MoboReader> Adventure > Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required

   Chapter 29

Damsel[ed] No Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 16448

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:04


Gats.

Great. I said I“d get Heaven“s suit back to her. How? Beats me. But I“m going to do it. I“m going to get out. I“m sick of people patting me on the head and calling me "cat" and I“m sick of being a darn prisoner. There“s no way Owl“s killing Hev, not on my watch, not when I can do something to stop it.

"Oh," Sarah breathes, "cat. You know Galaxy personally?" She cocks her head to the side, tapping her finger around a curl of plastic fixed to her ear. It makes a little staticky sound. For the first time, I notice the mike attached to the collar of her shirt. Some sort of communication device.

My throat feels tight, like with each breath I“m gulping down sand. "Yes," I say, "and—and, she“s really cool. You“d like her if you got to know her." I“m pressed up in the corner, my hands shaky and cold, like there“s ice growing in my veins.

I“m stalling for time, clutching the helmet like an extension of myself, like a giant heart or a shield or a beloved pet. So I“m no metaphor man.

I jerk my head to the side, searching for something to use, a weapon to help me escape. My mind“s working in circles, plotting and unraveling those very same plots over and over again. My fists clench. There has to be a way out, there“s alway a way out. That“s what they told me.

Sarah flicks her ponytail over her shoulder and shoots a look at Ivy, who“s standing to the side, a hand tucked into her pocket and her shoulders at an easy slouch. She looks almost like a model, her tight dark jeans showing from under her cloak, her white sneakers almost shiny under the ceiling circle lights. Ivy glances at her feet, flipping up her hood. I wonder what she“s thinking. Her face is as blank as a watch“s.

Sarah glances back at me and holds out her hand. "Hey, buddy, relax. It“s just a display. Make believe." Her eyes flit to the door before she offers me the tiniest of smiles. "If she“s really the greatest superhero of the day, she“ll escape Owl just fine. But don“t tell Owl I said that. She already has her eye on me. Okay?"

I feel my heart clamp up in my chest. She“s being kind to me, this woman who works for the living manifestation of evil, and a part of me is almost mad at her for it. I want to feel justified slashing her across the face —and I am justified, one hundred percent so—but that she“s willing to say something that could put her in trouble with her psychotic boss just to comfort me makes me feel knotted up inside. So, I suck in a breath and ask, "why do you work for Owl?"

She blinks, the corners of her mouth drawing into a wry, tired smile to mask whatever expression is supposed to be on her face. Her eyes are a dim sort of shadowy gray in the softer light.

I trace my fingers down the seam of Heaven“s helmet. It“s a fine thing. High-quality steel, shimmery purple paint that hardly flakes even after being so mistreated. I wonder where she got it.

Ivy turns away and Sarah shrugs and takes me by the elbow. I straighten up, following, not about to let her drag me. My face is hot and flushed from how I“ve acted. "I didn“t really choose to, I guess. I sort of had to. I got recruited."

I nod, pretending to know what she“s talking about. Recruited. What does Owl do to keep her followers? I“m more curious than I was ever before.

As she leads me back around the corner, my eye follows the sword resting so neatly on the display case. My stomach flips. I don“t want to look at it. I want to pretend I never even saw it.

As a kid, I kept the stats of all the old Starlight superheroes in my copy of “The Great Gatsby,“ and I memorized every single one on the plane to Starlight. Jupiter. He swung his sword at over three hundred miles a minute. Insanity. Pure impossible, unnatural, unscientific insanity. To think some piece of him is inside it, the every same aura Angel has...

I want to throw up. I think I“ll throw up.

I tug away from Sarah. Ivy signs something, but it flashes by so fast I hardly see it.

When Jupiter died, what was he thinking? Did he fight back or did he submit to his fate? I“m trembling, but still, as we pass, my hands seize the dead man“s sword.

My shoulders jolt. It“s such a beautiful, elegant weapon, all shimmer and polished silver that gleams in the light. But it“s just that: a weapon. I need it to break free, all respect to Jupiter given. And I“ll use that sword no matter what repulsive thing it represents, all for Heaven and, heck, my own life. I don“t think I want to live here very long. Owl is sure to make it horrible.

The weapon is heavy. I spin around and point it at Sarah, one hand on the hilt and Heaven“s helmet tucked under my opposite arm. She frowns. It“s a quick gesture, not a jump or a flash of fear in her eye or anything of the likes. Just a frown like she“s disappointed in the fish of the day or something. "I need to get out of here," I say slowly, pointing the tip at her chest. "Please help

ctually having a bullet go straight through me must feel thousands of time worse. I hesitate as she comes closer. I know she doesn“t want to hurt me, probably doesn“t even want to restrain me. She“s such a nice person, but she can“t let Owl down. I understand that. Even if I want to punch something and scream until my lungs burst. These people shouldn“t get in trouble over me. I can find another way. So, I dip my head in a faint show of respect and drop the sword.

I hear another bit of static from Sarah“s ear piece. She draws in a breath. "If we“re going to escape ever, let alone with you, this isn“t the right time. Owl may be cruel, but she runs a tight ship—"

"How true," purrs Owl from Sarah“s ear piece.

Ivy“s mouth parts in a silent scream and her gun drops, her face completely drained of color. She reminds me of the ghoul masks sold at Halloween. She sways and nearly hits the floor. Sarah fairs only a little better, but her expression isn“t that reassuring. Slack jaw, wide eyes, pale face. I shrink back.

Owl“s voice slinks on. I lower my wrists and grip the sides of my jeans until I can hardly feel my knuckles. This is bad. This is the definition of bad. "I was going to ask to have the prisoner back. Negotiations were delightfully quick. But I see I have traitors to deal with. You“re right about me keeping a tight ship. I don“t want rats infecting my crew."

"She makes metaphors," I say incredulously. "Bad metaphors. And puns. I guess—" I glance around, see the women don“t care what I have to say, and clamp up. Sarah blinks out of her daze, grabbing at the earpiece.She gathers herself up, holds up her head. Suddenly, she looks calm. Serene, even, but Ivy“s stiffer than a statue, eyes wide and glassy. I wonder if she“s having a panic attack. Or maybe even a heart attack.

"Ma“am," Sarah says, and her voice is smooth. Smoother than mine would be if I had to speak to Owl after all she“s heard.

"A mutiny?" Owl mulls. "I need information on this, you understand." From the earpiece, she chuckles darkly. I feel myself shiver. I know what she“s implying.

Interrogation.

Ivy touches her throat, and for the first time, I notice the silver scar that runs across it. She looks fragile all a sudden, this woman who held me at gunpoint, who gave me food when I thought I“d starve. Sarah takes one look at her friend, grabs her hand, and flings the earpiece to the ground.

"Don“t worry," she says to Ivy, who gasps to breathe and nearly collapses. Owl wrecked this woman, and she wants to do it again. I whip the sword up from at my feet. My veins singing with adrenaline, I hardly notice its weight, even with my shoulders creaking in protest.

"We“re going to escape," I say for confirmation, but Ivy and Sarah are already tearing around the corner. Sarah snatches my wrist and drags me along. Heaven“s helmet drops from under my arm.

I turn my head back just when the guards burst through the door. "Freeze, freeze, freeze!"

They have rifles.

Aimed at us.

"Use the sword, cat!" Sarah says.

Yeah. Because that“s how swords work. They stop bullets.

I grip the hilt with all the strength left in me. I“m about to say something sarcastic, maybe witty, when the world around us explodes in a hail of smoke and gunfire.

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