Chapter 3, Just the prisoner
BY SEAN SHAVELL
I’ve been in the dark for two months now. They move me around though. The South. They move me from warehouse to warehouse, but they don’t ever really tell me anything. When I ask why they aren’t just killing me, they reply that it is not yet my time to be used. They have to wait until Amber and Xavier’s wedding that’s apparently, from what I gather, going to take place really soon.
Sometimes, I’m allowed to stretch my legs. Jaacobah, my previous English teacher, but also second in command for the south, would bring me my food – which I rarely ate and then keep watch as I’m allowed to stroll around the warehouses to stretch my legs.
It’s very boring to be honest. I’d mostly just be on the lookout for broken down cars and envision in my mind’s eye how I could fix them.
I’m currently on one of these strolls – Jaacobah not too far behind me. After two months I think they’ve figured out I’m not trying to escape. If I’m being honest, I want to stay because I want them to kill me and get it over with.
It’s not like any of my friends have even attempted to rescue me. I doubt they even remember me.
I stop in my tracks and turn to Jaacobah with a scowl. “For fucksake, Jaacobah, I’m bored. Can’t you give me a car or something to fix?” I ask and swipe my dark bangs out of my eyes. They haven’t even allowed me the freedom to cut my hair. They wouldn’t give me a knife for my dinner, so I doubt it’ll help to ask for a pair of scissors.
Jaacobah comes strolling to me – his hands in his dark grey southern jacket. His hazel hair has gone darker the last two months as well. Since he’s practically my only company, I pick up on these kinds of things.
“What makes you think we would equip you with the tools to fix a car? You’re our prisoner, not our guest,” Jaacobah point out.
“I’m your leverage,” I correct. “And right now you’re biggest shot at getting Amber’s attention is bored to death. I’m not asking for some royal treatment. Just give me something to do,” I say.
Jaacobah stares at me for a while with his light brown eyes. He scans me for any other motives and when he finds none, he gives in with a sigh. “Follow me,” he says.
Excited for the first time in forever, I fallow Jaacobah through the maze of Southern Warehouses. Even after two months, this place is still scorched and damaged after the big fight that I missed. The weeds have over grown some of the cracked pavement and tires and bins litter the corners of the warehouses. I spot a few broken, burnt down cars, but that’s it. Jaacobah leads me to one of the back warehouses and slides the giant door open before gesturing for me to step into the dark space.
For a moment, I’m happy thinking that this might be a set up and he’ll kill me.
Jaacobah however only pulls a switch by the door that lights up the warehouse. The buzzing of old lights hums in my ears and I know for a fact it’s going to annoy me. But ahead of me are a whole bunch of broken down cars with parts and chains and equipment lying around. It’s heaven for a car junky like myself.
“These are all the vans and cars that were damaged from the fight last year. You can pick whatever you want to fix and I’ll organize this place to be your new setup. You’re not escaping with that tracker in you any time soon in anyway,” Jaacobah says.
I turn to my captor. “Thank you,” I say sincerely.
“I will leave you to it. Don’t try to escape. We’re not killing you. We’ll just take away all your privileges,” Jaacobah says.
Smart guy to add that they won’t kill me if I try to escape.
Once the door is closed and it’s just me among the scrap and electric buzzing, I start to look around. There are a few cars I consider, but it’s only when I get to the one at the very back that I’ve found my new project.
The dark blue car is a BMW Nazca M12 and one of three of its kind. The clear mark of Italian design is what any car enthusiast would dream of.
And it’s Amber’s car.
I step closer and inspect the damage. There’s quite a few dents and one of the sides is completely scorched from a fire. I move to the back of the car. It opens automatically, but since I don’t have keys, I have to wedge and force the back of the car open so I can inspect the engine. Yeah, just as I figured. It has a 5-liter tank that’s been damaged. Interesting that it has a 00-hp V12 from the BMW 850i. It’s a concept car so getting parts is probably impossible. I’d have to modify it on my own...
I take a step back and look at the car not for what it is, but for what it could be.
All I need is some welding materials and I can modify this car until it’s more than just a sports car. I can give it a stronger engine, add protective layers and even maybe, depends on how long I’ll be here, I could give it weapons.
“Don’t worry,” I tell the car as I let my hand slide over her side, “I’ll fix you up really nice.”
Before I can get to work though, I hear muffled voices from outside of the warehouse. Curious, I step closer to the side of the large warehouse. I notice a small hole in the in the sink plate side of the wall. Cautious, I go to look through the hole.
It’s hard to see, but I notice a pair of jeans and another pair of familiar grey pants. I close my one eye to see better through the tiny hole and notice who the two men that’s speaking are.
“You gave him his own warehouse?” Kyle Bowmen asks. I’m still not used to seeing someone that was presumed dead, be the Southern leader.
“It won’t do any harm,” Jaacobah defends.
“No, I agree. Give him his space. We’re not monsters. Let him entertain himself while we wait for the wedding,” Kyle replies.
“Are we still having the meeting?” Jaacobah asks.
“Yes, we are. Jane said she has a proposition for us. I’m quite curious to see what Sterling has to say about all this,” Kyle answers.
A knot grows in my stomach. Sterling is having a meeting with the South? This can’t be good news...
“Go fetch our friend Sean Shavell, I want to see him in my office,” Kyle says before walking off.
