The Protectors

Nia's world as she knows it is about to crumble down around her, everything she knows is a lie and she doesn't know who she can trust anymore. Can Nia and her friends stop before humanity itself is wiped out, or will the secrets push Nia too far?

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4. Chapter Three

       Finally, it was time for me to lock up, it was only 10 pm and even though I knew the younger children may already be in bed but Max certainly won’t and neither does that Robbie and Helena may not even be home yet which is the worst scenario that could occur tonight. I closed the door behind me as I walked out the door of the shop after getting all my things like my jacket, phone, keys and my present from Amelia and switching off the lights.

       The cold air caused a shiver to run up my spine, my hands instantly started to feel numb and the air started to burn into my lungs. When I made sure the door was locked I shoved the keys back into my bag and wrapped my arms closely around my body trying to warm as much of my body I could.

       The orange streetlights seemed dim compared to the shop lights causing my eyes to blur slightly due to the darkness. I tried to ignore how the darkness and silence made everything about this walk home seem sinister compared to when the sun comes up. The only sounds that I could hear were my shoes hitting the pavement as I walked, trying to walk as quickly as I could to the house.

       As I walked, the sounds of my feet padding on the pavement, the sounds echoing louder the closer I listened, that was until I could hear another set of footsteps following closely behind mine. My breath quickened in my throats as I listened to them coming closer, faster. My heart felt like it was ready to explode in my chest, I gripped my coat with my fists hugging harder to myself.

       I kept my head low as I tried to avoid any attention being drawn to me, I didn’t know what I was supposed to do, I was only 5 minutes into my walk home and I don’t think I could outwalk or even outrun the for the next 15 minutes, I wasn’t very good at exercise. My hair was blowing around in the breeze causing parts to fly over my face, my breath was coming out as pants by the time the footsteps were right behind me, the person didn’t say anything, he just walked behind me but it was the most terrifying moment of my life.

       I wanted to turn around and look at him but I was scared that it would either cause an attack or he would be an innocent man walking and I’ve just offended him. I tried to walk faster, not in a ‘You freak me out’ sort of way but the walk that basically just says ‘I’m getting cold so I’ll walk faster’. The only problem is when I started walking faster, so did he. His followed behind me as we walked down the street, the houses moving past us quickly whereas it felt like they were moving in slow-motion.

       It was only when we walked past a closed alleyway and that’s when he made a move, his arm wrapped around my neck tightly, his arm pressing against my throat making it hard to breathe. I struggled against his body trying to throw him off but all he did was fight against my struggles and squeezed my neck tighter by his arm.

       His other arm came across and his hand slammed down on my mouth to keep me from yelling out, my yells were muffled against his hand but I didn’t give in. I tried to kick him, elbow him, I tried biting his hand but nothing seemed to stop him from dragging me into that ally, all my kicking and struggling not seeming to bother him in the slightest.

       When we were deeper into the ally he roughly threw me against the wall, the feeling of my head hitting the damp bricks behind me sending a painful ache to the back of my head. I groaned as the rest of my body ached with the impact, I tried to lift my hands high enough to push him off but he didn’t move away from me, he didn’t even move from my hands hitting on his chest, he seemed to be oblivious to it as his eyes searched my face. A cruel smile twisted onto his face, sending sparks of fear all over my body, my legs shaking with fear and I could barely breathe.

       It was too dark to be able to take in his face properly but I could tell he was blonde, his short military hairstyle giving him an emotionless appearance. He grabbed my hands away from his chest and slammed them both into the wall next to me causing a pained cry to explode from my mouth as my wrists burned with pain.

       I could feel my eyes water at the pain in my wrists and my head from his rough touch. I could feel his breath against my neck as he leaned in, his chin brushing against my skin slowly, teasingly and it chilled me to the bone at feeling him this close to me.

       “Nia Payton” he mumbled against the skin of my neck and I froze against the wall at the fact he said my name, how the hell did he know my name! This was so much more than just a random attack “How – How do you know me?” I stuttered as the panic rising in my body, the dread feeling heavy as it ran through my body and made it difficult to move.

