I feel numb.
Broken. Weak. Scared. Frightened.
My brain begins to rapidly fire off synonyms for scared, one after the other. Fearful. Afraid. Alarmed. Worried. Anxious. Overwhelmed.
It’s funny, in an ironic, twisted sort of way, that while my brain is able to hold a surplus of information due to my spot on the decathlon team, I’m unable to come up with the solution to the biggest problem I’ve ever faced.
My younger brother…who has just been kidnapped by our self-serving, lazy, emotionally abusive parents.
Fuck, I don’t know if you can even call it kidnapping. They are his parents, after all, and that’s exactly what the police will say if I call them. Technically, I’m the one who kidnapped him, and the mere thought turns my stomach in a way nothing else can.
It’s possible I won’t see Adam ever again. His giggle flashes through my mind, a picture of his face as he holds up a dinosaur and rawrs at me. A bright red flood of pain accompanies it.
My body sways precariously to the side, and I would’ve fallen to my knees if strong arms didn’t band around me, keeping me upright. One of the guys plucks my cell phone from my limp fingers and puts it to his ear.
I’m distantly aware of him talking to Sasha, the babysitter, on speaker phone, while the others crowd around to listen. There’s a barrage of questions that fly from their mouths like bullets, spraying Sasha with all kinds of curses and accusations until she’s crying into the phone and apologizing. A distant part of my mind feels bad for the babysitter, but I can’t focus on that. I can’t focus on anything besides the skittering of my pulse and the pounding in my head that seems to drown out every other sound.
Someone scoops me up and starts to carry me through the darkened hallway of the demon’s townhouse towards the living room. I hear the whine of an animal, one of our menagerie, go ignored as I’m carried to one of the leather couches in the normal part of the living room, not the pit, and am gently settled onto one of my demon’s laps.
The lights come on, and I blink, my vision stunned for a brief moment before it adjusts and I see Van walk into the room, his magazine-worthy face set into a frown. He sweeps his reddish-brown hair back from his forehead, and his eyes flash red in frustrated fury as his wings retract. He takes a seat in one of the armchairs, gripping the rolled armrest so tightly that I can see divot marks in it created by his fingers.
After Van comes Zolroth, who paces, or tries to anyway. The carpet is still a mess from the toys Adam played with tonight. Toy race cars litter the floor, their bright colors ironically cheerful, mocking me. Zolroth crouches near them and picks one up in his dark hand, staring at it a moment before swallowing so hard, I can see his throat bob as he holds back whatever strong emotion is strangling him. Then he takes the car and slips it into his pocket before carefully gathering up the others and leaving the room, I assume to go put them away, because my materialism demon would want Adam’s treasures stored carefully.
Raz walks into the room, my phone in his hand, his black wings and ram’s horns still out. His eyes flash red, and he clutches my phone so tightly in his hand that I’m surprised it doesn’t disintegrate into dust. But he goes to the bookshelf and carefully sets my phone down before taking out a huge ass book and launching it across the room so hard, it dents the opposite wall. My nightmare demon breathes deeply, turns to look at me for half a second, and then stomps out of the room. I hear something else break.
“They got around my fucking spell by getting Sasha to bring Adam out of the house! Fucking shit! If those assholes had just stepped one foot inside, my spell would have zapped them like flies. We would have been walking in on bodies, probably brainless bodies like Jason! Motherfucker!” Raz bellows, his volume decreasing the farther he moves away.
I blink, Raziel’s destruction and shouts taking me the tiniest bit out of my daze. That’s when I see Akor stride into the room, his pink mohawk jutting up from his head, his blue eyes burning wildly as he finishes attaching the last of five brand-new sparkling grenades to a strap running diagonally across his chest. He wears a smile that would scare off any demon in Hell.
Wait. If Akor just walked in…who’s holding me?
It takes me a second too long to realize the arms around my waist, holding me as if I’m something immensely precious and invaluable, belong to Kastros.
The man who betrayed me.
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