Condemned Ch. 04

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I heard her scream, and it wasn’t the normal playful squeaks she normally let lose during one of their sessions. It was an actual, gut retching, agonised scream that pierced my own self induced denial and brought me spinning painfully back to reality. Not a second later Michael burst into the main parlour with blood pouring down his chin and neck. Even as I watched it dripped down his silk cream shirt, staining the light material a deep crimson red. His wolfish eyes settled on me and I heard him growl deep in his throat. He took two steps towards me and the spell was broken. I threw my hands up over my head, the reflective action giving me absolutely no comfort at all as I felt his huge presence loom over me. A cold marble hand ran through my hair, tugging lightly threw the tangles. I could smell her blood on him; the metallic tang was everywhere, clogging my nose, drowning out all of my other senses.

“You should get out.” He said, his voice tight to the point of breaking.

He didn’t have to tell me twice and even though it worried me to step outside his room I knew that staying inside would only lead to one thing. I got up slowly and edged my way carefully around him. He kept me in his sights the whole time, staring at me as if daring me to run. I tried not to let into my fear, it would only entice him.

When I closed the door behind me I had absolutely no allusions of safety. I had nowhere to go but the main hall. The prospect of going back there made me almost want to start clawing at Michael’s door. If the smell of blood and the vivid memory of Michael’s feral eyes wasn’t so fresh I might have given into my cravings. As it was I made my way slowly to the main hall, dragging my feet the entire time. I wondered if I could just stay out in the hallways but it was a fleeting whimsy. If one of the other caught me loitering alone they would either take me back to Michael or do something else with me that didn’t really bare thinking about.

A few of the gang members looked at me when I stepped into the main hall but I was thankful none of them tried to approach me. I wedged myself into a grotty corner and tried to make time speed up but it didn’t take long for someone to waylay me, and fuck me if it wasn’t the one gang member I least wanted to see. He had his chin held high as he sauntered towards me, that same cocky grin bright on his face. His two lackeys were trailing a little way behind him but they stopped a good ten feet from where I was sitting and eyed ne maliciously. I stood up cautiously as he approached and I wasn’t really surprised that he only stopped when we were practically nose to nose. There was nowhere for me to go, with the wall at my back and him at my front I was thoroughly boxed in.

“Conner me boyo.” He said with that soft Irish lilt of his. “You’ve been keeping yourself hidden away for a while too long. Tell me lad, where have you been?”

“I haven’t been hiding.” I said neutrally. I guess living day and night with Michael had made me pretty good at masking my fear. I looked pointedly back at the Irishman. “Can I get past?”

“May I get past?” He said stonily.

“Excuse me?”

“May I get past? Not can I. Remember your manner’s lad.”

I very nearly started laughing then. I’m not really sure why. I mean there wasn’t anything funny about the whole big mess that was my life. It was just that it all suddenly seemed so stupidly absurd. “May I get past?” I asked icily.

He kept me pinned there a while longer but eventually he backed away slightly. He only gave me a very small amount of room to manoeuvre past him so I had to flatten myself up against the wall and edge around him. He stared at me the whole time, smirking slightly when I accidentally brushed his shoulder and flinched.

I was nearly past him when he reached out and snagged the back of my neck. The gang members were watching us now. Some of them started jeering when he grabbed me. From what I could see almost all of them were laughing. I shouldn’t have been surprised but it shocked me suddenly that the people that surrounded me were in essence the same as me. We were all mortal, we were all human yet there was something inside these people that made them lust for death and violence. Where it horrified me it only seemed to entice them.

He started dragging me, pulling me back towards his room! I dug my heels in and started to fight him then. True I was useless at it but I had to at least try to stop him. I twisted in his grip but he was faster than me. He snagged my arm and pulled it painfully behind my back. I didn’t care. Not going back to his room was paramount!

He was laughing at me, I was fighting with everything I had and he was laughing at me! He hoisted me up suddenly and threw me over his shoulder. I kicked and screamed and punched at the bastard and although I’m sure I must have hurt him he refused to let me go. He was performing for the crowd now, showing them how strong me was, how much he deserved to become one of the others. casino oyna

I didn’t stop fighting him, even when he opened his bedroom door and pulled me inside. He let go of me suddenly and I hit the floor like a rock. As my teeth rattled in my head he took the opportunity to kick me in the gut. The pain quickly doused the fire burning inside of me but when he bent down towards me it flared back up and I punched him hard in the face. I heard the bones in my knuckles crunch. I was sure at least some of them were broken. He staggered away from me, his lip already red and puffy.

