Carissa twisted her wrist, and the chain slid about it more easily. Her skin was thoroughly coated in blood, making it slippery. Perhaps it was enough to slip out of the chains. If not, she could always break her thumb.
She worked the chain down her hand. It squeezed her fingers tightly, even though she bunched her fingers together, attempting to make them as small as possible. Pain wrapped around her knuckled until she feared they would crack. But it was nothing compared to the agony that ravaged her within.
She tried several times, and just as she feared she would have to break something, the chain slid a bit farther. It was nearly squeezing the life out of her hand, but it was progress. With another few minutes of working, she managed to pull it off.
She flexed her blood-stained hand and surveyed the Reaper’s handiwork.
The tents and wagons had been burned to the ground, reduced to smoldering wood and canvas. Some of the animals had escaped. The ones that hadn’t had also been set aflame.
The forest was littered in people, in some areas three bodies high. Some wore blank, peaceful expressions, as if they merely slept, while others’ were frozen in horror, eyes frightened and wide, mouths stretched in silent screams.
She should go after the Reapers, but every part of her body ached. She simply wanted to lie down and join the corpses in their rest.
She stumbled over the bodies, her mind hardly comprehending what she saw. A girl with ribbons in her hair. A mother clinging to her infant. A man whose face was so mutilated it was no longer recognizable.
How had the Reapers found them? Perhaps they had sensed her, and she’d drawn them near. But then the image of a face swan before her eyes: hard eyes, a scarred jaw.
Or perhaps someone had betrayed them.