Warning: There is some violence in this chapter.
Sleeping sitting up, tied to a tree, with rough bark sticking into your back doesn't make for a pleasant night's rest. He didn't even realize that he had finally fallen asleep until Jeff was shaking him awake the next morning.
"Morning, Sleeping Beauty," Jeff grinned, working to undo the knots tying him to the tree. "Sleep well?"
"No," Kurt groaned as Jeff helped him to his feet. He cautiously tested his wrists, wincing as pain shot through them. The skin all around the ropes was bright red and peeling. Jeff caught Kurt's glance, gasping when he saw Kurt's wrists.
"Ooo, that's gotta hurt!" Jeff exclaimed, making Kurt sit back down again. He quickly undid his belt and looped it around Kurt's ankles, pulling it tight to make sure that it was secure.
"So you can't run away on me," Jeff explained as he pulled out a knife and gently cut through the ropes wrapped around Kurt's wrists. He then pulled out a somewhat cleaner looking bandana and carefully wrapped it around Kurt's wrists.
"This is going to hurt a bit," he warned as he retied a fresh piece of rope overtop of the cloth. "There, that should help at least a little bit."
"Jeff!" someone called out, making him turn away from Kurt. "Time to go!"
"Alright," Jeff said, turning back to Kurt. "Looks like it's time to move out." He started to move to help Kurt to his feet again, but Kurt quickly stopped him.
"Umm, my feet?" Kurt said, smirking slightly. Jeff looked down at Kurt's feet and surprisingly blushed slightly.
"Opps," Jeff chuckled, undoing the belt and redoing it around his waist. "Okay, now let's go."
He carefully helped Kurt to his feet and back over to the horse that Kurt assumed he had been riding before, since he had never actually seen it yet.
"Sorry, but I'm going to have to, you know," Jeff apologized, holding up a couple bandanas in his hands.
"Do you have to?" Kurt sighed unhappily. Jeff thought for a moment before answering.
"Look, we'll compromise, okay?" Jeff said, tucking one of the bandanas back into his pocket. "If you promise not to yell or anything, I'll leave the gag off, alright? Don't even bother asking for the blindfold to stay off because that is a no-go. We can't have you seeing how to get to our place, cause then once you're free again, you would be able to lead the Law right to us. And we can't have that, now can we?"
"Alright," Kurt sighed, nodding. "Deal. It beats having that awful thing in my mouth."
"I will warn you that I'll have to gag you again before we get there," Jeff said as he tied the bandana around Kurt's eyes. "Can't have the boss thinking that we've gone soft on him, treating our prisoners nicely. It would ruin our reputation!"
"Well, I'm not ordinary prisoner, now am I?" Kurt grinned, unable to help himself. Though he was terrified of what was going to happen to him, he couldn't help but enjoy being in this man's company. Neither he nor Nick seemed like the stereotypical rough, tough mean bandits that he'd heard stories about. They were actually nice and pretty cool.
"Alright, up you go!" Jeff said as a couple of hands grabbed him and helped lift him up onto the horse. Jeff's body quickly slid in behind him, and Kurt could feel his hands getting tied to the saddle horn again.
"Just a precaution," Jeff whispered in his ear.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it," Kurt sighed. "Can't have me running away on you." Kurt could feel Jeff's stomach vibrate against his back as he laughed.
"You are going to make this part of the trip so much more enjoyable now that you can talk," Jeff chuckled, flicking the reins to make the horse move. "I was getting bored of just talking to myself in my head on these trips!"
"Oh dear!" Kurt feigned a gasp. "I'm stuck on a horse with a crazy person who talks to himself!"
"Don't tell me that you weren't doing that yesterday!" Jeff retorted teasingly. He took Kurt's silence as an affirmative response and laughed. "Join me, Kurt, and together we will fill the world with our insanity!"
"You're crazy!" Kurt giggled.
"Yes!" Jeff exclaimed. "Phase One has been completed! Now onto Phase Two! You!"
