Chapter 22

4.1K 183 61

The cold against my skin brought back memories of the nights I spent as a child waiting for my father to return from work. I would sit on the pavement, eyes wet from the chilly breezes as I stared down the road, ignoring the presence of the werewolves patrolling up and down the neighborhood. My mother would watch from the doorway of our home, not wanting to be far from my sleeping sister and brother. I still remember that feeling of pure joy when I saw my father finally approach, still remember the feeling of him gathering me in his arms even though he was so, so tired and squeezing me tightly, his throaty laughter like music to my ears.

Tears stung my eyes as I straightened at the edge of the pathway, hearing Xerxes leave the house. I turned to look at him, seeing the way his jaw was clenched tightly when he looked down on me. His hands lifted, and I slid into the coat that was offered. Before I could pull away, he took my hand, holding it firmly in his own. Silver eyes narrowed as he studied my face.

“Why are you crying?” He snarled, his eyes lifting to sweep behind me, as if trying to find the source of my sadness. I blinked away the tears rapidly.

“It was the cold.” I eventually said when his eyes settled back to me. Xerxes clearly didn’t believe me, but didn’t push for a truthful answer. Instead he pressed me closer to his side as Flynn stepped out the home and clapped his hands together, the expression of anticipation written across his face.

We began to walk, and it was then that I was handed a pistol by Xerxes, which I had asked for. Reluctance glimmered in his eyes as he did so, but I quickly tucked it away before he could change his mind and attempt to take it away.

I hadn’t quite known the expanse of Xerxes’ property, didn’t know he owned so much of the land behind his house. Trees came into view as we walked and then a deep forest. The cold night air picked up as we trekked through, the sounds of crickets singing in their own rhythm almost made the knot in my stomach go away. My grimness heightened when I saw the large, wooden shed that Xerxes led us to. Guards moved from their stations by the door as we approached, heads lowering.

“Good night.” The forced cheery sound of my voice contrasted with the quiet, tense, atmosphere. The guards continued to stare with somber looks on their faces, not saying anything. Xerxes guided me into the shed, Flynn trailing behind us. Our shoes echoed against the wooden, dirty floor, and my eyes narrowed in the darkness, as I struggled to see anything.

When the light above came on, my eyes immediately landed on the crouched man on the floor, chains on his wrists and ankles as he rested on his knees, his head bent as if in prayer. His shirt was torn, but there were no visible signs that he had been beaten or tortured.

Unfortunately.

Sander had yet to look up, and was simply staring ahead, straight at the floor. When I stood in front of him, it was then that his head raised slowly, eyes widening at the sight of me. Nothing was said for a couple heartbeats, and I could feel the stares from Xerxes and Flynn, who stood in the distance.

“Why did you do it?” I asked quietly. He didn’t move, hell, didn’t breathe. His glassy eyes continued to stare deep into mine, a simmering rage filling them. When he yanked himself forward, fangs bared, I didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger of my gun, the bullet sinking deep into his shoulder. The chains around his wrists rattled as he staggered backwards, falling to the ground heavily and I could hear the noises of Xerxes beginning to pace back and forth.

I crouched down to Sander’s side, pressing the gun to his temple. “The next time you try that,” I said. “I will aim for here.” The gun tapped against his forehead. His teeth clenched tight as blood pooled his shirt from the bullet wound. He wouldn’t die from it, but he sure would be in pain for a while.

Beyond These Walls (Sequel)Read this story for FREE!