To The Wolves 4 (Part 1)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Action and Adventure  |  House: Booksie Classic
Part 1 of 2. A televised cage fighting League run by Commissioner Denton Wolfe, centering around the women's division.

Submitted: March 22, 2015

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Submitted: March 22, 2015

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Her face pressed gently against the door, Lennyn’s body stiffens at the sound of the familiar voice on the other side. She flushes red with anger at the insubordinate woman’s gall.

“Si è sbloccato.”

Lennyn takes a step back to collect herself, then steps toward the door again, turns the unlocked doorknob and walks into her quarters.

“Benvenuto!” Gillianna says cheerfully, sitting one leg crossed casually over the other in Lennyn’s favorite armchair. Lennyn doesn’t respond. Her nostrils flair when she notices the tumbler held loosely in Gillianna’s hand. That’s my whiskey!

Misinterpreting Lennyn’s stare, Gillianna asks, “Would you like a drink?” She doesn’t wait for Lennyn to answer. Gillianna leans forward and sets her own glass down on Lennyn’s coffee table next to the stack of slate coasters, rises out of her chair, and walks over to the bar cabinet against the far wall.

Lennyn watches in silence as Gillianna drops several large ice cubes into a fresh lowball glass and proceeds to fill it three fingers high with Lennyn’s favorite Rittenhouse Rye.

“Have a seat,” Gillianna says over her shoulder as she pours. Lennyn doesn’t move from her spot just inside the door. Gillianna puts the bottle down and walks the glass over to Lennyn. Lennyn accepts it without a word.

Please have seat?” Gillianna rephrases.

Lennyn obliges and walks silently over to her sofa and sits down. Gillianna returns to her original seat, picks up her glass and takes another sip.

“I like your operation here, Lennyn,” Gillianna says. Lennyn notices that her thick Italian accent is throatier than usual. How much of my booze has she had? “You are so...in control.” Gillianna sways her glass around as she talks, the liquid sloshing around dangerously close to the glass’ rim. Lennyn’s grip tightens around her own drink and her eyes narrow as she watches for Gillianna’s impending spill.

“The way you use your power to manipulate your fighters...you are just like the innkeeper.”

“The innkeeper?” Lennyn asks tensely, still glaring.

Gillianna doesn’t answer right away. She stands up from her chair and moves over to the sofa, plopping herself next to Lennyn. Gillianna’s glass sloshes again, making Lennyn even more tense as she fights her desire to scoot away to stop their thighs from touching. She can smell the strong scent of liquor on Gillianna’s breath.

Gillianna takes another drink and sighs deeply. To Lennyn’s surprise, Gillianna adopts a sing-songy voice and, in a feigned cockney accent, says, “Myyyy band of soaks...My den of dissolutes...”

Lennyn recognizes the tune instantly, but this unexpected serenade brings an unrestrained expression of incredulous horror across her face.

“What are you doing?” Lennyn asks quietly. Gillianna ignores her.

“Myyyy dir’y jokes...My always pissed as newts - whatever that means -”

“Umm, can you--”

“Myyyy son’s of whores...spend their nights in my inn.”

Lennyn instinctively leans further away from Gillianna who in turn slides even closer and puts an arm around Lennyn’s shoulders.

“Homing pigeons homing in, they flyyyy through my dooooors!” Gillianna interrupts her own song to point at Lennyn with the hand still holding her drink as she whispers into Lennyn’s ear, “Your doors.” She then looks dreamily off to the side, drops her playful air and finishes in her regular voice, “And they crawl out on all fours.”

After ending her song, Gillianna takes another long drink from her glass. With her arm still around Lennyn, she is now leaning fully on Lennyn for support. Gillianna sets her glass down on the coffee table, still failing to utilize the stack of coasters. She apparently overestimated the height of the table by about an inch, letting go of the glass too soon causing it to drop and splash liquid onto the wood as it landed.

“Alright, that’s it,” Lennyn says as she throws Gillianna’s arm off from around her shoulder and stands up. She then walks quickly to her bar, grabs a towel, and comes back to wipe up the spill with ferocity. She then grabs Gillianna around the back of her neck and drags her roughly toward the door.

“Whoah, wait! Hold on! Ahh!” says Gillianna as she tries to pry Lennyn’s grip off of her. Lennyn attempts to open the door with her free hand to push Gillianna out, but Gillianna quickly pushes the door back shut.

“Wait! I just need to talk to you for a minute--”

With barely restrained outrage, Lennyn interrupts, “No! What you need to do is stumble back to your Den before I FIRE YOU FOR BREAKING INTO MY ROOM AND STEALING FROM ME!

Lennyn grabs Gillianna threateningly by her collar nearly lifting her off her feet, but before Lennyn can begin pushing her out the door again, Gillianna quickly blurts, “I just want to talk to you about Whitney!”



