Chapter 29: Lethal Hysteria
My nails cut through the glass caging in my squad like butter. My nails also squidge their way through the metal chokers holding the beasts to the wall, while a single strand of my hair helps to slice the chain at the back of each choker. Raven, Strawberry and Blue have not moved as I told them to stay by the wall to test their obedience.
They act accordingly and perfectly.
Now, my beasts are free and we all exit through the large hole in the glass that I’ve cut and kicked right through.
I am still wearing my velvety purple heels and leotard but I feel comfortable, weirdly enough. My beasts spread out, a little nervous and head-scratching on what we must do next.
My girls aren’t registering their presence, they are simply behaving like literal robots. They seemed to only react when spoken to.
“We need to be careful,” Serge growls, sitting on the metal table near me, I see the fear in his eyes and the slight pale colour to his cheeks.
Dale is pacing while Ace and Jose stand on opposite ends of the door, just waiting for an order to break the lock open so we can run for it.
We were delayed, however, because Dale and Serge were both convinced this was a trap.
“We can’t stay in here forever,” I growl back, “We need to act.”
Dale stops pacing and gives me a dramatically irritated look, his eyes furious.
“Doll – we have three casualties waiting to happen,” Dale snarls, nodding towards the girls he didn’t want coming with us.
“They’re dead here anyway,” I hiss, “They’re like slaves; they deserve a chance at freedom. Plus, they listen to me...” I turn around and as I meet their gazes, all three meet mine, a little more confident this time, “Step forward,” I ask and right on time, Raven, Strawberry and Blue step forward in complete sync.
“That’s just creepy,” Ace mutters from the side of the door and I glare at him in protection of them.
“Don’t be mean –” I’m about to lose my cool, when everyone simultaneously hears foot falls just outside the door and a loud robust laugh as the door knob twitches.
“Let’s see these caged beasts and that dumb whore –!” No freaking way, of course he came to gloat!
The door abruptly swings open, all eyes on the fat oaf – Prof. Hedgy standing outside the door with Lumen. Prof. Hedgy nearly slips right off an imaginary banana peel when he sees a room full of unrestrained human weapons.
“It’s a breach!” Lumen yells out, pulling Prof. Hedgy backwards by the collar he screams at him to move, “Run! You fat lump of root, fat and water retention! Run! I’m calling backup!”
We all watch, even the girls watch, as Prof. Hedgy stomps away to the right and Lumen sprints to the left.
“Too fucking easy,” Serge growls under his breath, “Move out –”
“Move out,” Dale snarls a second later than Serge, then Dale turns back to his member who has stepped out of line. I duck as Dale cuffs him on the back off the head, “What have I been doing differently, huh? Move your lit ass!”
“Just nerves, boss,” Serge shrugs, smiling guiltily as he then stalks past and then Dale’s fury is on me. I raise an eyebrow and he just shakes his head in exasperation
“Apparently, I’m not making myself clear,” he threatens me with a tilt to his head and I make the mistake of hesitating too long, “That means you too, kitten… move it… now,” the tone he uses is something not to be messed with. I nod quickly and I jump forward, almost running past my own squad.
I quickly stop to face the three dolls.
“Follow me,” I nod to all of them as Dale stalks past me, swearing under his breath, while following STRIKE out the door.
I’m next, being closely trailed by the three compliant dolls.
As soon as we clear the room and enter the white, windowless and very wide corridor… both ends have sliding doors that zip open at the same time… to let in a flood in of highly trained soldiers. They have guns on their belts but they are not drawn. They hold batons and tasers instead. Clearly this was to capture; not kill.
“Perfect,” Dale murmurs, “Fuck em’ up, ladi –boys,” he corrects himself and looks at me, waiting for my smile, but his look suggests I really shouldn’t try unless I want to reap the consequences later. My gaze, however, is focused on Ace as he casually approaches the soldiers to the left, shrugging his blazer further forward.
“It’s an absolute pleasure, ladies, nice to meet you,” Ace walks right up to the line of soldiers who are hesitantly approaching with small shuffles of their feet. Ace holds out his hand… for one of them to shake. When no one does he shrugs again and abruptly punches the smallest one near by in the face.
“Fucking idiot,” Jose snarls as he jumps in amongst the sudden rabble of tasers being shot and soldiers raising their batons. Dale ducks around Serge to also help beat them back with Jose and Ace.
Serge, however, turns around with an exasperated roll of his eyes as he faces the crowd of soldiers facing the girls, myself and I to the right of the corridor. These soldiers stand still in complete fear of Serge’s terrifying scowl.
