“That’s enough.” Grayson removed the Blow Pop. “It’s quiet time.”
I wasn’t taking part in quiet time, not as I rapidly began to put what I did know together. Luc had used Daemon and Kat to get inside the Daedalus, to retrieve the serums he thought would heal me. Was this hybrid who claimed to be Blake involved, and were those he’d said he’d betrayed Daemon and Kat? If so, that meant …
Anger filled me. “You worked for the Daedalus?”
“Not by his choosing,” Chris answered with a nervous glance at Grayson. “We grew up together. Close. Like brothers. There was an accident when we were younger. A bad one, and I healed him. He mutated, and the Daedalus found out, and ever since then—up until we finally got away—the Daedalus used me to control him. It was like that for more years than it wasn’t.”
“Really thought I said it was quiet time,” Grayson said.
“They made him do terrible things—things he would’ve never done if they hadn’t been able to use me. They controlled us. You have to understand that,” Chris said—pleaded, really. “Everything he did, he did so that I lived, so that he survived. He did what anyone else would’ve done.”
“Some would’ve done worse,” the hybrid murmured, eyes meeting mine. “Have done worse.”
A cold air pressed to my back, and while his words were unnerving, I knew the sensation meant Hunter was near. Seconds later, he entered through the mudroom and headed straight for the two men sitting on the floor.
Grayson stepped aside, and without saying a word, Hunter knelt in front of the Luxen. Static charged the air as the hybrid started to move, but Grayson was faster, catching him by the throat and slamming his head back.
“Don’t even think it,” Grayson said around the Blow Pop.
Hunter placed his hand on the center of the Luxen’s chest and lowered his head. Then his hand went into his chest. Chris’s body jerked and back bowed as his entire body lit up. He slipped into his true form, a being encased in rapidly flickering light as Hunter fed.
I was guessing that was how you made feeding painful.
Hunter was taking the Luxen’s memories, just like I had when I’d fed on Luc. It was as fascinating as it was horrifying to witness.
“Stop!” the hybrid shouted. “You’re killing him! Stop.”
My stomach dipped as Grayson laughed. “He’s not killing.” A pause. “Yet.”
Hunter let go a few moments later, and the Luxen slumped back into the cabinet, his light still pulsing, but more slowly now.
“Chris?” the hybrid whispered.
Rising to his full height, Hunter looked over to the hybrid. “You are a dead man.”* * *Cekiah and other Luxen arrived shortly after, and the two men had been carted off to a holding area until it could be determined what to do with them. I’d heard that both would be searched once more for any trackers.
It had been decided by Hunter that Kat and Bethany wouldn’t be told about the newest arrivals, not until Daemon returned, and I knew then that whatever Blake had done, it had been one of those terrible things that Chris had referenced, and it did involve them. I couldn’t imagine what it could be that they felt it was best to keep someone as strong as Kat in the dark, and that had been a ghost lingering in the back of my mind several hours later. Even now, as I sat at the house opened for Heidi and Emery, the empty one two homes down from the one I shared with Luc. Candles and lanterns lit the living room, fighting the coming night. I’d just finished filling Heidi and Emery in on everything that had happened since the night we’d all fled Columbia. Heidi had been sitting beside me on the couch, but she’d gotten up when I told them about Kent.
She sat on the arm of the chair, running her hand over Emery’s head. “I don’t know what to say.” She bent down, kissing her temple. “I’m so sorry about Kent,” she whispered. “God, I’m so sorry about Clyde and Chas. All of them.”
Emery stared at nothing, her lips mashed together as she inhaled deeply through the nose. “They’re dead?” she asked, blinking. “The men who killed Kent? They’re dead?”
“Yes,” I answered. “All of them.”
Taking another long breath, she nodded. “Good.”
I watched her turn to Heidi, and I looked away when she was folded into her embrace, giving them as much privacy as possible.
It was a while later before Emery said, “There’s been a huge increase in ART officers, but the real issue was the National Guard.”
Heidi nodded. “They were all over the place.”
“Heavy patrol of the interstates and at the rest stops,” Emery said. “Never have I seen anything like that, fully uniformed and armed. That’s what took us so long. We had to keep backtracking, taking different back roads and lying low. The news kept saying their presence was to ensure that there was no traveling in and out of the quarantined cities, but they were in states nowhere near the places that have outbreaks.”