Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4)

BOOK: Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4)
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Revenge of the ULTRAs
The Last Hero, Book 4

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Previous The Last Hero Books

R
evenge
of the ULTRAs is the fourth book in The Last Hero series.

If you’d like to read the first three books, visit here:

U
LTRA

Rise of the ULTRAs

Battle of the ULTRAs

1

M
iami
, Florida

A
nnabelle Richardson dashed
down the sidewalk, eager not to be late for her date.

The Miami sun was scorching. It was midday, so tourists were out in their droves. Annabelle loved living in Florida. She liked the heat; she liked the buzz of the place. She liked her trips to the Keys to visit family. She liked pretty much everything about it, except the tourists.

And yeah. There was a hell of a lot of tourists at this time of year, in the middle of July.

She ran further down the sidewalk, eager not to trip on her high heels, which gripped at the sides of her feet. She was never usually one for wearing high heels. She didn’t dress up all that often. Right now, in high heels, a black skirt, showing a little more of her legs than she was comfortable with, and a black top, she felt pretty well dressed compared to usual. All because of a guy. All because of a damned guy.

She looked down at her phone. Five past twelve. Hell. She was late already. She was
never
late for anything. That’s something Adam and her had discussed since they’d started chatting online. They were both punctual people, and they both hated lateness. Great first impression to make. Really put her damned foot in it this time.

She bustled past a crowd of tourists taking photographs of a building. She wasn’t far off, but in high heels and with the mass of obstacles ahead of her, she felt so far away.

She’d got chatting to Adam by accident, more than anything. She had a breakup a year ago, and then all the crap happened with the ULTRAs. She lost her sister in one of those battles. Kelly wasn’t just a sister, she was a best friend. She’d died by accident, sure, one of the many collateral victims of the ULTRAs’ wars. But Annabelle couldn’t help feeling angry at the ULTRAs for taking her away, even if they hadn’t intended to. Even if it had been an accident.

Then when she was at her lowest, Adam just appeared online. He told her he’d added her by mistake, but they just got chatting from that point on. Adam seemed to understand Annabelle. He really seemed to get her problems and actually showed a desire to meet her, which was also something.

She’d been unsure at first. She was still hurt. She didn’t want to rush into anything.

But then she’d jumped in with both feet, and now she wasn’t looking back.

All around her, she heard the chatter and laughter of people. The sounds of conversation made her feel uneasy. She’d never been a fan of crowds or anything like that. As much as she loved Miami, her dream was to live up in the San Juans, or somewhere like that, a whole island to herself. She wanted to be a writer, so that perfect solitude would suit her to a tee.

She saw Tommy’s Beachside Diner up ahead and her stomach did a somersault. She was almost there. She looked at her watch again. Eight minutes past twelve now. Damn. Late.

But come on. She wasn’t totally late. And after all their going on about hating lateness, it’d be something to break the ice with. Annabelle really felt like she needed to break the ice with something. She wasn’t the most comfortable conversation starter. She preferred to jump into existing conversations. Hopefully, Adam would have plenty to say.

She got closer to the diner, felt a bit of sweat on her forehead. Shit. She’d been sweating. It’d stain her makeup. It’d run down her face and make her look stupid. She’d smell. She’d—

She felt her high heel give way under her left foot.

She saw herself falling toward the concrete in slow motion. But the embarrassment covered her fast. She wanted to stop time. To pause reality. To bring it all to a halt.

But she fell face-flat onto the ground.

She twisted over. Her left ankle was still and not easy to move. One of her high heels had snapped completely, and her black shirt was ripped at the bottom. She was covered in dust and the remnants of a chili dog someone had dropped.

She ignored the sniggers and struggled to her feet, her cheeks on fire. She bit her lip and did everything she could to avoid crying. She wanted to go home. She wanted to get away from here. She’d embarrassed herself, destroyed her look. What was Adam going to think about her now?

But still, she forced herself to take a few deep breaths. She walked to the front of the diner.

She held her breath and looked through the window.

The diner was empty. Completely empty, except for an old man at the back reading
USA Today
.

He definitely didn’t look like Adam.

He wasn’t her date.

