NOTE! This is not a new chapter. Go to the author’s note at the bottom for an explanation.
“They can’t mean that! We can use him.” Siobhan said.
Aaron listened to their conversation, imagining they were just talking about firing someone and that this was a nice evening in with his friend and girlfriend.
“My orders were clear. He’s dead.”
They just made it really, really hard to pretend.
He backed away from the doorway, but Nate followed into the hallway, gun constantly aimed at his head. Aaron backed further and further until he bumped into the staircase and fell backwards.
“Nate, s-stop,” he said. “I don’t know what you’re doing but-“
“Shut up.” Nate moved the gun to somewhere over his shoulder and fired into the stairs, making him flinch and scream, then Nate turned to face Siobhan. “Do you want me to do it, or are you going to do your damn job? COME ON!”
She was still in the doorway, looking lost with her arms wrapped around herself.
“Fine, I’ll just…” He fired another warning shot.
“Okay, stop! I’ll do it. But I’ll do it alone.”
Nate looked doubtful, but after what felt like ages of the two of them staring each other down, he put away the gun and sighed. “Fine, you go ahead, then. Go on!”
When Siobhan didn’t move to do anything, Nate threw up his hands, went up to Aaron and grabbed him by the neck. His fingers dug into his flesh, so he screamed loudly and tried to fight back. His former friend growled and hit him so hard on the head, stars danced in front of his eyes; he had to had no choice but to go with him. Siobhan walked silently, almost solemnly, into the dining room, and Nate followed with their prey in tow.
“Make it quick, will you?” Nate said, releasing Aaron, who scrambled away from him and pressed up against the bookshelf. “And don’t make too much noise.”
Siobhan just rolled her eyes. She walked to one of the drawers of Aaron’s table and pulled out a knife that he’d never seen before. It was long and sleek with a gold handle and a blade that was no wider than a large man’s thumb.
“Come on, get out,” she said. “Now.”
He shrugged and left them, closing the door as he went.
Aaron took a careful step away from the bookcase, trying to look Siobhan in the eyes, but she refused. She played with the knife in her hand: twisted the handle, ran her fingertips along the blade, pressed the point against her finger, leaving the tip with a tiny speck of blood.
“Siobhan,” he asked. “Why… you’re really going to…?”
She stepped forward, knife in hand, and he recoiled.
“I’ll put it down,” she said, her voice a whisper now. “Aaron, don’t step away, I won’t do it.”
He hesitated and watched the knife intently as she laid it on the dining table next to her.
“There? Please, come here.”
In hindsight, Aaron shouldn’t have gone to her. But he did. A sudden surge of love and joy overcame him, and he pulled her into a hug, ignoring all his fears, all his misgivings, all the things that had happened in the last ten minutes. What were ten minutes compared to the year they had been together anyway?
He squeezed her slender frame to him, inhaled the scent of her hair…
Nothing had ever felt more right until the moment she picked up the knife and stabbed him. Her voice whispered that she was sorry.
“I truly am. I never meant for this… Sorry.”
The knife dug into his shoulder and he cried out in pain, pushing her away. The sounds of someone breaking down his front door carried to the room, and that’s when things became really bizarre.
Milena knocked the door down with a well-placed kick and said a silent thanks to old, creaky hinges as she did so. A voice greeted her, and then the face of a man who raised a gun. She flared her Fighter’s Talent in her head, pushing his hand away so hard the gun flew out of his hand and slid across the floor. The she concentrated the force on him. He, too, tried using his Talent, but Milena only stumbled for a second, and pushed back with all her might.
The man flew back, and Milena dived in the door, grabbing his fallen gun from the floor, before she turned towards a door that had just been opened.
A woman flew out the door, knife in hand, and Milena redirected her Talent towards her. Pushed by the force, the woman stumbled, but didn’t drop the weapon. She threw herself at Milena with the weapon, and she in turn reached for the knife, using her Talent to pull it closer.
However, the woman struggled against her, sliced with her blade and nearly cut Milena’s arm. Milena charged with a fist, enhanced by her Talent, then ducked to avoid another slice of the knife. She pushed the woman back against the table and glasses and plates started rattling.
The attacker was back up in a second, and Milena only just managed to block her hand, and that’s when she noticed the other person in the room. He was on the floor, bleeding and gasping, and she knew he must be the one who screamed.
Milena immediately let her Talent slip, and she did a regular dodge when the woman kicked at her. Though the guy was down, she couldn’t let him see her use her Talent, so this was a time to fight dirty. She grabbed a fistful of the woman’s hair and forcefully threw her out of the door.
She slammed it and held it in place while she moved the small table by the wall in front of it. Then she quickly knelt down in front of the man on the floor.
“Are you hanging in there?” He nodded, but she noticed that sweat was beading his forehead. “I’m Milena Hartfield, with the local police. Where did she get you?”