       “I’ve found you, Boss will be happy” he smirked as he pressed my wrists harder into the wall causing another painful cry to fall out of my mouth, the pain was starting to become unbearable. I could feel my knee’s about to give in and I was thinking of all the things I never got to do; meet my family, go to college, find someone, get married, travel. All those things I never got to do and would seem that I never would because of this. I was about to give up all hope, that I’d never get to see the munchkins again, never get to say that I didn’t abandon them but that I loved them all so much.

       “you're breaking the agreement” a cold voice rang out in the alleyway, it caused my body to froze but this time in completely a different way, I recognized the voice, the manly tone to it. The same way it sounded to me in the shop, it was the same guy who Amelia said she couldn’t see, trying to look over the man’s shoulder but I couldn’t see anyone standing there. The man who was leaning in my neck had completely frozen in his place against my neck.

       “This is none of your business Guard” he snapped as he turned his head viciously to the side to look where the voice was coming. He pulled himself away from me and turned to face the man, his body covering my vision but I could hear his harsh breathing “That’s where your wrong mutt” the man mocked, I could just picture a smirk on his face with how cocky his voice sounded.

       The man in front of me growled low in his throat, the sound was so low it sounded more like a rumble that anything. I pressed myself away from him and closer to the wall trying to get away from him. His body started to shake in an abnormal way, his breath turned ragged and harsh, seemed to be panting with anger as he stared at the man in front of him.

       “Call me a mutt again” he muttered darkly, his voice deeper and rougher as he spoke to him, his hands clenched at his sides “Why what you going to do, Mutt” the cocky man muttered amusedly as watches the man in front of me started to shake uncontrollably, his head moving from side to side, instead of a scream in anger but instead it was a deafening roar, one that made me cover my ears with my hands.

       Closing my eyes away from what was happening, I felt my whole body shake in fear at what was happening in front of me. The man kept growling loudly but from where I was crouched down I could see the mystery man from earlier standing in front of the man, his arms crossed over his chest, his lips twisted into an amused smirk as he watched the snarling man in front of him, he didn’t seem scared or terrified but instead he looked calm which seemed absolutely ridiculous because anyone should be terrified right now.

       Instead, he pulled what seemed like a pen knife out of his back pocket and my eyes widened when I saw his cocky smirk enlarge, did he seriously think he was going to defeat the hulk over here with a pen knife? Really, that’s what his bright idea was?

       Before I could say anything he made a swift hand movement in mid-air and the pen knife hummed. At first, I thought it was my imagination, this couldn’t possibly be real, men growling, pen knife’s humming and glowing. But the more I looked at the scene in front of me I could see the point of the pen knife start to glow bright blue as it started to grow in the man’s hand.

       Before I knew it the penknife had stretched into a sword, it was metal and going down the middle of the sword was some sort of shapes that glowed bright blue. The sword was beautiful as he held it, his body ready to pounce as he watched the man in front of me.

       “I warned you” the man threatened before he growled once more and ran towards the cocky man. They moved too fast for me to watch, their shapes blurring together as they fought, this seemed so surreal that I couldn’t wrap my head around it, I must have started hallucinating when I hit my head on the brick wall and everything since then has just been a dream.

       I watched as the growling man fell the floor with a groan, his body slamming into the floor as if a ton of force had been pressed down against him. The cocky man stood above him, his sword hanging down by his side, his eyes void of emotion as he looked down at the person below him, his body calm as he raised his sword ready for the final strike.

       That was when I made my move, my body felt like it had been frozen against the wall, I wanted to move, to scream but my body wouldn’t react, I couldn’t even close my mouth as I watched the whole scene unfold before my eyes in shock and fear.

       I ran up to my hero as pushed him to the side hard, I didn’t want him to be arrested for murder just because of me, he didn’t see me coming because I startled him into moving to the side giving the growling man a second chance. He stood up before I could blink, he was standing in front of me, his eyes pitch black as he looked down at me, his teeth starting to grow longer in his mouth, as they cut into his bottom lip causing it to bleed.

