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Family Matters: The Society Book 4 By Valerie Gaumont Characters: 22345

Updated: 2019-06-11 14:59

Chapter 20

Ivy blinked awake slowly, her head pounding with a nasty headache. She realized she was sitting in a chair and felt the ropes binding her arms together behind her and similar bindings attaching her ankles to the chair legs. While her jeans protected her ankles from chafing, she could feel the rough texture of the rope scratching against the skin of her wrists. She knew if she moved too much, her flesh would soon be raw and bleeding. Her still healing arm was throbbing with pain and she suspected whoever tied her up wasn't too gentle.

'But it is better than Ron and his dungeon, ' Ivy thought. She tried to breathe through the panic rampaging inside her. 'I can burn through the ropes easier than through the metal bits.' The thought helped calm her a little.

Ivy blinked in the half light and realized that some sort of burlap sack was placed over her head. It was thick enough that she couldn't see through it, but thin enough so she wasn't in total darkness. She breathed in through her nose and out through her mouth, trying to count an even number between the inhale and the exhale. Controlling her breathing helped her control the panic and let her think.

'No use hyperventilating, ' she told herself. Her eyes strained to see anything beyond the confines of the bag. Her coffee breath tainted the air inside the bag and made it warm against her skin. 'Should have had a breath mint after the coffee, ' she decided. Ivy wasn't sure if the bag was there as a kindness so she didn't wake up in the pitch black behind a blind fold or if this was all her abductors had on them.

'And who would abduct me?' she thought. 'I haven't upset anyone lately, I don't think. Well, maybe Hamilton, ' she amended. She was forced to admit she could see her clan head getting rid of her in order to maintain his control. The thought did not sit easily and brought the panic roaring back.

'But he wouldn't bind me with ropes even if he did abduct me.' The thought calmed the panic. This was not Hamilton getting rid of her. 'He would not use ropes.' Power hungry he might be, but stupid he wasn't. She wasn't entirely sure what Hamilton would attempt to bind her with in such a situation as he knew she was a fire mage and could easily take care of the ropes. 'And he saw me deal with the metal shackles in my last abduction.'

Ivy frowned at the thought of repeat abductions. 'I really hope this doesn't become a thing.'

"I think she's awake boss, " Ivy heard a male voice say. It wasn't a voice she recognized.

"Finally, " another strange male voice replied. "Remove the bag."

Ivy heard footsteps crunching across rough ground and moving towards her. She braced herself, but still gasped as the bag was ripped off of her head. Ivy blinked and looked around trying to make sense of the situation as quickly as possible.

They were in the middle of a ruined building. It was huge and had large chunks of rusted machinery scattered around the space. She guessed it was once some sort of factory. What kind she couldn't tell and at the moment didn't really think it was relevant. There was a gaping hole in the roof of the building and the interior was covered with moss and leaves, a few small trees pushing their way through cracks in the rubble strewn concrete floor. Whatever this place once was, it hadn't been used in a long time. Through the hole in the roof, Ivy could see the sky. It was darker than she expected and she guessed they were edging into early evening.

'So I've been out several hours, ' she thought. 'I think I'm going to avoid that sandwich place in the future, ' she decided. 'It's bad luck.'

Off to the side, next to an unidentifiable hunk of unusable machinery she saw Alex and Russell lying on the ground. Both were unconscious and Russell had a trickle of blood dried along his hair line. She watched them intently, hardly daring to breathe until she saw their chests rise and fall. She sagged in relief as she saw they were still alive. While she was upset that they were abducted with her, she had to admit, it was nice not to be alone.

Sure they were at least still alive, Ivy continued to look around, trying to find anything that would let her know what was going on and who she was dealing with. She saw others moving about the space. Mostly they stayed to the lengthening shadows and she had a hard time seeing their faces. The fact that she sat in a pool of light added to her inability to see them very well. What she did see, didn't tell her enough to help her formulate any sort of hypothesis as to why she was tied in a chair in the middle of a ruined factory.

'There must be a light behind me, ' she thought. She didn't know what good the information would be, but she kept adding details hoping something would help her or at least let her know what was going on.

From their general size, she guessed the people around her to be men. One of the men was holding the sack that was over her head. It swung from his hand as he stood waiting. Another shadowy man brought a wooden chair forward. When he stepped into the light, she saw his face. It wasn't familiar. He placed the chair front of her and brushed off the seat like an attentive waiter before stepping back.

"Who are you and what do you want?" Ivy asked the group in general, unsure where to direct her comments. Since she couldn't figure it out on her own, asking was her only option. There was a quaver in her voice that she didn't like, but there was nothing she could do about it.

