Winter leapt to his feet as the front door bust open with an almighty crash. Between the pills, vodka and surprise Winter was only able to see a couple of blurry darkly dressed figures that seemed to not have faces, before he felt a sharp kick to the stomach then a cold metallic touch to the back of his neck followed by an excruciating pain that shot through his body like fire, tensing all his muscles at once before a total blackness took hold, leaving him twitching on the floor.
The commotion in the lounge woke up and terrified Princess who quickly and as quietly as she could, rolled out of bed, then crawled in under it. Her half asleep brain played started flicking between the idea that it was drug dealers from Charcoal come to kill Winter and her uncles goons come to kidnap her. The door to her room burst open and a distinct deep voice said,
“Come out, come out, wherever you are.”
Then laughed. Princess cupped her hands over her mouth to muffle the sound of her gasping. She knew they would find her, but she had no idea what they would do to her after that. Suddenly a masked face appeared in front of her followed swiftly by a pair of hands that dragged her out from under the bed and shoved her into the lounge. She saw Winter lying on the floor twitching and foaming at the mouth. She wanted to scream but as all the men gathered around her the situation mixed with painkillers and a drug comedown very quick became too much for her to handle. Consciousness suddenly left her and she fell to the floor. The leader of the goons turned to the man next to him and smiled under his balaclava,
“Well that was easy; now quickly load him into the van.”
The men sprang into action, each grabbing one of Winter limbs and lifted while the leader bent down to scooped up Princess and head off.
Hours passed while they lie unconscious, first in the back of a van being driven at sensible speeds to an unknown location, then being carried down a few flights of stairs and eventually on a cold stone flood in a dark room with their hands cuffed to the walls. Princess was attached to a simple radiator whereas Winter had been thoroughly search and stripped down to just his jeans, displaying to the world what a body built by a life time of violence really looks like. His body had deep scars from bullets and knifes, and his muscles looked jagged compared to those of a body builder. As scary as Winter was when fully dressed, even unconscious, he seemed scarier now, looking slightly feral and wild. The room itself looked like a basement, with a single naked bulb hanging from a wire in the ceiling. The only obvious way in or out was through a single door at the top of a flight of stairs. At a glace you’d think that holding people was the only thing the room was ever used for, and you’d be right. Princess came back to her senses first, remembering that she wasn’t in a bed and that something had happened although she wasn’t sure what. For the first few moments she though she might be in the middle of some consenting sex act in Charcoal that she’d blacked out during, but then the sound of breaking doors and the ticking of the Taser came flooding back and she remembered the kidnapping. As her eyes adjusted to the darkness she saw Winter likewise handcuffed but to what looked like a massive eye bolt drilled into a support beam. If she has been about to walk around she would have seen that it went right through to the other side. In the darkness she couldn’t make out the full effect of Winter’s scares but she still thought he looked a lot more menacing there than he had before in his apartment or when he worked for her father. Winter lay motionless except for his deep laboured breaths, with no sign of waking up any time soon. Leaving Princess feeling very alone and responsible in a dark basement. With no clock anywhere in sight she had no idea of knowing weather it was days or minutes that passed. She sat on the cold floor with her legs pulled up against her body, all tucked in under the shirt in a desperate attempt to keep warm. Briefly she tried to pull her hand free from the cuffs and the cuff free from the wall but neither worked, so she just sat quietly, waiting for Winter to wake up, trying to think of what they could do to get out of there. After another hour which felt like a week she decided that she’d waited long enough and needed to find a way of waking him without alerting anyone that may or may not be standing guard. So she started looking for something she could throw at him. The basement was still as dark and she had nothing on her other than the very small amount of clothing she slept in, not even a bra she could pull a wire out to try pick the cuffs or throw. The cold of the floor had seeped into her bones and her head still hurt a little. She ran her hand along the floor in all directions as far as she could reach to try feel from something useful, then once she found nothing, she tried again with her leg. Slowly and awkwardly she slid her foot across the floor feeling for anything at all. Then faintly at first her big toe bumped something. She froze instantly scared she might knock it away, and then slower still felt around for try find it again in the darkness. Suddenly there it was something thin and hard, possibly a nail or maybe a bit of wire. Carefully she stretched her leg as far as she could in the direction of the thing and tried to put her foot down on top of it and pull it towards her. It took a few tried but within a few minutes she had the nail in her hand and was using it to try pick the lock of the hand cuffs.
Winter slowly opened his eyes into the dark blur to see Princess standing above him with an extremely proud smile across on her face and a nail in her hand. Winter blinked a few times to try help his eyes adjust to the dark and then moved into a less uncomfortable sitting position.
“How long have we been down here?”
His voice was low and more gravely than usual. Princess knelt down next to him and started fiddling the nail in the key hole of the hand cuffs,
“I don’t know really, few hours I think.”
