“I received your message,” Sean Flynn said. “What do you know that is so secret it can’t be discussed at the lair?
Well, he had come too far to turn back now. “There seems to be a problem with your new assistant,” Forest said.
Flynn suddenly looked very interested. “Ms. Baerwyn? What kind of problem?”
Forest reached into his jacket. It was now or never. “My kind of problem,” he said, and at the same moment he whipped the voodoo doll out of his pocket.
Flynn was caught completely by surprise. The power struck him full in the chest, knocking him off balance.
It had worked! Forest ears were singing with elation.
“You’re going to let Eliana Baerwyn go,” Forest said. “And leave her alone. She’s not the kind of assistant that is good for the Organization.”
Flynn was looking past Forest, his eyes unfocused. “I see,” he said quietly.
Then, in a motion so fast that Forest could not even see it, Flynn reached up and caught Forest’s head. Elation froze to terror. Forest tried to step back, but Flynn’s grip was like cold iron.
He knew to struggle this time, but it was no use.
This time, Forest did not pass out, but he wished he had.
Through the haze of pain, he could feel Flynn draining something from him that was more than just his blood. Flynn was taking a little of something far more precious — Forest’s ability to resist. By some dark power beyond Forest’s understanding, Flynn was binding Forest’s will to his own and building him into a minion who would obey.
When he was finished, Flynn gazed down at Forest, caressing the line of Forest’s jaw with his thumb. Then he let his fingers trail down Forest’s throat to touch the wound that was already closing. The only sound was the rasp of Forest’s breathing. Flynn, Forest realized, did not breathe.
“You have real power,” Flynn said at last, his tone approving. “Much more than I expected.
“I think you are right. It will take a lot of time to make Ms. Baerwyn useful to me. You are useful right now.
“Consider yourself promoted.”
With a smile, Flynn released Forest. He turned and walked away without looking back.
Forest sank to his knees in the snow, trembling. For the first time in his life, he was one thing he had sworn not to be.
He was helpless.