"Where the fuck were you guys!" I asked angrily.
"Sorry Gunner, it got pretty hectic there, but I'll explain." Sarah told me.
My head quickly turned to the back of the van as Bowdie moaned in pain. Rowen was trying to assess her, but she was finding it difficult to catch a decent breath. He ripped her shirt off exposing her stomach, and that's when I saw the severity of it all. She was fucking covered in dark purple bruises all along her side and arms. Her one eye was completely blood shot, and still had dried blood caked to her face from her lip and ear.
"Sweety, you got to stop moving." Rowen asked.
"I.....I can't." She said through gritted teeth. "My shoulder.."
Fuck..that must have happened when we landed in the truck. I turned around as I couldn't watch anymore. I was kicking myself thinking that I caused even more injury to her.
•~ Don't beat yourself up Gunner, you got her out.•~ Sarah said to me.
I looked back and he had Oaken hold her down, as he grabbed her left arm and pulled it back into place, not even giving herself time to adjust. She grunted again, and Oaken slowly set her head back down. That's when Oakens expression caught my attention. She kept her eyes towards the back of the van. It was to dark and I couldn't make out what she was looking at, but she had her brows furrowed and didn't take them off whatever she was looking at.
Rowen took to the bottom of Bowdie' s pants and ripped them from the bottom up to her thighs. Then took her boots off and threw them behind him. She was black and blue from head to toe.
"Okay, it looks like your legs are only bruised, but your ribs Bowdie... You've cracked at least 4 on the one side." He said.
Then my attention was brought to a hand that came out of the darkness and grabbed her boots setting them aside. Oaken was still staring them dead on.
"Hand me my bag please." Rowen said to the faceless person.
I could tell by their hands she was female, as they looked feminine. Then she stepped into the light with his medical bag.
I studied her face, and I didn't recognise her. She had red hair that fell halfway down her back, and looked to be in her early 40's. I looked back to Oaken who kept her eyes fixed on her.
"Someone want to explain what the hell she is doing here?" Oaken said with a more than threatening tone.
"We'll explain when we are done taking care of Bowdie, until then she's not a threat." Rowen told her.
I watched as the red haired woman eyed down Oaken and retreated back into the darkness of the van. Oaken sat back as Rowen starting wrapping Bowdie's rib cage with a tension band and still had her eyes locked on her.
"You don't know me...Oaken told her....but I know everything about you."
What the fuck is going on?
3 Hours Earlier.
"Gosh this place is crowded as all hell." I said to Rowen as we tried pushing our way through the crowds of people.
He and I made our way towards the beginning of the parade, while the other's were starting to make there way out of the hotel. I could sense immediatley Bowdie's intention, and worry started to creep back in. I couldn't chance it. What they were doing was way over the line, when it came to them even being here, but as long as I kept them in line, everything should be fine. So here's to hoping.
It was crisp out, but the sun was high in the sky and with the amount of people lined up on the sides of the street, the heat being generated was astounding. We bumped into a few people along the way but all in all, everyone seemed in high spirits.
"How far do you really want to go?" Rowen asked.
"I think right about here should be good, there seems to be a bit more wiggle room here." I replied.
There was a bistro behind us, that filled the air with the smell of coffee and pastries. lt brought back memories of my childhood, when I was living with my grandparents before the war. I must have been 5 or 6 at the time, but the memories were never lost. Only kept in the deepest part of my mind. It's been roughly 25 years since then, and it wasn't much longer till the effects of war wiped every pure sense of joy from our lives. I took in a deep breath trying to make the memory last, but Bowdie's thought's kept bringing me back.
•~Easy Bowdie, remember we need to play this smart•~ I told her. She wanted nothing more then to watch him die. We understood all to well what she was feeling, but now wasn't the time to go on a one man crusade.
•~Dont worry Sarah, I'll only watch •~ She replied.
This whole thing was making me nervous as all hell. I was looking through the crowd when Rowen wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me in.
"You alright?" He asked me.
I looked up at him and gave him a smile, but he knew all to well that I was trying to hide how I truly felt. I peered back towards the crowd, and it looked like the parade was getting started. My eyes wandered from left to right as I watched people waving their red and blue flags. People of all ages, had shown up in support of General Elias and his goons, and comparing our two worlds gave me a sense of gratification. I was here for the greater good. These people took everything for granted, and made our lives intolerable. We literally had to flee and hide to stay alive, and all these people had to do was worry about paying their next electricity bill.
I continued scanning the crowd and my eyes stopped on this one individual. I only saw the back of her but I knew who it was right away. She was down a little further, and I focused my eyes on her position and started moving.
"Sarah?" He wasn't sure what I was doing, but I knew he was following.
