Tyr’s Chronicles – In the Devil’s Town
When she was young and old
She’d finally made it, the dirty city. It just so happened there were dirtier and some of the worst weren’t always the dirtiest, but this was not something she’d learn till later on in her years. Yes, but the dirty city, where all you could find was trash, but they did say ‘One man’s trash is another man’s treasure’ a lot. Mind you sayings were never very solid grounds for reason. Being trash as it were, this really was the only place in her mind that she felt she might belong in. After all she’d done… all that’d been seen and said. It was just as dirty as Daemion had said, if not more or maybe she hadn’t imagined it right. Either way, it was what it was and there she was. The first thing she needed to do was to find a room. She drove through one of the safer parts of the city which looked like one of the more dangerous parts of her home-city that she’d ventured through. She never stopped her bike for long and after an hour of driving on all too similar streets, she found a dingy motel with an equally dingy clerk. He wheezed and coughed in between puffs on his cigarette and though she could barely understand what he said she nevertheless got a room in the end, he’d been very clear with price. And a warning.
He’d leaned in she leaned away slightly. He smelt of many unpleasant things. “Unless yer some biggin shit’s baby girl, which I don’t think yah’re, I’d wouldn’t keep yer bike out fer the night.” He leaned away. “Just sayin’.”
She nodded to him, truly lacking anything intelligent to say, and that night despite how absolutely dinky the dingy room was, she brought Daemion’s bike into the rental with her for lack of anywhere better to put it. She woke up at half past two, still tired but mostly hungry. It took Kat an hour to get ready, five minutes to slip on her pants and sweater from yesterday and about fifty-five minutes to block out the regret of even having slept in that bed, coming to reason with herself that this night she’d just sleep on the floor. Her stomach rumbled. There’d be no ‘tonight’ if she didn’t get some food soon. Shoving twenty bucks in her pocket and the extra set of keys she headed out, dropping by the office to the smelly man briefly to get directions on someplace around that had food, and then she was off on her way. The streets did all look terribly the same, the contents splayed along them and the people on them varied but Kat tried to stay separate from them. She watched the difference between the laughing people and the less hearty ones from the corners of her eyes as she walked with slumped shoulders and her hands in her pockets, one gripping the slip of paper with the directions. The place was easy enough to find with them and she went in, hoping to find it a bit warmer in there, it was if only because of body heat and no wind, but nothing more. She took a booth in the far corner, and ordered the cheaper of the meals when the waitress came over; she was smoking too, in fact while bringing the food. Despite that and the low quality of the food, she ate it down to the last fry and smear of ketchup. When the bill came she paid, didn’t tip and left back in the direction she’d come.
The piece of paper flapped in her fingers, being a pain to read of course while she was trying to follow it backwards. Turning right when it said left and vice versa. She kept to herself again, except when an older man in shabby clothing reached out his hand and asked for some spare change. She hesitated, considered keeping to her walking, but she stopped and reached into her coat pocket. “I don’t have much.” She pulled out the change and handed it to him. It wasn’t much at all, two dollars if that and she kept the bill to herself, if she started giving out those, then she’d be in his shoes in no time. Plus technically he’d asked for change.
“You’re a dear.” He said and pocketed the change.
She nodded and went on her way again. If I were a dear, would I be here? She crossed the street and looked at the bent signs Willis and Rosevale. The thought of how this place had been a long time ago crossed her mind. She wandered down Rosevale a little ways, looking around the street with the boarded up or barred windows on the first floors and some even on the second, a few on the third. There was a lot of trash, dirt and sections where parts of the buildings had crumbled, but there were hints everywhere that maybe the place had been nice once, and weren’t necessarily empty now. A fallen over rail fence now more like something one could trip on and get impaled by, but once had been a fence that was mostly for decoration or keeping children or small animals in the yard. Shutters broken or only hanging by one hinge, used once for sunny afternoons, now wood for those who needed the warmth of a garbage bin fire. Warmth, if nothing else, the motel room had at least, along with a funky smell she hadn’t cared to identify. Her fingers searched her pocket, then the one on her pants. She began to get worried when she didn’t feel the smooth surface of paper, and checked the other side, then the first one she’d been sure she’d put the directions in. A heavy feeling gripped her, like there was a rock in her stomach. All because she couldn’t find a bloody piece of paper!
