Alright, I'm back. I know it's been an extremely long wait and I apologize for that. But life has been crazy and I wanted to do this chapter justice. Also, I know that I'm very very behind on reviews for my incredible fellow DS writers and I feel horrible about that. But with the passing of the holiday season I will have more time on my hands and I will be using that to get caught up, starting this week. Hopefully, I haven't lost any of my faithfuls in my absence. For those of you that are still around and reading what I post I'm grateful for you, you inspire me and give me reasons to continue writing. Thank you all so much. Onto the update, I hope you enjoy.
There were multiple theories when it came to the sick and deranged people who dotted the planet. One was to let them be, they would never change and no matter what they did to you, forgetting about it and moving on was still the better option. The second was more along the line of if they hurt you, hurt them worse, making them pay, make them realize that when they'd chosen you as their victim they made a lethal mistake. And that theory, the violent path is the one that Layia believed in.
This is it, tonight is the night, thought Layia as she wrapped her fingers around the metal knob. It was a surreal moment, finally coming face to face with the showdown she'd waited a decade for. Everything had led her to this point, every tear, and every drop of blood, every scream, and every fight. They'd all brought her to the place where it began. And once she opened the door to unite with the men in the living room there would be no turning back. Before she was able to twist the handle Billy's large palm was on her shoulder, wordlessly telling her to stop, to stay.
Layia released the doorknob and turned to face him. In his fingers Billy was holding the thick black band he often wore. "What…," started Layia, unsure of his intentions. "Here," replied Billy but his sapphire hues conveyed the deeper meaning: Hold onto this. Layia didn't react. How could she? She wasn't sure what to say. This was unexpected, powerful. Then again, a lot of what had happened with Billy and because of Billy was unexpected. Eventually she'd just come to the conclusion that Billy was an extremely multifaceted man. It seemed as if it would take a lifetime to completely decipher each aspect of him and his mind. And that wasn't what it was about. Knowing how every wheel turned and how every clock ticked stole away part of the enjoyment. It was the same as having a puzzle already put together for you, taking away the experience of putting each piece in the correct place yourself. But the journey to figuring out those details, that's what was important, that's what made people get up in the morning, motivated them.
Billy took her hand in his calloused one and secured the leather band on her wrist. It was loose but Billy seemed pleased with the outcome. Their eyes locked and Layia used hers to silently respond: I will, I swear. It may seem like a small gesture, not worth much significance but from Billy it was huge, essential, a keepsake that was meant to be returned after they won, after this war was over. By giving her his bracelet Billy was creating his own promise to bring her sister back alive, to protect them both. And Billy Darley never broke his promises.
Once their eyes had finished talking with looks over words she leaned up, circled her arms around his neck and covered Billy's mouth in a consuming kiss. So what if they were acting normal for a couple minutes? Was that so wrong? Billy threaded his fingers through her hair as his jaw stretched to deepen the kiss. With the plunge of his ravenous tongue Layia felt a burst of heat in her stomach. They were stroking and caressing; savoring each other's taste and feel. Every time Billy kissed her, however short or temporary, he had a way of making Layia forget the rest of the world. With her focus on his mouth Layia ceased to feel like someone fueled by revenge, shrouded in darkness and started feeling like a girl, just a girl, wrapped in the arms of a man.
When they pulled apart a tiny smile twitched the corners of Layia's lips as she stared at Billy. She inhaled deeply and glanced around his room, taking a moment to appreciate that the next time they were in this apartment Kalila would be where she belonged, with her sister. That's what Layia had to convince herself of; she had to believe that Kalila was fine and that Layia would be leaving Hayes's headquarters with her sister, not carrying a corpse. Layia wasn't sure she could survive failing her sister, again. The very thought of discovering Kalila there, dead made Layia feel as though she was dying herself and she had to shake those images, re-convince herself that this time, that this round would be in favor of her and not Hayes.
Layia hadn't even realized that she was holding Billy's hand but when she felt his warmth flooding her fingers she gave it a squeeze. Even people like them needed reassurance on a day such as today. There was nothing inappropriate about it. Shots would be fired, blood would be spilt. And that's where the assurances fell out of existence and into a black hole of uncertainty.
