This is the longest chapter have ever written, typing this was like announcing war on my fingertips. I'm sorry for the lateness but schools on again and hat is going to be my excuse for the foreseeable future.
~I'd like to thank all my readers, and reviewers, I love you all X3
Well, enjoy my longest chapter yet!
Shiloh woke suddenly, slumped over the cold tomb, her face pressed against the engraved stone. Stretching, she brought her hands to her face, feeling the imprints the stone had left against her cheek. She winced as she touched the bruise beside her eye, a fading reminder of the week before.
Getting stiffly to her feet, she looked once more at her parents' graves, before lugging open the heavy door and stepping out. To her surprise, it was night. Not that it made much of a difference; the days were a permanent twilight anyway. Pulling her coat collar up around her face, she walked quietly from the cemetery, dodging behind headstones whenever she saw a guard approaching.
It didn't matter if she was here legally or not, after dark they were allowed to shoot on sight. There had been some close calls.
She jogged through the darkening streets and arrived, hot and out of breath at her address. The usual gaggle of scalpel sluts were gathered around her building's door, hiding from the cold and the cops.
They were there so often Shiloh had come to know them, well, in a way. Li used to be part of the crowd. The rest weren't half as nice. They catcalled as she approached.
"Look out girl, the boogieman's chasin' y'all!" Jordan, a tall, ebony girl in white fishnet called out to her.
"It's a little after your bedtime, don't'cha think?" sniggered Camille, a girl who couldn't have been more than a year older than Shiloh herself. They sneered as she approached, but Shiloh ignored them, pushing through her scantily-clad body blockade, to get to the door. But Harley leaned against it, preventing her from getting to the lock.
She looked Shiloh up and down, pushing back a strand of her bright-red hair as she did so. Shiloh felt nervous under her gaze. It was well known that Harley ruled the roost around here, with a temper as fiery as her hair. Dressed in chain-draped leather, she was not a force to be reckoned with. She smiled a mocking smile at Shiloh.
"So, uh, Shiloh...when did you join the ranks of our noble vocation?" she asked slyly, drawing titters from the rest of the crowd. She spoke well, like someone with a wealthy upbringing. Shiloh was completely lost. They had never accused her of being a hooker before. She supposed, once you are one, the insult became void.
"What are you talking about?" she asked, trying not to snap. Harley had a couple of spiked rings on that looked like they would hurt. Camille joined in, rolling electric blue, kohl edged eyes at her.
"Look, don't play around, you're just trying to hide it," She nudged Harley, who smirked, " making the John's come to you, that one we haven't heard before, huh, Harls?"
Shiloh looked between then, bewildered, and shook your head.
"I don't know what you're talking about, i-it must be someone else," she said, cursing inwardly at her stutter. But the girls ignored her, and carried on regardless.
"I don't know how you managed to build up such clientele, I would've heard if there was someone new on the block, " Harley was musing," but you must've been working hard, 'cause if I had two men who looked like that hanging around my front door, I'd dump all my regular Joes in a snap."
"Looked like they tipped well, too," added Camille, grinning.
Shiloh was still completely thrown, but a line in Harley's ramble had stood out for her.
"O-outside my door? How do you know where my room is?" her voice was slightly higher than usual, her stutter becoming prominent as she grew more and more nervous.
The two looked at her as though it was obvious, and for the first time, Jordan spoke up, laying a hand on the shoulder of a younger, petite girl next to her.
"Our Angel here has that nasty landlord as a manager," her lip curled in disgust and she added, "He likes the 'younger' type." Angel drew her feather boa tighter around herself and sighed.
"He sent your eviction notice one day, y'know, after... he had to say your room number and all... " she mumbled, trailing off. She was the quietest so far out of all of them, and even younger than Shiloh. She had long blonde hair, and would've been pretty, if not for the needle marks and scabs along her arms and legs.
Shiloh wanted to ask how they knew the men were there, but didn't want to seem so stupid, falling for this trick anymore. Harley had finally moved away from the door, and Shiloh jumped at the chance, turning the key and slipping in the door before anyone else could try to talk to her.
