Relief poured through my body, bringing tears to my eyes. Delaney was coming! He was really coming. I leaned against the wall and took deep breaths in an attempt to slow my racing heart. Vitally looked at me, his expression was a mixture of both worry and fear. His eyes seemed desperate, and I knew that he was telling me the truth.
"What now?" I asked my voice cracking from emotion.
He shook his head. "I…I don't know. I didn't expect you to walk into Luther's office and tell him to fuck off… He sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. "Do you have any idea how lucky you are that he agreed to let me take you down here? There is no way I would have been able to stop them if he hadn't."
That cold feeling of dread washed over me. I didn't want to think about what would have happened … what they would be doing to me.
This morning my situation seemed so bleak that I was ready to take what came, and was actually hoping for death. Now…now I had a glimmer of hope, and no matter how small that glimmer was it renewed the fight in me and strengthened my will to survive.
"Can I call him?" I asked suddenly reaching for my phone.
"There is no service down here" He said shaking his head. "I need to go up above and call him to let him know you are alive."
"You're just going to leave me down here…Alone? What if someone else comes down to…you know." I was panicked. He paused and looked at me twisting his face in thought. He really didn't have a plan…
There was no way Vitally would put his life on the line for me, or even be able to do much on his own against all of the others that were here today. He reached behind his back and pulled out his gun. He cautiously handed it over to me.
"It's loaded, there is no safety just point and shoot. I will do what I can, but we will both be dead if they find out I've betrayed them. You need to do whatever it takes to protect yourself. I'm going up to call Mr. Delaney now, let's pray he gets here before things get any worse."
I carefully took the gun and stuck it in the waistband of my pants and covered it with my shirt. I was thankful that it was too big and hung loosely over the gun. Vitally looked at me and nodded as he left.
Pacing around the room only made my anxiety worse so I sat on the mattress and resigned myself to the fact that I would have to endure this torturous wait. My head rested in my hands as mere minutes took an eternity to pass by. I hoped that Vitally was able to get the message to Delaney and that he was already on his way here. Longing to be back safe in his arms, I visualized his face and began to replay every conversation that we had ever had in my head.
The one regret I had was not telling him that I loved him. I wanted him to know what he meant to me, and promised myself that if I got of this mess in one piece I would tell him, I would tell him everything. Fear stopped me before. I was scared of my feelings, scared of his feelings…but that kind of fear is one I can deal with. That fear was in my head alone, and if I could survive this nightmare I could survive anything.
The sound of the keys in the door broke my thought and I jumped to my feet as the door slowly opened. Please let this be Vitally. Instead, Sergei's large frame filled the doorway. I looked at him wearily as he stepped into the room. He looked me over slowly and a disgusting smile spread across his face.
"Looks like Vitally didn't do his job properly, you can still stand…"
My back was to the wall and I had nowhere to run. Stay Calm Ali… wait until he is closer… you cannot miss. The thoughts raced through my mind as he stalked towards me. I held my breath and watched his every movement. He raised his hand to grab for me and I pulled the gun out from under my shirt and pressed it into his face.
His expression changed instantly as realization hit. My heart was pounding. Do it Ali, pull it! I thought to myself as I placed my finger on the trigger and pulled it before he could mutter a single word.
His head rocked back violently as blood sprayed into my face, I could taste it and I began to gag as his body dropped to floor. My entire body began to shake uncontrollably. I just killed someone.
I dropped to my knees next to him and frantically began to search his body for the keys to the door. There was nothing in his front pockets, and I struggled pulling at him trying to roll him over to get to the back pockets. I was shaking so violently I feared I may go into shock. Then I heard the door open again and looked up to see a stunned Vitally staring down at me as I kneeled in a pool of Sergei's blood.
"Sergei…" He said the sadness apparent in his voice. He looked away from him back to me, and I raised my gun at him in warning. If he felt bad that this bastard was dead there was no trusting him. The gun aimed at his head seemed to snap him out of it as he shook his head and stepped closer to me extending his hand to help me up.
"I spoke to him, he is coming right now… we have to hurry. I have to get you somewhere safe before the mayhem begins. Most of the other men are busy getting the other girls ready for transport so it's now or never." I lowered my gun and placed my bloodied hand into his. He pulled me up off of the ground and led me out of the cell. I saw him glance back at Sergei's lifeless body for a moment before closing the door.
I used my shirt to wipe the blood from my face as we hurried down the hallway and up the stairwell leading outside. Once we reached the top he turned and motioned for me to wait as he slowly opened the door and stepped out. After a few quick seconds he opened it the rest of the way allowing me to come out into a deserted courtyard. I looked around I could see several vans parked on the far side of the main house. There were several men milling around them, but they weren't paying any attention to what was going on down here on this end. Vitally grabbed me by the arm and led me around to the back of the stable building where we could stop for a second out of sight.
