My legs, my lungs, my chest. I had been running like a madman down the ruined streets of the city as if my life depended on it. Which it really did. Cars littered the street, old vehicles that had long since run out of gas and abandoned on the street to rust away in the elements. Many of the buildings were ruined, destroyed by bombings and attacks by the various gang activities.
It really looked like the end of the world. The only things missing were those stylized ideals of aliens coming down and destroying us. I scoffed at the thought. No, the only thing that would destroy us were ourselves. There was no greater enemy than the human race itself.
I wasn’t sure how far I had to run and I still had no clue as to where I was going to end up. Not that I really cared. Getting away from a cold blooded, insane, murderer was on the top of my list. As I ran, I kept looking over my shoulder and all around to make sure Alik wasn’t right behind me. I felt like I was going to be running into him at any minute and how in the hell was I going to explain why I was running like I was and away from the hotel?
Maybe I should shoot him… I gasped at the thought and stumbled into an open cross street. I nearly fell as I came off the sidewalk in my headlong rush, my feet tripping up beneath me against the tar. Panting heavily, I glanced around as for some reason I felt a cold chill down my spine. Doing a complete circle, I finally continued down the street, my legs carrying me as quickly as possible. I knew that I was still in Alik’s territory, so I had to go farther, I couldn’t afford to stop.
So, I kept going, sprinting down the street blindly.
It must have been bad luck, or karma, or something. As I came to another section of town, I heard gun shots and my body seemed to freeze. Every limb went tight as I came to a sudden halt. Wheezing as I pressed myself up against the side of a building that was miraculously still standing, I slowly peered out into the open area before me. The large street was about six lanes across, one of the main streets in the town. It was also the divider between Alik’s territory and the other gang. What gang that was though, I didn’t know.
Has to be better than Alik… right? I told myself as I watched the two groups before me. It had to be just my luck though because I spotted Alik down the street from me. I pulled back into my own little sanctuary and pressed my body hard against the wall. Leaning my head back, I closed my eyes tightly and shook my head. This was just great. Of all places, I had ended up picking the one way that Alik and the gang had gone. Figures. Shots echoed down the street, it was a freaking war zone out there with all of the screaming and shouting going on over the excruciatingly loud release of bullets into the air.
Glass was breaking, car alarms were going off and as I stood there I felt the entire street vibrate and shake as a very loud explosion filled the air. Someone must have had a grenade or a bomb of some sort. As I turned to look out into the street, drawn by the loud noise, I watched one of the smaller buildings crumble in on itself. Shouting and screaming filled the air from that direction. I felt the blood leave my face. People had been under that building.
My stomach twisted angrily, threatening to drop me to my knees and release the contents as it churned. I turned away quickly, one hand reaching up to cover my nose and mouth. My body was shaking uncontrollably. I hated this feeling, it had utter control over me and there was nothing I could do about it. Taking several deep breathes I managed to keep from throwing up.
The fighting was escalating. If I didn’t move soon, I was going to get caught in the crossfire, or worse yet, Alik was going to find me. Directly across from me was another alleyway. It didn’t look like anyone was down there, and no one was really paying attention to my side of the street. Turning, I braced myself against the wall and took another steady breath as I rocked back and forth on my feet getting ready to sprint again.
One last look out into the fighting and I finally gathered up enough courage to bolt. I took off across the street, leaping over fallen phone poles and broken signs. I threw myself up onto the hood of a couple cars that were in my way, sliding across the metal before touching down on the ground and continuing forward again. The gun shots filled my ears and I flinched almost every time one went off. My heart was pounding so hard I was sure someone could hear it.
I was almost there, two more lanes to cross, another downed telephone line and a car stood in my way. Then I heard a click, something metal hit the ground behind me. I glanced over my shoulder and my gaze grew wide in fear. Shock flooded my body and I almost stopped my headlong run. I tried to run faster as the metal ball behind me was going to go off at any second.
It was probably the one time in my life that I ran out of pure terror. The explosion sent me flying slightly as it sent metal and dirt through the air. I slammed into the car in front of me, effectively winded by the impact. Sliding across the hood I ended up a crumpled mess on the other side of the car with concrete as my cushion. Groaning, I pulled myself up and winced in pain. Hissing between my teeth, I turned my body to see where I was injured.
My jeans were shredded, blood seeping into the dark blue cloth. My back burned too and I was sure my black shirt was ruined. Slowly, I moved my body cursing my luck. I had been caught by shrapnel and it was a hell of a lot more painful than I thought. I started dragging myself to the alleyway ahead of me. Getting out of the street was imperative. Gun shots hit the car that I had fallen over and I flinched. Turning I looked to see who in the hell was shooting at me.
My heart seized in my chest. Titan!? Alik had definitely lost his mind. He was fucking trying to kill me! Another kick of adrenaline pumped through my body and I somehow scrambled up to my feet. I shot toward the alleyway, and got into the darkness just as I felt a painful burn across my hip. My voice filled the small backstreet as I screamed and stumbled to the ground. My fingers reached to my hip and I gripped the deep scratch that cut across it. Holy shit it burned!
