Chapter 23: Blood Rite
The walls were rich, black leather. The love couches were a sexy blood red. This level looked like it was once some sort of second love-lounge with a massive fireplace at the end of the room. One wall contained a small stage… with a strip poll. The opposite corner of the room had marble tiles, a spa and a narrow pool big enough for a small party or two swimming lanes. The whole thing was thirty feet long. The middle of the room had couches circled in with what looked like to be a gambling table in the middle, set up for whatever game you’d like to play.
“Take a look, doll,” Serge gives me a funny glance as I take in the surroundings. I nod and they all let me exit the lift first. I do so with light steps.
“Mondays, you have off?” I mutter to myself as I walk straight over to inspect the grand, ancient fireplace with intricate carvings. It was bigger than me spread eagled three times over. Then there was the gigantic spa and connecting pool.
After I’ve had my quick look, I eventually turn and glance as they all head towards the seats opposite the stage and the single strip pole. I try not to roll my eyes but I straighten my back and head over towards them anyway.
They are for once, strangely quiet. Perhaps they were waiting for me to speak out first?
“Serge,” I call out as I round the seats they all take, and I don’t step onto the stage, but I stand just below it to face them, looking at my feet the entire time as I think of the right words, “You said… there was a greater price to pay for loyalty… from the things you told me about this bunker. The things I learnt from… that ring’s contents. But Dale just made me a suit. Now… I assume you want me to please you all,” I gulp, hold my hands behind my back and then raise my nervous eyes to meet them.
My heart freezes.
My lungs forget to breathe on their own…
…as my eyes shockingly take in what they are all holding.
Guns and knives – in their palms. One of each, for each member.
I wait for them to talk and I lick my dry lips, hoping someone explains.
“Spit it out, doll, what are you thinking?” Jose asks me, tilting his head to assess my reaction.
Perhaps they were all wondering why I wasn’t screaming hysterically just yet, begging them to explain what the fuck was going on.
“You’re all giving me… weird vibes…?” I try to joke by making a light statement, like nothing was off about them all grasping their weapons.
I glance from Jose, to Ace, to Serge and to Dale, whom raises his head as if appreciating my ‘sixth’ sense.
“There is no way, that you’re leaving this place alive,” Dale speaks up, with extreme bluntness, “Not after we found you sneaking into our secure level without permission –”
I put up a hand, stopping him from continuing. He surprisingly halts for me.
I guess Dale wanted me to have a chance at some last words.
“You made me a suit,” I snap and then quickly glare at Serge next. It’s because I can’t hold Dale’s gaze too long, it was too upsetting. I had foolishly trusted him more than anyone here, “Serge, you said, ‘we finally have a girl in the group’… you spoke like I was a part of you all now. Welcomed. But wow, I guess not anymore, am I right?”
“You almost were, doll. Yet you went to level Secure and when people know too much…” Serge trails off, “It doesn’t matter how much more you’re told from that point on… what lies we can tell you… as long as you’re under our hand… here… and not out there. Do you understand me?”
I go silent. A part of me hoped desperately they were all exaggerating this act… that perhaps this was just a seriously sick joke?
Perhaps they’d put their weapons away any second and laugh about how good they ‘got’ me. Shaking in my boots. Except I wasn’t; perhaps they were surprised about that?
“Listen, sweety,” Ace sighs, resting his forehead in his hand with the gun for a moment before glancing up at me, real pain in his eyes, “You’re not the first girl that Prof. Hedgy has sent to us.”
“I know…” I mutter, almost in a whisper, “They’re all dead.”
As I say this statement out loud; it’s like the obvious hits me very abruptly.
I suddenly feel so rattled. So stupid. But still confused.
Pain and denial sweeps through me, along with a thousand questions.
“I killed James and Kyle,” I blurt out, “Did that mean nothing? I helped you destroy the vaccines. I helped you. You helped me… escape from Preventative Care… you helped me… this… what you’re all saying now, doesn’t make any sense.”
“Before you went to Preventative Care, we showed you this bunker,” Dale points out, “No one can know about its contents. We had to get you back.”
Now that Dale addresses me, my thin control snaps.
“Get to the fucking point,” I snarl, my mental state of calm before the storm – officially ends – and now I let through everything I’m feeling, “You never saved me from James on the street, did you? You picked me up because I stole your decoy ring and I needed to be taught a lesson, controlled. Instead, you cleared my system of the vaccines, but for what purpose? I suppose you trusted me then, though. Next, in Preventative Care, you took me out because I knew too much. You needed me back under your eyes,” I point at all of them, “Where you can control my knowledge. And suddenly, I’m your friend again. But… then I go to level secure… out of curiosity… but curiosity ‘killed the kitten’, didn’t it?” I smile, hysterically as I repeat Dale’s exact words… but none of them smile in return.
They all look at me like I’m an old meal they’re ready to get rid of. My time was up.
Like I’m about to be nothing and they couldn’t care less.
“If you broke your loyalty I said it’d send you to the grave,” Dale explains further, “You made that choice. You knew the consequences.”
