We Live a Dying Dream

Paradise

Key Five: Paradise:

Allen lifted his head from the floor. He pressed his hand to his forehead.

"Oh, why is my head hurting?" he asked.

"It's the perfume they spray in here," a woman's voice answered. Allen turned to see Marion standing over him.

"What?" he asked.

"They spray this perfume into the room all the time. Those smelling it for the first time will get violently ill."

Allen lay back, trying not to vomit. The smell was too sweet. He tried to ease himself by taking deep breaths. It was then he noticed something odd about Marion.

"How come this perfume isn't making you sick?" he asked.

"Hm?" she asked. "Oh, I've built up a tolerance for it."

"Tolerance?"

"That's correct. Hang on." Marion turned and walked out of the "lobby" part of the room. Allen tried to follow her with his eyes. She returned with a large bottle of liquid.

"Open your mouth," she said. Allen didn't even ask questions as he complied. Marion opened the bottle and poured the liquid into his mouth. He swallowed in one gulp.

"Better?" Marion asked. Allen's eyes widened as he sat up.

"Yeah!" he said. Allen turned his head. "What was that stuff you just gave me?"

"Melon water."

He tilted his head. "Melon water?"

"That's right."

"How did you get any sort of water?"

Marion tapped the side of her nose. "It's an exchange for some of the services that I have to do in Paradise." Allen stopped short of asking her what she meant by that. Marion already saw the judgmental look in his eyes.

"What? I have no choice."

"You do!"

Marion snorted. "Like what? Escaping? Oh that one worked wonders for you!"

"Okay, it didn't turn out as I planned, but I have to escape from here."

"You might as well give it up! They won't let you go, ever."

Allen frowned as he lay on his back. "Yeah, everyone keeps telling me that."

Marion put her hands on her hips. "Then why hasn't it sunk in that thick skull of yours yet?"

Allen rolled over onto his side. "Maybe because I refuse to end up a vegetable in one of those tanks downstairs." She sighed and sat down next to the angel. Marion didn't want to show him the horrors that she had witnessed and was forced to do. Allen probably wouldn't be able to handle it. He already didn't know much about the tower and the city. Her heart sank as she leaned down to his ear.

"Follow me in the next ten seconds," Marion whispered. Allen lifted his head, blinking.

"Why?" he asked. As if on cue, the heavy silver doors opened. Marion sat on Allen's chest, doing her best to hide him as Jasdevi walked into the room.

"How you little dolls this evening?" they asked. The angels still lucid trembled as they tried not to make eye contact.

"Aw, don't be like that," Devit said, cooing. "I mean, we're all friendly, right?" He and his brother began to circle the cages. Alma pulled her knees to her chest and kept her eyes downwards. She happened to catch Jasdero's eye at the wrong moment.

"Hey, bro! We've got one that looks fun to play with!" he shouted. Alma, Allen, and Marion silently panicked as the older twin walked over to the golden cage. Devit reached into the cage turned the worried angel's face to his. The fear in her deep brown eyes was enough to get him off.

"Good enough," he said. He reached under his wife-beater shirt and pulled out a small silver key. One click later, Jasdero grabbed Alma by her frail wrists and dragged her out of the cage. Devit's face came within inches of hers.

"Screaming won't do you any good, love," he hissed. Alma looked at her "sister angels" in a feeble attempt for someone to rescue her as they hauled her away. Devit forced her head forward before the doors slammed shut behind them.

Behind the cage, Marion closed her eyes and gritted her teeth. Secretly, she had hoped some other angel would've been taken to Paradise's many club rooms this evening. She wanted to show Allen the cold reality of this world, but she didn't want to be at the expensive of her dear friend's suffering. It still hurt each time they chose Alma for their depraved pleasure games. Tears began running down Marion's cheeks. I'm so sorry, Alma.

"Are you okay?" Allen whispered underneath him. Marion quickly wiped away her tears and sniffled.

"I will be fine," she lied. "Follow me." Marion pulled Allen to his feet and led him out the same silver doors. Each step did little to dull the pain in her heart.

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