Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.54
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.54

           Bailey Ardisone


  We rode in Seth’s car, finally on our way to the Homecoming Dance. Seth drove with Zaylie in the front and Mycah and me in the back.

  My heart constricted each time Mycah softly moved his thumb over my knuckle. He had immediately put his hand over mine after I buckled my seatbelt. It was mind-numbing.

  “Ooo, turn it up! I love this song!” Zaylie shouted as she reached over and cranked up the radio herself. She bobbed in her seat and sang along to the hip dance number I was unfamiliar with, making me chuckle. I looked out my window, squinting against the setting sun, feeling serene and in the moment.

  Mycah pulled my hand up to his mouth and gently kissed my fingers. I instantly blushed and looked down. He was making it very difficult for me to keep my confident composure that I had to desperately work to convey in the first place.

  And then before any of us could comprehend what was happening, exploding glass from the car windows showered the space around us, and we were falling.

  Or, not falling—Crashing.

  The impact flung our bodies, and the sound of screeching metal was deafening as we continued to slide across the asphalt. The movement then stopped and all was still. My ears rang as sound slowly faded back to normal.

  I looked around.

  The car was mangled, glass was everywhere. We were hit. I slowly realized we were just in a car collision as my eyes settled upon the front of a large, black SUV smashed against us. Against the front passenger side door. And right in the middle of town. But...the streets were deserted. There was no one around...

  “Are you okay?” Mycah asked me as he cradled my head between his hands. He was alive. Thank goodness.

  “Zaylie. Zaylie?!” I screamed for her, not seeing her head over the headrest anymore. I sat behind her seat and my seatbelt was jammed, keeping me locked tightly in place. I looked to Seth, whose head lay against the left frame of the car, bleeding. I didn’t think they were wearing their seatbelts.

  “Mycah, get me out of this!” I yelled, desperate to find Zaylie and make sure she was okay. Mycah immediately ripped the seatbelt loose, so I maneuvered my view to the front of the car to see around the seat.

  Zaylie was lying forward, head across the dashboard.

  Oh, my god. I could feel my eyes were wide with horror and my face drained of blood. I felt faint, striving to hold onto consciousness. I was overcome with regret and love for her at the same time, and also an overwhelming desire to heal her and make her better, even though I knew I couldn’t. I regretted not letting her in, opening up to her and deepening our friendship—because I loved her so much. I finally got it. We were true friends. Best friends. I couldn’t stand the thought of losing her, and I now knew that I wanted us to be closer. I would have done anything for her to be okay, to live through this, and if she did, I promised I’d never take her friendship for granted again. I instinctively tried to move closer, my insides screaming at me to do something, to take away her pain and fix her injuries.

  And then if it couldn’t get any worse, the car door was torn away and I was pulled out by strong hands who didn’t even try for gentleness. I looked up into the familiar, evil eyes of the man that had captured and tortured me once before.

  “Mycah!” I screamed, and then too fast for my eyes to catch, he was suddenly by my side punching the man in the face. I was jerked back as the man held on tighter, stumbling from the hit. He tried to move us farther away from Mycah as quick as he could.

  “Give us the Sindora, Mycah!” the man shouted. Mycah didn’t say a word as he instantly appeared before us again, crossing the large space in less than a split second. My eyes rapidly blinked, trying to understand. I’d never seen Mycah move that fast before, it was so instantaneous. In the same split second, he placed a hand on the man’s arm, glowing, and I was immediately released. Mycah grabbed me and carried me fifty feet away.

  “Run!” he demanded before turning back to the man who was now power-walking toward us in a fury. He held onto his nose that gushed with blood. He was still wearing the same black suit I saw him in last time.

  “Stop right there!” Mycah growled. The man obeyed. I couldn’t move either. I was mesmerized by the situation and refused to leave Mycah’s side.

  “I don’t want to kill you. But if you touch her again, I will. Please. Don’t make me kill you,” Mycah pleaded in a pained voice, his English accent thick.

