“I’ve got a hiding spot for you,” Billy says, cutting into Little Red Corvette by Prince.
“Where,” I say, just barely. The words catch in my impossibly dry throat.
“Lake Shasta Caverns. Just a couple miles west of you. They should be a perfect spot to stay put. And I mean stay. I’ve got a few pots boiling which, if they pan out, should mean you don’t need to move ever again, if you don’t want to.”
“But, Alvin…” I murmur.
“Don’t worry about him. Don’t worry about anything except getting to the caves. I’ve got everything under control from here on out. You did good, Eve. Real good.”
“Thanks,” I say and adjust my heading according to the GPS unit on the music player.
I keep running. My heart feels slightly lighter knowing there’s an end in sight. But I’m still broken. Tired. And I’m just not sure I’ll be able to make it. Either way, I’ve only got 2.3 miles left.
“No!” I scream out. The sound of the gun fire echoes off the neighboring hills and is joined by a terrifying laugh coming from Alvin.
“No more games, Mr. Rhodes,” Alvin cackles. “This is the end. Now give me the disc.”
“You want the disc,” I say with a scowl. My eyes are filled with water, I can barely see, but I still know what needs to be done. I pull a metal box out of my pocket and press the single red button in the center. The SUV behind me roars to life as I hit the ground and cover my head. The SUV plows forward, running directly into Alvin, who has the most amazing shocked look on his face.
I can almost enjoy the beauty of the moment before I remember what just happened. Before I see the body of my brother, with a giant hole in his chest, gasping for breath on the ground in front of me.
“Cyrus!” I scream, running to his side. “Cyrus!”
“Buh, buh, Billy,” he sputters, blood coming up with every syllable. “Buh—“
“Yeah, Cy, it’s me,” I say through large wet tears. “It’s me.”
“Don’t talk, Cyrus. Don’t. I’ll find you help. Someone has to be able to help.”
“No help. No one left. Save Eve.” Each word he says obviously takes a great deal of effort. The bullet must have punctured a lung. Even if I could think of a place to take him, there’s no way I would get there in time. No chance I’d be able to find someone to save him.
“Save Eve,” he repeats.
“Yeah, I will, Cyrus. I promise. I’ll keep her safe. Just stay with me, okay. Just give me a second to think. I can fix this. I–It doesn’t have to end this way, it doesn’t have to—“
“Billy,” he says, his previously blank eyes looking directly at me. Directly through me and into my soul. “Save Eve.”
A loud gasp escapes his lungs and he goes limp in my hands.
“Cyrus!” I scream.
He’s really truly gone.
And it’s all my fault.
All of it.
Alvin stirs in front of me and I become aware of the two burly men watching me, apparently having been able to avoid being run over by the large vehicle I managed to hack into driving over Alvin.
I can fix this. I can’t fix Cyrus, but I can fix this. I can fix Alvin. I can stop it.
I will stop it.
I run to the SUV just as the two men become aware that I’ve stopped grieving and have taken to a new course of action. I manage to get inside and shut and lock the doors before they can get to me.
I pull my laptop out of my bag, type in my new destination, and the vehicle lurches forward.
I will stop Alvin Alexander.
Go to Chapter Thirty-Six