       My body froze with fear just looking at him, I came to his chin which means I had to crane my neck back to look up at his face but I was too scared to look away either. Before I could react to him standing so close my body was once against thrown back but this time I was grabbed by the scruff of my jacket and pulled to the floor behind the cocky guy who had once again stood between that creep and I.

       The guy who saved my life stood in front of me, his body shielding me from the creep who was glaring at him with those black eyes. Without missing a beat, the man from the shop grabbed the creep on the shoulder and pulled him forward roughly, right at the time he pulled his sword up from his side and drove it through the man’s chest.

       I screamed loudly when I saw the sword drive into his body, my own body flinching away from the noise it made, the way his mouth widened in shock when he felt what had happened. I was about to scream again when I saw his body start to shift. His arms started to sprout hair as his body grew, his clothes started to rip against his body exposing more skin that was starting to grow fur as well. His face started to also change, his mouth forming into a muzzle with razor sharp teeth all of display for me to see. His hands which were resting at his sides started to change into claws, his nails growing longer and sharper with every second.

       By the time he stopped changing, standing in the place of the man who attacked me was some sort of wolf, it was a dark brown wolf with pitch black eyes that seemed to look into your soul. I shuffled back further to the wall, completely terrified about what the hell was going on. I would never have believed anything like this could ever happen, this wasn’t real. No this couldn’t be real because if it was I was obviously going insane, this couldn’t have happened.

       The real world doesn’t have magic swords, prince charming’s who can kick ass, damsel in distresses and men that turn into wolves. That isn’t the real world, that happens in the fairy tales.

       The man pulled his sword from the beast’s chest and the body fell to the floor with a thud, lying lifeless on the floor, his eyes still open as they stared at me with cold eyes. I was about to ask what he was going to do about it but instead, he brought out a box of matches, lit it and then flicked it onto the body that was lying at his feet as if this was a completely normal situation.

       Spotting my bag on the other side of the ally way and I rushed to grab it before I took off running out of the alleyway, my wrists were stinging in pain as I held them close to my body, my bag swinging into my side every step I took, the air sweeping my knotted hair around my face. I ran as fast as I could, not wanting to stop for a moment, I was too scared that if I stopped I would have to face that man and what had happened in front of me. I could feel the cold air against my sweating cheeks and be happy with how refreshing it felt. 

       By the time I got home I was out of breath, my lungs felt like they were burning, every breath I took hurt because of how dry my throat felt due to how much I had cried on the way home, my feet hurt from how fast I made myself run, I was just praying that neither Robbie or Helena were awake because I don’t think I could walk another step let alone talk to anyone.

       When I got outside the house I didn’t bother to check if any of the lights on, I didn’t look around as I ran through the gate before throwing open the door and closing it behind me as I leaned against it, my breath racing as I pressed my hand against my chest trying to calm myself down. I couldn’t breathe, the air was still burning in my lungs, my forehead was covered in sweat, my heart beating so fast it seemed like it was about to explode.

       I couldn’t hear anything apart from my heavy breathing, there was no noise coming from downstairs, the telly wasn’t on, there was no obnoxious laughter coming from the kitchen or the sound of a bottle hitting the table or crushing a pill on the counter top. A usually night for either Helena or Robbie.

       Running my hand through my hair I couldn’t believe what I had just seen out on the street. I couldn’t believe that was real, there was no why that should have happened. My mind was trying to make sense of everything, it was starting to hurt how much my brain was over flooded with information and I could feel my head pounding from both the connection with the wall and how much over thinking I was going through.

       Gasping for breath I dropped my bag on the floor by the door, not caring if it annoyed Helena whenever she managed to crawl through the door. I pushed open the kitchen door needing a glass of water for my burning throat when I spotted someone sitting at the dinner table, for some reason they were sitting in the dark at the kitchen table, in the dark without saying anything when they hear the door opening.

