Anarchy (Hive Trilogy, #2)(11)

Written By: Jaymin Eve & Leia St

The other enforcers in the Hive, who seemed to mostly undertake scouting missions and general peacekeeping, like making sure the ash in the community were following the rules, wore khaki fatigues. So I guessed the all-black thing was Ryder and his boys’ preference.

It did give them a certain badass vibe. Which I was totally channeling in my own clothes. Ryder’s gaze landed on me, his eyes trailing across my body as we jumped into the van. I’d love to think he was checking me out because he just couldn’t help himself, but I’d seen that particular gaze before. He was making sure I had my gun and walkie-talkie. Mind you, there was no reason for his silvery eyes to stay on my butt for quite that amount of time, so maybe there was a little checking me out in there. Shit, now I was staring. And hot damn, I could totally perv on Ryder all day; he was a big ol’ hunk of ash eye-candy, but right now it was time to focus on the current call-out situation.

We were all buckled in and powering out of the Hive compound when Kyle gave us the emergency run-down. This was the standard protocol. Not all of the enforcers were ever together when the call came through, and to save time and prevent miscommunications over the walkies, they waited for everyone to be in the vehicle before briefing.

“We have reports of six ash causing a bit of havoc on Alberta Street near the food trucks. Apparently there were more of the Deliverance group in the area, and they’ve riled them up. This should be mostly peacekeeping, but because there are six ash, we’re all going along for the ride.”

“Should be a good one for you, rookie,” Jared said, wearing his relaxed, trademark grin.

Deliverance again. Seriously, didn’t they have to go home and pray or practice how to stop being *s? Ryder had told me this morning, when he dropped me at my door, that this extremist religious group believed they were here to deliver God’s will, that their mission was to rid the world of any who were not God’s children—namely, vampire abominations and their offspring.

“Tell me more about Deliverance,” I said, leaning forward from where I was sandwiched between Markus and Oliver. “I did a bit of research today, and it seems that they are mostly kept under control by the humans. So between the humans and the Hive enforcers, I don’t understand how they keep popping up as a problem.”

Ryder flicked his head back and met my gaze. “Research, hey? Maybe this enforcer gig is rubbing off on you.”

I fought the urge to reach across the seat and smack him in the back of the head. I might be a tad on the lazy side when it came to researching—it was always the job I hated the most when I was stuck in the call center—but when things interested me I was all over them. I was like a ninja private investigator with a degree in Google.

“Deliverance has risen and fallen over the years,” Ryder said. “Under many names and banners. Originally they were known as God’s Voice.”

Shit, I had actually heard of that religious sect. When I was young there had been a lot of violent events linked to them, which had scared my mom. But then the news stopped reporting on them and everything had gone back to normal.

Ryder continued. “In those earlier days they had a strong voice, when there were many who feared that the Anima Mortem virus was the first stage of the apocalypse and that it was the end of days. They used this fear to create a small army of gatherers. But as the years have gone on, and the human governments have learned to work with the Hive Quorums, the voice of Deliverance has died off. Now they’re mostly pains in our asses, creating a lot of paperwork and headaches for the leaders.”

I swallowed hard. If they ever got a cure in their grip, I had no doubt their voice would rise strong again. There were still plenty of humans who feared the night. Right now they had no power and no legal rights to hunt the vamps, but imagine if they could cure them back to human. All of those families who had lost members to the virus, or who wanted to return humans to the top of the predator pyramid, would come out in force.

This could not end well for me. Not well at all.

Ryder must have been thinking the same thing. His voice deepened as he broke the silence again. “They will never touch you, Charlie. We look after our own, and you’re one of us now.”

A sense of resolve seemed to fill the car then; the men all wore identical expressions—very serious expressions. These guys needed a holiday or something. They hardly ever relaxed, and with everything happening now they were ten times worse than when I’d first met them.

I looked out the window to distract myself and saw a familiar landmark. Alberta Street was a mishmash of quirky shops and ethnic restaurants. Not to mention the scattered line of open-sided deli trucks with every kind of food imaginable—gluten free, non-GMO, vegan, Thai, you name it. My stomach rumbled just thinking about it. The food in the Hive was okay, but I missed my usual haunts. As the Humvee turned onto Alberta from 23rd avenue, I immediately saw the commotion.

“What the f*ck?” It was Kyle who let the F-bomb fly, not me this time. Although the curse word had been on my tongue also.

In front of a Vietnamese food truck, an ash was strung up and nailed to a giant cross, humans—Deliverance I’d guess—standing around him chanting and spraying the tied-up ash with water. Of course that had to be holy water; there was no other insane reason to douse him. We weren’t made of sugar. Water did not hurt us.

I strained forward in my seat and was able to see there were five other ash hogtied and face-down on the concrete, gun-toting Deliverance holding weapons to their heads.

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