Chapter 19: Force of Depravity
“You don’t understand, get her to talk,” the whined, gruff snort of objection echoes down towards my location around an old and rusted storage container, “Hold that child securely and bring her in here; now.”
After walking down through the shit and fish smelling port, I came across the lit up, rackety looking Quarter Gate Factory Line. Just around this container was the orange, lit up five-story warehouse. The Five Reds were indeed here while a fire truck just rolled away after putting out the last flames of an abandoned warehouse just opposite here.
The fire doesn’t bother the Five Reds or the man that is ordering them around outside a side door of the warehouse.
“Hey, can you hear me?” I hear Coal speaking to a girl they had dragged out from inside the building. I had watched from my hiding spot, as they were preoccupied with the girl’s identity, “Where. Is. Your. Name. Card?”
When I have a look again I see Kyle the Child restraining the teenage girl who has stringy, oily unwashed hair. Her clothes are tight black lycra, however… so she looks like some sort of ninja.
And apparently she can’t speak.
“Hey, pretty girl, tell us your name,” Captain James the Brains towers over the poor girl next. She stands with her back straight as she is confronted with the group of city heroes.
“I think she can’t hear us,” Coal murmurs, “Look at her eyes, she isn’t comprehending anything. Let’s just bring her in, we can’t keep Lumen waiting on us.”
Just as they start to drag her in, Dash comes popping out of the building in a burst of air.
“All clear inside, no more ninja girls,” Dash salutes the Captain of the Five Reds and disappears into the side door where the man giving orders slipped into.
“She isn’t a ninja,” Coal rolls her eyes and their voices become more distant as they all now choose to enter through the side door of the warehouse.
I look over my shoulder and I see two familiar shiny black pointy shoes. I glance up and Serge is watching me from the shadows near the corner of another shipping container. He is giving me a tilted look and raised eyebrows, probably thinking what the hell was I waiting for.
I don’t care if he is impatient, I’m just glad I have back up just in-case.
But I still had to be the distraction, I couldn’t wait much longer. When I glance back at him though, as I take a few steps forward into the open, simply to see his reaction at my first proper move, I notice that he doesn’t approach any closer.
“What are you looking at?” he snarls, quietly, just loud enough for me to hear, “Get busy.”
I furrow my eye-brows, noting a tone of fear in his voice. His eyes focus next on the armoured vehicle just parked outside the warehouse, ten or so meters from us. It was nothing special, simply said ‘Lumen Corp’, whatever the hell that was. The important thing was that it was empty.
I stand up and decide to just walk right into the little meeting.
My presence would be enough to distract them, at least at the start. The rest I would improvise.
As I get closer, my heart beat picks up a notch, but I maintain my steady breathing. I put up my hands in surrender just as I turn into the open-door way and plant my feet firmly to the ground, hoping my posture is generally unthreatening.
“It’s just me – uh… g-guys,” I get the words out as I see the Five Reds standing close together and the ninja girl in the middle, eyes down cast. A grey-haired man with three body guards behind him stand opposite the ‘heroes’. The room itself was small and narrow. An office for the warehouse. File cabinets and a single desk.
These people don’t worry me. However, there was something else that had me stuttering as soon as my shocked eyes registered the sight.
Two dead girls.
Skinny, pretty and with holes in their heads, blood still leaking from the fresh gun-shot entry wounds. One body is laid out over the desk and another body is lying at the foot of the wooden legs.
Everyone turns to face me, utterly confused and shell-shocked by my random appearance.
“Alysa?” Captain James says my name wrong while gawking at my appearance.
“Who the hell is this?” the older man speaks with impatience like I am nothing but a nuisance.
“She broke a contract with the Five Reds,” Coal speaks up, clearly wanting to impress this man, before facing me and putting on a condescending tone, “You escaped your detention today, Alyssa, we were informed immediately when you went missing. We have to return you to Preventative Care.”
“I was kidnapped,” I explain, “The Gang of Shadows snuck me out and I begged them to return me to the Five Red headquarters. They ended up throwing me out of the car in the docks after… ah, u-using me, they ripped my top… um… it was just my luck I saw you all outside this building as I was trying to find my way out of here. I’m lost. I’m confused. I’m scared. I know I can trust you guys to protect me, even if you have to return me to PC,” my eyes skip to the two dead girls at the end of the room and I pray that I do not end up with the same fate. I then look at each member of the Five Reds, begging them with my eyes, “Please forgive me for my wrongs, James, forgive me,” I face him directly, knowing he will love this admission.
