Where the hell did this man come from, and how did he get past the guards? Past Draco?
I scream to the top of my lungs for Draco, like I did in the cellar that horrible day. I scream until my throat becomes scratchy, but the man keeps going, holding on tight, even as I fight and kick. He’s too strong.
We pass through the shadows, and I finally see Draco rushing down the path. I scream out one more time when I realize he’s searching for me. “Draco!”
He hears it, spots us, and begins running to me, pumping his legs hard, gun in hand.
But the man keeps going, breathing hard and heavy. I continue kicking, even with blood running down my arms and on my face.
Draco’s figure becomes distant as the stranger runs between houses, and I panic, screaming again. Cars honk their horns and tires squeal as the man runs through a small town.
Before it can register, something dark covers my head, and I land on a hard surface. I hear a door shut and a man shouting at someone to hurry the fuck up. I’m in a vehicle. The floors are hard, made of metal.
The car pulls off with a loud screech of the tires and I hit a wall. I snatch off the hood, breathing deep. But when I turn to look, there is a gun pointed right at my face.
“You try anything, and I will blow your fucking brains out,” the man says, his English fluent. He’s clearly Hispanic. His hair is spiky, and his skin is very tan. One of his eyes is gray, like he’s blind in that eye, a cut above his eyebrow.
Panicked, I look out of the back window and I see Draco.
“Draco! I’m in here! Draco!” I scream, leaning on the window, banging on it with bloody hands as he searches the area. “Draco!”
He sees me in the van and starts running again, coming for me with two guards behind him. The man with the gun curses beneath his breath when the van comes to a halt. I look through the windshield and see traffic. Too much traffic to pass through.
“Go through the fucking alley! Go!” he shouts at the driver. Draco is closer. I yank at the handle on the door, but it’s locked. Banging on the blood-smudged glass again, I shove my body at the door, hoping it will pop open somehow.
Gunshots are fired as the driver whips the steering wheel around, and Draco and the guards hide behind other vehicles, returning fire whenever they can. But it’s too late.
The van splits and turns down a thin alley. The mirrors are knocked off, sparks flying as the body of the van tries to fit through.
And it does.
“No!” I scream. “No! Please! Draco!”
“Lost them!” the man with the gun shouts. “Keep going! He might have other people around.”
I turn to look at the man with the gun. As he starts to turn in his seat to look at me, I kick him in the face with my heel and then pounce forward, gripping his throat tight, choking him.
He struggles to get out of my hold, trying to bring the gun up and hit me with it as blood gushes from below his nose, but I duck, keeping my grip tight on him.
“Shit!” the driver barks, turning down an open road.
The car comes to a dramatic stop and I fly forward, landing between both of them, my back hitting the radio. The man with the gun catches his breath, but he is furious. His eyes are like hot coals, flaming hot, blood oozing down his face.
He brings a hand down to my throat, squeezing tighter than I ever could.
I claw at his hand, unable to breathe as the squeeze shuts off my windpipe.
“Fucking kill you!” he roars.
“You know you can’t, so let her go!” the driver shouts. He reaches over to pull his hand away.
The man with the gun flares his nostrils and then grabs me by the hair, yanking on it and shoving me to the back of the van again.
This time he brings the gun up and watches me. He doesn’t waver. Doesn’t pull his eyes away as the driver speeds up.
I breathe raggedly, glaring back.
“He’ll find you and kill you,” I say through gritted teeth.
“Oh, I’m sure he’ll find us, but he won’t be able to kill us.” He sounds so sure of himself. Who the hell is this man?
“What do you want?” I demand.
“It’s not what I want.” He rubs his throat, mostly where it’s red from my grip, and then swipes his nose. “It’s our boss who wants you. You’re a feisty little bitch, too. Hope I get paid extra for putting up with this shit.”
The driver huffs a laugh at that, but I continue my grimace. I look out of the bloodstained window, hoping he’ll show. Hoping he’ll come out somewhere and save me.