The crowd roars in delight as fist meets flesh again and again. For these people it's pure entertainment but for me it's our survival, 'fight and win or she dies'.
The metallic taste of blood fills my mouth as I continue to push myself past the exhaustion, fighting through the pain. I'm in bad shape, I know I am, this guy is huge and should have killed me by now. What the fuck were they thinking pairing me with this man mountain?
This entire fight I've had to draw on every self defence technique and dirty tactic my father ever taught me; looking for weak points, targeting pressure points, fighting as dirty as possible to inflict the most pain and damage with the least amount of force. Thank god it's working! It's funny how the compulsory fight training I loathed for years is the only thing that's kept me alive all this time.
This guy is looking at me like he can't believe I'm still fighting but it's sheer desperation driving me at this point. I honestly don't care what happens to me anymore, I deserve this. I deserve to suffer for the things I've done these past two years. I'm a monster now but she isn't.
Lily is six years old, just a child. An innocent who was dragged in to her family's bullshit just like I was and is now being used as a pawn to control me. Both of us were targeted because of who our families are, all of our suffering is because of their stupid fucking club.
The things I've had to do...
Get out of your head and focus!
I need to end this and fast. Fuck, I'm exhausted, my muscles are screaming at me to stop. I'm certain my ribs are broken and my left eye is swelling shut but I can't stop, I won't. If I stop she dies. If I lose she dies or worse.
Fight Quinn. FUCKING FIGHT!
Faking a right then throwing a powerful kick to his take out his left leg I watch him slip in the blood gathering around his feet, dropping to the mat. Launching myself forwards I wrap my limbs around him from the back, arm locked around his throat, legs pinning his arms to his sides, full weight forcing him to stay down and squeezing him into submission. I can hear him choking, gasping for air, writhing like a wild animal beneath me but I just squeeze harder and harder, holding on like I'm riding a rodeo bull.
The blood on our skin and the cage floor makes it impossible for him to get to his feet or gain a grip on me to throw me off, he can't shake me, I've got him now.
He's fading quickly, his body relaxing but I don't ease up, I can't. It could be a trick. Unless he hits the floor dead or taps out I can't let go. Willing him with all I have to tap out, I continue to squeeze while fighting the tears burning the backs of my eyes.
Please tap out, I can't stop but you can. I don't want to hurt you more than I have to, please tap out before real damage is done, please.
His body finally slumps towards the mat so I lower him slowly to the ground holding back a cry of anguish. There is a very real chance that I just killed this man but instead of breaking down I whisper in his ear before stepping away for his team to enter the cage "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry."
The old me would be horrified by what was happening right now, screaming and crying, probably even throwing up in the corner but she was also foolish enough to think that she could leave club life and this would never happen to her. I don't know who I am anymore and I don't want to know. The person that I've become terrifies me. All I know for sure is that no one should be exposed to this darkness that now lives inside of me.
Protecting Lily is my reason for what I do, what I've done. I became this savage animal to ensure her safety and I will continue to do whatever it takes until the day comes that I can get her out of here safely. Then I will burn this whole place to the ground and make sure it takes me with it.
As I turn to leave the cage I'm grabbed by one of my 'handlers' and handcuffed before they lead me out towards the dressing room where Lily waits for me. There they will administer first aid before we're taken god knows where until it's time for the next fight I'm forced into.
Stepping out of the cage I suddenly feel an impact in my left side like a punch followed by a burning pain, looking down I see a knife embedded in my flesh. One of my opponents handlers stabbed me, he fucking stabbed me! The men in charge of me tonight pull their weapons and start to shoot then all hell breaks loose.
Blood slowly seeps from my side as I try to fight my way through the rioting crowd to get to Lily. I make it to the back shouting her name as I fight to stay upright, this could be it! This is my chance to get her out during all of the chaos.
A door to my right opens and I recognise him immediately, Theo, the boss's right hand man, that means Lily is in there. I start to slump to the floor holding my side struggling to apply pressure with the cuffs on purposely exaggerating my movements and wails of pain, his eyes widen and he rushes to my side.
"Jesus, what the fuck happened to you?"
He moves closer removing one cuff before moving to address my wound then he sits back smirking at me.
"Looks like times up bitch. I'll be sure to take care of the little one for you, keeping her warm in bed and fucking her until she bleeds to death.."
Before his can finish his disgusting rant I pull the knife from my side ramming it through the flesh of his neck with all the force I can muster. I watch with satisfaction as blood pumps from his carotid artery, enjoying the sight of the light leaving his eyes before smiling and twisting the blade before pulling it back out.
"Go to hell you sick fuck! I'll meet you there."
Good fucking riddance. Taking his phone I dial the only number that can help us now.
The little blonde beauty comes running to my side as I drag myself up from the ground shielding her eyes as best I can. I know I've signed my own death warrant by removing the knife but I needed a weapon, I have to get her out. We move as quickly as possible to the emergency exit while waiting for the phone to connect.
"Who the fuck is this?" I could cry at the sound of his voice.
"D..Daddy! Help, please. I've got Lily but we don't have much time. Trace the call, trace it now!"
I can feel myself fading but I push on for Lily, always for Lily.
"QUINN! Fuck, Quinny we're coming baby. I promise you we're tracing it now. Details baby, give me details of where you are. IT'S QUINN WE NEED TO MOVE NOW!! Call the mother charter, patch them in NOW!"
Wheezing and coughing I drag us out the emergency exit and into the alley. Fighting has intensified spilling out on to the street, I can't take Lily in to the fray so we need to hide.
"It's an illegal cage fighting ring. I think they brought us to Vegas but I'm not sure. It's a big abandoned warehouse and they're going crazy fighting everywhere. I'm hurt pretty bad dad, I..I don't think, arrgh! Lily baby we need to hide come on I know it's dirty but they won't look for us here come on."
"OK Quinny. Are you OK? You're bleeding, did the bad men hurt you again?"
At Lily's words I hear several male voices softly cursing and shouting plans of actions before my dad's panicked voice booms through the phone.
"Jesus, Quinn are you OK?"
I ignore my father and the other frantic voices on the line heaving myself into the dumpster after lifting Lily inside trying not to scream too loudly in pain. My vision blurs as I cuddle Lily in to my side holding the knife tightly in my free hand.
"I'll be fine sweet girl I just need to rest now. I'm so tired. Our daddy's are coming for us, we're finally going home we just have to be patient and quiet as mice OK Lily can you do that for me? That's my good girl."
"Quinn baby talk to me. We know where you are, we are on our way just talk to me sweetheart."
"We're hiding dad, I can't...I can't fight anymore. We're in a green dumpster in the alley at the back of the building it's the best I can do. I'll leave the phone on just please try and hurry. I'm not sure how long I've got, it's pretty bad. I'm sorry dad, I did everything I could to come back, I kept Lily safe but I couldn't get us out. I'm so tired. I love you dad. I love you Lils."
"I love you too Quinny." The little angel by my side holds me tightly as I start to lose consciousness.
"Fuck! NO! Quinn, just hold on baby girl we're almost there please wait for me sweetheart. Hammer's boys are arriving any second and I'm coming too, you're gonna be OK. I love you baby girl, I'm so proud of you, so fucking proud. Just hold on for me."
My eyes start to close and I feel myself slipping. I don't know how long I've been fading in and out when the lid of the dumpster flies open and panicked voices fill the air. I clutch Lily tighter in my last attempt to keep her safe until I hear a familiar voice and finally let myself relax. I don't know what happens next but she's safe, that's all that matters. I can let go now.
"Hold on Quinn, just hold on."