Authors: Lynnie Purcell
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Book 3 of the Watchers Series
By: Lynnie Purcell
Copyright 2011 Lynnie Purcell
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
I’ve been in a lot of bad situations. Situations that should have killed me by all the laws of good common sense, but, for whatever reason, hadn’t yet. I wasn’t sure if the fact I was still breathing was luck or pure random chance.
I was not fond of either.
Not so long ago, I had thought the night I had killed three people was the worst of the bad situations. It was the night I thought everything I loved would be ripped from me as quickly as my next breath. But ‘thinking’ and ‘knowing’ are two entirely different things. Thinking something will be taken from you can have the subtleties of being worse than knowing, but knowing is definitely awful. Knowing resigns you to your fate in a way that thinking never can.
The worst of the bad situations – a bad situation to end all situations – came in the form of a Watcher named Anna. During the confusion of a massive fight in New Orleans, Anna had kidnapped me. Not content with a regular kidnapping, she had knocked me out, put unbreakable chains around my wrists and feet, and had put me on a plane bound for Los Angeles. While I was incredibly fond of Los Angeles, I was not fond of being dragged there against my will.
Our destination was Lorian’s headquarters. Lorian was the leader of one side of the secret war raging around Watchers, and I was to be re-trained to serve his purpose. I didn’t know what Anna meant by ‘re-training,’ but the word left me cold. It did not bring to mind beaches and comedy clubs in Hollywood…the cold happiness on Anna’s face when she had told me about it was enough of a clue to the pain that awaited me.
I had plotted a million escapes during my flight to L.A., fighting against the chains until my wrists were raw and bruised. My efforts meant little. Anna was aware of every shift I made, sometimes even the thoughts I was having. I knew she couldn’t read my thoughts; she had just been well-trained to outthink the enemy, before they out-thought her. It was annoying, frustrating and beyond scary. How would escape ever be possible with such a person guarding me?
Anna was casual as the plane touched down on a small, private runway and even more casual as she jerked me out of my seat to get me walking. Her black eyes were thoughtful, as she forced me down the aisle. Even with her thoughtful demeanor, I knew trying to pull away from her grasp was useless; just like I was useless. There were times when I could use my powers, times when I could be strong and fight just like them, but that was when I had someone to protect. That was when I wasn’t bound only by my fate but by the fates of others. By myself, I was useless.
I blinked away the bright California sun, catching a vague hint of ocean on the horizon, before Anna forced me down the small set of stairs attached to the private jet. Directly in front of the stairs was a black Town Car idling impatiently. The windows were tinted, the paint unblemished. Without stopping to let me admire the scenery, or get my bearings, Anna pushed me in to the backseat of the car. She took her silver sword off her back as she slid in next to me and propped it on her knees; a reminder to behave myself. There was a tinted partition separating me from the driver, but the driver didn’t need instructions. As soon as Anna was inside, the driver steered the car toward the exit of the airport.
“Nice ride,” I said as we passed through a gate. “Must be nice to have a chauffeur everywhere you go.”
Anna ignored me.
I had spent the whole airplane ride trying to get a rise out of her, thinking that a fight would be better than sitting there doing nothing. I might as well have been talking to air for all the good it did me.
“Can you tell the driver to stop at Gelato Italiano? It’s the best place in L.A. for gelato,” I added.
“I’m afraid we won’t have time for any detours,” Anna said. “Besides, you don’t want to put off your re-education, do you?”
“Was that a trick question?” I asked.
“We should be there soon…You might as well relax. It will be the last time, for a long while, you will be afforded such a luxury,” Anna said.
“Where is there?” I asked.
“Somewhere outside of Los Angeles,” she said.
“North? South? West? East?”
“Don’t worry so much. We’ll get you there,” she said.
“I just like to know where I’m headed…” I smiled at her coyly. “At least they want me alive…to re-train me, or whatever it is you do. I wonder if you’ll get the same courtesy. Using me as a bargaining chip just might not pan out. I do hope you have a backup plan.”
“Be quiet!” Anna hissed. Her eyes darted to the partition separating us from the driver. The same thing had obviously been on her mind.
“I know where your precious sword went, by the way. If you promise them you can get it again, it will be a lie. You’ll die getting it,” I promised.
Anna slapped me, adding pain the multitude of injuries on my face. I had been hit so many times in the past couple of days, my face was unrecognizable. I raised my shackled hands to my now bleeding lip out of instinct.
“Speak again and I’ll make the next one count!”
“You can hit me as many times as you want, it won’t get me to do bow down to the likes of you,” I said.
