A cracked lip. A black eye. Two broken ribs. A fractured arm. A concussion.
You should've seen the other guy.
"How did this happen?"
"It was an accident." I tried to run away.
The nurse raised an eyebrow, looking at her with great disbelief.
"I fell down the stairs." And there's a dead body at the end of them.
The woman kept looking at her for a few moments, and she knew she wasn't fooling anyone but as long as she didn't confess to anything else, there was nothing the nurse could do. And besides, she did fall down the stairs, the guy did too. She was just keeping out the part where they were fighting right before they fell and he died.
The nurse sighed and turned her back to her. "Well, there's not much else we can do for you. Your arm and your ribs will heal soon enough, if you avoid falling down in stairs again."
"You will need to rest a lot and the concussion might make you feel tired for a few days now."
She rolled her eyes. Like you could rest well when you were living the life she did.
"Do you have anyone to come and pick you up?"
She stood up, suppressed a groan from the pain coming from her abdomen, gritting her teeth. "No."
"Is there anyone we can call, maybe your parents-?"
"I said no" she growled, silver eyes shot daggers at the woman before she turned, leaving the room. Moron.
- - -
This wasn't her life. It couldn't be. It was all just a dream and she would at any given moment wake up from this nightmare. She would be in a warm bed, under a blanket, and not behind some cargo trying to sleep to the endless noises of the nightlife in the city. She would know that just a few feet away behind the wall were her parents sleeping.
But she knew... she knew that she wouldn't wake up. The only escape she had from this place was when she fell asleep, dreaming away to other worlds, other places far beyond Earth.
She leaned back against the crate, feeling the wind softly caress her face as she looked up at the night sky filled with bright stars.
Maybe it would be for the best if she just died. She wouldn't have to wait for her dream to come true and she wouldn't be trash walking the streets, polluting the air of the other citizens. Not to mention that she would be free of the Reds. Sure, they'd been the closest she ever came to having a family and was probably the reason she was still alive, but it was just barely. And what kind of life did she really have?
"Ther' ya are!"
She turned her head to the one that had called out her name, frowning at the sight of him. "Fuck off, Finch."
"Hello to ya too."
"I said; Fuck. Off."
"I heard ya."
She got up from the ground, running a hand, the one not in a cast, through her red hair. "What do you want?"
He grinned at her. "What if I just want to talk?"
She rolled her eyes, "You never just want to talk."
He laughed. She had never liked the way he laughed, it sounded too... she didn't know what. "Gabe wants to see ya."
She flinched. Gabe... he wasn't dead? But she was sure that he... when they fell down the stairs... she checked his pulse. He was dead when she left, she was sure of it.
Her heart was pounding hard in her chest as she straightened.
"Looks like ya expected ya wouldn't see him again, huh?"
She turned away from him. "No, I didn't."
"I'd lie to ya if I said he's happy."
Not that she thought he would be. She would be dead if she went to see him. She would be dead if she refused to. She couldn't believe how predictable her life was - she always knew that he would be the death of her. She just didn't think it would happen the day before she turned eighteen.
"Are ya gonna make a fuss about coming?"
She bit her lower lips, shaking her head as an answer. She was in no state to pick a fight with anyone, even if it was Finch. It would be an easy victory for him if she tried.
"Good. Makes my life easier."
- - -
She didn't care for the sound of her name coming from his mouth; it sounded like it was venom being spewed out, it always did, always had. He was standing in the middle of the room, just a few feet away from her, the lightning poor, making him look even more terrifying than she already found him. Other members from the Tenth Street Reds stood behind him, poorly hidden in the shadows.
She wouldn't show him an ounce of fear.
Eyes. His eyes. Like steel they were already cutting through her, stealing the air out of her lungs, slowly carving its way into her chest to bare her heart.
"My sweet darling..."
He took a step closer, she took one back, hitting the chest of Finch behind her. Gabe grinned.
"Aren't you happy that I'm alive, Sugar?"
She clenched her jaw. "No."