The ride over to Hayes's was silent, in an almost eerie fashion. Only sirens in the distance and people yelling occasionally broke the quiet, the traditional sounds of another night in South Boston. Everyone in the Mustang was too preoccupied with their own thoughts to say anything. In the backseat Joe sat rigidly, nervous and excited. He was still surprised that he'd been allowed to come. But Billy had made the rules crystal clear, almost painfully so, repeating them over and over in a near rant so Joe wouldn't forget. Joe was to stay by the cars, maintaining a look out position but staying out of sight, out of danger. And only when the gunfire ceased and the battle was over would Joe be permitted to join them. It wasn't the way Joe had envisioned being a part of the team but it was better than nothing and it gave him the chance to keep his pledge to Layia.
Speaking of Layia, she'd gone though every scenario and potential outcome of tonight with vivid details in her mind. Only a couple settled well with her, gave her a sense of calm and the rest she couldn't dwell on, leaving her thoughts cluttered with various methods of how she would handle seeing Hayes again, no longer a figure in the tortured depths of her psyche but a man that would be right in front of her, using whatever he could to bring her down and himself up. Meanwhile Billy's focus appeared to be on the road ahead, guiding him effortlessly to their destination. But he would cast fleeting glances at his brother and Layia. They were his true focus.
He hadn't told anyone and he never would, but even kept to himself it was a memory, an occurrence that held significance for the gang lord and yet it continued to baffle him. The night that Billy had stitched Layia up from the gun shot he'd done something perplexing. While Joe was in the shower Billy had sunk down to the mattress besides Layia, ignoring her blood that had seeped through his clothes and stuck to his skin. Then he'd noticed her hand, just lying on top of his dark comforter and without thinking about it he'd covered her small palm with his larger one. For the entire time that Joe had been busy cleaning himself up Billy had remained in that position, touching a part of Layia that wouldn't be important on any other woman, unless she was giving him a hand job, and watching her. However, the second that Billy heard the water stop he'd yanked his hand away and resumed his impartial gaze, leaving Joe none the wiser. Billy hadn't been able to understand his reason then and he still couldn't, at least he didn't want to give himself a straight answer. But here she was, with him in spite of everything and now he found himself appreciating that memory. For whatever it was worth, he didn't want her harmed tonight, he wanted her to come back with him unscathed and nothing less than that was acceptable.
"Come on," ordered Billy. Weapons in hand, the group stepped from the cars, moving as a single, well trained unit. When they reached the entrance they spread out, taking the guard dogs down quietly. It would be foolish to draw unnecessary attention to themselves before they even got inside. Especially since they didn't know the inner layout, in that aspect they were going in blind. To make up for that disadvantage they needed to completely hone all the advantages that they did possess which included the cover of darkness, their skill and Layia's unwavering rage.
A soft thud reached Layia's ears, letting her know that Jamie had taken out the last guard, who'd been patrolling the perimeter. With a flick of his wrist Billy took lead once more and motioned for everyone to reformat. The change placed Layia at Billy's right side and Bodie slightly behind to his left. That positioned Heco, Baggy, Spink and Tommy in the middle and Jamie along with Dog picking up the rear, making sure no one snuck up on them.
The plan was simple, be smart and tactical. Don't run in hollering at the top of your lungs and shooting in every which direction. That's what idiots and people with death wishes did. Billy was neither. Hayes had more men than Billy and they couldn't forget about that detail. But once the night was concealed behind them by a thick metal door and their movements took them deeper inside the plan got drastically changed. Men were scattered over the large open space and at the sight of the intruders began shouting for back up. The sound of heavy doors being slammed shut and guns cocked echoed around them, blocking out their previously quiet conversations. And as the first shot was fired all hell broke loose.
Jamie and Spink took off to the right sending a bullet into anyone that got in their crosshairs, while Tommy and Dog headed left, steadily clutching their pieces and firing away. Everything was happening so fast, there was no chance to duck for cover or think about the possibility of a man behind you, ready to squeeze the trigger. Men were shouting at the top of their lungs, curses and cries of distress, making it challenging to focus on what was directly in front. With the sides being covered Billy and Layia plowed through the center, dropping everyone in their path with a precisely aimed shot as Bodie and Heco watched their backs. Baggy had been tagging along with them but after hearing Tommy yell he raced off to his friend's aid.