“Okay… okay.” She whispered to herself. Don’t panic. Just follow the familiar street signs. She tried to keep herself calm, following what she remembered, trying to recognize things on the streets as well. Every time she questioned her choice though, her heart pounded harder and doubt crept up on her. The thumping played in her ears and suspicion rose for any noise other than it; she was too quickly finding herself more and more lost. An uncomfortable amount of time changed into far too long since she’d last seen anything familiar.
She shouted out muffled surprise into her hands as she walked by an alleyway and found an unconscious man sprawled out around its corner. She’d almost stepped on his hand and stumbled back. Her sneakered feet brought her around the nearest street corner as quick as they could. Leaning against the brick she covered her mouth again and tried to silently catch her breathe. Horrible things coming to her mind, he could be dead for all she knew, but perhaps hurt and in need like she had been once. Then again. He could be a drunkard or something. She bowled over it in her mind. How was she supposed to help him anyway? At this point she couldn’t even help herself. Voices distracted her thoughts as group of people turned on to the street a couple of intersections away. Her eyes were still adjusting to the lessening light but even with mostly silhouettes, she decided she didn’t want to meet up with them. Maybe they had been the reason why that man had been the way he was. She stepped back watching for a moment before she looked around, unsure of where to go, traveling to the next street corner she slipped around it quickly, heart pounding in her chest. Where was she now? Parkside and… a missing sign. Not like it even matters! I don’t know how to get back, how does knowing where I am even help! Glancing back around the corner first she crossed the street hurriedly and began walking down the street, trying to act as though she belonged there. It was becoming much more clear that she was getting in over her head, but if she could just get back to the motel, or even to the diner, she’d be alright.
Her heart soared though as she hit the next street corner and saw a police car parked at the side of the road. She awkwardly grinned and hurried over, relieved to see it, even if she only could get direction from him or her. She slowed to a stop and knocked quickly on the passenger side window, hoping for no more than a disgruntle cop, who’d nevertheless give her some help. Her arm seized up as she actually looked through the window to the shell of a man who’d gotten a flat at the wrong place and time and fear gripped her so tightly she thought may be her insides had all shrank together. His head was slumped forward; a stiff hand still on the steering wheel while his other was not visible and his gun had fallen to the floor. The blood splatter was clear though and the driver side window had spider web cracks lacing through it from the bullet hole. She stared with wide eyes, unable to move, taking in many more details than she ever wanted: the pale tone of his skin, the dead stare ahead, the frigid stiff quality of his slumped sitting. As though if she were to touch him he might crack though she thought it’d be worse if he were soft. Leave. Please leave now. She felt sort of sick now, as though the terror had been something bad she eaten. Something really bad.
Eyes were suddenly on her from the grimy back window, as a head popped up, and a pair of hands slammed down against the glass. Her neck craned painfully as she shot back her shoulders, a loud strong shriek resounding out of her and her fear held body fell back in shock. Her ass met the concrete sidewalk firmly and she looked up to the man in the window. His murky face looked down to her with wide-eyes, handcuffed wrists and a sickly looking face. He mouthed something and hit his fist against the window. Katora grimaced slightly and pushed herself up slowly, looking around to see if there was anyone else around, the streets felt unusually barren now. His fists pounded more and she heard the slight noise of words he was saying, turning partway she tried to get herself to leave, but she couldn’t quite manage it.
She stepped back to the edge of the curb and looked into the back window, the young man moved back slightly as though surprised, but then pointed up front and started saying things that were only noise to Kat.
She opened the front passenger side door and stepped back again, “Oh my God!” The reek was absolutely terrible and despite the colder weather the air was thick like a sweatbox. It was mixture of way too many vile things, blood, fesses, and vomit to be sure. She coughed, feeling like she might gag but covered her nose and mouth with her hand. The adolescent seemed beyond pleased to have any sort of ‘fresh’ air and it wasn’t easy to see why. She could hear him now as well.
“Listen, hey. Hey!” Kat looked back up to him, “See that button on the dashboard?” The blue one! Press it and get me the hell out of here!”