She looked towards me as if she sensed me, and quickly turned to the direction of the alley. I quickened my pace and soon found ourselves running after her. She was shoving her way through the crowd while pushing people, and ended up running into a small shopping centre.
Before entering the shop, I looked down the alley way to the side of it, and started running down towards the back. I couldn't read her intentions, but I knew she was planning on making an exit through the back staff door. It's what I would have done. I whipped around the corner and as the door opened to the back I tackled her to the ground as she made her exit. I picked her up by the collor of her jacket and pushed her up against the wall, where she let out a grunt. We were both breathing hard, but she looked at me and held her hands up. I let go, and I stepped back as she adjusted her coat and wiped the slush off her pants.
"Want to tell me what you are doing here..........Anja?"
She looked at me then to Rowen before answering.
"How did you find me?" She asked.
"Believe it or not, we aren't here for you! But unfortuntatley for us, we both ended up in the same place. I don't know if that's coincidence, or sheer luck on our part. So do me a favour and stop ignoring the question. Why the hell are you here?" I asked.
She had a grin on her face as she propped herself off the wall. "That's right little girl. You can't hear my thoughts."
My jaw was clenching, as I tried to hold back my anger. The cheers from the crowd started to pick up in volume as the parade started making it's way past us.
"Don't fuck with me..I warned her.....my guess is your here for one thing." I told her with furrowed brows.
"And what would that be." She asked with a grin.
".......Ana.........." I said.
She immediatley took a step towards me, but Rowen held his arm out to her.
"Easy, or I'll put you back up on that wall." He said.
"What do you know about my Ana?" She pressed.
"I don't know much, only what Raeve told me. And from the looks of it, you two havn't been in touch since he let you go."
She glanced to the ground beside her as if to hide her expression. "I was hoping I would find some answers here. The man who has her.....he.....he is supposed to be in the parade, but I won't know it till I see him."
I sighed and looked at Rowen then looked back to her. "What's his name?" I reluctantly asked.
She looked at me surprised. Surprised that I gave a shit. "Ryerson. Captain Ryerson." She said.
I looked to Rowen. It was the name of the high ranking official that hired the the mercinary team.
"Wait...She said.....Do you know who I'm talking about? He was in charge of running the prisoner's bay at the Capital, and has worked his way up in the last several months." She explained.
The way she was just handing off the information told me she was in a desperate position to retrieve her daughter.
"Please, Sarah. I know you want to kill me, but I'm begging you. Help me find her. If not for me, for Ana and Kipsky." I looked at her as she had tears streaming down her face. I couldn't tell if she was putting on the water works to better convince me, but if a sadistic man like that could hire a mercinary team to do what they've done, who knows what he's doing to Ana.
•~Sarah, do you sense June anywhere? •~ Bowdie asked.
•~No•~ I answered hastily.
I just had to get a look at this Ryerson guy to see if he was in the area. Suddenly two explosions could be heard in the distance, with the crowd going wild. They were putting on quite the theatrics for the citizens watching. Smoke bombs. I looked to Rowen, and immediatley felt the sudden urge of trouble.
"We need to go!" I started walking away back down the alley way, when I turned back to Anja who was wiping the tears from her cheeks.
"If you want our help, you come with us. From now on we work together, you understand me?" I told her.
"Yes." She replied.
I started walking back to the crowd of people when, I sensed Bowdie and Oaken in trouble. I could see Dom soldiers making their way up the street. Someone called the hotline and they were now in full search for them.
•~Bowdie!, Just calm down and make your way back to the hotel, we're on our way. Whatever you do, don't run, you'll stick out like a sore thumb•~ I advised her.
•~Gunner, where abouts are you?•~ I asked him.
•~Ugh I have no clue, I lost the girls somwhere in this heap of shit•~He replied.
•~ The girls are in trouble, make your way to the left down the direction that you lost them. They are heading your way now.•~
•~ On my way!•~
•~Be prepared, the Dom's are looking for them. Tell me when you spot them, and can help guide you out.•~ I reassured him.
•~ Got it•~
I was quickening my pace as we started making our way back towards the hotel. I could hear their descriptions being called over the walkies on one of the soldiers person, as I watched him scanning the crowd.
•~There looking for you, they have your description, get the hell out of there!•~ I told Bowdie.
Sarah, whats going on? Rowen asked me.
"The kids are in trouble." Was all I said. He nodded and picked up his pace.
"Kids?" Anja asked.
I stopped and quickly turned to her. "We came here because some of the younger ones decided to come here looking for June."
"June?" She interrupted.
"Yes, and one of them is Bowdie. Raeve's younger sister. So how about you return the favour and help us get them out of here." I told her.
•~K, I see them•~ Gunner said.
•~Good, now get to them and find a way to get them down the alley to your left. At the end of it there is a brick building, take them in there till I can figure out our next move.•~
•~Yes mam•~ He said with confidence.