“You’re a fuckin Idiot! You know that?” he snapped as he prodded his face. “I wouldn’t have hurt you boyo, not badly anyway. But you just had to make a fuss didn’t you?” he reached down and grabbed my hair. “You raise your fucking hand to me again you stupid little fuckwit and I sweat to Christ I’ll rip it off!”

He backhanded me and I crumpled. His hands were on me then, rough and intrusive as he rolled me onto my back and started tugging at my jeans. He leaned over me and I instinctively shied away. His bulk kept me effectively pinned and I was too freaked to try and fight him again. When he ripped my shirt off and pulled off my trousers I just went numb with terror. He was calling me all sorts of derogatory names. I tried to block him out but I couldn’t ignore his clawing hands or his hot breath on the back on my neck.

It took me a moment to realise that someone was yelling my name. It seemed my aggressor was too intent in what he was doing to notice. It could only be one person and despite myself I was reluctant to call out to him.

The choice was taken from me in the end. The door burst open and Michael swept down on both of us. He grabbed Jonnie and threw him off me. His eyes passed over me for a moment and then he was advancing on the Irishman.

“Now calm down Michael,” He said, raising both of his hands and retreating backwards. “I wasn’t going to hurt him, I was just-“

“I know what you were just going to do scum!” He roared, causing both of us to flinch. “I should rip your head clean off you pathetic excuse of a meat sack! I swear if you ever come near him again it’s going to take a lot more than Kerry to save you. Being potentially turned does not make us equals!” He was in front of me so quickly that I barely managed a squeak. “You, come with me.”

He seemed so angry with me. I struggled to keep up with him as he swept down the gang quarters, dragging me behind him. A number of the others looked up at us as Michael rushed us through the main hall. I noticed a young gang member staring and as our eyes met she let out an audible gasp. I just stopped moving, staring at her in disbelief as she took a faltering step towards me. It only took a second before Michael’s momentum knocked me flat. He dragged me for a few seconds more before he realised I’d fallen. I barely noticed when his arm wrapped around my waist and he tucked me under his armpit. I was staring unbelievingly at the young gang member. Her mouth worked silently.

“Conner?”

***********

I thought back to that first sunset when she didn’t show up. Mom and I were peering through the parlour windows, anxiously awaiting the sound of her key in the door lock. We waited there all night, both of us preying she would come home safe.

A week later and I was still at the window, afraid to leave my vigil, frightened she might be crawling injured towards our home in need of my help. Mom had already fallen in to the mad pit of depression that had eventually claimed her life. At a time when I had needed my big sister the most she had disappeared on us.

I had assumed she was dead but now I knew the truth, she had just grown bored with us and thrown her lot in with the gang members. Sudden, chocking fury rushed through me. How could she do that to us, how could she leave us alone when she knew how bad mom was getting? All those years I’d struggled just to survive and she was frolicking with the bastards that had helped make my life so fucking miserable!

“What’s your problem?” Michael asked, not brothering to look at me as he sat watching the T.V. I saw his pale wrist rise above the couch as he casually changed the channel.

“Nothing.” I said, struggling to control my flaring temper. “It’s nothing.”

“Really because all the time you’ve been down here I haven’t sensed even a hint of a temper. Truth is I’m surprised you’ve got one. I assumed single living had beaten it out of you. So what’s happened to tick you off? You thinking of that bastard?”

“No,” I said evasively, a little freaked that he could so easily read my emotions. “How do you know what I’m feeling?” I asked softly. The few days that had passed since he had collected me from the Irishman’s room had wrought a subtle change in our relationship. Michael stopped doing everything in his power to frighten me and started to encourage conversation. It was one hell of a relief for me. I hadn’t realised just how canlı casino highly I strung I was until I started to relax. Not that I was totally stress-free, I wasn’t a complete idiot after all. For the love of good I was living with a monster!

