Shattered: Whisper of Betrayal
by Toni Walker
by Toni Walker
Phoenix planted his foot on the accelerator jolting the vehicle forward. Idential looking cars formed a box around him. The one to his right was dragging its wheels on the shoulder. He knew this wasn't good. Someone was preventing them from contacting their grandfather. But why would anyone really care, Phoenix wondered. He wanted to know why their mother was alive. That wasn't something the enemy would care about or use. What would they gain by it? The idea had him pressing his foot even farther into the floorboard.
"Whoa!" Scarlett Gray screamed. "What are you trying to do? Get us killed?
"Nah," Nadia Kassoff commented. "I think all the cars surrounding us are doing fine with that concept all on their own."
The Russian girl pulled a gun from the waistband of her hip-huging jeans.
"We've got five cars. Two behind."
Scarlett wasn't as focused on the aspect of them being in danger as much as she was the fact that this girl seated next to her not only owned a gun but was prepared to use it.
"What are you doing with that... thing?" The breath seemed to leave Scarlett's lungs.
"I'm using it for what it was created for. You see. You.... Aim..." Nadia rolled down the window and turned around backward in her seat. "And fire."
She fired off two rounds. The sound wasn't ear splitting which made Scarlett believe Nadia had a silencer on her gun. The effect of her marksmanship was dead on. One car behind them careened out of control taking the one behind it out of commission as well. Both flew like Evil Kenevil over the edge of a very steep embankment.
Phoenix rammed their compact into the car on his left. It lurched wildly away from them before quickly returning to its place in line.
"Scarlett. Get Nadia's cell phone." Phoenix barked the order and the cell was thrown into her lap. "Call Grandfather. He'll know what to do."
Her hands shook as she attempted to dial the number she had memorized. Nadia fired off a few more shots which made her flinch. Her heart beat so quickly in her chest she thought she might have a heart attack. She placed the cell to her ear and it began to ring.
Three cars were left following them and the one on the shoulder moved behind them. Before they realized what was happening the car in front slammed on their brakes while the one on the side pushed the compact toward the edge. They were jarred forward when the compact impacted with the car ahead. It was only a matter of seconds before they were moving again. This time it was sideways.
Scarlett screamed. No one picked up the extension at the Knights mansion and by this time, she had forgotten about the call.
"We have to get out!" her wails were erratic and desperate. "They're pushing us over the edge of the embankment. They're trying to kill us."
Phoenix tried to restart the compact, but to no avail. They were at the mercy of the men in the three cars left on the highway.
Roanna Ambrose Gray stood outside the building where the Knights Foundation did most of their ultra-secret work. The skyscraper loomed high above the street and sported an abstract logo on the front lawn which, strangely enough, looked like a horse's head. It seemed to be an odd sort of chess piece shattered in fragments. Each section lit up making the head appear to move.
A man who worked here wanted to ask her a few more questions about what happened the day her son and daughter found Cameron Cash shot on the floor of his hospital room. She still didn't understand what the Knights Foundation had to do with any of this. Cameron wasn't working for them, and her children -- well, they were -- her children. Running into them had shocked her badly. As a result, she didn't remember everything she told Abraham Moses.
So many things had happened in such a short period of time. She met Cameron and fell in love. They had only known each other only a few months before an enemy from his old life took out vengence on him. He'd been shot and then admitted to a secure Legacy hospital facility. She wasn't used to the world of a covert operative. A world where you could be targeted at any time. And someone had done just that while he was in the facility. She had found him lying on the floor in a pool of his own blood, but that wasn't the only surprising thing she discovered that day.
She surrendered to the fact long ago that nothing would bring her children back to her. Even spending thousands of dollars on therapy to be able to get past the fact they were gone from this Earth.
Then that day everything change.
That day she found out Scarlett and Phoenix were alive.
A split second before she recognized her children, she thought they were the ones who tried to kill Cameron. She even made the mistake of telling that to one of the men at the scene. The black man stalking around the peremeter seemed more interested in her children than he did in finding Cameron's shooter.
Once Abraham Moses discovered Phoenix had been on the scene, all hell broke loose. The man even concockted the absurd idea that her son was holding Scarlett against her will. The Foundation showed her security footage of Phoenix breaking Scarlett out of her hospital room. This man who claimed to fight for truth and justice was willing to believe anything so long as it went along with his current theory about Phoenix. He was a bad seed gone rogue.
Roanna hadn't been able to banish the pained look on Scarlett's face from her mind. They thought she was dead too, it turned out. She wanted to believe they were in the hospital that day to find her, to reunite their family, but the other woman with them, a Russian beauty, quickly dispelled that thought.
Nadia Kassoff ran into the room as if hell were nipping at her heels.
"Guys, we've got BCs all around and someone called Moses. It's time to make a hasty departure." she grabbed both Phoenix and Scarlett by the material of their shirts. "Company is only seconds away. I've alerted the nursing staff about Cam's condition. They should be able to distract the BCs long enough for us to get away."
