Fourth Debt Page 2

Desperation tore raging holes inside my mind. I wanted to collapse by Jethro’s side and scoop up his blood and feed it back to him—to force him to come back to life. I wanted to hold my twin and tell him it would be all right—to wash away his panic. And I wanted to say goodbye to Kestrel—to send him to the ether knowing how grateful I was for what he’d done.

But I couldn’t do any of those things.

Daniel’s pincer grip caged me, leaving me to rot in his deluded embrace.

Bastard.

Sick and twisted bastard.

My temper screeched out of control, and for the first time in my life, I gave in to it. I opened my arms to the tornado of loathing and screamed at the top of my lungs. “Fuck you, Daniel. Fuck you! Fuck you and fuck Cut and fuck all of you!”

The world stopped.

Daniel froze.

I trembled.

Then, he slapped me.

My head snapped sideways. His handprint decorated my cheek with blazing fire, and everything spun out of control.

“You little cunt.” He yanked me forward. His inertia gave me no choice but to stumble into him. “Have your little tantrum. Go on, scream and make a spectacle of yourself. But it won’t change facts.” Trailing his fingertips over my flaming cheek, he murmured, “You just contradicted yourself. First you said you wouldn’t obey me, but then you said you’d fuck me…” He chuckled. “I’m taking the ‘fuck you’ part literally.” Digging his fingers into the sides of my cheeks, he kissed me. “You don’t have to listen for me to fuck you. You don’t even have to obey me. Whatever power you had over my brothers is over, Weaver. You’ll see.”

Jethro…

Letting my face go, he grabbed my arm and tugged me down the corridor.

Further and further from Jethro, Kestrel, and Vaughn.

Further and further into hell.

He’s dead.

He’s dead.

He’s nothing…

Everything inside shrieked with disbelief. He couldn’t be dead. He just couldn’t. I needed to see him again. How could I go on when I didn’t believe what had happened? How could I hope to breathe and exist when all I wanted was to give up like he had?

I swallowed another tsunami of tears. My soul didn’t believe. But my circumstances said otherwise. This was my life now—this endless misery.

“You won’t get away with this.”

Daniel snickered, looking over his shoulder. “Get away with what?”

Murdering my future.

Murdering any chance of happiness I ever had.

“Everything.”

Only thing is…they’ve gotten away with it for centuries.

Every step I died a little more, leaving my beating heart beside Jethro as his body grew cold. The further apart we became, the less human I felt. It was as if the tether binding us would snap at any moment, leaving me smarting, empty, and alone.

He’s dead.

He’s…dead…

It’s…truly…over…

Cold tears stained my cheeks, putting out the fire from Daniel’s slap.

Thick lethargy hijacked my limbs. Sleep…it beckoned me. All I wanted was to fall into its fluffy cradle and disappear.

Daniel dragged me deeper into the house, past foyers and alcoves, and into a wing I’d never entered.

Every step pained me; every breath a blade. My eyes never rose from the monogrammed carpet. I wanted to give up, but an incessant need to fight never left. I forced myself to stand up to him, no matter that it was pointless. “Your father just killed two of your family members. Aren’t you afraid he’ll do it to you? Too many people know, Daniel. The media, online—”

“You think a few fucking tweeters and social media posts can stop us?” He propelled me into his arms with a vicious yank. “I thought you’d stopped being delusional.” His lips turned into a sneer. “Then again, you willingly came back. That makes you a dumb bitch who deserves what’s coming to her.”

I came for him.

But now he’s gone.

I recoiled in his arms. The last liveliness in my heart vanished. I’d witnessed the love of my life die in front of my eyes. I’d been audience to two murders and too many ruined lives. I couldn’t…I couldn’t cope any more.

I sank…

I gave in.

I evaporated inside.

I’m in shock.

Daniel chuckled, continuing to tug me down corridors I didn’t recognise. I stopped paying attention, following like a good sheep, stumbling over a threshold I’d never crossed before.

He shoved me forward. “Welcome to your new home, bitch.”

I tripped forward, arms whirling, mind fighting against vertigo.

A loud slam ricocheted from behind me. A door. A prison gate.

I spun around, breathing hard. I didn’t have any words or energy left. I was sick, terrified, heartbroken. But through it all, I was numb.

I’d accepted my fate, acknowledged the truth, and finally seen what it all meant.

He’s truly, truly dead.

Daniel stalked toward me.

Automatically, my feet shuffled back—not from conscious instruction but some primal need for self-preservation. In reality, I no longer cared what happened. It was as if I watched myself from the safety of the ceiling, peering down at the poor unfortunate Weaver, no longer caring what happened to blood and bone when I no longer inhabited it.

He’s dead.

He’s dead.

I want to die, too.

Daniel never stopped corralling me around the space. Through blurry eyes, I took in the rich emerald brocade on his four-poster bed, the priceless antiques, and moss-coloured walls. The shades of green looked like we’d traded indoors for some woodland glen.

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