"You're wounding me, Sugar." He continued to grin, taking another step, coming even closer to her.
Stop calling me that.
"I'm happy that you're alive, Sugar." He looked to the others behind him, to Finch behind her. "Aren't we all?"
No one answered him.
Just get it over with and kill me already.
He took another step, now standing just a few inches away from her. She could feel her heart pounding hard inside her chest, so hard she almost believed that everyone in the room could hear it.
"My sweet darling, look what happened to your pretty face..." He raised a hand to caress her cheek.
Don't touch me.
His thumb slid over the wound on her upper lip before he grabbed her jaw tightly pulling her face closer to his. "Don't you dare try and do something like that again, Sugar, you hear me?"
She could feel tears burning behind her eyes, but she wouldn't him see her cry. She wouldn't show how much he hurt her.
"You're mine and I won't ever let you leave." He clutched even harder.
She glared at him, and if looks could kill... They'd both be dead right now.
How? How did he survive falling down those stairs? And without any wounds? He'd just lost consciousness? Why? If she'd know, she would've... she would have killed him then. Life wasn't fair, it wasn't...
"Do you get it, Sugar? If you ever try to leave again, I will kill you" Gabe shouted, she closed her eyes to keep the tears away, but she could feel them streaming down her cheeks no matter how much she wished that they wouldn't.
"Leave us" he ordered the rest of the gang. She hoped that they wouldn't, but knew that it didn't matter what she wished for, and soon she could hear footsteps passing them, the door open and close behind them. He loosened his grip of her mouth.
He didn't listen, crushing her lips with his own. The wound in her lip tore open again, the taste of metal soon mingling with the taste of him in her mouth. She wished that he would just kill her.
- - -
The sun was shining into the small apartment, the curtains swaying slowly back and forth in the wind coming from the open window. She was still in the bed, her whole body sore from the abuse she'd been put through. She could hear Gabe getting undressed in the bathroom, preparing to take a shower. She could hear his words echo through her mind.
'If you ever try to leave again, I will kill you.'
She could hear him turning on the water and that was her only chance. He would be in there for at least twenty minutes. She was escaping. She was going to run so far away from here that he could never find her again, or he was going to find her and kill her. Either way, she was escaping him.
She sat up, quickly pulled a sweater over hear head, putting on the closest pair of pants she could find. She took his weapons, the ones she could find, tucked them inside a bag - she could sell them and get enough credits to get off this lousy planet if her original plan would fail. She walked over to the door and grabbed her boots, not wanting to put them on so she would be quieter, before standing still...listening. Carefully she opened the door, looked outside. No one was there. She sneaked outside, her heart in her throat. As soon as she reached the stairs, she ran. She ran down the stairs as fast as she possibly could, almost falling over a few times. She ran out from the apartment building and she continued to run. She would never stop running. Not until she knew she was safe from him. Not until she knew that he couldn't find her, not until she knew he couldn't catch up with her.
And she knew just where to run.
She sold the guns she'd stolen from Gabe in a nearby weapon store, got enough credits to afford a ticket to a cruiser if her next stop wouldn't go as she hoped it would. She stopped now for a break, catching her breath and pulling on the boots she's been running with in her hands for half an hour now. She wiped the sweat away from her forehead, wished that she had some water, but knew that wasn't the top of her priority list right now.
She looked around, knew that this place wasn't more than just a few minutes away from where she was going to - she had planned this for a while now. She would've gotten away yesterday if someone from the Reds hadn't seen her and called Gabe. If she'd been faster. But this was as good as anything. She just wished that she could've killed him for what he'd done to her.
She could see it now, the huge building in front of her. The Alliance Military Base of the city. She stepped inside, looking around, walking over to the other end of the room, a man sitting behind a wall of glass. She stopped in front of it.
"Yes?" the man asked.
"I would like to enlist."
He carefully examined her for a few moments and she hoped to whatever God there was that he wouldn't tell her to leave because of a fractured arm. He looked over to a screen, his fingers moving over a datapad. "Name?"
She almost sighed from relief. "Avery Shepard."