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I have never seen as much fury in his eyes as I see right now. His eyes are so blue. No hint of aqua. The green is all but gone. Just like in my dream, he will refuse to answer Oscar’s questions.

“Your boyfriend has nothing to offer. Do you? You have five seconds,” Oscar says, looking over at me.

Five seconds pass and still neither one of us say a word. Michael holds Oscar’s gaze even after the first blow is struck. I watch as the blood trails down from Michael’s eye, and I find myself wondering where he draws his strength from. Oscar pulls up a chair, positioning himself directly across from Michael. Gun still in hand. He sets it on his lap in plain view with the muzzle facing Michael. He’s making his intentions very clear, yet he won’t shoot. Not yet. He knows if he kills one of us he loses our incentive to talk.

“I don’t intimidate so easily.” Michael’s tone is dangerous.

“Good thing I’m not here to intimidate,” Oscar bites back.

“I want answers, pretty boy. The substation, now!” he yells, raising his gun and taking aim at Michael’s head. Michael still says nothing. He turns his head to look at me. I know that look, he gave it to Brianna when she begged him for her life and he did nothing to save her. His resolve is sound. He will die today. Even worse than that, he’s okay with it. I on the other hand, am not. What the hell is he doing? He cannot do this to me. Not today. I shake my head at him in a silent plea for him to choose his life over the Collective, for once. I know better, though. If he’s going to live it’ll be because I cracked, not him. Never him. Michael smiles at me and it reaches his eyes as more of the green returns, if only briefly. Oscar cocks the gun before hitting him in the head with the butt of it, splitting his forehead.

“Stop,” I scream, not knowing what else to do.

“Don’t, Shy,” Michael pleads.

I know what he’s thinking. He wants me to be strong. To let him die, but I can’t. If I cave he can’t save me. Not from the Collective. I know that, but I’m okay with it if it means he lives.

“Yes, Shy. Do tell, unless you like watching him bleed. I can show you a lot more,” Oscar says, pressing the gun to Michael’s head. I look to Michael for some sort of resistance, but he only closes his eyes in acceptance.

“No, please don’t,” I repeat, but offer no information.

Oscar’s growing tired of the silent game. He shows it by lowering the gun and firing. Blood pours from Michael’s arm. He grits his teeth, bending over, trying desperately to conceal the searing pain he feels. Oscar brings the gun back up to Michael’s head, resting it against his right temple. Michael screams, jerking away from the burn. The gun leaves a perfect impression of the muzzle burned into his skin. Hearing him scream releases something I don’t recognize in myself. I kick the cage as hard as I can, screaming. I no longer feel the pain of my injuries.

“Don’t you fucking touch him again! I swear to God, I’m going to kill you.”

I barely recognize my own voice. There’s so much anger and passion behind my words.

Oscar laughs. “Feisty, I like that in a woman.”

“Let me out of here and I’ll show you feisty, asshole.”

“Just give me what I want, and I won’t have to mar this pretty face of his any further.”

I look to Michael before I speak.

“I’m sorry, Michael. It’s in Swords, at the end of the canal in the old ale factory.”

“Good decision, Shy-”

“Don’t address her. Don’t you ever fuckin address her,” Michael warns, interrupting his approval.

“Right, mate,” Oscar laughs. “Put him back in his cage.” He instructs his minion.

“I’m leaving four men with you while we go check out this ale factory.” He stops then, turning to me.

“And Shy, if you’re lying, I’ll let my men have their way with you while he watches. Then I’ll blow his head off while you watch.”

Oscar walks out with two of his men close behind. Two men toss Michael into the cage next to mine before following their boss out the door.

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