Saving Thomas: A Midway Novel Book Two (Hidden Wings)
As soon as we entered the Underworld a rush of emotion overwhelmed my senses. The smell, the intense heat, the memories, all slammed into me at once, making me gasp.
This was the place that Danyel had died. It was the place Kade was burned and was on the threshold of death, and Dom was terribly injured from a Hellhound.
There were horrifying and wicked creatures that dwelled in this place, just beyond the gate. This was the place I met Ethon. The place we bonded, and Lucifer had become my puppet master.
There were no happy memories here. Not one.
Everything that had happened in the Underworld had become my greatest nightmare, one I wanted to bury away and never remember.
Yet, here I was. Back in this Godforsaken place, with Kade by my side.
This time we were here for a different purpose. Not to save my life, but to save Thomas. He was instrumental in saving my life, so I wanted to help save his. Saving Thomas also meant that Eden would be spared.
Since she’d moved here, she and I had become like sisters. We had a lot in common, not only because we weren’t full blooded angels, but the immortal bond had chosen us to be mates with the Guardians assigned to us.
But the greatest commonality between us was that both of our fathers were Fallen, and had been best friends and warrior brothers for centuries. They trained together, fought together, and Samuel was there when Danyel died.
It was Danyel who helped me and my father in the Underworld. And now, ironic as it seemed, Samuel and I had returned, and not only to save Thomas, but also to save Eden, Danyel’s daughter.
Funny how life seemed to have a plan always in motion.
Kade and I had been through so much together and he never left my side. He was my Guardian, my lover, my best friend, and my rock. Even now, he was the only one I trusted with my life. That’s why he was going with me on this mission, and not anyone else.
As soon as we entered, Mateo didn’t waste any time. He zipped us straight to the decrepit tree—the entrance to Hell. He paused for a moment, only to assess who was at the gate. Being invisible with our scent concealed, made it so much easier this time. We were prepared.
The creature at the front gate looked like a massive troll. He was at least fifteen feet tall, with a large nose and teeth. In his hand he held a large wooden mace. It looked like a tree trunk with the branches sharpened at the ends.
Mateo was taking too long to enter, and I wondered if the sight of the creature terrified him. Because I’d already witnessed most of the horrifying beastly creatures of the Underworld, the Troll was nothing. I yanked on Mateo’s hand and he gasped. The troll turned, his eyes scanning the area, his nose sniffing the air . . . but we were invisible to him.
I gave Mateo one more gentler tug, and in seconds, we were off again. Everything around us was a blur, but he managed to navigate the area with ease. After a few moments, he stopped in a dark alcove, the stench of sewage permeating the air. The heat was more manageable here. Still hot, but not as hot as the charred-lung heat outside.
Ahead of us was a long, dark hallway lit sporadically with torches. I counted three guards standing in front of three doors, staggered down the corridor. Thomas must have been in one of them. I hoped he was, because I wasn’t sure what we would do if he wasn’t.
I pulled Kade and Mateo behind a bunch of stacked wooden crates and made us visible again.
Seeing Kade’s beautiful face made my twisted insides settle just a bit. His hand brushed down the side of my face, wiping away the beads of sweat.
“We made it,” he said softly.
I nodded. “Maybe you should stay here, just in case anyone comes.”
He sighed, but knew that if there was a real threat, it would come from down one of the connecting corridors. “I know you don’t want to, but the best way to do this with least force is to call your wings. Let Mateo take you all the way down to the end. That way you’ll take out all threat’s and secure this area. We can’t have them calling for help.
He wanted me to kill the guards. I just had to remember that they would kill me with no problem. They were the enemy. If they knew we were here, they would sound an alarm, and we would have to fight our way out with no guarantee of making it out alive.
“Okay,” I said. I wished he was the one doing this, but he was the only skilled warrior of the three of us. He’d fought the Fallen and knew how to defeat them. And if any came down that hallway, I had confidence he would be able to dispose of the threat.
He gently cradled my face in his hands, then kissed me. “Just close your eyes,” he breathed, his intoxicating scent filling me. “You don’t have to watch.”
I swallowed hard. “Okay. Be safe,” I said.
He pulled his sword from behind his back and ducked behind the crates. Mateo was restless, bouncing from one foot to the other.
“Are you okay?” I asked him.
He nodded. “I just want to get this done and get out of here as soon as possible.”
“That sounds like the perfect plan.” I quickly told him what to do . . . to run me down to the end of the hall, then we’d double back and check the doors that were being guarded.