Serge has electricity bounce off both his palms – however, as he shocks the crowd of soldiers… his lightening doesn’t catch all of them. Only half fall in spasms before a legitimate metal arrow shoots through the air and lodges its way into his shoulder. One glance shows an advanced military crossbow in the back line of the soldiers, hidden by the first three rows of heads.
Serge angrily pulls it out with a vengeance and throws it back at the one who shot him. It goes straight through the soldier’s eye.
“Guns!” Ace calls out and I turn to see brawling still happening but three guns thrown at my feet from the belts Ace has stolen from.
Now the soldier’s on the right quickly start to shoot for me.
“Avoid the fire!” I yell at the girls, ducking, only to be caught by two separate tasers that cling to my thighs. I drop to my knees, gritting my teeth as volts make my nerves shudder. Serge grips my shoulder, however, and I feel him draining out most of the charge so I recover almost instantly.
The soldiers look truly panicked now.
Some of them quickly draw guns as the other remaining half decide to run for it.
They know they can’t win if Serge sent out just one more bolt after he regained his composure. As the soldiers run the way Prof. Hedgy has gone, a few gun shots fire and I watch most of the dolls dodge – as the bullets fly closer to where they are hiding by the wall.
They all escape harm – or appear to, until we all hear Raven cry out as she drops to her knees, blood pouring from her stomach.
“Raven!” Strawberry and Blue jump to action. Blue skids to her knees and holds Raven in her arms while Strawberry spots the guns still on the ground near me.
I move with shaky limbs to grab one of the guns and I chuck it at Strawberry. She was the tall blonde. She was Precision. If she was anything like Ace –
I don’t even have to order her as she points the gun at the door that the soliders are fleeing through. The two last straggling soldiers are literally just about to slip to safety through the door. But they never make it.
Two shots fire from Strawberry’s gun and both bullets lodge into two separate spines – with exact precision.
I look over my shoulder to double check no more soldiers are in the corridor to the left, only felled ones. As expected, Jose, Ace and Dale have stopped their onslaught of soldiers with no injuries. The floor is littered with bodies but they aren’t gloating about their work, they’re simply staring at Strawberry in complete shock.
Everyone then moves their gazes to the two crumpled bodies down the corridor, felled by the tall blonde doll. She is still holding the gun, gaze unmoving from the door the soldiers went through.
“Awaiting instructions,” Strawberry speaks this through gritted teeth and I quickly jump to my feet. Jose leaps forward and helps take Raven from Blue. Raven is still alive, but she is seriously injured.
“I’ll fix her up when we’re out of here,” Dale snaps, “Move it.”
“Alright, let’s fuck em’ up, ladies,” I use the exact words Dale used on his men, for my own squad, with actual relevance now for the use of the term ‘ladies’. I watch as Strawberry stalks forward without an action or single word of disobedience. Blue trusts Raven to be safe in Jose’s arms and runs after Strawberry.
Blue is the first to reach the door to the right, which is the corridor Strawberry chose to strive through. Blue looks back at me, her silver eyes blinking with a tiny show of emotion.
“Alyssa… you said… fuck them up. I don’t particularly want to fuck them, they hurt Raven, but I will do so if you command it,” she speaks quietly by the door that Strawberry has stalked through.
“I meant hurt them, not to actually fuck them,” I explain, furrowing my brows.
“Oh. Right. Multiple meanings for the term ‘fuck them’? Understood,” Blue nods and glances down the next corridor, “Twenty new soldiers!” she calls out, looking back at us.
We all sprint forward.
“Help Strawberry, Blue!” I hiss, “Don’t just stand there –” I am the first to skid through the door into the next white corridor.
STRIKE and Blue follow simultaneously.
But there is no need to help.
Strawberry raises her guns and fires off ten shots in about three seconds. Ten shots. Twenty soldiers. Within those three seconds, bodies crumple to the floor, some dead, some just wounded.
“She’s about a quarter of a second faster than you,” Serge happily tells Ace this, who simply stands back with furrowed brows.
“No comment,” Ace mutters and I try not to laugh. However, I feel a dark shadow fall beside me and I look to see Dale right there.
“Casualties…” I mutter, glancing up at his now enlightened eyes, “Just not the type you thought. We need to get out of here, where should we go? Should we find a window?”
“Down,” Dale orders, “The garage – we’ll retrieve STRIKE.”
“She’s short of breath, professor, you need to do something!” Jose addresses Dale in a stricken tone and I watch as he checks on Raven.
“She’s lost a lot of blood,” Dale murmurs, “We need to leave right now, let’s go.”
“Strawberry!” I call out, “Stop killing and find some stairs.”
Without a word or even turning to me, she drops her gun-hand to her side and stalks her way through the corridor to the next corridor.
Blue stays back with me and I glance at her skeptically.
