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Pussy Reaper’s Revenge

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Reads: 2010  | Likes: 33  | Shelves: 25  | Comments: 19

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Catarina Consuelo, witty and willful teen, leads a double life that may kill her.

Submitted: February 10, 2018

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Submitted: February 10, 2018

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Believe me, Dylan Thomas, I will not go gentle into that good night. Nothing gentle about me.

I descend the ladder into the darkness. Slow. Steady. Silent as two texters in an elevator. Or a super stealth ninja scaling a skyscraper with one swoop. Except I’m not leaping about. I’m fisting cool damp rungs. They vibrate when rumbling reverberates overhead. My fingers slip on a slick spot and I slam forward. My tooth bangs metal. Ouch. Stealthy alright. The sound boomerangs down and back up, spiraling annoyance through me. I tongue my tooth. Great, it’s chipped. So much for a flawless smile. Usually I’m not clumsy. Must be the coffee. Four double espressos to swallow my nerves.

Rats squeak. Tons of them skitter in the pipes, fueling my memories of them biting my flesh. Practically everything else I can deal with. Those rats though. They haunt me the most. I pause, inhaling and exhaling. One simple task. Get my treasure and go. Easy breezy. Not peasy, cause peas are plain nasty. My stilettos meet bottom and I creep into the tunnel, anxious about my little slipsy. About the vagabonds lurking down here whom others dub urban legends aka the Mole People. I’m well aware what they’re capable of. But I’m stronger and wiser now. They cross me again; I’ll bust out my badass brand of booty-bashing.

I swipe my phone and tap the flashlight app. Rock walls, glistening with water, seep from the ceiling, combining with smells of mold and feces. Ugh. I step over a river of brown, plugging my nose as acid flip-flops in my gut. Gross. Sewers are overflowing. Fairly expected, considering the pipes date back to president FDR. Label me a history nerd if you want. I’ve read numerous articles how Roosevelt hid his handicap by building this secret underground railway beneath the Waldorf Astoria hotel and the largest subway terminal in New York City. Grand Central Station ain’t called grand for nothin’, peeps.

Steel screeches when a train departs above, making the tunnel rattle and dirty dew pepper my dreadlocks. I brush off, then roam along the railroad, avoiding the shallow puddles littering the ground. A rat swims out and scurries toward me. I gulp when it appears to multiply. Ten thousand of them stare at me with their beady eyes as if they might balloon into super villain beasts with claws and fangs, vicious enough to feast on my bones. My stomach twists until I dry heave and grasp my sword sheathed in my obi hip sash, the same katana my trainer, Master Hiroyoshi wore. A warrior much fiercer than I am — a courageous Chica-Samurai terrified of one measly rat.

Crazy, right? It can’t harm me. I’m tougher than titanium.

I cover my face in my hands, repeating my mantra and allowing myself a yoga moment. A downward facing dog. I hold the pose for several seconds while I emit an “ommmmm.” Yep, I’m ridiculous, bowing in a tunnel, wearing booted stilettos and a pleather jumpsuit. But hey, Ashtanga meditation relaxes me.

If only the rat listened to my “Get lost,” memo. I hiss and stomp, until it scuttles away. “Adiós nasty thang.”

I hesitate, killing the light when people snicker in the distance. Someone shrieks. Snickers louden, ricocheting off the walls I slither along, my pulse swift on my wrists. I thumb my sword handle, totally in ninja stealth mode, especially once my vision adjusts. Ahead, under an archway, I spy the gray outline of two men. One pudgy. The other tall. They hunch over a female. She cowers, blocking her head with her arms.

“Ennie menie minnie moe. Catch a hobo by her toes. Bitch fits my goals.” The pudgy man says.

The tall gangly one gropes her. “Got us a goldmine here. A real Chiquita banana.”

She shrieks again.

“Perfect tits and ass. Nice and tight.” The pudgy one says. “Prettier than that last butterface. He’ll dish out double for this one.”

Sex Traffickers. I’ve met their type. Ones who enslave a girl for the highest bid with the same vicious acts the Mole People committed against me. Won’t let them hurt another innocent girl. I yank my sword free, roaring at the top of my lungs while I sprint forward. They notice me. Too late. I slash the tall one’s throat. He flops.

The other fires a taser into the dark. Blue electricity whizzes past me. I spring into the air and kick the pudgy one in the head. He hits a puddle.

“Name’s Pussy Reaper.” I blurt in my deepest Exorcist voice.

“You don’t scare me.” He scowls.