“Oh, sweetheart,” he comes forward in two large steps, closing the distance. He puts a snug arm around my shoulders as he pulls me in close to his side in a quick protective hug, “A lot of girls get tricked by the Gang of Shadows. We’ll protect you and return you to your detention centre soon, I promise you, Alice.”
Oh my… fuck! I try to keep my fear real and in place of the anger quickly flowing through me.
“Please… I beg you, James, for your forgiveness,” I try to sound sincere as I stay close to James’ side, in his hold, “This ninja girl, whoever she is, probably wants mercy too,” I add and the ninja girl faces me, her black eyes watching and her mouth unmoving.
I had no idea.
“So now the mute-one can apparently hear,” James speaks, condescendingly, chuckling after the ninja girl turns to face her eyes back to the floor at her feet.
“No one is returning Alice to the detention centre, you moron,” the older man sighs, using my incorrectly pronounced made-up nickname by James. I glare at the old man who has just spoken calmly and naturally insulted James the Brains like he has the authority. And I assume he must, because James doesn’t flinch, as if he was use to the banter, “These two sisters were invaluable alive and who killed them? Jackle,” the old man continues, not affected by my glare. He nods to the human jelly, who is sitting on a chair looking guilty, “On your orders, James,” the older man takes a step closer to me, “What the hell is your mutation?” he brings up his hand and grabs my chin, “I don’t have much patience and I’m a kind man when you just offer freely and without complaint what I ask of you. So, Alice, tell me, is your mutation amplified beauty?”
“That’s not a thing,” Coal scoffs, chuckling and looking at me with open jealousy as she says this. Obviously, she didn’t like this man’s attention fully focused on me.
“Why wouldn’t it be?” the old man turns from me to glare at Coal. James slowly slides his hand down from my waist, towards my ass. He is doing it incredibly slowly, he thinks he is being sneaky and that I won’t notice.
My hidden temper is slowly sparking to ignition while I watch what goes on around me.
“How would amplified beauty be a mutation, Lumen, it doesn’t make sense,” Coal asks. I feel informed now, that this old man, Lumen, must be the man who owned that armoured van and the cooperation labelled on it’s front. Whatever Lumen Corp was, however, I still had no idea.
“These girls were invisible,” Lumen points to them and walks up to the desk, shoving the girl on the desk off the back of it, to clear the top. The cruel move sickens me, especially the way no one flinches except I as the dead body plummets and lands crumpled on the floor, “How was their invisibility possible? We won’t ever know. Because now they’re dead. But I already know how anything is possible, dear Coal,” he turns and leans against the bloody desk like it’s clean and unmarked, “the SD bombs were a Force of Depravity for most unfortunate humans…” his eyes slither to mine as I’ve taken a stealthy step to the side of James, out of reach of his ‘sly’ hand, “Some people get gifted with strong, prominent genes. The bombs for those people, hit them with an enlightening impact on their genes. Those people are the Force of Supremacy… and they must be studied… some of them, must be opened up, in the literal sense,” he shrugs as he explains, “That’s what I wanted to do to those girls, but now they’re mutations will be ruined by death. You need to keep people alive to see the real benefits of their mutation. So, Alice, what’s your mutation?” he directs this question at me.
“It’s Alyssa. Nothing special. Just my hair and nails,” I shrug, “Nothing that needs to have me opened up, I can assure you,” I take a step forward towards Lumen, knowing he won’t expect this move of confidence, “Would you like to touch my hair to find out just what my mutation is?”
There is a moment of silence as something seems to enlighten Lumen while he studies me. His eyes shine bright with his new knowledge and a sudden depraved idea, no doubt.
Let’s just say I didn’t trust this man’s easy tendency to cruelty.
He completely ignores my offer and raises a hand to James the Brains instead.
“James, hold her down on the desk for me. Also, watch that child, make sure she looks. I want this ‘ninja girl’ watching so she can see what’s about to happen to Alyssa. It should help the mute girl talk,” he looks at the girl in black lycra and speaks to her, while she continues to keep her eyes cast down, “If you tell me what I want to know, it will save yourself from a whole lot of pain… or I will be forced to reach in and pull out your secrets, quite literally,” my anger is rising at the way Lumen speaks so openly of torture. To a child, none the less.