       Once again I felt fear creep up my spine as I look around the kitchen towards the light switch, I was not going to be that dumb blonde who walks around in the dark during a horror movie. I flicked on the light switch and the lights flickered on slowly but a few seconds later they flickered out again and stayed out, the dark atmosphere made me feel like running out of the house with everything I had.

       I reached over to the counter and pulled out a knife from the knife board, I wasn’t about to be unprepared. Gripping the knife tightly in my hand I walked slowly over to the table, I didn’t have a clue why Helena was down here but then again I could see her passing out in the chair after drinking and partying all night and just passing out in the middle of a session.

       Walking over until I was right next to Helena, I was looking down at her as she sat down with her head hung low causing her hair to cover her face, it was messier than I had ever seen it, I had never seen her this messy before, she was always so strict that she would never be caught dead looking like this in front of us.

       Taking a deep breath, I reached out, gritting my teeth tightly as I kept my eyes flickering all over the room to make sure nothing was going to jump out at me, I’ve seen that movie and I wasn’t about to be next. When my hand touched her shoulder I was shocked by how cold she was, it was weird seeing as the heater was in full mode.

       Pushing her back in the chair, I crouched down next to her and tried to mentally encourage myself into lifting her head up, after five minutes of debating with myself silently I lifted up her head only to gasp loudly as I jumped back in shock and dread as I looked wide eyed at Helena, she was sat there at the kitchen table with her throat clawed out, it was gone. It looked like it had been torn out of her and there was blood all down her top, her eyes were wide with fear as they stared straight ahead.

       I couldn’t think straight, I had no idea what was going on, what had happened, I would have asked who would have done this but the time it would take me to make that list would be way to mind consuming. I couldn’t breathe as I looked towards the knife laying on the floor beside me, I had dropped it on the floor when I saw the condition of the body.

       I couldn’t believe I was sitting in front of a dead body which is exactly where I was only half an hour ago except this was in my house, someone I knew. Reaching for the knife shakily I climbed to my feet clumsily, my legs feeling heavy as I tried to walk. The house was completely dark as I made my way out of the kitchen and into the hallway. I couldn’t help but let my free hand slowly drag across the wall next to me so I knew where I was going.

       The house seemed so quiet, so peaceful that I wasn’t sure if the children had all gone to bed or if something was definitely wrong with them, I couldn’t even hear water running through the pipes, all I could hear was my own ragged breathing and my feet against the wooden floor as I made my way up the stairs.

       When I got to the top of the stairs I looked left and right with no idea of where to start looking for the children. As I was deciding I heard a baby cry come from the same direction as Sam and Lucy’s room.

       The cry was short but it was loud enough for me to know exactly where that was coming from, gripping the knife tightly in my hand I slowly started to make my way to the door of the room. My heart thudding in my chest hard as I got closer to the door, my body feeling heavy as I reached for the door handle, not hearing any noise from inside the room I was starting to feel really worried about what might be on the other side of it.

       When my hand wrapped around the door handle and I felt my pulse thud in my hand as I gripped onto the cold metal of the door handle, the fear still climbing through my body as I gently turned the doorknob and pushed the door open wide before stepping into the room without knowing what was in there.

       I felt my breathing stop when I saw what was happening in the baby’s room, I could see each of the children all sat on the floor, tape stuck around their mouths, their ankles chained together, each looking in my direction with a fearful and pleading look in their watering eyes.

       Standing behind them and over towering them was a man who could snap me in two with just a flick of his wrist. His body was 99.9% of muscle and 1% protein, he was wearing a dead facial expression as he stared at me with a dead look in his eyes, his body calm as if he was used to doing this as if kidnapping and scaring children is normal.

       Stepping into the room slowly I raised the knife in front of me, my breathing was hard and quick as I walked, my body tensing with fear as I walked into the room, the silenced muffled voices coming from the restricted children was terrifying, the look of fear on their face was starting to scare me off so badly I wanted to run a mile away from here.