“Scary’s overrated.” I flash my phone on him and click his picture.

He squints, scooting back against the track.

“Tell me who you work for.” I stab my stiletto into his palm. He screams shriller than the girl behind me. “Guess big boys do cry. It’s alright. Won’t post your ugly pout on Tinder. I’ll iCloud it so I can laugh at it later.” I dig my heel harder into his hand. He writhes. “Do it. Tell me who you work for.”

The tunnel shakes as more trains zoom above.

I press my blade to his jaw.

He squirms into the fetal position.

“Fine! Fine! You win. There’s this guy we sell to. Always wears a rat costume. Goes by Squealer.”

“Uh-huh. Try the frickin’ truth.”

“I told you the truth. I swear. I swear.”

“You can swear. Not gonna save you.” Jerks like him don’t change. World’ll be safer without him. I shove my blade into his chest then wrench it out. Blood flows to the ground and another prick eats dust.

I kneel beside the girl. Something about her looks familiar. The way the green flecks in her eyes twinkle as if... Stop this mind trick. She’s gone. This girl only represents who I used to be, that snot-nosed runaway, easy prey for them. Twenty-four agonizing months has taught me more than in my entire seventeen years of life.

The girl quivers. I hug her, letting her bawl in my arms.

“I’m so sorry,” I murmur over and over like a repeated iTune, like I’m consoling my younger self and pouring warm chamomile over my severed spirit. Wounds that run deeper than any tea can heal.

Someone claps. I smother my emotions and tap my phone to life.

“Wait here.” I say to the girl as I rise.

She nods, folding her knees to her chin.

I tiptoe over the corpses and beneath the archway while I listen for the clapping and aim my light through thick steam. It puffs from the pipes, blinding my view.

“Impressive performance.” A male says with a nasally tone I recognize but can’t quite place.

I squeeze my sword’s scabbard.

“Put that down.”

Hell no. It’s dangerous to trust any man. Much less some sketchy sleaze who mixes creepy compliments with strict orders. He disgusts me. And I haven’t even met him. Haven’t even searched this second ladder I approach. I peer beyond the top rung to that grate in the ceiling. Honking drifts through the bars. Nothing abnormal about that since the Waldorf Astoria parking lot starts here. Problem is, I’m searching an empty ladder and unable to determine the man’s location. For all I know he’s looming near FDR’s old abandoned train. I prowl in its direction, inspecting its dull gray perimeter and the hotel’s secret elevator at its rear.

Footsteps thud close-by. I whip around, my eyes slanted.

“Photos of you don’t give you justice, Catarina. Or is it Cat? That’s what they call you now, right?”

WTF. Sly douche knows my real identity? Even has pictures? Ick.

“Quit toying with me,” I yell.

“Come now. Toys delight everyone.”

Shivers sweep across my neck, feeding my hunch that I’m hunting the same Squealer the pudgy trafficker mentioned. I shine my phone around the corner to a second tunnel shrouded by more steam. “Show yourself or I’ll hunt you down. Dice you into bits and feed your carcass to the pigeons.”

“Right there. That’s the grit we need.”

We? My throat dries. “Count me out.” I scrape my blade against rock. Sparks fly off the wall. “I’m done playing.”

“Oh, but we haven’t even started.”

A clang echoes as if cymbals were clashed. Electricity follows, ping-ponging from all corners, muffling what sounds like a dozen wolves stampeding.

Crap. I race in the direction of the stray girl.

“Hey! You,” I call to her. She’s cuddling herself on the ground. “Get up!”

I grab her arm and rush her to the ladder.

She gapes at it, then at me. “I can’t do it.”

“Don’t have a choice.” I assist her to the first rung.

She lopes along. Not quickly enough. I hurry behind, nudging her. She picks up her pace while footsteps pound our way and the ladder creaks. I glance down. Three men climb after not far from us as we close in on the grate. I stretch past her, whack it open, and prop her up. She crawls to the pavement.

“Go!” I bob my head out, pointing beyond a line of cars to the garage exit. “Find the Covenant House. Tell Marta, Cat sent you. She’ll shelter you.”

“What about you?” Her eyes widen as she gestures beneath me.

One of the men yanks my ankle. I kick him in the cheek. His head snaps back and he topples off the ladder, screeching.

“Go. Now!”

The girl scrambles to her feet and tares off as another man grabs me by the waist. I rip from his grip. Propelling myself in a sideways twirl, I sweep my blade through the two men on the ladder and another in the gut.

