“Man up!” Finn yelled at me. “The idiot robbed you off your family’s heirloom then raped your sister! He raped her—”
“Stop it!” I cut him, holding my head in both my hands. I felt shame wash over me in waves. I felt abused even though it was my sister that had been the victim. I felt incapable. I felt weak and useless. I should have protected her. I should have protected our jewels but no, I lost them because I trusted him.
I heard Finn sigh loudly. “I am sorry, Omar,” he snorted. “I was carried away.”
“It is okay.” I rose from where I sat to the largest window in his room. I peered at the tall tower that loomed ahead. It rose into the sky; a glass structure, delicate from afar yet it was said to rival diamonds in strength. The Light House, most of the commoners called it, for it was the seat of justice in the Hinterlands.
I turned to Finn as he chuckled. His brown eyes twinkled. “Tell me it isn’t what I am thinking?”
I ignored him, turning back to the building ahead. My heart thumped in my chest. I refused to reply to him. Finn was my childhood friend; he was more than a brother to me, a brother I never had. I hated that he knew me, more than I know myself.
“Omar,” he poked me. “tell me, is it what I am thinking?”
“Yes!” I whispered under my breath. My thoughts scared me. It was something I never expected I’d ever let cross my mind. I had chastised so many people about it. I’d sworn never to do it yet I was left with no choice.
Finn whistled. I raised a brow as he danced around his large bedroom. Watching him distracted me for a minute.
“Really?” I shook my head. “You are happy? Really?”
“Why not?” he replied. “My best friend is about to break his oath.”
I groaned. I knew he’d say that.
“Now, that is what I am talking about.” He gave me a brotherly hug, patting my back. “My godly Omar is going to do the forbidden. Finally! You are the only one I know who is yet to do.”
“This isn’t funny—”
“Of course, it isn’t,” Finn cut in, harshly. The joy in his eyes vanished, replaced with anger. My heart skipped at how fast his mood changed. “He robbed you of your family jewels! That foul creature raped your sister! He’s ruined your family and your family’s reputation. Your sister will never be the Queen of the city now. The King will never marry a—”
“Don’t!” I gritted my teeth. His words were like salt to my wounds. I was well aware of the shame. Xena, my only sister will never be the Queen, not after what happened. Tears pooled in my eyes but I held them back.
“You know what to do,” he muttered.
Indeed, I knew what to do. By luck, I was able to discover who raped Xena. My blood boiled as his face appeared in my mind. I found it hard to believe he could do that to me and particularly to her. He was her friend, for spirit’s sake. She cared for him a lot, yet he ruined her life without a second thought.
“Jared…” His name escaped my lips.
“How can one’s friend betray one so?” Finn poured himself a cup of wine. He took a sip. “I still can’t believe Jared could betray your sister so.” He took another sip. He peered at me. “You know I would never betray you like that.” I nodded. I allowed myself to look at the building ahead again. My heart raced.
“You are about to take your first and only chance to freely murder someone.” He stopped beside me, his eyes on the Light House. “I wish I could help you, brother, but you know the system. We can’t enlist to murder twice.” Our gaze met. “I can’t for I have used up my chance. Neither can your parents or your sister.” His eyes twinkled again. “You are left with no other option, Omar. Only you can rid your family of this shame. Do what is necessary. Kill Jared and salvage your family’s reputation. It is the least you can do.”
I turned back to the building, my heart set. “I will enlist tomorrow morning.”
“Good.” He finished his wine in one gulp. “I will drive you there tomorrow.”
I nodded. He smiled. I couldn’t help but notice how he smiled. It was almost like he forced it. I ignored the feeling. “I have to go,” I said abruptly.
“Of course, you will need to rest in peace.” I raised a brow at his words. He chuckled. “Tipsy already.” I nodded. He walked me to the door. “See you tomorrow hopefully.” He winked.
I shook my head at his weirdness. “See you, buddy.” He gestured for a hug. “Thanks.” I obliged.
