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Chapter 3

Terra Reyes

Finally reaching the fence line, Terra watched as the shadows jumped the thin wires and ran for the street lights. Terra could finally make out the figures, though not completely. She also hopped over the fence, now right on their trail.

She was able to completely distinguish the shapes now and rose her gun, pausing to make her shot.

A piercing bang stabbed her eardrums, making her hearing seem muffled.

Even though Terra has shot a gun before, many times at that, she was aware of the fact she wasn't very good and was still not used to the side effects. The heavy weapon kicked hack in her hands, making her unintentionally raise the barrel.

Terra scowled when she saw she hit neither of the men in front of her.

However, she had scared them both to the ground.

They were tucked into the moist grass, their clothes sucking up the morning moisture and arms laying over their heads in an effort of protection. Terra's eyes bounced from side to side as she picked up her steps again, panting out hot air into the cold climate.

Her mind was in overdrive, her eyes still desperately surveying the scene before her. Only two people. Only two freaking people.

Terra flew her body on one of the men cuddled on the ground, turning him over with the momentum she had from her fall. He rolled to his back, his eyes wide as he watched the weapon gripped between Terra's fingers.

“Where is the boy?” She yelled at him. The man shook his head and tried to scoot back, but Terra instead moved her weapon and pushed it forcefully against his temporal bone.

The man ceased all movement as his eyes rolled in the back of his head.

With him now unconscious, Terra turned around to the other man, who had gotten up and started running. She fired the gun again, smiling at herself when the heard the man curse before he fell to the ground.

Terra similarly fell to the ground to the other man and attempted to roll him to face her as well.

Terra noticed the glint of the knife in his hand just before it connected with her and she jumped back.

The man snarled and stood, holding his shoulder to his center. It was just light enough to see the thick puddle of blood soaking the arm of his sleeve. Terra snarled, leveling her gun at him again, but forgetting to take a step back as he swung his other arm at her, cutting her hand.

She dropped the gun from his force and watched the weapon land to the ground, a strong sense of deja vu settling in at the familiar scene.

The man took his moment of distraction and lunged, tackling Terra to the wet grass. She felt her clothes get soaked from the dew lining the thin blades of grass she rolled on the slippery surface.

She slid onto her back, hands jumping out to defend herself as the man whipped his knife in her face. It wasn't a small knife like hers was, but instead, it was large and glinted in the light from the pole on the street.

Terra grabbed her attacker's hands, which were coming at her with force, and she held the blade just inches from her neck. She strained her head back, trying to give herself more space than she could probably get.

She raised her knee, planting it firmly between her attacker's knees and he grunted, swaying slightly and she moved one of her hands from his wrist to the handle of his knife, successfully slipping if from his grasp.

She stood instantly, feet slipping on the wet surface, which she could hardly believe was still wet from the moisture her clothes soaked from their surface.

The man rolled onto his side and Terra stepped by his head. He snapped his head to her, his hands raising at the look of his own blade pointed at his nose.

Terra heaved, wishing to rejuvenate her starving lungs of their oxygen. “Where,” she panted. “Are they taking them?”

The man smirked, despite the thick lines on his forehead, showing his stress. “They're long gone.”

Terra saw red as she brought the knife down. She narrowed her eyes and the man flinched seeing her intimidating actions and she halted suddenly at the fear in his eyes.

It was the same fear she held many times, trying to be masked by a stone-cold face.

Still standing over his body, she rose again, her vision returning as she glared at him. She came at him with his knife, this time stepping on his good hand to keep it from moving.

She saw the fear flash in his eyes again as she brought the blade down with force, but only whacked the same spot as his coworker with the hilt, knocking him unconscious as well.

Terra heaved her breaths in and out again, watching the thin white cloud of warm air she blew slowly melt into the cold atmosphere.

She dropped the man's knife and stepped back, intaking another thick lungful of cold oxygen.

Her hands were shaking as she ran them through her hair and she felt a sob wrack her chest, seizing it of the oxygen she desperately begged to fill her lungs.

Terra fell to her knees, her hand knocking against the wet grass as the only way to keep her from falling into the grass. She heaved heavy bowls of air as she fought the other sobs trying to wreak her chest.

She lost Noah.

Terra stared at her hand on the grass, which was bleeding from the cut she received from her attacker's knife. She sat back on her feet and raised the flesh, watching the small stream of blood flow undisturbed down to her wrist and drip into the bright green flesh of mother nature.

Terrible thoughts of her father's head in a similar red puddle crashed her mind and she squeezed her eyes. That wasn't her life anymore. She promised a new life.

Terra ripped the jacket off her shoulders, wrapping the cloth around her palm and holding pressure. She tried to wipe the tears from her eyes so she could see better.

She narrowed her eyes on the unconscious man in front of her, studying his wrist in the dim light. Dark lines covered thin sections of his skin, only about an inch in length of varying thicknesses. It was a barcode.

Terra's mind flashed back a couple of months. She had been worried about the new bruise on her cheek at work, trying to cover it with her long hair. She heard a commotion and snapped her gaze up, narrowing her eyes as an officer dragged in two perpetrators, both their hands resting behind their backs.

She had studied them as they came closer and her eyes widened as she noticed the barcodes on their wrist, both slightly different, but in the same location.

“Isn't it scary?” Kerrie whispered to her, nearly making her jump out of her chair.

She scowled. Kerrie had loved to gossip and Terra had never enjoyed talking to her. “But they found the guys who kidnapped and tortured that girl. You know, the one who didn't come home from school a couple of months ago. They got the girl, but she's too petrified to talk. Apparently, they are part of some sort of cult.”

Terra had flashed her a tight smile and looked back in the direction of the door they disappeared behind. What kind of cult uses barcodes?

Terra stood and stumbled a little before moving her Jell-o legs back in the direction of the other man.

With just one tattoo, it could be just a coincidence. But when she saw a similar pattern on the other man's wrist, she knew there was no coincidence.

Gathering her strength, she rose from the slippery grass and pushed back in the direction of the woods to grab their backpacks.

She promised Noah a better life and she was going to keep her promise.

Even if she had to go back to New York, she would find him and keep him safe.

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