Even though Mason left I knew I was far from being alone. I'm so sued to feeling watched that I developed a sense to it. I knew something lurked in the shadows, though I didn't get a bad feeling from it. It wasn't the Kovras. They always give off a slithering vibe that sticks to my skin, giving it goosebumps.
"Alright. He's gone so come out." I called out, partly afraid I might be wrong about it not being my creators.
Relief washed over me when Hobs appeared before me. But, relief left as quickly as it came when I saw his expression. He looked serious, more than usual, and scared. He was shaken and stiff at the same time. I wouldn't dare wonder what had him this way. What could possibly get a guy like Hobs all worked up?
"Let's go." He said, grabbing my hand in his in a tight grip.
"What is it?" I asked, only to be pulled along. "Hobs? What is it?"
"Get moving before everyone gets killed!" His voice raised higher than I've ever heard before. Hobs was the kind of man to keep calm. I didn't think anything scared him. Only after he spoke did I understand. He was afraid for his partners, not himself. I followed without another word.
We were heading to Benny's. I didn't bothering asking what was going on because I already knew. I was scared out of my mind, but the time has come to face my fears. When we were past the front door of the bar, the whole place was cast in shadows. I mean it was always dark, but now more than usual. Benny was sitting at the rounded table with the rest surrounding him. They all had grim faces that made me question if coming was a wise idea. Not that I really have a choice, but I should have thought of plan B either way. Benny stood, with his hands sprawled on the table, and motioned me to come closer. No one spoke and an uneasy feeling was creeping up my spine.
I gathered enough moisture to smooth my dry lips before speaking to ask the obvious question. I had hopes I was wrong. I wished so badly that I was wrong. "What's going on?"
"That, my dear girl, is a very good question." The voice wasn't from any of the men in the room. In fact, it wasn't a male voice at all. It came from a woman and it was located behind me. I shouldn't have turned around. I should have just made a run for it. I felt the air escape my lungs, mainly because I was thrown across the room, soon after hitting a wall. My head was banged up and I fell face down on the floor. I looked up to see the flaming red hair, flowing in slow motion around the tall, slender woman. Her arms were a collage of tattoos, some I recognized as cobras that slithered up to her shoulders. Kai stared me down with a mocking look in her eyes and a crooked smile.
“J 0.3, you’ve made quite the company here. Oh sorry. Should I call you Jinx instead?”
I glared at Hobs and he just looked stiff and apologetic. Did I expect him to do anything though? No. Did I expect him to not have looked for me in the first place? No.
“Oh you mustn’t blame this one.” Kai ran her fingers down Hobs chest before stepping behind him and wrapping her arms around his neck. “He resisted my control. I think he likes you, Jinx.”
"You said you'd let us go if I brought you Jinx." He said.
"I did, didn't I?" Kai flashed a smile my way. "Now that won't be happening, will it, Jinx dear?"
“Let them all go. It’s me you want right? You got me.” Cliché much? I know. Still, I couldn’t let them take the fall for my stupid delusions. I thought I could outrun her, but I was clearly wrong.
“Very noble. And here I was under the impression that they had you as a slave. I mean, it’s not like you’re not used to it.” A grin spread across her lips and she pressed her lips gently against Hobs’ cheek. I heard the sizzling and the red mark forming against his flesh. He struggled to move away but he was held in place. Kai’s control was all over the place, it secured the whole room and left us all defenseless. I always knew this day would come, I was just hoping I would have a little more time. I was also hoping that I would face it alone, not take all these people down with me.
“Kai, please.” I begged and she tilt her head my way.
“Hmm?” She let go of Hobs and made her way to me, crouching before me and placing a single finger under my chin. Her nails were sharp and it pricked my skin, making me wince. “What was that, dear?”
“Please. Let them all go. If you do, I’ll come with you willingly and I’ll take any punishment you see fit.”
