“NO!” Sapphira screamed sitting up. Eyes wide with terror, they darted around the room searching for something that in the back of her mind was not there. She was not trapped in the cave with Gideon, unable to release the medallion that held him prisoner while Malphas sunk his claws into his belly, slowly digging so to cause as much pain as possible upwards towards his heart. She was in her room, at the Llassar farmhouse. She was safe.
Pain wracked her body and she doubled over, clutching her chest. Inside her head Gideon screamed her name, screamed for her to save him. Gasping for air, Sapphira kicked at the covers that tangled her legs until she was finally free of them. Sliding from the bed, she staggered a few feet before she realized the voice she was hearing was not Gideon but Brynn’s. Strong hands grabbed her arms as her legs collapsed from under her.
“Kara!” Brynn called anxiously. “What’s wrong? What’s happening?”
“Gideon,” she rasped, desperation thick in her voice. “He has Gideon! He’s killing him! We have to save him!”
When Brynn did not answer her, his body suddenly still, she looked up and froze. His face was slack, eyes glazed over. His body jerk violently then blood gushed from his open mouth. Screaming, Sapphira backed away, Brynn’s hands falling limply by his side. With one more jerk, his knees collapsed and he fell in slow motion to his the floor. Listing sideways, his lifeless body hit the hard stone floor with a muffled thud. In his place was a clawed hand holding his bloody beating heart. Staring at it in horror, Sapphira tried not to look up, but her eyes betrayed her. Slowly they followed the red leather clad arm up, and up, and up, past the armored shoulder to the strong smooth chin. Past the cruel mouth that held a sneer full of malice. Past the strong smooth nose to crimson eyes that bore into hers, the lustful triumph they held freezing the air in her lungs.
“I have waited a long time to make you mine, and now that I have eliminated all the obstacles between us, you will never escape me again,” Malphas sneered. As he spoke, he raised his bloody hand to where Sapphira could once again see Brynn’s heart and began to squeeze. “You are mine!” he snarled as Brynn’s heart disintegrated, blood gushing down his arm covering the wood floors.
“NO!” Sapphira screamed sitting up in bed, sweat drenching her, terror stealing her air.
“Sapphira!” a familiar voice cried.
Arms encircled her, pulling her against the warmth of a hard body, but she knew it was a trick. Malphas would torture her for days, making her believe she had woken from her nightmare only to find she was still trapped within one far more horrifying. Fighting with everything she had, the arms finally opened and she scrambled from the bed. She only made it a few feet when the pain wracked her body again, dropping her to her knees screaming. This time when the voice called her name, it was gentle, careful.
“Sapphira?” he coaxed. It was definitely a he and it sounded so familiar. Like home, but Sapphira still did not trust it. “Please, love,” he begged.
Now the voice was in front of her. Refusing to open her eyes, her arms tightly wound around herself as spasms wracked her body, Sapphira cowered away from the voice. Pain, sharp and immediate tore a scream from her. Falling to her side, she curled into a ball, her teeth grinding together as she tried to hold in another scream that threaten to break free. Exhausted and beaten as she was, she would not give the bastard the satisfaction. So tired. So very tired.
There was a small movement of air, warmth to the front of her. The male had quietly moved towards her, but she could not unwind herself to move away.
This time the voice held a note of command, even though she could also hear worry. “Sapphira. You must tell me what is happening, or I cannot help you.”
Help her? She choked back a burst of laughter, which strangely sounded like a sob. Too many times she had believed him, and each time had left her broken, lying on the floor in a pool of her own blood. Not today. Someone shoved a white hot poker into her brain and she could no longer keep her scream inside. Clutching her head, she rolled onto her back, scream after scream tearing at her throat.
Cursing vehemently, the male grabbed her wrists and suddenly the pain was a little less. When those curses became strangled she realized whoever it was, was feeling what she was feeling, yet they did not let go. Instead, they held on tighter as power flowed through his hands, into her arms pushing away the pain. Malphas was not ready to let go of his prize. Growling, the demon pushed back.
