Cali grabbed Jacob and ran. The ceiling was collapsing, and though they were in a portable med center, and the ceiling might not have crushed them, he wouldn’t take a chance with Jacob’s life.
Jenks and Shiva were shouting, Anya ran past him, and something hot zipped by his cheek, leaving his skin burning.
“Down!” Jacob bellowed, and Cali didn’t have time to obey. Jacob took him to the ground, the both of them landing with a jarring thud that shook Cali’s teeth.
He wrapped his arms around Jacob and rolled, catching sight of the house and hoping he’d get Jacob to safety.
Odd things registered as they moved—the setting sun, oranges and golds above the treetops, how soft the grass was under him, the way the ground vibrated, a steady hum-thump that he couldn’t place, and how right Jacob felt in his arms.
He supposed that bit about a person’s life flashing before their eyes held some truth, but all he saw was Jacob: his smiles, his eyes, the love he didn’t hide from Cali.
Then he was blinded, a bright light hitting him and forcing Cali to close his eyes. He heard Jacob grunt ad fear ricocheted through him. Had Jacob been hurt?
Hands grabbed at him. Cali opened his eyes and saw nothing but brilliant white and gold spots. He struck out, one arm still around Jacob.
“Cali! Stop! It’s me, Finn!”
Cali recognized Finn and Wick’s voice through the ringing in his ears. “Jacob?”
“Right here.” Jacob squeezed his arm. “We have to hurry!”
Cali ran, trying to remember where the steps were, stumbling once and nearly falling. Jacob kept him upright, and they entered the house a moment later. Cali’s vision was still fucked up and he blinked rapidly.
“I think they caught you with the spotlight face-on,” Finn said. “I was watching, waiting for a chance to get to you both and some fucker hit you with a light so bright, I was afraid it’d actually incinerate you.”
“Less talk, more running,” Tally urged. “We’re not anywhere close to being out of danger.”
“Yeah. This house isn’t a fortress,” Cali admitted.
But if they survived this assault, he’d make it one.
“Ashton!” Finn exclaimed. “You might be safer in your room.”
Cali reached for Jacob. “We could see everything from the security room, but that’s not a safe spot. Anyone have a chance to grab a laptop?” They could access all the cameras through the security program.
“Internet’s been cut. Electricity, too. You said there’s a generator, but I don’t think we can get to it,” Dion said.
“It’s not outside. It’s close, but I had two installed in the back of the house, along the side where the washers and dryers are. I thought putting them outside would be foolish considering the hurricanes and storms we’re likely to get.” Cali shook his head in an attempt to see better. It was a nonsensical move, yet it seemed to help.
“I’ll get the generators going,” Finn offered.
“I’ll go with you. There’s two of them, so this will be faster.”
Tally. Cali could make out most of his features now. “Be careful.”
“We will. Go with Dion and Wick and—Ashton?” Finn asked. “Ashton!”
“Let him do whatever it is he feels he has to do.” If it was running for his life, that was fine. Cali didn’t want anyone to die.
Unless they were the enemy.
“This way.” Wick and Dion took off for the left wing.
“Anyone have a plan?” Cali asked, running alongside Jacob.
“Survive,” Wick muttered.
“There’s a helicopter overhead,” Dion added. “I’m hoping that’s the people with the new weapon.”
“The alarms should have alerted us—” Cali began, then huffed at himself. “No, they cut the electricity.”
“And disabled the alarms that were supposed to work via satellite or whatever. We didn’t get any warning at all.” Dion shoved open the door to the kitchen.
Cali skidded to a stop by the knife block. “Morris said they were having trouble catching up with these murdering bastards.” He turned to Jacob. “Are you okay?”
Jacob nodded. He was very pale, but there was no scent of blood.
“Are you sure?” Cali began running his hands over Jacob’s arms, his chest.
“I am, just…I’m scared, Cali. I know what these people are capable of.” Jacob began to shudder and didn’t stop. “I-I s-should have s-s-some h-hope but—”
Cali wrapped Jacob in his arms. “We’re going to get through this. We’ll find a way.”
Before another word could be uttered, the sound of shattering glass came from several different directions.
“They’re coming for us,” Wick rasped. He grabbed a knife. “Fuckers think I’m going down easy…”
“A knife won’t do much against their weapons,” Cali said, though he hated to admit it.
Wick jabbed the tip of the knife up toward the ceiling. “No, but we won’t be sitting ducks. Got attic space?”
Cali almost grinned. “Yeah, we do. The pantry would be a good entrance.”
“Our scents—” Wick began.
Finn snarled. “I’ll fuck that up for them. They try to eradicate all odors, but how do you think they’ll fare against the palmetto bug bombs?”
Finn didn’t wait for an answer. He grabbed the canisters from under the sink. “Move!”
Cali hesitated, but Finn glared at him and growled.
“We’re all equals,” Jacob whispered.
Cali nodded. Finn had every right to take the lead. He just hoped he wasn’t leaving Finn to die alone.