MoboReader > Adeventure > Damsel[ed] Some Rescue Required

   Chapter 49

Damsel[ed] Some Rescue Required By m i c h e l l e p a k Characters: 17281

Updated: 2017-12-12 12:05


My head swims and I blink to clear the darkness behind my bleary eyes. Blood glistens in slashes down Poison“s face, red on white like peppermint stripes. My nails drip with blood too, glittering like liquid rubies in the low light. I“m loaded with this stuff. I ought to give vampirism a try.

Poison blinks down at me, a constricting arm wrapped around my waist. His fingers dig into my hipbone, carving dents into my flesh. The room is small and stuffy and dark, lit only by the hazy red glow of an exit sign. I suck in a sharp breath. The light splashes his face a near pink, snips of white hair loose over his eyes. "Ow, Galaxy. Tell me, is Gatsby the only cat-fuse, or are you one too?"

Screw him. I yank my arm back, my nerves sizzling with the cold-hot heat of rage. I“m seeing in flashes of white and red. Poison: the guy who screws up everything. Who won“t leave me alone, who took my Angel. Everything, every piece of me rattling inside wants to hurt him. And wheezing with rage as I am, I don“t even try to hold it back. I ball my fingers, twist in his grip, and punch him in the eye. My knuckles sink into the skin and hit the bone. He laughs and yelps in the same breath, a sound that makes my heart slam against my ribs so fast I think it“ll beat itself misshapen. "Huh," he says. "Maybe not." The grip won“t break. He squeezes me breathless, still laughing from deep in his throat like I“m a funny story to him. It makes me want to scream.

"Poison." I hold my body rigid. My voice is low, spooled together by the tightness in my throat. "Get your hands off me while I“m asking nicely."

"You should thank me." His face is smooth and blank like it“s carved out of moonstone, a ghost of a smirk behind his whispery voice. "I just saved you from the supervillains. You can“t handle the big guys."

"I didn“t ask for your opinion on my XP!" I stamp my foot so hard the floor rocks beneath me. "Let go—s“il vous pla?t— or I“ll break every damned bone in that puny body of yours—"

"You think I“m puny?" He shakes his head, clicks his tongue. The iron-tinge smell of blood clings to him, too, like an expense cologne and it makes goosebumps break on my skin. "You“re real funny, Heaven. Galaxy. Whatever you want me to call you."

"Galaxy." I hook my heel behind his bent knee, and with one kick I can feel the twiggy tendons snap. Hear them crack under my weight and his breath hitch into a silent scream. I shove him back, clenching his wrist in a trembling fist. My other fist comes crashing down on his collarbone and I wrench free. Wheezing, I hit the wall behind me, my blood hot in my veins. I snap my hands to my sides, grasping at the tears in my pants. Preparing myself mentally for another attack. I“m still groggy. Wish I could have coffee, something to put some blood back into my brain.

Poison staggers and grabs the back of his knee. He looks down at me with eyes flashing like broken police-lights. His jaw clenches, every muscle in his face tight with concentration, anger. The room is dark and the air is heavy, dust like mist as it whips up in the air.

What am I supposed to do in this type situation? Take him on? Scream for help? Hear him out? No one gave me a handbook on this! My head whirls like a carousel spun by storm winds, thoughts dumped here, thoughts dragged there, scattered like damn wooden ponies. Are Angel and Gats okay? What did Owl even do to Gats? And Jay, can she be trusted around Angel? Should I run back now and watch her? Or should I stay here and learn what Poison wants? What does Poison want, anyway? I shake my head, and it all fizzles away, like static clearing from the back of my head, and only one question stays: why can“t he leave me alone?

He has such a delicate face, the features dainty and sweet. Upturned nose, bottle-cap-round eyes, angled chin and smooth skin. His silver-white hair“s tucked behind his ears, and he wears the smell of blood like a perfume. It makes me remember his phone call. Angel“s muted cries and the sound of shattering glass turning the line to static.

My body“s on autopilot. I raise my elbow to bash it into his throat, and he chuckles. Lunges at me like a horse. I clip him in the shoulder. Raise my knee to my stomach, send the toe of my scuffed white sneaker into his stern. He goes sprawling, and my very breath cuts me through my lungs. Heat courses me, fills my veins with something smoldering. Now, it“s my turn to lunge, to beat him breathless, but he never gives me the chance. He scissors his legs around mine and pulls me down. No time to react; I hit the floor with a hard knock like I“m hollow inside.

For an instant, I lie beside him, breathing fast, my hands falling limp at my sides. He rolls on his hip, watching me with those pretty blue eyes. My chest clenches.

It“s an odd feeling, someone made me a voodoo doll and stuck a pin in its heart. So sudden, so sharp. I stare down at my chest and breathe out, slow and deep, willing the pain to ease. Willing the flutters in my stomach and the warmth in my skin to disappear. They don“t belong to me. I don“t like Poison. I hate him, hate him.

But his presence radiates wit

lin makes it clear that life is over for me. I can“t be a one-woman-show. The villain sinks on one knee. Takes my hand. His palm feels clammy and hot. Mine is cold. I sigh to myself, tired all at once like I“ve finally outstayed my welcome in this superhero business and this supervillain world. "Let me take care of you." He squeezes my palm and I just look at him, at his crumpled collar and the scratches carved into the worn leather lapels. I can“t think of something to say to that.

Sometimes I feel myself slip through Heaven and Galaxy and sometimes I just feel quiet. I don“t know where my loyalties lie or what I am and what I“m pretending to be. Smart? Brave? Cool? Is that me the real me or the one made up for tabloids? Now it seems more blurry than ever. "Owl and Jay will never bother you." The trickle of red light highlights the curves of his face, a scabby line drawn down his cheekbone.

I shake my head and rise, my legs tingly and cold in my veins and my muscles. He“s still holding my hand and I clench his. "No can do, Poison." The words should feel natural. Inevitable.

But I almost regret them, like some part of me wants to accept. Like some part of me wouldn“t mind being taken care of. Resting for a bit, even if it“s in his arms.

"Heaven," he says my voice in a whine. Like a puppy. His eyes are round as dinner plates. Then he works up an even breath, composes himself by clearing his throat. He clenches my hand back so hard you“d think I introduced myself as his daughter“s Prom date. His expression, once soft and doughy, goes sharp. His eyes aren“t safe anymore and I avoid them, my head over my shoulder toward the shop. "I don“t want to force your hand―"

"Maybe you should“ve thought of that before kidnapping Angelos, huh?" There“s something about his tone, smooth and commanding like he has all the power in the situation and I don“t, that snaps me out of it. He“s just like Jay. I heard them on the phone, Jaylin scoffing at the thought that people "are ends in themselves." They think of people as things. Things that can be bullied and bought, toys. But not me. I“m not gift-wrapping myself to him to end his threats. This is it. With one squeeze I crunch the bones in his hand. I can only describe the sound as something like rattling dice in a Yahtzee cup, that“s how detached I am to the situation. To his pain.

"I can kill you," Fallout says it so breathlessly, he almost sounds like his son.

"Yes, you can. I want you to try. I liked that power, even if it got civilians killed."

I drag him by a limp, floppy hand, breathing through my teeth. He won“t blindside me again, and I want him to hurt a little. Poison lashes at the back of my neck. I yank him hard and he stumbles, the swipe barely missing my shoulder. "Heaven," he says coolly, "let go."

Wordless, I pull him through the darkness, our footsteps creaking the floor. Smoke pours through the door. Blackness like oil slinks through the cracks of the floor, humming as it engulfs our feet, like the purr of an engine. Jaylin gasps. Angel “huh“s.

Poison cries out in horror. "Dad!"

He bolts so fast that I“m the one being dragged. He throws his body weight against the door and it flies open. The hinges creak and snap, brass clanging to the ground.

Fallout turns to us, a black aura dripping long, spindly shadows off him, tendrils stretched in every direction.

And cupped in his hand is a crackling ball of flame.

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