For your listening pleasure: tinysong.com/EjTt
Shawn tried to port, but nothing happened. Fucking Rhenium could not only burn us, but the shit could trap us as well. Lovely.
I think we’re fucked, he said. But I’m shooting the first fucker that shows himself.
Danny, get out! I screamed through the mind link.
In the distance, outside, a vampyre screamed. It better not have been Danny, or his twin Dana would kill us both. I’d rather fight off a gaggle of harpies than deal with that slayer.
The after-effects of grabbing the Rhenium-coated bars lingered on my burning hands; I hissed and rubbed my palms down my pant legs. Not that it did any good. I needed Nico to heal me from this shit, and that wouldn’t happen anytime soon.
Shawn’s brow knit together. Huh, can’t even turn to mist. Interesting.
What the fuck do we do now? I asked.
He paced around his cage, Kimber in his right hand, finger on the trigger, looking a bit like Brandon Lee as The Crow in his long black duster.
Let me think, he replied while walking in a circle. He jerked to a stop, facing me, and we stared at one another for a brief moment. Then his arm shot up and he pulled the trigger without looking at his intended target. It was the perfect headshot, right between the eyes. The guy fell back with a thud and a clang as his gun hit the metal floor.
“Nice!” I said with a laugh. Then I heard several guns rise, lock and load. Shit.
“Unless you’d like both of your bodies filled with Rhenium-coated bullets, I’d suggest you don’t do that again.” The voice came from behind the crates.
“Show yourself, Roberts, you fuck,” Shawn shouted.
“Chicken shit mother fucker,” I mumbled.
“Will you stand down?” Roberts asked.
Shawn looked at me and I nodded. See what the hell he wants. He’d have killed us outright if he didn’t want something.
Good point, Shawn replied. “I won’t shoot anyone else. Biting, I can’t promise. You’ve got me pretty pissed.”
Roberts laughed and stepped out slowly from behind the crates. “Which is why you’re in a cage.” He stopped at the body and looked down, and then his eyes lifted to meet Shawn’s. “Nice shot. His vest was worthless.”
“Which is why I never aim for the body. What the fuck do you want?” Shawn said with a sneer. “You haven’t killed us and we still have our weapons.”
Roberts cracked a smile, a crooked, chipped tooth catching a gleam from the lights above Shawn and me.
“You’re quite observant, Shawn,” he said and stepped over the dead man. “And yes, I know that you are Shawn, and he” —he nodded my direction— “is Trent. I happen to know Shawn is the trigger happy one between the two of you, though you both were trained as assassins.” His eyes were the color of stone from this distance, his hair slicked back, and he stood before us wearing a black leather trench coat, but looked all business attire underneath.
“That doesn’t answer the fucking question,” Shawn said.
“Nice test,” I said and crossed my arms over my chest. “I can see you value your men’s lives.” He looks like a fucking movie villain, I said to Shawn.
Shawn snorted, and Roberts’ tilted his head.
“Something amusing?” he asked while removing his gloves. His eyes flicked back and forth between us. Excitement hit his face and he pointed first to Shawn and then to me. “You’re doing it, aren’t you? Communicating?”
Shawn and I looked at one another. How in the fuck . . . ?
He stepped closer, between our cages. “Gentlemen, why do you think you’re not yet dead?”
Shawn cocked his head and laughed. “We are not going to be guinea pigs for you. We did that long enough for the government.”
Roberts turned to him with a quick snap of leather. “And who do you think funds this project?”
“Goddamn it.” I kicked the bars and pointed a finger at my twin. “I told you, Shawn. They’ll never fucking let us go.”
He glared at me. “Calm the fuck down, Trent.”
Roberts looked back at me before returning his attention to Shawn. “I see your brother doesn’t share in your attitude for killing.”
“Then you don’t know him very well,” Shawn replied. “Or did you forget that scene in front of the house?”
“Oh, I haven’t forgotten anything about that night,” Roberts said. He paced between our cages, stopping a few feet past the edges of our prison before snapping around to walk back. “Where is Nicolette? And the one with the red and black hair.”
I quirked a brow. They don’t know Thalia’s name.
That’s a good thing, Shawn replied. “They’re safe.”
Roberts nodded and leaned toward Shawn. “At your place? We’ll find out soon enough.”
My throat closed with fear.
“Like you know where my place is, jackass,” Shawn replied. Try to link with Thalia.
I tried, but my mind remained blank, which had me on the brink of panic.
Stay calm. The Rhenium’s probably preventing it, which would explain the scream we heard outside.
Doesn’t explain why we can still talk to each other.
Sure it does. We’re twins. There isn’t a substance that can prevent our communication.
I nodded slowly.
“Fascinating,” Roberts said with a wide grin. “Simply fascinating.”
Shawn rolled his eyes. “Okay, so you want to study us. What the hell for?”
“The way you two move, everything you do, it’s like one person in two bodies,” he said. “Your movements are so fluid.”
“And you wanna build more like us, right?” I said with a snort. “‘Fraid that can’t happen unless you’ve got hyper connected twins in your ranks. Shawn and I have been like this since birth.”
Roberts shook his head. “Oh no, I don’t want vampyres. I kill your kind, remember?” He started pacing again, locking his hands behind his back. “No, we do intend to rid the world of you two, but we thought it would be a waste to pass up the opportunity to study you first. Of all the vampyres we’ve encountered, the two of you are quite different from the rest. The black sheep, as it were. Wouldn’t you agree?”
Shawn quirked a brow at me. “He’s not as stupid as he looks.”
I snorted. “I don’t know, he looks pretty damn stupid to me. Where’d you get that outfit, Roberts, the villain outlet store?”
He smirked. “Coming from the man who dresses just like his brother.”
“Hey, we don’t do that shit on purpose,” I said. “It just happens.”
“My point exactly, Trent,” he said, and stepped a lot closer to my cage. “You two are one.”
“We’re not going to be your test subjects for whatever sadistic purpose you have in mind,” I said.
He turned away from me. “We’ll see about that.” He turned his head to the side, nodded once, and resumed his pacing between our cages as guards walked Danny and Oscar out from behind the crates. Danny sneered and struggled while Oscar just trembled all over.
Roberts stopped right between Shawn and me. “I’m sure you know these gentlemen. I believe they arrived with you.” He slowly untied his coat and opened it. Then he reached inside and withdrew a katana.
I swallowed hard.
“I also believe there were more than these two, but they refuse to talk,” Roberts said as he made his way toward the two vamps. “So, gentlemen, how many did you bring with you? If you answer, neither of them will lose an appendage.”
“You can’t be serious,” I said.
“Hold on,” Shawn said quickly. “We had eight with us.”
What are you doing? I screamed at him.
Trust me, he’s not playing around, he replied. This isn’t a fucking video game, Trent.
I understand that, but—
I’m trying to buy us some time. Look at my hand.
I shifted my eyes briefly to his hand and caught a faint flash of purple between his fingers before I averted my eyes again. Holy shit, it still works.
Yes. Get ready.
I gave a subtle nod and waited for my brother’s sign. Knowing him, it’d be huge.
I don’t know about you, but I’m expecting an explosion.