Twenty One: 'Freedom'
My eyes slowly open, the piercing light entering through my pupils and awakening my stimuli. I move my craned neck from it’s uncomfortable position. The first person I see is Jake, hi head slumped down, as he was tucked into a comatose sleep although he looked slightly uncomfortable. I look around finding everyone asleep except Chase, who was on my right.
“What are you thinking about?” I ask him as his brown eyes looking directly in front of me, aimlessly.
He shrugs, tugging on his bounded wrists. “I don’t understand what’s happening. Philippe wants revenge but what’s he going to do?”
I nod, “One of them said they were a chunk of our past. Hasn’t left my head yet.”
Chase chuckles, not really finding anything funny, “Our past? Why can’t it just stay there? It keeps coming to haunt us.”
I shuffle with my wrists but it burns the more I pull on it. “That’s how mistakes work.” I state with grim and I see him nod in the corner of my eyes.
The door rambles before getting yanked open with force, a serious of laughter entering into the room. When I see the source, I feel bile collect in my mouth. Philippe’s mouth forever curled into an amused smile, he bangs loudly waking up Jake, Jack, Alexie and Diane. “How can you be sleeping at such a glorious moment as this?” He flings his hand in the air as if the very thought was spiteful. “Nicholas, come here will you?”
My body tenses up, the reasoning centre of my brain shutting off and I can feel it do so. The rage inside me consuming my organs, if I see Nick here, I will explode. Just as I attempt at pulling down my temper, he walks into the room. His face as blank as the last time I saw and asked him a question which he didn’t have the balls to answer.
My eyes connect with his and he doesn’t move away. My fists curl in my hands at the back, my skin feel like it’s on fire and my mind a whirlwind of murderous thoughts. I force my mouth shut, however, for the better. As I decide this, Philippe’s eyes roam across the room, skimming through our mental state.
“Oh,” Philippe declares, “Don’t be that mad at him, I made sure he can’t tell you anything. But hey, he did betray you and his own blood.”
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Jake sputters, his face and ears turning a special case of reddened tomatoes. He breathes furiously through his mouth, “Your sister is here, she looked up to you and worried about you. We helped you.”
“We bailed you out.” Chase joins in, his temper just as menacing and short as mine. “We paid the fine so that Zoey would never find out. So that you could still be the brother she looks up to. We helped you so many times.”
“You stabbed us man.” Alexie retorts, spitting at him, “After everything you know we’ve been through, you were so selfish to see what you were doing to us by helping a guy like Philippe.”
“And what?” Diane asks with a distasteful humour, “What are you going to receive from it? Money? You make me sick.”
Nick stands unaffected, his hands crossed across his chest, looking like a stubborn child. But he wasn’t a child, he was the biggest asshole we trusted. Philippe’s eyes land on me and he quirks an eyebrow, “I heard Ashley had quite the temper, the biggest really. Where’s your fire?”
“Up your ass.”
“Feisty.” He states reeling his hands back in a surrender pose. “We’re just going to find the rest of your friends, and keep you here, for ransom of course. The police completely scavenged our hide out, so you’re going to be our leverage.” He claps his hand enthusiastically, “We’re so smart!”
I almost cringe at him before they leave the room. “Assholes.” Chase mutters under his breath almost inaudible, but only, almost.
One of the men shoot a hand across his throat, squeezing his neck. His eyes covered by a layer of red. I gulp nervously, my breathing hitching but unable to say anything. “What’d you say, punk ass?” He breathes through his gritted teeth.
I see Jake’s eyes widen at Chase, they know each other so well, Jake was trying to reel Chase out of saying what he was about to. Chase grins, with whatever air was reaching his lungs, “Asshole, fits you perfect.”
The man turns his head to Philippe who holds an amused smirk, and gives him a curt nod. The man unties Chase’s rope and pulls his gun to his head. “Wait!” I scream in panic.
The man quirks an eyebrow at me, “Oh, I’m not going to kill him. But he’ll wish he’s dead.”
“B-But,” I stammer but clear my throat to sound more confident, “Why are you overreacting to him, I mean, you heard me telling Philippe off.” I say the nonsense thats at the tip of my tongue, hoping to stall time.
The man grins. I see Philippe exit with Nick, who doesn’t care about anything thats happening. The man shuts the door, his hand with a clasped gun fixated at Chase who was putting up a strong pose. “I’m pretty sure, if I mess him up, it’ll mess you up even worse.” He pulls out another door then I hadn’t noticed before, shoving Chase inside.
“Wa-” The door slams shut as my pleas struck uselessness. I let out a loud groan. Jake taps his fingers on the back of the chair, loudly, which he usually does when he feels futile and ineffectual. And then we hear it.
My eyes clench shut and I focus on my breathing rather than hearing the agonising pain from Chase. His grunts echoing through the room like a speaker phone. I have never felt this vain in my entire life, having one of your best friends being beaten up so close to you and yet, you have no power to help them. Diane sighs, her breathing ecstatic, “Make them stop.” She says more to herself, than anyone.