“Last resort,” she says, her eyes unblinking, “I can’t be in the front line.”
“How do you know this?” I ask her as STRIKE pull ahead and we follow from behind.
“Uh –I don’t know, Alyssa, but I just know I should hang back, like him,” she shrugs her shoulders and points to Serge who walks behind the others, “Also, boss, you’re real pretty.”
“Thanks, um, now’s not the time and hey, I didn’t choose to be,” I try to make a joke but she doesn’t laugh, simply stares at me with confusion as we follow.
“Alyssa, we missed you,” Blue whispers, “We didn’t know you besides a single picture we had of you as a baby. We never felt whole without you. Now we can fuck people up, together. In every sense of ‘fuck them’.”
“Um…” I try not to smirk at her attempt at conversation and I just decide to change the topic, “We need to get out of here or Raven won’t make it,” I’m honest with her, “Let’s get moving more quickly.”
I grab her hand and STRIKE and the rest of us follow Strawberry, who is in the lead. She takes us to a red door. Emergency stairs.
Just as we reach the door, and swing it open, a siren from an alarm begins to wail– quite late. Thanks to Lumen, no doubt.
We all hop down into the emergency staircase, taking two steps at a time, until we reach the bottom level. The basement and the garage. Strawberry kicks the door open and is first out, her fist on the door to keep it open.
However she halts and doesn’t move. Just outside the door.
“Why did she stop?” Ace whispers, glancing at us, confused, “Alyssa, make her move, I can see STRIKE, it’s just over there, we need to get out, no–”
“Wait,” I whisper back and we watch as Strawberry simply raises her gun and fires two quick shots. Two men in black drop from the ceiling of the garage, either side of the tall bonde doll.
“Weapons indeed,” Dale sighs and Strawberry moves forward, suggesting the coast is clear.
After that, the rest of our escape moves quickly. Raven also loses more blood, including consciousness while Jose becomes more panicked.
“Move your ass, grandma,” Jose snaps at Ace to drive once we’re all in the car. The gang didn’t have keys but somehow managed to break their way into STRIKE. It was a clear Plan B they had formulated to drive STRIKE at any time or in an emergency.
I’m sitting in the front with Strawberry… who is sitting on my lap… which is a tad uncomfortable but I asked her to do it and she obliged… quite literally sitting right back into me.
While I can’t breathe, Raven is held by Jose and Blue volunteered to squish onto the middle console, as she is the smallest. However, it meant her knee was poking into my side and she was hugging the seat for dear life.
“What is this contraption?” Strawberry asks, “Such a – wow!” she exclaims as Ace finally starts the engine and he slams his foot down. We go speeding up, winding our way out of the underground garage.
I just hope we don’t crash.
“She’s literally dying, move on it!” Jose almost chokes up and I notice there is a solemn vibe from Serge and Dale also.
“She won’t die, fucking relax, I got this,” Dale snarls back, but it’s the only reassurance he gives Jose, which has Blue skeptically waiting for me to also reassure.
“What happens when you die?” Blue asks me, scared.
“You get released from this hell we call Frankincense City,” I joke, again, “Just relax, Raven will survive, and enjoy the ride – oh my god, Ace… no… don’t you dare –!” I scream as we’ve reached the top.
And the garage door is barricaded.
Two measly soldiers stand infront of a heavy metal locked down into the floor. There was no way we could get through.
Yet, Ace floors the engine and STRIKE literally smashes right through the barricade.
“STRIKE has a special grill, doll,” Ace reaches over to grab my hand and accidentally grabs Strawberry’s boob.
He quickly lets go and glances at Strawberry with apprehension. It was an honest mistake but we were all waiting for her to potentially raise that gun and blow his brains out.
Her expression is neutral, however. She neither smiles nor frowns.
“Keep at it, Ace,” Dale encourages Ace to concentrate after his foot came off the accelerator briefly, “We need to get back and it’s a bit tight back here if you didn’t notice,” he growls this with utter impatience and when I glance over my shoulder… I see Jose and Raven have taken up most of the middle and side seat.
Serge has to awkwardly sit on Dale to give more room for Raven to be spread out, to get more comfortable.
“Floor it!” Serge snarls at Ace, who just laughs – until we pass the corner of one of the buildings. A black clothed, covered body falls from above and smashes on the windscreen.
Pained eyes stare right at me as blood smears the windshield.
“Viola,” I whisper, “Stop the car!” I snarl at Ace and he does so within miliseconds.
“Throw her off,” Dale yells out, “We can’t take another fucking body.”
“She’s not dead,” Ace replies as I jump out of the car and take in my surroundings better.
