“Not like this,” I said, the chasm in my stomach growing.
“It’s okay,” Toni replied to the background of low laughter coming from beside the doorway. “You’re not helping,” Toni said and the laughter slowed.
“Not like this,” I repeated, my voice low. “Why didn’t you tell me?” I replied, twisting my body, testing the grip on the cuffs.
“You were dead to the world,” she replied. “I got a call.”
“You didn’t have a phone,” I replied, not succeeding to keep the emotion from my voice. I waited for the reply, but it didn’t come. “You could have waited, discussed it. Like adults do.” There was no reply other than a snort from the doorway.
“Please,” Toni pleaded, but not in my direction.
“Why am I so shocked you’ve let me down again?” I said out loud, shaking my hands, but they held firm.
“Jess, don’t do this.”
“No. You don’t do this, Toni,” I said letting my anger build. “But then again it’s what you do, right? It’s what you have to do. You always find a way to fuck us up.”
A huff of laughter came from the doorway.
“Please ladies, stop with this sickly crap. We need to hustle, I’ve got the fate of humanity in hands and I haven’t got time to listen to this disgusting, deviant talk. She’s just a phase Antonia, you’ll get over it. We’ll find you a nice man and you’ll never look back. Trust me.”
“Are you going to let her talk to us like this?” I snapped, trying my best to shake my hands from the hold. Toni didn’t reply. “My hands Toni, really?” I said, trying to let the whine out from my words as I looked in the general direction of where her voice had come from, but the lights still dazzled bright in my eyes. Before she could ignore me for too long, there was a call from below, a man shouting for everyone to get moving. Something was coming and it didn’t take a lot to know what. The lights from the doorway disappeared down the stairs and I pushed back against my braced arms, wincing as my wrists pushed upwards, forcing my shoulders down. “Really,” I said and Toni’s voice came from where she’d moved to the corner of the room.
“You said you wouldn’t hurt her,” she said, more than a little childlike in her high tone. I couldn’t tell but the mother must have given a wave, or some other signal to let the pressure on my arms relax enough for me to stand up tall. Another shout came from downstairs, but with more urgency this time and the figure at my back tried to push me along without pulling up my arms. Another call came, it was too late and he held me back, stopped my travel, shadows from the beams of light downstairs scattered, hurrying as they danced on the walls before disappearing. I heard the front door slam shut and a call went out from outside, replied soon after in the distance.
I didn’t flinch at the gunfire, instead I turned around to the window and saw two figures standing either side, their silhouettes barely visible until the guy at my back glanced their way, his head torch following. Toni was to the right, that woman, her mother to the left, both had the side of the curtain lifted, their faces hidden as they peered out. The guy flinched away when he realised what he’d done and the light was back on me, but it was too late, I’d seen that other than the three, we were alone.
To the orchestra of gunfire raining lead outside, I dropped to the floor and he let me fall rather than being dragged down, but before his breath had huffed out in annoyance and he completed his bend, I’d twisted around and had my knee in his face. With all sound masked by the explosions lighting up the night outside, I felt the bone crack, but no pain, I assumed it was his nose shattering. He was out cold, had fallen to the floor and I paused, watching the line of light from this head torch along the floor. I saw my chance, the first instinct to run abandoned, instead I twisted, squatting backward to the carpet and blindly fumbled, the pistol coming out of the holster much easier than I’d expected.
Ignoring the pain in my wrists, I pulled the slide back and hoped it was a Glock, I had no chance to feel for a safety. I stood tall, angled my body sideways, the gun toward the window, crudely swapping between the pair’s shadowy positions I could only just make out. I kicked the head lamp, glancing the guy’s head, he didn’t complain as the torch span, the elastic sending it in a short spin and it came to rest, facing me, stealing the tiny amount of light coming from the window.
It was then they noticed, one turning, Toni first, but the other followed her heavy pull of breath. Despite the chorus of the fight outside I could tell they were looking on. Toni had moved, her voice coming from closer than I expected.
“What are you going to do with that?” she said, her voice calm and slow, somehow heard over the slowing rate of fire from outside. I looked down past the light, the guy who’d held me had woken and was crawling slowly away towards the window.
“I thought I needed you,” I said, pulling in a deep breath, not thinking before I spoke.
“I need you,” Toni replied, her voice moving closer. The woman gave a push of air from her lungs in disgust, tutting between the slowing shots from outside.
“That’s what I used to think,” I said, closing my eyes and twisted the gun to the left, pulling the trigger three times.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.