Cindy raced out of the bathroom with an armful of clothes, dropping them hurriedly on the bed. She was shaking out a pair of jeans and had just bent over to cram a leg into them when she stilled.
Slowly, she turned and locked fear-filled eyes on the darkened doorway. RedKnife knew she sensed him there.
He stepped into the room, directly into the path of the glow from the streetlight that filtered through the curtain.
“R-RedKnife?” Her voice was tremulous, and he scented her escalating fear. “What are you…” She eyed the doorway behind him. “What are you doing in my apartment? W-what do you want?”
He wanted to soothe her with a lie, but the truth was, he had bad intentions. She’d be taken to StoneCrow, where she would be interrogated by Monroe. It wouldn’t be pretty.
“You.” His voice was deep, sounding more menacing than he’d intended.
Cindy shook her head. “Why? What?” She swallowed hard. “What’s going on?”
He took another step toward her and held out a hand, palm up, curling his fingers inward to indicate that she should come to him. “Monroe has questions.”
She paled, then moved more quickly than RedKnife expected. One second she was half bent in an attempt to dress, and the next her body turned, her hand snaking out and coming up with the knife.
“S-stay back!” Her words held little conviction, as if she weren’t sure she should even make the demand.
He took a step closer, and it was a mistake. She jerked back, bumping the table. The glass of water toppled off the stand and crashed to the floor, bathing her feet in water and surrounding her with broken glass.
RedKnife frowned at her feet. “Don’t move.” His intention was to move her safely away from the glass, but she was clearly terrified by his movement. Stepping away from him, she slipped and went down hard. RedKnife reached for her, but she scrambled back. The scent of her panic and fear was overwhelming.
Her gown soaked up the water, and RedKnife inhaled slowly, only to scent her blood. She’d hurt herself. He growled in frustration and regret, then just as quickly throttled the sound when she lifted the knife higher, her trembling hands barely able to hold the damn thing steady.
“Stay back!” Her eyes darted from him to her foot, then her thigh. She brushed a hand over her hip and down her leg, and RedKnife wanted to snarl when he saw the crimson path that followed.
He squatted to get eye level with her. “You’re hurt.” He titled his head sideways to study her. “You’re making this worse.”
He dug into his front shirt pocket and pulled something out. Cindy thought it looked like an e-cigarette, or a small tube of some sort. She was trying to figure out what it was when he put it to his lips.
His eyes didn’t leave hers as his breath escaped him in a hard push of air. It was then she felt the pinch. She hadn’t seen anything leave the object in the dark, but her shaking fingers quickly moved to just below her collar bone, pulling out a small object imbedded in her skin. Dropping her eyes from his face, she inspected the tiny, needle-like projectile. Is that? It looked like a porcupine quill. She rolled it between her fingers, noting an oily substance coating the surface.
Confusion marred her delicate brow seconds before her body heated uncontrollably. The knife clattered to the floor as her arms lost all their strength, and she whimpered in fear. She was falling to the side when RedKnife caught her.
“Shhhh,” he soothed, smoothing the hair back from her face. Her terror-filled eyes tore at him. “No one will hurt you.” The words felt hollow though as she lay defenseless in his arms, her gown soaked and blood seeping from several wounds on her body. Monroe would, in fact, inflict pain if she failed to cooperate, or if they discovered she was working with the Megalya.
Cindy’s chest rose and fell rapidly. As she struggled to stay lucid, one lone word escaped her lips as her eyes fluttered closed. “Don’t!”