Book 8 Deleted Scene #01
“Angela called for everyone to come eat lunch.” Adrian found Marc knelt down by a body near the entrance. “She’d like a personal check-in from you.”
“Is she okay for a little while?”
Adrian noticed Marc’s dazed expression and joined him in the snow. “Yeah. What’s up?”
“Ah.” Adrian resisted the urge to keep talking.
“They know Dirce is dead. They know the troops are gone.”
“Are they leaving, by any chance?”
“They’re glad jobs have opened up. They’re getting the town ready to fight us.”
“What gear do we need?”
Marc’s expression was as cold as the wind. “None. She already told me how to do it.”
“You needed to make sure that it was required?”
“None of us wants to do this again, do we?”
Adrian swept the frozen battlefield that was sprayed with scarlet in more places than he cared to count. The Eagles out here were on duty over the entrance and Marc. Everyone else had gone in to avoid the views and smells of death. “Not unless they have to.”
“She promised a break. These people need peace.”
“That won’t happen here. You know it.”
“Yeah.” Marc stood up, wiping away snow from his pants. “We already have what we need–trucks and men willing to drive them overtop the enemy. It’ll be enough.”
Adrian followed Marc toward the passage. “You’ll keep scanning to make sure nothing changes before we leave?”
“Of course.” Marc signaled toward the half dozen men on duty. “You have point.”
Adrian took the post, happy Marc wanted him to do something.
Marc didn’t tell Adrian that he wanted one of them on the entrance at all times until the door was up. Theo’s crew was laboring on it, but it would be dark before the basic barrier was even in place. That team would work non-stop to get it installed.
Marc was glad of the tepid warmth when he entered the passage. He hadn’t realized how cold he was or how long he’d been out there.
Marc motioned to the men on duty to stay alert, then proceeded to the top level, where they’d agreed their citizens would sleep over night. Now that it was noon, most of the adrenaline from the fight was be gone and fear had replaced it. Marc assumed Angie was getting bad vibes and wanted him inside to help reinforce the impression of safety among their group.
Angela chuckled. I got tired of cold toes and want you to come in and warm up.
Marc smiled as he climbed the ladder, relieved there wasn’t a new set of problems in here to handle. Picking off loose ends for hours was depressing.
I’m sorry about that.
You didn’t make them come to America with plans to conquer. Not your fault, baby. You did what you had to, to keep our country alive.
Marc stiffened as heat flooded him, groaning. That’s nice.
Angela ran a mental hand over his brow, caressing. I need to rest now. You have point.
Marc realized she hadn’t felt safe to rest without him nearby. I’ve got it, baby-cakes. Sleep well.
He could feel her drift off almost right away. The mood of the cave was ugly without her light flowing through.
Marc sent his own blast of calm, sensing the unrest on the bottom level, but not the top. It felt as if their people were all taking a nap, while Jimmy’s clan was furious about having to spend another night with the descendants. Marc didn’t pick up any plans of betrayal, but he went straight to the bottom floor to speak to Jimmy anyway. The doctor needed to know that in this mood, if there was a single problem overnight, Angela would kill them all and Marc would help her. The best thing the Mountaineers could do was go to bed early and sleep late. Safe Haven would be gone when they rose, without more deaths.
Marc heard low, vicious whispers before he made it to that floor. He dropped down the ladder in a fast slide. “Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. How can you be a leader if your people don’t follow orders?” Marc pointed at a trio of two men and one woman in a far corner near the body corridor. “They’re planning bad shit, Jimmy, but I’m not going to just take it out on them when they do it. You’re the leader. You’d better lead them.”
Marc stayed to support Jimmy as the doctor demanded to know what they were planning, and then afterward, while he tried to figure out how to control his people. Marc believed it was a lost cause, but he only needed one night of peace. Jimmy needed a lifetime and he wasn’t even going to get a week. Angela’s visions of the mountain future had been grim to say the least.
Marc didn’t try to convince Jimmy again or allay his fears over this last night in here with the people he hated. The Mountaineers needed to toughen up and they needed to do it fast or there wouldn’t be any peace for them–only survivors.