When Jaacobah moves to the entrance of the warehouse, I quickly jump up and position myself by the BMW’s engine to act like I didn’t hear a thing. The door to the warehouse scrapes as Jaacobah slides it open and stands there waiting. “The boss wants to see you in his office. Clean up,” Jaacobah says as he walks over and hands me new clothes.
“W-what for?” I ask and slowly take the grey attire.
“He didn’t tell me,” Jaacobah shrugs.
Nervous, I go to the back to get dressed. It’s a dark grey jean with a white shirt and a light grey sports type of jacket. I keep on the sneakers I have and go out to meet Jaacobah. He looks me over, happy, and then leads me out of the warehouse. We walk south to where a dozen or so vans are waiting and my captor motions for me to get in before he drives us further south – towards a mountain range.
I look out of the window of the van and spot a modern house that’s situated on the side of an almost red mountain. It’s without a doubt Kyle’s personal house, but I don’t understand why he would call me there. We go up a paved road until we get to the gates that are still open – probably from when Kyle drove back.
The south is a pretty dry area, but Kyle’s front garden is green. We stop in front of the massive oak front door that leads to the modern house. Modern with a twist of something retro, I realize. Jaacobah gets out of the van and pulls me along with him as we go to the door. One of the guards opens it for us, but Jaacobah doesn’t go in with me. I turn to him confused.
“Up the stairs, left. Kyle doesn’t allow anyone he doesn’t specify into his house,” my captor explains before the door closes again and I’m left alone in the giant house.
Nervous, I swallow a lump in my throat and swipe back my dark bangs. There’s a set of glass modern stairs and I start climbing. Once on top, I turn left and stand face to face with another classic oak door.
This is Kyle’s office...
I take a deep breath in and knock. When I hear a murmured ‘come in’, I push open the door and then stand frozen in shock.
I don’t know how I pictured Kyle’s office, but... But definitely not this... Instead of an intimidating desk with a large chair, is a comfy couch with an easel in the corner. There are paints and brushes littering the whole place and I watch Kyle continue one of his paintings. He’s not wearing a shirt as he bites down on a brush and smudges a part of the painting with his finger. When he sees me, he takes the paint brush from his mouth and motions for me to sit on the couch. I do so reluctantly.
I think he’s busy painting a lightning storm or something, but he looks pretty invested. “So, you have been with us for just over two months now,” Kyle says while still engrossed in his art work.
“You say it like I’m working for you,” I grumble.
Kyle shrugs before putting down his paint brush and wiping his paint stained hands on his jeans. He turns and walks over to me with a shrug. “I do things differently than my previous co-leader. I don’t believe in fear. I believe in inspiring people. That’s how the South has grown,” Kyle explains.
“But you were from the West,” I point out.
“Yes, Well, I didn’t think my little brother would just give the West to Sterling. I thought he’d hold it while I worked at getting the South and then we would’ve reunited. Of course Amber Marigold had to step into the picture,” Kyle sighs.
“And why do you want to expand? What is your goal?” I press.
Kyle shakes his head amused. “That is not for people like you to know,” he smiles.
I stay on the couch – looking up at Kyle that looks just like Blake, but only older. I feel so confused. “Then why did you call me here?” I ask with narrowed eyes.
Kyle goes to sit down next to me and kicks his legs up. “I wanted to ask you if you knew any valuable information about Amber and Xavier. A weakness? What is she allergic to, does she have medical problems or any fears. I wanted to ask you here, because I don’t want to make you feel like you’re being used or forced. I’m asking nicely. Person to person,” Kyle says.
“If you even remotely think that I’ll betray Amber, then you-”
“I understand,” Kyle interrupts, “I understand she was your leader, but be honest with yourself. Did she really care about you? Did any of your previous leaders ever care about you?” The words get me to hesitate and I hate that. “If you give me any helpful information, I will let you join the ranks of the South. Ask any of my members, they follow me, because they believe in me. I care for everyone in my gang, and I swear to you, Sean Shavell, that I’ll take care of you,” Kyle says.
There’s a knock on the door and Kyle tells them not now, but the knock comes again so Kyle lets them inside.
In comes Myra. Myra with her purple wig, tight short dress and downward gaze.
“Yes, Myra?” Kyle asks.
“You have a call waiting,” she whispers - her eyes to the floor.
Kyle pats his lap and Myra shuffles over to sit there while still keeping her eyes cast down. I watch Kyle slither an arm around her waist as he keeps looking at me. “You could have a whole new life here in the South. I heard you like cars. Well, we’ll let you fix up any car you want and buy you those parts that you need. We will make sure you grow here in the South.”
I hate how persuasive Kyle is sounding. I hate how I’m actually considering the offer. What has any gang leader ever really done for me? What has anyone as a matter of fact ever done for me?
But then I remember that Halloween party at Isabella’s last year and how Amber was so excited to see me. I remember how she finally started to notice how I was dying and really wanted to help.
“I’m not betraying Amber,” I tell Kyle.
He sighs. A tired, parental kind of sigh as he fiddles with one of Myra’s purple locks of hair. “That’s really too bad, Sean,” Kyle says. “I didn’t want it to turn out like this...”
“Turn out like what?” I ask.
When Kyle looks back at me, he genuinely looks remorseful. “Sterling is looking at a meeting with us soon and one of Jane’s requests was that she gets to have you as her prisoner for questioning... She’s not going to be as nice as I was about getting information.”
And I realize right here that my life can in fact get worse than what it was.