“Holy shit.” Jake says, his fingers cease movement. He raises his head, skimming through our faces. “I have a knife, strapped to my shoe. Jack, can you move here?” His head twists to Jack who raises his head looking at him with a dead expression. Jack was the closest to Jake, so he nods his head although I know it’s going to be hard for him to.
“Yeah.” Jack replies, he takes a cloud of air. He pulls his feet together and pushes up, a groan flowing out of his mouth involuntarily.
“I got it.” I say, not wanting to see him in pain any longer. Alexie and Diane would’ve volunteered but they were way too far away. Jake was sitting right in front of me, it wasn’t as close as Jack but I could make it. Jack opens his mouth to say something, but I cut him to it. “I got it.” I repeat with stubbornness and he nods, slumping into his chair looking exhausted.
I look at Jake who holds an invigorating smile. I clench my jaw at Chase’s grumbles, and mentally note to make the person who’s doing that to him, suffer. I pull my feet together and let out a calm breath of air. Pushing my legs up, I get to my feet, my body slumped over holding a heavy chair on my back. My hands get tugged too much for any form of comfort, I feel the rope digging into my skin. I walk forward and finally, sit myself down right in front of Jake. I twist around, my back facing him.
He pulls his feet out and I stretch, tapping his leg for a strap buckle or something. He says, a little forced, “Don’t move any higher, Ash.” My hands freeze and I see a humorous grin on Diane and Alexie face. I roll my tongue over my teeth, embarrassed being an understatement. I start patting my hands again, and feel a strap. I remove the lock thing and take out what feels like a knife.
Chase’s groans die down. My heart accelerates by the thousand. I lift myself up again, trying not to hit Jake in the face in the process. Just as my chair sets down where I was before, I slip the knife into my sleeve, hoping it’ll stay there.
The door flings open and Chase gets pushed out. I bite my lip at the sight of his stature, a black eye over his left eye and his black shirt had foot marks with creases from where he was kicked. My heart yearned for him, everyone here is sick. I notice Diane’s eyes get slightly teary which she blinks back, and contradictorily, Jake’s jaw clenches tightly, his eyes bloodshot. The man ties him back down, and laughs whilst he leaves the room.
Chase’s head hung low as Jack’s had, his breathing was shaky and his arms slightly trembling involuntarily. “C-Chase?” Diane squeaks.
“I’m fine.” He says through rigid teeth, his words lacing defeat. His eyes were stuck on the ground, making no contact with anyone.
We need to get out of here.
I slip out the knife from my sleeve and cut away at the rope, avoiding my skin in the process. It took all my energy to cut the thick rope without any view of it. Losing my temper several times, I didn’t give up. When after five minutes, it finally slipped off and I stretch my hands. I rush to Chase first, being the closest, and cut his rope off. It was easier since I could see what I was doing.
The minute he gets out, he rams his knuckles on the wall. Jake exclaims, “What the fuck are you doing?”
Chase grunts, rubbing his sore fists, “I’m fucking killing that guy.”
We don’t say anything, feeling the hatred for that man, probably not as much as Chase. In a few moments, I manage to cut everyone’s ties off. Jack almost falls off the chair, when I get it off. Even though Chase just got beaten to shreds, it was almost nothing compared to Jack who was mauled by a giant, as Alexie described the guy. Jake gets Jack on his shoulder, holding him up. Chase should’ve been taking it easier but instead, the fire in him managed to have him standing up.
Alexie rubs her hands together, cracking her knuckles in the process, “Why don’t we make a lot of noise and they’ll roll in?”
Chase was still rubbing his knuckles together, as Diane and Alexie were concocting a plan. I walk to him and take his hand, rubbing my relatively colder hands across it. He winces but lets me do it, anyway. Jack laughs shakily, “Ash, Chase, remind you of old times when you do that, don’t it?” I instantly take my hand off and we both send glares to Jack who still has a cheeky grin on in his messed up state.
Chase and I were a thing, I’m not sure I’d call it dating. Although, we did go on dates, we were more of a fling. Nothing serious, except making out and one night stands. Makes us sound real bad, but we were in a bad place. It’s not an excuse but that’s the only way I can explain it. We cared about each other too much as friends, and nothing more, so we decided to make it stop in fear of ruining our well built friendship. But clearly, it seems hilarious to some people even after a year.
“Jackass.” Chase mumbles, shaking his head. I nod in agreement.
Alexie explains that we make a ruckus then the men who walk in, getting infuriated. As long as we held the door open, since it only opened from the outside. It didn’t have a lock though. If we could stop it’s closing and take on the people outside, we could get everyone and get the hell as far away from this place as possible. Two of the guys outside were Hercules like but one of them was kind of lanky, luckily there wouldn’t be anyone else.
We nod at each other before thumping our hands on the metal caging type room, making loud unbearable noises that was insinuating a headache into my mind. I had to ignore it for now, and look at the bigger picture.
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