Jamie watched in stunned silence as Saith practically jumped through the doorway, knocking Wyth off Zack. And then she screamed.
They flashed back and forth, Wyth with a wicked knife, Saith barehanded. Sometimes she couldn’t tell who was who, because both of the twins looked so similar, but only one had a weapon.
But Wyth was still losing.
Jamie knew this was the kind of fight she’d only see once in her life, but still she covered her eyes. She didn’t want to see, didn’t like the way her mind rejoiced at the idea of Wyth lying bleeding and dead on the carpet. And that wasn’t just from hatred of him. She actually liked his brother, liked Saith, in a way she never would have expected. He was a little like an older brother, or a cheerful cousin. Unlike Wyth, he didn’t scare her, and he didn’t threaten her friends.
Zack’s hand on her shoulder, the sudden silence in the room, told her it was over. Jamie opened her eyes and wished she hadn’t.
Wyth was dead. That was obvious even to her. He lay awkwardly, the blood pooling around his head a scarlet testament to the table edge that had smashed his skull in. But there was more blood than that, sprayed across the floor and walls. Arterial blood.
Saith was dead. His throat cut. Dead.
Jamie screamed again. How were they both gone, just like that? Was that all it took to end a life? A few seconds of rage and anger and hurt? She rebelled against it, screaming her hatred and despair into the tense air.
And then she stopped, and, taking two steps, reached down and slid Saith’s eyes closed. She’d never even known his name, and now she never would.
The Queen of Hearts laughed, the sound seeming to multiply and echo in the small, bloody room. “And there is the true worthlessness of these pathetic fools you filled the ranks with, my son. Your father would be ashamed.”
“My father is dead, but he was a good man. I think the only shame he would feel is from your actions.”
Deuce choked then, and Jamie remembered that he was there, chained like a dog. “I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” He sobbed it into the carpet, rubbing tears and bloody splatters into the soft fabric.
“Oh stop whining, it’s pathetic.” The Queen jerked the chain again, and Deuce did stop. He was too busy gasping for air against the strangling chain to do anything else. “Ah, don’t pity him, Ace. He killed your father, after all. He was my first, still my best. And those first treacherous acts gave me so much ammunition with which to force cooperation! Not like those other worthless pieces. They failed, let your brother be taken away and killed like an animal.”
“I hate you,” Ace whispered, tears falling from his eyelashes. Jamie wanted to step between them, to scream once again, to do something, but this was something that Ace had to handle. “I hate you, mother.”
She actually had the gall to look taken aback. “Me? Why Ace, I did it all for you!”
“No, you did it for you.” And Ace reached down and grabbed the long knife from Wyth’s limp fingers, throwing it toward her. The aim was off, and it sailed harmlessly over her shoulder. Jamie waited for the sound of it hitting the wall, but it didn’t.
Because Deuce caught it.
“Why, Mother?” Deuce stood behind her, blade to the edge of her throat.
The Queen of Hearts spun, grabbing Deuce’s wrist, pulling the knife from her skin to press against his bare chest. From where she now stood behind him, it would be almost impossible for any of them to hit her without killing him. “Because that bastard, he tried to leave me. To leave US, Everything I did, I did for you and your brother.”
“Not good enough,” Deuce muttered back.
And he shoved the knife into his stomach.