Chapter 8

Cassie

Cassie pulled a white tank top down over her head. She walked over to her vanity, snatched up her hair, and pulled it into a ponytail. Once ready for the night, she jumped into bed and snuggled deep down into the covers. She smiled to herself. The warmth seeped into her body and all her worries disintegrated. Cassie’s eyes drooped as sleep slowly crept up on her. Then she fell into the darkness…

****

Cassie awoke lying on a hard surface. She felt around her and realized it was concrete. “Where the heck am I?” She sat up and took in her surroundings. Somehow she had found herself on a bridge—lying in the middle of it to be exact. A grunt escaped her lips as she hoisted herself up. Gravel dug into her feet making her wince in pain. 

A horn suddenly blasted, scaring the hell out of her. Cassie looked up to see a pair of headlights coming straight at her. She jumped to the side of the road near the guardrail to get out of the way. The car barreled past her, its driver angrily honking the horn. Equally irritated, she flipped them the bird then took a moment to collect herself. Everything seemed to be intact as she dusted off all the dirt from the road.

“How did I get here?”

Cassie circled around, watching the fog swirl in off the bay. The water crashed into the rocks below with such power it took her breath away. The sound had an ominous quality as it rose up from the darkness, sending chills down her spine. From what she could see, she was on the outskirts of the city. The bridge looked familiar. “I wish I could see in this blasted fog!” The wind picked up, blowing the fog around her until her eyes locked onto a sign. She moved closer to read it. “King Center Bridge. This is the bridge just three blocks from my apartment.” That meant the main road was only about thirty feet away. 

She stepped forward to head in the direction of the sign when something else caught her attention. Someone was faintly whistling a tune. She turned from the bridge’s handrail to look down the street. A dark shadow was coming towards her. The shape seemed familiar, but she couldn’t get a clear view through the fog. As the person got closer, Cassie saw something flash on his shoulder. It was a police badge, and the guy was in uniform. “Why is a cop walking out in the fog by himself?” She squinted to see better, recognition finally hitting her as Max stepped out of the fog and into the light of the streetlamps. 

“What the hell is Max doing here?”

She waved at him but he didn’t respond. He looked directly at her and continued to whistle his soft tune. “Why can’t he see me?” Cassie flung her arms up over her head and screamed at the top of her lungs, “Max!”  

Bright lights broke through the fog as an SUV barreled in Max’s direction. Tires squealed to a halt causing the vehicle to do a half circle in front of Max. His smile disappeared as he took in the SUV before him. Cassie tried to get a better view of who was in the vehicle, but she was on the opposite side. The doors opened and three strangers jumped out. They walked around the vehicle to stand in front of Max. 

Cassie slipped between the vehicle’s nose and the guardrail to get a better view of the perps. The three men were drastically different in size, but all dressed in black attire. The guy standing in the back was huge—about 6’2 or 6’3. Cassie had to crane her head back to take him all in. The look in his eyes seemed kind of distant, like he didn’t have too much going on upstairs. “He is just the muscle,” she thought. She watched as Max eyeballed each guy without his smile faltering once on his perfect lips. 

“What do you want?” Max asked.

The man in the center stepped forward and laughed, holding his hands open wide before him. He wasn’t as bulky as his two companions, but he seemed to be the ringleader. Cassie thought she was definitely going to have to watch out for that one. He took one step forward, looking over his shoulders before he spoke.

“Look what we got here, boys… A mangy wolf out all by himself.”

“Wolf? What the hell is he talking about? There is no wolf here.” Cassie looked around, trying to spot the fury creature without any success. Max’s body language shifted from relaxed to tense in seconds. Cassie looked at him as he clenched his hands into fists.

“What do you want?” Max growled.

The ringleader smiled, flashing his teeth. His eyes grew darker as Cassie looked on from the sidelines. Sandy blond hair fell down into his eyes, which he quickly swept back to clear his vision. Cassie felt the tension growing between them. She didn’t know what these guys wanted. All she knew was it wasn’t good for Max.

“You don’t know who we are, do you Wolf?”

Max glared at the men, his eyes darting from one to the other, making sure they didn’t move. Cassie wasn’t certain, but Max seemed to be sniffing the air like some kind of hound. “What in the world is he doing?”

“Warlocks,” Max sneered.

Clap. Clap. Clap. 

Cassie turned her attention from Max back to the men. The man in charge had a smile on his boyish face as he continued to applaud Max. A flash of light reflected in his eyes and Cassie knew something was about to happen.

“Looks like we got some spunk in this one, boys. Let’s hope he doesn’t disappoint.”

She watched in astonishment as he pulled out a whip from beneath his long coat. He let the tail slip to the ground with a soft plunk as he gripped the handle. A chuckle escaped his lips.

“Let’s see what you’re made of, you abomination.” 

Max shifted his weight, taking on a defensive stance. His foot slipped back as he braced himself. Cassie’s breath caught in her throat.

“Slacëa!”

In the blink of an eye, the whip came alive, zipping across the distance like a serpent striking at its prey. Max dashed out of the way, dodging each strike as it landed. He moved left, then right, just managing to stay one step ahead. Moments passed as Max’s motions began to blur into each other. Cassie was shocked at how fast he could move. The sound of leather slapping against concrete filled her ears, as her sharp eyes caught the third man pulling out a gun from his leg strap. He aimed and waited.

Cassie screamed out, “Max!” His footing slipped as the whip wrapped around his ankle, immobilizing him. His eyes darted up as he looked into the barrel of the gun.

BANG.

Max dropped to the ground with a loud thud. Cassie ran to his side. His body convulsed and jerked where it lay on the ground. She reached out toward his chest and tried to steady him, but he couldn’t seem to see or feel her. Cassie ripped open his shirt to inspect the bullet wound. Black lines spread from the bullet hole, extending throughout his body. The lines snaked their way up his neck and onto his face. Blood gushed from his mouth all over her shirt. His eyes turned red and blood began to run down his face. Max screamed out in pain, slamming his head back against the ground multiple times. Tears ran down Cassie’s cheeks as she watched her partner suffer. She pleaded with God to spare him. Then the most horrific sound hit her. Laughter. “Who the hell would be laughing at this?” She turned to see the three men without names laughing their heads off at Max’s pain. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She never had been able to understand how someone could enjoy the act of killing another. The way Max was dying was especially horrid—she’d never seen anything like it in all her years as a police officer. 

 Max grabbed her arm. She looked into his blackened eyes. Fear filled her as more blood flew from his mouth. “Time is about up… Wake up!”

Blinking, she watched Max dissolve before her eyes. Everything disappeared and became a fog of nothing. Then she was falling in darkness…

****

Cassie thrashed about beneath the blankets then flung herself up out of bed. Her heart was racing a mile a minute while she took in her surroundings. 

“Where am I? What the hell happened? Max! Where is Max!”

Stumbling to the door, she finally realized she was back in her room. Everything seemed to be normal, but on the inside she was still on edge. Her eyes connected with the full-length mirror on the left side of her dresser. Reflected in the glass, Cassie saw Max’s face all blackened and bloodied. 

“Oh my god… It had to be a vision,” she said to herself.

Without thinking, Cassie grabbed her coat and pulled on her shoes. She tore out of her apartment so fast she forgot to take her gun and lock the door. As she ran down the stairway, everything seemed to blur. She had no idea what she would do, but she had to try to save Max. The only thing guiding her was instinct. Before she knew it, Cassie was sprinting up the street hoping she would make it in time.


Thank you for reading chapter 8 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 9.

Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.

Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.