Series: Hades Hangmen #7
January 21, 2019
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Present Day . . .
The sand crunched under my feet. Bullets flew around my head. My chest was tight, ready to snap, as I watched Gull and Arizona take shots to their heads and drop to the floor.
Both of them fucking dead and done.
A whistle cut through the carnage that was this fucked-up deserted farm. I glanced up to the barn beside me. AK was signaling to me from his place on the roof. He sliced his hand over his throat. I got his message—we needed to draw the fuck back.
My gaze snapped to the noise. Viking was scrambling to his feet. When I saw Flame striding toward the crumbling stables across the clearing I knew why. The psychotic motherfucker was walking toward where the Klan were stationed, like he couldn’t be fucking killed, arms stretched wide, firing bullet after bullet toward my old Klan brothers, who were taking us out with fucking pinpoint accuracy.
I aimed my gun, focusing on taking down the assholes that had now turned their attention to Flame. AK narrowed his eyes and, with his usual sniper precision, sent bullets flying into the skulls of a few of those who’d abandoned their cover to come at Flame.
But the fuckers had a sniper too. These weren’t the skinheads the Klan was known for. The dumb shits everyone always thought of when it came to white power. No, these were the brothers I’d spent years training up. The ones who were kept in secret, so the feds and rivals didn’t know the Klan’s true strength. My father had meticulously recruited these guys. These were the fuckers who were gonna ignite the surprise wildfire that would spark the race war. The soldiers no one ever saw coming.
No one but me.
“Flame!” Viking jumped up from his place behind an old tractor and sprinted toward his fucked-up brother. Rudge jumped into the spot Vike left. AK tried to give Vike the cover to get to Flame, spraying a blanket of rapid bullets toward the Klan. But this branch of the Klan were stronger, smarter, and knew exactly what AK was doing. I tried to help, emptying my gun of its ammo, signaling to Smiler to give them cover too. But even with our guns, and AK’s fucking perfect aim, bullets came raging from all directions. We were outnumbered and out-skilled.
Like it was in fucking slow motion, I watched Vike dive for Flame. But the giant red motherfucker was too late. A bullet sank into Flame’s side. The psycho dropped to the ground, blood pouring from the wound in his stomach.
“FUCK!” AK screamed, then jumped down off the barn’s roof. Rudge ran toward Vike and Flame, helping them get the fuck out of the line of fire. “Pull back!” AK shouted to me and Smiler. “Get the fuck back!”
I stood, firing shots in the direction of the Klan as AK, Rudge, and Vike dragged Flame from the bullets’ path. Jumping into the truck, I brought the engine to life. I felt the others put Flame in the back. AK hit the roof. “Fucking go!”
My pulse raced as I skidded the truck on the road, the Klan’s bullets sounding like exploding grenades, rocking the chassis as they hit the body of the truck. Vike, Rudge, and Smiler came roaring behind on their bikes, all three firing back at the Klan to give us the break we needed to get Flame home.
Reaching into my cut, I pulled out my cell and hit a number. “Tann?” Tank said a second later.
“Flame’s down. Klan were at the drop-off point. Came at us strong. Fucker got himself shot by losing his shit. Get Rider or Edge or who-the-fuck-ever to the club. He’s been hit in the stomach.” I looked in the rearview mirror to see AK pressing down on the wound. Flame was fighting the brother off. His fucking black eyes were crazed as blood spilled out onto the bed of the truck.
“Flame! For fuck’s sake! Keep the fuck still. I know you don’t want me touching you, but fucking think of Maddie. I don’t stop the bleeding, you’re gonna fucking die! You want that? You want to leave Madds alone without you?”
Flame’s body stilled, but I could see his nostrils flaring with his fast breaths. Fucker was close to nuclear.
“Tann? Tann, you still there?” Tank’s rushed voice came through my cell.
“Yeah. Fuck, Tank. They came from nowhere. We were making the exchange and they sprouted up from nowhere and started shooting. Arizona and Gull are dead. Bullets in their heads and sent to the boatman. They didn’t have a fucking chance. Better tell their prez.”
“Jesus Christ. How long until you’re here? You need backup?”
“No. We’re only ten minutes out. Get the fuck ready in case these assholes are on our tail. I’ll let you know if shit goes south.”
I cut off my cell and raced the fuck home. Slash, Smiler’s prospect cousin, was on the gate. Kero, brother from Arlington, was keeping watch beside him. We cut through the gate, Vike and Smiler riding in behind. I slammed the truck to a stop and jumped out.
“Help me get him down,” AK said.
