That thought alone is enough to make my blood run cold. I know Lucifer is a ‘bad man’ but I didn’t quite comprehend the scope of it until now. Automatic weapons. A full tactical outfit. His own personal army to carry out his will. How many have died today? How many still will?

Every woman will be sold into slavery in Africa. Your children will be sent to their deaths. I promise you your families in Japan will die soon as well.

Was he telling the truth or was that all for show?

I feel like I’ve been ripped from one nightmare only to be thrust into another. My world has been flipped upside down.

Is this real? Is this really happening? Or have I died and gone to hell?

The smell.

If it wasn’t for the smell of Marshall’s flesh burning I could perhaps convince myself none of this is real.

I’d like nothing more than to curl up into a little ball and crawl back into my comfortable shell. Pretend I didn’t see this. Pretend it was all some kind of nightmare. Just a bad dream…

But I can’t.

The smell. Oh, god, the smell.

Marshall is screaming, and Lucifer’s eyes are laughing. I’ve never seen someone take so much pleasure in another’s suffering. It’s as if he’s actually enjoying this, he’s getting off on what he’s doing to Marshall somehow.

“Stop!” I’m screaming. I can’t actually see what Lucifer is doing behind Marshall’s chair but I know it must be awful.

How? How can he do it? Doesn’t he have a fucking soul?

“No, my love, I will not stop. He must pay for what he did to you and our unborn child.”

Lucifer’s arms move and I imagine him swiping the blowtorch in a swath across Marshall’s back.

There’s this wild panic welling up inside me. I can’t stop shaking. I can’t stop the floor from shifting beneath my feet. The world is spinning out of control.

Still, I manage to take one step forward then another.

I have to stop this. I have to.

Hand covering my nose, it’s not enough to block out the smell but it helps. Heaving, I gag and somehow keep what little is in my stomach down.

I can’t afford to be sick. My head hurts so bad it actually helps to keep the nausea back.

It takes so much effort to move, gravity itself is fighting against me. Walking right now is like trying to run underwater.

Stumbling forward, I grab onto the edge of a small table and steady myself.

Marshall keeps screaming and begging behind his gag. As much as I personally detest the man I can’t just stand here and watch him suffer like this. It’s unthinkable.

It’s completely unbearable.

My entire being is in turmoil. I can’t think straight. My eyes can’t focus. There’s this cold horror rattling my bones.

With a shaky hand, I pick up the pistol Lucifer left lying on the table.

“Stop,” I cry out but my voice sounds so small, so uncertain.

Lucifer looks up at me and makes a tsking sound of disapproval. “Put the gun down, Lily.”

Lifting my chin into the air, the gun is shaking in my hand and I’m trying to be brave but then it goes off.

Lucifer’s eyes go as wide as mine.

Shit, I totally didn’t mean to do that, but I don’t let him know that. I ease my finger away from the trigger as he switches the blowtorch off.

Marshall slumps forward in his bonds, dead or passed out.

Is it over? That horrible panicked thing inside me begins to settle down.

Lucifer stares at me for the longest time.

“Fine. You don’t like the blowtorch,” he finally shrugs and sets the blowtorch down on the table next to Marshall. “It’s not my favorite either. The smell is fucking horrible.”

Now that the blowtorch is out of the picture, I begin to relax. I point the gun down, towards the floor.

“I’ll have to call Rosa and tell her to take the bacon off tomorrow’s menu,” he says before grabbing something on the other side of Marshall’s chair by the handle.

Before I can fully process what’s about to happen, Lucifer walks around the front of Marshall’s chair and heaves up a sledgehammer. Leaning back, he takes aim then swings it forward. The sledgehammer collides with Marshall’s knees with a loud crack.

Marshall comes to, screaming out in agony.

Lucifer’s eyes gleam with pure, unadulterated pleasure.

“What the fuck,” I gasp, lifting the gun and pointing it at Lucifer’s head. “What the actual fuck?”

The pleasure dims in Lucifer’s eyes as he glances over at me and more pointedly the gun aimed at his head. “What? Too much?”

I shake my head in disbelief. “What the fuck is wrong with you?”

He looks me dead in the eyes as he says, “He touched you.”

I don’t even know what to say to that.

Lifting the sledgehammer again, he weighs it thoughtfully in his hands. “He put you in danger.”

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