At least ten more appear once I land on the ground. I crouch low, thwacking heads and dodging volts. They zip past me as I thrust my arms out and impale person after person despite my waning energy. I push myself to the limit, stabbing a few in the spine, two in the head until three remain standing.

“Our new leader is very fond of you.” One of them saunters toward me. 

My phone buzzes. Startling me, it drops from my jumpsuit, smacking the ground while a shard of light beams out and reveals the man’s arm. Marred by a crocodile shaped mark, the scar trickles fear into me as I flash-back to that cage the Mole People locked me in. Those metal bars, the rats atop me, the sickos they daily whored me to, and this guard here with his unforgettable scar, the one I saw each time he reached for me.

Grundy. I shrink away, my spine thick with prickles.

“That soft skin I miss the most.” He thumbs my wrist, funneling vomit to my mouth, the bitter taste as nauseating as what he did to me. Memories, harsh and unrelenting, seize my brain and distract me from someone flanking my back. I snag a peek over my shoulder. A massive man flings a chain round my neck, strangling me. I gag, flailing my arms behind me, attempting to flip him. He’s too strong, too brutal. I feel myself going slack. All my blood beats furiously as I slump.

I float into a cloud. Rain showers my face while warm yellow rays stream into my entire being and hues of red, blue, and orange flash from my fingers. They explode from me. A rainbow with hundreds of colors light the sky where an angelic figure hovers down. Her black hair waves in a misty breeze and shimmers in the sun while a glorious glow radiates from her.

I’m in heaven. How else could I be in the presence of her — my gorgeous sister. Dead almost two years, my one family member who lived long enough to want me. Gone. Guilt devours me, impossible to ignore. Impossible to release.

I collapse in front of her, clasping her hands. “Please, please. It’s my fault, my sweet, sweet Selah.” Tears flow to my chin and drip onto both our fingers. She embraces me, wrenching my fractured heart, my sea of loss.

“Stay with me.” I weep on her shoulder, for all the times the foster system ripped us apart, for the plans we shared under the lock of night, for the pact we made to always protect each other. “Forgive me.”

She whispers in my ear, “I love you.” Her body vanishes, a void chillier than the wind on my arms where I held her.

I wake shaking. Sweat coats me and soaks what feels like a wool blanket scratchy beneath me. Itchier than sand paper, it’s identical to the blindfold tied over my eyes, blacking out everything. My neck screams. My head throbs. My heart hammers a cadence as loud as the jarring music. Cellos whine minor chords. Dissonant. Dark. Dvorák. Same symphony played continuously when they first snatched me. Those awful moments. Weren’t for Marta, I’d still be a dropout on the street. Instead I’m college bound with a full-ride to NYU. Damn Mole People won’t steal my dreams again.

I wrestle to lift myself. Can’t. Cold cuffs shackle my wrists to whatever I’m lying on — A cot? A bench? A wood slab? Beats me, entire set up is completely different from the last time.

Except for the squeaking. A rat. It skitters up my stomach, onto my face and bites my lip. I chomp at it. It claws my nose. I buck my head. Whooshing fills the air when the rat flies off and whomps the ground.

The music volume lowers. A ticking noise replaces it as if someone is trimming their nails.

Clip. Clip. Clip.

A man says, “Glad you joined us.”

“Haven’t joined you. Joining requires consent.”

“It’s free will you want then. That can be arranged. After all, I am a good person.”

“Depends on your definition of good.”

“Forget definitions. Focus on truth. Truth is a funny thing. Not everyone deserves it. Most warp it. Some ignore it. Others accept it. Only a brave few change it. That’s where you come in. We have a proposition for you.”

“Not interested.”

“We’ll see.”

Clip. Clip. Clip.

So gross. So awkward. So strange he’s trimming his nails during our bizarre conversation. Reminds me of — Ah, it’s not him.

“By the way, I have your book.”

My treasure? He has it? Where’d he find it? I clench my fists. “Give it to me.”

“Now you want something from me, huh? Said you weren’t interested.”

A train rattles above, sending vibrations off what might be a room around us? Hard to say for sure.

“Truth is, Cat. Your little rescue missions have damaged our reputation and our profits. Forced us to take less tasteful actions to appease deep, powerful, pockets. Come to a mutual understanding with us. That shelter you volunteer at.”

How the hell does he know about my senior internship? Oh right, he’s been photographing me. Seems he’s been following me too. Skeezy Mole Person, probably Squealer, better not harm any of my sweet friends.

