Haunted Prey Ch. 16bypurefire©
Lindsay stormed up the stairs, only to find the hallway illuminated by bright blue bursts of electricity that shot forth from his room. His brothers stood outside the door, dodging the bolts that were obviously meant for them. Lindsay quickly looked them over to ensure their general good health as he walked forward to asses the situation. "What the hell happened?"
"I'll tell you what happened," Liam answered, "We went to check on that thing in there and we found her in a semi-comatose state."
"What?" Lindsay asked incredulously.
"Yea," Liam said with a nod, "I tried to help her and that's when she went completely bat-shit."
"She started screaming and trying to attack him," Alexis added.
"It took all three of us to hold her down long enough for her to stop," Jameson said.
"And then?" Lindsay asked as he dodged another bolt of electricity.
"You're experiencing it," Liam muttered. The mutter became a loud curse when a wayward bolt grazed his arm. "Son of a bitch!"
"Liam, step back," Alexis commanded. "Where did you go?" He asked Lindsay in the next breath.
"I went back to where I buried Raife." He looked toward the entrance solemnly; how was he supposed to tell his brothers that he'd failed? The discovery of the Magori's body terrified him; Alauria's life was still at stake and yet again, his efforts had all been in vain.
"Why the fuck would you go there?"
Alexis forced Lindsay to ignore the question by asking, "And?"
"I'll kill you all! Get these fucking things off me!"
"We had to restrain her," Jameson explained, "She managed to electrocute every single one of us."
"What did you find at the grave?" Alexis asked again.
"I should have killed you all when I had the chance!"
"Shut the fuck up!" Liam shouted back. A second later, he howled in pain when the powerful bolt of electricity made contact with his leg. "Fucking whore!"
"What did you see, Lindsay!"
"A Magori demon," Lindsay responded.
"What was a Magori doing at Raife's gravesite?" Jameson asked in confusion. He'd been smart and moved a good two feet left of the doorway to keep from getting zapped.
"I didn't find a Magori at her gravesite, Jameson; I found a Magori's decapitated body in the grave." The reply served to quiet everyone, including Alauria. Lindsay let out a frustrated breath as he allowed his brothers to absorb the information he'd given them. Though he wanted to go into his room to see Alauria, he had to deal with the options he had yet to discuss with his brothers.
"But you killed Raife," Jameson said in disbelief, "I saw you kill her."
"It was the Magori," Lindsay said with a shake of his head, "I never killed Rachel." He'd never really protected Alauria. He'd failed.
"So where the fuck is Raife?" Liam asked.
Lindsay watched Alexis look toward the room and mimicked the action before he said, "In there."
"What the fuck are you talking about? Alauria's in there."
"She's possessed, Liam," Alexis said, "Raife found a way to implant her metaphysical self into Alauria's body." As realization passed between the brothers, he took the opportunity to look at Lindsay's tormented face. "You know what has to be done."
The tone of Alexis' voice set Lindsay into a rage. "Absolutely not!"
The low, pained voice prompted all men in the hall to look toward the doorway. The blasts of electricity had stopped which made them think that it was safe to approach. They huddled in the entryway and there was a moment of collective shock at seeing Alauria writhing in obvious pain on the bed. "Alauria?" Lindsay called.
"Lindsay," she whimpered, "Oh, God, it hurts so much." Every cell in her body throbbed in agony. She had no idea what had happened; one moment she was at the dinner table feeling nauseous, and the next, she was wishing she'd black out, if only to be free of the pain. She was scared a desperately wished her mother was near. "Lindsay!"
"I'm here." Lindsay moved to enter the room but stopped when Liam placed a hand on his chest. "Liam-"
"It's not a good idea, man."
"She needs me."
"She could hurt you," Jameson countered.
It was Alauria's pained whine that made him push passed his brothers. "If Raife is in control right now, I'm the last person she'll hurt." He walked to the bed and crouched beside it. As he placed a hand on Alauria's face, he felt his stomach lurch; her skin was dangerously hot and she cried out in pain. "Alauria."
"Lindsay." His voice was like sunlight on a cold, dark day. "Lindsay, I don't know what's wrong with me."
"Don't worry baby, I'm going to fix it." He hands his hands over her and frowned at the dampness that glued the blanket to her side. "What is this?" He probed at the anomaly, then winced when she cried out again. Lindsay quickly pulled at the covering, only to find a large gash that oozed a thick black liquid. "Liam!"