It felt like it took forever to walk just a few blocks, but I knew by now that they were safe. Bowdie let me know as well, and said they would meet us at the hotel once the parade was over and a small sense of relief allowed me to take in a breath. Gunner was quick on his feet which was a relief, and got them out of there fast. I turned to Rowen and Anja.
"Okay, they are alright for now, so let's hed up to the hotel room, and wait till the parade is over." I advised them.
It took us about half an hour to reach the lobby of the hotel, and as we made our way in I could see Anja looking around. Almost as if she was looking for something or someone. Ryerson perhaps? We got up to the room and took off the layers. The whole turn of events had me sweating through my clothes, and I was absolutely parched.
I took a seat on the edge of the bed, after I finsihed off a glass of water, and looked over to Anja.
"You gonna tell me what you were looking for down there?" I wasn't chancing anything with her. My gut was telling me something more was going on.
"What do you mean?" She asked. Was she playing stupid.
"Listen, if we are going to help eachother out, we need full disclosure. Trust Anja. That is what I'm asking of you." I continued to blankly stare at her till she dropped the tension in her shoulders and took a seat opposite of me.
"I...I'm not here alone." She said.
"Okay, how so? Like you travelled here with someone?"
"No..." She said as she glanced to Rowen then back to me. "More like I was followed."
I sighed. Just another thing to add to our overwhelming dilemma. "Do you know who?" I asked.
"Yes. Ryerson sent them. They are a team of ex military who do not confine to a set of rules. And..."
"Let me guess.... one of them is Imperium." I said looking back to Rowen.
"You know them?" She asked.
"I've seen the Imperium yes, and the kids unfortunately seen his handy work." I was pinching the bridge of my nose at this point due to fustration.
We've had to been in the room for about an hour now discussing the last few months of Anja's movements. She had been essentially on the run since Raeve let her go, trying to stay alive as well as searching for Ryerson and her daughter.
"So they are not only hunting you but June aswell." Rowen confirmed.
"June? How do you mean? Is she not here with you?" She asked confused.
"No." I took a deep breath. "We havn't see in her over 7 months. She left shortly after you did. After.........after her father died from the attack on home base."
I watched her intently as I relayed the information to her. She seemed unfazed by the news, as her face was blank. I couldn't get a read on her at all unless it was about Ana. She seemed to be the only thing that mattered to her.
"I did what I had to d-"
"Shh, for a second." I cut her off and stood up trying to focus on my senses. They found them. Shit!
"Sarah, what is it?" Rowen asked as he approached me. I held up my finger to hush him for a second.
•~Oaken, Dom's are coming! you have less then 5 seconds to hide yourself......now go!•~ I told her.
I turned to Rowen. "Comon, they've been found."
"Fuck, could this get any worse!" He said.
"Don't jinx us now." I told him. We quickly grabbed all there stuff from the room and brought it down with us. This was the last time we would be setting foot in here. It was time to take our leave.
I could almost see everything happening with them. As if I was there in the machine room with them. We reached the lobby till I sensed they were out of the woods. One thing however made me stop in my tracks.
"Holy shit!" I said outloud.
"What!? Are they ok?" Rowen asked panicked.
"Yes, they did good.....and Bowdie......."
•~ She's Imperium! •~
His eyes widened and I noticed a small grin form. They now had something in common. They both learned something new about themselves later in life and it brought a smile on my face. How I wasn't able to detect it was beyond me, but it saved her life.
We continued making our way out, and got slowed down as we hit the crowd of spectators.
"Okay, they've made there way out. Let's hur..............Fuck!"
I was cut off seconds before we heard the shots go off, and the crowd of people started screaming and running towards our direction.
"Rowen!" I yelled.
I was shoved over and almost got trampled over, but within a second of hitting the ground I was helped up and pulled to the side of the building. It was Anja who helped me. She was looking flustered as she scanned the crowd of panicked people and I looked over in that direction. I saw Rowen pushing his way through the stampede before he ran over.
"Are you two okay?" He yelled.
I nodded, and saw him looking over to Anja. I watched as he reached up to her face and looked her over. I hadn't noticed it before but her brow was bleeding. She must have been knocked over as well before she picked me up.
I could sense Bowdie in trouble.
"We can't get through, it's impossible." I yelled.
The amount of people running at such speed felt like I was on a train watching the trees zoom passed us.
"I have a van! It's not to far." Anja said. "It's a few blocks up that way. If we take to the next block over we can go the back way."
"Okay! let's go." I had to trust her. Bowdie was in trouble and I wasn't sure if Gunner or Oaken could get to her in time.
"Rowen......" I turned to him as we followed Anja. "We are going to need to stop at the motel and grab your medical bag......were going to need it."
"How bad?" He asked.