Chapter 13

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Eliza Roberts sat comfortably in her kitchen as she listened to the gentle humming of music coming from her stereo while she took careful sips of her chamomile tea, the steam absorbing into her skin. She placed the drink on the counter and resumed to her laptop as she read the latest news, always needing to be kept up to date with the latest events and another global crisis.

She heard distinct sounds in the house over the noise of the stereo and she strained her ears to listen, but the noises had stopped. She concluded she was just being paranoid before turning her attention back to the laptop screen. She scrolled through all the articles stopping mid-scroll as she heard the commotion once again and this time it was too distinct to be in her head.

She shot up from her seat and immediately glanced around the room before reaching for a nearby knife, clutching it firmly in her hand.

"Who is there?" She called out, not surprised that she received no response.

She cautiously walked forward trying her best to make her steps as silent as possible, careful not to alert her intruders. She gripped her knife in a way that she would be ready to strike at any sudden movement, her senses heightened as fear coursed through her.

She tried to calm her rapidly shaking hands, meticulously planning every movement as she listened for any other signs of movement from her intruder, but the deafening silence made her stomach turn. The silence meant the intruder could surprise her at any given moment, the thought sending her heart into overdrive.

An arm around her throat caused her to drop her knife, listening as it clattered to the ground, her throat closing from the harsh hold of her intruder.

"Where is the girl?" She heard a sinister voice speak in her ear before she was released.

She hungrily gasped for air and clutched her burning throat, glancing up at her intruder intruders. She recognized the familiar markings on the side of their throats, The Mark of Loyalty as it is commonly referred to in her old life. She felt intimidated by their broad frames but would not give them the satisfaction of letting them have what they want, and she instead opted to stand firm against them.

"We won't ask again." The other spoke with a snarl but she stood still, not wavering. "Griffin is looking for her and you know how he gets when he doesn't get what he wants."

"I won't let him get what he wants, he's hurt that poor girl enough and I won't let him have her." Her voice steady but dread twisted in her gut.

Anxiety eclipsed her thoughts as the men towered over her, sinister smiles on their faces like they were taking pleasure in her torment. She tried to outmaneuver them, she had spent years planning her escape for this moment but when the time inevitably came, fear paralyzed her and numbed her mind rendering her incapable of recalling any strategy.

"Just hand over the girl and we'll let you go."

"And I'm supposed to believe you." She spat. "She's not here and I won't let you take her again."

Her words unknowingly leading to her doomed end as the two burly men charged for her, her scream tore through her like a shard of glass.

**************

Ember stood in front of the familiar home, so familiar to her that she could practically remember each brick. The house had become so old that it seems to have collapsed within itself, the roof sagging and the grass unkempt, probably from the inhabitants hiding from a known threat.

She knew that if she were ever in danger that this would be the place she could run to. She immediately made her way into the home, cautiously making sure no one was watching her.

"Eliza!" She called out but received no answer, the deafening silence weighing her down with dread.

She cautiously stepped through the home, the color draining from her face as she walked into the dismantled living room. Shards of glass carelessly strewn everywhere, and furniture tipped over leaving her in a haze of fear.

She entered the next room which happened to belong to Eliza, dread twisting in her gut as she noticed the familiar figure laying on the bed.

"Eliza!" Raw panic evident in her voice.

She glanced down as Eliza's body lay like a ghoulish mannequin, a large gash adorned most of her neck. She placed her hand on Eliza's flinching at her ice-cold body, the blood covering her body already thickened and dried, every piece of evidence leading to foul play.

Her bottom lip quivered as her tears flowed down her burning cheeks like a river, washing away all her emotion and only leaving behind the heartache.

**************

Logan's eyes burst open as he held back an escaping wail. He took deep breaths as he tried to bring himself back to reality, the nightmare having seemed all too real. He felt the perspiration drench his shivering form as the events that transpired in his sleep are still fresh in his mind.

He'd been having the same recurring nightmares for the past few weeks, replaying a bad memory he'd hoped to forget but no matter how much he willed his mind to dispose of the torturous thoughts, it kept itself wedged into his subconscious.

He carefully crawled out his bed, trying to steady his shaky and unstable legs as he entered his bathroom. He winced at his appearance, his pale skin making the bags under his eyes even darker. He splashed ice cold water on scorching skin, but it seemed to have no effect on his overheated body. His eyes seemed to lack depth and color as he stood motionless, unable to take his eyes off the lengthy scar embedded into his left arm, the scar the physical reminder of his emotional trauma. He tried to shake off the intense thoughts swirling through his mind as he steadily made his way into the kitchen.

The scent of waffles wafted through his nostrils sending his taste buds into high alert. He spotted his mother placing more waffles on the already stacked pile as his little sister hummed while coloring what seemed to be a unicorn, however, her incessant coloring out of the lines completely took away from the picture rendering Logan unable to truly tell what the picture was.

He greeted his mother with a smile, still a little shaken from the nightmare.

"You had the nightmare again, didn't you?" She immediately questioned, her motherly instincts kicking in and her heart clenching at the solemn look on her son's face.

She hated that there is nothing she can do to protect her child as he had already been through more trauma than someone twice his age.

"I'll be fine, they went away before and they'll go away again." He spoke trying to ease his mother's worry, but he knew his efforts were useless.

She placed the last waffle on the stack, her frown lines becoming more prominent on her face.

"He's gone, Logan." She spoke trying to be as reassuring as possible. "He will never hurt any of us ever again, I promise you I will do whatever it takes for him to never find us again."

****************

Ember felt her dried up tears on her face, all emotion drained from her body as she slumped on the floor into a ball of exhaustion, her mind numbing as she blankly stared at the cream colored wallpaper across from her.

She could not bring herself to do anything else, could not control her legs to move and she could not even find the strength to lift her arms. She no longer cared if they were looking for her, she was ready to die and ready to pay the price for her past choices, however, she thought of Eliza.

She thought of how Eliza sacrificed her life so Ember could live and letting herself be taken and killed would mean that Eliza died for nothing. The thought alone thrust hope into Ember as she lifted herself up onto shaky legs, her stomach quenching as she glanced at Eliza's body one more time.

"I am so sorry this happened to you." She spoke to the lifeless body. "But I promise you that I will give your sacrifice meaning and take them all down no matter what." 

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