sympathy. “It considers only the results of his actions.”
I shook my head and backed off involuntarily. “So what, he has to protect me for the rest of his life, or he’ll fucking die? ” I said. “No. That’s bullshit. It’s not his fault.”
“Gideon.” Sadie brushed my arm, and I shivered. “It’s not your fault, either.”
“Well, it sure as hell feels like it,” I growled. “Look…let’s worry about this later. We came here to do something, and I want to get it done.”
I headed for the little stone church again, angry at nothing and everything all at once. Like it wasn’t bad enough that I’d been saddled with the DeathSpeaker crap—now it was up to me whether my brother lived or died. And unlike what I did or didn’t do with my abilities, this one was out of my hands.
Even when I tried to stay out of trouble, it always managed to find me.
C HAPTER 8
T he police tape was still across the wooden door of the church, but it was open. Because it’d been battered off its hinges. I assumed that was Reun’s doing.
And the bloodbath inside was also courtesy of Reun.
The small sanctuary held two rows of simple wooden pews, ten to a side. Four of them, the ones up in front on either side, had been upended and smashed. There was blood everywhere—splashed on the walls and the broken pews, pooled on the floor, gushed down the altar in drying rivers that ran across the platform and painted streaks on the shallow marble steps leading up to it. Thick maroon smears marked the aisle, where one of them must have tried to crawl away with a slit throat.
I wasn’t convinced that even inhuman bastards like Milus Dei deserved this kind of brutal death.
The scene didn’t sit well with Sadie, either. She hung back by the entrance with me, staring in wide-eyed horror. Reun, on the other hand, strode right up the center aisle, leaving casual boot prints in the blood.
“Hey! Don’t do that,” I called.
He glanced back. “What?”
“You’re making more work for the cops.” I pointed at the floor and the obvious tracks through the gore. “That’ll have them chasing dead ends for a week,” I said. “Go around.”
With an irritated expression, he doubled back. “Why should we concern ourselves with the problems of humans?”
“Because Abe is my friend. He’s a cop, and he already has to clean up your mess. We’re not making it worse on him,” I said. “You might try considering other people once in a while. It’ll help with your arrogance problem.”
He gave a faint sneer. “I am Fae.”
“Yeah, but this is the human world. Remember?”
“How could I forget?” he said with a sigh. “Very well. We will go…this way.” He headed for the far left aisle.
Sadie bumped me with her shoulder and smiled broadly. “Nice handling,” she said.
“Hey, I just don’t want Abe to bitch at me,” I said with a smirk. “Come on. Let’s check out this stronghold.”
We followed Reun to the front of the sanctuary and up four wooden steps on the side of the platform. There was a wooden lectern behind the altar that held a massive, leather-bound Bible with yellowed pages, and a heavy floor-to-ceiling velvet curtain draped on the wall behind that.
“The entrance is here.” Reun stepped up to the curtain and drew it aside slowly, revealing a wall that looked nothing like the rest of the place. While the other interior walls were polished wood paneling, this one was covered with one-inch square ceramic tiles. Hundreds of them, reds and blues and browns in various shades, displayed in a random pattern.
Sadie frowned at it. “That is one ugly wall.”
“And there’s a secret door in there somewhere?” I said.
“Yes.” Reun stood facing the center of the wall. He closed his eyes, raised his right hand and skimmed his fingers along the tiles. Eventually he slowed and stopped. He pressed a single, unremarkable tile.
There was a click, and a door-shaped part of the wall swung