"Motherfucker," snarled Billy as one of Hayes's thugs fired a bullet that grazed his shoulder, enveloping the skin in a burning pain. But it wasn't enough to stop or even slow down the rampant gang lord. Nothing short of a kill shot would do that and none of these unimpressive, low level henchmen would be the one to make Billy breathe his last breath. When Billy welcomed the darkness and left this earth it would be a warrior's death from someone who was his equal, with a gun in his hand and no pleads for mercy. He tucked his firearm into the waistband of his jeans, gripped the man's chin and back of his head and snapped his neck. That prick deserved a more personal execution from Billy.
Once Billy was holding his Colt again he stole a moment to glance at the surrounding chaos, it was everywhere. The walls were coated with blood splatters, men were slumped down, withering into corpses on the lonely ground with agony in their wincing eyes. But Billy didn't feel one ounce of remorse. This was a brutal slaughter and he didn't care about the fates of the men he and his gang were murdering. What exactly his actions and lack of repentance made him Billy wasn't sure but he was who was he and that would never change. It was difficult to make out individual faces but Billy found most of his men, unscathed and continuing to fight with every bit of strength they had. They only two that Billy couldn't see were Heco and Layia. Hopefully she wasn't alone and the Latino was sticking by her.
With the roar of a gladiator he began following the trail of bodies Layia left behind. The further he edged into the building the quieter the gunfire became, fading into the background until he was temporarily greeted with silence. Billy took the stairs to the second floor two at a time with ease, remaining constantly alert about his environment, vigilantly listening for any sounds and looking for any movement.
The blood streaks marking the gray walls led him down more twists and turns in wide hallways till he heard fresh shots being fired. Billy picked up his pace, jogging to the source with his gun at the ready. When he finally reached Layia she was kneeling on the cement. For a brief second Billy thought she'd been injured, but then he heard Heco groaning. As Billy neared the pair he noticed Heco had taken one in the leg and was clutching at his bleeding limb. Shit, he'll be on the fuckin' couch for weeks, taking full advantage of the need for pain pills. But he's still breathing, thought Billy. At least he hadn't lost a man in this battle, so far.
"Heco," started Layia but Heco shook his head and forced a smile, although it looked more like a grimace. "Don't worry 'bout me chica, just get your sister back and kill that cocksucker," replied Heco and Layia returned his smile. For the first time Billy was rather grateful that Heco was a little infatuated with Layia. It was obvious that his friend had protected her. And judging by the man with his insides steadily leaving his body in a red mess Layia had made him pay dearly for harming Heco.
Footsteps reverberated down the hall, steadily getting closer and Billy immediately turned, ready to add more kills to the long list he'd already formed tonight. But to his relief it was Jamie and Spink who quickly realized what had taken place. "We got 'im," insisted Jamie while motioning to Heco, "Go ahead."
"Well well look who came back to me. It's good to have you home Layia. I see you brought a friend," began Hayes as Billy and Layia stepped into the room. It was plain, with only a couple lamps and knickknacks acting as decorations. Asides from Hayes there were three other men, bodyguards, armed and waiting for the command. "Shut up," snapped Layia and Hayes grinned.
Honestly, Layia didn't know what she'd been expecting to feel in this instant, when she would face her devil as a woman instead of a child. But Layia didn't feel the slightest scrap of fear, not even a sliver. At one time he'd seemed so formidable but now, in her eyes, he was simply a man, nothing more. Physically he hadn't changed much. There was gray in his once brown hair and he'd put on extra weight, mainly over his midsection. New wrinkles had formed around his mouth and eyes but aside from that he looked exactly the same.
"That's no way to respect your elders' dear girl," reprimanded Hayes as though he was a teacher disappointed in his student. "But I'll let it pass, seeing as you've been gone for so long." Even the way he spoke had remained constant. He'd always tried to sound like a learned gentleman in front of Layia. It was almost as if he thought that she would believe the false façade and then she would view him as a true superior. But it had never worked, not for a single second.