Annabelle lifted her phone, messaged Adam and asked where he was. He was always so quick to reply. Literally took seconds, all the time.

But this time, the seconds went on. And the seconds stretched to minutes. Before she knew it, it was half twelve, and there was still no sign of Adam.

She felt the tears start to surface at the corners of her eyes. She felt her teeth start to shake, and her fists tensed.

Inside, she felt total rage.

Rage and embarrassment.

And she felt something else, too.

Something building up inside.

She stormed back in the direction she’d come from. That idiot. He’d stood her up. He was just the same as all the others. He was—

A massive explosion ripped through the street behind her.

She fell flat again. She struggled onto her back.

The diner had blown up completely. Alarms went off. People ran away in a frenzied chaos.

A crumpled, burning copy of
USA Today
rested by the door.

Annabelle felt something weird amidst all the chaos. She didn’t feel afraid, as the smell of smoke and the taste of burning filled the air. She felt… relieved. It was weird to describe. Like all her anger, embarrassment and upset had exploded, right when that building had exploded…

Her teeth chattering, she started to lift herself to her feet when someone grabbed her arm.

“Annabelle?”

She looked up at the guy holding her arm.

There was no doubt about his curly, black hair. There was no doubt about his muscular body, and his smile, mature beyond his eighteen years.

And those green eyes.

Those gorgeous green eyes.

“Adam. I—”

“Come on,” Adam said, easing Annabelle to her feet. He put a gentle hand on her back. “There’s a lot we need to discuss.”

He walked Annabelle away from the scene of the explosion as the sirens started to approach, and weirdly, Annabelle didn’t feel afraid, or confused.

She just felt powerful.

Adam made her feel powerful.

2

N
airobi
, Kenya

R
ose N’Goye wouldn’t have visited
the mall today if she knew how it was going to turn out.

It was warm outside, too warm for her. Her grandchildren wanted to go to the park to play, but she was too old for that now. So she’d brought them here for ice cream instead. She wasn’t planning on staying here long. Just into the mall, ice cream, and out. She didn’t like the mall too much. She didn’t like being surrounded by so many people like this. Especially not after the attacks several years ago.

They were on the second floor. The ice-cream place had moved. Her grandchildren, Amani and Hasina, were running ahead of her. “You two slow down. Don’t be causing trouble.”

Amani and Hasina ignored her like all young children ignored their grandparents.

She listened to people chattering around her. She could smell fries cooking at a nearby café. She was amazed how westernized this place was becoming. She knew Kenya was one of the more progressive African nations, but even Kenya had come a long way in her eighty years on this earth.

“It’s over here, Grandma!” Amani shouted, pointing at a stall in the distance.

“I want strawberry!” Hasina called.

“I want vanilla!”

“Vanilla’s for bores.”

“Okay, okay,” Rose said, hobbling up beside them. “You won’t be getting anything if you don’t remember your manners. Now come on, let’s get your ice creams and get you back to your mother.”

She approached the ice cream stall and started salivating. She saw the ice cream dipped in chocolate and hazelnut, and it reminded her of the first time she’d ever met Atieno. They’d gone for ice cream and sat in the sun by Lake Victoria. Only Atieno had a nut in his ice cream, and he was allergic. So it wasn’t the perfect first date.

But to Rose, it was perfect in her memory. She would never forget it. And she would never forget Atieno.

The ice cream man smiled at Hasina and Amani as they ran up to the stall. “What can I get for you two fine young things?”

Rose smiled back as she walked up to the stall. “We’ll have—”

She didn’t finish what she was saying, because everyone sprinted in her direction, screaming.

They ran into the ice cream cart and knocked it over.

Rose didn’t understand the chaos or the pandemonium at first. It didn’t seem real to her.

But when she heard the gunshots ripping through the mall, she knew exactly what was happening.

History was repeating itself.

“Kids!” she shouted.

She ran over to Amani and Hasina with what little strength she still had in her withered old body.

“What’s happening, Grandma?” Hasina asked.

“It’s—We have to get out of here. We have to get a long way from here.”

Rose looked over her shoulder and what she saw made her mouth fill with the bitter tang of vomit.