Kat Hesitated, looking over the switches and controls, the ‘blue button’ which was really more of a switch was nearer to the deceased man. She put the neck of her sweater overtop her nose and while cringing, she kneeled on the seat and leaned over, reaching as far as she could. Chin up as she battled to keep the sweater over her nose and trying not to look at the decomposing policeman and yet tried to watchfully keep as much distance from him as possible, the thought of touching him alone was upsetting enough. The air was still equally thick in there as though you were breathing in smell rather than anything else and it made her feel like she’s wasn’t getting to breath at all despite her efforts. He watched her intensely, fingers gripping around the cage meshing that he’d tried to detach vainly more than several times. She kept stretching, so close, jerking her shoulders forward one last time to get the switch. Once clicked, she hurried out of the car, sweater slipping off her face as she retreated and slammed the door shut, moving to the nearest brick wall and used it for support as her body began to shake.
The minute he heard the back doors’ locks click open, he grabbed for the latch, slamming the door with his shoulder and falling out of the vehicle he’d thought might be his coffin. The older teen crawled on the sidewalk, kicking the door shut with his foot and lied there breathing as deeply as he could. When Kat slowly fell to her knees and hugged the wall with her cheek, he watched for a little while. “I was.” He cringed and looked away, “In there for three days.” Kat didn’t respond at first and he looked back to her.
She steadied her hand on the wall, gripping it with tense fingers, trying to stop their shaking. “You’re welcome.” She muttered out to him. Hazel-green eyes coming to look over to this lanky younger man, though older than her, he looked as though he had not eaten for more than those three horrible days. He was a street boy more than likely, and in the back of that car for countless potential reasons. She was starting to think maybe she shouldn’t stick around to find out what it had been, but she couldn’t look back to the car either, in fear that the dead policeman might now be against the window, displaying his wound to her cruelly. “Do you know how to get to the Seventh-Drop Motel?” She asked almost too quietly for him, but there were little other sounds to be heard currently.
“Seven… drop? A motel?” Pushing himself up, he shook his head. “I know a hostel home, though.” He looked around the street again and seemed to be growing himself a hurried nature, in his tensing body as he got his thin self up. “C’mon, we can go there.”
His antsy movements were making Kat anxious now too and she got to her feet, “A hostel?”
“Yeah, we can sleep there and they might have some food.” He touched his stomach, “Gods, I hope they do.” His dirty face turned down the street as the clanking sounds of metal resounded from a side street. He moved over and grabbed Kat’s sleeve, pulling her with him as he headed down the street. :Let’s hurry.”
Kat felt tired, physically and mentally distressed, but the unspoken silence made her feet agree with the movement. She was jogging with him before she knew it and when he pulled her into an alley she still followed. It was shallow and they were on the next street quickly, walking in a hurried pace still, though she was even more lost if that were possible. He didn’t really look at her, but kept his eyes moving around, checking streets, buildings and signs. Only glancing to her here and there to make sure she was still following.
“So, a motel.” He muttered out, “So you’re not with anyone?”
“What d’you mean?”
“A group, it’s the safest way to go.” His explanation could explain why he’d not even asked her if she wanted to go to the hostel. Even if smaller, younger, and most assumingly weaker, simply the image of traveling with another person was an asset to him. Equally he was doing this favour for her as well.
“Oh, no I’m not. You?”
“Not right now, I… uh, had some troubles with the last bunch.” She arched a brow, but didn’t question further, talking in ever hushed voices was bugging her, she just wanted to get to the hostel, sleep, and hopefully get directions for the morning.
They headed through another shallow alleyway, keeping the same pace, she tried not to flinch or cringe as a rat scurried under an couple bags/ Glancing back the way they’d come she shivered in the cold air, the feeling as though the darkness was on their backs was starting to really get under her skin. Surprised slightly as she bumped into her guide’s back, she stepped away from the faceful of old shirt and looked to the reason he’d stopped. A group of six young men stood at the alley’s end, all but one taller than the young man she was with and consequently taller than her. Kat couldn’t see their faces very well, as she’d have preferred but it didn’t take much from the couple of yards between them, to see that they seemed rather amused with the situation.
“Well, out for a stroll?” One said as he walked forward a few paces, “It’s a pretty nice night.”
“We’re not looking for trouble.” Kat’s guide said quickly almost automatically as he raised up his hands a little ways. They were still handcuffed together, she’d almost forgotten, but this was starting to feel like a bad movie, only more terrifying since she wasn’t sitting in a comfy seat with some kind of food.