Liam was at his side in an instant, checking his brother for a wound. "What happened? What did she do to you?"
"It's not me," Lindsay said. He pointed to the wound in Alauria's side, confused. "I thought you healed this."
"I did." Liam looked down at the wound. The black sebum that coated her skin had an odd cloying scent that wasn't normal. Human wounds weren't supposed to do that. "What the hell is that?"
"I don't know. Can you fix it?"
"So she can go ape-shit again?" Liam felt a pang of remorse at the agonized moan that came from Alauria. She looked to be on the verge of death, and while he wanted to help her, his main concern was keeping his brother safe. "Lindsay, man-"
"For fuck's sake Liam, just do it!"
Liam turned to the doorway to look at Jameson and Alexis. Jameson seemed impartial while Alexis subtly nodded his approval. With a wary breath, Liam pushed Lindsay over and cupped Alauria's hand in his. He let his power rush through him and concentrated on the wound in her side. He envisioned the gash closing, the black ooze receding. Small pops and sizzles shot through his body, and he frowned when a slow and steady wave of pain began to thrum through him. He couldn't move, couldn't speak. The pain intensified and soon, a driving force shot over him, throwing him back into Jameson and Alexis. At the same time, Alauria emitted a feral cry as a ring of electricity radiated out from within her.
"Is he ok?" Lindsay shouted. The electrical force did not affect him, allowing him the opportunity to watch the drastic change that had taken over Alauria; her eyes had gone completely opaque and she remained still, as if she'd slipped back into a catatonic state. "Alauria?" She remained still and unmoving, forcing an unbearable wave of dread to wash over him. "Alauria." Lindsay felt a cold sweat break over his face at the sight of her so seemingly lifeless. This couldn't be it. She couldn't die. "Alauria!" In his desperation, Lindsay gripped her shoulders and shook her hard. Alauria's head lolled from side to side, but there was no change. An uncomfortable ball formed in the pit of his stomach. Tears welled in his eyes. Anguish at his failure and his loss made him press his ear against her chest. There was a heartbeat, but it was faint; the weak thrum indicated her inability to fight what was happening to her. "Don't leave me," he whispered, "Please don't go."
"What's happening?" Alexis asked.
"She's dying." Lindsay didn't bother to move as he continued to listen to the weak beat of Alauria's heart. There wasn't anything that could be done; at this stage of the possession, Alauria was too weak to survive the exorcism he and his brothers would have had to perform to free her. He had no choice but to hold her, to let her know that she wasn't alone as she left him. Yet again, Raife had succeeded in tearing his life apart. There was a twinge of rage in his heart at the injustice that had been done to him, but it paled in comparison to the despair that gripped him. Once again, he was powerless to save the woman he loved. Once again, he'd failed. "She's dying, Lex."
"She doesn't have to die."
Lindsay was quick to sit up at the cold and calculated tone of voice that came from Alauria's weakening body. "Raife, you conniving bitch-"
"Is that any way to talk to the only person who can give you what you want?"
It was difficult to believe that the person talking to him was Raife. It was Alauria's beautiful brown eyes he looked into, her sweet, oval-shaped face that smirked up at him, but nothing could mask the cold and calculated tone that belonged to Raife. Alauria's beautiful voice wasn't enough to mask the evil that was directed at him. "Give her back to me." He glanced over at the door in time to see Jameson and Liam join Alexis at the far end of the room. Liam looked enraged, which only meant that the shock hadn't done any real damage to him. "Liam-"
"As long as I'm still inside her, none of your pathetic tricks will work."
"Fucking Prygorians," Liam mumbled.
Lindsay ignored the comment as he focused his attention on Raife. "What is it going to take for you to give her back to me?"
"You can have us both, Lindsay," Raife replied. She smiled menacingly as she pulled at her restraints. "She's too weak to fight me anymore. It's only a matter of time before her soul dies."
"No!" Lindsay shouted. In his rage, he wrapped his hands around her neck, determined to get the demon out of Alauria himself.
"Kill me and you kill us both," Raife choked out.
Lindsay refused to listen; he squeezed tighter, and his arms shook from his efforts. He was going to save Alauria, if it was the last thing he ever did.