       “Let - Let them go” I stuttered annoyingly as I raised the knife in his direction, trying to look intimidating but I knew I wasn’t fooling anyone, I wasn’t even fooling the children who were looking at me with such sad and scared looks. The man in front of me chuckled darkly, his tone holding no amusement, it sent a dreadful feeling run up my back at the sound of it “I don’t think you’re in a position to demand anything, little girl” he sneered as he dropped his heavy hand onto George’s soft hair, George’s face flinched when the impact happened, his tear stained cheeks made my heart ache in such a harsh way that I felt it was hard to breath.

       “What – What do you want with the - them?” I asked keeping the knife in the air as I waited for his answer if he would answer my question that is. I heard another deep sinister chuckle before moving his hand off the top of George’s head and returned to his side as he started to walk past the children, his hands still remaining at his sides as he walked towards me, slowly, his eyes locking into mine as they danced with enjoyment of my suffering, he was thriving in it.

       “We want to know where it is” he hissed at me as he came closer, my body flinched away from his as if the instinct to get away from his was kicking in. He circled my body, keeping his arms just close enough to feel the heat against my cold skin from the night walk. I hated that I couldn’t do anything about and that even if I did something I would only end up the one being hurt by him.

       “Oh sweet naïve little girl, you don’t think we would believe that do you, we know you have it and we want it and we will get it from you” he promised in my ear harshly, my arms being covered in goose bumps as I tried to control my breathing as I tried to figure out what he meant.

       “I don’t know what you’re on about, I have no idea what you want from me but I don’t have anything you’d want to steal” I exclaimed quickly, it was true and I didn’t understand what he meant when he said he wanted something from me and he would get it. I didn’t understand anything.

       He moved away from me all of a sudden and in a blur he was standing right in front of me, his hand gripping onto my throat as he growled down at me, his growl reminding me of what happened back in the ally and I felt my blood froze in my veins, I wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible “I’m going to ask you one time and if you don’t tell us where it is I will make you regret that choice” he threatened as his hand pressed more pressure into my neck, making it hard to breathe as I clawed at his hand trying to get him to release the grip he had.

       He gave me a loud growl as if threatening me to avoid his warning, his body was starting to shake just like the man in the alleyway did “Now where is it?” he growled darkly, his voice deepening as he spoke to me, his grip almost cutting my breath off completely as he squeezed. I tried to speak but I couldn’t get words out, my mind was starting to blank, my heart was beating so fast in my chest I was starting to feel weak, my legs were shaking and almost about to collapse.

       He gave my face a looking over before releasing my throat slightly allowing me to suck in air to my deprived lungs, my lungs burned with the need of air, my breaths panting as I took in as much air as I could.

       “I – Don’t – know – What – You –Mean” I gasp out in between breaths, my voice croaky after being squeezed and I felt my legs weaken under the weight of my body. I heard his growl of anger before his hand gripped onto my throat tightly and he threw me against the wall, my body hitting the wall hard and I fell to the floor in a heap, my body aching with the impact, my mind reeling with what had happened just now, my breath was knocked out of me which meant it was hard to drag in air with as much effort as I could.

       My eyes started to black out as I tried to focus on the children whose eyes were all focused on me, their eyes wide and watering as they watched me groan on the floor not being able to help them. I tried to crawl my way over but I stopped when I saw that man standing in front of them, his eyes dark and cold as he looked into my confused and scared ones. His growls were deep and threatening as he clenched his hands at his sides “I warned you! This is what happens” he cried out in an aggressive tone, he ripped something off his neck in anger and threw it towards the wall.

       I was completely confused as to watch was happening and was waiting for the item to smash or just bounce off the wall but instead it was hit the wall and instead of doing what I’d expect it seemed to go straight through the wall and instead of a smash or a bounce, a part of the water started to ripple like it was made of water, looking at the wall that was moving and the man who was standing next to the children a dark twisted look on his face as he saw the terror.

       He gripped Harriet’s arm in his hand, squeezing it tightly as he yanked up from the floor and pulled her to his side. She cried out in pain against the tape across her mouth, she struggled against his side trying to pull it away from him but her efforts were pointless.