It was a sick joke they were pulling, she was sure. They were just trying to freak out the goody-two-shoes who thought she was so much better than them. Right? Well, there was only one way to find out, she supposed.
She pressed her ear to the thin door, waiting to hear the laughter, but it never came. They were talking, using the most common subject in the city, rich and poor, old and young alike. Surgery payments and repo men.
Harley and Camille must've been leaning against the door, for Shiloh could hear them loud and clear. Harley sounded concerned, something Shiloh was slightly surprised about.
"Look, Cam, you can't keep ignoring it; it's been over sixty days now." There was a snort of laughter from Camille.
"Harley, I'm fine, just because I'm not miss-pay-within-the-ninety-day-limit, doesn't mean I won't get it done. I've don't it before, once I pay, they forget about it, they never find me. It's just a matter of staying away from 'til I do. "
"It's not that easy, Sharpshooter's getting better. I mean, look at poor Li, and..." she lowered her voice to a whisper, and Shiloh had to stain to hear, "They're saying the surgeon is back!"
A silence followed these words, and went on for so long that Shiloh couldn't tell if they had moved away or not. Just as a cramp was building in her neck, there was a sigh. The news had shaken Camille; her voice was quieter, faltering.
"No... th-that's impossible," she gave a nervous giggle."No, no, I'll be fine... I'll be...fine."
Harley started to say something, but Shiloh pulled away, head spinning. Rubbing the crick in her neck, Shiloh pondered on Camille's reaction. The surgeon... the name sounded familiar.
The repo men had names didn't they? There was the Butcher, she was sure that was his name. He was very messy and most noticeable of them all, with a blood-spattered, once white apron worn with his uniform. And Wolf, who used dogs that sometimes that got to the victim first. She couldn't remember any others apart from Sharpshooter, the top dog since Surgeon had...
Shiloh stalled climbing the stairs, clutching the banister. The Surgeon, her father's repo man alter-ego, that's who they'd said was back? She leaned against the wall, ignoring the ominous creaking of the stairs, and took a deep breath. No, that couldn't be it...
Her father was dead, she had been at his grave today for Christ's sake! No, it had to be some scam cooked up by GENECO, to scare people into paying up. She shook her head, continuing on her journey; soon enough, his image would be used as the boogie-man if they could get away with it.
Wrapped in her thoughts, Shiloh walked on auto-pilot down her dark, musty hallway. Not looking where she was going, she tripped over something in the gloom, almost falling full-length on the stained carpet. Cursing, she felt around in the dark until her fingers closed around the item she tripped on. Holding it close to her face, she saw it was a jagged piece of wood, thin, but made heavy brass number fifteen nailed to it. Number fifteen was her apartment number. So what...? Clambering to her feet, Shiloh trotted down the hall, and was met with a horrible sight.
Her door was smashed in, bits of wood littering the corridor. The mess inside was visible to the world, and Shiloh stepped over the threshold in a daze, taking it in. Broken glass and pottery lay strewn across the floor, and her wardrobe had been pulled apart, clothes thrown carelessly on the ground. Her mattress was pulled off its boxspring, the stuffing protruding from the slashes ripped along it. Even the bare, overheard light bulb had been smashed.
Stepping through the rubble, Shiloh stood in the centre of the room, at a loss of where to start and what to do. Picking up her one good dress that lay, crumpled on the floor, she shook the glass from it, and sighed.
As she was contemplating the ruins of her dress, there was a movement behind her. The only other door in the flat, the one that led to the bathroom, was beginning to open. She reacted on instinct, scrambling to the window, and heaving at the latch. The frame was stiff, painted shut, and the door was almost fully open by the time she had opened it enough to squeeze though. Adeline was pumping through her veins as she collapsed onto the fire exit just below the sill and lay there, panting.
Two men were standing in the centre of her room, one holding a drawer that she recognised from her bathroom dresser. Shiloh knew who they were instantly. Tall, muscular, with identical shades, military-style haircuts, and leather jackets. They were Ambers bodyguards.
