“What do we have here?”
Jenny cringed at the sound of the man’s voice. She knew who he was. Not his name, or even his nickname, no. He was a hoodlum. A lowlife. Somebody who walked the streets, harrassing the innocent when in large groups, preying on those that get separated… like her.
She hurried per pace, praying if she managed to get out of the alley, that there just might be others that would help her. Others that would scare the hoodlums away just by them being there... before she got more than a couple of steps, one of them had blocked her way. She turned the other way, only to be stopped by the one that had spoken.
“C’mon honey. Watcha got in the bag?”
She struggled with him for a moment, trying not to give away her only source of defense. In moments, he ripped it from her arms, and she realized she was no match for him. “Shoulda gone to those self-defense classes, like I told ya,” she could hear Lucas saying. “You could have beaten ‘em if you had those classes. Broken arms, broken jaws, the whole works.” She wished she’d taken him more seriously.
She looked down, praying that avoiding eye contact would somehow help. “Please, I… I don’t want any trouble. I’m just on my way…” Before she could finish, she was thrown face-first into the wall.
Holding her body to the wall with his, arms pinned in front of her, he smelled her hair as the others cheered him on. He slid her silk dress up her thigh slowly, feeling his way up to her waist, enjoying her helpless cries. “Oooh.” He smiled as he felt the tiny piece of velvet fabric that comprised her panties. Easily holding her in place with one arm, he pulled some of the fabric aside, looking to the others for their approval at the quality of his catch.
He pulled out a knife and quickly cut through the dress, letting the fabric fall to the ground. With another swipe, he cut through the back of her undershirt, revealing the soft, pale skin of her back. Her form was exquisite, the likes of which he’d only seen in the pictures of a lingerie catalog.
Jenny felt him press against her again. She could hear him—even feel him—undoing the zipper of his pants. She cried harder. She knew what was to come: screaming, painful intrusion into her body, a horrible beating. If she was lucky, she’d wake up in a ditch somewhere… if she woke up at all.
How did I get here? I was following Joshua through the boulevard and… how did I lose him? How did I get separated?
He pulled back just for a moment, and she started to wriggle free… she was almost away, grabbing something solid to her right, pulling hard on it to get out from beneath him. She took a couple of steps, then felt him grab her hair, nearly ripping her scalp off. She reached back to grab his hand, to try to somehow release it, when he slammed her face into the wall. She felt blood trickle down her face.
She heard them talking behind her, words she couldn’t hear through the concussion he’d given her, felt him moving and adjusting. For a minute, she thought he was grinding against her, but when the minute passed, she realized that was simply not the case. She felt a sharp pain on the right side of her throat, and the man’s voice whispered into her ear: “It’s okay baby, this will just make you a little more… cooperative.” She heard him chuckling as he slowly injected the contents of the syringe into her.
Before he had finished the injection, there was a ruckus at the end of the alley. “Go check it out. I don’t want to be interrupted!” His men nodded and rushed to the end of the alley, past where he could see. Confident that they would be able to handle the problem, he turned back to his victim and continued injecting, watching her eyes begin to glaze and her muscles lose tension. He pulled the needle out and carelessly threw it at a dumpster, continuing to watch her.
“This your first time?” He chortled as he turned her around. Instead of having to hold her against the wall, he now had to hold her up. He ran his hand down her neck, between her two perfect barren breasts, down toward her panties.
Her head drooped sideways, her eyes constantly rolling to the back of her head. He started to wonder if he’d given her too much, felt the long-forgotten feeling of worry return for just a moment, then disappear: he didn’t care about her. She was just another victim. Another whore for him to screw and move on…
Before he could get comfortable, he heard the commotion at the end of the alley get louder, heard things slamming into garbage cans. He shook his head. They never got anything right. If he had a choice, he’d have ditched them long ago. “What the hell is going on out there?”
Out from that side alley stepped a giant of a man, wearing some sort of medieval animal skin pants, a torn up shirt, and some expensive-looking jewelry: a silver or platinum band around his wrist with a finely carved shape of a wolf on it; a circular necklace made of the same sort of material, with words etched in it, surrounding the largest red ruby he’d ever seen. No shoes, shirt, or much of anything else. His body was incredibly muscular, more so than those he’d seen in any magazine dealing with… well, muscular people.
He knew how this worked. If he let go of his prize, or even showed that he was a little scared, this behemoth of a man would take her. And he’d lose his reputation on the streets, something he had very little of to begin with. No, this was nothing more than a barbaric display of who was the fiercest, or who would back down first. “This one’s mine. Go get your own.”
Thrax raised his hand, calling to it Lightning, the legendary sword whose blade crackled with electricity. White hot fingers curled around his massive forearm, crackling and popping with energy, arching to the nearby garbage bin.
Laughing as the macho look on the punk's face disappeared and the front of his pants became soaked. The man stepped away from the girl, flattening himself against the wall. Thrax stepped forward and placed the blade on his throat, just below his adam’s apple. He swung the sword upward, slicing through the man’s skull with no visible effort, killing him instantly. The energy of the evil soul filled Thrax.
He smiled and turned to the woman, preparing to put her out of her misery… then he stopped. The sword vanished as he saw the beautiful face of his wife, laying there naked on the ground… he kneeled beside her, lifting her limp body into his arms, almost expecting to find a baby girl hidden beneath her.
For the first time in a long time, Thrax felt sad, felt the tears of bitter loss welling within him. He felt that terrible day happening all over again… but suddenly, he realized that she was not dead. He felt her slow heartbeat and weak breathing, even the attempt at words from her mouth.
Thrax sat back for a moment, watching her, suddenly and completely bewildered by the situation. Her breath was slowing, as was her pulse, as she succumbed to the poison that coursed through her veins. He put his hand on her stomach, pulling the substance out of her body and into his, to keep her from dying.