“Yeah?” The other man… boy… jackass - asked.
He just needed to say, ‘Well you’ve found it’ to wrap this whole thing up.
“We’re just going to the hostel.” He admitted.
“I thought I left you in the back of that old cop’s shitmobile.”
Kat’s eyes widened slightly, well she hadn’t been expecting that. The tension in the air felt like a noose, and nothing good could come of its constant tightening. “I let him out.” Kat interjected quickly, not sure why she said it but immediately regretting it. Shut up, what’s wrong with you!?”
“Did you? That’s awfully nice of you, then.” He said, still rather calmly.
She stepped back as he advanced some more, a second of his group mimicking. Kat’s gaze shifted to the older adolescent next to her when he turned on his heels and sprinted toward the alley’s end, where they’d come from. “Wha-? Wait!” She called turning to follow, but a hand gripped her shoulder, eyes wide as she saw him look over his shoulder guiltily to her as he went, before she was pulled back violently, falling on to her lower back painfully.
She lifted her chin from where it’d instinctively dropped, and looked to the older bunch around her. Her lower back mocked her with bits of pain as she got herself up, discomfort coupled with it plentifully. “I didn’t do anything to you!”
The young man had rounded the corner but with a bob of the ringleader’s head two of his boys had followed. He turned around the corner already tired from the traveling, but took in a sharp choking breath at the man in black that leaned there. Cold steel eyes looked down to him, an unsaturated ferocity on his face as though this man had not not frowned for a very long time. “Keep running.” He said calmly, and the young man did, only in the opposite direction now. He scoffed, “Coward.”
He had to over 6 feet, cloaked in black with his dark grey hair the only thing contrasting that. Kat heard him before she saw him coming, which wasn’t hard since he knocked one of the two chasing boys clear off his feet just to get him out of the his own way as he meandered down the alley way.
“So you like to help people? I think I can find something for you to help me with. What’d ya th-“ The probably leader looked away as the clatter of a garbage can and his follower’s face collided with each other then the ground. As he looked to the large man, a notable hint of fear took hold of his eyes and brow, and his lips pulled tight as he found the stone face of this new man. Suddenly he was a child again. “H-here, take her.” He said and pushed forward Kat by her shoulders.
Breen-brown eyes looked up the distance to find that same face. Instinctively she took a step back once more, finding a left up hand on her shoulder blade again. It snapped her back slightly and she made a fist, turning sharply, she drove it into the ‘child’s face as he was distracted, before making a run for the alley’s end.
Two of the three left grabbed her successfully and she struggled to get her arms free. “Fuck! Let me go!” She bellowed and kicked for a shin.
The leader winced as he wiped at his lip and pulled himself back up. “Bitch!” He balled up a fist of his own, but held back from using it while his boys reinforced their hold on Kat, one snaking arm around her neck tightly. He turned back to the man, “You can take her and we’ll leave, won’t bug you, sir.”
Kat watched back and forth between them, ‘Sir’, why such sudden respect? And why was she the trading piece!? “Screw you! Let me go!”
Both ignored her, but the man spoke for the first time to them, his voice chilled and so stoic as one could have guessed but still very commanding. “I don’t want her at the moment. I’d rather see her have to defend herself, and you seem miffed enough to make that happen.” His gaze shifted to Kat specifically and he locked eyes wit her, though she would have liked otherwise. “Show me the words about you are true, these dolts should be an adequate match for you. Fight them.”
“What !?” Kat’s widened eyes narrowed, “Don’t talk to me like you know anything about me!”
A new glare formed on her as the leader looked to her, insulted. “We’re more than a match for some bitch.” He pulled his fist up to his side.
Four against one isn’t a match! “Don’t do what he’s telling you for no godsdem reason! You’re just fa-” The sting in her cheek would have been enough to shut her up, but her whole head craned to the side from the impact. It burned all along that side of her face and she narrowed her eyes newly on him, though they were involuntarily tearing up.
