Saving Thomas: A Midway Novel Book Two (Hidden Wings)
We were all on pins and needles, waiting in a dark abandoned room for Kade, Emma, and Mateo to return. Hopefully with Thomas.
“The wait and heat are killing me,” Dom said, pacing in the cramped area.
“You’re making me nervous,” Mason whispered, his face flustered.
We were all dripping with sweat, except Alaine and Eden who seemed to be glistening. The heat was sweltering, making our situation very uncomfortable.
Eden hadn’t said a word since we arrived, but I could feel her anxiety growing with each passing moment. Her hand was still holding mine, and every time we heard a voice or a bump, her grip tightened.
“Hey,” I whispered into her ear. Her eyes met mine with a fear I hadn’t seen since the Darkling attack in the woods at Brindle Hall. “You okay?”
She shrugged, giving me a sad smile.
Grasping her hand, I led her to the back of the room and held her in my arms. “What’s wrong?”
She sobbed softly against my chest. “I feel like something really bad is about to happen. This place is making me feel things, and it’s scaring me.”
“There is a heaviness and rage building inside me. I can’t explain it, but it started the moment we came through the portal. I’ve been trying to quench it, but I don’t know how.” Her eyes clenched shut. “There is something wrong with me and it has something to do with this place.”
“Listen,” I said, holding her tight. “As soon as they return, we’ll leave this place and never return.”
“Promise me you won’t leave my side until we get out of here.”
There was a gust of hot wind and Mateo appeared in the room, with two figures, then fell to his knees.
We all gasped and ran over to them.
“Thomas!” I exclaimed in a soft voice. He turned and looked at me with a wide smile.
“You all came for me?” In his arms was a girl, who he gently placed on the ground.
“They dragged me along.” Dom chuckled, and slapped a hand to Thomas’s back. “It’s great to see you again, brother.”
“You have no idea,” Thomas exhaled.
“Where is Kade and Emma?” Alaine asked.
Mateo looked up at her. “I was too weak to bring them all, so Emma ordered me to take Thomas and the girl. She found her in one of the cells. She’s Nephilim.”
Eden’s body stiffened as she looked at the girl, so I tightened my arms around her.
The girl was filthy and thin. They had obviously starved and abused her. Her skin was badly bruised and marred with cuts. Her hair was stringy, and I wasn’t even sure what color it was. On her left wrist was a manacle and about three feet of chain still attached to it.
We all silently looked at each other, probably wondering the same thing.
Where did she come from? How long has she been down here?
Eden’s body began to tremble, and I could sense her anxiety through the bond. This girl could have been her. If I hadn’t been sent on the assignment at Brindle Hall, the Fallen would have taken her and thrown her in a cell. And we were now looking at the results of what they could have done.
Who knew what unspeakable things happened to this girl. She was so weak and thin that she could barely move.
Alaine slipped from her jacket and placed it over the girl’s shoulders, then handed her a flask of water. The girl swallowed the contents of the flask all at once, then handed it back to Alaine, and replied, “Thank you.”
“What’s your name?” Alaine asked.
The girl looked up at her with deep blue eyes. “Sage.”
Alaine slowly reached down and took her frail, dirty hand in hers. “It’s nice to meet you, Sage. My name is Alaine.”
The girl gave a weak smile.
I was surprised that Eden hadn’t said anything. Ever since we’d come down here, she’d closed herself off, fighting whatever demons inside. I wished there was a way for me to help her. But the only thing I could do was be here for her.
“Mason, will you be responsible for Sage?” Alaine asked.
Without hesitation, Mason answered, “Yes.”
Samuel came up behind Alaine. She stood to her feet and took hold of his hand. “Mateo, are you able to take anyone out past the gate?”
He shook his head, his body slouching over. “I’m spent. I barely made it here.”
The corridors outside were filling with Fallen. Voices ran past, announcing to everyone to prepare for war. Another announced that all guards needed to secure the portal. Cheers and growls erupted, and I knew we didn’t have much time.