Winter sat for a minute and ran his mind through his body feeling for strange sensations or things out of the ordinary. Dr. Gate’s voice clear in his mind describing the various ways he’d suffer if he couldn’t take his pills. Meanwhile Princess tried hard to focus on picking the handcuff lock and not how much scarier Winter looked with his sharp blue eyes open. Once he realised that the only thing out of the ordinary that he felt was slightly embarrassed with a bit of stiffness and some bruising. He looked back up at Princess.
“Where did you learn how do to that?”
Princess smiled to herself,
“Well I hooked up with this guy who decided that it would be sexy to be handcuffed to the bed during sex. Only problem was he hadn’t realised that he’s lost the key until it was too late.”
“So have you always been this free with your body?”
Princess stopped what she was doing and frowned down at Winter, who in turn looked back up at her.
“Hey, you kill people you’re in no position to judge me, I’m very together most of the time and I’m allowed to cut loose when I want to and how I want to. What business is it of yours?”
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not asking because I feel the urge to judge you. I was actually thinking once you undo my cuffs you could get a guard attention and use you talents to distract him while I take him down.”
Princess’s cheeks flashed pink for a moment, then a curiously confident smile spread across her face
“Oh, yes, I could do that. Just give me one more minute here.”
With that she quickly went back to work trying to undo Winters cuffs. A moment later there was a click and Winter’s arms came free and fell to his sides in relief.
Princess sat down next to him.
“Who are these people? And what do they want with us?”
Winter rubbed his wrists and thought for a moment,
“No idea, but we can find out. Go back to where you were and pretend to be cuffed, I’m going to lie here passed out. Call for a guard and when one arrives turn on the charm, but don’t worry I won’t let him touch you.”
Princess hopped to her feet and quickly got into position while Winter lifted his arms back over his head and allowed his head to fall to one side. Princess cleared her through and in a salutary tone called out,
“Hello? Guard? Is there anyone there? Hello!”
Door at the top of the stairs opened and two grumpy men stood looking down at the girl.
Princess pulled her knees up framing her panties with her calves then smiled at the men,
“I have an itch that needs scratching… on my foot.”
The two men stared for a moment. Princess was still wearing the underwear Winter had given her the day before. It was grey and folded in just the right places to take the men’s minds off their sanity. Without even noticing one of them groaned quietly and bit his bottom lip, before they both moved down the stairs to ‘help’ her. As they got closer she extended her one leg and presented them with her foot, along with a sweet innocent looking smile.
“It’s that one that itches.”
One of the men grabbed her while the other knelt down next to her,
“It doesn’t matter sweetie, it’s not you’re foot we plan on scratching.”
Then started slowing running his hand down her inner though, until he heard loud crack and a thump. Then turned just in time to meet Winter’s fist with his face and drop to the floor.
“Oh my god! Is that guy dead?”
“Yes, and keep your voice down. Now grab that guys clothes and see if any of it will fit you.”
“You want me to wear a dead man’s clothes?”
Winter thought about his Beloved’s clothes but shook it off.
Princess suddenly didn’t feel as safe or confidant as she did a few moments before, but did as she was told. Meanwhile Winter stripped the second guy of anything useful, which included a shirt, a pistol and a large hunting knife, before propping him up and breaking his neck too. The sound caught Princess by surprise as she was uncomfortably pulling the first guys pants off, and sent an ice cold shiver across her back.
“D-did you just kill that guy too?”
Her voice had taken on a mild shrill of panic. Winter’s voice however was still calm and low, but bordering on angry.
“But, but he was out you didn’t have to kill him.”
“He was all set to rape you a moment ago; these aren’t exactly nice people Princess. Now do those pants fit?”
Princess looked them over quickly then said in a much quieter voice,
“Yeah I think so.”
“Does he have anything useful?”
“Guns? Bullet? Knives? Look, we’re in a bad situation Princess, things will get worse before they get better. I’m not asking you to like it, I just need you to hold onto you nerve until we are out of this building, I promise you can freak out all you like. Ok?”
“Ok, but try not kill anymore people.”
He could hear that she was on the verge of tears but she understood. He knew this was very far out of her comfort zone but he was in work mode.
“Get those pants on and let’s go.”
Once again Princess did as she was told while Winter search the body for his pills but came up short. Winter then looked at Princess,
“Would you like a weapon of some kind?”
Princess looked at the two bodies then at Winter,
“It would be wasted in my hands.”
Winter could see the satisfaction of picking the handcuffs had all faded away into the reality of the situation,
“If it helps, I’m sorry we’re here and I will get you out safely.”
“Now just stay behind me, and do exactly what I say.”
Princess nodded but said nothing. Winter crept up to the door and, lacking any other options, gently opened it with only the faintest click of the lock. They were greeted by an empty hallway with one door on the far side and a couple windows that opened onto a small walk way beside the house they were apparently in. Instantly Winter was torn between wanting to stalk through the house finding out as much as he could about his abductors and getting Princess to safety. He also knew that once it was discovered that they were gone, if the people in the house were smart they’d vacate the area. It was now or never for gathering any useful information, but Princess had to take presidency. Winter looked back at Princess who clearly had realised what was going on in Winter’s head and whispered,
“We can’t stay here, we have no idea how many of them there are.”