“Why play along and pretend I’m still welcome… isn’t that just cruel? You could have put a bullet in my head at any time,” I mention, “And, why make me a special suit? I’m as good as dead. Just like the others sent here.”
“Doll,” Serge snaps, “You aren’t dead yet,” he shakes his head, “Not yet.”
“Oh, I see. So, you’re all going to rape me first?” I ask, “Is that it? You make me a pretty suit, a nice thing to see me in, use me in, before you throw me away? Burn me to dust? Incinerate my useless, betraying corpse?
“We told you,” Jose snarls, “We don’t rape anyone… and you’ve got one last shot.”
“One… last… shot?” I ask, exasperated and beyond pissed off. I put my hands out, “What does that mean? You gonna give me a gun, tell me to kill myself? Make me end my own life…?”
Serge actually has the audacity to smile at this.
“You have the thoughts to be one of us…” he reminisces, “…but doll – you broke the loyalty we entrusted in you.”
“Now I understand, don’t worry. ‘Don’t over-evaluate your importance to us,’” I put on a deep baritone and try to copy Dale’s tone, “’We can survive without you’.”
“Hey, kitten,” Ace stands up, “If it makes you feel better… a lot of the other kittens we had to kill because… well, because they fell in love with him,” Ace points to Dale, “At least you’ll go down doing what you thought was right.”
“I thought trusting you, becoming a part of this… was right!” I yell at Ace, not even feeling tears rise, because I feel numb again.
Numb by his words. Numb by all their words.
But especially Ace’s last statement.
Suggesting I didn’t fall in love with Dale. I wasn’t saying I did. I hardly knew the megalomaniac panther-super human gangster boss.
But I fell in love with something here.
And now that something was going to take my life.
I let out a breath, feeling my anger leave me momentarily as I back up to sit on the stage.
“Get it over with,” I speak in a monotone, sitting my ass down on the ebony wood and leaning back on my hands.
I momentarily look into the distance, questioning why, but not for long. I switch my gaze to the one I had been avoiding.
I show my true emotions, my true feelings, to Dale. I let the pain through.
There was no point trying to hide it now.
My eyes water as I watch him, unblinking. I hoped, in this moment – he could feel what I felt.
I had no real words for it, other than heart-ache.
The worst ache I’d ever experienced in my life.
How pathetic, to die with this feeling and I didn’t even know what it was.
To my surprise, he seems a little rattled by the look I give him. He shifts in his seat uncomfortably and his brow twitches. But then Dale regains control and his eyes harden as they turn to slits.
“Stand up, kitten, on the stage,” he orders, “Now.”
I shrug, do as he says and I don’t say anything to retort. I simply place my feet on the ebony wood and feel a single stray tear roll down my cheek as I watch him and wait for him to give the kill order.
“Our lust,” Dale starts, explaining something else slowly, unexpectedly, “Our violence. Our recklessness. Our needs. Our depraved desires. They were the things our creators couldn’t control about us. I never told you the full story, kitten, but you deserve to know this before we test you… and give you this last shot,” I’m surprised how well Dale retains a neutral, cold, hard expression in the face of my raw emotion, but his eyes don’t lie. He is struggling to remain calm as he explains further, “The test-tube subjects created after us, weren’t just to experiment with superior genes before the next lot of super-human creations. A couple of experiments were made on the side – one deemed successful – in having a genetic code equaling if not superiorly matched to all of ours,” Dale points to his men like brothers as if they are his closest family and not just his friends. And I was still yet to be accepted, “At least the records we’ve stolen show this. So. We don’t just murder anyone… there are exceptions.”
“You’re gonna think it’s fucked up but it’s what we do,” Jose adds in, “It’s the only way to find out… if that girl exists.”
“Misfit females from your generation of ‘lab-babies’…” Serge also adds, “Are all potentially that one female that was made for us.”
“Only one way to test that out,” Ace chooses to speak too, “A trial.”
“It’s your last shot, doll…” Jose adds, “Otherwise we have no other reason to trust you.”
“What does the trial prove?” I ask, raising an eyebrow.
“That you have the blood rite, the genes, the ability… to match us,” Dale raises a brow, smirking cruelly, “Why are you so worried, sweety? We’re just going to shoot bullets and throw knives at you.”
That ache in my chest hadn’t gone away. But now? Dale’s last words, push passion back into my heart.
And I was furious.
“Go,” I snarl, “Let’s hope I don’t catch one of those knives.”
There is a momentary pause.
And then the rest follows.
“Let’s start,” Dale accepts the challenge, without blinking, “One at a time, ladies… it’s the only way to see if she’s made to match each of us.”
“I’m waiting, sweetheart,” I drawl, my eyes blazing and my heart beating furiously as Dale raises his gun first… and he hesitates… for a moment.
Then his finger pulls the trigger. But, before it does, my fury takes over my body and my brain.
It’s like I suddenly have extra neurons firing that I’ve never had fire before.
My hand moves up, not even fast, but stops with my nails spread out over my left breast. And a bullet ricochets off my middle finger… right over my heart.
