it. No wonder. I feel grossed out and dirty that he touches
me the way he does. As if he’s some sort of disease. It does feel like I’m surrounded by death.
“Stop,” he says calmly. “It won’t help you.”
“Just let me go then.”
“I can’t do that and you know why.”
“I can take care of myself just fine. I have two legs, a healthy set of lungs, and I can run like hell, so I’ll get myself to safety just fine.”
“No, you won’t.”
His fingers return to my leg and dig in, squeezing me. “Your legs are strong, perfect for fleeing, but they’re still no match for men with rifles who know how to shoot from a distance. You’d be easy prey. The only one who’s ever allowed to hunt you down is me.”
His touch becomes lighter again, softer, as he starts rubbing my leg, warming it up and creeping me out at the same time. It feels like he’s petting me.
“I want you to be safe,” he says, “to be okay. That was always my plan.”
I turn my head toward the window and look outside. Now that I know the full truth, it’s like I have even less of a chance to get my freedom back. I can’t give up. I just can’t.
So I force myself to continue ravaging this car, kicking and shoving, pulling out everything I have, just to make a point. I will not fucking give up on my life or on Ashley. The strong Lillith is back in full glory and I’ll be damned if I lose that part of myself again.
“You had to go and resist …” Sebastian grumbles, and then he grabs me by the waist and pulls me toward him. Something sharp is pointed at my neck. His knife.
“I told you what would happen if you kept on fighting me,” he whispers in my ear. The blade is painfully sharp, and I can feel it cut into my skin. I squeeze my eyes shut. “Stop!”
“No, not until you stop fighting and let it go.”
“Then I don’t have any other choice.”
With the knife, he creates a line down the base of my neck and onto my shoulder. I yelp from the sharp pain, but gasp when I feel his hot mouth press down on my skin. He sucks, his tongue dipping out to lick me. He hums against my neck, holding the knife close to my vein as he kisses the blood off my skin.
“Hmm…” He groans in such a dirty way, it sounds as if he’s going to come. “Delicious.”
A red mark is left on my skin as he retreats.
Licking his lips, he says, “As expected.”
“You’re disgusting …” I murmur.
“Disgustingly aroused,” he says, biting his lip. “I want another taste.”
He dives in again, but I manage to push him away. “No!”
“Yes …” He keeps coming, biting my shoulder, and I squeal.
“What?” He kisses my skin and then bites me again.
“Please … stop,” I say, blinking away the impending tears.
“Oh, but that’s impossible now that I’ve tasted your blood. You are so deliciously riveting … I’ll never have enough.”
I’m so sick to my stomach that I could throw up. Although I’m not sure whether that’s because of him or because of the fact that I just faced death.
“Please … I don’t want this,” I say, feeling humiliated for having to beg him again, but I want this to stop. I need this to stop.
“But I do … and that is where I hold the power and you don’t,” he says, twisting the blade in his hand.
“Just stop … let me be … for just a few minutes,” I plead. “Just let me sit here in peace.”
“And you will stop fighting? Stop trying to trash my car?” His tongue darts out again to lick my skin, sending shivers up my spine.
“Yes.” I sigh, moving as close to the window as I can manage, far away from him.
Suddenly he slides away again, back to his own seat. Fazed, I turn my head and gaze at him, then at the wound on my shoulder, which is still oozing blood. He just bit me and now he’s suddenly done? This was all a trick to get me to be quiet.
“Now we’re both bleeding,” he muses.
From his corner, he smiles at me. He brings his finger to his face and swipes up a drop of blood left on his chin, brings it to his parted lips, and licks up my blood from his finger like it’s a lollipop and he’s savoring the taste.
I cringe a little.
“Now be a good fairy and sit still.”