Del Muerta: Sanctum of Hell | Part 9

I won’t keep you waiting considering the cliffhanger last week! Enjoy my dear readers! And as always, you can catch up on the previous chapters HERE.

Chapter Eight

“He what?” My voice came out with an inhumanly feral sound, more of hiss than actual words.

The numb apathy that’d deadened me for so long came alive with a snap, the restraint on my emotions gone. All rationality fled from my mind as rage colored my vision. I rocketed to my feet, the icy chill in my veins surging toward white hot wrath.

They’d blamed me. Told me it was my fault she was dead.

I was going to kill them all. Vengeance would be mine.

Kit grabbed me from behind as I moved convulsively for the door. “No, Aiyla. They’ll deny it or worse, simply kill you.“

“I don’t care!”

“But I do,” he said, hands clamped on my shoulders to turn me to him as I struggled. He leaned his forehead against mine, a conflict of his own going on behind his eyes. Despite my attempting to get free, his grip on me refused to falter. “Look, I know what you’re feeling. I feel it, too, but you can’t let your anger get out of control.“

“Let me go!” I snarled, thrashing to get free.

“They killed my wife and daughter!”

I froze as the agony of those four words registered in my brain; as did the plaintive anguish on his face. He looked down, admitting in a rough voice, “Someone told them she was with the Forge and they…”

He gritted his teeth, his eyes flashing up to mine. “The Hacienda put a bomb in my wife’s car to make a statement. They didn’t care if she was really with them at all. And she wasn’t. She… she couldn’t even bring herself to swat bugs, let alone fight in the rebellion. They blew her up along with my two-month-old daughter.”

My heart broke for him, seeing his pain. “I’m sorry.”

“You can understand why I came in here expecting to hate you,” he admitted, eyes on fire. “But you’re just another victim, too. Anyone who gets close to you can see it.” He swallowed hard and looking away, pushing on my shoulders to force to me sit. “Now calm down. Raging does no good. I would personally know, having spent five years like that myself.”

I sank down on the couch reluctantly, this news like a dose of cold water in my face. He made an exasperated sound in the back of his throat before heading over to the minifridge. Coming back to me, he plopped a yogurt in my hands. “Now eat. You’ve had enough trauma for one evening between the horny bastard and now this.”

As he hovered over me, I politely took a few spoonsful. With the way he was fidgeting, I was fairly sure that Kit hadn’t planned on divulging what’d happened to his family to me. Considering he scarcely looked older than me, he must’ve been married very young. With the loss of a daughter and wife, I couldn’t imagine the suffering he’d been through.

“No wonder the Lynx hated me…” I put my head in my hands. “He assumed I was in on these murders.”

“So did I,” Kit growled under his breath, pacing in front of me like a caged tiger. “Don’t doubt that Haynesworth isn’t aware of how your aunt died either. In Infierno, he’s the poster boy for atrocity. Anyone suspected of being with the resistance is shot point blank; no mercy.”

The news that Ryan wasn’t as squeaky clean as he liked to portray himself wasn’t a surprise, though the depths of his treachery to me personally was a shock.

The real question on my mind, however, was the man before me.

“If you thought I was in on their deaths, then why did you come back?” I asked, sure my eyes were as wide as saucers. “Why compete for me?”

Kit turned to me, his silhouette illuminated by the lamp behind him leaving his face hidden in shadow. He hesitated for a minute, not expecting the question. “Because when I saw who you really were… I guess I have a bad habit of wanting to save people. That and I haven’t felt much besides anger since my family died. But with you…”

He knelt next to me on one knee, looking directly into my eyes. “In your eyes I can see the same pain I live with every day. Maybe I was looking to spare you or maybe I was looking for someone who could understand. I’m drawn to you. You make me feel alive. That’s the truth.”

In those cherry wood eyes, I could almost drown. There was a war of emotion there; pain mingled with hope. Before I could speak, he looked down and nudged the cup in my hands.

“Your snack is melting,” he said, trying to steer the discussion away from himself. As I took another small bite he sat on the floor, drawing his knees up to his chest.

“Can you tell me more about the resistance?” I asked softly.

That question seemed to please him somehow. “There are three factions warring here: the government, the official uprising known as the Forge and then the people who don’t particularly support either side,” he said, keeping his voice low. “The ‘official’ resistance leaders don’t have the people’s best interest in mind. They’re funded by the more nefarious groups of the city: drug dealers, gangs, etc. They just want more territory.”

The sound of disgust that came from him echoed my own feelings. “The third smaller group shields the people from the conflict. The general idea is to provide a buffer between the two forces consuming Dejado Atrás, protecting the less fortunate.”