  “So, this time you would kill me instead of just erasing my memories? I guess this means you are learning from your mistakes.” The man smirked, seeming to appreciate that new fact instead of being intimidated by it. Mycah clenched and unclenched his fists, just listening. “Go ahead. Kill me. Or take my memories again. It matters not. For there will always be a replacement ready and waiting in my stead. Now, hand over the Sindora. None of this would have happened if you would only cooperate,” the burly man sneered with a hard accent of his own and waved his hand toward the car crash. His accent was different from Mycah’s. Again, it sounded German or Austrian. I didn’t know the difference, if there even was one.

  “Never,” Mycah seethed through gritted teeth. His hands were still clenched by his sides and his chest heaved.

  “Oh, I do not know about that. What is that American saying? Never say never? Look around. You are completely surrounded. You either come with us now, or one of our snipers gets to have fun. We have a little game going. Whoever snatches a headshot on the girl first wins a prize.” He held out his arms to the side and lifted them up like it was a big happy contest, grinning from ear to ear. Mycah stiffened. The man nodded his head in my direction and pulled up his eyebrows, signaling Mycah to look at me. When he did, my heart stopped at his expression. He was stricken with terror.

  I looked down at my body. Tons of red dots danced along my chest and my arms. I could even see the red lights reflect off my cheeks into my eyes. I looked up to Mycah, confused.

  “Don’t,” Mycah beckoned with wide eyes, not taking them off me, but I knew he wasn’t talking to me. “I’ll go with you. Take the snipers off her this second, and I’ll go with you.” He practically breathed the words, not believing his eyes.

  I finally understood what the red dots were. I was the target, several snipers all had their powerful weapons aimed at me, and the dots were their spot indicators. I would have been dead if any one of them wished it. I looked around but couldn’t see a single person or where the dots came from. It could have been the setting sun glaring in my eyes or that it was turning dusk, making it impossible to see them. Either way, it was very disconcerting. Why did it feel like a ghost town?

  “Good. We knew you would say that. Let us go.” The man beamed with joy and self-satisfaction as he started walking away.

  “Wait!” I commanded, horrified for my friend who might've been dying if not already dead. Mycah was my only hope to ensure she was okay. “Please, give him just a few minutes, I beg you. Mycah, you have to save Zaylie. Please, you have to save them both. Just make sure they’re okay, please, please.” I laced my fingers together and dropped to my knees, beseeching with all my heart. Tears streamed down my face, but I didn’t move to wipe them, knowing they wouldn’t be stopping any time soon.

  Mycah rushed to me in a blur, taking me with him without stopping, and then we were instantly by Zaylie’s side. I felt windblown and wild, surprised by the movement.

  “I give you my word that I’ll come with you, Nikolai. I need five minutes,” Mycah called behind him toward the man who was now running to us. So that was his name...

  Mycah turned to Zaylie who was still unconscious and put his hands on her head and closed his eyes. After a minute, he did the same thing to Seth. I watched as his head wound closed up and healed right before my eyes. Mycah made the blood disappear, removing the evidence that he was once injured.

  “They’ll be fine. I’ve made them stay asleep for a little longer whilst I leave. Are you alright?” He gently wove his hands through my hair at the nape of my neck and held my head,
searching my eyes. He was inches from my face, and his intricate blue eyes were dancing with worry. I slowly nodded my head, captured by the intensity of his eyes.

  Nikolai caught up to us and grabbed Mycah by the arm. Mycah yanked out of Nikolai’s hold and tightened his jaw. “You don’t touch me,” he threatened without actually needing to say anything threatening. It was all there in his voice.

  “Bring the girl,” Nikolai said into his wrist while smirking at Mycah.

  “No,” Mycah growled. “No,” he said again as he ran two hands through his hair and turned away. He cursed under his breath and then moved right back next to me, pulling me against his body. I looked around and noticed movement from the corner of my eye. Men began drawing all around us. There must've been twenty or more, all dressed in black suits.

  A huge black SUV screeched to a stop next to us followed by two more that looked just like it. They were all completely black, including the windows that were too dark to see through.

