“Adam,” Lynn identified the goth kid.
Adam didn’t even try to run away when the strange dragon approached him. He just held up his hands, saying, “Ok, ok, you got me.” He was addressing Lynn. “I work for your Uncle Villi. He sent me here to spy on you. What are you gonna do about it? I know you don’t hurt humans.” His tone was belligerent. Stupid kid.
I beat the strange dragon to the kid. I slapped Adam hard across the face. Okay, it was a bitch slap. They seemed to be going around. But it floored him. Beating up humans was no fun. They were just too soft. But I was never one to balk at what had to be done. And any human who was unfortunate enough to be mixed up with my uncle had far worse things coming to him. “I’ll tell you what we’ll do. We will torture you until you tell us everything you know. Sound fun?” As I spoke, I hauled him to his feet. I dragged him across the room by his hair. He whimpered. I threw him roughly into a chair.
“K, what the hell is going on, guys?” Christian asked, confused. “Everyone is acting crazy. Anyone gonna tell me why?”
I ignored him, focusing on Lynn’s traitor. Caleb came up quietly beside me, speaking softly. “I’ll do this, if you don’t mind. I think we can all agree that torture is more my specialty than yours.”
I just raised my brows at him, but I was secretly relieved. I waved a hand at Adam, taking several steps back. “By all means, have at it.” I started to pace. I stopped mid-pace, addressing Adam again. “How old are you?”
Adam looked puzzled, but answered automatically. “Twenty.”
I nodded. “Good. Twenty, and too stupid to live long. I’m not too comfortable torturing anyone younger than that. Congratulations, you are of torturing age.” My tone was off-hand, even casual, but I felt none of it. You couldn’t look sick to your stomach, or scared out of your mind, when you were trying to intimidate someone into telling what you needed to know. I wasn’t nonchalant about torturing some dumb kid. I wasn’t even okay with it. But the thought that Villi might be moving to ambush us at any moment quickly dispelled me of any notion to take it easy on our one available source of information.
Caleb gave me a slight, chilling smile. His eyes were scary right then. He was going to enjoy this way too much.
“I’m over twenty,” Luke said quietly, but his voice reached us all. He was still giving me that cow-eyed stare.
I just frowned at him, and for some reason I felt myself blush. I pointed at him. “You just keep quiet,” I ordered him. He looked down submissively, a faint smile on his lips. Dammit, it was impossible to discourage someone who liked to be mistreated.
Lynn giggled. It was a stark contrast to the rest of the room. Most of the goths around the room were sobbing. Guess they didn’t see the humor. This was probably the most horrifying thing they’d ever seen. Lucky them. This little scene was more civilized than even the most tame family dinners of my childhood. At least I never had to wonder why I was so f**ked up. It would have been a miracle if I wasn’t.
“Have you considered torturing him in a different room, perhaps?” the strange dragon was asking Caleb. “Or do you prefer the crying audience?”
Caleb eyed him coldly. “I prefer it, actually. Let all of them see what happens to traitors.” Caleb addressed the room at large. “If anyone speaks of anything they’ve seen tonight, far worse will happen to them. And if I’m really put out, to their families as well.”
I shook off that sobering picture. The scariest thing about that speech was that Caleb always meant what he said. It chilled me that I couldn’t have stopped him from doing what he’d just said if I tried.
I addressed Adam, wanting to get on with it. “Have you spoken to Villi since you arrived here?”
Lynn giggled at me. “Her hair looks like purple cotton candy,” I heard her say to someone.
I glowered at her.
Adam just smirked at me. Stupid, stupid kid. I guess he would have to be, to be a human mixed up with Villi. “Um, I’m gonna have to say no.”
The strange dragon casually gripped Adam’s shoulders, effectively holding him in place.
With no expression on his face, Caleb reached over, casually snapping Adam’s right index finger completely back. It made a sick popping noise. It sat at that horrible angle for a moment before anyone reacted. One of the sobbing kids sounded like they were throwing up. Adam held up his finger in horror, screaming.
“Okay, same question, but without the attitude,” Caleb him told him, deadpan.
Adam shook his head vehemently. “No, no. I swear I haven’t. Remember, you searched me and took my phone before we came out here.”
“What have you told Villi about us?” Lynn asked, her words slurred. That strange little broken finger seemed to have cured her of the giggles. Torture was a major buzz-kill, to be sure.
He just kept shaking his head. “Just the location of your shop, and your house.” Caleb snapped his thumb this time. More screaming and sobbing rocked through the room.
“Try again?” I prompted in a bored tone.
“I-I told them about Lynn’s following. How I thought most of them were loyal. I told them who her lieutenants were.” He paused for too long, and Caleb snapped his pinky this time.
“More,” Caleb said curtly.
“I-I told them about you, though I don’t know what the f**k you are.” He addressed Caleb. His panicked gaze swung toward Christian. He nodded in his direction. “I told them about him, though I don’t think they believed me.”
“How many does my Uncle have with him?” Lynn asked. I understood her concern. His ‘them’ answers were alarming, to say the least.
He shook his head over and over. “Dude, I have no idea. I can’t tell one of those things from another. They don’t tell me stuff like that.”
“What things?” Christian spoke up suddenly.
Adam just laughed at him like a lunatic. “You don’t even get it, do you, dude? You’re even more in the dark than I am. How can you not see that you’re surrounded by-” Suddenly, surreally, his head just disappeared, pieces of it decorating the wall behind him. It hadn’t even been a conscious action, my hand had just found the gun in my ankle holster, aimed and shot on pure instinct. He had said enough incriminating things in front of Christian. The sound in the echoing room was deafening for a moment.
I bent down, calmly re-holstering my gun. The entire room was staring at me, mouths hanging open, jaws slack. Understandable, I supposed. I swear a few of the goths started putting curses on me.