“The vigilantes?”

He nodded, acknowledging the question. “If you can call them that. They’re stuck between the Forge and the Hacienda.“

“And it’s the side you’ve chosen, isn’t it?” I whispered, low enough for only him to hear.

If anything, he seemed startled by my insight. His eyes rested on me warily. “I’ve met the Lynx, per say. We have much in common. Is that a problem?” As I shook my head, he visibly relaxed. “Good. As for your aunt, you should know that we’ve never rebuilt her house. We planted a garden with fruit trees there to keep her memory alive-“

“I want to help,” I blurted out, no longer able to keep it in. The idea of breaking free and exacting retribution was consuming me; cracking all my fears and replacing them with a bitter desire for justice. “Bring all this down. If they did that to Lola and to your family-“

Kit’s brow furrowed with concern. “You need to think about this.“

“Don’t need to. I’ve been living this lie long enough. Can’t do it anymore,” I murmured, the spoon clattering against the cup as my hand shook. “The idea of continuing to live with those who murdered her…”

“And you won’t,” he affirmed, placing a steadying hand on mine. His eyes were filled with a solemnity that frightened me. “Even if it kills me, I’ll help you.”

A shiver ran through me, even though I knew the offer was just a figure of speech. I could only see his death coming closer and closer, whether via the Tourney or otherwise. And perhaps my death was coming as well. I would rather die than continue to let things continue as they were.

The trouble now was the danger hovering over the city. No matter how the rebellion was sided, the citizens would continue to suffer. And it seemed like there was no way to improve the situation. Undermining the Hacienda would only result in a possibly even worse government being instated.

The only thing I could do was try to do what the vigilantes were attempting. Keeping those trapped in the city as safe as I could.

“Then where do we begin?” I asked slowly.

His lips twitched despite the gravity of the situation, sitting next to me and tugging me so that I rested against his chest. “With you getting some rest. The last thing I need is Lola’s ghost kicking me in the ass for keeping her beloved niece awake.” He sighed with a fatigued chuckle. “But it is fun to think she might go haunt Haynesworth for trying to bed you. I could get on board with that.”

Kit just held me as I snuggled into his arms, enjoying the warmth he brought me. “Sleep mi vida. Everything will look better in the morning. You’ll see…”

My my my… Miss Aiyla certainly has made quite the turn around this week. Guess you’ll have to wait until next weeks to see what happens next!

A note: Also, feel free to share these chapters with your friends and fellow readers! I was asked last week by a dear reader if she could she share it. The answer was a definite yes! You can share these pages on social media no problem. The copyright is merely to make sure no one publishes Del Muerta as their own work and writing. Hope this clarifies matters!

– All my love,

Author Maggie Lynn

Copyright 2020 Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

Cursed Hart: An Exclusive Excerpt

An exclusive excerpt of Cursed Hart:

“… Before Brin could question me further, Heidi’s car swerved in front of us and came to a screeching halt; a figure all in black rising from the pavement in front of her Hummer. Brin jammed on the brakes, swerving to miss them both. “What the hell-?”

“Uh, oh,” I said under my breath. A flash in my mind told me what I needed to know. The blood red hair of the woman under the black hood brought back images that didn’t belong to me, having seen them in Shitheed’s mind. “That’s Marlana.”

She was advancing menacingly at our car, eyes riveted on me and sparks flying from her fingertips. I could feel her black magic building, black smoke swirling toward our car.

Fortunately for us, I glanced in the rear-view mirror. A ginger-haired fellow with yellow eyes waved back tauntingly and stuck his forked tongue out at me. Dread coiled in my gut. “That’s Toby.”

Peter cursed shrilly. Brin remained deathly calm, his fingers winding into position around the stick, moving the gears into reverse out of their view. “Shira, you attack. Pete, get the defense ready.”

Tro was already gathering at my palms. Both people had black magic shields around them. Plus I wasn’t exactly sure they were entirely human; judging by Toby’s yellow eyes. “Just tell me when.”

He didn’t have to. Brin slammed the gas pedal down, the car rocketing backward. Much to my dismay, Toby disappeared into thin air the second we were about to hit him. I fired an energy bolt at Marlana and it bounced off her shield harmlessly, though it did work handily enough to distract her as Heidi gunned her engine and proceeded to slam into her with the Hummer. I never saw if the woman got up.

Fishtailing the car around, Brin sped toward the open highway. Peter gripped his seat nervously. “Who are these people?!”