 

On the main floor of the training Den, burly workers are busy moving equipment out of the way as they assemble a series of structures out of tall barriers, ropes, and apparatuses composed of metal bars.

Just outside Abel’s office door, Shy is standing with Abel, smiling as she watches her vision come to life.

“It looks like it’s all gonna fit,” Shy says to Abel who is holding her usual to-do-list clipboard.

“Yes, you are right. I’m sorry I doubted you. Your floor plan just didn’t have any measurements so there wasn’t any way to tell--”

“I told you I eye-balled it.”

“Yes, but that’s not really the way--”

“Are we really going to go through this again?” Shy says with a small laugh. Abel smiles back.

“No, I guess not.” Abel replies. After a moment, she adds, “Just don’t let Lennyn see those plans.”

Shy laughs. A small pang of worry hits her stomach as she thinks of how she is going to run her training session tomorrow. She doesn’t even want to imagine the lecture she’ll get from Lennyn if it doesn’t go just right. Lennyn had already been hounding her for weeks for Shy to reveal her lesson plan. Shy put up a strong fight at the time telling Lennyn that she didn’t want to tell her only to have her criticize it, but really Shy just didn’t have a plan worked out yet. The idea was there, but as far as execution, that all depends on how this set up turns out.

“I think they’re going to have a lot of fun with it,” Abel says as she continues to eye the workers in front of them. “No one’s ever done an obstacle course before. Are you going to demonstrate it for them first?”

Shy’s eyebrows shoot up. She mumbles quietly, “Oh...that’s a good idea.” She then notices Abel look sideways at her so Shy immediately switches gears and says loudly, “I mean--Yes. Of course I am.”

Abel nods her understanding as she thumbs casually through the pages on her clipboard.

Suddenly, a new thought occurs to Shy. “Oh, wait...no, I’m not going to demonstrate it,” she says. “The Omega is going to do that.” Abel looks back over to Shy, confused. Shy clarifies, “I’ll run the course tonight when they’re done putting it together - to make sure it’s doable - but Lotta’s gonna be the guinea pig tomorrow.”

“Oh, right,” Abel says. “That makes sense. Lotta’ll probably be relieved. I think they’re all expecting something a lot more harrowing.”

A sly smirk spreads across Shy’s face. “Well, it’s not going to be all fun and games.” Looking straight ahead at the enormous and complicated obstacle course finally beginning to take logical shape, shy nods and says to Abel, “This baby’s got some surprises.”



 

“I have heard in interviews...heard you say that it is your job to bring out the passion within your fighters. I know this is true. The way you say it - so innocently and so casually - people do not even realize that what you are saying is the essence of the wolf legend. You are confirming it without confirming it. The truth, that is.”

“And what do you think the truth is exactly?” asks Lennyn. The two ladies sit once again on Lennyn’s black leather couch and armchair, both drinks refilled as they converse.

Gillianna appears to have been sobered by Lennyn’s previous anger and is now speaking much more eloquently and professionally than before.

“Obviously, you are aware of the legend of the wolves...fighters come into this League unsuspectingly and lose their minds along the way. The cameras and the spotlight, everyone watching and judging, it makes them crazy. It makes them wild. It turns them into animals until they...howl to the moon.”

Lennyn chuckles at Gillianna’s dramaticism.

“That is what you meant by bring out their passion, right?” Gillianna continues. “The wildness of the wolves is not a coincidence, no? You make them. You turn them that way.” Gillianna pauses to allow Lennyn to respond to her accusation, but when Lennyn does not speak, Gillianna adds, “Is that not true?”

Looking down, Lennyn licks her lips and absentmindedly swirls around the liquid in her drink. Gillianna waits for her. Wen Lennyn finally speaks, her speech is slow and deliberate.

“Gillianna, if you really want to understand what it is that happens to the so called wolves when they enter our League, the question you need to ask is why are they here to begin with?”

Lennyn looks back up into Gillianna’s confused eyes.

“One does not enter an extraordinary profession for ordinary reasons. The women who choose to enter this League do so for reasons that are very person and very powerful. I know that because it is my job to find out what those reasons are. To break past their facade and bring out what is real inside them. More often than not, the reason they are here is because they are running away from something.”

Gillianna shifts uncomfortably in her chair. Lennyn doesn’t seem to notice.

“Some of these women have experienced things in their life so traumatic that they can no longer function in regular society. They’ve gone through hardships that have changed them to the point where they don’t feel like they know who they are anymore. Acting as though everything in their life is normal and is okay is not an option for them. Every day is a battle in their minds. Those are the girls who need this League. When they step into the Dome, they’re not fighting their opponents; they’re fighting themselves. They’re fighting their own pasts. They fight everything that they’re afraid of in their mind...and they lose. They lose over and over and over again, but they keep going and going in complete denial of what they’re really fighting for until finally...it happens.”