We’re at Preventative fucking Care! I didn’t even notice. This place was still the same, like a university. When I look up, we’re next to a tall building and… at the very top, I see a glint of metal.
That is all.
It is almost an illusion as it abruptly disappears.
I quickly check on Viola, and she turns her head to meekly look at me, her eyes full of pain. Ace has also jumped out of the car, and at this point her head drops forward – either unconscious or dead.
“I’m putting her in the boot of the car,” Ace reassures me as he scoops her up. I’m about to protest but there is nowhere else to put her so I have to begrudgingly agree.
The rest of the drive is chaotically stressful, Jose constantly whispering about Raven being so close to death while also whispering to her and begging Dale to fix it even though nothing could be done until we got back to the Black Lair Clubhouse.
We park in the garage, we all flood out of STRIKE and into the first lift. Then, we strive to the second lift, only to squish in and have Dale press HB for Home Base.
“What the fuck, boss, she needs your lab,” Jose snarls, almost close to tears but Dale blocks him from trying to press any further keys on the lift.
“They’ll be fitted with tracking devices, they’re not moving below Home Base, this is their home now… you alright with that, kitten?” Dale asks me with a dry smirk, clearly I wasn’t meant to answer even if I wished so.
“I’m fine with that,” I murmur, “Just save Raven.”
The lift drops one level and here we are: HB.
The doors open and Casey is standing on the other side in his pajamas.
“You’re back!” he cries out in delight, running forward to hug Dale, he quickly stands back when he sees Viola being carried by Ace, “V!” this time Casey cries out in fear as he stumbles backwards.
“Kid,” Dale pushes Casey into the lift, “Get me my med box now – from the lab. Please.”
As we all step out, Casey is left inside the lift, looking frightened but obedient.
“Okay,” he gulps and presses the key for Dale’s laboratory.
“Everyone in the living area,” Dale stalks forward, leading his gang and the dolls who stand by me, into the third door down to the left of the concrete corridor.
It opens into a family oriented living room. Completely normal, nothing sexual, no strip poles or liquor bars– but it is just very, very large. A similar size to the Adult lounges.
I take a seat on a large couch with Blue and Strawberry by my side.
Ace lays out Raven in front of us, on a long, spacious coffee table.
Her stomach is covered in blood, her skin pale and her eyes closed.
Dale grabs a wet cloth and wipes away most of the blood while Viola lies in a crumpled heap on the edge of the coffee table next to Raven.
“They’ll both be fine in my hands,” Dale murmurs through the tense silence, just as Casey runs back into the room with his med box and dramatically throws it at Dale, who catches it with one hand mid-air.
Just as Dale opens his box, however – Raven suddenly gasps to life.
Her eyes snap open and her fingers clench as her body convulses.
Everyone’s eyes watch as the bullet in her stomach is squeezed out… by rapidly healing, spasming muscles. Her skin flushes from white to pink as fresh blood circulates. She gasps again and sits up right. Within moments she stands off the table and she looks around, confused.
When her chocolate eyes finally find Blue and Strawberry she cries out with happiness and jumps forward, wrapping first Blue in a tight hug, then Strawberry and then me.
I am too shocked to say anything. I simply stand up, my mind reeling with her sudden recovery – just as the gang looks on in absolute awe and confusion.
However, just as I stand up and walk my way to a near by display cabinet full of glasses, which I lean on to think, I turn to see the three dolls have followed me. They stand behind me in a uniform line.
“Awaiting instructions,” all three of them speak at once, Raven literally acting like she wasn’t just seconds from death or that her skirt isn’t still covered in sticky blood.
I turn to the gang, Dale is now working on Viola with Casey kneeling also, holding her hand.
Ace, Serge and Jose sit together on the couch and just shake their heads in confusion.
“If you’re STRIKE, what are we?” I ask, quizzically, turning to the three dolls, “Any ideas? And please don’t say pussy, cock or 1234.”
“I like brownies,” Raven suggests, “Chocolate brownies.”
“I love chocolate brownies,” Strawberry exclaims too.
“So do I,” Blue nods, and Dale manages to laugh.
“I’d say your squad is hungry,” Dale glances up at me as he fills a needle with some sort of liquid, “…kitten?”
“Well,” I stick my chin up high, so many expectant gazes upon me, waiting for my answer. I was meant to name the squad of girls – I mean, no pressure, right? But never the less, I had my answer, “They’re not just my team or useless dolls. We’re weapons and we all love brownies. So… I know what we are. If you’re STRIKE… we’re the Brownie Squad!”
The gang all chuckle, but even though they do – my dolls all grin with delight.
I’d say, as the Ultimate and the leader of the dolls, at least I’d chosen our name well, to the squad’s utter delight and satisfaction.