"Lindsay, stop!" Alexis watched as Liam and Jameson worked together to pull Lindsay off of Alauria's restrained body. The turmoil on his brother's face tore at his heart, but he had to think clearly. "You can't kill a human."
"She's not human anymore."
"Alauria's soul is still in there, man," Jameson said. "You can't kill her."
"Leave that to me," Raife coughed. She waited for Lindsay to lean over her once more before saying, "You can have us both, Lindsay. Let her soul die and I can keep this body. No more Prygorian skin."
"You're fucking whacked," Liam said with a shake of the head.
Raife ignored the comment as she said, "You promised to love me. And only me. I'm giving you what you want, Lindsay. My soul. Her body." She smiled when he stared at her curiously. He had to be considering her words. He had to appreciate the sacrifice she made for him. "You can have us both."
Lindsay turned to look at his brothers. He took in Liam's disbelieving face and Jameson's shocked expression. Alexis wordlessly walked out of the room, making him frown in confusion. Lindsay returned his attention to Alauria's body and felt his stomach lurch at the hopeful and expectant look in her eyes. She wanted an answer. No, Raife wanted an answer, and she wanted one now. He could have them both, she promised. Alauria's body and Raife's soul, only she wouldn't be Raife anymore. Without the demonic body, she'd become Rachel again, the Rachel he would have given anything for. While he would never consider a romantic relationship, he could have her back.
He could give her a second chance at life.
But he would lose Alauria's soul. What was the point of seeing her and being around her every day if, in reality, she was gone? Could he really be so guilt ridden about Rachel's soul and his inability to save it, that he would sacrifice Alauria's?
The sounds of Alexis' footfalls prompted Lindsay to turn toward the entrance of his room. A second later, he was on his feet, ready to do battle. "If you really think I'm going to let you-"
"Calm down," Alexis said. He looked down at the blades in his hands, as he fully understood Lindsay's outburst. It was never a good sign when someone walked into a dying woman's room holding two very large knives. "These are for you."
"What the hell are you talking about, Lex?"
"You have to choose."
Lindsay turned to face the bed as he said, "I don't have time for your psychic bullshit."
"Raife implanted her soul into Alauria's body," Alexis answered, "You should know that it only takes a simple incantation and a blood bond for it to happen."
Lindsay looked down at the wound in Alauria's side, still oozing the black sebum. Then he remembered that there were no other scars on her body. There were bruises, yes, but no other wounds. It wasn't an end result of Raife's sick and twisted game. She'd never wanted to kill Alauria in cold blood. She'd used the Magori demon to throw him off.
"You know that a human body can't bear the stress of more than one soul," Alexis said. He took a step forward, forcing his brother to give him a moment of attention. "You have to choose which soul you want to save before the body dies."
"It won't die!" Raife shouted, "Her soul will die."
"You were wrong," Alexis countered, "A human body can't take the stress of two battling souls. Once her body dies, that's it. It won't matter if your soul outlives hers."
"If dying means that I won't lose him to the human, then it's what I'll do."
"The regular knife will weaken the body enough to set Alauria's soul free." Alexis placed the blade in Lindsay's hand before continuing. "D. let me borrow the Blade of Abraxis. This will kill Rachel's soul and possibly give Liam enough time to save Alauria."
"What do you mean by possibly?" Lindsay asked.
"Alauria's body is weak and her soul isn't as strong as Raife's. There's a chance that the added stress could prematurely free her soul."
"But it wouldn't kill Raife if I used your blade?"
Alexis glanced from Lindsay to Alauria before he said, "You would only kill Raife if you put the knife in her heart."
So it was either kill them both, or risk Alauria's soul being set free, meaning she'd be reincarnated or kept in the afterlife. In neither scenario was he guaranteed her survival. If he gave Raife what she wanted, he could have them both; Alauria's living body walking the earth, and a chance at a human life for Raife, fully equipped with a family. "You stopped me when I tried to choke the life out of Raife. You said that we don't kill humans."
"We don't. But I don't know how much that applies when there is a very real chance that the human will die no matter what you do."
"She won't last much longer," Alexis warned as he placed the Blade of Abraxis in Lindsay's free hand.
"It's not like he can decide in ten seconds, Lex," Jameson admonished. Having been forced to make a difficult decision of his own, he knew that it would take Lindsay some time to make a choice.
"What is there to decide?" Liam asked, "He knows who he loves."
