Warning: contains scenes of a violent nature, and death.
Riddick sniffed the air. Something felt wrong. He laced his boots, slowly, carefully and stood. Stepping back into the dark depths of his cell, he pressed his back against the cold stone wall. Watching and waiting.
A thin beam of light approached his cell and came to an abrupt halt in front of it. The light swung around the small room until it found his face. His goggled bounced back the light and protected his shined eyes.
"Step up to the bars, convict," the disembodied voice came from behind the torch. There was no scent of cinnamon-orange tonight. "Just doing the checks," the voice said, as Riddick stepped up to the door of his cell. The guard couldn't see Riddick's mind spin into overdrive behind the stone-cold façade. "You got me tonight as the whore got herself worked over by her merc husband."
The dumb fuck volunteered the information without being asked.
In those seconds, Riddick had assessed the situation. Someone – other than himself – had touched his 'fuck'.
Riddick had the guard with his back pressed into the bars in the blink of an eye, shiv blade held lengthways against his throat. "You have one chance to tell me where she is. You got that?" he growled.
The guard nodded. He'd fucked up. He knew it. "She…she…hospital…local…" any other words were lost as the blade of the shiv stroked his skin, leaving a crimson line. The guard pissed himself.
The guard's throat opened up with a wet sucking sound and he slumped to the ground. Arterial spurts of blood ejected into the darkness.
The smell filled Riddick's nostrils as he unlocked the door withy the keys he'd lifted from the dead man's belt just before he let go of his lifeless corpse.
Crouching low, he made his way along the corridor of the solitary cell row. Each small cell ran off a main room and, as he peered through the inner main door, he saw five other guards playing poker around a table in the middle of the room.
The sanctum was illuminated by one single bright overhead light. Riddick needed total darkness to get out. He pushed his goggles over his scalp and looked over the stone walls until he found what he was looking for. The power cable was severed with one quick flick of his knife-enhanced hand. The main room dropped into total darkness and Riddick's vision was faultless.
It was easy to ghost the guards in the pitch black – they had no idea where he was or where he was coming at them from. He left a stinking pile of dead flesh behind him and made his way to the main part of the whole slam.
He'd had his escape planned for months, waiting for the opportune moment. The only thing that had kept him there was the free pussy for two weeks, every two weeks, when the shift change went in his favor. What kid of 22 was going to turn down what's offered to him on a plate?
He continued making his way to the ventilation shaft and slipped unseen into it, just as holy hell broke out. Sirens blared, the lock-downs slammed into place, and screams and shouts echoed through the corridors.
Crawling panther-like through the filthy shaft, Riddick headed towards the outer shell of the slam. There he would be more than exposed. He would be out in the open. A running target.
Getting out of the slam was going to be a fucker but not completely impossible. Being able to fly just about any skiff known had always been a plus…and that's where he was ultimately heading – the hangar. If he had to ghost a few more assholes along the way, fine. He was just upping his score level anyway.
He crawled out of the ventilation shaft and into the hangar space. He took a quick reccie around, spotted three guards and he ghosted two of the fuckers before they even saw him. Now he had a gun as well as a shiv. The third guard caught him by surprise and seemed a hell of a lot stronger than he appeared – putting up one hell of a fight. But as usual, Riddick's gung-ho attitude to fighting won out and the guard lay dead in an ever-increasing pool of blood.
Scanning the air-space, he spotted what he needed – a small skiff, enough for him to get to the civilian quarters of this fuck-shit planet he was on.
As he fired up the skiff, an army of guards appeared and began firing at him with an arsenal of assorted guns. Riddick took off like a bat out of hell and hit the midnight sky, hopefully taking a few of them out with the flames spitting out of the exhaust.
He plotted the trajectory into the onboard computer. It estimated one hour and twelve minutes until he got there – the civilian hospital. Plenty of time to think.
Like the hell did he want to save the bitch? She was a good fuck – nothing more. He didn't actually feel anything for her…did he feel responsible for her? Yeah, in the same way it was his fault he was born and tossed into a liquor store trash can with the his cord still wrapped around his friggin' neck.
Nah. It was more likely because someone had touched what he considered his 'property. Touched what he had claimed as his own.
He flipped his goggles back up onto his shaven scalp, feeling the roughness as he did. Sitting back in the pilot's seat, he stared out into the night sky as he headed towards his destination. He didn't have much to his name, but what he did have, he intended to keep.
The skiff's computer told him he was approaching the chosen destination. The map he brought up showed him the location of the hospital (nice flat roof for landing) – there was only one civilian hospital on the slam planet so it wasn't hard to locate.
Before landing, he pulled up a map of the interior and typed in 'A. Johns'. The computer spat a location out at him.
He landed the skiff on the most appropriate part of the roof, exited the small craft and made his way down through one of the roof doors and into the dimly lit corridor. The thought of a disguise crossed his mind, but even in a lab coat, his eye shine would give him away – or his goggles would.
He darted down the maze of corridors, slinked down passageways, and dipped in and out of various recesses as he searched out room 3869. Once he found it, he opened the door a chink and quickly assessed the room's interior with military precision.