Obviously diplomacy wasn’t going to work, that man at this rate was going to get his way. She pulled at the arm around her neck trying to get free, but as the leader readied his fist once more, she gripped the arm tighter and bit down on what skin she could get her teeth on. Its owner yelped and loosened his hold from her, trying to pull away even, but she kept her own grip and stuck her leg in front of his own, tripping him into his leader as she ripped his arm forward and letting go as his weight toppled forward and collided. The adolescent next to her threw another punch; she shifted away and gripped his wrist, his following through force aiding to pull his gut into her knee. She pushed him away after, but the last man standing took hold of her one wrist. She swung out for him as her lip pulled up angrily. He struck away her attempt at a blow and twisted her arm in around her back, ending in her face slamming against the brick. She wasn’t sure exactly what ha all happened until that moment, and she could feel the blood tickling inside her slammed nose as it began to run down the inner walls. She struggled, but he just pressed her against the sharp brick harder. She tried more aggressively to no avail, instead she engaged herself into a more desperate tactic, lifting up her knee against the brick quickly, and she jutted it back and managed to free her hands. She looked briefly to the people around her, the one side of her face stinging and beating like her heat, and she touched below her nose a bit dazed, but the dark warm liquid was quite plentiful there.
Taking a few steps back, she was prepared to turn and run from this most terrible but pathetic group of happenings, her feet were swept out from under her though and she fell back on to her mid back, head striking the dirty asphalt. Trying to get up when her body would let her at least attempt such, found a painful stopper as a mucky boot came down on her throat, its deep treads pushing on her windpipe heavily.
The leader grinned as he regarded her hatefully, while she gasped under the pressure of his foot, but through the thick callous sole he couldn’t feel the way her throat rolled, pinched and tried to swallow. “Stupid little brat, wishing you hadn’t crossed our way now?” Kat only made indistinguishable sounds and her hands came up to try to push off his foot. “Don’t touch me, bitch!” He snapped out and stepped harder.
“Release her now.” The leader looked back up to the dark man addressing him, startled. “She’s mine now.”
The steely eyes bearing into him, but he’d become too pissed off to be anything but defiant. “You said you didn’t want her!” Came the protest, but as the man approached, the group of boys fell back cautiously, and his fumbling fingers clutched the gun from his pants and he aimed it down at Kat’s head. “I’mma gonna fucking make her pay!”
“I will not repeat myself and you should know to listen to a darwel’s request.” He stopped in front of the boy, looking down to him expectantly.
“I… I won’t let this little punk, r-ruin my reputation!” He said in the staggering strength he could conjure, both his hands gripping the gun awkwardly.
“I will not allow such to happen.” A hand came up, swiftly pushing up on the gun’s barrel and rolling it out of the adolescent’s unsteady hands and into his own. Before anyone could really know what had happened the loud sound of a bullet let loose from its canon filled the night air, and the young leader fell to the stained ground. “Now he has no reputation to be ruined.” The man said coldly and distastefully tossed the gun over on to a garbage bag in the proximity.
Kat rolled herself over, relieve to be able to breathe, and terrified of what had just happened. She took in short quick gasps, trying desperately to get enough air, “Oh – gods.” She managed, as she heard the horrified sounds of the others fade, the hole in their leader’s head still smoking.
“They would not even blink an eye for you.” His voice said factually.
She still felt she couldn’t get any air, but she tried to crawl, the aching in her abdomen only rattling her more as she was hyperventilating. A coldness swept all over her body feeling like it was snaking through her skin, but a beating heat followed it, taking over as it dissipated. Trying to scream as he grabbed the back of her belt, she could only make a crackling noise come from her throat. He lifted her by the poor leather and denim, bringing her out into the street where there was more light. Her feet scraped for ground, only really finding it once they were out and his rough grip pulled up the back of her jacket and shirts. Having found what he wanted there, he pulled her off her feet once more, wordlessly hoisting her over his shoulder like a sack of flour, holding her by the back of her legs.
Her fist beat weakly on his back, and she looked back to the body in the dark alley, left as though it were nothing, made as if it were less than nothing. “Let. Me. Go.” She sputtered out in a pathetic attempt, feeling light-headed and like every breath was a slap in the chest.
“Concentrate on breathing and shut your mouth.” He started on his way, as though her weight was nothing to him. “And don’t bleed on me.”
Kat had intended further protesting, but she’d barely heard the last thing he’d said before she blacked out, unfortunately getting blood on him along the way, not that she probably could have helped it even if she’d tried.