Wednesday, May 29, 2013
~ Chapter 14 ~
Landon laid in bed with his eyes closed. He could hear the soft wisps of breaths Brook had taken in as his lips settled next to her ear. What was I thinking spewing out all that to her. Why the hell would I tell her what I fantasize about regarding her? Bringing his hand in a ball to his forehead Landon tapped it to his skin. Stupid, stupid ,stupid! I mean seriously what did I think she was going to do? Turn around and fall into my arms. Ha, no that's what I wish her to do and I'm surprised I didn't let that reveal it's self too.
He gazed over to the clock on the gray marble mantel. It is still early. I could go apologize for what I said to her. God what am I saying? It's what I did to her! Foolish idiot. I cannot imagine what she thinks of me now.
Landon's feet hit the floor and he began to walk the perpetrator of the room. “I have made a mess of things now.” His pace was slow and steady as he walked the length of the room in front of the windows. “How could I be so selfish? I mean I am fully aware she is not an innocent but by no means is she experienced enough to handle what I had said to her. Damn it! The only thing I did was seduce her...hell I seduced myself.” Landon chuckled at the thought.
He paused in front of the balcony doors. Pushing them open he walked out to the railing. His hands met the rim of the cooled stone. Is it possible that she saw through my words and felt what I was really saying to her? I have never before been so caught up in a woman. She has this thing about her that I can't turn away from. I wish I knew what it was.
His gaze flew up to a startling sound off in the distance. “What the hell is going on down there?” He leaned over further. The path was lit with torches but the figures were still faint.
His heart seized at the sound of his name. Brook! “Release her now!”
The tone of his voice carried through the dark to Brook like trembling thunder. “Landon!” she cried out again. “Let go of me,” she screamed at the man. His bulky arms encased her whole body leaving her helpless in his grasp.
Landon flew through the hall and down the stairs. Turning the corner into the atrium he could not contain his fear. Landon shouted her name as loud as he could as he barreled towards the back doors.
Devon and Quentin locked eyes and immediately followed Landon's voice.
Brook kicked the man's shin with her heel as hard as she could. It was met with a chuckle in her ear. “You are needed by my Lord. He is waiting for us to return so stop struggling.”
Brook's mind raced. Where is Landon? God please help me. Do not let him take me. As she finished her plea Brook felt a solid pain on her head. The bright stars above seem to grow fuzzy. Keep my eyes open. Ouch my head really hurts. I think he hit... Her words trailed off to nothing as the grip of unconsciousness took hold of her.
Landon reached the spot where he had seen them. “Brook!” His body whipped around every which way of any sign of her. An elegant lavender scarf rest on the edge of the path before him. Landon picked it up and rubbed it between his fingers. Her scent danced through the air on a small breeze to meet him. “Red,” He belted out so loud it hurt his throat.
“What is going on,” Devon asked as he ran up to his side.
“A man. There was a man and he has her now,” Landon answered. “She was here a minute ago. The bastard had his hands on her.”
“What man? Quentin asked.
“The man who was here!” Landon yelled as he went to walk away.
Devon grabbed his arm and Landon snapped it back. “Okay look, we can't help you unless we know who you are talking about, Landon.”
“There was a man and he took Brook. God damn it aren't you listening!” Landon began to walk down the path towards the woods.
“Are you positive?” Devon asked as he followed him.
“Of course I am. He was holding her and she screamed for me to help her. I took too long and now she's gone.” Landon stopped and gazed to Devon. “We have to find her right now.”
“Okay we will,” Devon said.
“No like immediately,” Landon couldn't even think straight. He didn't know where to go or how to move. He was paralyzed with an unspoken fear of losing her.
Devon placed his hand on Landon's shoulder. “We will find her soon. Quentin is gathering every man in the estate to aid us.” Devon stepped in front of Landon. “Hey, look at me. She will be safe and here soon.”
Quentin came up and began giving orders to small groups of men armed with torches and whatever they could use as a weapon. Within minutes twenty five men were walking a line in groups into the woods. As instructed they all paused at thirty paces to listen for a full ten seconds for signs of where she might be.
Devon was leading with three hounds who were given Brook's scarf to smell. He was sure they could not be far behind them. The dogs were pulling hard which meant the trail was hot. All three hounds took a sudden turn towards the stream to the right. Devon was lead into the water along the bank. Quentin ordered for half the men to cross and walk the other side along the bank at twenty paces back. Devon was the only one to walk the cool swift flowing river with the hounds. Although it was not deep it had been raining often over the past few weeks and the current was strong. It did not help he was getting pushed by the water at the back of his knees as he walked the rocky bed of the stream.