“None of those girls have value. Orphans, runaways, rejects, criminals. No one misses their type.” He skulks closer. My teeth gritted, he rubs my shoulder. I shrug away. “Bring us a few of them once a month. We’ll reward you. Rent you a suite in the Waldorf Astoria. Think of all the money you could make. The family you could have in us.”

Screams ring in the background. Slapping follows.

A man shouts, “Shut-it, bitch, or I’ll shut-it for you.”

More screams echo.

I war with my chains, clacking them against bed rails. “Good people don’t abuse girls.”

“Consider my offer.” His footsteps fade. 

A door, or a heavy object, bams shut. The music volume increases.

I yank my chains harder. They don’t budge. Nor do the blaring instruments deafening me in one ear. “Turn it off already.”

Something goes, “Psst.” Probably another rat skittering around.

“Get outta here.” I yell.

“Keep it down.” Someone whispers close by.

Great, it’s a man’s voice.

“Need yer help.”

I roll my eyes. “Um. Hello. A little tied up here. Free me. Then I decide if you really need help.”

“Can’t. Unless ya promise.”

Why does this not surprise me? This night just gets weirder and weirder. Seriously, what am I? A frickin’ priestess taking confessions? “Give your name and what you want.”

“Call me Edison.”

His breath strokes my cheek.

My skin warms. Annoys me, my reaction. He’s gotta have an end game. All men do. Would shove him if I wasn’t restrained.

He leans closer to my face, inviting his smells of mud and sweat. I twitch my nose.

“Rumors bout you travel fast in dees tunnels.” He says. “Us Moles hear things.”

“Wait, wait. These thugs aren’t the Mole People?”

“Nah. Squealer’s pimpish rats give us Moles our nasty rap.”

My mind reels at Edison’s revelation. At the possibility I was wrong about them. Maybe I’m not “Trick me, and I’ll gut you navel to nose.”

“Yo. Yo. No worries. My word’s, my bond.” He hushes when the music track finishes. It restarts, shriller than ever. “Squealer nabbed three of my friends. My sista, Treen too.”

His voice falters on the word sister, his emotion tangible, perhaps as raw as mine. Stings the back of my eyes, the thought of her, Selah, how she perished at their hands.

“Listen, this bunker’s loaded with guards. Figure with yer added fightin’ skills, us Moles can save our peeps. So ya help or what?

“I’m in.”

He unties my blindfold, then snaps my shackles with something. Hacksaw? Pickax? Bolt cutter? Whatever it is, it blocks out the rumbling of the next train. In a matter of seconds my wrists are unbound.

“Here. For you.” He sets cool metal in my palm. “Works dis way.”

He flicks a switch on the side once I pull the glasses on. Shading everything green, the goggles enhance my night vision while brightening the cot I was lying on, the chair Squealer sat in, and the four blank walls around us.

“Designed dees goggles myself. ‘Mazin what aluminum scraps and welding can do.”

Crazy feat. He’s techy alright, moderately tall, a sculpted physique. Appears a bit older than me with a mohawk, a stud in his brow, and flame tattoos lining his temples.

Gah. What’s wrong with me? Scoping a guy I only met. Must be cause I pity him, his situation. Been there. Makes sense...I guess. Though he could be playing me. Best to stay skeptical. I spy my belongings on a table beside the chair and slip the phone in my bra and my sword in my obi hip sash.

I halt. Beneath the chair rests what Squealer somehow poached from me. My tattered book, my treasure. My sister’s original collection of Dylan Thomas poems. All I have left of Selah. Left of a life stolen too quickly. Too cruelly. I drag in a ragged breath and let it swell in my chest until I regain my steel façade.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light, lingers on my lips as I tuck the book in my back zipper pocket. I rotate to an open vent  positioned below the ceiling. Edison scrambles in and waves his hand out, offering it to me.

“No thanks.” I lift myself in and crawl after. Last thing I imagined doing today, worming my way through an air duct behind some strange and suspicious dude. Another downward-facing dog would be a real stress-reliever right about now.

The vent curves, diverting two ways. “Left or right?”

“Left. Leads to the main control room.” Edison retrieves what resembles a pen from his pocket and clicks it. Light projects a holographic map before us. “My one job,” he says. “Hack in and lift the security so my guys can get in. We’re a hefty bunch. Hope we tip da scales with ya.”

“Can’t promise miracles.” I slither on my belly when the vent narrows. “Ya know, you could make a fortune off your mapper invention thingy.”