I screamed as Toby appeared in the back seat next to me. “So you’re the precious Väktare. Xydon is gonna love you…”

Peony lunged at him as I kicked Toby in the face. Peony’s paws went through him as did my foot. He giggled and disappeared again, my hands meeting empty air as I struck out. I sat bewildered for a second, as did Peony. “Where did he go? He didn’t teleport.”

“And what the hell is he?!“ Peter yelped.

“Wall-walker,” Brin said grimly. “Moves through solid objects.”

“Shira, when I give the word, bend down,” Fae hissed in my head, creeping up under the front seat. “He’s right behind you on the back dashboard. I can smell him.”

I froze as I pictured him crammed in back there, right behind my head. Something was sniffing down the back of my neck, and it wasn’t Peony. Fae stealthily slithered up onto the console, looking anywhere but at me.

“Peter, take Shira and tele-send with her to safety.”

“No!” I exclaimed to Brin, realizing that would interrupt Fae’s plan. “No, I’ll come to you.”

“What? We won’t fit-”

“Now!” Fae screamed in my mind at the same time she screeched and launched herself into the air. I ducked down as she flew over my head. She must have hit her target because I heard a rather loud yell in response. I looked back to see Toby trying to get her off as she clawed at his eyes.

I dove over the front seat, grabbed Brin’s dagger from its sheath, and then jammed it down hard into Toby’s leg. Another agony-filled scream met my actions. I pulled it back, preparing to drive it down again, but he disappeared out the back windshield. Green drops of blood fell from the blade as Fae growled. “I don’t smell him anymore.

“Where did he go now? He wouldn’t give up that easily!”

Brin didn’t answer as he wound in and out of traffic, speeding onto the on ramp of the interstate.  He put his fingers to his lips and pointed upward. I followed his finger up to the roof with a foreboding feeling. “Pete, take care of it.”

“With pleasure,” Peter replied to him, digging around in the glove compartment. I dove for the floor. Fae took one look over the seat and bailed, too, with a yowl at seeing his pistol. I covered my ears as he fired off a bunch of rounds at the ceiling with a maniacal laugh. “How do you like that, sucker?!” I flinched as he hit the end of the cartridge. “Think I got him?”

“Load up the other cartridge just to be sure.” Brin’s eyes met mine in the rear-view mirror. “You okay back there?”

I sat up warily. “No. My boot went through him!”

“He’s a hybrid, I think. Wall-walkers don’t normally turn invisible or bleed green,” he said, eyes traveling around. Nothing pierced his steely calm, as he weaved in and out of traffic.

“Where do you think Heidi went?” Peter said worriedly.

“She’s likely better off than us. I didn’t see anybody fall back onto the road, so I’m guessing we still have a tag along.”

“Well, if he’s not on the hood or the roof, or in here, then…” A horrible thought clogged my mind. “Peter, is there space in the trunk?”

“Nothing but bags. Why? Oh,” he said, turning to me and eyeing the trunk. “How do we get back there? There’s no way to-”

I heard no more as a set of arms seized me from behind and grasped my throat; choking me. Glancing to the side, the arms were floating out of the back seat with no owner attached. I attempted to stab down on him with the dagger, but it went right through air. Peony went to bite him and the same happened.  Running an electric current over my skin in desperation to try and break his grip on me, I gasped as my air supply ran out.

Peter fired a shot and the arms disappeared, dropping me. I promptly dove for the floor of the car again when I saw the muzzle of the gun aimed behind me. I covered my head and felt Fae’s silky fur against my face. Her low growl sounded in my ear as Peter realized all he would do was shoot the seats if he fired again. “Damn! I didn’t get him!”

“He’s still back there,” Brin said, accelerating the car, the engine whining in protest. “Either take care of him or take the wheel.”

“I am! Shira, get in the front!”

“If I do he’s liable to come for me through the front windshield!”

“It beats getting choked through the back!” Peter snapped. “We need to pull over. We’re handicapped by the car-”

Perhaps what he said gave Toby the idea. I don’t know. But suddenly there was no car beneath any of us. I dropped painfully onto the open highway along with everyone else, rolling over and over until I skidded to a stop on my belly. My eyes opened to see an enormous truck zoom over me, its horn blaring.

I screamed out and attempted to further flatten myself against the pavement. After a few horrifying milliseconds, I felt the air pressure lessen and opened my eyes a crack. The next car was a little distance away, but the wheels were in alignment with my head. Attempting to stand, I was too slow. I prepared for impact as it barreled down the highway. A set of arms grabbed me from behind and a much faster rush of air flew past me. My feet left the ground and then slammed down again with a breakneck force. Falling on my face, my cheeks tore against some unseen object…”