“Shoulder,” he just said. “Not so bad. I’m just… surprised.”
She had a quick glance at the wound that had sliced open his shirt to reveal his skin. In this lighting she couldn’t see much, but it looked shallow.
“Okay, what’s your name?”
Someone was moving outside. Voices were travelling.
“Aaron,” the hurt man replied.
“Aaron, right. Listen, I’m going to have to fuck up your dining room, and I’m sorry.”
Milena grabbed the candles from the dining table first and moved them. Then she pulled on the table and pushed it in front of Aaron. Glasses, bottles, and plates smashed to the floor, and wine splashed to the floor, staining walls and furniture and her own her. Milena got down behind the table with Aaron and looked up over it. She had the male attacker’s gun at the ready.
“Get down.” He did as she told him. “That door. Does it open this way or…?”
“Other way,” he said, looking very pale.
“Right. Great.” She sat down behind the table, cursing under her breath. “In that case, this mess is the least of our problems.”
Nobody outside had moved yet. Milena wondered if they had another gun, because if they did, this makeshift barrier would be useless and full of little holes in no time.
Why haven’t they done anything yet? And where’s Dani and Janus?
“Any more in the house?” Milena asked of Aaron.
“I don’t think so. But then I didn’t know Nate was here at first, so…”
Fuck. She might be able to hold one of them with her Talent for a while, but she couldn’t very well let Aaron see…
“And those two are…?” she continued.
“My… my girlfriend and my good friend,” he said, hanging his head. “Or I thought so, at least.”
Just then, the door flew open, and the woman’s face appeared over the table, along with a gun. She fired at Aaron. Milena tried screaming for him to lie down flat over the shots, but instead she heard him scream in pain. There was a big, gaping bullet wound in his shoulder where the shallow cut had been.
He flopped over and looked up at Milena with horror in his eyes. “So… so loud,” he muttered.
“Down. Aaron get down.”
She had to force him down on the floor, and even then he didn’t lie down, it was like he was panicking too much to follow basic instructions. He kept shifting between half sitting and lying down, and all the while he muttered something about how loud they were. Milena couldn’t hear exactly, because she both had her hand pressed to his wound and was firing blindly at the woman over the table. It was a miracle that she hadn’t gotten shot yet.
She was close to giving up, when their attacker suddenly got up, and Dani and Janus’ voices came from outside. The woman left her spot to go out and have a go at them instead. Next to Milena, Aaron fainted.
He muttered something in his unconsciousness, but Milena didn’t listen. The shoulder-wound was still bleeding way too much, so she pulled off her vest and tore it to strips to act as a makeshift bandage. She left him lying on his side and had just one second to pity the man. Attacked by people he thought were friends. But then she heard Janus cry out, and she couldn’t linger.
She leapt over the dining room table, shoved aside her barricade and ran to Janus’ aid. Dani had the woman under control, but when Milena made it to the living room, she saw that her other partner was on the floor. The male attacker stood over him, and he reached out a hand, his Talent nearly sending her to the ground.
Milena managed to stay on her feet, and she flared up her own Talent, pushing back against the man. She had to admit – he fought well. He knew just the right way to move to maximise force, and he moved left and right, tried to catch her off guard and find a weak spot. Unfortunately for him, she was better.
She flared up her Talent as best as she could, let it really fill her up and work through her. Then she focused on his throat and pushed. His eyes grew big, and he tried a few weak waves of his hand in retaliation, but she didn’t give him the chance.
The attacker let go of his Talent to clutch at his throat, but there was no visible force that he could fight off. Instead, he just clawed at nothing while Milena increased her force, picking him up by the throat so that his feet left the floor.
He sputtered and cried out in vain, until he didn’t. There was a sudden rush in Milena’s head, a thrill that was so completely wrong, she yelped as if in pain and released him. The man fell to the ground in a heap, coughing and sputtering, but staying down.
Milena almost felt like it was her that couldn’t breathe. She turned from the room, putting a hand to her head. Her head spun.
Not again. Not this again, please no.
Outside, Dani was calling out for help, and Milena was about to answer, but then she heard a scraping sound and looked up. Her eyes met Aaron’s horrified gaze. Blood leaked from his makeshift bandage and dripped to the floor.
“H-how?” he asked. “How the hell did you do that?”
She felt faint. No, no, no, please tell me you didn’t see…
Aaron looked up and opened his mouth. No words came. So instead he nodded… and fainted.
Author’s note: Hi guys, having déjà vu? No, not really. I just decided to divide my very, very long first chapter into two shorter ones. I was getting more and more annoyed with the long one and I don’t intend to write them that long in the future. Sorry for all my indecision and fiddling – this is my final edit to this chapter. Promise!
See ya in the next chapter 🙂