Landon although he was watching the stream with his eyes darting back and fourth to the hounds, he was thinking about Brook. If I had only been a minute sooner I probably could have saved her. I should have gone out on the balcony earlier then I would have heard her screaming for me. His heart skipped. Me, she was calling out for me. Of all the people in the house she thought to yell my name and I failed her. After all the rude and disrespectful things I uttered to her I was the one she cried out to help her. Landon's gaze moved from the water to Devon and then back to the hounds. I swear I will kill this filthy bastard. If she is hurt in any way I will choke the life from him myself.
Landon paused a second which caught Quentin's attention. “What is it?” he asked quietly.
“Why is she not screaming for help? We should be able to hear her through the trees because it would echo and hold the sound,” Landon said as he looked to Quentin.
His lips formed a line at Landon's words. The fear that washed over him before his eyes caused him to shutter. “Let's move.” Quentin then shouted. “Men pick up the pace.”
Landon's legs grew numb. His hands and arms surged with a throbbing odd sensation. The swishing of water and the howling of the dogs was not enough to drowned out the sound of his own pulse racing in his ears.
“Up ahead,” one of the men shouted.
Quentin stopped and then yelled, “Release the hounds, Devon.” He ordered the men to run up further along the bank and spread out to stop the man from fleeing.
Landon ran along the bank gaining on the man. Brook's limp body was draped over his shoulder. He could see her bound hands and feet lifelessly moving with the man's body. The faster the man ran the further back Brook's body was slipping on him.
With the hounds moving in on him he let go. Landon watched in horror as Brook's body fell head first into the stream. He wasn't sure where she was as her motionless body sank under the water.
“No,” Landon shouted as he reached out for her still for far away on the bank.
“Everyone in the water now,” Quentin yelled. “Reach in and feel for her.” He pointed to a handful of men. “All of you move downstream just in case she has drifted away.”
Devon looked to Landon who was standing staring at the spot where he had last saw her. “Landon,” Devon said. “Landon damn it!”
~ Chapter 13 ~
Brook stared at the broad posture of his back until he disappeared down the path into the foliage. She hadn't realized it but she finally took in the breath she had been holding.
What am I do do with this? Chase him? Beg for his attention like a dog? She paused and gazed up to the glass ceiling. The stars twinkled through the panes. The memory of every one of his words would haunt her now and she dreaded the thought of them creeping into her head, her dreams, and worse yet her heart. No, he wants me to pursue him. I will never again do that. Not for him or any other man. To risk it all for one night with him is madness. I mean it is not as if he even truly cares for me, not in the way I had hoped he would. Just when I think I see it in his eyes the fact that he will never marry outside his circle reminds me that to him I am simply someone to pass his time with. The game...a chase. Brook suddenly stood to her feet gathering up her skirts in her hands. I need some fresh air.
Long thin finger warped tightly around his cane before the men in front of him. Black hollow eyes glared at them sending a cold chill straight through them to what was left of there hearts. Every one of them dare not look to the evil before them. Words remained just whispers inside their own heads not tempting the wrath of being heard.
Four men remained one captured from discovery. All five feared failure and what it promised for not only them but their families.
“Drop to your knees,” his voice hissed.
All four heads darted up to see his long yellow nail pointing to the man on the left end.
“Crawl to me,” a low tone echoed in the dim lit cabin. “Now!” He roared with a strike of his cane against the gray wood under his feet.
The man crawled forward daring not to close his eyes yet praying he had the courage to do so.
“Where is the fifth?”
“Here on the property, my Lord,” the man said. The growing sound of his own heartbeat nearly drowned out his words. Terrified he may not have spoke clearly enough he added, “He is reachable if you desire it, my Lord.”
He slid the tip of his cane across the floor to the man and raised it to his chin. Slowly he pulled his face up to meet his eyes. “Will you fail this time?”
The man gave his head a slight shake as he fought the sting of tears peaking in his eyes. The hard strike across his cheek was worth the pain if that was all he was to receive. Again his eyes remained to the ground. His body trembled. His cheek dripped blood but his tears stayed where the belonged, hidden from the sight of him, his master.
He stood with swift anger. “Bring to me the fifth and also one of the younger women close to my dear niece.” Turning from the men he gazed out the window to the faint glow coming from the estate. “We will pick them off one by one until only she remains. The men will be drawn out in search and easier to kill if alone. Save both Price's and Sarah for last. As for the rest, take them to the designated place and send word for me once you have completed your duty.” He spun around to the men. “Is this understood?”