Rhys has spent his entire life in underground Winderport. He knew there was a whole other world above his "sky" but he wasn't interested--until the day he chased a killer to that mystical upper world and saw Kullian, all six foot something of perfection. So what if the man was a notorious and powerful Fey Baron? Rhys wasn't a typical law abiding citizen himself. The very fact the man was dangerous made him that much more attractive and had Rhys wanting things he'd never even considered before.
But an injury causes Rhys to lose his memory and his only clues to his identity are his gun and a camera with pictures of Kullian's silver eyes looking right into the lens. However, Rhys does have one memory--he was after a murderer and somehow Kullian is involved. It's a race against time because Rhys needs to find his memory and this mysterious killer before it's too late. Could it be he might just find love as well?
Rhys should have immediately recognized the man who had his hands wrapped tight around Joey's neck, but as he came around the corner at a dead run, he was still so damn far away. He knew Joey had come this way; he was trailing behind him just to make sure he was safe. But he'd allowed for too much distance between them.
Because he just heard him scream.
Joey's limp body dropped to the ground as the man looked up at Rhys with evil eyes and an even more sinister smile. But there was insanity in those eyes as well. The fucker had said something to Joey, too, he heard it. Something like 'Where is it, you son of a bitch?'
The man stepped back and kicked the sickeningly still form on the sidewalk and dashed away, his fat ass swinging back and forth.
Rhys pulled his weapon from its holster under his arm. It was a rapid fire Cyro-silgil, and simply an extension of his hand, another perfectly functioning body part. When he pulled it out of the holster in that very fluid motion that was as much a part of him as breathing, he knew he didn't even have to look at his quarry as he squeezed the trigger, choosing instead to start his descent to Joey, finally arriving by his side.
Yet another mistake.
Because as luck would have it, and luck was not kind that day, as the slug left Rhys's weapon, the running bastard slipped. The shot only grazed his right arm. Even though it had to have been a very ugly, deep graze, it was not the direct hit to the heart Rhys had planned--and all because he'd taken his eyes off his target at the last split second. Rhys dropped his weapon arm anyway, choosing not to take the second shot, as the need to kill the bastard was replaced by the horror that lay before him on the sidewalk.
Joey was dead.
Oh fuck. No breath, no pulse, fixed pupils, eyes open but clearly unseeing. Rhys's stomach turned as he realized the fucker hadn't just strangled Joey, but crushed his throat.
"Joey!" He screamed at the unmoving body. "Joey! Damn you! Don't you die! Don't be dead! Please...." He tried to breathe life back into him, opened Joey's mouth and blew. He then tried to pound on his chest to get his heart going again but it was no use. Joey was dead. Rhys buried his face in the rumpled shirt as his tears fell. Why the fuck had he sent him off alone? It was those innocent eyes of his! Why had he looked into those eyes that pleaded and begged to do something important, something that would make him feel like he was a true member of the gang? Rhys could've picked something else, like going on one of their many security rounds. At least then he would have been with one of the other boys. No, he had been too stupid and arrogant in thinking he could send Joey off on a scouting mission and he would just follow.
My fault! My fucking fault I sent him to his death. I sent him out and away from safety and I fucking knew better. Why...? And now Joey was dead.
Poor, poor Joey.
He holstered his gun, took out his cell, and pressed the number two for Teneff. He had to tell someone where Joey was so he could chase that fat bastard Joey called a father. "Teneff! Where the fuck are you now? Answer your cell!" But he didn't. All Rhys could do was leave a fast message leading him back here to where Joey lay, and report that he would go after the murdering fucker.
Where Joey lay...
Rhys jumped up and backed away much like that bastard, Balmor, had. He wiped his tears away, still not quite understanding he was crying, and as much as he hated to leave Joey all alone, he had to get the fucker who did this. If he didn't leave now, even with how slowly Balmor waddled off, he could still lose him. At least there was a blood trail. There should have been a fucking dead man and if Rhys had his way, there would be soon. "Sorry, Joey..." he whispered then turned and ran in the direction Balmor had gone. As he ran, he turned his phone off. No distractions while he was tracking. He wouldn't answer it anyway. Not until he had the guy.
But unfortunately he had to slow down. The tunnel became darker now, away from the lights on the platforms. There was an occasional weak yellow lamp blinking on the ceiling but little else to light the way. Even though Rhys was used to the dark, could see like a cat actually, running was no longer an option. Of course his quarry would no longer be running either.
In the half-light, he was still able to follow the blood trail and that was important. Though this tunnel did not have any offshoots yet, it would. More important, in the darkness, against the tunnel walls, he could miss a shadow. The traces of blood, faint and getting fainter, still proved to Rhys the man moved forward. But the fact it was becoming fainter meant he could lose the trail altogether once Balmor hit a split in the tunnel. Had he wrapped the wound? Rhys quickened his pace. He was running out of time.
The drops of blood were fewer and fewer, so Balmor was somehow stopping the bleeding, either by covering the wound or the wound itself was not as bad as Rhys had first thought. But luckily there were other things to consider when following a trail. In this case, there actually was a trail. That meant Balmor didn't have a cutterboard, a thick piece of polyite, which ran off the same naturally occurring energy called hydron that the old trains used to use. Of course, that energy was no longer stable, which was the main reason these tunnels eventually were abandoned. But the fat man didn't have one. He was on foot.
You then considered your quarry. In this case, being it was human, Rhys did have to believe his prey could think intelligently. But usually instinct took over in times of dire need, especially when there was a severe enough, painful enough, wound that needed attending. It wouldn't necessarily mean he would run blindly; he just wouldn't be thinking about hiding. And Balmor wasn't going to get help either because no one in this dark place wanted to become caught up in anyone else's war, even small ones. So Balmor would undoubtedly be thinking speed and escape were his only options and, due to the pain he had to be in, the path of least resistance would be his course.
As Rhys followed, he was rewarded with being right, at least about that. What he had not been right about, of course, was that Balmor would have come back after Joey in the first place. Sure they had talked about it. Joey had said the man he called 'father' wanted something from him.
"Where is it, you son of a bitch?" Rhys's memory of Balmor's last words to Joey rang in his brain.
But none of them really paid much attention to it. Why would they? Joey was safe now, underground, with them. Joey had friends now, protectors.
Yeah right. Protectors my ass.
Joey needed protecting, too. They all knew it. He was a little shy of a full deck but as sweet as fresh air. Everyone loved him right from the start. It had been Rhys who saved him that first time, from the very same man he was chasing now. It had been Rhys who had tended to Joey's wounds, held him close when he cried, convinced him to come back with him to his place, to stay underground. But it had been Rhys's gang Fury that had opened their arms in a hearty welcome, sucking him into the obvious void that none of them even knew existed until Joey was there, filling it masterfully. His bright and innocent fascination, simple ways, and amazing smile charmed them all.