He agreed, so I smiled and took his hand, becoming invisible.
“Just tell me when to go,” he whispered.
I called my wings and felt them unfurl from my back. I spread them out, until I could feel the pressure of the corridor walls on each side.
Closing my eyes, I gripped his hand tighter. “Go.”
In a split second we stopped at the end of the hallway. I could hear thuds behind us, of the bodies still dropping to the ground. I didn’t want to look, but Mateo did.
“Dead,” he murmured. “All of them.”
My wings had cut straight through their bodies, and it was a blessing I hadn’t felt it happen, thanks to Mateo’s speed. If Dom hadn’t brought him, things would have been a lot more complicated.
“Could you please take me to the first door?”
Mateo grinned, extended his hand, and when I took it, we were at the door before I could take a full breath.
The guard was on the ground, sliced in two. Blood and entrails spilled out on the ground. I threw a hand over my mouth, trying to subside the rising vomit.
Mateo knelt down, unhooking a key attached to the guard’s pants and handed it to me.
“Thank you,” I said, quickly sliding the key into the keyhole and twisting. With a shove, the door opened but it was pitch black inside. Before I could turn around, Mateo handed me a torch.
Holding the flame inside the cell, I spotted a figure huddled in the back corner. Their left hand shackled and chained to the wall.
Taking a few steps closer, I saw what appeared to be a girl. She was emaciated—malnourished and probably dehydrated. Dark hair fell in strings around her face. Her legs and arms were covered in bruises and lacerations. She’d been there a while and was being abused. But what had she done to deserve such treatment?
Her head slowly rose and sad, blue eyes stared directly at me. In an instant her body dropped to the ground. She cowered into a ball and covered her head, whimpering.
“Mateo, stay here,” I said, and he didn’t argue.
I walked over to her and knelt down. “I’m not here to hurt you,” I said softly. “My name is Emma, and I’m here to get my friend Thomas.”
Her whimpering subsided and then she looked back up at me. “Are you real?”
I nodded. “Yes, I’m real. Why are you here?”
She slowly sat up, tears streamed down her dirty face. “They said I was an abomination. That I wasn’t supposed to have been born.”
My heart cracked in half. She must have been a Nephilim.
“How old are you?” I asked.
“Twenty,” she replied, her voice weak. I wished I had some water, but there wasn’t anything in the cell to give her.
“Have you transformed?” I asked.
She nodded. “How do you know?”
“Because I am somewhat of a Nephilim too.”
The girl began to weep. “I can control animals. When they first came after me, they unleased a rabid dog, but I made it turn on them instead. The beast killed one and injured two others before they severed its head.”
I tried to pry the manacle off her wrist using my superhuman strength, but it wouldn’t budge.
“It’s spelled,” she said. “Don’t worry about me. Go get your friend.”
I shook my head, determined to rescue her. So, instead of working on the manacle, I tugged at the chain in the wall. I felt it give a bit, so I yanked harder and it snapped.
I lifted the girl into my arms and carried her to the door. “Mateo, take her to Kade.”
After I placed her in his arms, he took off. I hurried down the hall toward the next door, knowing I’d spent way too much time at that first door.
The guard was severed at his chest. I didn’t have time to freak out so I grabbed his key, opened the door, and pushed it open. Holding the torch inside, I saw nothing. The cell was empty.
Then why was he guarding it?
I went to the next door and didn’t look at the details of the guard. I just grabbed his key and opened the door. Holding the torch inside, I found a man. “Hello,” I said taking a few steps inside.
The man’s head snapped up, a deep growl ripped from his chest, and black eyes became feral. His body jolted toward me with a beastly scream. His teeth were sharpened and he was foaming at the mouth. He pushed against the chains, throwing his entire weight into them, trying to get me. I stumbled back and fell to the ground. With another shove, one of his chains snapped from the wall, his clawed hand grabbing for my face.
I was grasped from behind and pulled outside. “What the heck are you doing?” Mateo asked.
He slammed the door shut, then took the key from my hand and locked it. Whatever that was inside deserved to be there.
“Your friend isn’t here?”
I shook my head. That was the third door. Where was Thomas?
Then, something told me to go back to the second door. To the empty room. I hurried back and looked inside. It was still empty.
I walked back out and pushed the severed man’s bottom half over, and on it was another key. I took it off and quickly tried the door to the right. It didn’t open. Then I tried the door to the left.
Voices echoed from a distance and I knew our time was nearly up. If they saw the severed bodies, not only us, but the others would be in trouble.