"Come on Hayes, stop fuckin' around. Get on your knees and beg," demanded Layia. He loved to play mind games but Layia was in no mood for spending hours bantering with him. As much as Layia wanted to prolong his death she wasn't blinded by the sweet taste of revenge. Her sister was in here somewhere and Layia had no idea what shape she was in. "I hate to break it to you baby but you're outnumbered," remarked Hayes, smirking smugly.
That may be true but Layia was willing to bet that Billy was a better shot. As if Billy heard her thoughts he raised his pistol and fired three consecutive rounds without blinking an eye. Like flies the men dropped and fell to the cement below, delivered a bloody end at Billy's skilled hand. Layia smiled sinisterly, triumphantly, Billy was unmatched. Shock etched itself on Hayes's face but it was minor and he swiftly regained himself. "Now beg," repeated Layia.
"Aren't you forgetting something sweetheart? Your precious baby sister perhaps?" questioned Hayes, motioning to the doorway behind him with a casual wave of his hand. With a steady grip on her gun Layia peered into the black searching for a figure, a sign of movement, anything, but was met with nothing. Then, the darkness separated and Kalila's face appeared. She was thin and pale but as soon as she saw Layia a sparkle manifested in her eyes.
"Kali," cried Layia, fighting the urge to run over and hug her sister. Her heart felt as though it would explode from its bone created confinement and shatter from the joy of having her sister in front of her again, alive. It was an explosion of emotions, swirling through every inch of her body, putting her in a nearly euphoric state. Layia was completely overwhelmed and had to force herself to breath, to maintain her confident disposition. Unfortunately, Kalila wasn't alone. A man was pushing her forward, keeping a firm grasp on her.
"Perfect," announced Hayes as he tossed a knife to the man. "Now, if that bitch attempts anything slit her sister's throat." The second he'd heard gunfire Hayes knew that Layia had found him. And he'd wasted no time in putting in motion his only foolproof plan; Kalila. Luckily, his man had been prompt in bringing Kalila to him.
Bane caught the knife but stilled his hand, keeping the weapon harmlessly at his side. Kalila wasn't afraid of him but she should be; he was in a hazardous predicament, one that wouldn't end without bloodshed. Instead she trusted him, not even trembling in his arms and it nearly broke his heart that such a woman had faith in him, in someone who'd put numerous men in body casts and body bags. And despite knowing all that she believed in him, spent hours melting into his chest and clutching his shirt as though he was her life jacket, preventing her from drowning in the abyss of misery. But Hayes was looking at him suspiciously, making Bane edgy. That was his boss and Bane was his bodyguard, the terms of their verbal contract were still in effect. Whatever choice he made he'd be betraying someone. He was at a fork in the road and he was going to have to make a snap decision about what path he would take, who he'd fight for and protect. "What the fuck are ya waiting for?" demanded Hayes angrily, glaring at Bane with an expression that would make most men wilt away and beg for forgiveness. But Bane wasn't most men.
The first sensation Layia felt was terror. She couldn't lose her sister, not after everything they'd been through, not ever. Then rage seized in Layia's chest, making the blood rush to her ears and drowning out all sound. For a moment she was scarcely aware of Billy's presence, her sight becoming tunnel vision, focused on two people and no one else. Without hesitation she raised her firearm and aimed at the man's forehead. She just had to be faster, to kill him before he moved the blade and her sister would be safe.
"Don't" screamed Kalila and Layia instantly reacted, breaking from her fury induced trance. "Please don't hurt him."
"Are you fuckin' crazy? He's one of Hayes's bastards, he deserves to die," shouted Layia, confused at what she was hearing from her sister. Kalila was defending someone that she should be desperate to see with a bullet in his brain. But Kalila shook her head vehemently and started sobbing, making Layia's stomach clench. She hated watching Kalila in so much agony. It made Layia's heart feel as though it was being torn, scratched and clawed by the hands of emotions from her sister. "He took care of me," insisted Kalila.