He became lightheaded as he listened to her vitals speed up. He laid her onto the ground carefully and turned to find something to cover her up with. In moments he returned to her with a surprisingly clean sheet he’d found on a garbage bin just a few feet down the alley. He lifted her from he ground, wrapping her mostly naked body in the white sheet, handling her like a father would handle his own baby.
Thrax held her in his arms and began walking out of the alley, his thoughts completely consumed by her. She looked so much like Jem… he stumbled a bit, realizing the poison he’d taken from her was much stronger than he gave it credit for. He held her in one arm, using the other to brace himself against the wall as he walked.
“Police! Don’t move!”
Thrax stopped and stared at the small army of men, standing beside their strange metal horses, pointing their bizarre weapons at him. He’d seen the weapons before: they made a loud noise, emitted a tiny flame—some sort of magic—to create a hole in whatever was in front of them. None had been used on him yet, though he’d been threatened many times. Few were strong-willed enough to do much else against him.
“Put the woman down, get on your knees, and put your hands on the ground! NOW!”
He smiled. It had been a very, very long time since he’d encountered any real opposition. He raised his right hand to blast them with magic, and heard the familiar sounds of their little magic cannons. Several hit his open shoulder, while over a dozen struck his legs, dropping him to the ground. Thrax pushed the girl away from him, careful to avoid getting any of his terrible blood on her.
He tried to stand, managing only to get to his knees, seeing the police rushing him with guns and black sticks. He barely felt any of their attacks as the poison took him over and he dropped back down to the ground. In the few moments he was still conscious, he thought he heard somebody say her name… “Jenny.”
* * *
“But he saved me, Lucas. Those men would have raped and killed me if…”
“How could you know that? You were barely even alive when the paramedics got to you.” He shook his head. “Perry said if he hadn’t gotten to you when he did, you would have had some sort of rupture in your brain.”
“Don’t you ever listen to me? What about the drugs?” She reached across the table, placing her hand on top of his, trying to make him listen. “I’m not lying, Lucas. One of them gave me some sort of injection that almost killed me. That man that you locked up saved…”
“He killed them.”
“Not just killed them, either, Jenny. He crushed two of their skulls, ripped one guy’s arm off, and cut that other poor bastard’s head clean in half.”
“He’s a killer, Jenny. The law doesn’t care if they were bad men. He killed them, and there’s no way to get around it, not even for me.” He turned as the door opened.
“Here are the clothes you asked for, Lieutenant Mathews.” Officer Perkins made a visual inspection of the girl. “Need anything else?”
Lucas smiled at his sometimes overly-female partner. “Thanks… and we’ll be fine, Perkins.” He took the clothes and watched her until the door was closed, then turned and set them on the table. “There’s a bathroom down the hall a ways, you can change there.”
“Turn that camera off and look away.”
Lucas smiled as he unplugged the camera. For such an attractive woman, she was sometimes not very lady-like. “We’re going to hold him here until his court date, probably in a few weeks. If you want to visit him… well, I can take you to his cell.”
* * *
“I'm sorry, Jenny. I don't know how many times I can say it.” Lucas was quite obviously frustrated. “There's just... it's a lot of paperwork. And it's not like...” he paused. He didn't want her to see this man, whose only name was Thrax, this man who came from nowhere, had no record of ever existing, no trace of anything in any system he could find. He sighed. “I just don't like him.”
“I know Lucas.” Jenny stopped Lucas as they came close to the detainment center. “But I just have a feeling about him. He's not like anyone I've ever met.”
His face curled into an angry scowl. “But you don't know him! Hell, I don't think anybody does! You didn't see... a dozen of my men shot him. Shot him, Jenny. Enough to drop ten...”
She smiled at him, lowering her head, looking at him from under her brow, the look she knew he just couldn't say no to. “I know you don't like him. But just trust me, okay?”
He tried to maintain his firm look, but felt it starting to melt away. She was so beautiful. Sometimes he wondered how she could be related to him, let alone be his sister. “Fine.” She smiled and let out that little giggle. “But I'm not letting you out of my sight.”
They walked in silence through the halls. Past the drunkards sleeping it off, past the gangs screaming obscenities, into the maximum security area. He could sense her mood becoming more somber as they walked further, grabbing his arm for security as she cringed away from the prisoners.
“How is he, Charlie?”
Charlie stood from his post just outside the heavy bars. “Still pretty quiet. Got enough tranquilizers in him to put down an elephant.” He cocked his head sideways, seeing Jenny hiding behind him. “You, uh, know it's against the rules to have her back here.”
Lucas shook his head. “Who?” He exchanged smiles with his old friend. “I don't see anybody. Why don't you go grab a coffee? I'll cover for ya for a little bit.”
Charlie opened his mouth to say something, then closed it. He looked to the ground, shaking his head with a smile. “Be careful with this one.”
Jenny watched him walk away, starting to loosen her grip on Lucas' arm. She carefully stepped closer to the front of the massive bars on the front of the cell. Inside was the man she only vaguely remembered before the barrage of gunfire. He was sitting in a chair—no, chained to the chair—with obnoxiously thick shackles around his wrists, his ankles, and even his neck, with chains whose links looked like they might be larger than her head. His head hung down, his long black hair covering his face, flowing over his shoulders, nearly touching his thighs. She stared at him for a few moments, then turned to leave.
His deep, powerful voice took her by surprise. She turned to face him. He'd lifted his head now, tossed his head to the side to move some of the hair away from his face. “I... I thought you were... sleeping. Are you okay?”
His lips curled into a smile, something he felt had not happened for quite some time. “I feel fine. Maybe a little out of sorts. Where am I?”