Chapter 13: Friction
So guys, I've read through your comments (thanks a lot for them, by the way :3) and I've decided to jump the time frame by two weeks, and then (as this was, when I began writing it originally two short chapters), move it into two months (where the seconds chapter originally began ;))
Although I've proof-read a couple of times, there may be a thing or two which doesn't quite make sense with the context; if so, just hit me around the face via the reviews area/private message and I'll sort it out :D
Two weeks pass. Those in ownership of the prison decide not to send in the food parcels at the end of the first week, and food has become increasingly bare, practically rationed; feeding a prison of hundreds on the scraps of month-old food isn't proving an easy task. Hunger has become a stagnant feeling over the last few days, with speech disgruntled and unwanted by all. Everyone seems snappy and on edge; fights more frequent, but most men are not their usual strong selves and therefore don't put in too much effort with their swings; no broken bones for Andri to attend to.
There have been no propositions from strangers in the middle of the night over these last couple of weeks either; a blessing amongst the despair. It seems no-one has the energy even for that.
But this morning, I awake to cries of refreshment; the parcels have arrived, stocked with more than their usual amount. Enough for everyone, but the greed of man still holds prominent and we are not awarded the luxuries Bane had managed to defend for our enjoyment that first week.
Even better than the gracious food drop-off, which descends like manna from the heavens no oats were sent this time; its brown rice instead, a blessing in itself.
meat that first night; oh God, what a difference it made. The four of us- Bane, Andri, Bobby and I- all sat in the doctors cell, teeth tugging at the fatty bones of a slightly under cooked, yet superlatively delicious hank of pig meat. A problem for the chef himself, being Jewish, but not one anyone gave much thought to; we had real meat and hearty company, and that was all that seemed to matter.
The hulking dinner the night before warmed not only our bodies but our hearts as well- our speech becomes less somber, our laughs are genuine and it's an all around more pleasant environment to be in than it has been the past few weeks.
Bane is coming on well; Andri's started letting him walk properly again, though he's only let him out of the cell once unchaperoned. The wound only needs redressing once every couple of days now. Bane's really benefiting from regaining his independence he is smiling more and sleeping less, and is determined to get back up to his old cell and retrieve anything up there that hasn't been stolen in his absence. He keeps talking about fighting again, when it's just him, Bobby and I, but we laugh him off; yet I'm worried he's seriously considering it. He's made 'friends' with the two boys, Barsad and Firdos. The three sit outside the cell every couple of days, laughing and drinking that vicious-scented bootlegged liquor. Bobby's sat with them tonight as well, whereas Andri is asleep in our half.
I feel envious of the four of them, sat there enjoying themselves. I try to justify a reason why I shouldn't allow myself to feel jealous, but can't find one, and, now that I've wound myself up, I don't want to cool down.
They can sit out there drinking and having a good time, I think, and I can't, just because I'm a woman; even when practically everyone else in the prison is asleep or to too drunk to care, I'm not allowed out. I haven't left this cell since I first snuck in it the night after Bane was stabbed, and it's starting to feel like a prison within the prison.
Bobby exchanges some joke within the group, and all of them howl with laughter. An itching feeling comes over me and I clasp a hand around one of the metallic bars.
"Hey," I say a couple of times to attract their-who am I kidding his attention. They all look up and I lift my eyebrows to Bane. "Give me some."
"What?" Bane says, startled by my notification.
"Sharing is caring," I say with a toothy smile, pointing to his bottle with my free hand.
He looks down at the weathered blown glass bottle in his hand, with its thick cloudy liquid swirling inside.
"No," he says. I was ready for this reply, and respond accordingly.
"Why?" I say, suddenly snappy. "Is it because I'm a girl? I have to stay in this cramped cell 24/7 while you lot all sit out there drinking and having a good time, because I'm a woman?!"
Bane frowns, standing from the now silent group and moving to the cell bars.
"No," he says, "it's because it's not good for you."
"You're drinking it," I accuse, reaching a hand through the bars towards the eye-watering moonshine potion. He pulls the hand holding the liquor away, frowning at me.
"Don't act like a child," he says sternly, holding the liquor to the side of the cell bars. I grab onto the metal poles with both hands and hiss up to his razored face, "then stop treating me like one."
