The Auction Block (Agents of Interpol 1)

Page 86

"Fuck you," I snap as the blood rushes back to my face.
His footsteps pad away from me, and soft clattering echoes around us. As he returns, I glance at Shannon, her eyes wide, full of fear, staring over my shoulder.
A sharp pain radiates through my ribs as they break.
"Ah, son of a bitch," I scream.
I try to breathe as he brings the object down on me, repeatedly, an unrelenting, punishing rhythm. Better me than Shannon. He walks in front of me, and I glimpse his weapon of choice— a cane. No wonder it hurts so fucking bad.
"Lily," Shannon screams. "Lily!"
I bolt upright in bed, panic gripping my lungs as sweat beads on my forehead.
"Lily! Lily!" The screams echo into Blake's bedroom. He's sitting up next to me listening as well.
The voice registers in my sleep-addled brain. "Oh, no," I whisper, jumping out of bed, the familiar lift of adrenaline in my veins.
I beeline down the stairs, all my pain temporarily gone, replaced by fear and the need to save Shannon. Protecting her has become second nature to me in the last few months. Crossing the living room, the rest of the team converging in the same direction, I shove through them, the screams resounding through the apartment.
"Lily! Lily!"
"Shannon," I scream, taking the stairs to my old room, two at a time. Standing outside the door, Blake and the team behind me, I turn the knob. It's locked.
"Shannon!" I slam my shoulder into the door, the wood cracking a little.
"Lily, stop," Blake yells.
"No," I growl, hitting the door again. It gives and I practically fall into the room.
Shannon's thrashing around her bed.
Fucking nightmares!
I run to her, grabbing her shoulders and shake. Her eyes fly open, searching the room in panic. Finding mine, she launches herself at me, arms around my neck, squeezing for dear life.
"Lily," she sobs. "The cane, it was the cane. He almost killed you, the sound, the welts . . . oh, god."
"Shhh, it's all right, Shannon. It's over. We're here, he's dead, remember? No one's going to hurt you anymore. You're home," I say cajoling her to calm.
"I'm so sorry," she whispers between sniffles.
I gently push her away from me to look in her eyes. "You have nothing to be sorry for. Don't ever apologize for something that wasn't your fault."
"You only did that to save me— "
"Stop it," I snap. "I chose to do it, and I don't regret one minute of that choice." I grasp her chin between my index finger and thumb, forcing her gaze to meet mine. She glances behind me and then to my eyes. "Somehow after five years there was still life left in you. It's there now. I wasn't going to let him take it."
"What about your life, Lily?"
"I was dead before he ever got out that cane." I stand, running my fingers through my hair, pulling the long tresses over my shoulder. "It's why I can kill without remorse, and it's why I can take a beating like that. There's nothing left in here but the shattered piece of a girl that never really was."
"That's not true— "
"Yes, it is. I'm trying to be normal, but I don't know how to deal with all this."
I turn on my heel and force through Blake and the team. Stepping into the living room, my knee gives out. I fall, hardly stopping myself from face planting on the hardwood floor.
"Fuck," I hiss under my breath.