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   Chapter 25

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required: Damsel[ed]: No Rescue Required: Damsel[ed]: No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 12834

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04


You know that Taylor Swift song, the one about Band-Aids not fixing bullet holes? Well, now that I have some experience with both Band-Aids and bullet holes, I can now say without a doubt that yeah, they don“t. At least, Owl“s bandages never fixed my broken face. Sure, my healing factor must“ve kicked in, because around hour three the bleeding stopped, but it didn“t help me much. I was still stuck there, so woozy I didn“t even think about finding an escape route, let alone try to make a break for it. So I slept instead, hung up on the Velcro straps, my back bent and chunks of mattress torn up in my claws.

But now, Owl has me slung over her shoulder like a rolled up rug, her black-cloaked guards flanking her on either side. The whole healing process took a lot out of me and still does, even now. My stomach rumbles, striking me with something I“ve deliriously contemplated before. What if she doesn“t feed me? I swallow hard. Even if I am special, maybe she“ll just let me starve to death. She said she could make use without me and she tried to kill me before, so I don“t see why she wouldn“t do it again.

And you know what? I didn“t reflect on anything, if that“s what the villain wanted. A frustrated purr wells up in the back of my throat. I can just remember how the new flesh grew in to seal my wound shut, and gosh, if I weren“t so sleepy I think I would“ve cried. But I didn“t. I just laid there, feeling the blood clot up and the skin spread over the gash. And eventually I faded.

I look up to see Owl chew the side of her dagger in her teeth. A thin film of sweat builds on the back of my neck. I try to stop my trembling, but that isn“t so easy. I don“t know if I can take a stabbing; I“m already pretty scuffed up as it is.

Owl and her guards are as silent as a funeral procession. I don“t want to speak. Nothing I say will make this easier for me, I know that now. As I contemplate a mode of action, my face throbbing and my body weak as unshaped clay, Owl“s phone rings in her pocket. She stops sharply, jerking me to a flimsy stop and cursing bitterly in another language. Multiple languages, telling from the odd flow and ebb of the sharp and soft phonetic sounds in the dialect. The guards stiffen like corpses, but my fingers hang limp and cold over her shoulder, my breathing labored and sickly. A thought enters my mind, and I focus on it for a quick, flash of a second.


I“d be a liar if I said I hadn“t thought about it. A lot. But it feels too abstract to be real. How can I die now, when everything was so perfect only a couple days ago? When Angel insisted on playing Monopoly. When Heaven kissed me in the hall. My breath wavers. Why can“t that ever last for us?

I groan despite myself. So I“m an angst-puppy at the moment. I“m always an angst-puppy. I guess this kidnapping and shooting stuff just layers it on even thicker.

Owl answers her phone. "You have three minutes to explain why you“re speaking to me on my personal cell, Poison. I“d like to know where you got the number—what? Well, yes." A pause that makes me squirm. "Yes, that can be arranged."

Owl lowers her phone into the crisp pocket of her jeans, and then she rolls me off her shoulder and I fall into the crook of her arm.

It“s a sudden move. I kick with resistance, but it isn“t much of a fight. I“m as limp and fragile as a paper doll, a feverish ache spread all over my body. It burns, eats me up on the inside. I bite hard on the inside of my cheek, tearing a ragged seam that spews the repulsive taste of blood and salt. Owl grabs me under the arms and hefts me into the air like she“s picking up an overstuffed toy. She smiles. And I see her perfect white teeth, her dimples, and the way her black patch shines in the light of the hall. Everything around us is white: the walls, the floors, the

gain he made with Snare for the drugs to save my life, they feel like they happened to someone else in an entire different era, but something Poison said stands out in my mind and gives me the creeps.

"Those drugs we gave Toby, they could be destroying you. You might need us more than you think."

"Do you, like, do crime stuff?" the superhero girl asks, and her voice, so soft and young, snaps me back to my senses.

"No." Cat storms to the driver“s side. "I“m a supervillain who doesn“t do any criminal activity at all. I just think the title is so freaking snazzy!"

The girl flinches. I mull. I hate to be someone to say this, but she reminds me of myself. At least, the me I was when I first tried the superhero schtick as a thirteen-year-old with only a plastic purple mask and the urge to make a difference. I don“t think anyone has superhero material in them. We just do what we do because we have to.

The girl catches the handle of the back door and swings in just as Cat buckles up in the driver“s seat. Cat groans and slams her head back against the chair. "Get out."

"What are you going to do with her?" The girl presses her elbows onto the edge of the empty glove compartment and motions toward me. With a quick glance at me, she grabs a cookie from the bag I tore open and stuffs it in the side of her mouth so one cheek puffs out like a chipmunk“s. Not the most intimidating move, but hey. Free food is free food. I chuckle.

Cat flashes the superhero a smile, her entire face strained as if the gesture hurts. "None of your business. Go home or I“ll kick your skinny butt out the window."

The girl frowns, blonde ponytail swishing. She gives me another glance, green eyes wide and electric. "Ay, I“ll be fine," I tell her, but my voice is gruff and strained. I hang my arm out over the window and sigh at the darkening sky. Soon, it“ll all be over. My boys will be back and everything will be okay, but my fists tremble anyway. How unfair is it Cat is stronger than me? My mind refuses to let the subject go. How can it even be?

The girl looks back at Cat."If you“re a supervillain, then do you know why those guys ganged up on me?" She pauses thoughtfully. "Does that happen to a lot of superheroes? Is that why they“re all going missing? Do people just catch them like—like Pokemon?"

Cat glances at the back window and slams her foot on the gas. "Not the best metaphor you could“ve chosen." The car jolts and the girl looks up wildly. I grab the window.


She laughs. "But gold freaking star for you, Sherlock."

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