A new story to share. E/B- all human. I own nothing, I have only borrowed. Updates Wednesday and Sunday. All written. 23 chapters. Thank you for checking it out.
The night was dark, the air cold. The sky was heavy, and I knew there would be more snow coming soon. I was cautious as I approached the empty street and slipped through the small hole in the broken fence. Carefully, I made my way to the small warehouse, trying to remember the path I had taken earlier when I had discovered this place.
I crawled in a broken window and gingerly made my way through the dark building with only a little light from the street coming in the dirt-streaked windows. I found my way back to what I was sure was an old staff room—some empty tables and flipped over chairs were still scattered around. The corner had boxes piled up and I moved them, until I had a layer on the floor to sleep on, and a cover all around me so I couldn't be seen.
God knew I might not be the only person who discovered the hole in the fence.
But for now, I was alone, warmer than I had been the past three nights, and slightly comfortable. Wrapping my arms around my torso, I tucked my thin backpack under my head and lay on the cardboard, listening to the strange sounds around the warehouse. Rustles and creaks echoed in the building; outside the far off sound of cars and people drifted in the windows that were broken and empty. I knew what the scurrying feet meant, but mice and rats were the least of my worries these days. If I made enough noise it would scare them away. I slept so lightly now, if one came close, I would know.
I shut my eyes, willing myself to relax. I had barely slept for three days. That was the last time I had been able to get a bed in a shelter. My last shower—my last hot meal. And although you never got a great night sleep in a shelter, it was better than walking around the city all night, looking for a place to warm up for a few minutes.
I sighed sadly, fighting the sudden tears. I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through the winter. Swiping a hand across my cheeks, I shook my head. There was no point crying. Nothing was going to change.
This was my life now.
I slept harder than I thought was possible anymore, startling only when an unexpected noise and deep, angry voices woke me up. Bright lights shone through the slits of the cardboard around me and I sat up, panicked, looking around wildly. It took me a few seconds to remember where I was and why I was there. I peeked around the edge of my little cave, my eyes widening at the sight before me.
A man was slumped over in a chair, his face beaten. His blond hair was disheveled, his jacket torn, and there was blood on his sleeve. Two men were standing, rigid and straight, hands clasped behind their backs. But it was the man pacing that really caught my attention. Tall, broad shoulders; his dark shirt wrinkled under his black leather coat, which gleamed under the lights as he paced and cursed, screaming at the man in the chair in a language I didn't understand. His hair was wild—a chaotic mess of bronze and red. His hands moved constantly, and in one of them was a gun.
I covered my mouth, stifling the small gasp when I saw the gun. Gunman stopped, and my heart clenched, thinking he had heard my gasp. But then he carried on, screaming and waving the gun. He made two circuits of the room, shouting questions. Twice, he passed right by my corner, and I held my breath, but his footsteps never faltered. The man in the chair said nothing, sitting slumped and silent.
I watched, terrified as he stopped a few feet away from blond guy. "You gonna tell me what I want to know?" He asked in English, his voice now deadly calm and somehow even more frightening.
A gun shot rang out and the blond guy jerked, a shout of pain echoing in the room. His left leg began bleeding and he slumped farther into his chair.
Gunman chuckled, the evil sound making the hairs on the back of my neck crawl. He tucked the gun into the small of his back and leaned down close to blond guy's face, speaking quietly. Blond guy shook his head rapidly, and Gunman pressed down on his leg where the bullet was. I could see his hand squeezing and gripping. Blond guy screamed, his head falling back.
"Tell me!" Gunman demanded.
Shaking his head, Gunman stood up. Reaching behind him, he pulled out his gun again, and pointed it at Blond guy.
"Go to hell."
Gunman smirked. "You first."
Two gunshots rang out, hitting Blond guy in the chest. He jerked once, his body spasming and arching and then he sagged to the right, the weight of him toppling over the chair. Silence filled the room, none of the men moving. I covered my mouth with both hands, trying to stop the screams that were threatening. I was freezing cold—long shivers running through my body at the shock of what I had just witnessed. Silent tears ran down my cheeks as I bit my knuckles; trying not to make any sounds.
Gunman shoved his gun behind him again and palmed his cellphone. He spoke two words, "It's done," then pushed his phone back in his pocket.
"You want him moved, boss?"
Gunman hunched down, staring at the dead man. "Yeah, C. I want him put someplace visible. Send a message." Standing up, he nudged his foot against the leg of the body. "You don't fucking mess with Aro—or me."