Not excluding the fact I will be made an example of. I was an expendable stranger, apparently.
Coal is looking a little guilty for being mean to me now, Jackle is staring at his feet, holding a gun in his hand loosely. Kyle the Child is hiding behind Dash, scared of me rather than for me, while Dash himself is just too young to work out exactly is going to happen.
“What did I say, you moron? Move, now, you can take Alyssa’s clothes off too, if that makes you more amenable to my request,” Lumen raises his brows, smirking as James’ eyes light up without a second thought.
“Naked?” James eyes focus on me like an animal preying upon it’s favourite meal, “I have to follow orders, Alysa.”
“It’s Alyssa,” I snap, and the ‘ninja-girl’ just beside me, takes a step back as James grabs me and hauls me forward.
I struggle, planning to hurt him real bad but he grabs both my forearms and forces them behind my back with such force, I feel my arms instantly bruise and I cry out.
“Be more gentle, you stupid beast,” Lumen sighs impatiently, “Help him,” he snaps at Jackle as James roughly shoves me forward onto the bloody desk, over the dead girl at my feet.
“I’ll hold her, you can take off her clothes,” Jackle sounds impatient, and I still as they prepare to switch. James takes his hands off me and Jackle drops his gun near me on the floor so he has both hands to use. He simply looks fed up with the situation but none the less willing to help.
Just as Jackle grabs my elbows and James half rips open the back of my tube top, there is a massive explosion from the other end of the factory.
Everyone is in shock, Jackle’s hands loosen around my arms as another second explosion roars through the back of the building.
“You can’t stay here,” one of the body guards yells at Lumen and they begin to escort him out. Lumen curses under his breath as he willingly runs.
“Leave the warehouse, now,” Lumen yells out his last order and the Five Reds all look at each other and nod in acknowledgement.
I’m just about to breathe a sigh of relief, but with it a wall of held back emotions roll through me at the dead girl at my feet. Jackle backs off, letting my arms go, but not before he presses his foot into the dead girl’s breast, a smile spreading across his creepy lips.
I feel sick and I look over my shoulder to notice the ninja-girl has escaped in the excitement.
I try to back up off the desk but I’m suddenly closed in and warm heat from James front, pushes me back on the edge of the wood, bending me over.
James the Brains is forcing me to stay where I am.
“Aww… I wanted to see what’s underneath those clothes,” James whispers into my ear, leaning over me, “You always disappoint me, Alysa. Can’t things just go right, for once?”
“You were going to let that man open me up,” I speak, in a monotone, my temper about to crack, “You were going to let him cut me open, while I was still alive. While you watched.”
“I’ve seen him do that many times to many hot girls, it’s actually really interesting –”
“Blood spurts,” Kyle get’s excited and teleports to the other side of the desk so I can see him. He seems more happy now that I am restrained. He probably thought I couldn’t get back at him for stealing the ring off me and claiming the mission accomplished as his own. He is smiling as he decides to provoke me. I watch, feeling nauseous, my stomach rolling as he leans down to stick his finger up the second dead girl’s nose, “Look, I’m picking her nose, look, look! Haha!”
“Kyle,” Dash scolds from across the room, “Don’t. What the fuck?”
“Let’s go, bring Alyssa with us, Lumen will want her,” Coal speaks up, “Let’s. Go. James.”
“You’re right,” James abruptly backs up and allows me freedom to move, “Coal, you are very correct. Lumen will want her. He loves free experiments.”
“You murdered these girls, who were they?” I snap, at James, “You gave the order for Jackle to shoot them in the head.”
“They surrendered first when we caught them with stinky gas,” James explains, shrugging, “But we’ve been trying to catch them for months. Killing them was the safest option.”
“They surrendered and you gave the order to kill them? I thought you were heroes,” I yell the last part after Jackle as he can’t stand hearing my accusations. He storms his way out through the side door.
“They were doing the wrong thing, it’s justice… you also broke your contract, Lumen has every right to use you for answers. He is in the business of saving the world, he is a genius,” Coal explains, “How else will we save the world if scientists like him can’t research? Bring her to Lumen, James.”
It’s not until now, until being cleared of the vaccinations, that I can hear how crazy, messed up and brain-washed they all sound.