“Yes but I have the element of surprise.”
“Well, good for you, I don’t, I just have the element of fear.”
She was right, and it made Winter wish that he was there alone. He’d never worked well with others, never played well with other, didn’t really have friends and only ever really let one person into his world, and had she abandoned him.
“But this is my only lead, if I leave here now there is no clear way of finding out who these people are and what they want from us. Don’t you want to know what’s going on?”
Princess stared at him and for the first time saw a spark in his eyes, it was faint behind the deep chemical grey but it was there. But she was far too scared and stressed to really work out what it meant and in a slightly more shrilled whisper said,
“No, I want to survive, and I can’t do that without you.”
Once again she was right, they had to make a break for it or risk being recapture, and her possibly being killed, which surprisingly wasn’t a risk Winter was willing to take. He quickly realised the window wasn’t made to open, so he hurried back down into the basement to grab the smaller of the two men and before Princess could protest he threw him through the window. His soft exposed flesh taking most of the excess glass with him. Princess swallowed hard to try preventing herself from vomiting but failed as she doubled over and spat up on the floor. Winter feeling acuity aware of how much noise they were making only gave her a few moments to compose herself before all but pushing her out the window after the body. Princess wasn’t happy about Winter’s methods but wasn’t about to argue either. Winter paused for a moment before following her and thought about the missed opportunity of searching the house, and of course how by leaving he was distancing himself from his pills, and that scared him. Once outside they started jumping fences to put as much space and obstacle between them and the house in as possible.
Michael was a not an unattractive man, he was tall, well built with black hair that had begun to grey slightly at the temples. He had the face of a man who smiled often through out his life and would have appeared good looking and charming except for a large facial scar that started with a round jagged scar about 7cm in diameter which had two very straight thick lines coming off it. One ran along his jaw to his chin, the other ran back along his head over his ear. His eyes were dark brown, almost black but people hardly ever noticed because his scars always drew the attention, and made it hard to look at him. He had gotten the scar when he was just 17 years old; he’d decided that he was going to pick a fight with a drug dealer. It wasn’t done for any moral reason, his plan was to beat him up and steal his drugs. Unfortunately for him, the dealer wasn’t as clueless or high as he looked and spotted him coming. Before Michael could really mount any kind of attack the dealer jabbed the butt of a gun into his stomach, which knocked him to the ground, the pushed the barrel of the gun in his mouth. The dealer had had no intention of actually shooting him, just freighting him, but the fighter instincts took over and even with a gun in his mouth he landed a swift uppercut between the dealer’s legs. As the pain shot through the dealer’s body and his muscles all tightened he squeezes the trigger on the gun and sent a bulled through the hinge of the boys jaw. Some teeth were shattered along with the left side of his jaw, and the explosion from the barrel scorched the inside of his mouth, paralyzed one of his vocal cords and part of the left side of his face. Now many years later his voice still sounded strained. The parts of his jaw that were left got wired to metal plates and reattached and his teeth replaced with implants. He also had surgery on his ear drum to try repairing the damage caused by the gun shot and although he could hear through the ear it had a persistent ringing. The scar had faded over the years but it was still quite visible and if he forgot to shave or spent to much time in the sun the real extent of the damage stood out even more, so that it seemed to emit the discomfort of violence. It put off most women and scared most men. As a result Michael was always clean shaven and hated the beach. As he looked down at the body lying on the floor covered in broken glass, and with no sign of his prisoners, he was also developing a hatred for Winter. He stood in silence for a few minutes weighing up his options. Should he try chasing them? How much of a head start did they have? Would it not be easier to simply wait them out? The wasn’t that big and he could put people in the airports and docks if he thought that they might try make a break for it, which he didn’t. Eventually Michael turned to one of the men standing next to him,
“Get some guys and pick that mess up would you, and while you’re at it get the one in the basement too and get rid of them.”
The man silently nodded and quickly went off. Michael’s voice always seemed huskier when he was angry, and it currently sounded like he had rasps for vocal cords. He took a deep breath and pulled out a cell phone, pressed a few buttons and placed it against his ear, then forced a smile while waiting for it to be answered, which didn’t take long,
“So do you have them?”
“No, you warned me but I didn’t listen. This Winter is much more resourceful than I gave him credit for.”
“Is that supposed to make me feel better? You failed but its ok because I called it?”
“No, I’m just keeping you informed, I wouldn’t worry though, they don’t know anything important and I am far from defeated. I will bring you his head, I guarantee.”
“I might hold you to that, now what do you want?”
“I’d like to know a lot more about him, and how you seem to know so much more than we do…”