“Now that’s more like it. You should have been this yielding back then.” She rose and gave a shrill laugh that rung like echoes in the small room. “Tell you what. You can safe one of your little friends. Take your pick. It will be him, wont it?” She pointed at Hobs and walked back to him, her fingers running under his chin and across his chest. “He’s handsome. He is also not human.” She moved closer. “What are you? The scent of your magic is delightful.” She took a good whiff of him and moaned against is neck. “Intoxicating.”
Hobs jerked away, placing a considerable amount of distance between hm and Kai. He took one look at me and said, "You'll be fine." Which after he disappeared. It's not like he vanished or faded away. It wasn't like that at all. I just blinked and then he was gone. As if all this time he was only a figment of my imagination. Maybe all of this was just my imagination going wild. I desperately wished it to be true, but somehow I doubted that. I also doubted Hobs would come back. Ever.
"I guess that's that." Kai seemed unfazed by Hobs disappearance, or the fact that he was never under her control. "Everyone ready to die?" She said it so gleefully while rubbing her hands together.
I managed one glance at Benny. He looked as terrified as all the others. There was no point in asking for mercy. She wouldn't grant it to any of us. She began with me. Her heeled feet came my way and I cursed my hair for being so long. Kai wrapped her hand in my hair and yanked at it, bringing me to my knees. "I'd like you to watch, honey." Her free hand rose and a flowing smoke of pure black spilled from her fingertips. It hovered on the floor before it transformed to slithering cobras. Hungry ones.
Benny shook his head and cursed. "I would say I'm sorry, but I'm not." He moved from his spot and just as Hobs did, he disappeared.
I blinked rapidly. Was I dreaming? Hobs and Benny were able to escape Kai's hold. Maybe I was just torturing myself. Wake up damn it. Wake up...
"Those two are quite something. Too bad they didn't care that much for you. Poor choice of freind, darling." Kai made sure I knew this was all real. She pulled at my hair and I was now supporting my body on my tip toes. I watched as the cobras dragged their long bodies towards the group of men who were cowering in a corner. I wanted to close my eyes but Kai willed me to keep them open. The snakes attacked. Quick bites kept the men paralyzed, disabling them from crawling away. Kai twitched her fingers and the snakes forced themselves into the men’s mouths as a ringing laugh filled the room. I’ve seen this before. It was Kai’s favorite to torture and kill. The cobras ate their way into each body and slithered down, only to push their way out of the stomachs. I stared, horrified and disturbed by their screaming.
I realized some of the screaming was my own. I wanted to block out the sounds of pain coming from all those men. Some looked at me with vengeful eyes, others were begging for it to stop. It wouldn’t stop and there would be no revenge. There was only death. When the screaming stopped, meaning they were either dead or tired of pleading, I forced myself to look at Kai. She smiled down at me, as if a proud mother.
“You’re the devil.” I told her and she laughed it off.
“I believe that is the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me, Jinx dear.”
“Go to hell.” I spat.
“Been there. It’s too hot for me. We should go now, the others are waiting.” Her fingers gripped my hair tighter and I screeched. I glanced one last time at all the men. They were torn apart.
Kai dragged me towards the door, she was ready to go about as if what she had just done did nothing to shake her guilt. Her heart was a black hole, a rock, something cold and useless. The ability to reason was wasted on her.
When the remaining of the snakes made it back to her, the door to the grill burst open. Kai stopped walking and I twisted around to find Mason standing at the door. I gasped, squirming and kicking in Kai’s grip.
“Leave! Run! Get the hell out of here!” I pleaded him, but he ignored me. His eyes were locked on the psychotic witch gripping my hair. His eyes were a raging fire that would have had me shaking, but Kai only grinned. Probably thinking she'd have a little fun before leaving.
“My advice is to let the girl go. That way no one gets hurt. By no one I mean her, just her.” Mason’s eyes shifted from me to Kai, his voice was so dead and flat that for a second I believed his bluff. There was no way he could take Kai on, but he sure played the part of “most powerful” rather well. Kai wasn’t one for fear though, and she knew there was no way he would last in a fight against her. She laughed, a hearty laugh so loud it left my ears ringing.
