“You stopped, and that’s all that matters.”
I wasn’t sure if that was true. Stopping wasn’t all that mattered. It didn’t erase the pain I’d caused them. What if it happened again and I couldn’t stop? Then what?
Luc made this sound in the back of his throat as he stared into my eyes. “We will figure this out. I keep saying that, but I promise you, Evie, we will figure this out. Okay? Believe in that. In me.”
I wanted to, badly, but this was beyond him—beyond us. My gaze shifted from his to the bodies strewn around us. Nausea twisted up my stomach. I’d done that, and I’d tried to do worse to Luc, who was the most powerful thing on this Earth it seemed, and yet, he had been breaking underneath me.
I didn’t understand how it was possible.
“I have really no idea how I did any of that. One of them hit me and knocked me down, and I saw my blood, and it was like a switch being thrown,” I told him, sliding my hands down his arms. “I heard his voice in my head, ordering me to prove that I was worth … a life. I think…”
“What?” His thumbs smoothed over my cheeks, drawing my gaze from the broken bodies.
“I think I’ve done this before … in a white room full of men who had hurt me.” I gave another shake of my head. “I don’t understand it. I just knew what to do. Picture it and make it happen.”
Luc was quiet for a long moment. “These men who you think hurt you … do you remember what they did to you?”
I shook my head in his loose grasp.
“Do you know what happened to them?”
I did. “I killed them.”
My gaze shot to his.
“Are you guys okay over there?” Zoe called out. “Because we’re all starting to get really worried.”
“You okay?” Luc asked quietly.
I nodded even though I wasn’t sure, because I couldn’t sit out here in the dwindling rain.
Luc took my hands and rose, helping me up. I let him turn me to where Daemon and Zoe stood.
“I’m sorry,” I said to Daemon. “I don’t know what came over me. I’m sorry.”
His lips were pressed in a thin line as he glanced at Luc and then nodded.
I didn’t expect him to accept my apology.
Daemon looked at Luc, and there were a thousand unsaid words in his hard, unforgiving expression.
“I know,” Luc said, obviously picking up on Daemon’s thoughts. “We’ll talk.”
Daemon inclined his head. “Yes, we will.”
Glancing at Zoe and finding that she was staring at me like she didn’t quite know what to say, I bit back a burst of shame and I looked away, my gaze drifting over the bodies, some still—
One of them was still alive, on his side and reaching for his thigh, where I could clearly see a gun still strapped there.
Luc saw it at the same time I did. He shot forward, catching the man’s right arm. The crack of bone was like dry twigs snapping. The man’s scream of pain was cut off by Luc’s hand around his neck.
Lifting the man clear off his feet, Luc held him in the air. The man’s face turned ruddy. Spittle flew as he clamored at Luc’s grip with his good hand. His feet kicked, but Luc held him there like he was nothing more than a bag of groceries.
“Every part of me wants to drag this out,” Luc said, his voice frighteningly calm. “I want you to fear every last second you have left. I want the very last thought you have to be how precious that last breath of air you took was.”
Stepping back, I bumped into a broken tree stump. I looked down, a little lost in the burned, ragged edges.
“Stop,” Daemon ordered, knocking a tree limb aside as if it were a paper bag as he stalked forward. “Luc, stop.”
“Now why would I do that, Daemon?”
“Because it would be wise to keep him alive. They know what she is.”
Wetting my lips, I swallowed hard. “Luc, he has a point. He could tell us why they keep coming … and maybe what I am.”
The man’s eyes bulged as Luc increased the pressure on his neck. He wasn’t going to stop. I thought about Kent. I wouldn’t blame him if he didn’t stop. As badly as I wanted to know why they kept coming after me, I could still understand.
I might’ve held my breath.
With what appeared to be great restraint, Luc took his fingers from the man’s throat, dropping him. He hit the rocky soil in a messy heap, dragging in air and sputtering.
Tense silence followed as Zoe crossed the clearing, her eyes full of barely contained wrath. “Are there any more of you out there? Any more teams coming?”
“No.” The man coughed. “We … we were the only team, but they’ll know … something is up if we … don’t radio in by night.”