The one who was holding the drawer examined the contents, then dismissively emptied it and dropped it on the floor. Shiloh watched, listening to blood pound in her ears, trying not to make a sound. They were now tapping the walls and looking behind the few pictures that were hanging lopsidedly on the walls.
Sooner or later they were going to realize the window was open when it shouldn't have been, and so Shiloh began to slowly make her way to rickety, iron staircase, crawling beneath the windowsill.
The fire escape was old and unused, weak and corroding in places. Shiloh hesitantly tested the first step, and it seemed solid. But when she put her full weight onto it, the staircase let out a hair-raising groan that instantly caused the men inside to rush to the window.
For a moment, Shiloh was like a deer in the headlights, staring at the men as they gaped at her. Then, throwing caution to the winds, she raced down the stairs, feeling it creak and groan under her feet. A shudder ran through the flight of stairs as the men forced open the window and jumped onto them.
Rust-coated banisters tore her hands, chips flaking off as her fingers skimmed along them. She could barely keep up with her feet and as she stepped from rusting iron to slimy cement, she skidded into the nearest wall, grazing her hands on the rough brick.
Gasping with pain, she pushed of the wall and sped off down the gap between the buildings, bursting onto the street with Ambers bodyguards hot on her heels. She ran past her building's entrance, not even giving a second glance to the whores. They watched, speechless as she raced past.
Shiloh took turns randomly, but the men were still hot on her trail. As she turned a corner, her feet slipped from under her and her hip cracked painfully on the pavement. At the same time there was the unmistakable sound of a gunshot and the dustbin that was beside her erupted, in a shower of filth.
Crap, she thought as she stood up painfully, ignoring the pain shooting down her leg. She weaved this way and that as she ran; feeling like a fool. But it gave her an idea. She knew where to go.
Cutting left, Shiloh ploughed through a group of ragged people, who scrambled away, their yells following her down the street. She ran into someone who wasn't fast enough getting out of the way and sprawled, full-length, on the ground. She skinned her palms further and slammed her chin off the ground in her fall.
Shiloh could her pursuers' footsteps and guttural yells getting closer. Forcing herself onto her feet, she kept running. Her palms were now bleeding freely and she could taste metal in her mouth. There was a stitch in her side that was growing worse by the minute.
But her destination was almost in sight and she grinned, despite the pain. She chanced a glance over her shoulder, but they were still following. Up ahead she could see the graveyards gates, and beyond them, they searchlights.
Crashing into the tall gates she wrenched, desperately at the rigid bolt. It grated across and Shiloh pulled it open, the rusted hinges forming an ear-splitting shriek.
She didn't bother to close the gate; the men were barely a foot from her when she dashed through. Her boots crunched on the gravel and she slowed to a jog, hearing the men do the same behind her. They knew the rules as well as she did, and couldn't afford to be caught. She crouched behind a gravestone as a searchlight rolled past, and her followers paused too. A troop of gaurds marched past, and she pressed herself into the shadow the stone cast, holding her breath.
She could heard her blood pounding in her ears, and the stitch in her chest seemed to spike right through her heart, which was beating a tattoo against her ribs. When she took in a breath, it burned her throat.
The sound of boots on gravel made her start, and she moved deeper into the cemetery, crouching until gravel turned to grass, and she crawled, her knees sore and tender. Suddenly, the ground went from under her, and the world tilted.
Shiloh's right knee had sank into an open grave, and the lower part of her body had followed, pulled by its own momentum. She dug her nails into the grass as her feet tried to find footholds. But the earth was damp and rich, crumbling beneath her boots.
Her arms were aching and she could see the silhouettes of the men weaving between the gravestones. She had never been more terrified in her life.
Right up until someone grabbed her waist. Strong hands gripped her hips and pulled her down, reaching up to covering her mouth before she could draw a breath, let alone scream. Her arms were pinned behind her back, leaving her mouth free, but she wouldn't dare scream. Ambers bodyguards had stopped right in front of the grave, and her attacker pulled her into the shadows, hiding them both from view.
They didn't give the grave more than a second glance before moving on. Once they were out of sight Shiloh began to struggle, finally succeeding in twisting around to face her kidnapper, as it were. What she saw made all desire of fighting leave her mind. A few inches from her face, the repo mans eyes stared into her own.