       Without another word he pulled her towards the wall, which caused the whole group of children to have to move along with him, their ankles all chained together. When Harriet was standing next to the shimmering wall he gave me a sinister look “Now my members are going to get the information out of you and they won’t be as nice as I was” he smirked as he spoke before pulling Harriet into the shimmering wall, pulling the rest of the children behind him.

       They all stumbled after one another, trying to force themselves away from the chains but nothing working. I watched helplessly as they all disappeared into the wall, they just seemed to completely walk through walls and I was finding it hard to believe that this was reality. The shimmering wall stopped the minute the last child had walked through and I tried to scramble my way towards the wall, the only thing I could do was crawl towards the wall, my fingers reaching out to try to touch the wall hoping that it would let me pass through just to be with the children. I should have done something to help them, something that would have helped but instead I let them be taken away.

       I let the tears flow freely down my cheeks as I lay on the floor completely exhausted and drained. I could hear the door opening and I lifted my head to try and see who was walking in. I saw two black boots coming towards me, my eyes turning blurry as I looked at them coming closer to my face.

       “You should have just answered him” the voice spoke and I knew exactly who it was, it was the one I had been suffering because of for the last couple of months, it was none other than Robbie. He crouched down just as I tried to make myself sit up against the wall, wanted to be as far away from him as I could be.

       I hated him being so close to me, I always hated when he got too close for comfort “I don’t know anything” I spat out completely irritated with having to repeat the same thing over and over again. He chuckled darkly, his eyes pitch black eyes staring into mine “You really are naïve if you think we’d believe you” he hissed before his body changed dramatically in my face.

       Instead of being a man like he was, he seemed to be this growling beast, his bitch black eyes were glaring at me with amusement, his body wasn’t covered in skin anymore but instead he looked like his skin was this rubbery grey texture, his face was pulled back over his bones making his skin look deathly scary. His lips curled back over his pointed teeth that were drawing blood from his lips.

       His hands turned into long claws, the nails looking strong enough to cut through steel, they were razor black against his dark gray skin.

       I flinched away from him in fear before I started to shake, my eyes watering quickly as the tears continued to flow down my cheeks, he swiped through the air and a burning sensation flooded my body out of nowhere, it felt as if the life had been clawed out of me, the pain it so unbearable that I couldn’t help but cry out in pain as my body arched into the wall trying to avoid the pain it was being caused.

       I saw the twisted smirk plaster across his face as he watched me squirm in pain in front of him. I couldn’t keep my eyes open as the pain grew, it was starting to go numb and the pain was seeming to fade from my body as I began to grow tired.

       My body started to slump against the wall and my eyes grew tired, I could hear a lot of shouting and crashing in front of me but my eyes couldn’t focus on anything, shapes were becoming blurry and I couldn’t focus on anything. It was only until a final crash broke out in the room and someone appeared in front of my face, their hands gripped onto my cheeks slightly, pulling my head up to look at them. My eyes scrunched up as I tried to focus on his face “What’s happening?” I mumbled drunkenly it sounded, his face turned from worried to amused as he watched it happening.

       “Poison, it’s nothing to worry about” he muttered checking my shoulder where Robbie had swiped in the air, turning my head to look at him I gave him a stupid look, well as much of a stupid look I could muster “Poison? How high are you?” I muttered in a dull voice as he stared at the wound in my arm.

       He choked back a smile and gave me a serious look “It’s nothing don’t worry” he brushed it off but my heart started to beat crazily in my chest, my mind started to get foggy and I couldn’t keep my head up anymore, dropping my head down he caught me with his chest letting me rest it there. I took in a deep breath, the smell of his after shave coursing through my nose completely relaxing me as I did. I felt my eyes start too close and I didn’t have the strength to waken up. I let my whole body fall forward on to his and I could tell he was surprised but he covered it up but wrapping his arms around my body and standing up and carrying me in his arm.

       The last thing I heard before my eyes closed completely and finally was “Its ok now, I’ve got you” he whispered softly. 

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