If anything, the awe of my survival doesn’t even register to me, but Dale’s choice to shoot for my heart does. And now my gut is churning and my cheeks are burning.
That bloody prick.
They are all impressed and Dale doesn’t hesitate this second round. He aims and throws his knife at me on an angle, so it cuts the air at 45 degrees. My left hand rises to the perfect spot, even though it’s usually not the side of my body my brain felt more comfortable coordinating with.
My feet also take me to the side.
Next, my palm and fingers clutch onto the handle of the knife as I catch it midair.
I know now, if they all went separately… I’d be able to avoid their shots. Their aiming.
It was a sudden, strange knowing inside myself.
I couldn’t explain it, I just knew it.
And the rest of them would be too easy.
“No,” I snap at Jose as he is the next to pull back his arm to throw a knife, “All of you. At once.”
“Why the hell not?” Serge shrugs and Ace raises a brow at me.
“Crazy Alyssa? I’d still fuck with her,” he smirks and I go a tinge red in the face. Just a tinge.
“Done,” Jose agrees too and then they all, closely timed, throw a knife at me.
Each throw is a few moments slower than the last and all I have to do is wave my knife through the air and smack off each attack with my own weapon.
Every one of them pauses as three knives clatter to the ground.
Then I dramatically drop the knife in my palm and make that four knives… resting just by my feet.
I watch them unblinkingly as I still feel full of anger. I don’t ask for the next round. I know they will deliver.
The three remaining bullets for me are in the hands of three smirking owners and when I glance at Dale, he is bewildered into silence.
I don’t think any of them expected it, least of all myself; that I would survive this.
I didn’t want to imagine how many girls before me died in this trial.
“I want my sniper,” Ace mutters, jumping to his feet.
“Don’t be an idiot,” Dale snarls, “Sit back down and use your hand gun. It won’t make a difference.”
“Oh, really boss?” Ace challenges, abruptly aiming his handgun. He points it at me and fires three shots.
I feel them coming and I raise one hand to deflect two bullets while my little pinky on my other hand saves me from a bullet to the head. Barely.
“Fucking asshole,” I snap, but not before Serge smirks at me and fires a few shots as well. He, however, aims for my head, heart and pussy.
My hands almost aren’t quick enough to drop low this time. I spring to my tippy toes, spread my legs and feel the wind of the bullet fly by as it narrowly misses my most intimate area.
“No, no, no, doll, I’m the asshole,” Serge winks and Jose laughs at my shocked, infuriated expression as I slowly raise my head.
“Your titties are next, Alyssa, they’re missing out on all the attention,” Jose aims the gun and fires twice, one at each of my nipples. I simply cover my breasts with my hands and the bullets ricochet off my protective well-placed nails.
“That’s enough,” Dale snaps, putting out a hand to stop them from pushing me further, “She’s still standing.”
“No,” I shake my head, sticking out a finger, I dramatically sway it side to side, “That’s not good enough. You all think this is funny? Oh, no. Nope. It’s not. You’re all going to get it back now.”
Before any of them can comment or ask of my intentions, I lean down and pick up two knives. I stand and dart both them with surprising accuracy through the air without hesitation.
Each knife is located for one spot only.
Jose and Serge are first.
Jose manages to swear an embarrassing ’holy moly’ while Serge is simply speechless.
While that’s happened I’ve picked up the other two knives and flung them swiftly at Dale and Ace.
I aim for the same spots.
In a matter of seconds, they all have their legs spread, the knives lodged into the leather at the base of their balls… barely half an inch from their precious cocks.
“My holy goddess,” Ace swears and I notice there is a rip in his precious black slacks, “My gosh.”
“We found her,” Serge growls, ripping the knife from between his legs and pocketing it back in his trousers.
Dale, Ace and Jose do the same.
I can’t even meet Dale’s eyes.
I still feel betrayed.
And any shock you’d think I’d feel right now – at my new found fast reflexes and surprising accuracy with a knife – is actually completely non-existent. I think it’s because I knew… without knowing… I was the one to match them all.
It’s why I felt so comfortable with them from the beginning. And now I was just extremely furious that I had been betrayed by them, distrusted by them. When I was made for them.
Yet they still had to test me out and that infuriated me.
It would continue to do so for a good long while.
I think they are all just processing the fact I am their searched for match… when we are all interrupted by an unexpected alarm.
It’s loud and encompassing, whirring around the room and echoing off the walls.
Even warning lights flash from the cornices of the ceiling.
“Someone’s at the lift doors,” Jose flips open his phone, yelling out, “Looks like a lone girl, we should check it out –” he switches off the alarm and jumps to his feet but I intercept by stepping off the stage and putting my hand up.
“Sit your ass back down, Jose,” I snarl, “Let me handle this.”
I turn from the Gang of Shadows and stalk my way to the lift.
I press a button, the doors open, I step in, turn around and click for the first floor.
I can’t help but raise an eyebrow back at the gobsmacked gangsters staring at me from the couches of their sex lounge.
I at least, fill with some pride in the wake of my anger…
…as not one of them stands nor speaks out to stop me.
And even Dale keeps his mouth shut this time.