“Samuel and I are going to help Kade and Emma,” Alaine announced. “The rest of you stay here until we return. Prepare for battle. It looks like we won’t be leaving the Underworld without a fight.”
Dom stepped forward, pulling his sword. “I’m coming with you guys.”
“Are you sure?” Samuel asked.
“I’ve been waiting for some action,” Dom replied, bouncing on his feet. “Besides, Emma is probably expecting me to come and rescue her anyway, as always.”
Samuel shook his head and chuckled to himself. A gust of wind blasted into the room, and we immediately went into fighting stances.
Then, Kade and Emma appeared. They were bloodied, and it looked like Emma was injured. Her right arm was covered in blood.
Alaine ran over to her. “Where are you hurt?”
Emma dropped to her knees, she looked exhausted. “It’s a flesh wound. I’m fine, just tired.”
Kade knelt next to her, watching Alaine check her wound. “We ran into some trouble, but managed to fight our way out. Emma had just enough to make us disappear and get us here.”
“Hey, not to be a buzzkill, but I don’t know if we’ll make it out of this room without invisibility,” Dom noted.
“Just let me catch my breath,” Emma exhaled. “I’ll be fine in a few minutes.”
“I’ll get all of us out,” Alaine said, quickly wrapping a bandage around her wound. Alaine always carried a small pouch of medical supplies, because she had all of us to deal with. “That will need a few stitches when we get back.”
Samuel took a knee beside her. “You can’t cover all of us. It will make you weak, and you need to be strong to battle.”
Alaine turned her attention to Samuel and placed her hand gently against his cheek. “We can’t stay in this room forever. Eventually they’ll find us, and when they do, we’re as good as dead here. Our best chance is to get outside past the gate and fight our way into the portal.” She leaned over and kissed his cheek. “I’m not worried. Because when I am weak, you are my strength.”
Samuel wrapped his arms around Alaine and hugged her, then kissed the top of her head. He then stood and pulled his sword, his eyes meeting each one of ours. “Prepare for battle.”
I took in a deep, unfulfilling breath, the heat and stench made me feel like a fish out of water, drying up the very life inside me.
We all stood in the center of the room. Mason took Sage into his arms, and I had Eden. Everyone with wings, called them.
“Thomas, are you strong enough to fight?” Samuel asked.
Although his wings had been stripped and he’d endured a few days in Hell, he replied, “Yes.”
Samuel handed him his sword.
“Samuel, I can’t take your weapon,” Thomas said, holding a hand up.
Samuel smiled. “I barely use this sword in battle and really . . . I only wield it to look cool. But through the centuries, I’ve come to know that the greatest weapons I have are my wings.”
Thomas bowed his head, accepting the weapon. “Thank you, Samuel.”
We’d all seen Samuel in battle, and it was the most amazing thing to watch. While fighting he was graceful, almost poetic. His skills were unprecedented; each move he made was precise and lethal. It was almost mind blowing to know that this being in our midst, who had one of the biggest, warmest hearts, was one of Lucifer’s finest warriors. He’d been in countless battles and survived them all, and now he would be fighting against his Fallen brothers to protect us.
“Alaine, once we get past the gate, let go of your gift,” he said, then turned to the rest of us. “We need to get as close to the portal as possible. Be careful because it will be heavily guarded. We’ll just need to clear a path and push through. Those who can fight, protect those who can’t.” He nodded, a fire growing in his now blackened eyes. “We’ve battled the Fallen before and survived. We can do it again.”
“Let’s do this,” Dom said, gritting his teeth.
Eden was still in my arms, pressed tightly against me. “You ready?” I asked.
The longer she was here, the more worried I became. I had to get her out of here.
“We can’t wait. We have to go now,” Samuel said.
Everyone gathered around Alaine and held hands.
“As soon as we disappear, I’ll open the door, and we fly.”
It happened fast.