“Eh. Dis gadget ain’t worth a cent. Just a laser pointer I found and tinkered with. It’s my fun. Specially with all da trash norms ‘n richies dump down here. Us Moles use every shred we scrounge up. Only way to stay alive when you’re an orphan growin’ up in da tunnels.”

Orphan? My chin quivers. Same as me? Might be this guy is different from the others. A novelty, a male who is actually honest and nice. Seems a foolish fantasy to me, one I have no desire to test out. Considering my track record with the male species, I’ve a right to doubt him. Then again, he did free me. That obligates me to offer him a chance. 

I wedge myself over an indented slope. A train whooshes overhead, shaking the air duct. We freeze. Edison’s foot slips back. The vent creaks. Buckles. Cracks like an egg around us.

Frik. I fall ass-first. Edison’s arms flap, two fish outta water. I land on all fours. He collides with a door, whamming it down.

A security guard whips away from a wall of monitors.

Grundy. His crocodile scar glints in the dark, visible with my night googles.

He glares up the length of me. “Here for some us time?”

“Take your eyes off her.” Edison rights himself.

Grundy chuckles. “Your little boyfriend here thinks he’s Hercules. Doesn’t look so strong to me.” He staggers in front of Edison, taser gun aimed.

Edison raises his pick-ax. The gun zaps. I push Edison out of the way and swoop toward Grundy.

He reaches for a red button, —the alarm! I grab for his hand. Too late. Sirens bleep the moment Edison jabs his pick-ax into Grundy’s side. Grundy collides with the floor where I punch him repeatedly until he goes limp.

“Do what you need to do,” I yell over the sirens while Edison runs for the computer, immediately keying in codes.

The music stops. Shouts reverberate from all angles. 

“I’ll slow ‘em down.” I nab my sword, bolting for the hall. Guards, at least five, appear. “Pussy Reaper’s here to play.” I leap in the air as the guards fire tasers my way. “Prepare for your booty-bashing.”

I spin in a sideways somersault, then flip forward and body-slam the guards. They flop. Others, I skewer in the neck and in the spine until the hall is empty where I prowl, totally in ninja stealth mode.

More footsteps clack. More guards round the corner. More electric volts voom past me. I hoist one of the corpses, using it as my shield. It convulses in my grip, meeting hit after hit, becoming a human pin cushion. I fling the body at three men, knocking them down like bowling pins.

“Game’s over.” Someone snarls. 

The shooting ceases. 

Most of the guards gape at me. A few snicker when Squealer surfaces, sporting a rat costume, uglier than a greasy toupee.

“Wow. Way to make a fashion statement.” I sashay forward, swaying my hips. “Some rats hide in sewers. Others lurk in shelters.” 

“Wondered when you’d figure it out. Send Marta a smooch.”

“Eww. She’ll boot your filthy shitter out as quickly as she did the last time.” Demented douche, Marta’s ex-boy toy, Viktor. Stupid me for not connecting the dots earlier. I mean, how could I fail to remember his ickster come-ons? And then there was that fifteen-year-old girl at the Covenant House he assaulted two years ago when I first moved in. Nasty to the max. “So what is this? Payback for sticking the cops on you?”

“Something like that.”

The lights flare on as do the sprinklers. Water sprays everyone, including Edison who sneaks up on me. 

I peek behind as whooping erupts. A swarm of Mole People, storming for the guards, swing bladed shovels. 

Guns blam. Heads roll.

Edison gestures me around the corner. We crouch, avoiding electric volts and body parts while we approach another door leading us to a room with four cages. A girl with a red pony-tail rattles her bars identical to the ones that enslaved me for months. I swallow a glob of puke, allowing myself a yoga moment. A breath long enough for me to mumble Namaste while Edison thwacks the locks with his pick ax. 

We usher the girls out of their cages where he hugs the pony-tail one. Must be Treen, his sister. Beautiful like Selah, she sobs on his shoulder, exactly how I always pictured reuniting with my own sister. An image that spears into my sternum, shredding my heart into a billion pieces smaller than my tears.

I blink them away, choking on my words. “Reunion can wait. Escape can’t.”

Edison nods, assisting Treen and a second girl while I offer a hand to the others and open the door.

“This way.” A Mole motions us cross the floor over corpses soaked in a river of red. Blood expands in the narrow hall where Moles and guards attack each other while we head in their direction. Shovels swing. Volts zoosh masked by the zoosh of trains shuttling above. We hunch low, darting faster than the guards racing after us.

I pass the girls to Edison so he has all four. “Go.”

“I’ll return to help,” he says. 

“Go. Now!”

