The woman, with Kylie living inside her, turned to fight. Not because she thought she could win, but for the little time her son would need to escape. She knew she would die, but it was for her son.
They moved in. There were three of them. They wore black, no masks, and she recognized them.
Knew them well.
Had eaten at their tables.
Laughed at their jokes.
She also recognized the look in their eyes, the drive to complete a job. Killing her was their duty.
She raised her sword and fought. Fought for her son. For a few seconds, she actually bested them, blocked their attempts to draw blood. No one could say she had gone down easy.
The first piercing pain went into her ribs. Kylie screamed for it to stop. She tried to tell herself it wasn't real, that it wasn't her, but it felt real. She felt the pain the spirit had felt those last horrific moments of her life.
Felt their weapons slashing into her skin, hitting bone.
Her body grew limp, the pain too much. She dropped to her knees and fell forward to the floor. Her own blood oozed out. The thick flow of fluid warmed the sudden chill. She didn't fight it. She willed the blood to flow faster. The faster it flowed, the less she hurt.
The coppery scent of blood filled her senses. The stickiness of it seeped beneath her cheek pressed to the cold floor. The last thing she saw was the closet door ajar and her young son watching in horror as she took her last breath.
He hadn't run. Fury filled her soul.
Would he know? Would he know that the reason she died had been to keep him safe-to protect him from the kind of life she and his father had lived?
The second before death took her, she vowed revenge. Not revenge on the ones who killed her-they were nothing more than pawns doing the devil's work. She knew, for she had been one of them. The revenge she sought was for the one who'd sent them, the devil himself. As well as the one who had allowed it, the devil's son.
"Don't get too close. She might cut your head off with that thing." Miranda's shrill voice registered in Kylie's mind, but it was in the distance.
"She won't kill me," Della responded.
"I don't mean she'd want to." Miranda's voice came again. "But hell, you saw how she was dancing around with that sword."Her consciousness fought against the void of blackness. She wanted to fall back into the void. It held no memories. It offered escape from what she'd just experienced. The damn voice, the one she couldn't really identify spoke again. You need to remember.
Taking a breath, she opened her eyes.
Della's black, slightly slanted eyes came into focus. "She's back," she said in a singsong voice, sounding like a horror film.
Kylie tried to push up but felt too weak.
Della helped her sit up. Kylie looked around. She was in her cabin's kitchen. Still clutched in her hand was the sword. The vision must have provoked her to pick it up. Remembering parts of the vision, she dropped the sword and ran her hand over her stomach to check for wounds.
None. Only the memory of pain remained. It was over. Everything but the crying. Tears welled in her eyes. How could life be so brutal? So evil?
"You're not going to kill us, are you?" Miranda asked. Kylie shook her head. As painful as it was to remember details, she needed to remember-she needed answers.
A flash of the little boy in the closet filled her mind, something familiar tickled her memory. Yes, he was familiar. Even more, bits and pieces of the story played deja vu with her mind. Someone had told this story. Who? All of a sudden she knew.
She stood up. Her knees buckled. Della caught her.
"We've got to go," Kylie said.
"It's kind of hard to go when you can't stand up," Della said.
"I can." Kylie forced herself to stand on her own accord and pushed Della's hand away.
"Okay, you're standing," Della bit out. "Step two is being able to walk."
Kylie took a few steps and glared back at the vamp.
"Step three is making sense. And it doesn't make sense for me to walk out of this cabin before I know where we're going."
Kylie inhaled. "To Derek's. I need Derek."
"Derek?" Miranda said. "And here I thought she'd given up on him and was almost back with Lucas."
Kylie shot the little witch a pleading look to give it a break. "I'm serious."
"Can I get my bra on first?" Della asked.
"You don't need one." Miranda snickered.
Della shot her a scowl. "You are the witchiest bitch I know."
Kylie, too emotionally distraught to deal with their bickering, started for the door. She had to know.
Della must have decided Miranda was right about not needing boob support, because she followed Kylie out the door. Pajamas and all.
"You know Burnett will have my head for letting you do this without calling him."
Kylie started running, her need for answers giving her will. She felt the wind in her hair and the tears run wet down her cheeks.
In less than two minutes, Kylie came to a stop beside Derek's cabin.
"Okay, wise one, are you going to knock on the door?" Della looked at her, and her smartass expression vanished into one of concern once she saw Kylie's tears.
"I'm sorry," she said. "It must have been bad."Kylie nodded. "I'll try the window." She ran to the side of the cabin. The windows were a lot taller than she was. Jumping up, she latched her fingers onto the top of the window ledge and pulled herself up to peer inside.
And what she saw had her ... had her ... confused.
She blinked-as if it would change what she was looking at.
But two or three flutters of her lashes later, she could still make out not one, but two people in Derek's bed. One was Derek. She could clearly make out his masculine form. But the other was ... Kylie couldn't see her face.
But it was definitely a her. She had long black hair and a very feminine-shaped pajama-covered butt protruding from the blanket. And Kylie just happened to recognize those PJ bottoms as Derek's.
The girl shifted. Kylie held her breath, hoping she'd roll over so she could see who was warming up the other side of Derek's bed.
Kylie took a second to ask herself if she was jealous. Somewhere deep down, very deep, there was a touch of green emotion. But with it came a sense of rightness. Derek needed to move on.
But did he have to do it so dang fast?
The girl rolled over.
Kylie saw her face and ... "Crap!" Her fingers accidentally let go of the windowsill and she fell, landing with a thump on her butt.
How? How could this be?