From a brief glimpse from the corner of my eye, I found Quinn standing further down the street, standing still with his need for me blazing in his eyes. This time his mouth began to move and I caught the words Help me before he turned again and walked away.
Adamant I wasn’t going to lose him, I trained my eyes on him and never lifting them, surged through the crowd, stepping through and over anyone in my path. Moving faster this time and not being restrained by the crowd, I quickly made it to where he had been and spotted him turning into the next street. With one more look over his shoulder, he disappeared.
Taking the corner at a dead run, I was brought up short as I came face to face with something out of my worst nightmare. Pulled in tight against a strong body, Quinn was being gripped around his neck, firm hands holding him in place. One wrong move on his part and those hands would move with lightening precision and snap his neck.
Without thinking I moved forward, the need to protect Quinn demanding me to take action. Tearing my eyes away from his face, I was startled to see who was holding him hostage. Eyes, the maddening color of icy blue made even more pale by the dark ring surrounding the iris, looked out from the face of Quinn’s doppelganger and my heart clenched at the sight.
Not knowing what to do or how to reach Quinn’s mirror image without causing him to move, I looked to see if there was any way of reaching him. The doppelganger’s expression was completely empty except for a piercing look of pure malice. The gaze was inpenetrable and I couldn’t stop my mind from reeling.
Slowly I sensed a new presence approaching, one that caused my skin to crawl. The air seemed to cool by several degrees and the atmosphere became more sinister. I felt him before I saw him and as the General moved forward to stand beside me, rage bubbled up inside me.
“Let him go.” I demanded, refusing to take my eyes away from Quinn as he remained at the mercy of his mirror image. “You don’t need him so give him back.”
The chuckle that rose out the mouth of the Fae chilled me and stole all warmth from my body. “You’re right, I don’t need him but I want him nevertheless. He may be strong but sooner or later I will break him. You can have him back then.”
I turned to strike the General but as he gave a slight nod, I heard Quinn gurgle out a groan. The creature had tightened his grip around Quinn’s neck and with the lack of oxygen reaching his brain, angry veins rose from his temple as his eyes began to bulge.
“Stop it!!” I rushed forward, raising my fists to pound on the creature but before I could do any damage, with one hand still grasping Quinn, it lashed out its other hand and sent me flying. The General stood watching, a cold look of satisfaction covering his brutal features.
I picked myself up and rushed forward again, throwing myself against the creature, hoping to somehow jar it with my weight. It felt like slamming against a brick wall as I collided and bounced off, stumbling backwards before falling to the ground again.
Tears formed as I used the back of my hand to wipe away the blood from my split lip. Wincing from the sting, I gave the General a look of pure hatred as I slowly drew myself back up.
“Call your creature off. You can’t have Quinn, he’s mine.” I stood there angrily, my fists clenching and unclenching as I struggled to control my anger.
The General continued to stand there, a smirk causing his lip to curl and raising his hand, he gestured with his fingers to the creature. As if in slow motion, the creature moved his hands to place them on Quinn’s head, twisting them into position so that with a quick flick of its wrist, it could end Quinn’s life.
“Noooooo!” I screamed, fully letting terror consume me. I threw myself at the General, falling at his feet in a position of submission. “Please, don’t hurt him. Take me if you have to but please just don’t hurt him.” Sobs wracked my body as I convulsed from the force of my pain. My mind struggled to keep from breaking as the idea of losing Quinn was too much for me to bear.
I felt the air move as the General crouched down and viciously grabbed hold of my chin. Dragging my eyes to meet his, his gaze pierced mine as he looked into my face with disgust. “Tell me why I should spare him?” His fingers dug cruelly into my flesh “Answer me.”
“Because I love him.” I sobbed in return, my body screaming from the crush of grief coursing through me.
The General abruptly released his grip, using his hand to push my face away as he stood, sickened. “Love.” He spat the word out as he continued. “That’s what makes you humans so pathetic. So weak. You allow your emotions to dictate your lives. Unfortunately for you, such feelings don’t hold sway with me.” He looked over me, ready to give his signal to the creature.
I moved faster than I ever remembered and wrapped my arms around his legs, the idea of begging this fiend causing a wave of revulsion to pulse through me but I was desperate and had nothing left to hold back. “Please, anything. I’ll do anything, just let him go.”
He quickly raised his hand to stop the creature from proceeding. With perfectly sculpted eyebrows raised, a twisted smile on his face, he seductively asked, “Anything?” The innuendo in that one word caused my stomach to rebel and I hastily swallowed to prevent myself from throwing up.
“Anything. Whatever you want, I’ll do it.” My voice had taken on a desperation that made it almost impossible for me to recognize. I brought my focus up to his face as I watched him think over my offer. The moment seemed to last forever and as he reached down and pulled me up into him, I heard Quinn utter a restrained no.
Closing my eyes, pushing aside any part of me that was capable of feeling, I urged my mind to numb itself so I could survive this with my sanity intact. I could feel the General lean his face close, his sweet breath caressing my cheek as he leaned in to whisper in my ear.
My legs crumbled beneath me, causing the General to tighten his grip and I experienced a moment of confusion as I felt the General turn me around, pulling my back tight into him, placing us in a position that gave Quinn a full glimpse of his next move.
Unable to stop myself, with tear filled eyes, I looked at Quinn and saw the pain radiating from him. With what little room he was given to move, he shook his head and repeatedly mouthed for me to stop.
I closed my eyes as I whispered back to him that I loved him and felt myself shudder as the General took one of his hands and raised it to my breast, brutally squeezing it. He chuckled as I struggled not to fight against him, my body shuddering as he moved his hands over my body.
“Still willing to do anything to save your lover?” He bit my ear hard, drawing blood, his hands not once leaving my body.
Terrified I would beg him to stop, I clenched my jaw to keep my mouth closed and vigorously shook my head. My heart hammered in my chest and I begged for the situation to be over. The tension was killing me and sooner it was finished, the sooner Quinn would be safe.
Gripping my chin again, he jolted it forward, fixing it on Quinn as his next words froze my heart and had me beg for death. “You have nothing I want.” And as invisible hands dove into my chest to rip my heart out, he signaled the creature. With a resounding crack that pulsated through me, Quinn’s neck snapped and his lifeless body fell to the ground.
Screaming as anguish so unbearable tore through me, Quinn’s doppelganger smiled and in a voice that mimicked the man I loved and had just lost gloated. “I told you it was too late to save me”