  “Get in,” Nikolai demanded as he opened a door for us. I slowly walked toward the open vehicle and stretched up to sit inside but was immediately grabbed and forced down. A gun was fixed against my head. Mycah watched with terror in his eyes, and Nikolai held up an arm in front of Mycah, stopping him from entering the vehicle. “You are in the other one,” he said to Mycah. “You really think we would let you ride together?” He laughed. Laughed! I had the crazy urge to spit on him. Again.

  Mycah stayed silent, staring at me. There was nothing he could do, and I could see it in his eyes. He was terrified for me, and that...did not feel good.

  “Let us go,” Nikolai demanded in his hard accent as he moved toward the next SUV. Mycah reluctantly followed, slowly tearing his eyes away from mine. I could no longer see him. The loss of his presence hit me in the stomach, and the short distance between us felt like miles. I tried to swallow, but my throat felt choked and dry. I didn’t know what was going to happen or what was to come. If Mycah was afraid, then I had a million more reasons to be, too. I had no knowledge of how to defend myself. And even if I did, could I really stand up to these overgrown steroid-inflated men? Did I even have a chance?

  A crackling noise followed by a commanding voice said, “Ausziehen” through a high-tech walkie-talkie contained up front next to the driver. The language didn’t sound very English. It was German, I thought. We immediately started moving.

  “Where are we going?” I asked timidly, wondering if this guy was going to keep the gun to my head the entire time. No one answered my question. Maybe they didn’t understand English.

  Fantastic. The only foreign language classes available in school were French or Spanish, and since I barely passed English, I never attempted taking a foreign one. If they couldn’t speak English, then we were out of luck in the communication department.

  “English?” I asked nervously. I tried not to let my teeth chatter and give me away. Don’t show fear. Don’t show fear. That was always my mantra when dealing with angry men with too much testosterone. I was sure they could smell it, and it only fueled their rage.

  “Englisch? Nein,” the man holding the gun to my head said sternly. I couldn’t turn my head to look at him, so I had no idea what his appearance was, but from the deep and rumbly tone of his voice, I pictured him big and beefy to match it. I’ve heard the word "nein" before, usually in those historical Nazi documentaries during World War II. The word was definitely German and meant no. The car must have been filled with men. I could hear them breathing behind me and could see the driver and back of the head of the man sitting in the passenger seat. Seriously, none of them spoke English?

  I squeezed my eyes closed tight, trying to keep calm and not panic. I just needed to figure out a way to convey to them that they could drop the gun from my head. It was extremely unsettling and even more unnecessary. I wasn’t stupid; did they really think I would try to get away from an SUV full of men? No. Unfortunately, I wasn't going anywhere.

  I slowly lifted my hands up, palms out, the way one does when surrendering. If only I had a little white flag to wave. That’d be much easier.

  “Aufhalten! Beweg dich nicht!” the gun holder shouted, pressing the gun firmer against my temple as I felt the rest of the men all move closer to me in one swift movement. Holy crap.

  “Whoa. I’m sorry...I’m sorry,” I repeated quietly as I put my hands back onto my lap. Umm...never mind. It wasn’t worth my head getting blown off due to a misunderstanding. I would just have to stay still and deal with the cold that seeped into my clammy skin from the metal of the gun. No big deal....

  The sun went down too soon as it made its full departure, leaving us in darkness. I couldn’t tell where the sun had set, so I had no way of figuring out which direction we were going. We continued to drive who knows where in complete silence, trapped in our own thoughts. My mind kept drifting to Zaylie, the way she lied unconscious and bloody like a rag doll sprawled across the dashboard, and me unable to do a single thing about it. I would have given anything to have been able to save her—to undo the pain and suffering, to make her happy and healthy again. To tell her that she was one of my best friends. To explain to her how much she made me laugh and brightened my day without her even trying to. Every bone in my body ached with desire to save her.

  I would have given absolutely anything.

  Chapter Thirty-Five

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