It was the surgeon, but the eyes behind the illuminated goggles weren't the sad brown eyes of her father. No these eyes, although at the moment filled with annoyance and possible concern, were a dark, hypnotising green. She had a feeling she had seen them somewhere before, but couldn't place it.
His gloved fingers were still digging into her upper arms, and Shiloh realised that he was the only thing holding her up. She tried to find her footing in the awkward space between the coffin and damp earth. Once she had, he let go and she fell against the wall and looked over at him knowing that she had no choice but to ask, to find weather he was really a repo or not.
"Help me," she mouthed.
He simply stared at her, and her heart sank. She sighed heavily and the repo man put a heavily gloved finger to the pace where his lips should be. Shiloh looked at him, surprised. He then pointed at her, and at the ground, as if to say "stay".
Before Shiloh could even process what he meant, he had clambered up the grave wall and disappeared into the night. She sank down against the damp earth wall, her legs bending awkwardly to fit beside the coffin. Her limbs were beginning to shake as the adrenaline drained from her body, to be replaced with cold fear.
She could barely stand, let alone climb the sheer grave walls. As she shifted on the cold ground, trying to find some space where she could feel at least a little comfortable, her hand slipped over the edge of the coffin something pricked her finger.
Stifling a yelp, Shiloh squinted through the gloom, reaching reluctantly into the coffin for the sharp object. Where she expected to meet the corpse's rotting legs she felt instead rough cloth, and metal.
Frowning, Shiloh pulled from the depths of the coffin a heavy, fold out bag that looked horribly familiar. It was like a wash bag, but lined with vials and two heavy needles strapped to the end. Pulling one of the vials from its pocket, she let out a low gasp as an eerie blue glow lit up the grave.
She could remember his first words to her. It was his job, to steal and rob. Her heart pounded as she realised who had been behind the mask. She gazed down at the corpse, whose mummified features had been thrown into sharp relief. It was his job, to rob-
"GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAVESSSS!" the cry split the night, and all at once the graveyard was flooded with light, sirens, and gunfire. She could hear commands being issued, and the thump of many boots running in one direction. She shrank into the shadows as they passed, and stayed, frozen in a ball until the sirens had died down, but her mind was spinning.
She didn't know what to think, so she didn't, she just stared at the small, glowing vial in her palm like she had done so many nights before. She didn't want to think what that gunfire had meant, had he gotten away, would he come back? Or would she become another corpse in this graveyard?
It had been hours since the sirens had sounded for graverobber, and so when Shiloh heard footsteps approaching, she hadn't thought of scouts, or how suspicious blue light emitting from a grave would look. She delayed in putting the vial away, and instead of seeing the masked face of the repo man, she saw instead a different mask looking down at her. It was a guard, pointing a gun at her face. As he pulled the trigger, she threw up her hands. The gun made a small -fwip- as it fired and Shiloh felt something sharp, painful and cold pierce her forearm.
It didn't feel like she thought a bullet should, and she tensed, prepared for an onslaught of pain. But it never came. Suddenly, there was a heavy thump and the head of the guard was lying across her lap.
Silhouetted against the lightening night sky, was the repo man. But he seemed blurred to Shiloh, and as he jumped into the grave, he left a what looked like a trail of after-images after him. Approaching her, he held up her arm by the right wrist and she saw a small needle hanging from the flesh.
Clumsily, Shiloh gripped the syringe and pulled it out, but didn't feel any pain. Even her hand seemed blurry, and she waved it in front of her face, before pushing back her hair. Her eyelids are growing heavy, and she looked sleepily up at the repo man, at the eyes behind the mask.
He was looking at her strangely, his head tilted to one side. Shiloh could only see colours now, but she vaguely recognised the shape of the mask being lifted and a mass of long colourful hair framing a pale, featureless face.
As darkness closed around her, he last thing Shiloh heard was, in a voice that was almost familiar,
Umm...iffy ending I know, but I'll start the next chapter right now!
It'll be up within the next um...month, I hope.