AlvernoINK Spring / Fall 2017 - Page 69

It was times like these, when the world seemed stuck in a snapshot, that Molly didn’t mind being awake before most of the rest of the world. The ground was covered in glistening snow, untouched and glimmering with the sunlight. Trees hung lower than in the summer, the ice weighing the weak branches down, icicles attached to the ends like needles.

Molly stuffed her nose deeper into her scarf to chase the cold away, breathing in the smell of laundry detergent and slight cinnamon that seemed to follow her. Her hands shoved into her pockets, she broke the pure surface of the snow with a tentative boot. It was a workout, going through the deep snow, and sometime during her trek towards the familiar red building her toes had gone numb. It didn’t really bother her.

The silence was interrupted by a notification on her phone.

(7:24am) MOM: Did you take your heavy jacket?

(7:25am) MOLLY: Of course.

(7:27am) MOM: Are you going to stop by the store later today? I think today’s going to be a good day. I can feel it.

Molly sighed. The hope her mom still holds even as everything crumbles around her was inspiring, but she can’t bring herself to believe in her mom’s fantasy. She knows exactly what’s going to happen, and knows that it’ll happen soon. Her mom knows, too, but she won’t admit it, at least not to herself.

(7:29am) MOLLY: Yeah, I’ll visit...I hope so. Have a good day, Mom.

Dogs barked in the distance, the few birds that braved the cold were chirping from somewhere off to her side. Everything was fine.

Just for a moment, Molly lets herself believe her mom’s words. Maybe today would be a good day. Maybe everything would be alright. Just…maybe one thing would go right and today would be their lucky day.

She was foolish to think that way.

As her feet hit solid ground, she stomped her boots to rid them of the chunks of snow she’d be lugging through the drifts. It was slippery, definitely, but not enough to rob her of her balance.

She braced against the cold wind as she rounded the corner, her hands bunched up in her pockets as she tried to get her circulation flowing. She almost lost her footing once, a well- hidden piece of ice was lodged onto a part of the sidewalk and she barely had enough time to catch herself before she hit the ground.

But she didn’t hit the ground.

She fell into a pair of arms. Arms that tugged her backwards into the dark alleyway behind her.

No time for a scream.

No time for kicking.

A sharp prick on her neck was all it took before she was blacked out in the cold air, slumping back into the arms around her.

. . .

“D’ya think she can hear us?”

“She’s out, not dead, moron. Of course she can.”

Molly drifted over the line of conscious and unconscious, the blackness swallowing her whole and threatening to drag her down into the depths. She fought it, the invisible anchor attached to her mind getting heavier, harder to resist giving into. Through the haze and the fog clouding her mind, she could almost make out her surroundings. Her eyes refused to open when she willed them to, the sounds fading in and out with her consciousness.

“Oi, she wakin’ up?”

There was a beat of silence. Molly froze. She tried to teeter on the edge of comatose and not, feeling numerous eyes drilling into her. She could feel them scrutinizing every little detail, trying to determine if she was awake. She tried to regulate her breathing, scenarios of what would happen to her if they found out she had regained some consciousness dancing across her mind, plaguing her with fear like a disease.

“Mikey, drive faster. We gotta get her to Boss now.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’m drivin’ as fast as I can. You wanna get pulled over and have to explain this?”

“Just get us there.”

Molly’s mind was racing.

Where are they taking me? Why are they taking me? How long have I been in this car? What are they going to do to me? Does my mom know? Does anyone know?

A sudden stop jolted her body forwards.

Where are we?

“This is the drop point, right?”

What are they going to do to me?

“Boss said here, so we wait. If he’s late, we still wait.”

Who is Boss?

“He better hurry. I want this Meta bitch out of my van.”

Meta...? Do they think...Wait, do they think I’m a Meta?

“Patience, Xavier.”

Molly’s thoughts were coming more in focus now, whatever they had pricked her with was obviously wearing off. She had to get out of here...wherever she was. She needed to get away from these men as fast as she could and get somewhere, find help.

