Chapter 29

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Sebastian awoke and rubbed his head, happy to know he wasn’t chained down in any way. He couldn’t sense a damn thing though and it was startling after all these years with that extra sense. He imagined it was like waking up deaf one morning and he grew to miss it.

Straining, echoes of moans and groans drifted quietly through the room. He looked around to see lots of doors lining the walls of the large room. The marble floor was cold but didn’t feel hard. He rose slowly, waiting for any attack. The sounds quieted and a door opened. Sebastian swung around to face it in a crouch with a growl.

The most beautiful woman he’d ever seen stared back at him, a laughing smile frozen on her face. She waved her small hand and he froze. What the flying fuck was that about? She walked closer, a slow seductive swing to her hips, and another growl rose in his throat. She paused surprised and then narrowed her eyes.

“The hold on you has not been released. Paul still lives, the bastard.”

“Yeah, and you know what about it?” Sebastian asked, taken aback by her tone.

She laughed and moved closer. “I know you hate him and I also know you can’t kill him. It’d be nice if you could, but we’ll have to find other ways.”

She circled him and he felt like a piece of meat on display. It did odd things to his belly if he admitted it. Shamefully, if he hadn’t been frozen, he probably would flex and show off. It was not a thing he usually felt the need to do and he had no idea why he didn’t want her to find him lacking. Afraid of what might pop out, he kept his mouth tightly shut and it seemed to appease her.

“Yes, well. I did my job well with you…”

“WHAT?!”

She took a step back before she could catch herself. “You don’t know anything about yourself do you?”

“Enlighten me?” he sarcastically replied, not expecting much of a response.

“I guess we’ll start at the beginning. I have all the time in the world down here.”

Before he could ask any questions, she waved her hand again and the world spun around him. He could see himself as a young boy again, facing off with the lecherous old man who’d employed him. He didn’t remember this particular event though and watched cautiously as he was caught and tied down. His fists clenched by his side but she touched his arm gently. Sebastian was surprised she was there with him.

“It is but a memory of what has occurred. A memory that was buried long ago. Simply watch, it’ll be rough but it was easier than explaining.”

He wanted to ask her who it was easier for, but his words stuck as the man began to claw at the boy’s shirt. Sebastian tried to pretend it was someone else he was watching, but it didn’t calm his emotions. The old man finally ripped the shirt open and ran his hand over the thin chest. Young Sebastian squirmed under the touch and called out. His cry for help was answered with a fist strong enough to knock him unconscious. A horse’s lead was then tied around his throat, the man laughing evilly as he tightened it until the boy’s face went blue. Then, the lead was released and Sebastian watched as the young him gasped for breath, still unconscious. He was wrapped in a private hell.

“Interesting thought,” she whispered from next to him, her hand growing harder on his arm. “I’m sorry.”

The man continued his sick game until finally, young Sebastian didn’t struggle for breath. The man startled and looked around wildly. Sebastian wanted to close his eyes against the scene of a death he didn’t remember. He wasn’t capable of the action and had a feeling she had frozen him again. He was stuck watching the man drag his lifeless body near an overhead beam and toss the lead around it. Young Sebastian was then pulled upward with a strength the old man shouldn’t have possessed. Then, the man moved with speed as he disappeared from the barn.

A light filled the barn the moment it was empty and the same woman standing next to him appeared in the space. Sebastian looked to his side to see her still there. It was mind boggling since she looked no different. She lowered his young body gently to the hay and cradled his head. Sebastian saw her mouth moving, but couldn’t hear the words. The boy’s body began to glow with an unearthly light and gave a sharp spasm as breath racked his pained lungs.

Sebastian felt the pain mirrored in his own chest. He’d known something had happened when he was young, could remember feeling different but not knowing why. Only a few short weeks later, he’d killed off the old man and made his escape. This must have been what gave him the extra strength to do it.

“I helped the first Enforcer find you,” she whispered from next to him as the vision faded. Her voice was light, but sad.

He was stunned. “What did you do to me? Are you an angel?”

“In a manner of speaking. I gave you a gift. When I touched your soul I knew you were meant for greater things. However, whenever I deliver someone from my grasp they are cursed to repay me.”

“Repay you? Lady, life has been no picnic since. Why not let me die?”

She ignored the last question. “Those I save are marked to serve me in their afterlife. You are still technically dead, Sebastian. You should be serving me, aiding me with the collection of souls and their deliverance to their own afterlives.”

Knowledge dawned and Sebastian fell onto his ass, feeling the cold marble beneath him. His head dropped into his hands. “You are Death.”

“Yes. Cursed for opposing the Gods which gave me life, I can have no life of my own. Instead I must serve the souls of the dead. The people I save become my angels, my servants. You are the strongest one I’ve created.”

“So why am I not serving you now?”

Again her voice saddened. She sat next to him and placed a hand on his knee. “Usually, another angel retrieves you at the marked time of your death. The fates determine the time of death upon my gifting you. You died too soon and there was no one to save you from this fate.” Her voice hardened, “Something evil is afoot and I mean to find out what, who, and why. Then vengeance is mine.”

“And that does what for me? Bloody hell.”

Sebastian ran a hand over his face and rubbed it over his buzzed head. The information filled in some gaps but it didn’t promise him rainbows and lollipops. It did shit for his current situation. Beside him, Death laughed.

“Shit, you can mind read can’t you?”

Again, the musical laughter. “Well, it does prove helpful. Souls are rarely tempted to reveal all to me.”

He simply nodded his head and hoped absently that Sorcha was okay. Had she followed his directions?

“She’s fine,” Death interrupted his thoughts. “Since she’s tied to your predicament, I’ve been watching her carefully.” She sighed and leaned back onto her hands. “I can’t do much from here, but I do have a plan.”

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