Cody raised his hands in defense, immediately knowing it was the wrong thing to do. The blade sliced down. The car door behind Cody opened, allowing gravity to pull him to the ground. The machete missed his arms, but caught his leg.
“Fuuuck!” He thudded to the ground and braced the wound with both hands, blood seeping between his fingers.
Hands grabbed at his shirt, pulling him upright. “Get up kid, we don’t have time.”
“My leg… Kady!”
A group of four men surrounded him, each with knives or machetes drawn of their own. Directed at Harold. The metal was unlike any Cody had seen. Blackened, shining… they seemed made of glass.
Black-eyed Harold sneered out the open door, but didn’t hesitate. He revved the engine, SUV lurching back onto the road.
Cody went for the back door, “Kady!” but another set of hands gripped his collar and tore him back to the group. “My sister’s in there!”
The SUV squealed, taking off down the winding road, vanishing from sight.
“Griff,” the squattest man said, pointing after the terrible version of Harold. “Head after. Tank, take the kid back.”
“Got it,” the men said in unison.
Griff, a tall bearded guy, raced back to the damaged truck the SUV had hit and brought along another older gentleman with graying hair. Both were armed with many daggers and knives crossed over their chests.
Tank, the youngest of the men and still holding Cody by the collar, pulled Cody into the trees.
“My sister!” Cody tugged back, but the weight on his bleeding leg had him collapsing on the ground.
Tank picked him back up with strange strength for such a lean figure. “They’ll look for her.”
Cody didn’t trust these men, but with his bleeding leg had little other choice but to follow them. He tried not to picture his father’s hateful eyes, his malicious grin. He was going to kill me.
Tank led him deeper into the woods until entering a small clearing where several trees had fallen, criss-crossing like a seesaw. There, hidden in the crook and covered in branches, sat another vehicle. Tank wasted no time in uncovering the hummer and shoving Cody into the back seat.
“No seat belts?” Cody choked out through the pain in his leg.
Tank didn’t answer, putting the car in gear and taking off expertly between trees.
“Where are we going?” Cody tried again to start conversation.
Tank’s dark eyes met his in the rearview mirror. “The Order.”
“The Order of what?”
“That’s… the name. Just The Order.”
“Isn’t there supposed to be a descriptor? Like… the Order of Justice, of the Phoenix, Of Great Timing?”
“No,” Tank said decidedly.
“Why… did he try to kill me?”
Their eyes met in the mirror again until Tank had to maneuver around closely grown trees. In the back, Cody slid back and forth on the seat, trying to keep pressure on his wound while keeping balance.
“You’re a Conduit,” Tank finally said.