Jared’s face plagued my heart as I drove home. I couldn’t get him out of my head. What he’d done had caused my family a lot. We were once revered in the city but his deeds had sent us beneath the ranks. He managed to gain my trust just to steal the Vanwinch heirlooms then he sold it at a very ridiculous price. He raped my sister in revenge when I ratted him out. Jared had ruined us completely. I cursed the day I knew him.
I braked harshly, the tires screeched nosily against the asphalt. I ignored the stares from the passers-by. I focused on one person across the road. His laughter echoed into my ears as he walked along with two of his friends. He looked calm and unconcerned. My knuckles turned white as I gripped the wheels tightly, anger bubbled in me.
He roams freely as though he’s done nothing, while your family suffers the consequences of his actions, a voice spoke in my head. Why delay when you can enlist now and have his breath snuffed out before sunset?
In one heartbeat, I turned speedily in the direction of the Light House. I didn’t spare the security personnel a look as I dashed into the building. They screamed after me when I ignored the protocols. I walked briskly to enlistment booth.
“You’d have to wait for him. He is next to be attended to.” A female attendant gestured, blocking my way. I groaned. I could barely control myself. I shrugged her hand off my arm harshly. She flinched at the glare on my face.
I watched a tall, heavily built man occupy the small space between the petition officer and I. I inched back a little to give them a bit of privacy yet I could hear their conversation.
“You should seat,” the lady spoke again, gesturing at a long chair. On it sat many other people, obviously waiting their turn to be attended to.
“I prefer to stand, thank you,” I sneered.
“The rule says—”
“Damn the rules!” I gritted my teeth. “I am—”
“Omar Vanwinch,” I hear my name from someone in front of me.
“See, I have been called.” I started forward, but paused a few feet to the man in front of me. I wondered why he was still there. I frowned.
“I want to murder Omar Vanwinch.” The hunk spoke a bit louder.
My blood ran cold instantly. My heart stopped beating for a few seconds. I blinked. Every hair on my body rose in alarm. I shifted slowly to the side, wanting to have a clear look of the stranger’s face but I froze when the officer caught my gaze. His eyes widened like saucers. His eyes shifted from the stranger’s to mine and back.
I didn’t wait for him to finish spelling my name out. I ran as fast as I could out of the building. I heard my name being called frantically but I couldn’t stop my legs. They seemed to have a life of theirs. I ignored my car as I burst outside. I ducked into one of the hallways by the side of the building. I knew the securities would hold me down should I run for the gates.
Who on earth would want me dead? I yelled in my head. I posed no threat! I cursed immediately it dawned on me. Jared…
I hid behind one of the many statues erected within the premises. It was enough to obscure my lanky body from any prying eyes. I waited. I knew the person who was intending to kill me would show himself soon.
Just as I was about to give up. He showed his face. A tall heavily built man with messy brown hair and ragged beards. He looked very much like a thug, a trained fighter. His black eyes sent shivers down my spine. He glanced around, obviously in searched of me. He cursed loudly. I watched him whisk out his phone, he dialled then pressed it to his ear.
“He escaped,” he spoke in a harsh tone. “You told me he wouldn’t come here until tomorrow.” His jaw tightened. Whoever was on the other line must have responded rudely or perhaps chastised him as I saw him frown deeply.
“I am at your mercy because I owe you,” he growled. “You can’t order me around on a normal day, Finn. Get that into your head. I will find him and kill him since that is what you want. I will have my freedom and you, your revenge.” He hung up.
My knees buckled beneath me. I clapped my palm over my mouth to keep any sound from escaping. I couldn’t believe what I just heard. It’s impossible.
Finn, my best friend? My confidant? My heart shattered. He ordered my death. Why? It made no sense. Why? Tears pooled in my eyes. Jared, my sister’s best friend ruined her life, stabbed her in the back when she least expected. Finn, my best pal has done the same?
“What in the name of friendship is this?” Hot tears trailed down my cheeks.
I flinched as a hand gripped my shoulder painfully. Light refracted from the silver dagger in the other hand.
“Gotcha!” I stared into the black eyes of the hunk Finn had sent after me. I stared straight into the eyes of death.