Larkey, so young, so small, whose slight body Beatrix would’ve cradled if the girl’s pride had allowed it... Her eyes, so afire with life, her cheeks burning beneath her usual grubby exterior, her quick fingers and the eternal look of delight when she picked a lock...
All that fell to the floor that day. And it never rose.
Beatrix screamed, but it was lost in the second gunshot.
Jaques had his sword half drawn when he was hit. His hair flying over his face, a look of terror and anger and great sadness in his eyes. For a moment, his hand gripped the sword hilt a little tighter, and his eyes sought Beatrix’s in a last plea, before he fell, the force of the bullet sending him backwards into the wall, where he crumpled like a doll discarded.
The third hit much closer to home.
She felt it whistle past her, felt the air brush her cheek, was screaming before it had even hit.
Moll, beautiful Moll, kind Moll, lovely Moll, who’d taught her to be normal, who’d shared her shelter with two strange women, who’d welcomed Beatrix and accepted her before anyone else had, even herself. Moll who loved Gideon, who made Keiran laugh; Moll who could fight as well as she could sing and dance; Moll who could cook ten times better than Beatrix ever would...
Tears in her eyes. Her friends on the ground. She cared for nothing any more. A faint voice wondered if Carla was safe, if Rhea would escape, if there was any chance for the rebels now. But it was so faint she barely heard it. And she didn’t heed its cry.
Had Keiran stepped out a moment later, things might have been different.
But instead Beatrix’s bullet, the bullet meant for her, the bullet to close her eyes for ever-
The fourth gunshot hit Keiran.