Phoenix spun on his heel and darted out of the room.
Scarlett was dumbstruck. She stared at her mother as if she was an apparation.
Nadia pushed Scarlett toward the door.
"Nice to meetcha, lady. I'm sure they'd both love to have a whole reunion thing, but there's just no time."
The pounding of feet down the hallway brought Scarlett out of the strange state she'd fallen into. Then the two girls ran in the opposite direction of the rain of troopers who filled the room seconds later.
Cameron groaned from the floor mumbling 'get out', but she couldn't leave him. Her eyes were drawn to the door where both her children had fled. Her mind stuck between the horror of knowing Cameron had been shot and the mysterious resurrection of her two children.
There was no pulse!
Nigel Bennett lurched backward knocking into the side table where they kept her medicine. The pills rained onto the floor and the candle went out making the room horrifically dark.
It couldn't be true. Faith Fairchild couldn't be dead.
He felt along the uneven floor searching for the candle and its stand all the while lambasting himself for letting the girl he was supposed to protect die on his watch.
Shaky hands set the candle back into place and lit it once more. The light flickered softly on Faith's face. God, she was as beautiful in death as she was in life. Nigel sighed. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her violently.
"Wake up! You bloody well better wake up!" A tear escaped his eyes and he flicked it away. This was no time for tears. It was time for her to breathe.
Footsteps pounded out in the hallway but Nigel paid no notice to them. He was only focused on the girl.
"Don't die," he pleaded, pounding on her chest. "Please wake up."
Gray appeared like a spector in the doorway. He raced to Faith's bedside with his long duster flailing out behind him. He pulled on her legs until she was lying flat on the bed, then he ordered Nigel to breathe into her mouth.
"Yes, you. Don't question me. We don't have time for that. Now breathe five slow breaths."
Gray waited until Nigel was finished then he did chest compressions that massaged her heart. They continued for a few minutes before he stopped and checked her pulse a second time.
The pulse was back.
His heart jumped from his throat back into his chest.
Nigel was still giving her recessative breaths. When Gray attempted to pull him away, he found Faith's fingers biting into the Brit's shoulder.
"What are you doing?" he growled.
Nigel pried himself way.
"It wasn't me," he stammered. "I swear. First she wasn't breathing and then she was kissing me."
'Likely story." Gray sent Nigel out for more blankets, and then moved Faith into a more comfortable position on the bed.
He'd nearly lost her. Until she as well and back in her right mind, he wasn't going to send her back into the clutches of the LEGACY or the Knights Foundation. He didn't trust them. He never would. For him, for now, they were merely a means to an end. When he had enough proof, he would bring them down and put them officially out of business... forever!
"What's wrong?" Phoenix asked. "I thought you liked this Nancy Drew world."
He wanted to tell his sister to shut up. To stop screaming, but he knew she wouldn't do it. The compact car wobbled on its hood and Phoenix crawled out of the shattered front window.
"People are trying to kill us and you're giving me lip? Are you out of your freaking mind?" Scarlett followed her brother trying to dodge the pieces of broken glass. "And for your information, this is not Nancy Drew! This is freakin' James Bond meets Mission Impossible."
Nadia hung upside down suspended by her seat belt. She released the catch and crumpled to the hard dirt when gravity kicked in. She moaned and managed to open the door and spill herself onto the patchy green and brown surface. Her head was bleeding from impact with the passenger window, and her two co-horts were giving her a major headache.
"This is not the time for bickering." She raised a hand to her forhead. It came back sticky with blood. Her own blood. Her eyes focused up the embankment. Men were coming! "It's the time for running," she mumbled, still a bit dazed.
The sound of a helicopter swirled overhead dragging up dust from the country ground. Phoenix guessed it belonged to the Knights Foundation. They would have been able to trace Nadia's cell phone like a beacon even if Scarlett wasn't able to send a distress call.
Even though the calvery was near, Phoenix feared they were too late. The men from the highway were streaming down the hill holding guns and shooting random shots. The helicopter's search light was making them a perfect target. A bullet impacted Phoenix's shoulder spinning him around. He grabbed the wound and applied pressure.
Nadia was staggering at best. He knew she wouldn't be able to make it if they had to run for it. The proof came when she tripped, stumbled and fell forward landing half on Scarlett. Both of them came crashing to the ground.
"Scarlett!" Phoenix's breathing was ragged due to the pain of his injury. He backtracked to their position, but by then the men in black were upon them. One injected something into Nadia's neck, then turned a weapon on him. They knew he wouldn't go down without a fight.
All he needed was something to distract the BC. But Phoenix didn't have time to come up with an ingenious solution. Out of the dark a tranquelizer dart shot him in the middle of the chest. He fell to his knees as the men grabbed Scarlett, dragging her back toward their convoy. She screamed but he was helpless to protect her. The tranquelizer was swiftly taking effect. He could still hear her screams when he pitched forward and everything went black.