--donation bonus week (day 2/5, post 2/5)--
Mariana left the courtyard behind and headed for the eastern wing. ‘Is everyone in the panic room?’
‘Yes. I can sense Ramira, Marcos, and all the staff there.’
Good news, at least. Her one and only objective right now was to protect that room at all costs. It sat in the center of the Main House, and though it was designed to take a beating, defending it from four different directions at once was going to be difficult by herself. Her first priority was to get all the turrets set up. As an extra safety measure, she needed to be within five meters to activate them. She hadn’t wanted them to trigger unless she could see everyone currently standing in their line of fire. A bit inconvenient, perhaps, but she did want her children to live here after all.
As she neared the eastern garden hall, she heard a muffled crash from the front of the house.
‘Jonathan and Charlie have broken in.’
A booming thud followed, making the floor and walls tremble around her.
‘...Well, Jonathan is dead.’
She’d hoped the landmine would claim them both, but she supposed that was expecting too much. She reached the unwalled garden hall and activated the turrets there. They descended from the light fixtures in the ceiling. She could hear the turrets back in the courtyard opening fire as she ran for the western hall next, intending to intercept Charlie along the way. Her turret remote was exchanged for a handgun.
‘He’s about to be straight ahead of you. Attack now.’
Mariana clenched her fist and summoned the path of destruction. It tore a triangular hole into the door, large enough for her to jump through, and ripped its way across the chamber, blowing a hefty table to pieces. Charlie was indeed there, but he managed to roll out of the way at the last moment.
She was already firing at him, catching him in the shoulder and in the neck. He pointed with one finger. Mariana jerked left behind the sofa, but the flesh in her gun arm began to boil, and the sleeve of her overshirt burst into flames.