Journey To Hell - 12 | iv

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Half of the ride to the courthouse went by in silence. Marx sat on the passenger side, staring through the window. He could feel Helick's unease. His constant sideway glances. The other man had heard everything Anabella said. Celeste was Marx's mate, but she raised Helick and Garrick from the time they were babies. She was the only mother they knew. Her death was just as painful for them as it was for him or even more. At the time when the tragedy was fresh, he hadn't taken that into account. Raw from the grief Marx had gone off to lick his own wounds, leaving Garrick, Helick, Daniel and Shea to tend their own. Shea found solace in going cold and distance while the twins and Daniel went out defending those who could not defend themselves. Lochlan was the only one who stayed with him in the Mountain. Not because Marx did much to accommodate him, but out of stubborn loyalty. An ache spread through his chest. He missed Lochlan every day. Though he was hurting, he knew the pain for Penny would be greater. Marx sighed, resigned to addressing Helick's curiosity.

"Makes no sense to stare," Marx said.

"Were you going to tell anyone?" Helick asked. There was a note of restrained anger in his voice.

"When the time was right." That was only half of the truth. Marx wanted to be sure that he could pull it off. He had been on the fence about the whole thing until he saw the storm. It felt all too familiar. Like the one from his dreams on his spirit walk. Then Anabella spoke to him confirming that there was some credence to it. If Sven coveted what he had, if he risked the eventual death of his sister to get it then it had to be real. But how would he test it?

"Do you think you can do it?"

Marx looked over at Helick. Did he? What if in the thick of things he was unable to do what needed to be done? The uncertainty gnawed at him even as the responsibility weighed him down. "We will have to wait and see." Marx directed his gaze out the window again. "For now do not tell the others."

"They deserve to know—"

He turned to Helick, his eyes amber red. "And I will be the one to tell them."

They pulled up at the courthouse a few minutes later. Marx and Helick stepped out of the vehicle, heads up to the sky. The storm was building. Dawn was breaking, but there would be no sunshine until the darkness was vanquished. On the roof adjacent to the courthouse, he saw a sniper in his perch. Guarding the streets were more men. Marx had little patience for their 'show of strength.' No amount of human arms could protect them from what was coming. He stood on the steps leading up to the Courthouse as the men moved in.

"I need to speak with your Commander," Marx said. "Let us pass."

The men stepped out of the way, compelled to follow his instructions. Controlling the actions of others was an ability he stayed away from using. Forcing someone to act against their own will felt like a violation when used for his personal gain. Marx and Helick proceeded up the steps and into the lobby of the building. There they ran into the Commander. Surprised to see them, the man stopped midsentence of his discussion with a subordinate officer. The soldiers in the lobby were not under Marx's compulsion. They had their weapons at the ready.

"Commander," Marx said.

"I don't believe a meeting was on the itinerary." The Commander glanced at the man he had been speaking to for confirmation. The officer shook his head in the negative.

"We need to speak to the President."

Putting his hands behind his back, the Commander said, "I'm afraid that isn't how it works."

"There is a storm coming—"

"We can handle a storm," the Commander said, interrupting Marx.

"Not like the one that's coming," Helick said.

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