People were being shot at.

Ordinary, good people were falling over.

And men dressed in black were approaching wielding Kalashnikovs.

“Quick!”

She ran away from the men with the fleeing crowd. The sounds of the screams were deafening. All around her, people tumbled down; many got trampled on. She hoped it wouldn’t be her or her grandchildren next, but there was no knowing what might happen.

She got to the top of the escalators. The exit door wasn’t too far away. Already, people were making their way out of it. It wasn’t going to be easy, but she could make this. They could all make this. “Just keep hold of my hand and—”

An explosion ripped through the mall.

It was right at the exit door.

People flew back in the air. The smell of burning filled the mall, as another chorus of screams erupted. Still, the men progressed, firing their Kalashnikovs into more and more of the terrified crowd. And as Rose stood there holding the hands of her children, a part of her wondered if maybe this was the end after all.

No.

No, she was fighting for her grandchildren.

She turned around and pushed against the crowd that was still eager to get down the escalators. “There’s a fire exit!” she shouted, gesturing at more of the massive crowd to go in the direction she was heading. But none of them seemed to be listening to her, all of them so afraid. “At the back! There’s a fire exit!”

She battled her way through the crowd of people. Their mass was suffocating, and she felt like a sardine. All the time though, she gripped onto the hands of her grandchildren. She was getting them out of here, getting them to safety. And sure, they would be afraid for the rest of their lives. They would be scarred. But at least they’d be alive.

She reached the back of the crowd and made a break for the fire exit, which she knew was right at the back of the music store.

When she got there, in the middle of this silent store, she opened the door. An alarm sounded. More chaos erupted inside the mall.

“Now come on,” Rose said.

Amani was crying. So too was Hasina.

She crouched down and put her hands on their shoulders. “We have to be brave. We’re getting out of here and we’re getting away.”

“I’m scared, Grandma,” Hasina said.

Rose kissed Hasina’s forehead. “I know you’re scared. I’m scared too. But it’s when we’re scared that we do the best things sometimes, hmm? It’s when we’re scared of the roller coasters that we go on them, and then we always get to the other side, don’t we?”

“I don’t like roller coasters,” Amani said.

Rose squeezed his shoulder. “Well this one’s almost finished. Come on. We have to—”

“Wait right there.”

The voice came from the front of the music store.

There was a man standing there. He was dressed all in black.

He was pointing his Kalashnikov at Rose.

He walked slowly in Rose’s direction, his boots thudding against the floor.

“My grandchildren,” Rose said. “Please. They mean no harm. They are innocent.”

“You do not tell me who is and isn’t innocent. That is for God to decide.”

“Please!” Rose cried. She threw herself in front of the man, landing at his feet. “I beg you. Take my life. But do not take the lives of my grandchildren. They are such beautiful creatures. So harmless. Please.”

Rose didn’t hear anything from the man for a while.

When she looked up, she saw he was pointing the Kalashnikov right at her forehead.

“I think I’ll take you up on that offer,” he said.

He squeezed the trigger.

Rose closed her eyes.

She heard a bang.

But after that bang, she didn’t feel anything. Her ears rang. Her head felt heavy. But she definitely hadn’t felt anything.

She opened her eyes.

She squinted when she saw what was in front of her. It was as if the man had been paused pulling that trigger.

All of the bullets were hovering slowly in midair toward Rose.

All of them had been frozen.

It was then that she noticed a blurriness outside the music store. The sign of fighting. The sounds of the Kalashnikovs were fading.

Then she saw a young man walk around from the back of the man with the Kalashnikov.

His face was covered. He was dressed in a black suit with an eagle emblem on the front.

Rose knew exactly who he was.

“You should really, really not have pulled that trigger,” the young man said.

He lifted his hands and rammed the bullets back at the man with the gun.

They flew through him. Pierced holes in him.

They sent him staggering back to the floor.

The young man looked at the fallen man, and then he turned and looked at Rose and her grandchildren.

He held out a hand.

“Come on,” Glacies—Kyle Peters—said. “Let’s get you out of here.”

BOOK: Revenge of the ULTRAs (The Last Hero Book 4)
4.97Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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