“You should be happy that Lumen will sacrifice you in study to save the planet,” James stands back, smiling, “He even suggested it,” I have no idea what he is talking about but I happily stand back with a fake smile, hiding my extreme anger as he continues to ramble on as the building around us burns, “You weren’t affected by the Force of Depravity, Alysa. You’re a part of the Supreme mutated humans. You should be happy.”
“Look Alyssa. Snotty, snotty, you can’t stop me,” Kyle laughs as he continues to pick the dead girl’s nose.
I look at him, continuing to assault the innocent body of a dead, disrespected girl.
I lose it.
“Fucking hell,” my temper burns and I lean over and pick up the gun at my feet they all so stupidly forgot about. I point it at Kyle, “Back away from her, you little shit.”
“Naughty, Alysa,” James growls, also losing his temper as he lunges forward and grabs my wrist connected to the hand holding the gun. I bring up my other curled nails and stab them right into his grossly enlarged neck.
They lodge deep inside and he gurgles as blood spurts out and bubbles up into his mouth seconds later. I have to shove him backwards before he falls on me and knocks me over.
James falls like a freshly felled tree while Dash gets a gawking Coal to safety and I’m left with Kyle who is raging up to his feet like a crazy deranged monkey man, pointing his fingers at me and scowling so hard it looks like his lips will fall off.
“My Captain, is my captain!” he screams as I hold the gun, now pointing it at James’ chest, because he was still gurgling on the ground.
He was alive, looking at me with dull witted, dying eyes.
“Not anymore, Kyle, perhaps you can pick his nose when he’s done here,” I can’t help but smile as I face James and I pull the trigger. Truthfully, it’s because I found it hard to watch things die slowly and suffer… even if it was someone as annoying as James.
My vision is confused, however, as the bullet flies through the air… and never hits James.
I watch as Kyle, with his man’s body and childly scowl, fragments to form in a teleportation burst.
Right in front of me.
The bullet lodges straight into his stomach and I look at the gun to see it’s empty of bullets.
I drop the gun and watch as Kyle is squirming on top of James’ hulk of a body, twitching and crying like a kid.
I just stand there, watching, as my anger fades to numbness and the smoke filters in around me.
It feels like minute’s pass as I stand stock still. My lungs fill with dark, clogged, toxic air as I feel the heat of the burning building around me. The fire was spreading fast. I eventually turn my head when Kyle stops squirming.
I see the armoured van is gone and in its place, rolls forth a black, familiar car, rumbling to a halt.
I walk forward now, finding my ability to move as I inspect James the Brains. His eyes have glassed over.
They’re both dead. Everyone else? Well, Dash had gotten everyone back to safety.
Without warning, however, there is a gust of air from the opened door.
More smoke blows in and I see Dash standing there with a white, pale face.
“Kyle, oh my god,” Dash is looking at me with his young sixteen year old frightened eyes, “Why? Why, Alyssa?”
I open my mouth to speak and I think of the perfect thing.
“Not Alyssa, Dash. I’m not just the Diamond Spy, either. I’m the Princess of the Shadows, go tell Coal that next time she wants to offer me up to Lumen again like a human sacrifice,” he just gawks, standing in shock at my words. But he doesn’t stand still for long. There is a loud boom and crack of lightening right at his feet. He yips like a little frightened dog and he sprints into action. He runs for his life and I hear Serge roar with laughter.
“Run, faster, kid, I bet you can’t run faster than lightening!” I hear Serge’s chuckle get louder as he suddenly appears in the door way, “Kitten…” he trails off as he sees the two dead bodies at my feet.
“Your two invisible girls are dead,” I say, “Shot in the head. Two for two, I guess.”
Serge’s eyes go from humoured from Dash, to saddened by the dead girls and then he looks at me one more time, and his eyes have changed again.
They are beaming with pride.
“That’s Karla… is Mishka here too?” he asks and I realise he can’t see her.
“Shoved off the desk on the other side,” I explain as he comes over and puts an arm around my waist, leading me out of the building just as I see Ace and Dale walking towards the office from STRIKE, curiosity in their gazes.
Serge hands me over to Dale and Ace as he goes back in for Karla and Mishka.
I look up and watch as the building burns bright, a pillar of smoke reaching for the black skies.
“What happened?” Dale asks me, his hand going to grab my arm, but I turn from him, “We heard a gunshot,” he growls, “You weren’t hurt, were you?”