“Its a neat trick huh.” Michael said casually, his face still averted as he watched his T.V. “So you going to tell me or what?”

“It’s private,”

He rose up on his elbows and turned to look at me. His eyebrow arched slightly as our eyes met.

“I’m just thinking, it’s nothing specific.” I paused for a moment and then decided what the hell. “Can I go out for a while?”

“You want to go out on your own? After what happened last time?”

“Is that a problem?” I asked hesitantly.

“Not really. I’m just surprised is all.”

“So it’s okay?”

He shrugged and gestured towards the door with the remote. I took the hint and slipped outside, closing the door quietly behind me. I moved quickly through the hallway leading to the main hall, stepping out without too much hesitation. My roaming gaze immediately aligned on Jonnie, who was leaning casually against a wall with his usual lackeys circling him. Our eyes met and he started towards me but suddenly he seemed to think better of it and step back. He made a shooting gesture towards me with his hand and then said something to his group that had them all looking back at me and laughing.

Clearly the Irishman had taken Michael’s warning to heart. Personally I couldn’t have cared less that they were reduced to pointing and laughing at me as an alternative to attacking me. In comparison it wasn’t exactly hearting chilling. Still, seeing the malignant expression on his face was enough to make me drop my gaze. I wondered if Michael’s threat would linger for long or if the other man would try something else. Clearly someone was protecting him.

I moved a little further into the hall, keeping close to the edges in an attempt to avoid any further trouble. I looked around for a while and eventually picked out a young girl on her own. She had a mildly distant look on her pretty heart shaped face but outwardly she didn’t seem terribly threatening. I made my way towards her and let out a tiny cough to gain her attention. She turned slowly towards me, her doe brown eyes wide and bright with some sort of drug she’d probably taken earlier. “Yes?” She asked, smiling softly.

“I’m looking for someone.” I blurted out. “A woman named Anne. She’s about your age and has the same colour hair as me. Do you know her?”

“Anne?” She made a soft humming sound and began tracing the line of my jaw with her finger. I could tell there was nothing behind it, she was just that spaced out! I’d run into other singles who occasionally retreated into a world of make believe in order to escape reality. In my experience they rarely lasted very long.

“You’re wasting your time with her.” A sharp voice said at my back. Another woman, older than the first and thankfully cleared eyed stepped towards me. “So why are you looking for Anne?” She looked me up and down with a critical eye. “You don’t exactly strike me as her type.”

I returned her frank appraisal, studying her as she studied me. She looked like she was in her late thirties, which was fairly old for a gang member. She had traces of grey in her chestnut coloured hair and deep set frown lines around her eyes and mouth. She might have been beautiful once but clearly the years had not been kind. “Do you know where she is?” I asked.

“Yes, but why do you want to know?”

I reined in my impatience with some effort. “Because I need to talk to her and it’s private.”

She laughed at that. “You belong to Michael don’t you?”

“I don’t belong to anyone.” I said testily. “Are you able to take me to her or not?”

“Okay,” She said, surprising me with her sudden willingness. “Follow me then. My name is Louie by the way. Should Michael come after you later please stop him from tearing my head off wont you? I heard about what he did to Jonnie.”

She started forward, pressing through the crowds and coming chillingly close to Jonnie. The Irishman looked up at us and I quickly dropped my gaze. “You couldn’t have gone around him?” I mumbled.

“I could have but then I wouldn’t have been able to piss him off by doing this.” She stepped close beside me and lifted my arm until it draped over her shoulder. She was a little smaller than me and fit surprisingly well into my side. I didn’t look at Jonnie to see what he was doing.

“Why would you want to piss him off?” I whispered. “Isn’t he supposed to be turned soon?”

She smiled up at me, which transformed her face and made her look ten years younger. “One of them or one of us. It won’t make a difference. He’ll still be a twat and he’ll still be dangerous!” She let out a tuneless whistle for a few seconds. “So, how do you know Anne again?” She asked sweetly.

Despite myself I chuckled. “I appreciate you helping me but I’m not telling you.”

She kaçak casino nodded her head acceptingly for a moment. “You related?” she suddenly asked. I stumbled and she had to grab my waist to stop me from falling over. “I’ll take that as a yes. You look a lot alike. Same hair and skin colour, different eyes though.”