With a look of concern on her face, Gillianna quietly prods, “What happens?”

Lennyn frowns, looking off to the side in thought. “They let it in.” Lennyn takes a long sip of her drink, then takes a deep breath in and out. “They open their eyes to reality and for once, instead of fighting away the bad feelings and repressing the bad memories and denying their mistakes, they stop and let themselves feel all of it at once. Being completely honest with yourself about your weaknesses and your faults is...painful. So painful that many people will do just about anything to get out of facing them. Reaching that point where you are completely raw and exposed and open and real...feeling all of those feelings is what makes the wolves, as you say, howl to the moon.”

Gillianna takes a moment to quietly reflects on Lennyn’s words. Gillianna sets her glass down on the coaster on the table next to her chair and leans forward.

“Lennyn, I need your help. I will save you the time of investigating me to figure out why I am here. I am not like the wolves you described. I am not running away. I am here with a purpose that I believe falls in line with your own.”

Lennyn’s brow raises with polite curiosity. Gillianna continues.

“From what I have gathered from my viewing and researching of the current state of the League, you and Ms. Whitney do not get along. I have heard rumors that you reason for this is because Whitney belongs to your pack but has betrayed Bruntain by affiliating with the leader of Artemius. But, honestly, I do not think that is the true reason at all. I think you do not get along with her because you are frustrated at how ordinary she is.”

Gillianna pauses to gauge Lennyn’s reaction, but her expression remains stony as ever.

“I think you do not like Whitney because you know she is holding back. Because you know that she is special. You know this and Shy knows this which is why Shy has chosen Whitney as her protege. Shy, after all, is the one who accidentally revealed Whitney’s hidden talent by putting her out of commission on her Whitney’s first fight night?

“Oh, yes,” Lennyn says sarcastically. “Her special talent of failing immediately.”

“Her talent,” Gillianna goes on, “is that she came back. She received the same devastating beating that Shy had given to a dozen other girls who all went down and did not get back up, but Whitney did.”

“Are you forgetting Fawn and Carrigan?” Lennyn says with an air of disinterest as she takes another drink.

“Fawn was Shy’s first. She said the wrong thing at the wrong time, but Shy was barely getting started. That girl is so fragile, she’s lucky she was taken out so early on.”

Lennyn nods as though she agrees.

“And Carrigan...well, let’s just say she is not exactly a poster child for the recovery process, in body or in mind. Do not dismiss what I am saying, Lennyn. You know that Whitney is special. Her endurance is higher than any other woman here. The problem is that she does not show it. And she does not show her talent because she does not want to win.”

Lennyn looks up at that last statement. Gillianna suspects Lennyn has developed a similar theory of Whitney on her own.

“Why would she not want to win?”

“Ah ha,” GIllianna says triumphantly. “That is exactly the question, isn’t it. The question that ties you and me together. Why is she here if she does not want to win? What is she getting out of this? Does she want to lose because she wants to punish herself? Inflict herself with pain and with torture that this League can provide? You said before that it is your job to find out the why of all your fighters, but you cannot figure her out, can you?”

Lennyn doesn’t respond, but Gillianna can now see a disgruntled mood under her surface of indifference.

“If you could figure her out, you could break her. She could become one of your wolves. Raw, open, not afraid to use every ounce of strength she has because she will not be afraid of herself anymore. But you cannot break her because you do not know why she is here and what she is running from.”

Gillianna stops her speech and leans back in her chair to allow Lennyn a moment to absorb her meaning.

“Gillianna,” Lennyn says behind scrutinizing eyes, “do you know what Whitney is running from?”

Gillianna smiles. She’s quick.

“Lennyn, I want you to be my trainer.”

Lennyn’s face does not change, but somehow her eyes become instantly colder. Gillianna tries to emulate Lennyn’s poker face as she waits for Lennyn to respond. She can feel Lennyn’s sharp stare as it attempts to penetrate her thoughts.

“What is Whitney running from?” she asks more directly, pushing aside Gillianna’s request.

Gillianna knows what Lennyn is doing. Gillianna is not the first person to ask for Lennyn’s help, but Lennyn’s, with her fierce independence and personal desire to remain at a distance from all other women in the League, never so much as requested an assistant let alone a protege to whom she would divulge her vast stores of expertise and knowledge. Gillianna knows that the only way Lennyn would agree to such a bond would be if her protege could offer her something in return that no one else could. With relish, Gillianna answers Lennyn in her most practiced silky, italian inflected timbre.

“Whitney is running from me.”


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