The other man spoke up, his voice thick and gravely. "I'll get the car."
I buried my face into my knees, desperately wishing I had never found that hole in the fence. I needed them to leave. Then I could run. Run far away and scream. Footsteps faded away and I could hear the two remaining men speaking in low tones.
Gunman cleared his throat. "Come out."
My body locked down. Who was he talking to?
"I said, come out of there. Now."
I didn't move. I couldn't move. Blind fear kept me immobile.
Footsteps approached, and before I could blink, a large hand wrapped around my bicep and I was pulled out of my little dark corner, and tossed into the center of the room.
Cold metal pressed hard against my forehead. "And what have we here?"
Shaking, I opened my eyes and met the gaze of the man about to kill me. Angry, vivid, bright green met scared, wide brown. His eyebrows lifted in shock at my appearance. "Who the fuck are you?"
For some reason that angered me.
I wiped my wet cheeks. "Didn't anyone ever tell you it was rude to swear at strangers?" I huffed. "Don't you have any manners?"
He blinked at me, the barrel of the gun pressing harder.
"Who. Are. You."
"Bella. My name is Bella."
"What are you doing here, Bella?"
"I was cold. There was a hole in the fence. It seemed a good place to try and get some sleep." An unexpected hysterical snort erupted from my throat. "Guess not."
"Bad decision," he said softly.
"No shit," I replied, leaning back a little, trying to escape the gun. "Do you mind? That thing is cold and it hurts when you press it in my head so hard."
He frowned as he stared at me, glancing up at the other man, then back at me. But he didn't press the gun back. "What are you doing in my warehouse?"
"Oh, sorry"—I rolled my eyes—"I didn't know it was your warehouse. I was only looking for a place to sleep out of the cold."
He continued to stare, and I shrugged self-consciously. "The shelters were full," I added, wiping my nose on my sleeve.
"Nice," he indicated my arm.
"Sorry, I don't carry handkerchiefs, jerkoff. Got a spare?"
"Didn't think so."
I snickered, using my other sleeve. "Why don't you call the cops then? Turn me in?"
A ghost of a smile curled his lips. "You've got a smart mouth on you. That can get you into all sorts of trouble."
"Old news, mister."
His partner, or whatever he was, barked a laugh and said something in the foreign language. Gunman bared his teeth in a smile that only increased my fear. He wiped his chin as he stared at me, the gun glinting off the light. It made me nervous.
"Watch where you aim that thing."
Suddenly the gun was pressed to my head again. "Show some respect, little girl."
I couldn't help the snort. "You want me to respect you? You just shot some guy and now you're going to kill me. You want me to respect you for that?" I giggled—the sound hysterical even to my own ears."Good luck with that, fucker."
He growled and cursed at me. "I don't kill women or children. I'm not sure which category you fall into, but right now, I'm thinking of making an exception."
I shivered and buried my head back into my knees, deciding I really didn't want to be looking when he pulled the trigger. "Just fucking do it then and get it over with," I mumbled.
His voice was close. "Are you that anxious to die, little mouse?"
My head snapped up, and I was shocked to find him hunched in front of me, his face inches from mine. "It's not much of a life, anyway," I whispered, feeling the tears overflow again. "Just make it fast so I don't feel it too long, please?"
His eyes changed. They went from angry and cold, widening as they stared, a small glimmer of sadness showing through. Then he blinked and the coldness was back. Abruptly he stood, grabbing my arm and pulling me up. "We're taking her to the house, C."
"Not a good idea."
"I didn't fucking ask your opinion. It's happening."
"She's a complication."
Gunman pushed me toward C. "No shit. She's a fucking unexpected complication. But I'll deal with it the way I see fit."
I started to struggle, pleading with both of them. "No. Please. Leave me. I won't say anything."
They both laughed.
"She's got a mouth on her."
Gunman chuckled. "I have plans for it."
Terror filled me and I struggled harder; tears now steaming down my face, the air leaving my mouth in loud, panicked gasps. "No! Please!"
Gunman stepped closer. His hands pressed against my cheeks, holding my face tight. "Calm down." He leaned closer, so close I felt his breath across my face. "You're coming with us." His voice dropped, so low I could barely hear him. "You'll be safe, I promise." He looked up at C. "Do it."
I felt hands on my neck, and then the world went black.
Thank you for reading. Many thanks to my prereaders, to Michelle for her help and MidNight.
Update on Sunday.