"Don't listen to her doll, she's lost it, none of mine would ever aid such a pitiful creature" added Hayes with a sneer. And that was the definitive turning point for Bane. Hayes had called Kalila a pathetic creature, making his blood boil. There hadn't been much doubt before but now there was none. Kalila was who he cared about and he wouldn't let anymore harm come to her. "Shut the fuck up," demanded Layia. Billy kept his gun trained, pointed directly at Hayes's heart, assuming the organ hadn't already shriveled up and become a black void. The urge to squeeze the trigger and kill Layia's demon, a truly despicable prick, was overpowering but he steadied his finger. If he took the shot Layia would never forgive him.
"I haven't lost it. Bane helped me out as much as he could, kept me alive," explained Kalila sincerely but Layia noticed she was becoming weak, struggling to remain upright. Her poor sister wasn't going to last. That's when she saw it: Bane was holding Kalila up and gazing at her with genuine concern. Was it possible for an employee of Hayes's to have a heart? Layia didn't want to believe it but the evidence was clear as day, unmistakable. And she couldn't take away someone that Kalila had feelings for. They didn't get those chances often.
"You," called Layia, addressing Bane. "Don't you dare make me regret this." If he so much as said one offensive phrase to Kalila or hurt her in anyway Layia would annihilate him without falter.
"No ma'am," promised Bane with evident relief, causing Layia and Billy to narrow their eyebrows. Ma'am? Seriously? "Make yourself useful and get all the girls out of here. I don't care how many there are, just make sure they get somewhere safe so they can start fresh. And don't let them see us," ordered Layia, her voice was strong, unrelenting but it was clear she had a soft spot for the girls. And it made sense. She knew firsthand the effects of the horrors they'd been subjected to. Chances are the girls had already seen Bane's face but she didn't want any of them to be able to pinpoint the small army that had freed them. That could backfire on Layia, Billy, the whole gang in the future if the police started searching for witnesses.
"Will do," replied Bane. Then he picked Kalila up and carried her over to Layia. Sorrow flickered in Layia's eyes as she gently caressed Kalila's face but it swiftly disappeared and anger appeared in its place. "Here," said Bane, attempting to give Kalila to Billy. But Billy hesitated. It didn't feel natural to him to hold a woman protectively or otherwise unless it was Layia. However, because she was Layia's sister he eventually extended his thick limbs and cradled a now unconscious Kalila against his chest. There were certainly differences but features of Kalila's face were identical to Layia's and Billy almost did a double take. It was strange to be embracing someone who looked so similar to the girl he'd spent months with but had an opposing personality and it was stranger still to have the courageous woman in front of him while the timid one was in his arms.
Internally Layia relaxed, Kalila was in the safest place she could be, with Billy. But Layia didn't let that inner peace show on the outside. She had unfinished business to take care of. "You're all alone. How's it feel to have everything that made you strong stripped away from you, having someone else making all the decisions, holding all the power," questioned Layia.
"Oh, is that what this is? I had no idea, couldn't tell," mocked Hayes. Perhaps there was a part of him that had known this would happen someday, that after years of raping a girl who had the same spirit as a wild mustang that she would come back and burn him. But that knowledge hadn't stopped him from trying to shatter her courage and destroy her soul.
"You're done talking," declared Layia. "It's time for you to do the screaming."
Presently, every single one of Billy's men was in the center of the building, even the two who'd been hurt; Baggy and Heco. They'd wrapped shredded cloths around their injures to prevent blood loss because they wanted to witness this. Bane had returned as well after carrying out Layia's command. And Joe, who'd joined them, was currently fulfilling his promise to Layia. He was vicious, delivering blow after fierce blow, crushing the bones and splitting the skin without any guilt. Layia already had her turn at physically wounding Hayes, as had Billy and soon she would finish the job. Since Kalila was out of danger Layia could enjoy this instead of rushing it. Crimson had stained Joe's clothes and was steadily dripping onto the ground below but it only added to the exhilaration he was experiencing, a taste of how he imagined Billy normally felt. Billy was Joe's idol, the person he looked up to the most. And his pummeling Hayes wasn't solely about Layia it was about impressing Billy.