Samuel opened the door, and the corridor was filled with Fallen trying to get outside. Samuel disconnected from the line and immediately appeared visible.
Before any of the Fallen realized what was happening, Samuel went to work using his wings to slash through at least a dozen Fallen. Bodies and limbs flew, and blood sprayed making the Fallen pause.
“Go!” Samuel hollered.
In a split second, we all ran out the door and took to flight. Eden was holding onto my neck, her legs wrapped around my waist. Each one of us flying had to concentrate. With only five feet between the Fallen and the ceiling, there wasn’t much room to maneuver. We couldn’t make any mistakes.
My heart thundered in my chest. This was it. This was our only chance to make it out.
The exit was lower than we’d all expected with a two-foot clearance, above the Fallen trying to get out, for us to fly through. There was no way I could make it while I was carrying Eden.
All of a sudden, Dom appeared in front of us, wings spread, sword drawn. “Buckle up, bitches!” he bellowed. “Try to keep up.”
He swooped down into the crowd of Fallen and began slashing a path toward the gate. Samuel zoomed from behind and helped him, Fallen limbs were being tossed everywhere—a decapitated head with eyes wide and mouth open headed for me. With a half-flap of my wings, I rose just high enough to kick the head and send it flying forward. It hit another Fallen smack dab in the face and knocked him out. He fell backward into the crowd.
Kade disconnected from the line, followed by Mark. All four of them easily cleared a decent pathway out of the gate. But behind us, dozens of Fallen had taken to the air, weapons in hand, giving chase, and by the wicked looks in their eyes, they wanted us dead.
“Head for the portal,” Samuel said, leading the way.
About twenty-five yards in front of the portal, we landed, because a few dozen Fallen were standing in front of it, weapons drawn, ready. Alaine let go, making the rest of us visible. She stumbled backward, weakened from using her gift, but Emma caught her.
Fallen surrounded us—some landing, some circling in the air above. In minutes, there were hundreds, and more filing out of the gate.
Eden suddenly stepped away from me, the expression on her face completely changed. There was no longer fear in her eyes, but a rage burning within. “You have to go. Start making your way to the portal,” she said to all of us. Then, she took hold of my hand and her eyes softened for a moment. “Alex, I need you to go with them.”
“Eden, no,” Alaine said, extending her hand to her. “You have to come with us.”
Eden smiled at her. “I can’t. We won’t survive.”
Emma stepped toward her next. “And neither will you if you stay here.”
“If I can, I will come through right after you.”
I grabbed hold of her hand, making her turn to me. “Eden, I made you a promise, not only today, but the day we sealed our bond . . . that I will be with you until the end. Whatever end that may be.” I drew my sword. “Today, I am not leaving your side.”
A tear trailed down her cheek as she nodded and gave me a sad smile. “If you’re going to stay, then hold onto me and don’t let go.”
Eden closed her eyes and above us dark clouds began to form out of nothing, the wind started to pick up the desert sand, whipping it around us. When her eyes finally reopened, they’d gone completely black but had a rim of crimson around it. This was the first time I’d seen that happen to her. All black would have been one thing, because that’s the color our eyes turned when we were ready for battle. But the red rim had me concerned. There were only two others who had full crimson eyes—Lucifer and his son, Ethon.
Eden’s dark eyes shifted toward Alaine and the others. “Go. Now,” she commanded.
I watched their faces as they took in the change in her eyes the change in her disposition, the others listened and began to make their way toward the portal.
Samuel, Dom, Thomas, and Mark took the lead, wings spread, swords drawn and ready.
Eden and I stood in the middle of the sweltering wasteland, hand in hand. I could feel her power rumbling, pulsing, and it was stronger than ever. Maybe it was this place. She was half Fallen, so maybe her gift was channeling the power of the Underworld, strengthening it.
Eden let go of my hand and turned, pressing her back into my chest. I wrapped my arms around her waist and held on because whatever she was bringing was going to be big.