I keep my back to Ace and Dale and shake my head, not speaking as I morbidly and curiously watch as Serge comes out of the building dragging the girls out by holding an arm each.
“Need some help, boss,” Serge growls.
“I’ve got one,” Ace murmurs, coming over to pick one girl up as Serge hoists up the other.
“Put them in the boot,” Dale suggests.
“The boot?” I repeat, dryly, trying not to roll my eyes.
“How else am I going to transport them, kitten?” Dale asks in a growl of his own before adding, “Now. Tell me, doll. What did you do? You certainly distracted them, whatever it was.”
“Some guy called Lumen wanted to open me up as a demonstration of some kind,” I explain.
“Did you just say… Lumen? Kitten?” Dale asks me slowly. I turn to him. Assessing his shocked gaze.
“Yes, I did. Why? Who is he?” I ask.
“A very dangerous man,” Dale is honest, his purple eyes slightly more distant as he adds, “Perhaps even more dangerous than me, doll.”
“I find that hard to believe,” I shrug my shoulders.
“Would you?” Dale asks, coming fully back to the present, “Lumen is my father. Lumen Corp is a continuation of Howl Inc.”
My eyes widen at this.
“Let’s get out of here!” Serge calls from the boot as Ace closes it shut, looking solemn.
“Get your asses in here!” we all hear Jose call out from the driver’s window.
“Alright… let’s head off,” Dale walks with me to the STRIKE and opens the back door for me. Ace heads to the other side and Serge decides to sit in the front passenger seat this time.
I sit in the middle silently, feeling overwhelmed that Lumen was Dale’s father.
A complete maniac.
I didn’t know how to truly feel about it. All I knew was that I felt exasperated enough as it was.
“We’re drinking tonight,” Serge says amidst the new-found silence. Rare in STRIKE.
“Why is that?” Ace asks.
“Alyssa didn’t tell you?” Serge looks over his shoulder and gives me wink, “Welcome to the Gang of Shadows, ‘princess’… well done.”
“I didn’t do anything – well, I did but – whatever. I don’t want to talk about it,” I choose to complain, feeling weird and confused. How could I admit to what I did? How should I say it? Solemnly, with pride, with anger, with joy? I had no idea what I even felt. I guess I felt… I don’t know.
“Clearly you did something impressive if Serge is this happy,” Ace speaks up, giving me a curious smile and sparkling eyes.
“Tell me, kitten,” Dale commands, extremely intrigued.
I bite my lip. I refuse to speak and Serge sees I’m uncomfortable to admit it.
He happily explains.
“I’ll tell you,” Serge growls with fresh pride, “She sliced right through that Captain’s throat, and shot that delinquent teleporting man-child right through the guts so he died nice and slow… looked like she enjoyed it too,” Serge growls happily.
I just feel nothing about it. I guess it hadn’t hit me yet. But I didn’t want to say that out loud either.
“What’s done is done,” I mutter, “It was them, or me.”
“So, it’s official, we have a chick in the group,” Jose finally seems to admit this, looking at me… with new found acceptance, “First one… hopefully the last one.”
“Hey. Just, drop the female oriented insults, please,” I snap, “So… how did you all find each other?” I ask, hoping to change the topic from my first two… murders? I wasn’t sure what to call them.
“A story for a darker time, doll,” Serge explains from the front, “Tonight, I’m drinking to have a good time. I don’t want any reason to frown. We’re celebrating Karla and Mishka’s loyalty to us, and your initiation into the group. You’re one of us, doll… smile.”
I look to Dale and he is simply watching me with intrigue, he was clearly impressed that I got Serge to sound so damn happy.
I didn’t think it was possible, but Dale seems even more entranced by whatever I am to the group.
I turn and watch the road.
I finally feel a proper feeling I can describe.
It’s… it is joy.
I did it!
I was one of the them.
I was also, secretly, beaming with pride that I managed to intrigue the Lord of the Underworld further… it was like I was reeling him in. Power, of my own kind, as he once said.
And to top it off, I finally found a place I belonged… a place to call home.
When I glance a sneaky glance at Dale, I see his tyrian purple eyes focus on me, and I have to quickly look ahead to the road again.
My heart skips. My adrenaline pumps.
“Good job, kitten,” he drawls, reaching over to squeeze my thigh. I press my legs together and my breath comes out shaky and broken.
I couldn’t forget and I’d be stupid if I ever did... to him... I was still just a thing to play with.