"Relax Ms. Chambers, " a voice said from the shadows. "We aren't here to hurt you."

She recognized it as the one relieved she was finally awake, the one the other called boss. Ivy looked towards the man who spoke. He moved forward out of the darker shadows and into the lighter area, his footsteps crunching over leaves and shredded building bits. Ivy blinked in surprise as she got a good look at her captor.

'Nick?' she thought. 'It can't be.' Her breath caught in her throat.

She stared dumbly at the man as he settled himself in the chair, her breath catching in her throat. He looked like an older version of Nick. Ivy scanned him from the tips of his polished Italian shoes to his expertly tailored suit, carefully knotted tie and perfectly styled hair. It was the sight of the hair that got her breathing again.

Nick's hair would never look like that. His head was always covered by a shaggy mass that Irina eventually nagged him into getting trimmed. The face was the same though, a few more lines, more gray hair, and a little more excess weight, but the same. It left little doubt as to who she was dealing with

wasn't the only one who heard it so she knew it was not in her imagination.

"What was that, " one of the henchmen asked, looking off into the darkness.

The men took this distraction as an opportunity to draw weapons. Ivy snapped the ropes binding her legs, feeling heat on her legs as her jeans burned, the cloth flaring. She stood and hurled her chair backwards aiming for the light. The chair connected with the metal stand and sent the light crashing to the ground in a spray of broken glass, the bulb popping against the rubble strewn floor.

Ivy dove towards Russell and Alex. She grabbed Russell under the arms and dragged him behind the hulking machinery. Her arm screamed in agony but as she moved she heard the first bullets sound as the weapons were drawn and were fired. She knew she couldn't leave them exposed. Ivy gritted her teeth against the pain and managed to get him concealed behind the machinery. She left him there and went back for Alex. Her brother was lighter than her husband, but not by much.

As she tugged him behind the machine and next to Russell, Ivy gasped as a fresh flash of pain erupted in her arm just above her still healing wound. She dropped Alex, thinking she must have torn something in her arm. She lifted her hand to her arm and found a hole in the sleeve of her shirt a few inches above her healing wound. Her arm was bleeding.

'I've been shot, ' she marveled. 'Again.'

The pain of this one was nowhere near as bad as the first time and Ivy realized the bullet just grazed her. It hurt, but it wasn't debilitating. She looked down and saw that part of her brother was still exposed.

'Luckily his legs are lighter, ' she thought as she lifted them and tucked them behind some mechanical bits, forcing her arm to work just a little longer. Both unconscious men safely concealed, Ivy ducked down behind the machine as well. She saw her legs were still glowing as her jeans continued their slow burn and realized that was what probably made her a target. She slapped the burning cloth out and peered out from behind her concealment to see what was going on.

While the shadows thickened, especially without the light, Ivy could see the vague shapes of men. Like her, they were sticking close to large chunks of concealing metal as they fired at each other. Thankfully they were on the other side of the factory floor and as far from her as it was possible to get.

'I guess Frankie know knows who is out to get him, ' Ivy thought.

Her arm throbbed with pain and she did her best to keep it still, even though the nerves felt like they were jumping under her skin. She doubted she would be able to move either of the men again and realized that regardless of what happened, they were here until at least one of the men woke up. Looking around, Ivy realized that her bit of machinery was located close to a wall. They were holed up in a short corridor between the machine and brick. The machine was set close to a corner and Ivy found it was actually pressed against the brick on that side.

'While I can't escape, no one can sneak up on me, ' she realized. With the men safely tucked behind her, there was the possibility that she could defend them until they regained consciousness. 'As long as nothing else happens.'

A howl rent the evening air and Ivy looked up as dark shapes scrabbled over the walls, using holes in the brick and in the roof to pour into the building. The forms wore some sort of concealing garment which blurred their forms, but dressed or not, they didn't move like humans.

At first Ivy thought they were some sort of Shifters, but the only one she dealt with were wolves and cats. She couldn't think of any other variety that might come to her aide. Whatever these were, they scaled the walls like lizards, dropped to the ground and streaked their way across the rubble strewn floor. They raced past her as though they didn't see her and headed directly for the men fighting.

Deciding that staying out of sight was more important than seeing what was going on, Ivy sunk down, sitting on the ground to save her calf muscles which were starting to cramp from too much crouching and hoped none of the unconscious men decided to start snoring. With luck, they would all kill each other and the survivors would limp away without bothering to look for them. Ivy looked from Russell to Alex, crossed her fingers and sent her prayers into the heavens.

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