They sprint out some metal doors while I stay behind, joining the twenty Moles. I spring above a line of blue volts and kick two guards in the face. Two others corner me, their guns pressed to my skull. A Mole beheads them.

I fist-pump her. “Owe you one.”

“No we owe you.” She says. “One of those girls was my daughter.”

“My pleasure.” I hurry back into action, unable to shed the waves of emotion flooding me. How awful is it that I misjudged and belittled the Mole people who adopted and raised Edison — this kind and loyal guy. Labeling him as dangerous was completely wrong of me. He didn’t ask for his parents to die. Neither did I. Nor did Selah. Fate denied us all a choice and awarded me a huge dose of grief now drilling into my chest. Fierce and tense, my pain mirrors the guilt I carry for not reaching Selah before traffickers murdered her. They denied me of my sister! I claw at the guards, cries bursting from my throat, my fury directed at them as I pound my sword into rib after rib. They tumble before me, wasted away rapists and assaulters deserving the deaths I serve them.

“Girls are safe now.” Edison dashes up to me and pick axes the last straggling guard in the head. The guard flops. 

I turn, staring into Edison’s green eyes, staring at the corpses laid at our feet. Together, we head out the door, tailing a handful of Moles into the tunnel. They tread, with sweat dripping from their brows, and crowd into a dilapidated pick-up truck complete with rail wheels, pointing at the ladder where I first entered. Where my first battle started. Here I’m on my third life, watching my new friends, the Moles drive on the tracks while I examine a motorized scooter that Edison nears. 

He straddles it, its frame rusted on each end.

“That even work?”

“Yo, yo. No knocking, Sherice. Built her myself. Electric efficient even.” He pats the bike’s tapped handle bars. “Listen to her purr.”

“Guess it’s not too shabby.” I hop on with Edison, griping his waist, resting my head on his muscled bicep as we zoom off and as an engine revs behind. I shoot a glimpse over my shoulder. A jeep shuttles forward. It gains on us.

We speed up, nearing FDR’s old train, but skiddingon a fallen pipe. Water sprays me as I fly into the air and land face-first in a sewage puddle. Ugh. Talk about repulsive. Gonna need ten showers after this. 

Brakes eek at the rear of me. Footsteps thump after. 

“Come on,” Edison reaches for me. I take his outstretched hand and careen with him around the train. With his pick-ax, he pries the gated elevator ajar. 

“She stays.” Squealer whips me around. Two guards scowl at either side of him as Grundy jumps off the train and lands before me. He gnashes his teeth, shooting my way.

I duck, twirl out of Squealer’s clutches and knife Grundy in the gut. He keels over. The other guards retreat while Edison and I head for the elevator. 

“Not so fast.” Squealer snatches my wrist, yanking me back.

I pivot on my heels and hack his hand off. He collapses, howling and holding his bleeding stump, his mask half off, exposing his true self — Viktor; bald, skinny nosed with pocks in his cheeks. 

“Thanks for the souvenir.” I lift his severed arm then yank his ruby ring off a finger. A small compensation for his mistreatment. For the agony I suffered under each of those traffickers, a bunch of devils just like Viktor.

He writhes on the ground. 

“Aww. Pussy Reaper hurt the little rat baby.” I snap his picture with my phone. “This one I’ll hang on my wall next to the others. Now tell me who you work for.” I dig my stiletto into his leg.

He whimpers. “That’s our secret.” 

“Ours, huh? Give me a name.” I press my blade to his neck.

“There’s the spirit.” He musters a sly sneer. “I do enjoy your spunk.”

“Enjoy this.” I thrust my blade into his chest. His body stills, a reassuring sight after all my trauma. “Adiós nasty thang.”

Edison spits on Viktor’s corpse then brushes my shoulder. I lock my gaze to Edison’s, his lips inches from mine.

“Sure you wanna be this close? I reek.”

He laughs, his breath swirling into mine. “Take my chances with the wildest girl I ever met. Indebted to ya big time.” His expression grims, a crease in his brow. “My peeps’ll always be targeted by any pimps and traffickers The Suits hire next. We make a sick team, you and I. Join me. Let’s rise against Thugocracy.”

Why shouldn’t I? Cause I’m scared to trust a guy? Screw that. It’s my chance to avenge Selah. To deliver girls from bondage. Life’s a dandelion in the wind, too frail for the seeds of yesterday. It calls me to brave that wild gale before my gentle lays waste. Believe me, Dylan Thomas, that good night needs my gentle.

I choose to grow my gentle for me.


© Copyright 2018 Joy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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