In the back of Sapphira’s mind she registered that if Malphas was the one holding onto her wrists, then why was he fighting with himself to gain control. With a cry of pure rage, the male holding her wrists pour more power than Sapphira had felt in a long time into to her. Enough power to shove Malphas back and out, locking an invisible door behind him. That shouldn’t have been possible. The necklace bound them, making it impossible to use that amount of power against the demon without agonizing repercussions. Yet, as the residual pain began to subside, inside her there was only peace.
The figure slumped over her, his breathing ragged, the hold on her wrists still bruising. Gasping for air, Sapphira cracked open her eyes, trying to focus. The room wavered, spots dancing before her, but slowly a mass of black hair that belonged to the head resting on her chest came into view. With a shudder, the male lifted his head to catch his sky blue eyes with her hazel ones. As the face came into focus, Sapphira already knew who her rescuer was. The face and body may be different in each Trial, but the eyes. The eyes never changed. Yet these eyes were not who she expected.
Parting her lips to ask how, the male shook his head slightly, his eyes begging her to not say what she was thinking. They may have won this battle, but they were still not safe.
“Fallon?” she mouthed. She was rewarded with a small smile that he saved just for her. The one that spoke of how much he loved her. A smile she thought she would never see again.
“Are you with me?” he asked releasing one of her wrists so he could brush the tears from one side of her face, his face etched with worry.
Nodding, she released a sob and suddenly she was in his arms. Everything would be okay. He was here and they remembered who they were, what they were. They were no longer bound by the demon’s spells. Where they were still trapped in the Trial, but for the moment they were safe. They were finally safe. Sapphira allowed that feeling to wash over her as the tears fell faster, pushing away the nagging feeling she was forgetting something very important. She wasn’t sure how long they sat there as she cried out all her pain while the male they thought lost to them whispered soothing words in her ear. When she was finally spent, he gently picked her up and carried her back to the bed. Lying her down on it, he crawled in next to her and pulled her to him. Once again snuggled against him, she drifted off to a dreamless sleep. The outside world and all the horrors that awaited forgotten for the moment.
The next time she woke, she felt rested along with a lightness within her she had not felt for a long time. The spells that had weighted her down for so long were truly gone. Stretching her body, reveling in the feel of her body feeling like her own, she opened her eyes and looked around the large cave. Frowning, she also realized that she was alone again. Did she dream Fallon was here? Sitting up, she saw the pillow next to her had a depression in it. Feeling the sheets, they were still warm. No, he had been here. The question was, where was he now? Looking around at the large cave, it reminded her of the one where….
“Gideon!” she gasped.
“Safe, for the moment,” Fallon answered from somewhere near the entrance of the cave.
Turning, she watched as he strode into the cave, the deep cowl of his cloak hiding his face. A jolt of fear that she had been wrong and this was another trick shot through Sapphira until he swept his cowl away and she could see his eyes. Some say the eyes were windows into one’s soul. Sapphira believed that to be true because those eyes were the one thing Malphas could never duplicate. It was how she learned to see through his illusions.
“What do you mean, for the moment?” she asked her eyes narrowing.
Watching with fascination as Fallon dropped his cloak to the floor as he kept his pace towards her across the immense cave and began to pull his shirt out from his leather pants, she barely heard what he said to her question. As Aden and Kara, they had been kept from finishing a ritual that was essential to this Trial. While they now knew who they were, the ache they had lived with for so long was still very present. The ritual needed to be completed in order for the Trial to move forward. Not that Sapphira needed the excuse. The four of them had crossed that barrier some of the mortals in the Trials had placed on relationships many eons ago. Jealousy was not an emotion they carried so they shared just fine. Still, they needed to keep their thoughts on the problem at hand. Defeating Malphas. “I’m sorry,” she said closing her eyes and shaking her head to try and bring her thoughts deep from the gutter where they had traveled the surface where their existences were uncertain. “What did you say?”
