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Friday, August 1, 2014

Chapter 6

Emerald gave me grief every chance she got for a while then she just stopped.  She had some new girls and they were causing problems.  She stopped paying attention to me because neither I nor Alex caused her any more grief.  In fact she pretty much stopped paying any attention to me at all … it was like she felt sorry for me or something and couldn’t stand to look at me. 

Alex became more and more withdrawn as well.  Sometimes when he looked at me he got pretty green around the gills.  I know my changing body made him physically ill and he stopped touching me completely.  What he did do was keep making me promise and re-promise that when the contract was over I’d just disappear, go away, as far away from him as I could get and that I’d never try and contact him no matter what. 

One day I’d finally had enough and risked telling him, “Enough already.  How many times are you going to make me promise?  Do I make you promise that you’ll bring what you agreed to when you come?  No I do not.  Do I give you grief about anything?” 

“No,” he grumbled.  “You just can’t understand.  Do you know how this is cutting into my budget?  How hard it is to get away lately?  At least Fletcher is going back home.  That should give me some breathing room.”  Fletcher was a cousin and apparently was nearly as uptight as the brother named Roman was.  “They’re always watching me now.” 

“If you hadn’t told them you got beat up by a loan shark maybe they wouldn’t feel like they need to watch you.” 

“What was I supposed to tell them?” 

“I don’t know … the truth maybe?” 

“Oh yeah, that’s so much better.  Hey Bro, yeah I got the shit beat out of me by a couple of enforcers that work for a local whore house.” 

I snorted.  “It would have been the truth and they probably would have understood.  They’re men after all.” 

He cackled like he was slightly insane and for a moment I worried.  “You don’t know nothing.  That’s the last thing they would understand.  And if it got back to the rest of the family …  My gawd.  They just don’t understand I have needs.  None of them have ever understood.” 

I turned away before he could see me roll my eyes.  That was always the excuse.  I still really didn’t understand though how he could be so sure that the truth would have been worse than the lie he told his brother.  It didn’t make any sense.  At least not then. 

On my side of it things were going good.  Well as good as they ever had for me since I’d been taken away.  I didn’t have to put up with anyone grabbing at me and stuff.  The end of my contract was in sight.  I wasn’t puking my guts up all the time like I had been there for a while.  In fact I was feeling pretty frisky.  I still managed to exercise and stay in shape.  I had a nice little egg nest saved up and hidden in one of the secret pockets of my bag and not even Emerald’s room inspections found it though she found other things that I let her find just to keep her happy.   I should have known.  Nothing that good ever happens, not to me. 

A fire started in what I’d heard Mother Mary and Emerald call the ‘hood.  They tried to put it out then control it.  They tried to turn it but no matter what they did it just kept getting bigger and it started moving towards the business district.  I watched from my window as the fire kept getting bigger and bigger.  Day became night but it was hard to tell because the smoke had begun to drift towards the wharf.  I started to get worried.  Emerald was worried too.  I heard her walking around and unlocking doors here and there and telling her enforcers to take the girls to their back up location.  I got packed and waited my turn but it never came. 

I saw burning debris land on the warehouse where Emerald’s office and living quarters were and in no time the place was burning up.  I started to panic as I heard the screams and cries down on the docks.  I started to try and figure a way to get the can I was stuck in open.  I’d been at it long enough that the smoke was getting bad.  I was coughing and hacking and then suddenly the door was wrenched open and I was knocked backwards and two men entered. 

I prepared to fight but they were too busy fighting with each other.  And I finally recognized one as Alex. 

“You … you came for me?” 

It was a stupid question.  For one it brought the other man’s attention to me and for another … we were talking about Alex.  “We needed a place to regroup,” he snapped.  “Just shut up and stay out of the way.” 

But I didn’t have to say a word.  The other man turned on Alex and yelled, “You dumb ass!  This?!  This is what you’ve been hiding?!!” 

This turned out not to be me.  This turned out to be you as he was pointing at my stomach.  “My gawd Alex, this is going to kill Mom.  And Dad is going to kill you!” 