She raised her hand in preparation for another blow. I tensed my body, hoping I could catch her hand and use my chains as a weapon against her, but I never got the chance. The car slowed to a stop and Anna’s door was opened from the outside.
“Lorian is waiting,” a masculine voice said from outside the door.
Our time was up.
Anna dropped her hand. Her dark eyes lost their fire, and she smiled coldly. “I’ll come visit you,” she promised in a way that turned her promise into a threat.
“Hell doesn’t need your help…” I told her.
Anna stepped out of the car, leaving me to the company of the masculine voice and mystery driver. Masculine voice bent down to look in the car.
His eyes, unlike Anna, still had color; they were dark, neon blue. He had a shaved head and a tattoo of a King of Spades on his neck. More tattoos were on his forearms. He didn’t give me long to appreciate his artwork. He reached in and yanked me out of the car, his strong hands brooking no nonsense. He started pulling me around to the back of the very large mansion we had pulled up to.
As we walked, I noticed a sharp cliff, which dropped directly off over the ocean, and a long road winding down to the exit. A chain-link fence ran down the perimeter of the property. Video cameras, protected by heavy metal coverings, were spaced at strategic intervals and, as we passed around the back of the house, I saw Watchers patrolling the perimeter around a second, smaller structure. This was a fortress; a fortress disguised as a billion-dollar home. My hands itched with the impulse to set the place on fire. It was evil. I hadn’t even gotten to the prison yet, and I could feel it. The feeling was in the very air, permeating everything that came within its reach.
The man pulling me along by my chains spoke as we got closer to the smaller structure. His voice was low, but emotionless, as if he had the same thing a hundred times.
“Do what they say and you’ll live,” he said.
“If I don’t?” I asked.
His blue eyes flashed with pleasure and pain at the same moment, as if he enjoyed my response but hated it at the same time. I could tell he was also shocked I wasn’t wasting my time demanding answers or crying for mercy. I already knew where I was headed. His next words were carefully placed, as if he wasn’t sure if he should say anything at all.
“They will kill you. Expect no mercy.”
“There are worse things than dying,” I said.
He paused in front of an electronic keypad to the door, the curiosity fighting against the deadened emotions. “Like what?”
“Living like a monster,” I said, my eyes straying to the Watchers around us, on to the opulent house, then back to him.
His eyes expressed his surprise, but he didn’t respond. He regained his composure and shook his head in disbelief. I was obviously insane, or a kind of stupid he had never met before. He typed in a quick code on the door and waited.
“What is it?” an irritated voice said through a small slit in the door.
The voice was different than what I had come to expect with Watchers. It was rough, serpent-like, as if the speaker was used to stabbing people in the back, if that’s what it took to make sure he lived. It was a survivor’s voice. Watchers were never survivors; at least not the kind that hung around places like this. They were the predators.
“Got a new one for you. A catch of Anna’s…re-training,” my captor said.
“Excellent. I’ve been waiting for new blood…” the serpent voice claimed.
“Yeah, yeah. Open the door. I’ve got somewhere to be.”
Mechanical noises of gears shifting resonated from the door for a long second, then the heavy steel was pushed back. The person, who belonged to the serpent-like voice, was also the most unusual Watcher I had ever seen. He was sunken and small, almost diminutive. His left leg stuck out at an odd angle and when he moved back to allow me space to walk forward, I noticed a profound limp. I instantly hated him and his evil-looking face. In my hate, I decided to name him Mr. Limp.
Blue-eyes released his grip on my chains without looking at me. “Good luck,” he said.
I wasn’t sure if he was speaking to Mr. Limp or me, but Mr. Limp had no doubt. His smile showed yellow teeth and a glimpse of the crazy behind the shadow of his dark eyes. The door shut again, locking me in with Mr. Limp and the dark beyond him.
Once the gears had stopped shifting, I was able to hear sounds; sounds of pain, fear, terror, and ultimate hurt. The sounds reminded me of New Orleans and a different prison of torture. Mr. Limp started pulling me toward a set of stairs headed downward. The sounds of pain increased with every tug on the chain.
“You will call me ‘Master’ at all times. Failure to do so will result in a beating. Do you understand?” he asked.
So, it was Master Limp, instead.
“Could you repeat that? I totally wasn’t paying attention. A.D.D., you know?”
Master Limp wasn’t amused. He jerked the chains and I tripped. I rolled the rest of the way down the stairs and landed hard on a dirt floor. The chains landed on top of me as insult to injury. Before I could move, he was there. His leg may have been deformed, but it didn’t stop him from kicking me as hard as he could in all the most sensitive places. I curled up into a ball to protect my internal organs and waited for him to stop. There were no thoughts beyond the pain and the fear I would stay locked in this moment forever.