I got in a few good strikes that winded the big bastard before he wrenched free of my grasp. I darted back at the instant he shot his boot for my chest. I whirled away from the strike, coming up to his side. I snapped out a sharp kick, the toe of my boot slammed into the middle of his collarbone. Crosley barked in rage and pain. He was still growling when he launched his elbow back for my face.
I stepped back and knocked his hand down, holding it low and chopping for his neck.
He caught my hand, and I knew my luck had run out.
Crosley sent another explosive punch into my head. His knuckles cracked against the bone over my left eye, splitting skin. My vision went black for a moment. I lost control of my hands. Thick fingers curled around my neck and squeezed. Lifted me up. Slammed me into the ground. Everything snapped into brutal, punishing clarity at the moment I didn’t want it to.
The moment Crosley started beating me to death.
With my throat trapped by his crushing hand, I could barely breathe, let alone move. I punched at his arm, swung at his face, but my arms were lost in the whirlwind of his right hand. Punch after punch crashed into my face, chin, chest, shoulder, and stomach. There was no direction, no incentive or plan. Every blow was meant to inflict pain, and nothing less.
Crosley was doing a damn good job. My head felt like it was being caved in, my lungs burned, and my chest was now made up of a thousand swelling bruises.
Crosley didn’t stop. He didn’t slow down. He didn’t show mercy.
Somewhere, I could hear screaming. Familiar voices, telling me to get back up. Fight, keep fighting, get up.
I had a quick flash, a second to think about all I was about to lose. The defeated faces of the survivors watching my death. Nash and Gemma screaming. Abby sitting alone in the Dauntless. Claire, and the promise I would break to her if I died.
Never being that captain that I intended to be. The one I knew I was.
One second of clarity. It was all I needed.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish