Jess held back all her emotions and looked straight into Futa’s eyes after she was released from the water. Then brought up her bloody hand and pointed to Johnny. “Him… I dare you to let him go…” Futa looked at her like she was crazy, but before he could do anything she said; “And then you can keep the rest of us… Forever.” She saw his eyes brighten for a moment.
After a moment she heard Tim’s voice and looked at him her eyes full of fear.
Futa thought for a moment, then laughed. “You talk like I didn’t intend to keep you until you die,” he said quietly. “Did you think I would let you go when you decided you had had enough? Are you really that arrogant?”
He glanced over at Johnny, and frowned thoughtfully. “But…” he continued slowly. “I guess he has yet to become a cannibal. He’s innocent, isn’t he? I could get scolded if I break him too much…” He drifted off, and an idea flickered in his mind. If Johnny escaped, he would no doubt run to the other cannibals, and bring them back to the school. It would be easy to ambush them…And get them all. With any look, even Johnny would be back here before long. He wasn’t losing anything. All he could do was gain.
"Fine," he said with a small smile. "Henry. Let him go. He’s free to do whatever he wants." He turned his gleeful eyes back towards Jess, and lowered his voice. "But I assure you, you’re going to regret this." His smile faded as he noticed she was looking at Tim, and he stepped between them. "If I break you now, or him, I’m just breaking my own property," he reminded Jess, as he made his way over to Tim.
"I don’t know who you are, but you won’t get away wit-" Tim started, but Futa cut him off, by grabbing his injured hand, and easily snapping the finger next to his bleeding stump.
Tim cried out in pain, and tried to get a glimpse of Jess. “Why didn’t…you make him let you go?” he demanded, his voice strained. “You’re not a cannibal, either!”
Oliver’s concern dissipated as Lola turned around, her soothing smile serving to calm his thoughts slightly.
Being called a lying psycho was no fun…..though that woman was half-right….
He re-focused his attention.
Looking at the furry thing in her arms, a warm smile sprang to his face.
Leaning over slightly, he reached to pet the pup, “What a cute little guy! I wonder where its family is…”
Glancing around the cell briefly, the tapestry caught his eye.
Examining the tapestry a bit more, he wondered what the creative mind behind it was thinking when they made the piece.
An elephant with multiple human arms and limbs…holding some stuff….Looks like it’s dancing.
It struck him as an almost religious thing…
Turning back to Lola, “Have any idea what that’s about? Looks like it may mean something…”
As Rowan’s arms encompassed her, Ayva’s mental state began to feel at ease.
The tears began to slow, her mind becoming slightly more stable.
Though, while her mental state improved, her body was still in turmoil.
Listening to him talk, his voice, she refused to look up.
She was conflicted…
While she didn’t want to lie to him, she also did not want to tell him…she didn’t want him to think less of her.
Talking into his shirt, her voice echoed the regret she felt, “I’m sorry….for earlier. I shouldn’t have shouted at you like that.”
“I’m surprised…I thought you’d be angry with me…”
Feeling the firm, smooth shape of the apple in her hand, she glanced over at the fruit.
At the sight of it her stomach churned unhappily for a moment.
Eyes closed, she tilted her head back. Taking a deep breath.
Opening her eyes to look at Rowan, a small laugh escaped her mouth, “That’s sweet of you, but…if I eat anything, I think I’d be sick.”
Smiling at him, slightly pained, “I don’t think you’d like vomit all over your shirt, would you?”
Lola looked at the tapestry and nodded, “My mother used to tell me stories about how the people that lived above ground before everything went to hell. She said that people believed in all kinds if different gods. Unseen beings that apparently had the power to control… Well everything.” She looked up at Oliver and smiled softly feeling her blood run hot as he looked at her. Her face became hot, she was blushing. She wanted him.
Quickly she shook away the animalistic thoughts that plagued her mind and continued.
“They fought amongst th-them selves over which god was the true god… M-many people died…” She sighed as she found herself stuttering. Slowly she bent to the floor and let the pup go.
Jess gasped when Tim’s finger was broken, “STOP IT!” She yelled.
She looked up just as Henry shut the door to take Johnny out into the woods and let him go. Quickly she started moving and leaned up and untied her legs. She quickly got the her feet, and before Futa could do anything she had shoved him toward the back of the room. The quickly untied Tim and when he didn’t move she have him a hard slap to get him awake, it worked and he jumped up and looked at her, “you owe me big time if we make it out of here!” She whispered as she went over and began to do the same for Gem. She untied him and shook him then huffing loudly gave him a good slap on the cheek as well. As she turned toward the door she found the other man, the quiet one, had blocked their way out. “Get out of the way!” She demanded.
Rowan laughed and put his hands on Ayva’s shoulders, taking a step back to look her in the eye. “You’re not the first woman to yell at me,” he said reassuringly. Although she was one of the first he genuinely cared about.
He couldn’t help noticing her reaction to the apple, and a flicker of concern crossed his eyes for a moment. But he forced a smile, taking the apple back. “Well…I doubt vomit could make me look worse. I’m already covered in ash, and dirt and…I’m pretty sure some kind of oil from those vans yesterday…But I wouldn’t want you to be sick.” He glanced towards Mama, who was changing Sorren, apparently switched off from their conversation.
"Do you want some fresh air?" he asked Ayva. He was still curious to know what she had been searching for, since it obviously wasn’t food. But he didn’t want to push her.
Futa stumbled and fell to the floor, hitting his head on the frame of the bed. As the pain surged through his skull, he began to feel tears leaking from his eyes.
Tim smiled weakly at Jess in response, and got to his feet, steadying himself as his head began to spin from the pain and blood loss. “What are you doing?” he asked, already half way to the door as Jess began to untie Gem. “We have to go…” But, even as he spoke, he noticed Johan standing by the exit, and braced himself for a fight.
Gem was a little slower to move. He sat up on the bed, holding his cheek, and cast his blank, dead gaze first towards Futa, then towards Jess and Tim, who seemed to be confronting Johan by the door.
Tim threw himself at Johan, knocking the knife from his hand, and made a run for the door, refusing to look back. The knife skidded across the floor, and landed by Futa, just as he began to recover.
As the knife reached him, Futa’s hand slowly closed around the handle, and he got to his feet, tears still streaming from his eyes as he saw what was happening. “You LIAR!" he screamed at Jess, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her back towards the centre of the room. YOU SAID YOU WOULD STAY HERE FOREVER! You lied to me!” He threw her to the floor before she had time to defend herself, and began clawing at her face with one hand, the other holding the knife to her throat. “Do you hate me?” he whispered. “I did what you said! I kept my end of the deal! How could you lie to me? And now you’re trying to take him away from me!” He looked towards Gem. ”Don’t leave me!” he pleaded. “Don’t leave me again!”
Gem’s hands shook as he brought them to his ears, desperate to block out the noise. His one working eye closed tightly. He didn’t want to deal with the guilt any more. The guilt of abandoning his brother, and causing all of this. The guilt of not being able to help Jess after she had just untied him. He could sense Johan watching the scene, and knew that when he stepped in, it would be over, for both Jess, and him.
His response triggered Futa’s fury even more, and Futa pressed the knife against Jess’s skin. “You brought this on yourself!” he hissed. “You want to take him from me, so I’ll take something from you…I’ll take that voice you like using so much!” He raised the knife slightly, ready to carve into her throat, when something slammed into him, forcing him to roll off of Jess. Expecting to see Tim, he looked up, and his tear filled eyes widened in shock when he saw Gem leaning over Jess.
"I’m sorry," Gem whispered as he looked at Jess’s face. The shove he had given Futa had caused the knife to cut a long line from the side of her mouth, across her right cheek. He still had no idea why he had moved at all. Johan’s words were still echoing through his mind as he helped Jess into a sitting position.
Futa began to crawl back over to them, his eyes streaming with tears. “Don’t leave me,” he begged. He turned his attention sharply to Johan. “You! Get them! Kill them if you must!”
Listening intently as Lola spoke, telling him what she knew of the tapestry, Oliver’s interest grew.
He found it nice, standing here.
Looking at Lola’s beautiful face, listening to her wonderful voice.
A smile crossed his face when Lola smiled, the growing rosey glow spreading across her face adding to her appeal. That is, if it were possible to add to her natural attractiveness.
In Oliver’s opinion, such a feat would be impossible.
“Wow. Who knew…The history behind it would be so rich…”
He briefly glanced over at the tapestry before returning to rest his eyes on Lola, “Maybe we should take it with us….”
Trailing off, concern jumped across his face as Lola continued speaking.
Why was she stuttering?
…maybe it was just nerves?
What if it was something more serious?!
He began to panic slightly, his concern deepening.
Maybe she was having a seizure?
…What if it was a brain tumour?!
Frowning slightly, worry written distinctly on his face, in his eyes and seeping into his voice, he put his hands gently on Lola’s shoulders, “Are you alright?! Do you have some sort of medical condition?”
Examining her face, her eyes, he tried to discern whether she was alright.
Laughing a bit at Rowan’s comment, Ayva raised an eyebrow at him, “Oh? So I guess I shouldn’t feel too broken up about it eh?”
"Maybe I’ll yell at you more often then, if it doesn’t bother you."
Her voice betrayed the joke.
Her small smile remaining in place, she laughed louder at his comment, “A little dirt never killed anyone….it makes you look..rugged.”
Upon him mentioning oil, “Huh, I thought you smelt a bit…odd.”
Wincing as a sharp pain radiated through her nerves, her smile disappearing momentarily, she tried to keep her composure.
To mask the pain.
Maybe…maybe some fresh air would be good…
Face pale, smile weak, she nodded, “Yeah…I think that would be a good idea..”
Breaking free from Rowan, she turned and, slowly, began to make her way over to the door.
Clenching her trembling hands into fists, she tried to ignore the pain.
Looking back at Rowan, she was glad to see that he had followed, “Hopefully it’s warm out.”
Johan had remained silent and still the entire time.
Simply watching as Jess overpowered Futa.
Stepping back, he kept his balance and composure upon being forced backward by Tim.
He spared a brief, disinterested glance at the knife as it made its way to the ground.
Though, noticing Tim’s movements, it was apparent that the man was going to try to escape.
A moment later, Tim made his move for the door.
Deliberately, swiftly, efficiently, and without betraying much effort, he moved his arm out, catching Tim’s throat in his hand.
Grip firm, slowly tightening, he forced Tim backward.
Keeping the man still, he observed the events as they occurred, his expression steady.
Futa taking possession of the knife.
Attacking that woman.
That boy foiling Futa’s attack.
Briefly glancing at Futa when he spoke, seemingly ordering him, he chose not to acknowledge the boy directly.
The air in the room was electrified with intermingled emotions.
Eyes shifting from person to person, voice eerily gentle, calm, he addressed everyone present.
“It seems everyone is in a state of disarray. Perhaps it would be more productive to calm yourselves.”
"To accept the inevitable.”
“Perhaps, putting an end to the ‘game’ is in order.”
Fixing his cold gaze on Futa, “Perhaps now you see? Are you satisfied with the length of time this ordeal has been prolonged?”
“This situation you find yourself in; such a thing could have been avoided simply.”
Jess sat up slowly and looked around the room, her head spinning. She slowly reached her hand up slowly to her cheek, she touches her chin softly and then looked at her blood covered hand. “Wha…. What happened….” She said softly then looked up at Gem and slowly got to her feet. She looked back at Futa and scowled then quickly turned back toward the door and began to walk. She glared at Johan, and shoved him away from Tim and the door. “We are leaving!” She growled as she glanced around her.
Lola looked at Oliver and felt her breath catch in her chest. She nodded then whispered, “I’m fine… ” she smiled up at him gently placing her hand on his chest. She looked at her hand for a moment thinking through her next words then began still looking at her hand, “U-uhm… Can I ask you to do something?…” She looked up at him and continued softly, “K-kiss me…” She whispered stating up I to his eyes.
"Well, I don’t enjoy being yelled at," Rowan said playfully as they turned to leave the room.
"Rugged, huh?" he said thoughtfully, putting a hand to his chin. "I never thought of it that way…I’ve always avoided dirt until now…But perhaps I should try this ‘rugged’ look-…Hey! Are you saying I smell?" He pretended to look offended for a moment, before melodramatically moving his hand from his chin to his forehead. "I must be doomed…Maybe I should have thought to smuggle some soaps up here…" He drifted off as he opened his eyes and saw that Ayva seemed to be struggling again.
"Are you ok?" he asked, his playful tone fading into concern. He tentatively put his hand on her back, watching her hands clench, and noticing the pained look in her eyes. "Take it easy, ok. There’s no rush…And if it’s cold you can have my shirt…if you don’t mind smelling like oil."
Tim stood frozen as his airway was slowly restricted, his face gradually turning redder and redder as the scene unfolded.
When Johan spoke, an icy chill ran through Gem’s entire body, and he clutched his arms, his nails digging into his skin. Accept…end…
"No…I don’t want to die…" he whispered as Jess got to her feet, his need to survive returning.
Futa wiped his eyes and picked up the knife once more. He nodded slowly. “I just wanted to play with them for a bit,” he muttered defensively. “I thought we could play a bit longer…I didn’t think this would happen. No! Don’t leave!” He screamed the last three words at Jess when she announced they were leaving, his eyes filling with tears once more.
Tim stumbled slightly, bringing his uninjured hand to his neck, and gasping. “I would have helped you…” he began to insist, but his words faltered when he realized just how angry Jess was. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Futa approaching, knife raised in a threatening stance that contradicted his distraught expression. He was no longer a threat to them. Tim plucked the knife from his hand, and turned it towards Johan; the only one now who could possibly stop them.
"Come on, Jess," he said, taking her hand.
"You’ll never make it!" Futa insisted. "This place is full of people who want to kill you…You wont get out!" He tried to glare at Johan, but his emotions were out of his own control, and he continued to look upset. "Why aren’t you stopping them! I’m ready to kill them now! That’s what you want isn’t it! I can’t let them leave here, I can’t! I don’t want to be alone any more! I want them to stay with me…Please…make them stay!" He dissolved into tears, crumpling to the ground and grabbing onto Jess’s ankle. "Please…"
Gem listened in complete silence, his grip on his arms slowly loosening as he realized what was important right now. Johan was outnumbered…by three injured, tired people it was true, but he was outnumbered nonetheless. And he wasn’t moving. Did he only move to kill when it was certain?…That didn’t matter now…As long as Tim had that knife, and he had nothing, he was at a definite disadvantage. Even if Futa tried to help him, he would just get in the way in his present state.
…His brother…was always such a crybaby. His face was always leaking, and it was always up to Gem to take care of him. It was pathetic…
Gem slowly rose to his feet, as Futa sank to the floor, and wordlessly approached him. He knelt down to pull Futa’s hand from Jess’s ankle, then wordlessly pulled him into a gentle hug. “Stop crying. You look like an idiot,” he whispered.
Futa froze, his eyes wide with shock and confusion.
"I remember now," Gem continued. "I remember who you are…Everything will be alright now…You can come with us."
Jess and Tim would never allow Futa to join them, not after everything he had done. And Gem didn’t intend to let him tag along, either. He could get them out of there, and that was it. His expression was cold, but Futa couldn’t see it; he had settled into Gem’s arms, his eyes closed, and his tears halted.
"You won’t be alone ever again," Gem lied soothingly. "Just help us get out of here, and I’ll stay by your side forever this time. I promise."
Futa nodded into Gem’s shoulder. “Promise?” he repeated, his voice muffled and sad.
"Promise," Gem said, pulling out of the hug and forcing a smile.
"What the Hell was that?" Tim demanded as Gem stood up, bringing Futa with him. "That monster is not coming with us."
"He is if you want to live," Gem said quietly, while Futa was busy drying his eyes. "You deal with that," he added, raising his voice slightly and glaring straight at Johan. He began to shake slightly, but clutched his arm once again to steady himself. Johan seemed to thrive off other people’s fear.
Taking a calming breath, he turned to Jess. “You-” he started, but, feeling the anger radiating from her, decided to speak more softly. “We…have to be tied up again,” he said hesitantly.
Oliver’s concern giving way to a slightly perplexed expression, he watched Lola silently as she said she was fine and subsequently went on to stare at her hand.
She didn’t exactly seem fine…..
Though she was indeed smiling, which was a good sign.
Eyes slightly wider, as he was still a bit confused as to what was going on, he nodded at her question, smile returning, “Of course you can. You can ask me anything.”
He did realize that she had asked for him to “do something” rather than simply “asking him something”, though he felt that he needed to get that out in the air.
Between the brief moment she asked that question and her speaking next, he found himself wondering what Lola was going to ask him to do.
For some reason he felt slightly nervous, almost anxious to know.
Staring at her face, into her eyes, he felt a small pang of surprise when she asked him to kiss her.
…why am I confused?? She did say she enjoyed what we did….earlier….
Happy to oblige, he answered, “Ok.”
He dropped the two blankets that he had been holding.
Smile widening, he caressed her face, hand moving down her cheek, jaw, and to her chin.
Coaxing her chin up, he bent down to kiss her nose.
Becoming slightly flushed, he put his other hand on her face, this time kissing her soft lips.
Kissing her gently, almost timidly at first, he found his want for her grow strong.
It seemed to impart more confidence to him.
Tongues, lips, mouths; it seemed they were beginning to find themselves back to where they had been earlier.
Hands touching her face, moving to her ears, hair, neck, and down to her waist, he gently shifted her body, moving them both towards the cot.
In an almost playful motion, he grabbed her waist, pressing her to him, and abruptly launched them both down onto the cot.
Kissing her, he rolled both their bodies so that Lola was now resting against the cot while he found himself staring down at her, kissing her neck.
Stopping for a moment, embarrassment crept onto his face; he realized that he had gotten carried away.
She had only asked for a kiss, after all.
“…Sorry…you just wanted a kiss, right? ….I don’t know what came over me…”
Though such a statement wasn’t true. He knew what it was.
Who it was.
Lola was just….she was just too much….
How could he not get carried away?
Being around her, he felt himself just wanting to be with her. To show her some love, some enjoyment.
…everyone needs something beautiful like this, in this world…
His smile was sheepish, “…I guess I get a bit carried away sometimes.”
As the woman who had confronted him earlier broke the grip Johan had had on Tim’s throat, he was effectively shoved to the side.
She was obviously taken by anger, and while the force she had exerted on him was strong, he was still able to keep his balance and composure in tact.
Still, unmoving for a moment, he eventually stepped back to his previous position, in front of them.
Once more in their path.
Glancing over at Futa as he spoke, it seemed the boy was engulfed by emotional turmoil.
One moment he was angry, wanting to kill them.
The next, he returned to a soggy state of tears.
He did not speak to him, however, as Tim had swiped the knife.
He turned to look back at the man.
Regarding the knife that was now in Tim’s possession, his expression remained the same; though, if one were looking closely, they would be able to notice that his small smile deepened slightly, corners curling a bit more, while his eyes dulled.
Maintaining eye contact, he stepped forward, closer, closing the gap so that the knife in Tim’s hand was nearly touching the flesh of his neck.
Eyes cold, passive, he looked into the man’s eyes, “If you intend to use such a weapon, perhaps a swift, accurate stab here,” He moved one hand from behind his back to his head, indicating the temple, “Would suffice.”
“However, arterial incisions are also quite effective.”
There was a moment of silence.
Expression constant, gaze steady, he slowly shifted his eyes over to Futa and the other boy as he listened to their exchange, his head following.
Paying Tim and Jess no mind, as if dismissing them for the time being, he directed his voice to Futa.
"Is it not simply that boy you want?"
"Why then, would leaving the others alive be favourable, necessary? Perhaps he is trying to deceive you. To steer you away from the pleasure you would derive from ending their lives."
He paused for a moment, “Curious, that the boy you had tortured, the boy who called you a ‘sick bastard’, the boy who vehemently deemed you a ‘psycho’, would have such a change of heart.”
"Curious indeed, that a boy who, just earlier, while you and Henry had gone, asked me – pleaded to let him go, a boy who wanted nothing more than to get away from you, would suddenly embrace you, as if you were someone that mattered to him.”
“Is that not suspicious?”
His voice maintained its usual tone, one of calm, gentle, and void of emotion, throughout the words he spoke.
It seemed Gem had pacified Futa for the moment.
But that would not do.
Listening to Rowan speak, Ayva found herself becoming increasingly amused, “Yes, rugged. You look less of a pretty-boy this way.”
At his comment about the soaps, she felt a twinge of home sickness.
Sure, it had not been the best life, nor was it ideal, but…it had had its charms.
Shaking her head, trying to clear the layer of fog, she looked at Rowan as he inquired about her state.
She felt grateful that he was concerned.
Her voice was unsteady, wavering, though the words got out.
“It’s nothing I can’t manage….anyway, it doesn’t matter much. It will go away….eventually.”
Smiling against the pain, “I would rather be warm and smell like oil than cold.”
While their pace was slow - her own unsteadiness and difficulties being the culprit - they did manage to find their way out of the prison and into the fresh air beyond the walls.
Finding herself tired, weary from the walk, she leaned against Rowan slightly, looking out onto the forest of ash.
“It’s almost sad….Coming up to the surface and seeing these plants for the first time…and them being destroyed.”
Before Jess could protest, Gem turned quickly to the bed on which he had been tied up, and began to grab the ropes. But he froze again when Johan began to speak.
"Like I care about what happens to them, either,” he lied, his heart beginning to pound as he hoped Futa wouldn’t begin to get confused again. “It would look suspicious if just the two of us went out. The others might question his motives…Tim…Kill him already.”
Tim had half a mind to throw the knife at Gem’s back, but that would leave him without a weapon, and it would definitely upset Futa’s already unstable mind. “I’ll take your advice,” he hissed at Johan, raising the knife to his head. But, a second later, something heavy collided with his uninjured hand, sending the knife airborne once again. He looked down and saw Dorian’s head on the floor between him and Johan, then back towards Futa, his expression filled with dismay.
Futa lowered the hand he had used to throw the head, and pushed his thumb between his lips, his eyes welling with suspicion and uncertainty.
Gem’s hands shook furiously as he collected the rope from Jess’s bed. That man…was always one step ahead of him. He was determined to end their lives right here in this room. He didn’t even seem to have a motive.
"Shut up!" he shouted, his voice as shaky as his hands. He crossed the room to stand beside Futa once more and, dropping the ropes, grabbed him roughly by the shoulders. "Don’t listen to him. He just wants to upset you…You know I would never have said any of that stuff if I had known who you were. You’re my brother and I…care about you. He’s nothing. He wants to see us all die. You included…I just want to protect you.”
Futa stared at Gem for a moment, his thumb still perched in his mouth, then past him at Johan, his confusion clear on his face. “Why would…you beg to leave me?” he whispered, slowly pushing Gem’s hands away.
"He has been against your game from the start!" Gem insisted. "When you left the room, he tried to kill us, without your permission. He’s not on your side.”
But Futa was no longer listening. He approached Johan, stumbling slightly. “If they’re dead, they can never betray me, or leave me ever again,” he said quietly, his voice blank and automatic.
Rowan sighed, almost sadly. He didn’t know how to be anything other than a ‘pretty boy’. But it seemed he was going to have to learn.
He kept his hands on Ayva’s shoulders as they slowly made their way outside. “I feel so useless,” he admitted quietly. “I wish I could make whatever it is go away…”
It turned out, it was slightly cold outside, and he removed his shirt, draping it over Ayva’s shoulders. He followed her gaze into the ruined forest, and nodded sadly.
"I’d always secretly wanted to see the plants up here," he replied. "But…there will be more. We have the entire surface to ourselves now. I bet there’s forests even bigger than this one, and we could get to see them all…At least a couple more, anyway."
Jess looked back at Gem and scowled, she couldn’t believe was happening right in front of her. “Really?” She almost yelled, “you all are just as crazy as him!” She looked down at the head that had landed next to her and then kicked it. “I’m leaving!” She looked at Tim to see if he would fallow her. As she stepped toward the door Johan stepped in front of it again. She quickly kicked him in the shin and shoved him against the wall by the door. “You fucking Psychopath! Stay out of my way!” With that she have him another hard shove knocking him against the wall hard.
Lola watched as Oliver sat up and she slowly brought herself up next to him. “It’s ok….” She whispered.
She slowly took his hand in her own slightly shaking hand and looked at it a moment before kissing his lips softly. She pulled away, only a little and smiled then brought his hand to her hip and whispered, “we can get carried away together….”
With that she kissed him again.
Unfortunately, Ayva was seemingly oblivious to Rowan’s sadness at her comment, as all she heard was a sigh, one without any negative connotations.
Usually, she wouldn’t have liked, or allowed, a man to touch her like that, his hands on her shoulders.
She prided herself in masking her weaknesses, and such a thing was a requirement for the job she had…
But it seemed he had caught her in a vulnerable state…and besides….his hands felt nice, warm.
Putting one of her hands on his hand, she shook her head, “Please, don’t. Don’t get down on yourself when there is nothing else you could possibly do. You’ve already done more than enough.”
“Truly…you have been quite wonderful. It’s not your fault, there is nothing anyone could do….”
Her voice hushed, turned small as her thoughts wandered, “….unless you could find some…”
She let herself trail off.
Stop thinking about it! It’s not making anything better, now is it?
Feeling the cool air on her skin, she jumped slightly, startled by the shirt that now hugged her.
If my body didn’t feel like shit, this moment would be perfect.
While a part of her genuinely felt that he cared….the pessimistic voice…that doubt that, maybe he was wanting something….expecting more from her in exchange….
She tried to shake the voice away.
He was being so sweet, so kind…He didn’t deserve that.
Holding the shirt on her, she slowly closed her eyes when Rowan spoke.
She tried to conjure up a picture, an image of the large forests. The many forests.
Slowly opening her eyes again, the images fading as she faced the destruction, she did indeed feel sad that this one was now gone.
Turning back to look at Rowan, as he was a much more pleasing sight than the desolated forest, curiosity ran through her voice, “The plants, were they as you imagined?
“I hope you are right. It would be nice to see those things.”
Watching Gem as the boy tried to maintain Futa’s attention, as he ordered the man to kill him, Johan was silent.
His gaze on Tim, he waited for the knife to pierce his skin, to cut into his brain.
He waited for the fatal blow.
Though, it never came.
Watching as the severed head knocked the knife from Tim’s hand, sending it reeling off, away from them, his expression was unchanged.
It seemed he would go on living, at least for a few moments longer.
He considered the situation.
If he were to obtain the knife, he would need to ensure that Tim, or any of the others, would not leave – it would not do, allowing them out. The death of those in this room was preferable.
Observing the scene Gem and Futa created, the desperate conversation between them, it appeared he had been marginally successful.
Though, hearing that woman’s furious voice, seeing her movement from his periphery, he turned around in time to block her path as she made for the door.
But, he also got to observe as she began her assault on him.
While he did indeed feel the pain as Jess kicked him, and roughly shoved him against the wall – as his nerves were in top condition, his senses finely tuned – such pain was insignificant compared to other things.
Yes, he had experienced far greater degrees of pain.
He had long ago learned to embrace pain, to accept it as a condition of being human and to internalize it.
He had a strong, confident command of his own body, so it was easy for him to maintain his expression without letting any semblance of pain through.
Staying against the wall for a short moment, he came to compose himself, standing straight.
It seemed his hair was now in disarray, jacket torn slightly.
Though that did not matter in this instant.
Sparing a brief glance over at the knife, he now saw that it had landed farther off.
Out of reach.
Eyes back on Jess, he returned to his position between her, Tim and the exit.
This back and forth, this exchange they were involved in, was proving to be unproductive.
This was getting them nowhere.
Turning to Futa, the boy now closer, it seemed he had been seeking confirmation in his thoughts earlier.
Responding to what the boy had said, “Yes. The dead can do no such thing. Corpses are much more complacent, compliant. They would never attempt to leave you, nor would they attempt to get in the way.”
He was aware that it was necessary for him to make a bolder move if their deaths were to be secured.
Without betraying any effort, he stepped closer to Tim, placed a hand against the side of the man’s head and forcefully brought his head to the wall.
One swift motion was all that was required.
Tim’s body, void of consciousness, fell to the ground hard.
He knew that the man was still alive, though that would suffice, for the moment.
Now, turning to the woman, he was well aware that what he was about to do would only serve to anger her more, but it seemed to be the necessary move.
Firmly, he placed his hands on Jess’ shoulders.
Grip strong, he moved forward into the room, forcing her back.
While it appeared that he was simply putting space between her and the exit, his primary goal was that knife.
The woman’s mind was already obviously clouded by anger, though further distraction was most likely required.
Staring into the woman’s eyes, his voice came out smoothly as ever, “Such actions you have taken, such violence…You prefer to be in control, yes?”
“No wonder, then, that you are so infuriated by this situation you find yourself in. Does it sooth your need for control, resorting to violence? I suppose, force can be effective means of achieving, and perhaps maintaining such a goal.”
As he spoke, they slowly, steadily, moved.
“Back then, when that man – Henry – used you, forced you into that situation, was that the first time you realized it? How helpless, so pathetic, one can be. Control, it was stripped from you then, but now, why should that be so? Why should you allow things out of your control, when you are confident that you can maintain it?”
He was silent for a moment.
“While you may try, perhaps even succeed in most facets of life, to maintain control…There is time, there are hardships. There is the law of the Universe.”
“No one can ever achieve true rule over the entirety of their life. However hard you may try.”
With each step, he drew closer to the knife.
With his last word, he came to rest the sole of his shoe on the knife.
Now, getting the opportunity to grab the knife, was another thing to consider.
Shifting his gaze back over to Futa, it was likely that he would be able to persuade the boy to attack her.
That would give him the window of opportunity required.
“This woman, she seems certain in leaving here, certain that you will allow them to live. But, what right does she have that allows her to say that? Is she, along with that man, not your ‘property’, as you so rightly put it?”
“Not only that, she appears to be determined to spoil your reunion. To take your brother away.”
Referring to the incident where Jess had been dared to rip off some of her nails, where Gem had been sick due to water inhalation, he continued, “Why be lenient to a person who almost allowed your brother to drown? She took a bit too long, that time, didn’t she?”
It did not matter whether Futa ultimately won the fight, if such a thing were to occur.
Simply, all that was required was a distraction.
Oliver smiled at Lola as she took his hand, reassured him that what he had done was not such a terrible thing.
Feeling her hand tremble, he was about to voice concern when she kissed him.
Get carried away together….
That sounds nice.
Kissing her back, both hands now on her hips, he pulled her closer.
Not wanting to press her against the hard wall of the cell, as that would surely be unpleasant, he moved her back down onto the cot.
Kissing her, moving his hands over her body, under her clothes, her hands doing the same to him, he found himself wincing a bit, at first.
The injuries he had attained from his fight with Mama were still sore – especially his ribs.
Yet, as they continued, things getting more intense, the pain became a faded memory; adrenaline serving to rid him of such unpleasantness.
Tenderly kissing her collar, her neck, he let his one hand wander down, tugging at her undergarment.
Kaya crept closer to Harkot as he said he heard the noise too. She strained her ears to locate the thing that was making the sound. She slowly turned and could hear something more clearly now. It sounded like someone was walking towards them slowly, limping. Or maybe it was more than one? “Can you see something?” she asked Harkot.
As soon as he was brought outside, Johnny started running. Soon his legs and lungs started burning, but he ignored it, running even faster. He ran without direction, just wanting to get away from that horrid place as fast as possible.
After he ran for what felt like an hour to him, he saw a building looming in the distance. He recognized it right away, and ran straight ahead until he reached it. He wanted to run inside, to find Mama, or maybe that psycho they were with, or really any person on his side. When he reached the door, instead of running inside he ran into someone, sending everyone falling to the floor. When he hit the floor he could hear his arm snap, and he cried out in pain. He tried to sit up, and scurried backwards until his back touched the wall. While still clutching his arm, Johnny looked over at the two others, a man and woman. Johnny vaguely recognized them, but was sure he never talked to them.
"Are you two okay?" he asked them through gritted teeth. He was trying to keep from screaming, his arm felt like it could never be used again.
"You idiot!" Gem groaned, as Jess attacked and confronted Johan. What followed was inevitable.
He watched as Tim’s head was slammed against the wall, and he went down, unmoving. And, as Johan deliberately pushed Jess back into the middle of the room, his gaze fell on the knife on the floor. That was what he was going for. If he managed to get a hold of it, his wish for them all to become corpses would surely come true.
Gem began to feel dismay sinking in, unsure of what to do next. Futa was a lost cause, Tim was useless, and Jess was too angry to think clearly. The only way to stop Johan now, was to get to the knife first. But even as he began to move, Johan’s foot landed on the handle. He was filling Jess’s head, the way he had done with Futa. The way he had done with…him. And then, to his horror, Johan continued his corruption of Futa’s fragile mind.
Futa watched Johan in mild interest, his mind still reeling. It was settled. He would make them all into corpses. And then they would have no choice but to stay with him forever. But when Johan’s attention switched back to him, he snapped back into reality, his anger rising again.
"She’s not going anywhere," he said firmly, making his way over to them. "I have no reason to let her live…They’re mine! She’s just trying to steal from me!”
And, at Johan’s comment about Gem, Futa snapped. He was right…Jess had almost allowed Gem to drown. If she had taken a few seconds longer…
He grabbed Jess by the hair for the second time, and pushed her against the wall, his eyes narrowed in suspicion. “You wanted him to drown, didn’t you?” he growled at her. “You didn’t want to have to go through another round…You know, Henry will be back up here soon, and when he gets here, I’m going to give you straight to him!”
The second Futa went for Jess, Gem scrambled for Johan, barging into him and pushing him as far away from the knife as he could. He hastily kicked the weapon under one of the beds, and sank his teeth into Johan’s hand. He was confident Jess could take Futa. She was stronger than him, and his compromised mental state would hopefully make him even easier to overpower. Right now, he had to focus on stopping Johan getting to the knife.
His jaw clenched down tightly, and he began to taste blood. But, Johan hadn’t reacted to the pain Jess had inflicted upon him before…it was doubtful whether a little blood would affect him now. Still, it was worth a try.
Rowan smiled at Ayva, relieved that he had been able to help, even if it was just a little. He opened his mouth to insist that he wasn’t wonderful, at all, when he heard her half request.
"Find some…what?" he asked, instantly regretting the question. Of course, she didn’t want to talk about whatever it was, right now. Hadn’t he silently promised he wouldn’t push her on the subject?
He hastily allowed the conversation to switch back to nature. “Well, to be honest, I didn’t pay much attention while I had the chance,” he admitted. “There didn’t seem to be much time to admire the scenery yesterday…and now it’s gone. But, we will find more.”
Not wanting to run the risk of her becoming uncomfortable, he removed his hands from her shoulders. But, just as he was about to continue the conversation, something crashed into the both of them, knocking them off their feet.
He sat up, his hand clutching his head where it had collided with the ground, and he turned irritated eyes towards Johnny. His anger faded, however, when he saw the condition Johnny was in. His arm aside, his expression and heavy breathing gave away the fact that he had been running from something terrible. Was it coming their way?
"I’m fine," he assured him, deciding not to talk for Ayva. "But, are you? You look like you’ve been dragged through a nightmare."
Jess was about to push back at Johan and fight back when she was grabbed by her hair by Futa. As he pulled her she stepped in one of the puddles of water.
Her head hit the floor with a loud sickening crack.
She went unconscious, the last thing she saw was the door opening and someone stepping inside.
Henry stepped into the room and saw Jess fall. He looked around the room and quickly saw Johan going for the knife under his feet. He grabbed the man by the collar of his shirt and pulled him up off his feet.
“Not so fast there little man.” He said in a calm cool voice and then bent to grab the knife.
Lola quickly pulled off Oliver’s cloths and smiled as he did the same to her. Things became almost playful, Lola laughed as he kissed her body. She ran her fingers down his spine and smiled as he looked at her.
“I want you…” She whispered their body’s moving against each other’s.
Watching as Futa grabbed hold of Jess, the boy’s fury ignited, Johan deliberately went for the knife.
Though it seemed acquiring the knife in this instance would not come to pass, as a body, smaller than his but quite forceful, shoved into him.
Keeping his composure and balance as Gem threw his body into him, pushing him back, it seemed things were not going as smoothly as was ideal.
Though he did not care.
Such was the way of the Universe.
As the boy sunk his teeth into his hand, he regarded him, keeping his expression constant.
Pain was pain, and it was not something worth expressing, nor would doing so be productive.
He had indeed felt worse.
“Perhaps, if you had gone for my neck and applied a bit more force, you could have been more productive.”
The boy’s grip on his hand was strong, and he knew that moving would incite more pain, but that did not matter.
Pulling the boy along, he made his way over to the bed the knife had slid under.
The boy tried to stop him, and was certainly determined to keep him from the knife, yet, of course, he was just a boy. Not fully grown, and not as strong as him.
Reaching down towards the bed, towards the knife, he heard a new set of footfalls enter the room.
Someone else was there.
But perhaps he would be able to get to the weapon in time.
Perhaps it was Gem that caused him to be slower than usual, or perhaps Henry was just quicker - it did not matter now, as he found himself turned around and grabbed.
His gaze wandered to the man’s eyes.
It seemed Henry had returned from letting Johnny go.
The man was quite large. Quite strong.
Though, of course, he did not care about such a thing.
Such as was usual, he felt nothing. He was simply an emotional void.
His expression ever calm, apathetic, voice steady and consistent, “That woman you so expressed desire for,” He indicated the now unconscious Jess, “Nearly escaped in your absence. Though it appears she is in a placid state as of now. Would it have mattered to you, if she had succeeded?”
With that short statement and question, he ceased talking.
He knew the right instances in which silence was required, such as he knew when talking was necessary.
It seemed silence on his part was appropriate.
He was confident that Futa would address the man, and have quite a bit to say to Henry.
(I’m not at all satisfied with what Johan said to Henry, though for some annoying reason I can’t think of anything better. Damn you, brain! Perhaps imagine he said something better? >…..<)
When Lola began undressing him, Oliver felt a brief, fleeting moment of self-consciousness.
What if she saw them?….all those scars….
…that certainly wouldn’t be an attractive sight.
Such thoughts only caused a minor falter in his movements however, as he realized there was nothing he could do about it. If she saw them, she saw them. If not, then great.
Though, he was not aware that on this body, there were no such scars.
Taking her clothes off, their bodies intertwined, the two of them took part in a dance millions of humans had done before them.
Many names are associated to such an act.
Some simply call it sex.
Though others, believe it to be making love.
To Oliver, it was more than simply “getting laid”….though could it be rightly referred to as “making love”?
…perhaps not, as they had only just recently met…
But that didn’t matter.
All he knew was that he cared for her, they were having fun, and both deriving pleasure.
That was all that mattered.
A long while later, when both reached maximum satisfaction, when it was finished, he found himself rolling over to lay beside Lola. In doing so, he nearly fell off the narrow surface of the cot.
Laughing slightly at his own clumsiness, he found himself taking a deep breath, closing his eyes.
His heart was still racing, blood still hot.
Laying there in silence, he came to realize that they had been gone for quite a while now….
…perhaps they should be heading back with the blankets…
Dismissing those thoughts, he rolled to his side, wrapped his arms around Lola and pulled her closer.
The cot was narrow, but, as close as they were, both of them were able to lay on it.
Burying his face in her curly, beautiful hair, nuzzling her neck a bit, he cuddled her.
Kissing her cheek, her ear, “I hope that was as good for you as it was for me.”
…What could staying here a bit longer harm?
Ayva shook her head at Rowan’s inquiry.
She was going to answer, perhaps something along the lines of “I don’t want you to think less of me”, but thought better of it.
It would not serve much of a purpose.
It would just complicate things.
The conversation shifted, and that’s what she focused her attention on.
She found herself nodding at his words.
It was quite true.
With everything that had happened, there hadn’t been much time for relaxation and admiration of the landscape.
At the end of his reply, his confidence gave her hope.
Smiling slightly, “I like your confidence. It’s almost contagious.”
When he moved his hands away from her shoulders, she was about to protest, but quickly, to her surprise, found the wind taken from her as some guy collided into them.
Finding herself now on her back, her body clutched in a vice of pain, she lay there for a while longer.
Eventually, she found herself slowly sitting up.
Before getting a good look at Johnny, her voice came out harsh, “What the hell was that for?! Couldn’t you have just watched where-…..”
As her eyes came to rest on the guy that had interrupted her and Rowan’s conversation, she found her expression softening slightly, voice trailing off.
He looked exhausted, terrified, and in deep pain, as if he had gone through a most unpleasant ordeal.
She found herself echoing Rowan’s concern, “…Did something…happen?”
Gem fought desperately against Johan as he approached the bed, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. He just wasn’t strong enough to stop him. He was seconds away from the knife…
But, just as Johan was about to reach for the weapon, Henry returned and swiftly grabbed him, taking the knife for himself. Gem slowly unclenched his jaw, releasing Johan, and slid to the floor, overwhelmed with despair. Now it really was over.
Futa stood over Jess, slightly disappointed that she was no longer conscious to feel the pain he had planned to inflict upon her. But, he brightened slightly as Henry came back into the room.
"You took your time," he scolded him. "He’s not lying. That bitch managed to get free, and set the other two off. You can have her." He approached Henry, his arms folded impatiently. "Take them down to the basement, now. That one you set free will bring the rest of the vermin back here with him, and we should hide these so they don’t get the chance to reunite before we kill them."
Gem raised one hand slowly, and gripped the leg of Johan’s trousers. “You haven’t won, either,” he said quietly, his voice empty and defeated. “I’ll make sure you don’t get to see us die.”
Lola smiled and stifled a giggle as Oliver almost fell off the cot. As he pulled her closer and held her Lola couldn’t help but smile even more. “Yes..” She whispered and kissed him sweetly, “That was amazing.” She said and rested her four-head against his. Her eyes fluttered shut and she let out a long sigh of content as he ran his finger over her skin.
“Do you think we should head back soon?” She asked, her eyes still shut. She didn’t want to move, she didn’t want this to end.
Lola knew that as things began to settle down she would most likely have fewer and fewer times like this with Oliver, she would have to be watching the children with Mama. Part of her was afraid to leave the cell, what if this had just beed for the sex for Oliver. She quickly pushed those thoughts out of her mind. After all, it wasn’t like they were together, if that was all it was for him then she would just have to accept that and get over it. She one thing she did know for sure was that she liked him, being around him made her calm, he was funny, she felt safe even though there was the ever present risk of that other personality appearing. She didn’t mind the risk though, if it meant she got to spend time with Oliver she was ok with it.
Henry scowled as Johan spoke and stared down at Jess’s unconscious body. He shrugged when Futa spoke then putting Johan down Henry said in a cold voice, “As long as I get to still have some…. Fun with her, I think I’ll live.” As he spoke he got an evil look in his eyes. It was sick, he was sick.
He slowly put Johan down and grabbed Tim and Jess and slung them both over his shoulders.
As he turned toward the door he looked back at Futa and grumbled, “Just give me some time alone with this one before you come down. Then you can kill her in what ever way suits you.” With that he took them down to the basement and began tying them up.
He put Tim in a corner of the room and made sure his hands and feet were secure and he was gaged before turning to Jess. He smiled and picked her up, carrying her around a corner he tied her arms right above her head and gaged her aswell. When he saw her start to come around he smiled and began to pull down his pants. “I’m glad your awake. It’s always more fun that way.” With that he went to work, and the basement was soon filled with the sound of groaning and muffled screams for help. Sadly for Jess they fell on deaf ears.
Finally it was over, as Henry got up and dressed himself, he untied her hands and then walked out, locking the door behind him. Jess could only lay on the dirty floor, her body seared with pain, tears flooded her eyes. She could hardly breath.
She prayed for death…
After a while she moved her arms and was able to take the gag out of her mouth. When she did she couldn’t help but let out a weak sob. As they walked Harkot heard the sound clearer and clearer. At first it sounded like someone walking but then it turned into a voice. He could faintly make out what was being said. Jacob walked a good distance behind the two lost looking people singing softly as they went a long. He made sure to stay in the shadows until he was sure what he wanted to do.
Futa watched Henry go, now almost completely calm once again. “I’ll be down there to finish them off soon, so hurry up!” he called after him as he replaced the boards at the door. Then he made his way back over to Gem.
"What is he going to do to her?" Gem asked, in the same, defeated voice. He wasn’t even aware that he was still clutching onto Johan’s trousers.
"You don’t know?" Futa asked, raising his eyebrows slightly as he knelt down and pried Gem’s hand away from Johan, and began to tie him up for a second time. Gem didn’t flinch, or attempt to fight him. He was finally broken. Futa smiled, and dragged Gem back to the bed. "He’s going to destroy her. When I get down there, she will be begging for death.
"I don’t want him to hurt her," Gem whispered.
Futa put his hand on Gem’s damp hair, and began to untangle it. “I know,” he said softly. “But you’re going to stop caring soon. I’m going to kill you now. Then you can be mine forever. There will be no more foolish attempts to escape, or pointless feelings of concern for other people. You’ll belong to me, and only me.”
He continued to untangle Gem’s hair, and began to sing softly, the lullaby their mother had sang to them as children.
Gem closed his eyes, no longer caring what Futa did to him. As he gave into his exhaustion and fell asleep, Futa stopped singing and turned to Johan.
"I want to wait a while," he decided. "There’s no rush, is there?" He smiled brightly, as he removed his hand from Gem’s hair, and stood up. "Thank you for helping me. I don’t know what I would have done if they’d escaped."
Tim slowly began to regain conscious, the muffled sound of someone crying meeting his ears. He opened his eyes, wincing in pain, and realized, with dismay, that he was tied up and in another unfamiliar place.
When he saw Jess, however, he froze. She was sprawled on the floor looking absolutely distraught. Her clothes were torn, and…
As it hit him, what must have happened, he felt sick. He tried to call out to her, but realized there was something in his mouth, stopping him. Instead, he began to shuffle over to where she was. As he moved, however, his foot brushed against something cold and metallic, which skidded away across the concrete floor.
Was that…the knife? His heart beginning to pound with hope, he switched directions, and went for the knife. Once it was in reach, he kicked it back towards his hands and grabbed it, cutting the rope that bound him, with difficulty.
It seemed to take an age to break, but eventually he managed it. He removed the gag from his mouth, untied his feet, and immediately ran to Jess’s side. “Are you…” he began to ask. But of course she wasn’t ok. He pulled her into a hug, his anger reaching boiling point. “I’m sorry, I let them hurt you.”
Kaya and Harkot and had slowly started walking again, but before long Kaya stopped in her tracks again, body tensed. She had no idea why her body reacted this way. She strained her ears and her grip on Harkot’s arm tightened. She could still hear the person walking behind them. Was that.. was he.. singing? It sounded faintly familiar.
Suddenly she knew. Suddenly she recognized the voice. But it couldn’t be. He was below ground. She was never going to see him ever again. She wanted to scream and cry and run. But all she could do was just stand there.
At Rowan’s and Ayva’s questions the memories of the last few hours that Johnny had pushed away in his mind flooded back in his head. He screwed his eyes shut and tried to clear his mind. He couldn’t. The images of Tim’s finger being cut off and Jess tearing her nails out couldn’t leave his mind.
When he opened his eyes there was somehow more pain and stress than before. “I found some of the others.” He started. “I set out to find food with Tim and.. and then Jess.. all my fault..” his voice trailed off. He dropped his head on his knees for a while. Then he looked back up at them, with a bit of renewed strength.
“We have to find them. There are others there, others that have evil intent. Others that we haven’t met before. I have to talk to Mama. Gem is there too.”
Smile broadening, Oliver was glad to hear that Lola did indeed enjoy herself.
He didn’t like intimate relations as much if the other person wasn’t having a good time.
He wasn’t purely into it for his own satisfaction.
As Lola came to rest her forehead on his, he found himself wishing the moment would freeze, stand still in time for at least a minute longer.
Though, hearing Lola’s voice, her question, he found himself disappointed. Even though he knew they should head back, he was reluctant.
Staying here…that would be so nice.
Face expressing his hesitance, his hand stopped, fingers hovering over her skin.
“Yeah….I suppose we’ve been gone for quite a while now, huh?”
Letting his hand lay on her leg, he glanced over to the scattered blankets before returning his attention to Lola.
Voice slightly hushed, “It would be nice though…to stay here, like this, for a while longer…”
Kissing her again, he turned over to the clothes by the bed.
Slowly reaching for the dress, and the rest of Lola’s clothes that they had left askew on the floor, he rolled back over to presented them to her.
Smile slightly silly and expression sheepish, he was about to hand them over, “I guess you’d like these back then?”
Johan remained silent as he was set down, Henry becoming more interested in other things.
Observing, ever silently, he watched as Jess and Tim were carried out by Henry.
Glancing down at the boy who was clinging to his trousers, he felt responding to him was unnecessary.
Winning, losing, such things were not relevant. They did not exist.
One cannot win. Simply, there is only the prospect of dieing sooner, ‘prematurely’, or dieing later.
He continued to maintain his silence as Futa came over and detached the boy from his pants.
Listening as Futa tied up the boy, and said his piece, it seemed Gem had drifted off into unconsciousness.
Gaze directed at Futa as he spoke to him, it seemed the boy thought him an ally.
He neither acknowledged nor denied whether his actions were to benefit Futa.
Having the boy think that – at least for the moment - was of no consequence, so he would allow him to continue to believe that which he had assumed.
Speaking while slowly and deliberately walking over to the two, he addressed Futa’s inquiry, “Perhaps waiting is not the preferable course.”
“Have you forgotten? Just moments ago, your brother nearly escaped. Is it necessary, to take such a risk? To risk abandonment?”
"To risk, perhaps, never seeing him again?”
He was aware that there were no obvious weapons present in the room - now that the knife had been removed – though, despite this, he was certain that he would be able to end their lives.
He was efficient in these matters.
He knew the proper way to choke someone. To crush the windpipe.
He knew the proper way to snap a neck, to effortlessly sever the connection between the brain and central nervous system.
There were also walls, so, if need be, he could very well use it as a surface on which to crack Futa’s skull open.
He knew how to end life.
And he was proficient.
If it turned out that Futa preferred not to kill the sleeping boy, it would be necessary for him to act at that point.
As his last question entered the air, he found himself standing within arms length of Futa.
If it did become necessary to kill both himself, he knew that taking care of the currently awake one would be required.
First Futa, then the other boy.
He waited for Futa’s response.
Ayva, listening to Johnny speak, grew both worried and slightly intrigued.
When he mentioned it being his fault, she felt the urge to deny it, to reassure him that it wasn’t his fault, but…She really didn’t know.
She had no idea what had happened, what the situation had been.
It was safer, in her opinion, to stay silent on that point.
None of the names Johnny spoke of sounded familiar, as she hadn’t been introduced to any of them….though….
Maybe this ‘Mama’ woman was the one who had stood up for her against that psycho earlier? The one who had been carrying those babies?
Gingerly, still uncertain, she pointed through the entrance of the prison.
Glancing at Rowan, as if asking him, her voice came out hesitantly, “I think Mama is that woman down the hall…in the room with all those kids.”
Looking back over to Johnny, Worried by his previous comment, she decided to press the subject, “Others….people with ‘evil intent’…What exactly happened there?”
Lola slowly opened her eyes and looked up at Oliver as he handed her the cloths they had thrown to the floor. She have him a soft smile and reached for them.
As they dressed and started gathering the blankets Lola couldn’t help but glance over at Oliver often. She smiled when he looked at her as well, “What are you lookin at?” She chirped playfully scrunching her nose.
Harkot heard the singing and quickly pulled Kaya close to him and covered her with his trench coat. “It’s going to be ok.” He whispered squeezing her shoulders gently to help her feel better.
As they continued walking Harkot picked up a large branch, almost the size of his own arm. It had sharp smaller branches on it and would make a good club weapon. Though he hoped they were only hearing things due to lack of sleep or food and he wouldn’t have to use it.
Katana and Shou had been scouring the whole complex and had found a lot of stuff. Some of it they didn’t know what it was but some, like blankets, knives, pipes they could use as weapons old bones they could sharpen. They knew what those were. Katana smiled as the walked into the room across from the nursery, “we should use this as a supply room.” He said pointing out the shelves, “we can put the weapons up there so the children don’t get a hold of them.” As he spoke he heard voices and looked back at Shou, “who do you suppose that is?” He asked a big smile in his face.
Jess could hardly lift her head to look at Tim. She leaned her head on his chest and cried quietly.
After a while she fell asleep, but even in her dreams she had no escape from this place and she woke with a start. She looked up at Tim who was still holding her close, and rocking back and fourth gently.
“I’m…. Sorry…” She whispered, her voice was raspy and her mouth was dry.
“If I hadn’t fallowed… Everything would be fine.”
She wanted to cry, but couldn’t anymore. A small pathetic smile on her face she continued talking.
“Mama said I should marry you…
She said we make a good match.”
Jess laughed softly but this only caused her to cough.
She caught her breath then said in a bitter voice, “Its alright if you don’t want to. I wouldn’t want to marry me either…. I’m rotten…” She looked away from Tim and her eyes fell on the spot when Henry had attacked her. She just stared….
As Futa watched Johan approach him, he couldn’t help feeling a little strange, as though there was danger somewhere nearby, but he pushed the feeling to the back of his mind.
"I don’t think he will try to run any more," he insisted, although his voice was uncertain. He looked down at Gem, who was fast asleep, a tear in the corner of his right eye. Would he still try to leave if he was given the chance?
"I’m not sure if I want to say goodbye, yet…"
But, at Johan’s last words, his mind was made up. He couldn’t risk not being able to see his brother again. At least dead, he couldn’t go anywhere. He wouldn’t hear his voice, or see the smile he remembered so well, but he would be able to ensure that he never left.
With a small, sad nod, he pulled the rotten blanket from the bed, and rolled Gem onto his back, folding the blanket over and over until it was a neat, thick square. Taking one last look at Gem’s sleeping face, and brushing a strand of wet hair out of his eyes, he lowered the blanket over his mouth and nose, holding it firmly.
"It was not a dream!" Harley hissed for the fifth time, as she and Jack made their way up to the third floor. "I don’t care what that man said, I know what happened. Someone hit me. And they took Johan, I’m sure of it.”
"I’m sure he can take care of himself," Jack grumbled, not particularly caring whether Johan was in trouble or not.
As they reached the boarded up door, Harley pressed her ear to it, a little more cautiously this time. Someone was speaking…Was that…Johan’s voice? She couldn’t make out what he was saying, but he sounded uninjured. She let out a sigh of relief.
A second voice responded, also familiar. It was that boy. The one who had been covered in blood.
"Are you going in there or not?" Jack asked impatiently.
"Shh!" Harley shushed him. The voices had stopped. Panicking, worried the boy had grown bored with Johan, Harley kicked the boards covering the door, snapping them and sending the pieces spinning into the room.
"Johan! Are you ok?" she asked, hurrying over to him.
Futa jumped, letting go of the blanket, and glaring towards the door, just as Jack followed his sister inside. “What the hell?” he demanded furiously. Infuriated further as he realized Harley was the one who had tried to interfere before. Maybe he should have killed her back then.
The sceptical look on Jack’s face faded into one of horror as he looked around the room; at the blood on the walls, the…dolls, the bones and…was that a severed head with gauged out eyes? Finally, his gaze fell to the boy on the bed, who was tied up and in a horrible condition. It was the boy he had been looking for. And now his suspicions were confirmed. “You sick bastards,” he growled, hurrying over to the bed and pushing Futa out of the way.
"Get away from him!" Futa screamed, grabbing Jack’s arm as he began to untie Gem. "Stop interfering! This has nothing to do with you!"
Jack gave Futa another shove, this time pushing him into the wall. He managed to untie the last of the ropes, and lifted Gem off the bed, quickly checking that he was breathing.
"The poor thing…" Harley whispered, watching her brother with concern in her eyes. She rounded on Johan, her eyes narrowed. "Are you going to explain yourself? I know these people are in some kind of petty war with the cannibals, but are you really helping that crazy boy kill a child?”
Shou folded up the extra blankets and placed them on a lower shelf, nodding at Katana’s suggestion.
At the sound of the voices, he glanced back towards the door curiously. But as he moved, he accidentally knocked the pile of bones they had neatly stacked by the door, and it fell with a clatter. “Oh…” he gasped. “I’m sorry.”
He listened again, and the voices continued, as though undisturbed by the noise. However, the noise had disturbed one of the children across the hall, and the air was soon filled with the sound of crying.
And a moment later, an angry face appeared at the door. “What are you two idiots doing?” Mama demanded. She had half expected to see Oliver and Lola and was surprised to see the two she barely knew.
Shou hastily began to pile the bones back up again. “We found these,” he chimed happily, looking up at the screaming baby in her arms. “They might be useful…” He drifted off, seeing the dark bags beneath Mama’s eyes. “Would you like us to look after the children for you?” he asked, forgetting to ask Katana whether that was what he wanted to do.
At the sceptical look Mama gave him, Shou hastily continued. “I’m good with children,” he insisted. “And Katana has been thinking of their safety too. He’s the one who suggested we put the weapons up there.” He gestured to the higher shelves. “So the children wouldn’t get hurt.”
Mama was about to express her uncertainty, when the voices outside became more urgent. “You can watch them for five minutes,” she said, finally giving in and handing Sorren to Katana. Then she turned and hurried to the door to hear what the commotion was.
Rowan was also unfamiliar with the names Johnny used, but, as he mentioned ‘others’, his heart began to pound with hope. “Who did you find?” he asked before he could stop himself. “Was there anyone who looked like me?” He forced himself to stop, as Ayva gestured towards the door.
"Yeah, I think she’s Mama," he agreed, attempting to stay calm. "We’ll take you to her." He got to his feet and began to help the other two up, half listening as Ayva asked about the ones with ‘evil intent’. If his brother and sister really were there…were they in danger? He had to doubt it. They were more than capable of taking care of themselves.
Well. Harley was, anyway.
Just as he was about to lead the way back inside, however, something large and blonde whirled into their midst, and approached Johnny.
Mama’s eyes were wide with disbelief, but she managed to reign in her emotions. “Where have they gone?” she demanded. “I highly doubt it was your fault if that idiot Tim was involved…But you must take us to them immediately…” Her voice drifted off, and a certain desperation sparked in her eyes. “Are you sure Gem was really there?” she asked, her voice betraying that she believed Johnny was playing some sort of sick joke.
Rowan stood beside Ayva, his eyebrows raised. “I guess we were right about her being Mama.”
"What are you sorry for?" Tim asked, his voice uncharacteristically soft. He frowned as Jess spoke, wondering why she had followed in the first place.
But then it struck him. Mama had put the idea into her head? “Mama?” he repeated bitterly. “Is she the reason you came after us?” He clenched his fists furiously. “I should have known this would all be her fault. I bet she let you run off on your own when you had no idea where you were going. It’s her fault this happened to you!”
He broke off when Jess called herself rotten. “Who says I don’t still want you?” he demanded. “I don’t think you’re rotten. I think the ones who did this to you are rotten…It will be ok, now.” He got to his feet, gently lifting Jess into his arms, and made his way towards the door of the basement. It was blocked by something on the other side, but he knew it wouldn’t take too much force to break it down.
"You sit here, ok?" he said, lowering Jess to the floor. "I’ll get you out of here."
Putting on his clothes, Oliver couldn’t help but glance over at Lola as she too got dressed.
She was certainly a lovely sight to look at, very pleasing to the eye.
But, that wasn’t something that was overly important to him.
From the time he had spent with her so far, he felt that she was a wonderful person, with a loving personality.
She was clearly quite strong.
Just…a person he wanted to spend more time with.
Slightly surprised, startled when Lola noticed him admiring her, he couldn’t suppress his embarrassment.
Why should I be embarrassed?
Knowing that he was being a bit ridiculous, considering the intimate activity they recently took part in, he smiled, “Oh, just admiring you, that’s all.”
While the nagging temptation to apologize surfaced, he did not indeed succumb to it, as it seemed she was not at all offended by his gaze.
She seemed satisfied by his answer, as she simply smiled and shifted to put on her dress.
Thinking that he should maybe, probably, stop looking at her, he bent down to pick up the rest of the blankets.
Though, he found his eyes constantly being drawn back to her.
As he began to stand back up, blankets in hand, he watched as she turned slightly…..noticed something…
Some of the skin on her back seemed…shinier than normal skin…more puckered in some areas…
Smile flickering away, faltering, he realized what they were.
He felt upset with himself.
How did I not notice them before?
Concern rising, he stood up fully, and, without noticing, dropped the blankets where he stood.
He didn’t care if the blankets got even more filthy.
Kicking the blankets out of the way, he went over to Lola.
As soon as he was close enough, he gently put his arms around her, embracing her.
Expression sad, his voice was soft, “I’m sorry.”
While he understood that drawing attention to scars was not something most people liked, he found himself running his fingers across her back.
Realizing what he was doing he caught himself, stopping his hand.
He was slightly annoyed with himself for such an insensitive act.
He didn’t want to cause her any further emotional distress.
Holding her, he apologized, “I’m sorry…If you ever want to talk about it, I’m here.”
Watching as Futa decided to end his brother’s life, Johan was silent.
Once that boy was dead, he would kill Futa.
Hearing the boards be forcefully broken, he calmly turned to see Harley run over to him, her brother entering the room as well.
He watched the scene silently as Jack overpowered Futa and rescued the boy from suffocation.
No. Not everything goes according to one’s own plans.
As Harley directed her suspicions toward him, he remained silent for a short moment.
Without a weapon, he knew killing these people would take a degree of struggle and time.
It would certainly not be a quick thing.
Now, would such actions be necessary? Would the struggle be worth ending their lives now?
Perhaps, in this circumstance, it would be necessary to postpone.
It did not matter.
Their deaths can be accomplished on a later date.
Gaze on Harley, he took on a defensive, slightly hurt expression, “From the knowledge you have gathered, from all you know about this situation we find ourselves in, what do you believe? Do you truly think I would participate in such a thing?”
He paused for a moment.
Feeling fresh blood from the scratch Futa had given him earlier running down the side of his face, he deliberately chose his injured, still bleeding hand, to wipe at his cheek.
Smearing more blood on his face in the process, he moved his hand away from his face and looked at his tooth-marked extremity.
All that he had just done was what some would refer to as a “show”.
Bringing the injuries he had acquired to light, in front of Harley, emphasizing them, perhaps her sympathies would be directed away from the boy.
Such a thing may distract from the situation.
Eyes focused on Harley, he put down his hand, a bit of blood dripping on his clothes, he continued, “Perhaps…you don’t trust me?”
Katana looked at the baby a little shocked at first, but after a moment he smiled and cradled the infant in his big arms.
“Well hello there. Aren’t you a cute little pudgy fella!”
Katana’s smile grew as the baby giggled and reached up for Katana’s head. Suddenly his head was jerked down as Sorren grabbed a handful of Katana’s hair and pulled it down. He quickly began to chew on the hair in his hand, though because of the baby’s lack if teeth he was more like gumming on Katana’s hair.
“Uhhh… A little help?… Please?…” Katana said not moving, he didn’t want to upset Sorren again.
Lola jumped a little when Oliver suddenly spun her around and hugged her. At first she was slightly confused but when she felt his fingers on her scars she felt a lump form in her throat.
“It… It’s from when I got caught… They beat me…”
She leaned her head on Oliver’s shoulder and sighed.
“The liked to beat a lot of the women they caught. I think it made them feel stronger…” She smiled and looked up at Oliver, “I’m fine.” She reassured him and placed her hand gently on his cheek.
Jess leaned on the wall Tim had set her against. She watched as he tried to break the door down, after a moment she shook her head a muttered softly, “Why not just let them kill us?….” She looked down at her hands and took a deep breath.
“We are probably going to die anyway. Why not get it over with.”
She saw the knife that Tim had and as he tried to break the door again she grabbed his hand. “Please?…” She looked up into his eyes, it was almost to much to believe…
She was begging…
“Please, just kill me.”
She smiled softly up at him as he stared at her awe struck.
"I…" Harley began, her expression softening slightly as she saw the hurt look in Johan’s eyes, and the blood on his face. "Of course not," she said apologetically, watching as he tried to wipe away the blood, his hand also injured.
That horrible boy had been hurting him, as well. But still…
"But I heard you talking," she continued slowly. "You seemed so calm…I…I’m sorry. You’ve been going through Hell and I had the nerve to suspect you. Of course I trust you. Here.”
She tore a strip of material from her sleeve, and gently began to wrap it around Johan’s injured hand. “Did he bite and scratch you?” she asked incredulously. “What kind of animal is he?” She gave Futa a disgusted look as he began to recover.
Jack was too busy checking Gem’s condition to listen or protest to what his sister was saying. He closed his eyes impatiently as Futa grabbed him a second time.
"Give him back!" Futa screamed. "You can’t do that! You can’t just take him!"
"Watch me," Jack snapped back at him, giving him a third shove, this time not holding back. Futa fell to the floor hard and hit his head on the bed frame, instantly knocked out.
Now that disturbance was gone, he could focus on finding Gem’s pulse. A soft flutter met his fingers, and he sighed with relief. The boy was alive. Barely, but at least he stood a chance.
He turned to Harley, and scowled when he saw what she was doing. “You’re not still going to worship the ground that creep walks on?” he demanded. “Didn’t you see what he was just doing?”
"He wasn’t doing anything," Harley said stubbornly.
Jack was about to yell at her to wake up and realize that Johan was no good, but as he opened his mouth, the boy in his arms stirred, instinctively burying himself into his chest, as though sensing safety there.
"Whatever," Jack grumbled. "Let’s just get out of here." He turned towards the destroyed entrance, and marched out angrily.
Sighing, Harley finished bandaging Johan’s hand, and, tearing off a second strip for him to hold to his face, she turned to follow her brother.
Shou placed the last of the bones back on top of the pile with a satisfied smile. He turned to look at Katana when he asked for help, and couldn’t help laughing.
"Aw, how sweet," he cooed, making his way over to them, and stroking Sorren’s soft hair. He gently took Sorren from Katana, detaching his hair from the baby’s surprisingly strong grip, and held him to his chest. "Push your hair back," he said, his eyes never leaving Sorren’s peaceful face. "I’m going to give him back to you…It’s so cute seeing someone as tall as you holding someone so tiny. And I think he likes you."
Once Katana’s hair was safely out of the way, Shou carefully handed the infant back to him. “Have you ever held one of these before?”
Tim never stopped kicking the door, even as Jess spoke. At first, he only half listened, aware that she was upset, and vulnerable to all sorts of horrible thoughts.
But, when she grabbed his hand, he stopped, and looked back at her, his eyes wide with shock. No one had ever asked him to kill them before. And, although she was a mole, no matter how they bathed her, or what they gave her to wear, he didn’t want to kill her.
He shook his head angrily. “Sit back down,” he said firmly. “I’ll have the door open soon. They won’t kill us. Not while I have this knife. We’ll both get out of here, and I’ll find somewhere for you to bathe again. I’ll kill every one of them I come across, so they can’t hurt you any more.”
He continued kicking at the door, feeling slightly light headed now. It occurred to him that he had lost a lot of blood, and, although the adrenaline was stopping the pain now, he knew that once he and Jess were out of there, and somewhere safe, his hand would be in a world of pain.
Eventually, there was a satisfying crack, and the door swung open. He put the knife into his belt, and gently began to pick Jess up.
But then he saw them. The scars on her back.
"Did they do this to you, too?" he whispered.
Harley glanced back at Futa as they reached the door. She would have felt sorry for him, if what he had been doing wasn’t so unforgivable.
"I’m sure you did all you could do," she said quietly to Johan. "Maybe staying calm was best…If he was so unhinged. How could he think killing was the best way to solve his abandonment issues? I want to know what idiot put that idea in his head in the first place. If we hadn’t got here when we had…he would have killed you both…"
She didn’t want to think about it. “We should have got here earlier, before he could hurt you at all. I’m sorry.” Sadly, she shook her head. “Don’t thank me, I allowed it to happen.”
They reached the staircase before she was able to clear her head enough to answer Johan’s question. “We have to get out of here,” she replied. “It’s not just that boy…All of these people are untrustworthy. We don’t know what they’ll do to that boy if we let them take care of him.”
Gem was still fast asleep in Jack’s arms, and barely moved as they made their way down to the next corridor. And while Harley was aware that he and Johan both still needed medical attention, they couldn’t wait around here to get it. It was too dangerous.
"We’re untrustworthy?" a voice interrupted, and a figure appeared at the end of the corridor. It was Rosie. "Don’t you think that’s a little harsh?"
"Not after what we just saw," Jack shot back angrily. "Get out of the way, we’re leaving."
Rosie narrowed her eyes at them, but maintained her composure. She looked past the triplets, at Johan. “One of you is injured,” she said calmly. “Why don’t you stay and let us help?”
Kaya felt numb, she didn’t feel anything in her mind or body. At some point she came back to her senses, and she noticed they had started walking again. The voice, his voice, was still following them. A tear slipped down her cheek. When she spoke, her voice came out a whisper, barely audible.
"That voice. I know it." She stopped whispering, trying to listen if he wa still following them. Even more quietly than before, she whispered. "It’s his voice, Harkot. His.”
At Ayva’s question, Johnny looked over at her. “There is another group of people, in another buidling. I only saw three rooms, but somehow it looked like a school. I saw horrible things there..” his voice trailing off as Mama came around the corner.
Johnny cringed away from Mama as she yelled at him, the pain in his arm worsening. “Yes, yes I’m sure that Gem was there.” he said quietly to her. “He wasn’t doing very well, but he was alive. There was a young boy there, I think around the same age as Gem, but with black hair. He seemed to be the leader. He tortured everyone.”
Johnny stopped talking for a second and then he looked Mama right in the eye. “He tortured Gem the worst, but he also seemed attached to him the most. I will take you to there if you want, but I am not going in there again.”
Focus split between observing Jack and listening to Harley, Johan kept his eyes on her, appearing as though she were the center of his attention.
As Harley apologized, it appeared as though she had genuine interest and concern on his behalf.
He was used to such cursory things.
In his life beneath the surface, he encountered it quite often. People being kind, courteous, expressing interest and concern for him, people wanting him on their side, for their own purposes.
Though, the degree to which she seemed to care was slightly different.
It was curious.
Yes, indeed, though such things were worthless.
They didn’t matter.
“Yes. Staying calm, keeping a cool demeanor under such extenuating circumstances, perhaps it wasn’t the best strategy. That boy, he is quite…erratic.”
He shrugged, “It seemed to be the preferable decision at the time.”
He glanced down at his hand for a second as Harley began to wrap it. Returning his gaze to her eyes, he nodded.
“Yes. Though, the damage isn’t as serious as it could have been. That boy, he is quite disturbed.”
Gesturing towards Gem, “The other boy, apparently he’s his brother…”
"The ‘kind of animal’ that boy is, is one of delusion and paranoia. He was spouting nonsense about being ‘abandoned again’. He is quite possessive of his brother, as if he belongs to him. He seemed to think that by killing him, he would have his brother forever.”
“Who would have known, such a young person would suffer from such a mental state, and be able to inflict such damage.”
Looking past Harley, he observed the interaction between Jack and Futa.
The boy was quite persistent, but of course, proved no match against a fully grown man.
At Jack’s forceful shove, Futa came to rest on the floor.
Still, silent, it seemed he was now in the realm of unconsciousness.
Hearing Jack’s irritated voice, he remained silent, as he was confident that his opinions would fall on deaf ears.
That Harley would not believe him.
That she would deny it.
And, indeed, she did.
Holding the material Harley had handed to him against the side of his face, he walked beside her as they followed after her brother.
Turning to Harley as they walked, he knew that the showing of gratitude was required, “Thank you, for the make-shift medical aid.”
Glancing back down at his wrapped hand, he knew that further treatment was required to stave off infection.
The human mouth is by no means a sanitary environment.
Though, such things were not worth considering.
Looking at Jack’s back as they left the room, he glanced down the hall, “May I inquire as to where we are headed?”
Brows furrowing at Lola’s words, Oliver put a hand against the back of her head.
Stroking her hair as she spoke, explaining how the officers, the supposed ‘harbingers of justice’, did this to her.
He felt a deep sadness for Lola.
Sadness intermingled with rising disappointment, surging anger.
People in positions of power…of authority….why did they always seem to abuse it?
He couldn’t understand it.
Why…How…How could anyone derive pleasure from someone else’s pain? Someone else’s suffering?!
Looking down at Lola as she touched his face, her own face smiling, it seemed he was more distraught than she was.
Voice soft, sad, “I’m sorry. I guess I forgot…you are strong.”
Twirling the curls of her hair in between his fingers, his other hand against her face, thumb stroking her cheek, he looked into her eyes, “But…you know, don’t you? You must know you didn’t deserve that..no one deserves that…Those men…those bastards…Corrupt, disgusting assholes…”
He shook his head.
The anger and frustration was clear in his voice, and while he was indeed angry…for some reason…
Why? Why couldn’t he hate them? They were scum, weren’t they? To do such a thing…
Maybe they had personal issues….
What the hell am I thinking?! Making excuses for those people….
A loud, amused laugh ripped through his brain.
Pathetic as usual, huh? No surprises there. You never did have any balls. Any nerve.
That woman there, she’s more of a man than you.
That’s one of the only smart things you’ve accomplished, actually! Fucking that woman.
That was quite the fun time!
….please….just be quiet….please….
Next time, I’m gonna have to have her my way!
You!….you are not going to touch her! Ever!
Just watch me.
Fingers twitching against Lola’s face slightly, he withdrew his hand, trying to ignore that mocking voice.
Forcing a small smile, he kissed her nose, “If there’s anything bothering you, or if you feel you need to express something, anything, you can tell me.”
Hands moving to help her finish putting on her dress, he kept his eyes on her face, staring into her eyes, “I hope you realize that I am here for you. That I…I care for you.”
“I plan to stay around, with you…And I don’t intend on leaving.”
He paused for a moment, “If that’s alright with you.”
Saying this, he knew that he meant every word of it.
He did care for her…
Even if that voice mocked him for it.
He hoped he wasn’t coming on too strong.
Hoped that he wasn’t pushing her away.
Maybe it would be better, if he pushed her away…
Maybe she would be safer…
But, he didn’t want that to happen.
He didn’t want to have to stay away from her.
I can do it…I can control it.
I won’t let that monster near her.
Oliver was serious in this. Resolute.
Tom though, he simply found the concept amusing.
Glancing at Harley as she talked, their little group continued down the corridor.
Johan shrugged slightly, “Perhaps, though it makes one wonder whether there was any preferable course of action in such a situation - as you mentioned, he would have surely ended our lives regardless.”
“Who knows what gave him that idea. Perhaps an outside source, though it is not unheard of for the human mind to warp and wander so far from sanity and logic.”
Shaking his head at Harley’s next words, slight guilt in her voice, his own voice came out soft, soothing, “You should clear your head of such thoughts. Regret is never productive, and, in this instance, is unfounded. You were rendered unconscious, after all.”
Contemplating his options, it seemed the most preferable course of action would be to stay in the building for a little while longer.
Eyes on Harley, Jack, and Gem, his own course of action seemed clear.
Having them stay would increase the likelihood of their deaths occurring.
This place was large, and it was quite possible that he would be able to find another weapon. And perhaps the opportunity to end their lives would present itself.
Eyes resting on the woman in front of them, “Yes, it seems your group should be regarded cautiously. Considering everything that happened.”
“Perhaps you should consider a different method of dealing with that boy, Futa. As, if I recall correctly, your group claimed to reserve its lust for blood for those ‘cannibals’. Yet, those of us who are not in fact cannibals found ourselves in a situation where Futa, and that large man - Henry, found it amusing to subject us to treatment that was in direct conflict with your group’s claims.”
“My injuries pale in comparison to what the others received.”
By mentioning the others, he knew it was highly probable that Harley would inquire and try to seek them out, as she seemed to posses a sense of justice and compassion towards others.
In that instance, he could lead them off somewhere, isolate them…
Attention snapping back to Johnny as he spoke, addressing her question, Ayva suppressed the urge to raise an eyebrow in doubt, ignoring her usual skepticism, as it did seem that Johnny was telling the truth.
Mind distracted, her voice came out far away, quiet, “Another group, eh?…”
About to ask about the ‘horrible things’ Johnny claimed he had saw, that blond haired woman appeared.
Taking a step back from the interaction between Johnny and Mama, as it seemed they had some talking to do, she looked over at Rowan and nodded, “It appears so, doesn’t it…”
Watching the two, she felt her stomach turn at the thought of going to that building. It wasn’t particularly due to fear. Rather, it was because she was aware of her own condition.
She knew that, if she did go, she would not be able to help much. Perhaps she would even be a hindrance.
Voice low, directed at Rowan, “It seems some people need help…What role are you going to play? Are you going to help them?”
Mama released Johnny slowly and took a step back, a mixture of emotions running through her. Relief came first, but as he spoke, she began to feel sick, worried, terrified.
"Tortured?" she repeated, her voice quiet, almost eerily calm. She couldn’t believe that a boy the same age as Gem would do, or even be able to torture an entire group of people without being stopped. Why hadn’t Johnny overpowered him on his way out? Why hadn’t he saved Gem?
She closed her eyes. That didn’t matter now. They needed to get there as fast as they could. She would be able to question that boy once she had stopped him. “I wouldn’t expect you to go back in there,” she said, a grateful note in her voice. “Take me there, now.”
Rowan listened intently to the exchange between Mama and Johnny. Although he felt slight concern for those mentioned…being tortured, he couldn’t even imagine what that was like…he was more anxious to know whether his brother and sister were there. But what could he do if they were?
Mama seemed strong. She looked confident that she could take on whatever obstacles were in the way of saving the others.
And what if Harley and Jack weren’t there? He would be getting in the way for nothing. And then, there was Ayva…
He forced a smile as Ayva spoke, and shrugged, trying to look unconcerned. “I’m no hero,” he replied. “Besides, I think she’s got things under control. By the sounds of it, her opponent is a little boy. It would be cruel to outnumber him too much.”
He began to turn away, refusing to let Ayva see the guilt carved into his expression.
Rosie frowned in confusion as Johan spoke. “Futa knows not to harm our new recruits,” she said slowly. “I’m not too surprised, though. But…Henry. I didn’t expect that kind of behaviour from him.”
"Well the evidence is right in front of you, isn’t it?" Harley hissed at her. "Now let us-" she stopped when Johan mentioned others. She turned to him, her brow furrowed. "There were more of you in there?" she asked.
Jack shifted his position, so Gem rested more comfortably in his arms, and took a step back from Rosie as she approached them. But it seemed she was not interested in harming the boy.
"We have been considering for a while now what to do with that…demon," she said quietly, as though afraid Futa would hear her. "If you’ll just return to the dormitory, I will let this incident slide."
"Excuse me?" Harley snapped, her attention springing back to Rosie. "You’ll let it slide? You? Are you being serious? They were almost murdered by that demon, and you’re going to forgive us? We’re not going anywhere with you. We’re finding the others, and leaving!”
"You’ll never get that cannibal out of here alive," Rosie said shortly.
"And you’re going to stop us, are you?" Jack demanded, looking as though he was ready to punch her. And he might have done, if he hadn’t been carrying the unconscious Gem.
Rosie put a hand to her forehead. “Listen,” she growled. “I will go get the others. You wait in the dormitory. I will see to it that you all receive medical attention, and then you can leave if you still want.”
"I’m coming with you to get the others," Harley said firmly.
"Fine," Rosie grumbled. Then she turned to Johan, who seemed to be the calmest. "Do you have any idea where they were taken?"
While most of Ayva’s attention was on Rowan, she did indeed continue to listen as Mama questioned Johnny.
It seemed that the two were both emotionally invested in the situation at that building…
She felt slightly awkward, as she didn’t even know who they were talking about…this “Gem” person that they both seemed so concerned about…Tim…Jess….
Whoever those people are, she wouldn’t be able to help them.
Watching Rowan as he spoke, she felt herself relaxing.
She sighed in relief, as she didn’t want him to leave, “Heroes are overrated anyway…”
“I find it hard to believe that a kid could do all that. Though, I guess in this screwed up world, it may not be such a ridiculous thing…”
Trailing off when she noticed Rowan turn away, she raised an eyebrow, “Is something wrong?”
Gathering up the rest of the blankets strewn across the floor, Oliver and Lola began to exit the cell they had been in, to make their way back to the nursery, when they saw figures by the prison’s entrance.
Listening for a moment, he could hear the emotion in their voices. The urgency.
From the sounds of it, something important was going on…
Walking over to the group, he recognized most of the faces…Mama, Rowan, Ayva…
Knowing that his presence made her uncomfortable, he tried to keep his distance.
Noticing Johnny, he found himself wondering who he was…he had never seen him before….
Listening to Johnny and Mama, it seemed they caught the tail end of the conversation, hearing something about “torture”…
Hearing that word made his skin crawl…
The happy mood he had been in gave way to concern.
Wanting to ask about it – what was going on - he found himself unable to, as Mama and Johnny did not wait any longer.
Watching as the two began to set off, he felt a rising panic.
…people being tortured….
He couldn’t just stay here…not when he could potentially help.
What use would I be if I don’t help?
No…he didn’t want to be useless…
About to take off after them, he realized that he still had blankets in his arms, as did Lola.
While he didn’t know what to do with the blankets, as he would feel bad handing them off to someone else when they had taken on the task, Lola seemed less concerned about that.
Lola gave the blankets she had carried to Ayva, subsequently taking the blankets Oliver had carried from his hands and giving them to Rowan.
Staying still for a moment, surprised at Lola’s swift actions, his expression grew apologetic as Rowan and Ayva looked at them.
It didn’t seem like those two were going to come along….but still….to just thrust their responsibility off onto someone else…
“Sorry…Could you two bring those to the nursery, please?”
Before Ayva and Rowan had a chance to respond, Lola grabbed Oliver’s arm. Re-focusing his attention on Mama and Johnny, they followed after them.
-Sounds like a bit of fun!-
Glaring after Oliver, her voice conveyed the disbelief she felt, “What the hell?….So they’re just gonna let that psycho tag along?”
Glancing down at the ball of blankets she had acquired, looking back at Rowan, “I guess we have some blankets to deliver now?…”
Observing as Rosie and Harley interacted, Johan nodded at Harley’s question.
“Yes. There were two others.”
He saw no need to mention Johnny, as he was not, currently, on the premises.
While he recognized that he may well come back to help, warning Futa’s group was not necessary.
Perhaps omitting this detail would provide a favourable outcome.
Letting his words drift off and be overtaken by Harley and Rosie’s tense conversation, it was quite obvious that the two were not enjoying each other’s company.
Perhaps he would be able to use that.
After some time, it seemed they had reached a decision.
And yes, Harley did indeed react as he predicted.
Gaze on the two women, he spoke ever calmly, “Yes. Henry took them down there.” He turned down the hall as he spoke, pausing briefly, “Perhaps it would be wise to make haste. Who knows what kind of tortures they are being subjected to.”
It seemed they agreed.
Leading them down the hall, he kept his eyes active, scanning their surroundings for anything that could be useful.
To ensure a higher probability of success, he knew that obtaining an efficient weapon was essential.
Due to the deteriorated state of the building, large chunks of the wall were available.
Perhaps such a chunk would make an appropriate blunt force weapon…