Using his toe, Micah nudged the whip toward Nix. “The question is how much do you love her?”
Nix ogled the torture device, the small apparatus nothing like the one he’d used on occasion with sexual play. How much did he love Mads? Nix would wager more than Micah did. And he would prove it. “I love her enough to become the monster you are.” Micah laughed, as Nix swiped up the crop and pushed to his feet. “Anything for Mads.” His stomach turned at the vocal commitment he issued to avenge her death.
“I like your attitude, Phoenix.” Micah nodded at the object clutched in Nix’s hand. “Do you plan to use the whip? Or do I resume?”
Nix glanced at the male victim. Yellow-sulfuric smoke puffed off his body, indicating he’d just been ripped from the wastelands where a soul burned in sulfur until called up for special treatment like the one he currently received.
Could he really do this? Did he have the stomach for it, much less the balls? His palms grew sweaty and the whip slipped in his grip. Stomach churning, it threatened to erupt his last meal. Mads wouldn’t want this for him.
Mads is dead.
No pressure came from Micah, just the intense scrutiny of anticipation. Nix closed his eyes and memories of Mads’s smiling face hit the back of his lids. I do this for you, baby, so I can kill the fucker that killed you. A promise he could keep if he just wielded the whip.
As he drew back his arm, he whispered, “Forgive me, Mads,” and snapped the whip for the first time against his first of many victims to come.
Demons cheered his fall and the merriment of Hell’s denizens disrupted Nix’s momentum. He doubled over as guilt impacted his stomach like a monstrous fist bent on destruction. Nix met Micah’s gaze. He expected to hear a cackle emerge from Beliel. Instead the archangel smiled, an expression of extreme contentment and victory. Pleasing the demon went against Nix’s nature, but the lull of revenge was too sweet to forfeit.
Nix steeled his spine. He repeated his new mantra. Anything for Mads. As he laid lash after lash against his victim—abhorring the tug and slide of the flesh against the whip—a vital piece of his soul died as his victim cried and pleaded for clemency.
Hell never granted mercy.
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