The next couple of hours passed by pleasurably for Kurt. Well, as pleasurable as they can be when you're tied to the saddle horn of a horse with no clue as to where you're going. And when other sudden urges started to arise.
"Umm, Jeff?" Kurt called out tentatively.
"Uh huh?" Jeff replied kind of absently.
"I need to, um," Kurt shifted uncomfortably in the saddle, which seemed to alert Jeff to his dilemma.
"Oh crap!" Jeff swore. "How long has it been since you last went?"
"Umm, yesterday morning?" Kurt replied, his discomfort growing by the minute.
"Crap!" Jeff swore again. "Look, we're almost to the next checkpoint. Do you think that you can hold it just a little bit longer?" Kurt bit his lip as he nodded in reply.
The next ten minutes were the most uncomfortable ten minutes of his life. His bladder screamed at him painfully and it was blessed Heaven when he finally felt the horse start to slow. Once they stopped, Jeff quickly detached Kurt from the horse and helped him down, leading him away with a quick explanation of, "Bathroom."
"Alright, Kurt," Jeff said as he carefully took the blindfold off. "Be quick. You have five minutes." Jeff turned around to give Kurt some privacy. Kurt blinked as he looked around, noting that they were in a forest again.
For being such a dried up and abandoned land, there sure is a lot of greenery here, Kurt noted as he awkwardly opened his pants to do his business which, though wasn't easy to do with your hands tied, was still manageable. Once he was done and had redone his pants back up, he took a quick glance over at Jeff, who was watching a butterfly floating around, which seemed like an odd creature to Kurt to be living in this kind of atmosphere.
That could be why he's so entranced by it, Kurt thought, taking a slow step back away from Jeff. This would be the perfect time to attempt an escape while he's distracted...
He took another couple of steps backwards, keeping his eyes steadily on Jeff's back as he moved, until the foliage of the trees blocked him from sight. Then, Kurt turned and started to run.
Kurt had hoped that he would be able to get a good head start before Jeff noticed that he was gone, but it seemed all too soon when the yells of angry voices started to fill the forest. Kurt quickened his pace, thanking his long legs and gracefulness as he smoothly weaved his way through the trees. He saw a light up ahead and pushed himself to go faster, quickly breaking through the clump of trees back into the sunlight. The new scenery made his heart sink.
Everywhere he looked, there was just dry, barren land. The only source of colour stood silently behind him.
Crap! Kurt silently swore, looking around him. The yells were getting louder and closer behind him, so Kurt made his split rash decision. He started running forward. There wasn't much else for choices at the moment and if he couldn't outrun them, he could at least make them work to catch him. He was Kurt Hummel and he was not going down without a fight.
His feet pounded against the rough surface as he ran, his breaths coming out in ragged gasps. He glanced back and saw that the bandits had reached the edge of the tree line. He had a fairly good lead on them. But, as he started to turn to look back ahead, a flash of movement caught his eye. Coming around the side of the forest was a horse. A horse bearing a rider.
"Crap!" Kurt swore out loud. There was no way that he could outrun a horse. But yet, he still continued to run. It wasn't until something dropped down around him and pulled him to a sudden stop that he finally stopped running. The sudden force that yanked him back caused him to be thrown to the ground, landing painfully and sharply on his bottom. Though slightly disorientated from his fall, he quickly glanced down and saw that a length of rope was wrapped around him.
A lasso, he realized quickly. He had just been lassoed.
"I have half a mind to drag you back like that," a voice growled and Kurt looked up to see Wes hopping down from the horse. He stormed over to Kurt, grabbing him by the front of his collar and lifting him to his feet. "Did I not warn you about what would happen if you tried to escape?"
Kurt felt his heart pound in his chest. He wasn't seriously going to hurt him, was he?
No irreversible harm. Wes' words from the night before flashed through his head, making Kurt flood with fear. They wouldn't kill him, but they could seriously harm him.
"I'm s-sorry," Kurt stuttered, his eyes wide with fear. "I d-didn't m-mean-"
"Silence!" Wes snapped, shaking him slightly. A small whimper broke from Kurt's lips.