She was on a bed beneath the window. Single occupancy room. Good odds.
Her arm was in a cast in a sling against her chest, her eye blackened and her lip cut and swollen. He didn't doubt that under the hospital gown, there was more of the same. His anger flared. It was one thing to give a woman bruises from a vigorous fucking, but another thing entirely to give them bruises from a fucking vigorous beating.
Riddick stole into the room and the closer he got, he could see she was sleeping. The REM told him she was dreaming, and the smugness in him wondered if she was dreaming about him. He stood by the bed watching her. She wasn't beautiful – or even pretty for that matter – but she was very interesting.
He reached out and touched her good arm, gently easing up the sleeve to expose her bruised skin. A fire burned in the pit of his belly that soon sent flames coursing through his entire body.
Easing the covers from her still sleeping body, he raised her gown. She stirred as the rush of cool air assaulted her bare skin and her bruised flesh contracted with goose bumps. A hand grabbed his wrist. Riddick looked down at her, her eyes wide open, watching him curiously.
"What are you doing here?" she managed to croak out, her throat sore and stiff where he'd tried to strangle her. She was confused. Riddick had never professed to a liking of her, and yet, was he here to rescue her?
"Heard someone fucked you over. Came to see for myself," his manner as always, was sharp and cold, clinical even.
"He found out…my husband…he waited for me…didn't go to bed like usual. Saw the blood…said I stunk of sex…" she reached for the water beside her bed and struggled.
Riddick watched her struggle.
She took a few sips of the tepid water, her haunted eyes never left his as she studied his silhouetted form against the window.
"Ahhh," was all he said in reply. He was the cause of her beating; he'd already figured that one out. Guilt? Riddick and guilt didn't go together. He laughed out loud and she gave him a quizzical look. "Ok, we have to get you out of here, away from him."
"You came for me? You escaped the slam and came for me?"
Riddick was sickened by the hopeful look in her eyes.
"For now, yes." He didn't add that he would do practically anything to get back at Johns, even stealing his woman wasn't above Riddick's reckoning.
He searched the locker beside the bed for suitable clothing, found some bloodied jeans and sweatshirt – they would have to do. The stale scent of her blood entered his sensitive nose, nostrils flaring, and his body came alive for her. Yeah, he was wired wrong.
Riddick pulled her from the hospital bed and sat her on the edge. Untying the gown, he pushed it away from her broken body. The extent of her injuries was sickening, even to Riddick. Even he never used a woman as a punch bag.
Her eyes flickered as she watched him dress her, emotionless as if she were a shop dummy. He reached under the bed for her sneakers and laced them onto her feet.
And then he finally looked at her. 'Time to go," he told her as he stood. Calmly. Quietly.
She grabbed his wrist yet again. "Riddick, before we go…kiss me. Just once. I want to know what those lips taste like. I want to feel your tongue in my mouth…"
Riddick cut her off with a sharp shake of his head. He liked the bitch, but that was all. Kissing? No way. That showed you cared, and he didn't want to give her the wrong idea. Kissing was for the one you loved forever, and he had yet to find her, if he ever found her.
"No," he told her quietly. "Never gonna happen. Get a move on." He could see the look of disappointment and hurt on her face.
Surely once wouldn't…no, he wasn't going there. He'd get her away safe and then forget all about her.
He had to half carry her up to the roof. Her legs were still weak. She weighed practically nothing in his arms. She felt warm and her scent continued to invade his nose, setting his senses alight. Maybe…
"Put her down, asshole."
The voice came from the bottom of the roof stairs, and straight away Riddick recognized the harsh tones of Johns voice.
"Don't think that's a very good idea." Riddick set her down on the floor behind him and kept her hidden with his body.
"Well, you see, she's my bitch and I get to say what happens with her."
"Only a fucking coward would do this to a woman," Riddick spat.
"I'm no coward." The words Johns growled were punctuated by each step he took towards the open door to the roof. "Now give me what's mine and I promise I'll kill you quickly."
"Riddick…" the soft voice behind him quivered. "I don't want you to die…" And before he could stop her, she had stepped from behind him and taken a step towards Johns.
"Angel…" Johns sneered as he fired one shot.
Angel lurched forwards, landing in Riddick's arms. Riddick grabbed the gun from the small of his back where he'd stashed it and fired back at Johns, hitting his knee.
Johns fell backwards through the open door and Riddick heard the crash as he rolled down the inner stairs.
Dropping to his knees, Angel clutched tightly in his arm, he saw the shock register on her face. "R …Riddick…I…"
She lurched forwards again and the smell of sulpher mixed with the thick coppery tang of her blood was so strong he could taste it in the back of his mouth.
Her eyes searched his; two tears ran from the corners of her eyes. "Thank you," she whispered.
Riddick felt her lifeless body slump in his arms. He bent his head and kissed her lips softly. If anyone had cared, they would have noticed the faint flicker of emotion cross those stone-cold shined eyes of his.
And so the battle between Riddick and Johns began.