Very rough

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I present to you, for your enjoyment (and ridicule) a small chunk of the novella I accidentally wrote a week or two back.  It is *very* rough.  Downright raw, in fact, so please forgive the typos.  I find myself really rather enamored of these two, and a few other folks that show up later on, so you may expect them to pop up again in the future.  We’ll have to see how they do, though.  Darien here seems to have had a fairly bad day, though Caroline’s not doing so great either come to think of it.  Enjoy!  (I am not sure why the formatting is so odd here, but I can’t seem to fix it. I’ll keep trying though!)

“Hey.”

Caroline shivered.  She wasn’t sure why but she was terrified and just hoped that whatever it was she was scared of wouldn’t notice her.  Probably jet the end of a nightmare.  She had them sometimes and could never really remember them after, just the odd, creeping feeling of dread that didn’t wear off for a few hours.

“Hey, miss.  You need to wake up and let me know you’re okay.”  Okay?  Why wouldn’t she be okay?

Then the whole scene rushed through her memory at high speed: the disaster at school, running off campus to just get away from all that drama, going to the tiny town museum, and the robbery.

She’d been kidnapped.  Holy shit.

“Miss, if you’re okay, please let me know.  I don’t want to be locked in here with a corpse.  Again.”  The voice was strained and not at all melodic like Boots or Shiny.  Still, she kept her eyes closed and didn’t say anything.  She just focused on keeping her breathing deep and even so he’d think she was still out while she tried to come up with a plan.

“Oh, thank goodness.”  The voice said.  “You’re not hurt too badly then.  Thank goodness for that anyway.”

Caroline’s eyes flew open and she sat up.

“How could you tell I heard you?”  She demanded.  Then she wanted to smack herself in the face for being so easily taunted into revealing herself.  The man chuckled softly.  There was no malice in the sound, just amusement.

“I could hear your breathing change.  You were working too hard at sounding asleep.”  He said.  Caroline looked over and saw a man sitting on the floor in the corner across from her, one arm propped on his bent knee.  He looked relaxed lounging there in the corner, but she had the strange sensation that it was an act.  He was wearing jeans and a polo shirt, and scuffed up hiking shoes, and looked a bit like anyone.  Well, aside from the dirt smearing him from head to toe, and the tears all over his clothes, and the blackening bruises she could see all down the left side of his face and peeking through the holes in his shirt.  Dried blood trickled past his right ear from somewhere under his hair and his left eye was swollen almost shut.

“Holy shit what happened to you?”  She was clearly going to have to work on her filter when under stress.  The man shrugged.

“You should see the other guys.”  He smirked, before sobering a bit.  “Well, some of them anyway.  They got me with elf shot from behind.  Stupid, rookie mistake leaving my back exposed like I did.  The rest of this is just them enjoying themselves for a few minutes.  Stress relief or something.”

“Elf… shot?”  Caroline wondered what kind of weird slang that was.  “Where are we?  What’s going on, anyway?  Who are those guys?  Why are we here?  Why would those guys want anything in that boring old dustbag excuse for a museum?”

“Well what were you doing there then?”  he countered.

“Er…”  Caroline wondered if she’d lost her mind.  Why was she feeling guilty about admitting that she skipped school when she’d been kidnapped by museum robbers.  “I, um.  I was kinda hiding out.”

“Hiding out?  I guess a dusty unvisited museum room is a good place to do that.”  The man nodded.  “Although I hope you weren’t hiding from them, because in that case you did a lousy job.”

“Well, not when I went there to begin with, no.”  Caroline slumped on… what was she on?  She actually took a moment to look around now and discovered that they were in what looked like a basement room, with a small, barred window high up in the wall letting in a trickle of sunlight.  She sat on a cot that she had expected to be filthy but was surprisingly clean and comfortable.  There was even a wool blanket folded up at the foot of the narrow mattress.  It wasn’t fancy, but it was clean and probably warm.  In the wall opposite the window was the expected door, and as expected it looked thick and strong, and had no opening in it anywhere.  What  she hadn’t expected was in the wall opposite her own seat on the cot was another door, standing halfway open, and opening onto a small bathroom.

“Where…”  Caroline didn’t even know what to start asking.  The man sighed and the noise sounded so…  defeated somehow that she looked back at him.

“I’m not honestly sure how much I should tell you.”  He said, staring at the floor between them.  “If we ever get out of here it might be best if you don’t know.”

“If?  Won’t the police come save us?”  She asked.  Caroline knew that she was a bit sheltered.  She was a self-admitted nerd and her parents knew that she was probably too trusting of people and as such kept her on a pretty tight leash.  Skipping school today had been her first and only act of rebellion, unless one counted wearing navy blue instead of black like her mom had picked out to go to her dad’s formal club dinner.  Still, wasn’t that the whole point of having police?  Even in a smaller town like this one?  The man sighed again.

“Not very likely.  Well, not the police you’re thinking of anyway.  My team will have pulled rank on them pretty damn quick, and they work under slightly different rules.  If they come here they will try to get us out, yes, but we’re not going to be their main focus.”  He huffed a humorless laugh.  “My chief probably won’t even bother looking for me, frankly.  He’ll be glad to be rid of me.  And they may not even know about you.”

“What?  But why?”  Caroline heard the bitterness in his voice as he spoke.  There was frustration and anger and defeat there as well, and a few other things that were less strong.  She’d never been very good with people, felt that ‘socially awkward’ was probably the nicest way to describe herself, but she had always been able to hear more shades in people’s words than everyone else.  It was how she reacted to the knowledge that she didn’t know how to deal with.

He flashed her a small smile, wincing at the flair of pain from his eye.

“He’s never cared much for my kind.  Hated it when my transfer application was approved.  I used to work up in Washington state.”  He shrugged again.

“Your kind?  What, like undercover cop kind or something?”  Caroline asked.  He glanced up at her and blinked.  Then took a deep breath and slowly started to sit up straight.  She watched him unfold himself from his spot lounging on the floor and realized that he was tall.  Very tall, it seemed to her, easily another foot and a half taller than she was herself.  And he was muscular, like a movie stuntman playing a tough soldier.

“Someone’s coming.” He said, leaning back against the wall again and crossing one foot over the other.  Again she got the feeling that he was pretending to lounge, but was actually more like a coiled spring.

“What?  How—”

The door opened. And three men came in.  Shiny, in the middle, carried two trays and the other two men had very serious looking guns pointed at her cellmate.  Caroline watched the men with huge eyes, but they didn’t even glance at her, keeping their whole attention trained on the beaten man leaning against the wall under the window.

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