One moment Darryl was sitting on Sawyer’s lap, sipping champagne with his ex and her brother at the delicate wrought iron table in the pleasant café—Sawyer’s hand unabashedly exploring his crotch—the next he’d been dumped rather unceremoniously beneath that same table, onto his hands and knees. The pressure of what he assumed was Sawyer’s body atop his only served to increase the feeling of being suffocated as his face kissed the ground. Under other circumstances, and most definitely in a different locale, Darryl might have enjoyed the rather intimate contact, but right here and now, with himself being squashed against the rough concrete of the patio, it was a tad unpleasant.
He attempted to push himself up, protesting, “Wait just a minute now!” But he couldn’t even hear the sound of his own voice over the abhorrently loud buzzing that permeated the air, coupled with the screaming of the café’s patrons.
A fortuitous shift in Sawyer’s position, a lightening of his weight, made it possible for Darryl to lift his head. The sight which met his eyes verged on the ridiculously sublime. Amandine clutched a struggling Sawyer to her ample bosom, keeping his hands pinioned above his head. Brushton cowered, his arms wrapped about his purple udders, continuing to scream, “Air raid! Air raid!”
“Let him go!” Darryl hissed at Amandine, but she paid him no heed. Perhaps she hadn’t heard him. He glared daggers at her. To his surprise, she dropped Sawyer’s wrists, allowing the other man to propel himself away from her and back toward Darryl.
Cautiously, Darryl peeked from beneath the dubious cover of the table. From what he’d read of them, air raids spelled planes and bombs, although he’d never directly experienced one himself, and somehow he didn’t see the slender table possessing the ability to stop any sort of explosive in its tracks. If this sort of behavior were common in Lust, he’d have to reconsider a second visit. Although, to be fair, coming here was not exactly his idea to begin with.
He wasn’t sure what to expect. He’d seen quite a few strange things since he’d first cast his lot with Sawyer Thomas. Or rather since Sawyer had chosen him, apparently at random, from among the crowd at Hannagan’s, for his little scheme. Or had it been so random? Before he’d a chance to suss the thought any further, it was stricken from his brain by the sight which met his eyes.
The air was thick with green hornets, some of which were the size of a man’s fist. He’d never seen such huge examples of the beasts in his life, certainly not in that particular shade. As he watched with horrified fascination, they launched themselves—at the tables, at the umbrellas over the tables, at every visible and/or available surface—and at the people hiding desperately beneath them.
A waiter walked obliviously from the restaurant. He carried a large tray, the stand for which rested beneath his arm. Catching sight of the swarming invaders,hed froze in place, his eyes growing large, before he suddenly dropped the tray, dishes and all tumbling in a pool of comestibles onto the ground. A moment later he was covered in the dive bombing insects and lost to Darryl’s view.
The screaming continued, as did the buzzing. Darryl thought he’d go mad with the sound; it bored into his very brain, his temple throbbed. A sickening sweetness permeated the air, mingled with a coppery scent, one he couldn’t quite place.
Suddenly, Darryl felt his legs go out from under him, as he was yanked back beneath the protection of the table and into Sawyer’s arms.
“Are you mad?” Sawyer cried. Darryl thought that he actually seemed ruffled, for once. He wasn’t sure if he found that thought reassuring or disturbing, under the circumstances. Either Sawyer was more human than he’d imagined—or they were in one hell of a mess.
Amandine was glaring at him, but he had no idea why. She was favoring one hand, cradling it within the other. But he had other concerns at the moment. “What’s going on?” he asked Sawyer.
And just as the words left his mouth, a silence fell.
One moment chaos, the next an ominous hush.
“We’re under attack,” Sawyer tardily replied, his answer sounding larger than life and twice as superfluous.
“What did you do to me?” Amandine hissed at Darryl.
“Me? What?” he asked, confused.
“You burned me!” she accused him.
“He what?” Brushton turned indignant eyes to Darryl.
“I did no such thing!” Darryl protested. “I never came near you!” He looked at Sawyer, seeking his support. “I never touched her…”
Sawyer drew him in and kissed him briefly. “We have no time for this now, lovie,” he said. “That was just the first wave.” He glared at Amandine, who’d given over her hand to her brother. “There are some lessons in life you just never seem to learn,” he said cryptically. “But we need to get the hell out of here. Is there a safe house nearby?”
“Yes, I know of one. Let’s go while we still can.”
Apparently other patrons had the same idea, as the group discovered when they emerged from the dubious protection of the table. Horrified, Darryl saw that some of the diners were wounded, while some would never eat again. The tables were spattered with gore; blood was between the cracks in the patio. Everybody was fleeing the scene.
“Please don’t keep us in suspense, darling,’ Sawyer said, a distinct note of urgency in his voice. “Where?”
“You won’t like this…” she cautioned him.
“Well, I can’t afford to be very persnickety, nowcan I? Please just tell me where!”
“Elias Dickory,” she said at last.
Sawyer groaned. “Seriously? Is no one closer?”
“Then let’s go!”
“Where’s he at?” A confused Darryl asked as they raced to Sawyer’s car and jumped inside.
Darryl couldn’t help but wonder what sort of protection they’d find there.
to be continued
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