chapter xxxiiMature

He was done tolerating it.  His threshold had been reached and surpassed, and watching her go limp against her binds was the last straw.  “ENOUGH!” the roar broke free from his chest and he lunged forward, one of his knives already free and in his hand to cut the binds from her wrists.

Before he could free her other hand, he was thrown into the wall more than fifteen yards behind him with a resounding crack as his head hit the concrete walls of the basement.  Though blackness inched into his vision, he refused to go down and pushed himself onto his knees, pausing only for a second to blink back the incoming darkness, and launched himself onto his feet again.  With a fresh geyser of fury, he met the eyes of Arroy, who sat across the room in an overstuffed lounge chair, his cowl down around his shoulders, revealing his shoulder-length brown hair and vapid caramel eyes.  His thin lips were twisted into a disapproving frown as he said, “I’ll say when it’s enough, boy.”

Graeme’s eyes flicked to the scroll that sat beside Gabriel before returning to the Warlock.

“No,” Graeme said, “this time, I decide.”

In an instant – faster than a blink, faster than a fraction of a second – Graeme drew his Glock and leveled it between Arroy’s eyes.  He pulled the trigger and didn’t stop until there was nothing left of the bastard’s skull.

Then, he cut the last bind from Gabriel’s wrist, pocketed the scroll, and dropped one small pill into each bowl of her blood.  Immediately, it bubbled and frothed and black smoke billowed out of it.  As quickly as it happened, it was over and the blood looked the same – but he knew it wasn’t.

Something was awakening in his chest – he could feel it coming alive, could feel it taking its first breath and spreading out through his whole torso.  He was done being a lowly mortal pawn.  He was done watching Gabriel suffer in his name.

He lifted Gabriel’s unconscious body into his arms and carried her back to the TransAm in the dirty twilight of evening.  There was no discernable toll on his body during the trek back to the vehicle, and though it should have occurred to him - especially with Gabriel's modest but still existent extra weight - it didn't.  Carefully, he settled her onto the backseat and propped her head up with a spare hoodie he kept in the trunk.  His fingertips grazed her throat, pressing gently into the soft spot just above her collarbone as he felt for her pulse and checked her breathing.  She seemed all right but it didn’t soothe the anger inside of him.

He locked the car doors and ran back to the house for a few more things.

The End

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