Layia watched with a sadistic smile, savoring every sound of pain that Hayes released and imprinting his agony into her memory. Retribution had been the subject of controversy for decades, spawning the debate of was it worth it? Did it really bring peace? Layia couldn't speak for anyone else nor did she want to. But for her personally vengeance felt good, incredible and it was worth every second of time and effort put into achieving it. Finally, due to retaliation, she was able to attain some sense of closure.
After a couple more punches Billy walked towards his brother and clapped Joe on the shoulder. "He's had enough," stated Billy and Joe stilled his fist. With a grunt Hayes's head lolled to the side but he managed to prevent himself from falling to the floor. Blood was flowing from multiple areas where his flesh had been torn and he was missing a couple teeth. But none of that mattered to Hayes, it was the look in Layia's eyes that did. There was so much hatred in her hazel irises where there had once been fear. She truly was a wonder. And Hayes couldn't deny how pleased he was that he'd done this to her. He may not have been able to break her, make her his slave but he'd transformed her into something much worse, his equal.
Joe turned, prepared to head back and rejoin the group but Billy's low voice stopped him. "Ya did good Joe, I'm proud of you," confessed Billy and Joe clapped him on the back, a brotherly exchange of affection. This time Billy had said it out loud. He still wasn't sure that he was ready for what would follow it, that he was ready to decide if Joe could be initiated, become a member of the gang but he'd said it anyway because his brother deserved to hear those words. Joe smiled and Billy nodded in approval. When Joe strolled to the troupe he passed Layia and she gave him a similar nod, sharing Billy's opinion about how well he did tonight. Happiness filled Joe as he picked a spot on the wall to lean against. Without a doubt this was where he belonged.
"So that's it huh? I inflict some pain on you and you come at me like this?" inquired Hayes wearily, choosing to goad her in his final moments.
"Some pain?" demanded Layia, taking a threatening step to Hayes. "Some pain? You haven't even begun to feel the pain you put me through and more importantly her," said Layia, gesturing at Kalila who was asleep with Bane tenderly stroking her face. Her sister looked peaceful but Layia doubted that what was swimming in Kalila's mind was remotely close to serenity.
"Don't be that way baby. I know I'm not the only one who enjoyed those years," announced Hayes, flashing a bloody smile. Layia grabbed a handful of Hayes's hair and yanked his head back. "The only thing that I'm going to enjoy with you is this night, this moment," whispered Layia, hissing into his ear.
With a nod Billy motioned for Bodie and Spink to assist Layia. It didn't take much effort for Bodie to hold Hayes in place and Spink to tug his pants down, exposing Layia's target. "It's rather poetic don't ya think?" asked Layia as she slid her fingers into the grooved handle of the blade, holding it in a tight grip.
"What? That you believe I'm a malevolent prick but look at you. You're worse than me, consorting with these monsters," spat Hayes, frowning at Billy and his gang. His words were supposed to be a knife, slicing through Layia and forcing her to doubt herself but she deflected them. Whatever he said, whatever he did lost any sway it would have previously had over her. "They're not monsters," said Layia, in her mind's eye they weren't but she knew they were to everyone whose face they'd shoved a gun in, or whose life they took; to each their own. Despite his mouth no longer being able to claim any power Layia instinctively stood up for Billy and his men. They certainly didn't need her to do that seeing as they were quite capable of defending themselves but Layia did it anyway because she wanted to, because she gave a damn about them. "Interesting, you didn't say that you weren't," mused Hayes with a wicked grin. Perhaps that's what she thought of herself. Then, at least, Hayes could have the satisfaction of making her realize that.
"I'm what I have to be," retorted Layia. With an unwavering facial expression showing nothing but loathe and disgust for the man in front of her Layia knelt down and made herself eye level with him. The coldness in her once radiant hues, the radiance he'd stolen, caused an icy chill to shoot through his body but he never removed his brave mask. "A monster," repeated Hayes but Layia slowly shook her head. "Better than you," confirmed Layia.
Then, without batting an eyelid she dug the blade into the skin of his penis and began to slice the appendage off. The surrounding men grimaced. Hayes deserved it but seeing another man's dick being severed from his body was almost intolerable to observe, the holy grail of the male gender gone forever. But Billy viewed the spectacle with complete satisfaction, not once looking away. It was a fitting end for a serial rapist, for someone who'd hurt Layia.