They would have kept going at it and I was ready to leave them there.  I had grabbed my bag and stumbled out the door … straight into hell.  It looked like most of the city was burning.  I was roughly grabbed by my arm and the other man asked, “Where do you think you’re going?” 

“Out of here.  Tell Alex I consider his part of the agreement fulfilled and now I’m fulfilling mine.  I’m getting gone.” 

“Like hell you are.  Not until I get some answers.” 

“In case you haven’t noticed everything is on fire.  If we don’t get out of here we’re going to be on fire.” 

“No kidding.”  Behind him he shouted, “Alex.  Let’s go.  I see the boat pulling up.” 

Sure enough there was a boat pulling up.  Other people had seen it too and were making a beeline for it.  The man threw me towards Alex while he used both hands to start shooting to get people out of the way.  Alex looked at me then let go and for a moment I thought it was going to use the cover of the fire to get rid of me for good but he sighed, shook his head and started pushing me to follow the other man while he covered our rear. 

The boat was smaller than it had looked up on the stairs.  It was a battle to get all three of us in along with the guy operating the motor.  People were screaming and jumping in the water trying to escape the inferno that the docks had turned into.  Many ships weren’t able to get away fast enough and they too were on fire.  The water was choppy and the guy drove like a maniac.  I puked twice before we pulled up on a small beach. 

There were two trucks being guarded by four men.  Something changed hands between the boat driver and the other man.  The four men and the boat driver got in one truck and the man ordered Alex and I into the other truck. 

“Shut the hell up Alex and get in.  We aren’t in the clear yet.  And Dad will kill me if he doesn’t get first dibs on killing you.” 

Alex tried to spout off which I thought a very stupid thing under the circumstances and the man simply clocked him.  He caught Alex before he hit the ground and all but threw him into the back seat of the truck.  He turned on me and I prepared for the same treatment but all the man did was blanch and said, “Just get in the damn truck.” 

I hadn’t ridden in a motorized vehicle since I’d been taken and was already more than a little queasy from the boat ride.  Suddenly the man slammed on the breaks and said, “Put this on.” 

One look at his face and I didn’t argue.  I took the strip of cloth from him and tried to decide what he wanted me to do with it. 

“Across your eyes.” 

I did it.  You just don’t question a man that has that look on his face unless you are prepared to fight and I wasn’t in any condition to.  I don’t know how long we drove, long enough for Alex to wake up mean and nasty.  Long enough for the fighting between the two of them to make me puke at least twice as much as the actual driving did.  Long enough for me to be as limp as a rag doll by the time they finally pulled off whatever roads they had been driving on. 

“Dammit, she’s dead weight now,” Alex snarled.  “And she’s puked all down the side of the truck.” 

“Be glad she puked out the window.  If she’d puked inside the truck you would have been the one cleaning it up.” 

“Hell no I wouldn’t have.  She can clean it up herself.”  He poked me and couple of times roughly.  “Thorn!  Clean this crap up!” 

Alex was pretty close to being in the same mood he’d been that night you were made so I treaded carefully.  I asked carefully, “Can I take this blindfold off?” 

“Hell no, just do it with your hands.” 

I heard a bang and then something falling.  Then I felt a hand on my arm and I jerked away, tripping in the process.  “Easy.  Easy there.” 

I continued to crawl blindly backwards until I ran up against something cold and hard … a large rock.  I tried to use it to stand but I couldn’t seem to find the strength or balance. 

“Easy.  It’s alright.” 

I didn’t like how he sounded, like I was some wounded helpless thing.  It made me think of Tim and how he used to bring home all of these injured animals and fix them up before either releasing them back into the wild or finding them good homes.  That tone was like a slap. 

“What planet do you live on?  Nothing is all right these days.  Stop touching me.  I … I can …” 

“You can fall flat on your face if you keep this up.  That wouldn’t do you or the baby any good.  And speaking of that, while Alex takes another little nap, we’re going to have a talk.”


  1. oh wow! Is he gonna let her take off the blindfold?? thanks!

  2. This is my second time trying to comment... This was a hard one to read for me, Kathy. I almost didn't continue after the first chapter, but I know how good you are at character development, so I trudged on. Now, I am rooting for Thorn and I hope this situation with Roman turns out well.