Skulduggery Pleasant: Death's Dawn

"I grabbed the axe off of one of them, snapping it with a sharp crack, twisting around and driving it into the skull of another. These guys were easy to kill, but we were being overwhelmed. I was almost at Tihana's side again, when I felt the rock hit my head.

"Oh bollocks." Blood trickled down the side of my face, and then I passed out."

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56. Chapter 55

Welcome back, Death's Dawn!

Caves. They're not pleasant houses. You know, no heating, running water or fridge magnets. What they are cold, damp and downright unpleasant. Add to that several Dullahans, a girlfriend unconscious with a head wound and me being chained to a wall, and it's kind of like a special version of hell. I mean, as things go, they've been worse. I could be dead.

I'd gotten over my little personality complex earlier. Now I was just angry. The Dullahans were standing around, looking at me. Their steeds were tethered to a spot a foot or two away, black and strong. I raised my head and looked into the... well, not a face. A neck cavity? The neck cavity of the Dullahan looking down at me.

"What?" I spat out.

"Darquesse. Where is she?" It rumbled out from the Dullahan's chest, a deep booming sound, like a monster deep within a cavern.

"It's obvious, isn't it?" I sneered at it. There was some sadistic pleasure in me at torturing them like this, the same way they'd tortured Valkyrie. It stepped away from me, and started to walk around.

"It seems there is only one way then." It grabbed its spine whip, and lashed it at Valkyrie. Her eyes fluttered behinds the lids for a second, but then she was immobile again, even as blood poured from her shoulder. I started at her.

"Come on Val, wake up." I muttered. The Dullahan cracked it's whip, and I looked up at it. It's edge bit into Valkyrie's flesh again, but she didn't react. Again and again. I felt tears sting my eyes, and anger boil my heart.

"STOP!" I bellowed, my voice coming out in a deep roar I didn't know I had in me. Wow, am I manly or what? "Stop." I croaked, my voice cracking at the end. Okay, maybe not very manly.

"Then tell me." It said to me, quite calmly.

"You'll have to kill me." It turned it's torso to me, then it's kin.

"That can be arranged."

There was a crack as the whip broke the sound barrier, and then nothing. And then pain, pain like no other. My leg was there, yet I wanted it to be gone. I bit into my lip, refusing to cry out. Again and again and again, the harsh edge of bone cut into me, until I'd bit through my lip and could taste blood. And then finally, there was the relief that came with unconsciousness, or maybe death.

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