“I heard the yips of the Afflicted and since all the wolves in this area were accounted for in this house, I knew there was something up. More importantly, they were the type of yips and howls you would hear when a pack member has found and cornered prey. It is how we let our other pack members know where we are, especially if we need help bringing down the prey,” Kenneth said solemnly.
Kaya was sure, in light of all that had gone on, she and Kenneth were OK where the divulging of secrets to third parties was concerned. She was sure that they would retouch on the subject at a later time and that suited her fine. Then she saw Josh and Anissa walk into the room. Kenneth’s gaze darted from Kaya to Josh, their eyes locked, and an understanding silently passed between the two.
Kenneth moved toward Kaya, ready to explain himself. Kaya could tell by Josh and Anissa’s intensive stares that they knew. She tried to sit up and realized she had been placed on the kitchen table when her rescue party had returned back to the house with her.
She powered through the weariness her body felt to fully bring herself to a sitting position. Kaya felt the rage welling up to the surface. It was an equal rival in its potency to the pain that radiated from her side where the she-cat had dug her claws in. She ignored it, swung her legs over the edge of the table, and proceeded to give Kenneth the best death stare she could muster.
“How dare you!” Kaya shouted as she scooted off the table and advanced on Kenneth.
She was two strides from making contact with his face by way of her fist when she ran into a wall. It effectively landed her on her butt. Pain shot through Kaya’s side when she hit the floor. She grabbed her wound and felt tears stinging the backs of her eyes. She couldn’t tell if it was from the physical pain or the emotional one, though.
She glanced up from where she was on the floor and saw Josh standing next to Kenneth. Anissa still stood on the opposite side of the room, serene in her expression. She cast Kaya a sympathetic look, almost as if understanding her predicament as she calmly worked her yo-yo up and down its string. Josh regained Kaya’s attention when he spoke.
“Kaya, please calm down. Kenny didn’t have a choice,” Josh said.
She scoffed at him, not trying to hide her resentment in the least bit.
“Really, Josh, he didn’t have a choice?” she yelled with sarcasm in each word.
Slowly, Kaya got to her feet and advanced Kenneth, fully intent on lighting him up, when she ran into a wall again. Only this time, she realized it was literally a wall, an invisible one.
A muffled thud to Kaya’s right had her jumping. Everyone else had taken stock of the noise as well. When Kaya saw Anissa standing over the body of an Afflicted whose neck she had just snapped, Kaya took a step back. After a moment of reflection, Kaya realized she had not seen Anissa pass her, and knew for a fact she had been to her far left when they’d entered this place. Slowly, Kaya searched the level they were on and noticed eight or so of the sentries’ bodies crumbled on the floor. Kaya had been so riveted with what was going on below them that she hadn’t realized Anissa had been cleaning house. She had literally come full circle, taking out every sentry on the level single-handedly. Anissa joined the rest of the group with a smug grin for Quinn. He just rolled his eyes in disbelief.
“Let me go and clean up your mess by finalizing them,” Quinn said.
Anissa jumped in front of him and whispered harshly, “Are you a freaking idiot? You can’t do that!”
Quinn returned Anissa’s aggravation in a low menacing growl. “Why not?” he asked in a quietly clipped tone.
“Because you spill their blood and you spill the scent of death, a homing device to our exact location! Come on man, you’re supposed to be the strategic one!” she said with a sarcastic scoff.
They knew the Afflicted were not ended in the final way, but they were certainly out of commission. It took hours, according to Owen, for an Afflicted to reanimate itself after a killing blow, so Anissa’s method was sound logic. The thought of being able to experience death over and over again, but not really dying until someone killed you correctly, made Kaya’s skin crawl. Quinn grunted and turned away from a satisfied Anissa. She had one-upped him yet again.