The man leaned in close, sliding a weathered palm down my wet cheek. “You’re so much like her. I hope you’re stronger than she was. Because this is going to hurt. A lot.”
Before I could ask what he meant, my leg buckled with sharp pain, and I fell away from him, against the bulkhead. A double-edged knife stuck in my thigh. I hadn’t even seen him do it. I groaned and slid my ass to the floor, gripping the knife to keep it still and from putting pressure on anything internal.
“Sorry,” he said. “Shit, I know that smarts. They’ll be here in a minute to help you. I have to get going.”
“You son of a bitch,” I spat out. Hot tears fell down my cheeks. My hands shook as adrenaline rushed to compensate for the pain. Not only was he not taking me with him, he might have just killed me too. Wasn’t there a major artery in the thigh?
God, there was a lot of blood. I groaned.
He knelt beside me, and covered my hand with his, still wrapped around the blade. “You tell them we fought, I stabbed you, and then ran. I killed the guards for good measure.”
“But it’s not true. They’ll know.”
“Believe it, and it’ll be true.” The fuck kind of Jedi bullshit was that? I groaned as I tried to move my leg.
“They’ll kill me. Please don’t leave me here.” What had I reduced myself to? Begging a stranger that probably just signed my death warrant.
“I told you. Learn from them. When you can keep up, I’ll come back for you.”
That shouldn’t have given me hope, but I felt a twinge of it inside my chest. He straightened out the case he still wore around his torso. I’d almost forgotten he even had that.
“This part is gonna suck, but I need that knife.” He paused, guilt crossing his face. “It’s kind of special for me.”
Before I even registered it, he had yanked the knife out. Then he pressed my hand against the gushing wound. I cried out, my hands shaking too much. “Hold your hand there. As hard as you can. Don’t move it. And tie something around it to slow the bleeding if you can.”
I groaned. “I wish you’d shot me instead.”
He shook his head, frowning. “I don’t think I could. You’re too much like her.”
“Fuck you.” He kept talking about a “her.” What did that mean? And since when was stabbing less personal than a bullet? I was feeling pretty damn personally violated.
“Damn,” he seemed amused. “That’s what she would have said.”
“Any sane person would say that.”
“No one here is sane, little recruit. Definitely not Kala. Doesn’t look like you are, either.” He took one last look at me, and then he was gone. With him, he took the last of my strength. I groaned again and fell over, my cheek meeting the cold deck. It felt like eons that I laid there, silently bleeding out on the deck. My vision dimmed, my chest grew tight. Breathing was difficult. I was losing the survival battle.
Honestly, in that moment, I didn’t care. In death, I would be free. I had long minutes of barely consciousness to think about all the things that could go really, really bad in a leg wound. In movies, this would have been a flesh wound. In reality, the blade could have nicked an artery. It could have injured the bone. It could cause tissue damage or infection if it wasn’t clean.
All of that worked its way in my mind as I lay there dying. Section Five really was going to kill me now. I was going to die there. And it turned out, there wasn’t one damn thing I could do about it.
Be a Reading Rockstar!
Sign up to receive weekly updates on new books, free ebooks, new blog posts, serial fiction, and much more!