Stryker came awake to a deep throbbing ache in his head. For a moment, he couldn’t remember what had happened to cause it. But as he opened his eyes to find himself chained to a wall, he had complete clarity.
His first wife had returned with a vengeance.
Furious, he pushed himself to his feet and yanked at the thick chain that held him to a steel anchor in the wall. There were bands on each wrist and ankle and while he had freedom of movement, he couldn’t go far.
But that was infinitely better than the man who was chained to the wall across from him. Tall and lithe, he looked like someone had put him through hell. Literally. Dirty, matted dark auburn hair fell just past his shoulders. Completely naked, his body was covered with bruises and bite marks. The fact they were visible through the thick black tribal tattoos that marked his torso, arms and thighs attested to just how deep and vicious they were. Unlike Stryker, he was held standing up, with his arms stretched high above his head. His finely boned face was covered by a thick, unkempt beard.
“What the fuck did they do to you?”
The man laughed as he twisted his hands in the chains holding his wrists and leaned his head back against the wall to stare at Stryker who drew his breath in sharply at the sight of his yellow eyes ringed by a narrow band of blood red. “They feed from me. My guess is you’re their next course.”
Stryker was confused. “You’re neither Daimon nor Apollite. There’s nothing to be gained from feeding off you.”
He laughed bitterly. “Tell them that.”
Stryker frowned as he noted the thin black band wrapped around the man’s throat. It was a containment collar of some sort. “What are you?”
No doubt. The man more than looked the part. “Do you have a name?”
“Strykerius but you go by Stryker. You hate the goddess you serve and you seek to kill her only son and claim vengeance on the former human who murdered your sister.”
Stryker froze as the creature laid bare his plans. “How do you know that?”
“I know everything. I feel every heartbeat in the universe. Hear every scream for mercy and feel every tear of pain.”
And he was spooking the shit out of him.
“Sorry,” Jared said. “I do that to a lot of people.”
“Can you hear my thoughts?”
“Before you have them, I hear them.” This time, he didn’t speak. His voice was loud and clear in Stryker’s mind.
“Stay out of my head.”
Jared gave him a taunting grin. “Believe me, I would love to. It’s a mess in there. But you’re too close physically to me for me to block it.” He banged his head against the stone wall. “Pain is the only way to keep your thoughts out of my head.”
“Is that why they beat you?”
He gave him a cold “duh” stare. “Mostly they just do it for fun.”
Stryker honestly felt sorry for the creature who had to be in absolute agony. There was something about him that seemed familiar and yet he couldn’t place it. “How long have they held you here?”
Jared let out a tired breath. “Medea is coming.”