I quickly pushed the key into the door on the left and it opened.
“Thomas,” I called. “Thomas?”
My heart nearly burst out of my chest as I thrust the torch inside and saw Thomas sitting on the ground. “Mateo we found him!” I whispered excitedly.
Mateo entered as I helped Thomas to his feet. “Are you okay?” I asked.
“I’m fine. But will be even better when we get out of here.”
“Hold on,” I said, taking his hand before grasping Mateo’s. In a flash we were back with Kade. The girl was sitting on the ground, her legs too weak to stand.
“Thomas,” Kade breathed, hugging his friend.
“You don’t know how good it is to see your face,” he said.
“Mateo, can you take us out of here?” I asked.
“I don’t know if I can take four of you, but I’ll try.”
Kade lifted the girl in his arms. I held her hand and Thomas’s, and Thomas grabbed Mateo’s. We all disappeared as bodies came around the corner. They started laughing, then looked down the hall at the dead guards.
“Sound the alarm!” a deep voice hollered.
In seconds a loud horn blew, nearly deafening. Thomas squeezed my hand.
Why weren’t we moving?
“Mateo, go!” I said. But we still weren’t moving.
“I can’t,” his voice wailed. “There are too many of you and I’m weak.”
“Kade,” I breathed, my voice shaky. We were stuck in the small spot behind the crates as dozens of Fallen swarmed ahead of us.
We all stayed frozen, pressing our backs up against the wall. My invisibility was the only thing keeping us from being seen or caught, but I wasn’t sure how long I could hold all of us either. We needed to get back to the others.
Fallen pushed their way into the hall, checking the cells. “He’s gone!” a voice bellowed. “The angel is gone!”
“Gather the army and head up top,” the deep voice said. “They’ve come for him. It’s time for war!”
The men around the man cheered loudly. The shoved their way back out of the cells. A few of them got into a fistfight, one of them slammed right against me, knocking the air from my lungs. I tried to catch my breath, but there was a pain lingering in my chest making it hard to concentrate.
Hold on. I had to hold on, or we would all die.
I pushed through the pain and held on, forcing my gift to hold the invisibility. I could feel it wavering, telling me it couldn’t hold out long.
The drunk Fallen finally growled and jumped back to his feet, following after the others. I finally let go, and we all became visible.
“I’m sorry,” Mateo said, tears welling in his dark eyes.
Just when we thought they had gone, one more Fallen ran out from the hall. His eyes caught us and he stopped, staring at us like he’d seen a ghost.
Suddenly, the girl was shoved toward me. I grabbed her as Kade charged toward the Fallen, drawing his sword as he ran.
“They’re here!” the Fallen screamed. “They’re—”
His scream was cut short. His eyes widened right before his head rolled off of his shoulders and onto the ground, tumbling past us. Mateo threw his hands over his mouth to stifle a scream.
“Thomas, can you carry her?” I asked.
Thomas nodded. “Yes,” he said. I placed the girl in his arms and grabbed Mateo, forcing him to turn and look at me.
“Mateo, listen carefully. I need you to concentrate. To take Thomas and the girl back to the others.”
“What about you and Kade?” His body was visibly trembling.
“We will follow, but I need you to do this. I need you to take them to safety.”
“No. You have to,” I commanded. “Do you understand?”
Mateo nodded, tears cascading down his face. “If I can make it back, I’ll come get you.”
“Kade and I will find a way out. Tell the others to get back to the portal and get out of the Underworld.”
“We can’t leave you here. Samuel said no one gets left behind.”
Kade stood next to me. “Don’t worry, Mateo. I’ll make sure Emma gets to safety.”
Mateo nodded and wiped his face.
More voices and footsteps pounded down the corridors. “Go!” I ordered.
Mateo took hold of Thomas’s hand, and in a blink they were gone.
Kade took hold of my arms and pushed me back against the wall out of sight. “Looks like it’s me and you against the world,” he breathed.
“Don’t you mean me and you against the Underworld?” I said with a slight grin.
Kade pressed his lips against mine. “I love you, Emma,” he said softly. “More than you’ll ever know.”
“And I love you,” I said, not about to give up. I refused to die in the Underworld. There was no exception. “What do you say we get the hell out of Hell and go home?”
“Deal,” he replied. The gorgeous smile I loved most was back.
Kade stood next to me, grasping his sword in one hand and his dagger in the other. I pulled a sword from my back, and although I was feeling weak, would fight until I had nothing left. Through hell or high water, there was no other person in the entire universe I’d rather go down fighting with than Kade.