Andri stirs from inside the cell, distracting both of us. He groans indignantly then cries, "Hesht, budalla!" In a gruff voice. Bane begrudgingly apologies and I see me chance- swiftly I stab a hand through the bars, grab hold of the neck of the glass bottle and pull it back through to my own side. I watch Bane a split second for his reaction, seeing realization flood through his face, then draw the mouth of the bottle swiftly up to my lips and gulp down the stirring murky liquid as quickly as possible. It burns horribly, and my eyes begin to fill with tears from the sensation. I try my best to conceal this, but if he can't see the pricking in my eyes then he must be blind.
"Feel better now?" He says coldly, watching as I struggle to grasp the intensity of the gush of stabbing liquid.
I look at him, feeling rather aggravated still.
"No," I say flatly, the lining of my stomach screaming- it feels like an internal layer of skin has been ripped clean off.
Bane nods with an air of superiority, outstretching his hand in order to receive the bottle. I clutch stubbornly at it for a moment or so, then consider dropping it on the floor in order to entice a reaction from him. However, my conscience reminds me that something like that would only reinforce his statement about my so-called childish qualities.
I hand the bottle back begrudgingly and choke back the after taste of the moonshine. With a shake of his head, Bane closes his eyes and turns away from me; bare my teeth slightly at him and skulk backwards a little into the darkness of the cell.
The night passes and the amenity from the day before washes away along with the dirt from the clothing- washing clothes has become almost like a hobby over the last two weeks. I've washed our cell's load three times, the two Arab boys' twice, and even a couple of others who Andri has convinced to pay in small luxuries like more soap and small amounts of the moonshined alcohol, which, though Andri and Bobby do drink quite frequently when there's any available- Bane's touched barely a drop, only that he's drank with the two boys, since that night he became paralytic- comes in more handy for trading for better things, like nutritious food. After dissecting some of the fabric Andri had given me, I've managed to create a yarn of stiff, straw-like thread and, using a thick stitching needle from one of Bobby's old medical kits, compose for myself a frumpy dress which I'm setting about trying to give a nicer look, and a couple of shirts for Bane in the same fabric, which Andri seems to find rather hilarious.
"They're not that bad," I frown as Andri holds back tears of laughter at the sight of the hopeless clothes I've managed to pull together, and he says, through clenched teeth, "oh, no, of course not! They're..." He looks both of us up and down, Bane who has his eyes closed in an unimpressed expression.
"Wonderful," he expresses, compressing a smile and turning back to his food.
I stick my tongue out at him and Bane chuckles. It's good to see him properly awake again, not always seeming on the edge of drifting into sleep as he had been barely two weeks before. His smirking smile is a comfort as he glances over at me, and I grin back, like a young child basking in the pride of a parent's approval. I feel somewhat overjoyed that he's not holding my outburst from last night against me.
"You're looking so much better," I think out loud, watching his bright face. He looks genuinely happy, and it's heart warming to see.
"I feel it," he says, instinctively moving his hand around to the punctured area in his lower back. "Hardly notice this now."
"I'm glad," I say, smiling over him. I hum softly to myself, stupidly poking holes into the rigid fabric of my dress. I try to pull them straight again, but they don't quite look the same. I clench at the fabric's loose waist, thinking of ways I could make the dress look more appealing but why bother? It's not like I've anyone to impress.
Bane, says a voice in the back of my mind. It speaks quietly and without reason, pressing into my nerves and settling down there. I've thought about it, several times- hours with nothing to do brings up all sorts of questions; many which I'm too frightened to ask, or try to answer. Why did he save me in the first place? And then, of course, there's what Andri said.
you are not the first girl to be tucked under Bane's wing, my dear.
How many others? Just one, maybe? Some odd spring of jealousy rouges inside me. What was she- or they- like, I wonder? What happened to them?
And then, of course, there's Andri's question to Bane, always simmering away in the back of my mind;
How long will this one last?
More weeks go by, and the weeks stretch into months two, by my rough count, but I'm never exactly sure what day it is. My clothes-washing to pass the time has turned into a make-shift business, and at least half the prison's visited by now. I doubt, though, that the majority are visiting for the service I provide; most, I figure, come just for the opportunity to stare. Due to this, my 'business' soon moves to the back of the cell. They still stare, but at least I'm not in close proximity. Handling dirty clothes is hardly my idea of the perfect job, but having work to delve into is certainly soothing my mental state.