Grinding my teeth as I groaned in pain, I forced myself up again, my hand gripping my hip tightly. If I stayed, it was almost a guarantee that I’d end up with holes through me and not just scratches. Limping down the alleyway, I found myself facing a wall and a back road going parallel to the fighting. Rolling my eyes, I started down the smaller alley because I had nowhere else to go and going back was suicide. Using the tall wall on my right as a brace, I moved down the dark, dirty ally slowly.
As I edged forward, I heard something else other than the gun shots and screaming from the two gangs that were fighting. Someone was coming down one of the alleys in front of me, one that led into the fighting. I had been skirting along each opening, hoping to God that no one saw me, but I guess I could only have so much luck. Reaching down to the gun that was tucked under my belt, I freed the weapon and held it shakily in my hands. How the hell do I use this thing? Don’t people always say point and shoot? Does that even work? What if I miss?!
I was freaking out again. My breath was shaking as I tried to steady myself. I leaned against the wall behind the old buildings, dirt and dust scattered before me along with old newspapers, broken crates and litter from years of trash build up. The voices came again from ahead of me, the alleyway that had the most commotion going on. I must have made my way to the middle of the fighting zone. I lifted the weapon, waiting for them to come around to where I was, my heart pounding in my throat. The gun shook terribly in my hands.
What I should have been doing was paying attention to my surroundings, but I was focused only on the sounds before me. I let out a cry of shock as a hand suddenly came from behind me. The fingers clasped around my wrist tightly, dragging my arms down forcefully as another hand wrapped up under my right shoulder and tugged. Thrown off balance, I was pulled back into a strong chest and then suddenly hurled into the wall.
I pulled, struggling with the guy who held me. I managed to wriggle myself free of his one hand and turned slightly to face him. That was when the voices of the guys I had heard a moment ago came into the small area, guns lifted up in my direction. I paid them no heed though as I twisted and shouted and fought to get free. A sharp kick landed into against his shin, pushing him back a little. As I whipped around fully, I brought the gun up at his face.
He slammed his arm into mine and shoved. My arms were dragged down again, pinned against the wall painfully awkward. His other arm lifted up, shoving against my chest and shoulder. It hurt the way he was holding me there; his arm was just under my throat making it slightly difficult to breathe too. I panted, grinding my teeth as I glowered up at him.
“Let go! Fuck off!”
“Drop the gun,” he demanded, his voice low and vibrating through his chest and arms into my smaller frame.
I narrowed my eyes at him, unwilling to give up, “I said, fucking let go of me!”
He lifted an eyebrow at me but didn’t move. Damn he’s strong… The other two that were in the alley with us took a threatening step toward me. I glanced to them briefly before turning my eyes back to the guy who held me tightly against the wall.
“Do as he says,” the one on the right said. He had a thick accent and I almost didn’t quite catch his words.
“Drop the gun, and I will let you go,” he repeated, softer this time, but the words still had that commanding tone.
My fingers were going numb slowly with the way he had me pinned. I wasn’t going to be able to hold onto the gun anyway, so I let it slip from my fingers. It clattered to the dirt next to me and he moved. For a brief moment he pressed up against me heavily and kicked aside the gun before he stepped back. In that brief moment of more contact I felt my heart race and my face heat.
One of the men bent down and picked up my gun. He laughed a bit, a slight chuckle that drew my attention. I glowered at him as I was still being held there, though the guy’s hold had loosened a bit.
“What?” I hissed at him, irked beyond belief that he was laughing at me.
He looked up at me, green eyes searching mine as he grinned, “What were you going to do with an empty gun?”
I blushed. E-empty? Fuck… The hands that held me tightly against the wall shifted, releasing their hold just a bit so that I could move. My shoulder burned and I felt a tingling rush down my left arm as the pressure point was released. Flexing my fingers, I felt the pinpricks of nerves coming back into sensation after having gone numb. I frowned as I leaned there one my good leg.
The guy that had held me against the wall gave a small smile at the remark from his friend, “Perhaps it was more of feeling safe with it than anything else,” he said gently and then eyed me carefully. He looked to the other two standing there with him, “Prepare the car to pick us up.”
“W-what? What the hell? Give me my gun back if you’re going to leave me here!” I yelled, trying my best not to panic.
“Leave you? Who said I was leaving you?”
My eyes grew wide as I stared up at him. His hazel eyes watched me carefully, long locks of caramel colored hair brushed across his forehead as he stood there with a slight grin on his lips. Shit… he’s kidnapping me… My heart plummeted to the bottom of my stomach.
“I am. You’re injured anyway,” he said matter of factly and then leaned over me, his hands on either side of me against the wall. I pressed myself up against the wall tightly. His scent was faint, a musky kind of smell that I found myself instantly liking. He tilted his head a bit, “Not like you could do anything about it anyway, now could you?”