AK and I lifted Flame from the truck’s bed just as Styx and Ky came barreling out of the clubhouse door. “Get him inside,” Styx signed, Ky voicing the prez’s words. We carried Flame through to the clubhouse to the room we’d had set up as a medical room the minute war had been declared by the Klan and the cartel. And good thing too, because we’d been getting hit on all sides for weeks now.
No sooner had we got Flame on the bed than Edge came through with his medical bag. Brother had been a trauma surgeon in the army before he went postal for a while, causing him to be put in a nuthouse. When he got out, fucker decided he liked to use his skills in cutting people up as much as he liked healing them. He joined the Arkansas chapter and quickly became one of the most ruthless brothers we had. He had one blue eye, one brown. And just in case no one realized he was already fucking insane, he dyed his hair on the side of his blue eye ice white, and left the brown side black. But no matter how fucked in the head he was—and that level of insanity could probably even beat Flame’s—brother had been a godsend since he’d been brought here with his chapter.
He tied his long crazy-ass hair back off his face and leaned over Flame. Crazier peering down at crazy. Flame, the fucker, quickly acted like the psycho he was and started thrashing on the bed, trying to reach for his knives to get at Edge. But Edge was good at what he did and, even more so, wasn’t fazed by anyone. Not even Styx made this guy pause to watch his mouth. Even if the crazed fucking smile he wore twenty-four-seven made you think otherwise. “Stomach wound?” His tongue lapped around his lips. Fucker seemed to get hard from the sight of people in pain.
“Bullet. Sniper . . .” AK started reeling off shit about Flame’s injury. Rider came through the door, running his hand over his shaved head. The brother still wasn’t accepted by half of the club, but he was a good medic, so Styx allowed him to help when needed. He seemed to work well with Edge, which was a fucking miracle in itself.
“What’ve we got?” he said to Edge, and the two of them started working on Flame’s wound, cutting off his clothes. I saw it in Flame’s eyes before he reacted. Saw the rage in his black gaze before he pushed Edge and Rider away, going nuts to get off the gurney. AK and Vike tried to hold him down, but the brother had fucking lost it.
“Need me to smash old Bill into his face? Knock the wanker out?” Rudge asked, holding up his fist—the fist that frequently knocked his bare-knuckle fighter opponents on their ass. Or, more often than not, fucking killed them.
Shaking my head, I jumped forward to help keep Flame down. Edge approached with a needle and syringe, his mismatched eyes lit with excitement. Suddenly, Maddie and Lil’ Ash crashed through the door.
“Flame!” Maddie rushed toward her husband, pushing Edge out of the way. Flame stilled the minute he saw her. “Get off him,” she said to everyone, her voice tight with warning. I backed up. AK and Vike did the same. Edge was pulled back by Styx. I got out of the way and just fucking watched. “Baby,” Maddie said, putting her hand on Flame’s cheek. His fucking wide eyes set on his wife and didn’t move. His breathing was heavy, but calmed when Maddie spoke. Tears fell down her cheeks, but her voice was steady.
“Maddie,” Flame whispered, and she kissed his head.
“Baby, you’re hurt. You need to let Rider and the doctor heal you.” His eyes were losing life. His blood was seeping onto the bed, and the fucker was about to pass out. Maddie pulled on his hand, and he refocused on her. “I am staying with you,” she said. “I am not leaving your side. And I will be here when you wake up.”
Flame exhaled, then his eyes started to close. Edge and Rider were fucking rocking on their feet waiting to get to him. I was no doctor, but I didn’t think his injury would kill him. I’d seen men come back from ten times worse in the army.
The second Flame was out, Edge and Rider pushed through to him, all business. Most brothers left the room, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off Maddie. Because the bitch had told Flame the fucking truth. She stayed beside her husband, gripping his fingers, running her hand over his head. She was whispering into his ear, and my chest nearly fucking cracked at the sight.
My eyes closed, and my hands balled into fists at my side. I’m here, mi amor. I’m here . . . I will never leave you . . . I could feel Adelita’s hand in mine. I could feel her finger on my cheek, and I could smell her rose perfume. Smell it as if it was right beside me. As if she was right beside me . . .
The sound of the floor creaking made my eyes snap open. A hand came down on my shoulder. Tank. “You good?”
I nodded my head, then turned. AK and Vike were still behind me, watching as Edge and Rider worked on Flame. AK had his hand on Ash’s shoulder. The kid was white. And he wasn’t taking his black eyes off Flame. Fucking locked on his brother on that gurney.
“Styx is calling church in thirty minutes,” Tank said. He looked at me. “Let’s get a drink.”