I opened my mouth but couldn’t get in enough air. Panic clawed its way through me. They were here for me. My chest compressed. Don’t think about this. Not right now. My wild gaze swung around the hallway, landing on my mom’s bedroom door. I started to move, because all I could do at this point was hide.
The doorknob on my mom’s bedroom door turned.
My heart stopped.
I could hear boots on the steps. The edges of my vision darkened as the bedroom door opened soundlessly. Muscles locked up as I prepared to be riddled with bullets.
Terror consumed me like a rising tide. Without warning, the ligaments and muscles in my knees just stopped working. My body slid down the wall. They were coming from both sides. I was screwed every which way from Sunday, and whatever was inside me earlier when I’d faced April wasn’t there anymore. I was going to die.
I was going to die before I even had a chance to tell Luc—
A form stepped out from Mom’s bedroom, long legs quickly eating up the distance between us. I shrank back, trying to make myself invisible, but it was no use.
Death strode forward, and my eyes adjusted to the darkness, picking out features—familiar features. Full lips quirked in a smirk. On his gray shirt was one of those red-and-white stick-on name tags that said HI MY NAME IS and written in black marker in the white space was TERMINATOR.
He extended his hand toward me when he was a few feet from me. “Come with me if you want to live.”
I opened my mouth, and a harsh, low laugh barked out of me as I dragged my gaze up to his. The pressure clamped down harder on my chest.
Luc stood before me.
His gaze moved from his hand to my face. “You’re supposed to take my hand, and I’m supposed to pull you to your feet.”
I stared up at him, breathing heavily.
“Then I save you like a total badass.” He cocked his head to the side. “This is not panning out like I’d anticipated.” Closing his hand, he lowered his arm. “And this is getting kind of awkward.”
“What?” I breathed. That was the only word I could get out.
His gaze flickered to the stairwell. “Terminator 2. Peaches, if you haven’t seen the movie, we’re going to have problems.” Those deep violet eyes shot back to me. “Please tell me you’re an Arnold fan? If not, I might cry.”
My blood-covered fingers dug into the strap of my bag. “Are you seriously asking me—”
He moved unbelievably fast.
Luc grasped my arm. One second I was half crouched against the wall, and the next I was stumbling backward. I bumped into the wall as he walked to the center of the hallway, just as a ski mask–covered face cleared the top of the steps.
“Are you an Arnold fan?” Luc asked again, this time addressing the guy.
The commando-looking dude swung the rifle toward Luc. A red dot skated off the wall, landing on the center of Luc’s chest. My breath caught as I pushed off the wall. Not again—
“I’m going to take that as a no.” Luc shot to the side, grabbing me as the man fired. The bullet slammed into the wall.
Luc was a blur as he let go of my arm and darted forward, whipping the rifle out of the guy’s hand. “Already been shot this week. Not looking for a repeat.”
A heartbeat later, the commando went flying over the railing. His shout of surprise ended in a grunt and fleshy thud.
That was maybe how many seconds passed.
Backing up, I spun around, prepared to run, but I stumbled as I saw Zoe—
Downstairs, the front door blew open and ripped right off the hinges, crashing into one of the men in the foyer. He was pinned to the floor like a squashed bug. Standing in the doorway was Grayson, who looked normal for all of about five seconds, but then he lit up from the inside. A network of bright white veins appeared under his skin. Static filled the air.
“Evie…” Zoe didn’t look at me as she strode forward. “You need to run.”
I went straight for my mom’s bedroom, the heavy bag thumping off my thigh. Someone shouted out in pain behind me, but I didn’t look as I barreled into the bedroom, catching the door and slamming it shut.
Tripping over my own feet, I turned as I shoved my hair back from my face. Mom’s room was dark—too dark. I smacked along the wall, hitting the switch. Light flooded the room. The curtain in front of the window swayed in the breeze.
I knew I wasn’t thinking straight. Later, I would hate that I ran, but at the moment, nothing was making sense in my head. Nothing—
“Oh God,” I whispered, swallowing hard as I scanned Mom’s room. Her sneakers were tucked under the bench at the foot of the bed. Next to them were her fuzzy kitten slippers that were just so ridiculous. She’d bought them for herself on her last birthday.