And what was that about her being a Meta? She’d never encountered one before, but she obviously knew she wasn’t one. They were destruction, cursed with powers way past their point of control. They were bad. They were insane. They were nothing like her.

“You got her feet?”

It was the only warning she was given before she was hauled up into someone’s arms, her hands and feet being supported by two men. She didn’t dare fight back or move, she just held her breath and did her best to stay relaxed. It was a challenge, but they hadn’t caught on to her just yet.

She still had a chance to escape.

The light behind her lids went from black to red, and she knew she was being carried outside. The wind licked at her skin, the gusts loud in her ears above the rapid beating of her heart.

If she was going to escape, it had to be now. She was outside, that meant she could potentially run, hide, or call for help. They hadn’t driven too long after she’d woken up, hopefully they hadn’t made it too far out of the city.

The man holding onto her ankles had a loose enough grip that all she’d have to do was kick once, gravity taking care of the rest. As soon as her feet hit the ground, she’d run. She’d hide. She’d get away.

That is, until she was thrown to the ground. Her head connected with the concrete, pain blossoming behind her eyes and unable to keep up the passed out act for any longer. She groaned, shifting to her side in an attempt to somehow ease the pain.

She blinked against the harsh light, eyes adjusting to the scene before her. It took a moment, but soon she realized she wasn’t thrown...she was dropped.

The two men that had been carrying her were on the ground, blood already starting to pool under their heads as their vacant eyes stared into the sun. The other two, presumably the driver and another accomplice, were on their knees, quaking with fear and pleas pouring from their lips at the man who had apparently killed their friends.

She could feel the bile rising in her throat, burning the back of it. The sight of so much blood mixed with the pain swimming in her head sent waves of unbearable nausea through her. Her stomach churned with the sight and as she groggily followed the line of blood to where it was seeping into the sewer nearby, she did lose her lunch.

“Please, Boss, please. You know I have two daughters, I can’t die. Not today, not like this. We never disrespected you, we won’t tell a soul. Pleas-”

“Oh, shut your mouth,” the man in front of him growled. He knelt to their height, placing an index finger on the man’s forehead. “Say one more word and I’ll make sure that’s your last. Maybe I’ll even ship your head to your family. What do you say?”

The man ducked his head as Boss’s finger was removed from his forehead. The other man cowered even closer to the ground.

Molly crawled backwards, slowly, hand wiping at her mouth. The man - Boss - noticed her inching away and she froze, her vision creating doubles of him approaching. Though her mind was focused before, it definitely wasn’t now. He was getting closer and she knew she should run, but something told her there was nowhere to go. A quick survey of her surroundings confirmed her thoughts, nothing but an empty car lot with no one in sight. The sounds of the city far off into the distance, silence everywhere.

“Hello, little lady. Sorry about that fall, but I had to take care of them right away.” He crouched in front of her and everything in her body screamed at her to flee, but she remained where she was. “But you weren’t out, were you? You were playing naptime.” He grinned a toothy smile, all his teeth filed into razor sharp fangs.

Her heart seized with fear.

“What, am I not going to learn your name?” He leaned in closer.

It was like something snapped, everything happening at once. In a bout of courage, she sprung to her feet, stumbling away from the man. The world spun around her, but she did all she could to escape. Screams ripped from her throat as the man casually walked after her, taking his time. It was like he knew she had nowhere to go, like she didn’t stand a chance.

“Come on, girl, I don’t wanna play chase. There’s nowhere to go, no one for miles.”

His words ran through her mind as she ran, stumbling over every little thing in her way. Still, she pushed forward and dashed across the street and into one of the many broken down buildings around her. Her lungs were on fire, breath coming out in harsh gasps, but she couldn’t worry about that now.

She had to run. She had to get away.

She knew what would happen if he caught up to her. She didn’t want to think about it, but somehow it kept repeating in her mind like a broken record, a mantra of a warning, a fated reality that she couldn’t - wouldn’t - let come true.

If she didn’t get away from this man, she was going to die.

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