Trein had Ritch on his knees in front of him, his face swollen and blood trickling down his neck where Trein’s claws dug in to the vulnerable column. Two other Tigers held my mom and brother in the same position. Panic nearly swamped me, and it took everything I had not to attack.
It would only get them killed. I had a split second to hope Wilbur would know not to attack, but that was it before I focused in on Trein.
That bastard had a gloating smirk on his face as he watched me. Oh, he hated Deke, but I could see he knew about the bond between me and Ritch. He knew hurting him would enrage me. He bent down and licked one side of Ritch’s neck, lapping at the blood. “Don’t move, little bitch,” he hissed. “Or I’ll kill you here and now.”
I roared and the sound echoed in the room. Red flashed across my vision. It set off the army behind Trein, at least thirty of them and half had to be feral, held back by leashes around their necks, the Tigers holding them struggling to keep them from bolting toward us.
“Park.” Just one word from Deke, and I stilled, my nostrils flaring. Deke pushed forward but not in front of me. Even so, I worried about someone shooting him in the head. There were humans interspersed with the others. They held guns.
Was that how he got to them? Humans and guns? Were the men and women, or gods… the children all dead? No, Deke would’ve felt it.
“What do you want, Trein? There has to be something or you would’ve let those monsters loose on us the moment we entered. If you hurt my family, I will kill you.”
Trein sneered. “You think? You and what army? Those pathetic males with you? Delusional fool! Maybe I just wanted you to fully appreciate your doom.”
Appreciate our doom? What kind of fucked up shit was that? Kraig rolled his eyes. “Lame, asshole. Fucking lame.” Yeah, definitely my brother.
The Tiger holding him slammed his knee into his back, and Kraig gasped. If my roar had hurt everyone’s ears, Deke’s pissed off roar through the room like echoing thunder. It didn’t drown out Trein’s cackling laughter.
I looked at my mom. She had tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry,” she mouthed.
No way. I shook my head, then darted a quick look at Trein. It was his fault, not hers. Nothing she’d done or not done could have led to her deserving this.
Wilbur’s stealthy movement in my peripheral caught my attention. He was slowly easing some device out of his pocket. Another grenade? We had people over there! “We’ll save you,” I promised.
He’d better get the fucking hint.
“I don’t think so,” said Trein. He dug his fingers into Ritch’s neck and the blood welled up. Ritch screamed and writhed, unable to stay still under the torture. The ferals behind him snarled. “I think you’re all going to die. Some sooner than later.” Trein lifted his hand, opening his mouth like he was going to lick Ritch’s blood off.
Then all hell broke loose.
One feral slipped his handler and jumped for Trein. He shouted, letting go of Ritch, and I leapt forward, going for my mate. Several other ferals gained their freedom just as Wilbur tossed something into the crowd of them. It hit the ground with a clank.
“Eyes down,” he shouted.
“Fuck that.” I didn’t look away from Ritch as he knelt, one hand on the floor keeping him up as his blood began to puddle on the floor. I wasn’t taking my eyes off him ever again. A loud bang, and a shockwave of pain shot through my ears as a bright white burst appeared in the room behind Ritch. Clouds of smoke billowed from the explosion just as I reached him.
Trein was fighting off the feral that was trying to gnaw on his hand, and as much as I wanted to take him out, I wanted to get Ritch and my mom out first. “Get up,” I shouted, unsure if he could hear me since I wasn’t even sure if I can hear my voice. I wrapped my hand around his arm and yanked him to his feet, pulling him against my side. I turned toward where the guard had held my mother, just feet away, but to my horror I was too late. A feral had sunk his teeth into her neck, its muzzle bloody, and the light had already left her eyes. Her soul was gone. What that meant for my father’s soul I didn’t know.
A war waged inside me. That thing was eating her, but I had to get Ritch out of there before a feral attacked him too. Someone grabbed my shoulder, and I spun snarling, never letting go of Ritch but pushing him behind me with the arm still holding him close.
Landon jumped back before my swipe could disembowel him. “The second group topside found the other entrance. We have to get out of here.”
I followed him, my back to the door and facing the complete and total mayhem in front of us. Something had gone terribly wrong for Trein and his men, and the ferals were decimating them. I couldn’t even see my mother’s body as some of the monsters started feeding in packs.
Grief and rage swamped me, nausea sending churning bile up my throat. I was the last one out, but then Wilbur stepped in front of me and chucked two more devices into the room and slammed the doors shut.
“These ones are gonna explode big. Go, go, go!” He took off at a run. He really was fast.We raced for the tunnel to get out of this nightmare of horrors. Seconds later two booms went off in rapid succession, and the whole hall rocked and shuddered. Dirt, rocks, and who knows what else rained down on us.
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