"We have to run across the courtyard. " He said his breathing hard. "The only place I can think of that is the old barn that is behind the main house. Once whatever it is that is coming happens I don't think anyone will think to go there, much less go there to find you…"
The fact that I had no other options made the choice easy. I couldn't stay here out in the open and I sure as hell wasn't waiting down under the stables with Sergei.
"Okay…but how do we get past the main house without being seen"
"Run quickly and stay along the right side of the house. Everyone is at the garages on the other end getting the other girls loaded. The chance that anyone would see us is slim." I nodded. It was a shoddy plan, but it was all we had.
I crouched down behind Vitally as we made our way to the edge of the stable building. He looked around the corner waiting for the perfect opportunity, and when it came, without warning he began to book it across the courtyard. I followed him running as fast as I could. Don't trip, Don't trip I repeated to myself as I hurried to catch up to him. We had just cleared the main house when I heard a sound that can only be described as something slicing through the air. It caused me to hesitate but the slicing sound was followed immediately by a loud explosion and the force knocked both Vitally and I off of our feet. I landed onto the ground with a thud quickly scrambled to find the source of the noise or rather the point of impact. I found it quickly as there was a gaping hole in the side of the main house with smoke beginning to billow out.
I heard the slicing sound again and covered my head as the second explosion came with just as much force as the first. I lay on the ground in shock and the house slowly became engulfed with flames until Vitally grabbed my arm and pulled me up onto my feet and out of my daze.
"We have to take cover now Alivia, come on"
No sooner as we began running I heard the sounds of gun fire fill the air. We hurried through the trees until there was a small clearing and a dilapidated old building that must have been the barn stood before us. We sprinted towards it anxious to get out of the open.
Once inside I finally had a chance to catch my breath. We made it! I could still hear the sound of the gunfire in the distance but I knew that, that gunfire meant that Delaney was here, and there was no way that Luther's men would be prepared for the onslaught that he would bring.
"We just wait here?" I asked Vitally, who was out of breath and leaning against a wooden beam for support.
"Yes, he panted. I told him that, I would bring you here." There was definite relief in his voice as well.
"Thank you" I said…the words feeling funny in my mouth since he was one of the people who was responsible for my entire situation to begin with. "Do you think you can help me get up there?" I said pointing to the rafters overhead. "There is a window on that wall and I want to see if I can see what's going on."
He nodded and walked towards me interlocking his fingers in order to boost me up. I put my gun down on the ground and placed my foot into his hands. He pushed me up towards the rafter and I was able to grab a hold of it and pull my upper body onto it. My legs were still dangling and I was struggling to get them up when I heard Luther's voice. I became paralyzed with fear.
"You Vitally are a pathetic weak piece of shit, betray your brothers…for what?"
He didn't give Vitally a chance to respond. I heard the gunshot and what I imagined was Vitally's body hitting the ground. I frantically tried to pull myself up out of his reach but he grabbed hold of my foot and yanked me down off of the rafter. I hit the concrete floor with a sickening thud and felt immense pain shoot through my right arm. I screamed as Luther grabbed my hair and pulled me up to my feet. No! No! No! I was so close…so close. I struggled against him but he grabbed my hurt arm and began to twist it. I began to cry. The pain was excruciating and would have surely sent me down to my knees had he not been holding me up. He held me still for a few moments simply glaring at me, and getting enjoyment from the pain he was inflicting.
"Lucky for me that I saw you and Vitally running across the courtyard and was already outside when your boyfriend decided to shoot a fucking rocket into my house… Unlucky for you though, since his valiant effort will fall short. I am going to enjoy killing you little one."
I was in so much pain that I couldn't comprehend what he was saying to me and I just looked at him blankly. He studied my blank expression and then slowly pulled his gun out and placed it to my temple. He wanted to make sure that I understood… his plans for me.
I heard a loud shot and closed my eyes expecting impact, but instead I heard Luther scream in pain. My eyes flew open as he fell down to the ground, taking me with him. He was injured and I was able to move quickly and roll away from him. I heard heavy footsteps enter the barn and looked up to see Delaney walking towards the door dressed in all black with a shot gun in hand.
His focus was on Luther as he closed the gap between them. He stood over him and shoved the barrel of his shot gun into his mouth.
"No Luther, I am going to enjoy killing you" he said as he pulled the trigger.
The shot echoed in the old building and I covered my eyes with my hands. I had seen enough… I didn't need anything more images of brain fragments and blood spatter to haunt me.
I heard crying but didn't realize it was coming from me. I was in such pain and shock that I couldn't even move.
"Ali…" I looked over and saw Delaney rushing towards me. Within seconds he had dropped to his knees and wrapped his strong arms around me. "Ali… baby, you are covered in blood" He said, and for the first time ever I heard fear in his voice.
I looked up into his beautiful face. His jaw was clenched, as his eyes frantically scanned my body looking for the source of the blood.
"It's not mine." I whispered smiling up at him. He paused for a moment taking in what I just said and still scanning me for a bleeding wound. Satisfied that I was not the source of all the blood he smiled down at me.
"That's my girl" He said before kissing me softly on the lips and carrying me outside.