"You're weak," Wes spat, letting go of Kurt's shirt and letting him fall back down to the ground. He turned sharply and got back up on his horse again.
"Get up, Hummel," he ordered from atop his horse. "Unless you want to be dragged back." Kurt quickly got to his feet, which was slightly awkward and hard to do since not only were his hands tied, but the rope wrapped around him had pinned his arms to his sides. Wes attached the other end of the rope to his horse, then spurred it forward, forcing Kurt to follow. It was a very awkward walk back.
Two bandits grabbed ahold of him the second that they were back with the others. Wes quickly slid down off his horse and pulled the lasso off of Kurt.
"Rope him up, boys," Wes told the two holding him. He was quickly led away to a tree with a low hanging branch that already had a length of rope hanging down from it. They pulled his arms above his head and attached his wrists to the rope, tying it so tight that it nearly cut off the circulation to his hands. The rope was pulled up, lifting him off the ground slightly. He was still able to touch if he stood on the tips of his toes, but it was extremely uncomfortable.
"We do not allow for disobedience here," Wes said, his voice followed by a loud cracking sound. Kurt's eyes immediately shot up to Wes, who was holding what looked like a long riding crop. Kurt eyed it warily as Wes continued to pace.
"We also do not allow for failure here," Wes continued, turning his glare over on Jeff, who was huddled down beside a tree with Nick right at his side. Kurt caught Nick's eyes and was rewarded with a nasty glare. If looks could kill...
"Since it was Jeff's responsibility to watch you and he failed, he had to be punished, just as you will be punished now," Wes said in a loud voice, making sure that everyone gathered around could hear him.
"That," he cried, pointing at Jeff, "Is what happens when you fail! And this is what happens when you disobey!"
By this time, Wes had circled around behind Kurt, out of his line of sight. Kurt didn't know what was happening until he felt the skin on his back scream in agony. The sound that came from his mouth was unnatural and bloodcurdling as pain laced through him. All he could feel was overwhelming pain as his back was struck over and over again.
It felt like this torture was never going to end when suddenly, Wes stopped. Kurt let his body slump forward, as far as it could before the rope pulled him to a stop, his head falling down against his chest. Kurt panted heavily, sharp pain accompanying every ragged breath he took. He was in so much pain that he couldn't even bring himself to care about how tattered his shirt must be from all of the sharp, cloth-ripping lashes.
Suddenly, fingers were lacing through his hair and yanking his head back sharply, making another wave of pain run through him.
"You're lucky, Hummel," Wes snarled in his ear. "Normally you'd be given twenty lashes for that stupid act, but Jeff offered to take half of your punishment, on top of his own, so you lucked out this time. Next time you won't be so lucky... Don't make there be a next time, got it?"
"Y-Yes," Kurt managed to whisper, wincing slightly as his hair was almost pulled from its roots.
"Yes, what?" Wes snapped, yanking back on his hair again, making him gasp with pain.
"Y-Yes, S-Sir," he sputtered as tears started to pour down his cheeks.
"You're pathetic!" Wes growled, letting Kurt's head drop again. "Cut him down and load him up, boys! Next stop, home!" A loud cheer rang through the group as his rope was suddenly cut, causing him to collapse to the ground.
"Come on, on your feet, Hummel," a guy, Trent, if he remembered correctly, ordered, grabbing his arm and roughly pulling him to his feet. Pain shot through his back, making him cry out.
"Shut him up!" Wes growled, throwing a piece of cloth at Trent. Kurt couldn't even muster up the strength to argue before the dirty cloth was shoved into his mouth and tied around the back of his head. He was then quickly shoved over towards the horses and loaded onto a different horse than the one that he had been riding before. His hands were once again tied to the saddle horn before someone slid into the saddle behind him. Kurt cast a quick glance over his shoulder and, upon recognizing Trent, relaxed slightly. But that was the last thing he saw as Trent quickly blindfolded him, ignoring the soft cries of pain that were muffled into his gag as Trent leaned up against Kurt's tender back.
"Alright, boys!" he heard Wes exclaim. "Let's ride!"