“Are all the people her in over their heads?” Kai asked. “Just half an hour ago that lot over there thought they could defeat me. It’s cute really.”
“Please, Mason. Go before she kills you too.” I pleaded at him, my eyes wide and mouth gapping in a gasp from how tightly she was holding my hair.
Mason shot a look at me. “Remember that little discussion about you not knowing me at all? Who do you think I am, Jinx?”
“Deluded.” I yelled when Kai made me stand on my own two feet.
Kai had to let me go. Mason came at her with a blow to the stomach. She went flying into the same wall she had thrown me against. Her coughing left me blinking in disbelief.
“Nice. This one reeks of power. I’ll take great pleasure in killing him. Maybe I’ll use him as my next project.” Kai wasn’t much for using magic, unless it wasn’t much of a fight. It should be backwards right? She was that crazy. Her body rose just an inch off the ground before dashing towards Mason. Both collided with each other, and both jolted in different directions. Mason stood, his face clear of expressions as he drew out two parts of a bo-staff from his long coat. The two pieces connected and clicked, making a single weapon. The end of it threatened to pierce into Kai when Mason maneuvered it at her middle. Kai gasped before laughing, her hands gripping the end and swinging it, along with Mason, towards the ground. Except Mason landed on his feet and forced the staff up and back down hard while Kai still held it. She clearly didn’t expect it, and her back made a cracking sound when it hit the floor.
“Oh darling, this one is something else.” Kai managed to speak, though it sounded raspy and forced. Her laughter filled the room and she winked at me. “Until next time.” Slithering was the sound that followed her escape. She vanished into a puff of the same flowing, black smoke as before.
I tried swallowing, but a knot had formed in my throat. My legs could barely keep me standing, so when I tried I collapsed. Mason twisted the bo-staff in two and put it away, only to help me stand. He supported my weight until I was able to walk on my own and even then he kept a hand against my back in case my legs gave in. We made it to the manor. He helped me in and closed me inside as soon as I was past the door.
“What?” I tried opening the door but it the knob wouldn't twist no matter how hard I tried.
“Stop trying.” I heard him say.
“What are you doing?”
“Securing the manor until I can convince Robin to let you stay at the estate.”
“That’s not happening. I’m leaving, Mason.”
“The hell you are.” After that I could hear mumbling. I kicked the door and leaned against it, sliding down to sit.
“You can’t keep me here.”
“Sure I can.” The door opened and I fell back. He crouched fast enough and caught me before I hit the floor. “Stop being so prone to injuries.”
“Can’t. That’s my glitch.” I joked, which wasn’t very appropriate at the moment. Yet, Mason smiled the slightest and helped me up.
I let him know he could just leave me on the couch but he wouldn't have it. He carried me all the way up to my room and placed me on the bed. Every move and gesture was surprisingly gentle and slow. I curled into myself and sighed.
“You ok?” He asked me.
“Sure. I mean she had me on a death grip by my hair but it’s all good.” I turned to him and looked straight into his eyes. “I still think you should let me go. I can’t stay here for long, or else Kai will come back. Probably with Kat and Karen right behind her." I cleared my throat. "You took Kai on, but winning was just luck. Doubtful you could take all three on your own.”
“Who says I have to? I do have a family you know.”
I couldn’t argue with that. But, how powerful could his family possibly be?
“Get some rest. I’ll be here in the morning.” He went for the door but looked back at me from the corner of his eye. I couldn't quite make out what he was thinking. I had to admit that in a way, that worried me. Nevertheless I fell asleep.
The next thing I knew I woke up when something fell on the bed with a loud "slap." My eyes focused on the spot beside my head and I gasped before sitting up straight. The file on the Dusks lay sprawled over my bed with the lists of enemies spilling from the corner. Mason stood in front of it with his arms folded, looking down at me like he was ready to commit murder.
"I-..." Nothing came out.