“Malphas laid a trap and Gideon walked right into it,” Fallon repeated smirking. With a sharp tug, he pulled his shirt over his head and dropped it to the floor. The heated look in Sapphira’s eyes hardened him even further. While they were in a dangerous situation, and they needed to find where Malphas was hiding their fourth, for the moment they were safe and had time to rest. Not that resting was what Fallon was after. He had been denied the touch of the female before him for far too long. It was time he remedied that.
By the time he reached the bed, his had unlaced his leather pants and they hung loosely on his hips. Climbing onto the bed and into Sapphira’s waiting arms, his hands slide up her hips, pushing the linen shirt further up her waist, exposing her.
“Brynn was able to pull medallion out of his hand before Malphas could kill him,” he continued huskily, his eyes following his hands. “So for now they are safe and we have time to reacquaint ourselves with each other.” Before Sapphira could say much more than a groan, he claimed her lips, pushing her down on the bed with the weight of his body. Coming up for air just long enough to free himself from his pants, Fallon breathed hoarsely as his hand slid down her side and under her hips so he could angle himself to slide inside her. “Next time we will take our time to enjoy each other. For now…,”
When she pushed her hips up taking him inside and there was no more talking. There was only sensation. Fallon took her mouth again as he drove into her with a ferocity he could not even begin to contain as Sapphira answered him with her own unbearable need. Years of being denied. Of being together yet unable to touch, kiss, rarely able to just hold each other. Outside the cave was a demon who was hell bent on destroying everything Sapphira loved in order to possess her. Inside, they were safe and warm, and the outside world did not exist. There was no one to hide from. No one to stop them. With each thrust they came closer to climax, with each thrust their power grew stronger, the prophecy finally being realized, until they suddenly spilled over the edge. Sapphira’s hands scrambled at the sheets trying to find something, anything to hang on to, screaming as her body bucked under Fallon’s. Fallon pushed one more time and joined Sapphira roaring to the heavens. Their climax so intense as it rolled over and over, them taking them into oblivion.
A bubble of power that had built around them, surrounded them flex once before, in a blinding flash of light, exploded outward. The universe held its breath as the shockwave pushed its way through, waiting in anticipation of what was to come. Light years away, animals tensed as if they heard some predator nearby ready to pounce. Every sentient being looked up from what they were doing, woke up with a start thinking they had heard something in the dark, straining to hear it again, not understanding what the feeling of unease that made their hearts race was. In the heavens the gods of this universe were in a panic as they fell to their knees, holding their heads crying out in pain as the pressure continued to build. Then the universe shuddered as it breathed out, animals and beings smiled and went back to what they were doing. The Gods screamed as the heavens shook down to its foundations. Walls began to crack, pillars crumbled, everyone ran as chaos ensued. Then as suddenly as it started it stop, and everything was eerily silent.
* * *
In a cave deep underground in the heavens, a lone figure sat on his throne of skull and bones as rock and debris rained down around him. Clenching his hands over the ends of the armrests until the bone cracked, eyes burning with a rage that threatened to melt the very walls, Malphas ground his teeth.
“Enjoy your time together, for it will be your last,” he snarled. Those burning eyes slowly turned towards the figure gagged and chained to the wall. Stupidly that figure glared back, his own eyes black with rage. A show of power that should not have been possible with the chains that bound him. Slowly rising to his feet, Malphas strolled over to the figure who he had at first thought was only a boy to use as bait to catch his prize, his eyes boring into his captive’s, trying to break through the barrier that held the information he was seeking from him. “You are not what you seem, boy. I intend to find out exactly who you are and your relationship with my pets.” The only answer he received was a silent glare that challenge the demon to do his worst. “Oh, I will, my friend. I will,” he sneered.
Copyright © 2019 Heidi Barnes