Chapter Thirty-Two: Captivity

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Chapter Thirty-Two: Untitled

“Chain her down.”

The handcuff chain was snatched and used to drag me to the ground.

“Arms behind her back,” Luca commanded. “Her legs, too.”

Two men pressed me against the wall while two more shackled my wrists and ankles to the wall. The shackles were automatic and unforgiving, mechanically tightening and pulling me closer against the wall. They were in no way gentle, almost snapping my skin in between the clamps of the cuffs, but I bit my tongue to keep from making any sounds.

A gloved finger appeared under my chin and tilted my face upwards. “You played a fair game, lovely.”

I jerked my head away from his finger as if it were on fire. He chuckled in his cold way and stepped back to look me over.

“I’ll admit you had me fooled, Layla, Fallon, or whatsoever you’d prefer to be called.”

No one else in the room could hear him clearly voice my identity, but I clenched my teeth and held my tongue. He smirked again and turned away, shoes thudding against the floor rhythmically. My anxiety and anger rose with each echo they made in the stone room.

“Leave,” Luca commanded, and every villain in the room disarmed his or her gun and exited without a word. When only Luca himself was left, he turned to the captives on the platform. “Stay put, friends. The party is still in session.”

And then he left, the stone door shutting behind him.

~~~~~~*~~~~~~

The metal links dragged against the ground as I pulled my ankle back, then pushed it forward.  That was the only sound in the room besides the heavy breathing of the mayor, who sat in the center of the platform with a bloody spot on his crisp white shirt. Rachel had been right; he’d been shot.

 I was about fifteen feet from the platform now, and the dark figure that had pulled the man out of the way had been knocked unconscious before the guards left. I felt a strange pull in my chest when I looked at him, but I was too far to see his features from this angle. I heard a whimper, suddenly, and turned to see whom it had come from.

“Mayor Murring?” I called, and my voice had an apprehensive quiver to it.

It was a few seconds before his head lifted and his eyes focused on me. “Nancy? Nancy Hardgens?”

I shook my head. “No, sir. It’s Layla.”

His eyes were clouded from the loss of blood, but he still had the strength to smile at me, in the way I remembered from my childhood years, when Rachel and I had been close. “You were always so much like her,” he said, and then his breath caught. He swallowed air with effort and then sighed. “I guess in more ways than I knew.”

Though I knew he meant well, nervous fire shot down my spine. The fact that he knew I was different—even if he didn’t know my actual identity—was nervewracking, and I felt like I had broken the main rule I’d followed my entire life. I realized something then.

“You knew about my mother?” I asked. “About who… who she was?”

The mayor began to nod, before he stopped and winced. “Your grandfather was a close friend of mine. I knew what—who your mother was from the day she could walk.” He stopped for a moment and smiled, as if he recalled something in a memory. “Or, I should say, fly.”

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