“Do you know her very well?” I asked.

“As well as anyone knows her I suppose. She’s a quiet one though, and dangerous too. I’d be careful if I was you kid. Jonnie isn’t the only one favoured to be turned.”

“What?” I asked, feeling like someone had thumped me in the stomach. “Anne’s to be turned? In to one of them?”

She shrugged causally. “So I hear, but it could be nothing more than rumours.” She squeezed my waist in mock affection. “You sure you still want to go?”

Honestly I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see her, not knowing what she had become, but I felt like I had to. She was my sister and had been one of the only constant people in my life. I needed to know what had happened to her. Knowing that she was so close but not being able to speak to her was eating away at me.

“Here we are,” She said brightly as she stopped in front of a solid red door. I noticed the scriptures that had been carved into the wood, but before I could look at them more closely Louie had rapped neatly on the door and stepped nimbly back. I didn’t even have time to compose myself before the door swung open and Anne was standing there looking furiously back at me. “Look what I’ve bought you my dear,” Louie said, her smile dazzling as she shoved me forward. “You can thank me later.” She laughed, walking away and leaving me standing there wondering if I had just made a very stupid mistake.

I opened my mouth but now that she was standing there looking at me I couldn’t think of a single thing to say to her. I stepped backwards, unsure if I should just turn around and run when she caught my arm and yanked me inside her room. “You stupid little git!” She hissed as she spun me around and shoved me backwards. “What the hell are you doing here?” I backed away from her, distracted by the young man that was staring at me from the corner of the room. He smiled brightly and waved at me. “Well, answer me damn it!”

She looked so healthy, sleek and strong. She was taller than me and lithely muscled with shining black hair and bright blue eyes. I noticed the faint lines around her lips and eyes and I wondered if they were the only reminder of the hardship of her earlier life. I thought of myself, wasting away to almost nothing and not growing to my full height because of malnutrition. I thought of my mom, shrinking and growing weaker before my eyes. Something in me snapped and before I knew what I was doing I lashed out and slapped her hard across the face. Her face whipped to the side and she let out a loud snarl. “I suppose I deserved that,” She said stiffly as she rubbed her reddened cheek. I felt a moment of remorse but it was short lived as she reached out and snared my wrist. She pulled me close. “Don’t do it again.” She said very quietly as we stood practically face to face.

“You left us,” I managed to choke out. I could feel tears of anger and frustration and I fought to hold them back. “We thought you were dead, we mourned you for Christ sake! How could you just abandon us? You knew how mom was; you knew how hard it would be for me.”

She sighed softly and let go of my wrist. “Things were getting too complicated Conner. I was just a kid myself and honestly-” her bright eyes appraised me thoughtfully. “I was so much stronger than you. Even if I had wanted you to come with me you never would have left mom, and if you had I’m sure you’d be dead now. I did what I had to.”

“Is that it?” I practically screeched. “That pile of bullshit is your excuse for abandoning us?” I pulled back my fist, fighting the urge to hit her again. “Do you even care what I’ve been through? What I’m going through now? How long have you known I was here and you did nothing to help me?”

She pushed an errant strand of hair behind her ear and bit her bottom lip, reminding me suddenly of the little girl I had grown up with. An image of us as children came unbidden to my mind and with it a release of the anger I could feel welling up inside of me. What did I expect really, that she had some grand explanation for leaving us? She was a gang member after all. Expecting anything from her was just stupidity.

“I don’t know what you want me to say.” She said eventually, looking sadly back at me. I wondered if she actually felt sad or if she was just trying to convey what she assumed was the appropriate response. I suspected it was the latter.

“You’ve said enough.” I said flatly, refusing to look at her. “Bye Anne.” I turned my back on her and opened her door. She didn’t try to stop me and as I stepped out into the damp, squalled hallway and made my way back to Michael. No one bothered me as I stepped into the main hall and found my way back to him.

“You weren’t gone long,” He remarked as I stepped inside and fell down beside him on the couch. His eyebrows rose slightly but he didn’t comment on our closeness. “You okay?” He asked, sounding like he actually cared.

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