Hayes hollered, whimpering and crying like a wounded animal as he was plunged into the most physically excruciating anguish a man could ever experience. Layia took her time, relishing each second as blood oozed out of the recently created cavity. When his testicles lay on the ground in between his spread legs Layia stood up and squashed them, demolishing every ounce of his manhood that she could. Then she watched with callous eyes as the life left Hayes's body, removing the light from his irises and fight from his limbs. "You should've thought twice about who you shoved that thing into," declared Layia while reaching up to rub under her nose with the bloodied knife still in hand.
A couple of the men glanced at each other, rather stunned by the perhaps unintentional reveal that left Layia's lips. She'd been caught up in the moment and now they knew. They'd hadn't suspected that was the reason Layia had an intense grudge against Hayes but before they had a chance to discuss the revelation amongst themselves Billy's voice boomed, consuming the open space with his deep bass.
"Torch this place," ordered Billy. Without question Spink and Joe went out front to grab the containers of gasoline. Their stomachs were nauseous, churning from the grotesque death they'd witnessed but they pushed past the uncomfortable sensation. While those two began emptying the containers, dousing the rooms and spaces were the corpses lay the rest of the men prepared to leave. Bodie took lead, barking orders at the men, Heco was helped out by Tommy and Jamie, using them for support and Baggy ambled behind them, clutching his throbbing arm. Dog remained by Billy in case the boss needed anything. And not a single one of them was affected by the mass carnage their eyes surveyed as they departed from the battlefield.
"Bane, take Kalila to the cars and don't let anything happen to her," shouted Layia over the echoing sounds of pounding footsteps and victorious laughter. Her sister was already secure in his arms, snug against his solid chest. As Bane walked out Layia glanced sadly at her sister. Hopefully this would all feel like a bad dream to Kalila but only time would tell.
Finally Spink emerged from the doorway and dumped the remaining gasoline on Hayes's body. "Light it Spink, we're getting the fuck outta here," announced Billy firmly. Fire was the most efficient way to destroy evidence, especially when it was on such a large scale. The last thing that any of them wanted or needed was for the cops or the feds to get a whiff of what happened here and show up on their doorsteps. Billy was going to make sure that there was nothing in this building tying anyone still standing to the crime. "Ya ready Ly?" asked Billy, turning towards her. But she was gone. All he saw was a flow of dark hair as she rounded the corner, in the opposite direction of the exit. "Damn it Ly," growled Billy, rushing off after her.
It didn't take him long to catch up to her. "What are ya doing? The whole fuckin' place is going ta burn," said Billy, aware that by now Spink had probably lit the trail of gasoline, putting them an on very short time frame. Layia heard him but she didn't respond, her focus on finding something specific, something that couldn't be reduced to ashes. With their strong legs swiftly carrying their adrenaline filled bodies they soon reached the end of one hall and Layia veered off to the right, barreling down a new passageway. It had to be here, in the maze of doors and make shift prison cells. The only thing that Layia had to rely on to guide her was instinct and her knowledge of Hayes's character. For both her and Billy's sake it had better be accurate because with each passing second the smell of hot gasoline became more pungent.
Thankfully, her destination was only a couple more doors down, his office. Without delay Layia went straight for his desk and started pulling out drawers, tossing papers and random objects all over the place. "Ya know Ly, I can't help you unless you tell me what you're looking for," remarked Billy, mildly agitated that she hadn't answered his previous question. Then he stood back, arms folded across his chest and watched as she flung another drawer behind her. "His stash, business details, contact information," replied Layia. Unlike some Hayes didn't spilt up his assets. There was one, hard to locate, designated spot where he stored his valuables. That way, if there was ever an emergency he could take it and run. Obviously, he hadn't gotten that chance. But it was still here and she was going to use it to her advantage. "Sneaky little bastard," muttered Layia under her breath as she ran her hand along the underside of his desk and felt something rough, out of place. Bending her knees, she dropped to the floor and gazed up. A small brass key was wedged into a self created nook. That meant her objective was in his bedroom. It's the only place he would trust it was safe in.