Bane is fighting again. He vanished for a few hours a couple of weeks ago, and hobbled back with a split lip and his wound reopened. Andri went absolutely berserk- I've never seen anything like it in my life. He shot up from his seat in the cell, springing at the bars as Bane appeared and hurling abuse in his face, far worse than his usual escapades of 'Budalla.' Andri shouted him down for another ten minutes when Bane got back inside, until eventually Bane snapped. He threw his hand up in the air,
Roared a torrent of abuse at the older man, then turned on his heel and smashed his way out of the cell, slamming the bars behind him. Andri shouted after him in English, calling him a moron and a disgrace. Bane turned back to him, boiling with anger again, pulling the door back open and growling at Andri. The smaller man stood his ground- panicked and a bit scared, I looked to Bobby, who was sat in the secondary cell with his head in his hands, shaking his head.
"Bane-" I said, over the screaming of the two, now less than an inch from the other's face, "stop it."
He ignores me, continuing to exchange angry bouts of shouts with Andri. I look out of the cell, to see quite a few of the other inmates have stopped their daily buisness and are listening in.
"Bane!" I say, as he becomes more aggressive, muscles tensed and fists curled, "stop!"
"Why me?!" He cries, suddenly turning on me, "he's the one who began this!"
"Well, that's mature!" I say sarcastically, stepping closer to them, "both of you, just shut up and stop it!"
Bane grabs me by the shoulder blades, freezing a moment, and I genuinely believe from his expression that he plans on swallowing me whole. With great force he directs me to the middle section, practically lifting me from my feet, pulls open the door and shoves me through. My back slams into the opposing wall upon impact, winding me and I stand startled for a moment. My pulse deepens in my temples, and I hear Bobby's voice cry out angrily over the continuous shouts of the two arguing men, his gentle hand on my shoulder as he leads me to sit down. I stumble down onto the motten bed, trying to regain my focus as the argument becomes even more heated. Andri points over to me, and a few seconds later, Bane collars Andri and almost lifts him from the floor. In one swift movement, less than half a second, he draws his knuckles across Andri's jaw line, dropping him in the process. Andri drops down to the floor, stumbling back up, a clog of red blood curdling at the side of his mouth. He spits, spraying a clot of metallic matter into the straw. I stare in shock, completely astounded by what Bane just did. He stands there, muscles still tense, though his face shows surprise at his actions.
Andri almost smiles, showing a row of red-stained teeth. "If you wish to start your fighting again," he says, "you need to learn some self-control."
Bane steps back, rubbing the sweat from his forehead. He fumbles for the door of the cell and creaks it open, jolting out of the door silently and pushing through the small crowd. Andri watches him, a hand soothing his soon-to-be-bruised jaw.
"Budalla," he says, then clicks his neck and stumbles waveringly into the bathroom. I go to speak, but Bobby places a hand on top of my own raised one, drawing it back and shaking his head at me. I look at him in confusion a moment, then nod.
Day fades slowly to night, and night into dawn.
Bane does not return.
Really has to force myself to write some of this one because it just bored me- genuinely bored me to write- but it was NEEDED. That's why it took so long- and now it's over, the story's flowing again. We needed the first chunk of this cursed establishing chapter to set the scene, and we needed a chunk of time out of the way, so I'm sorry; but don't worry. I have something rather exciting for you next chapters.
(*POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW!*)
Q: "what time period will the story continue until?"~ Jinx1257
A: tough question- in my head, I have events planned until just after Bane leaves the prison. I'm not saying it will end there, just that atm, my brain doesn't know what's happening after that ;)
Q: "is anyone gonna die? O_O don't tell me who though!"- kiramal (via deviantart)
A:I have the rough outline of the story planned out, and there's gonna be at least two. So, y'know. Beware! People gon' die.
If you wanna ask a question, leave it in the reviews and I'll put the answer (if it's not too spoilerish, if not, I'll probs PM you) in the next AN :)
RandR, Love to y'all, and thanks for reading!
And remember, fish are friends, NOT FOOD. X