Liam didn’t answer me, he just lay there on the cages bloody floor. I shifted my gaze to the knife still lodged in my shoulder. Blood oozed out from around it, like my life was being spilled onto the table. If I could only get one hand free… I tugged at the restraints that tightly clasped around my wrists. The restraint tore into my skin, it’s bite growing increasingly painful. I screamed as one hand slipped through the restraint, but my hand was not unscathed. A giant circular laceration poured blood around my hand and arm.
“I’m getting us out of this, Liam. I promise.” Tears dripped from my face as I grabbed the knife with my free hand. I took a few labored breaths before I pulled with all my strength. My face contorted as I clenched my teeth, growling loudly as the knife became dislodged. With one more tug the knife came free with a large spurt of blood. I released a long scream at the sudden rush of agony that now racked my body. Slowly I used the knife to cut the rest if my restraints one thought on my mind. SURVIVE. I rolled off the table and landed with a concussive thud.
“Liam?” I called weakly to my soul. “Liam please,” I choked, shutting my eyes. “I can’t do this alone!”
“You never have to…” A weak bravado echoed in the silence. Stunned, my eyes fell to the bloodied snow leopard. He stood and gave me a small smile. My heart almost exploded with joy as I limped over to the cage.
“Hang on,” I slammed the knife into the cage door. Liam pressed against the bars, aiding my leverage. I heard a small click and the door was open. Liam slowly pawed up to me and laid his head on my shoulder, as I hugged tightly back.
“Fenrir will be back,” Liam whispered "and I am in no condition to take on him or Lira.” His crimson eyes met mine.
“I have his weapon this time and we have surprise on our side.
Fenrir looked about the old building, remembering it back when it was in operation.
“I loved this old slaughterhouse,” He mused to Lira. She nodded slightly but stopped for a moment. Fenrir’s face shifted into confusion. “What is it girl?” He crouched next to her scratching behind her ears. She purred loudly, she always loved it when he pet her. Lira looked her master in the eyes.
“You actually plan to kill the boy and his soul,” She asked standing to all fours. Regret clenched in Fenrir’s throat but he quickly shook the feeling.
“It has to be done!” He said, more to assure himself.
“But he’s your-” Fenrir turned on Lira his face a snarl that made her tail fall between her legs. Fenrir rubbed his temples and sighed.
“It has to be done Lira, with his death I’ll be free of all of this. Then you and I can go somewhere far away. Somewhere nice and tropical.” Lira nodded still unsure of her master’s decision. They had reached the door that lead to Vlad’s torture room. Fenrir turned the doorknob and hear it click and fall open. Both Lira and Fenrir’s jaws fell open at what they saw.
Liam stood on the table, he held a grin that made Lira and Fenrir’s faces priceless. I sat crouched behind the door, the knife still in my hand.
“How the hell did you get free?” Lira roared, her fur on edge. Liam raised an eyebrow, he was enjoying this.
“I’m sick of you and your slave torturing me an Vlad! This ends now!” Liam roared unsheathing his claws. His attack caught Lira off guard as his claws connected with her throat. The two tumbled till Liam stood atop her his fangs around her neck. He growled in a way I had never heard, his eyes were alien and filled with hunger. I jumped from my hiding spot and slammed the knife into Fenrir’s back. His back arched into an inhuman position and fell to the ground. I looked to Liam his grasp on Lira growing tighter and tighter.
“LIAM!” I yelled. He blinked and looked to me, the panther in his jaws. In a second he dropped her and pushed a paw against her back to stop her from fleeing. I returned my attention to Fenrir who was immobile, face down on the ground. I rolled the man onto his side, surprised to see that he was laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked, horrified.
“You’re just like me…” he said before coughing up blood. “Now we can add murder to our list of commonalities.” I gasped at what he said. Slowly I backed away from the dying man.
“No, no, no…you wanted me to do this!” I yelled in anger, sobbing. Fenrir closed his eyes, a twisted smiled on his face.
“You just don’t get it do you Vladimir. You don’t even recognize me…” He fell into another coughing fit. I paused looking at the man trying with all my heart to determine who this man was.
“I’m your brother, Luca.” Time shut down, everything around me stopped. It wasn’t true it couldn’t be true! No this was all wrong.
“Mom and Dad…said that my brother died,” I said still stunned.
“From an aircraft accident?” he laughed. “I was abandoned by Mother and Father,” Luca weakly spat. “They left me to die, so when I got the job to kill them I was very happy. I was hoping to take you after I killed them, to make you like me. But Liam here, intervened. So hid and watched you from the shadows. You weren’t any different from me, until that girl came along and you got noble.” My head reeled from what he was telling me, I felt sick to my stomach.
“And now in the end you’ve come back to your old self and accomplished what I always wanted you to do.”
I looked to my brother.
“What?” I asked knowing the all to gruesome answer.
“Murder, in cold blood.” Luca began to gasp and cough violently. He struggled right before my eyes but I didn’t help him. I felt strangely cold on the inside, like my heart had been ripped out and replaced with a chuck of cold steel. Lira’s eyes closed as she disappeared.
“He’s dead,” I said emotionless. Liam came to my side without a word. Doors suddenly slammed open as cops filled the house and room.
“Move, I have to see Vlad.” I heard a familiar voice say. Then I saw her, it was Chrystel. She hugged me tightly but I didn’t respond. I just felt to numb, even with warm blood coating me. Chrystel looked me in the eyes as a blonde woman entered the room, a raven soul on her shoulder.
“Vlad, what’s wrong?” her voice was filled with worry and concern. I didn’t reply. An officer pulled her away from me as they laid me on a stretcher, Liam at my side.
“No, let me go. I have to see if he’s alright.” Chrystel’s voice yelled as Padhllum growled. I shut my eyes, not caring where I went or what happened to me.
“He’s going unconscious!” I heard a far off voice say.
“Get him in the ambulance, hurry!” For the second time in my life darkness engulfed me. But instead of being afraid and scared, I welcomed it with open arms. The dark and cold was suddenly so familiar, so comforting.