Fast as lightening she bolted past Billy and back into the hall. Not waiting or offering a further explanation was nothing against Billy but time was of the essence and Layia knew where she was going, at least had a better idea than him. Like before, Billy sprinted after her and in less than a minute they were standing in Hayes's rather fancy private space. It was certainly different than his arrangement last time. None of the pieces fit with the complex. They were all new, well kept, and probably very expensive. "It won't be in his desk again, the dressers are too obvious. Where would he keep it?" thought Layia, mentally searching for a potential hiding place. Eventually her eyes locked onto his bed. She walked towards it and Billy, understanding, grabbed the mattress with her. Together they heaved it off its resting place and shoved the frame to the side.
It took Layia a couple frustrating minutes but she discovered a part of the floor that wasn't set completely. With a little effort it lifted and revealed a medium sized box below. There was no point in going through it now, nor did they have the opportunity. The smell of gasoline had been replaced with smoke and Layia could feel the fumes filling her lungs. She handed Hayes's version of Pandora's Box over to Billy and slipped her hand into the hole once more. His money had to be close by and it would be a waste to let the fire get it.
In order to reach her objective she had to lean her entire body down and blindly search to the left of the opening. Finally her flingers clasped around a leather handle. Getting the item required some forceful tugs but she managed to pull it out and set it on the ground. After pausing to wipe away the perspiration that had formed above her brow she unzipped the heavy bag and was met with the rewarding sight of green. A quick glance at Billy let her know he was pleased with their find too but he was also getting impatient and with good reason. Once they exited Hayes's bedroom they saw thick clouds of smoke billowing from the way they'd come. They'd have to find another route out. Layia began coughing, her body fighting off the potent vapors as she inadvertently inhaled more of it and Billy noticed. Then he grabbed her hand, doing his best to maneuver them through the burning building.
Sweat had materialized out of the open pores on their bodies, making Layia's hair damp and a dark spot appear on the back of Billy's shirt were most of salty moisture had pooled. Layia saw a couple drops drip down his face, falling off his nose and onto his lips as the heat got closer to them. He was starting to struggle with the fumes as well but together they located the stairs and flew down them as fast as possible. The majority of the first level was already in ruins, doors had become gray dust, reduced to cinders and the air was thick with the smell of burning flesh. A wood beam came crashing to the floor behind them as Layia readjusted the bag strap on her shoulder and Billy quickly looked back, checking to see if she was alright. Layia bobbed her head in a short nod, telling him she was fine. With a huff Billy turned and searched, seemingly calm but that's not how he felt internally. The situation was bad but Billy wasn't going down like this and neither was Layia. Finally, he settled on a hallway and dashed forward with Layia keeping up with him.
By the time they found an escape it was nearly impossible to see. Billy locked his hands together, angled his shoulder and positioned himself to ram against the door that was blocking them from the outside world. With powerful shoves he loosened the hinges and eventually the barrier gave way under Billy's strength, collapsing to the cement on the outside of the building.
"Bill, I'm so sorry, I didn't know, I thought you were out," exclaimed Spink fearfully as Layia and Billy neared the waiting men. But Billy waved a hand, stopping Spink from ranting anymore. They may not have used the best judgment but they were following his orders and he doubted they'd planned on Layia having a side mission. Billy was angry but he wasn't going to kill any of them over this error. The duo had splotches of black on their faces and clothes, remnants of the near death experience they'd just had and yet they were still mighty, with commanding walks and no signs of being in pain. Even so, Joe had to bite his tongue to prevent himself from laughing at his soot covered brother.
"What the fuck took so long?" inquired Bodie, emerging from the shadows by his Cuda which had a groaning Heco in the backseat. "Ly wanted a souvenir," answered Billy as he stepped forward and Layia grinned. They'd done it. They'd really done it.
There you have it. Hopefully it lived up to the expectations. I'm so excited to hear what you guys think, looking forward to your reviews. And again, thank you all for being the best group of faithfuls a writer could ever ask for. Love ya guys. XD Also, there is one more chapter after this and then this story will be complete. But I already have a sequel planned out if you guys want it. Just let me know. =)