Melana gripped my arm and tried to pull me back toward the car, but I kicked the door shut as she steered me toward it.
“I’m not leaving. We are so close, please, Melana,” I begged her, but she ignored me, reopening the door.
“If I let you die, I will never forgive myself. We can come back with reinforcements. We can convince them to check the place out,” Melana said while pulling her phone out.
“Shit, quick! We need to drive where I have reception,” she said, leading me around the door so I wouldn’t try to kick it shut again when I heard a scream.
I looked around for the scream, recognizing it as Rayan’s instantly. The fear in it made my stomach sink, wondering what was happening to him.
“Did you hear that?” I asked Melana, and she looked at me funny.
“Hear what?” she said, looking around into the surrounding forest.
“Dad!” Rayan screamed. A blood-curdling scream filled my head, and I clutched the sides of it, realizing it was the mindlink.
“I can hear him,” I spat through gritted teeth, my head pounding from the forced link.
“Rayan, we are close. I can hear him,” I told her when another scream boomed through the link, this one bringing me to my knees.
Melana tried to pull me up and toward the car, but I shook her off, adrenaline numbing the pain momentarily. I tried to encourage Lucille to shift but got no answer from her.
“Lucille, please,” I begged her, hearing his agonized screams on repeat.
“We can’t,” she panted breathlessly, trying to come forward, but it was like she was stuck behind a veil and unreachable.
“Lucy, we will come back,” Melana said while trying to grab my arm, but I slashed her, my claws slipping out.
“Keep talking, keep talking, Rayan,” I urged through the link.
“Lucy?” he replied, his voice a hoarse sob.
“Right here, buddy. Where are you?”
“Lucy, please. Get dad, get dad before they hurt Ryden.” I didn’t answer, trying to figure out direction by how loud his voice was. I looked around at the surrounding forest before pain rippled through me, and I clutched my stomach. Sweat dripped off me, and yet I felt cold, so cold and clammy.
“Lucy?” Rayan cried out, his voice stammering and fading in out as he called to me.
“I’m coming for you, just keep talking,” I gritted out through clenched teeth.
Melana tried to grab me again, but I shoved her, forcing myself to run for the trees.
“Shit! Lucy, no!” Melana screamed after me, but I ignored her. I heard the car start up behind me, the tires squealing, but I didn’t stop. Instead, I kept running from her before she overpowered me. I was growing too weak, but I refused to leave my brothers behind wherever they were.
“Rayan, I need you to keep talking so I can find you.”
“But it hurts,” he rasped through the link.
“Focus on my voice. Just keep talking, and I will find you. I promise I will find you,” I told him before hitting a tree as I reached the treeline. The air got knocked from my lungs, and I was trying to catch my breath when he screamed through the link again. Adrenaline kept me moving, and I took off, turning every time his voice grew softer, using the boundaries of the mindlink to guide me in his direction.