MoboReader > Adventure > Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required

   Chapter 8

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 11939

Updated: 2017-12-05 12:05


My lungs burn from running. Heckles dog me, and never before have I felt so dead,so like prey. I wonder if criminals feel the same when they run from me. I mean, I go some six-seven hundred something mph max, so escaping me must be like out-running a jet-engine.

Right now though, I“m going moped speed. The world isn“t really blurring, I feel like I“m in slow-mo, and the van-villains are gaining. I can feel the earth shake and hear the purr of the van“s engine. "So dead," I hear a woman say over the thrum.

"Oh, my God. They“re pathetic. Her? She“s their Suicide Squad?"

I focus on my beat up sneakers and duck into an alley. I know this city like I know the buckles of my armor. I can lose them. I“ll find a way.

"Owl is such a pushover, sometimes. Love her to death, but she should“ve taken that kid years ago and killed James while she was at it."

I flinch. Owl? Owl is a pushover? These aren“t the type of people I“d like to meet in a dark alley!

Oh, wait.

The place reeks, and I gasp to breathe. Brick and graffiti surround me, a skimpy wire fence marking the end of the alley and the beginning of someone“s "yard." I dive for a hole at the fence“s base as the van squeals to a stop. Strands of hair whip in my face, asphalt ripping holes at the knees of my jeans. I wriggle through the wire, shredding my perfectly good WWE tee.

(So I have the fashion sense of a nine-year-old boy. So what?)

My sleeve catches on the hole“s twisted edges, and I bite back a slew of cuss words. I never signed up for this. I should be saving kids from candy-pedaling strangers instead of crawling through killer strings of rusty steel.

Click. Click. Click.

My heart thuds. I suck in a breath and lunge, kicking for bloody life.

"Cute." I“m barely through the fence when someone grabs my ankles. I thrash and howl, snatching loose handfuls of gravel in my fists. Another yank. My head hits brick, and the fight leaves me in a daze. It“s just a second of incomprehension on my part, but that“s all they need. A bag“s jammed over my head, my wrists held against the street.

"What the hell is your problem?" I“m still kicking, energy draining. Think, Hev, think. "What do you want from me!"

They absolutely lose it, howling like maniacs. I throw the pebbles in their faces, kicking like a turtle to get to my feet.

This goes as well as you“d think it would. "Huh," says a woman. The hard, rubbery tread of her boot meets my stomach and I go flying. My shirt catches on the fence“s barbed loops, and I hang there for a second, a few feet above the ground and trying to catch my breath. I rip the hood off. A shadowy group surrounds me on all sides. One, two, three, four members. With superpowers.

"Spunky little kid," says one gang member.

"What powers does she have?"

I kick off the wire, lunging for the group. If I could just get through them. A woman slams me back, her hand on my neck. She tilts her head, motioning for the others. They move toward me.

"I don“t want to fight you," I say, deepening my voice so I sound like I have some mystical power I“m scared of unleashing. A length of polished wood shimmers under the dim moonlight that someone pounds against their hands. A...bat? Does someone have a bat? Oh. Well. I won“t escape this without a couple of broken ribs. I squirm to get the woman“s hand off my throat.

Slap. Slap. Slap. The bat-wielder steps closer. "Superhero," she says with a sickened little hiss. It sounds like the opening to a page-long monologue, and I roll my eyes as she stomps up. "Glori

knocks me off my feet with a swing of her bat. I try getting up and she does it again. I wonder if this is some sort of game to her. Funny. Beating me to a bloody pulp. She hits me again and again. I spit, blood and saliva.

Gats cries out. "Stop it! Just stop it! Please!"

That“s all it takes, a quick redirection of focus. They look at him just a second too long, then back at me. "Snare wants her?" There“s a second of quiet. Then a snort. "Let them have her."

"Owl will be so mad."

"Not if we give her the useful one."

Oh. Not again. Not after everything we did. Not Syndicate. Maybe the neutral supervillains would treat Gats with human decency, but Syndicate...

I“m suddenly cold. Syndicate is the bad guy of bad guys. Neutrals want money. Snare wants turf. But Syndicate? They want more, much more. And God knows what that "more" is. I don“t know what they“d do to Gats or what they“d use him for. An agent? An unwilling villain? An exotic pet?

"Don“t." It hurts to speak. I hold out my wrists. "You wanted me, didn“t you? Just freaking kidnap me! Or kill me! Whatever!"

"No," Gats says, so quiet I almost don“t hear him. I“m boiling up, so frustrated I want to find a pillow and scream my lungs into it. A villain picks up Gats and slings him over her shoulder. He struggles. I“m on my feet. He yowls and claws and shrieks until they have enough and a woman throws a nasty blow to his head. He shuts up. I run, or at least try, staggering, swaying, and biting back squeaks of pain. Everything hurts. I feel like I should be dead.

"Come on, Rose," says one villain, "just take her out of her misery."

"Why should I?" asks the woman holding the bat.

The other shrugs in reply. Gats“ eyes meet mine for a split-second and my heart plunges in my chest. He looks so scared, his blue eyes big and bright and flashing. The villains throw him in the van“s back and I try really, really hard to move, to give some sort of chase. I stagger and fall, stagger and fall. While I try to stand, the van spits exhaust and speeds off, kicking up loose bits of gravel in my face.

Gone. I watch them leave as I lie sprawled on the groun. I hardly process it. They have Gats. Gatsby. My best friend. I pound my fists into the street and scream until my voice is gone and my knuckles are skinned raw.

Everything we did, every battle we fought, was for nothing.

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