"And he knows who he owes," Jameson defended. "Maybe if you were blessed enough to have more than one woman love you at the same time, you would understand."
"We'll give you a few minutes," Alexis said. He silently commanded Jameson and Liam to leave the room before he followed. As he closed the door behind them, he warned, "Don't take too long."
Lindsay looked from the blades in his hands to the woman tied to his bed and emitted a weary sigh. Yet again, he had to choose. If he tried to save Alauria, there was a risk of losing her soul which meant that she'd be lost forever. If he saved Raife, he'd lose Alauria, but he would have given Raife a real chance at the kind of life she deserved. And if he killed them both...
He looked down at the body on the bed and felt the weight of his decision bog down on his shoulders. "What?"
She closed her eyes as she whispered, "What... What happened?"
"Alauria?" he asked as he placed the blades on the night table.
She nodded weakly as she let out a tired breath. "What's wrong with me?"
Lindsay decided to tell her the truth; if she died, her soul would rest easier knowing why. "Raife possessed you." Without warning, he began to sob. He tried to fight the tears, tried to keep his composure so that he could deal with his situation, but it was nearly impossible to remain calm when the woman he loved was dying. Lindsay's body shook with the force of his grief, and it was long minutes before he was able to utter a comprehensible word. "She's, she's still inside you."
"You can't get her out."
The simple statement, said so seriously, forced another tear from his eyes. "We can try, but..."
"I could die." Alauria ignored the tears that rolled down the sides of her face as she absorbed the information she'd been given. "What happens... if we don't...?" She opened her eyes and looked into his tormented eyes. His expression was so familiar, as if she'd seen it before. The tear brimmed eyes, the despair. "I'll die anyway."
Lindsay was only able to sigh in defeat as he pressed his face into the hollow of her neck. She was going to die, and there was nothing he could do to stop it. "Her soul is stronger than yours." He cried against her, ignoring her feverish skin and her fight for breath. "I'm so sorry, Alauria. I failed you."
"No, you tried." She didn't care that the weight of his body was nearly too much to bear, or that the staggering grief that came with her impending death left her speechless; her final moments had to be more than a tearful goodbye. "You tried because you love me."
Her voice was barely higher than a whisper, and he knew that she'd used every ounce of energy to project as much as she did. "Alauria, save your energy."
"I have to tell you..." She paused for a moment to catch her breath. She was so tired, so very tired, but she knew that there was a chance that she wouldn't wake once she allowed herself to sleep. "Tell my mother that I love her. And Raedyn... Tell her that I'm sorry that she had to lose another sibling, but... but I'll protect her."
"And if this the last time I ever see you, I want you to know that I died happy because... because..."
Her heartbeat was getting weaker. His heart was breaking. "Alauria..."
"Because I died loving you." She fought hard to ignore his renewed sobs, as she had one more thing to say. "Let her win."
"Let her win. She may be a raving psychopath, but she will take care of you."
"You can't be serious."
"Listen to her, Lindsay. She can see the truth that you can't."
Lindsay quickly pulled back from Alauria's body to look at her face. The emptiness was back in her eyes. Raife had taken control once more. "Give her back to me."
"She can't be saved. She's too weak to survive whatever happens next."
"Give her back!"
"You can save me, Lindsay. I'm stronger than she is. I love you more than she does."
"You owe me this."
Lindsay closed his eyes in anguish as he tried to control his tumultuous emotions. Should he even bother anymore? It was most likely that he would lose the woman he loved no matter what he did; did he really want to give Raife a second chance, knowing that she was the reason Alauria would die? He wasn't even sure how he would react to having Alauria's body alive knowing that her soul was gone.
"We're running out of time," Alexis called through the door.
"I fucking know!" Lindsay shouted. He began to pace the length of the room, weighing the options in front of him. There was almost no chance of Alauria's survival, which meant he had to decide on whether or not to kill Raife first. If he killed Raife, he'd have to live with both of their deaths, as well as the devastation that would consume Alauria's family. He didn't want to think of the pain he'd endure with the end of Alauria's life because he wouldn't be able to think if he did. Everything came down to giving Raife another chance to live. "Fuck."
He whirled around and rushed to the bed at the weak and pained tone of voice he knew was Alauria's. He took hold of her soft and overheated hand and kissed the palm, wishing he had a better answer for their situation. "What is it, baby?"