Two years later, August 13th, Friday, Gulf of Mexico…
She slipped in and out of consciousness. Pain was the only steady thing. Pain the color of red, and God, why won’t you let me die? A pained sob, stifled quickly. Gasping breaths.
Left her here…
Left her here. All alone. “God, let me die, please let me die,” she whimpered.
It was all a blur. There was another assassin, sent by some person she’d pissed off. And unlike the others, he was neither thorough, nor particularly concerned with a quick end. He’d knocked her out, and nailed her to the wall with a nail gun. Jesus style, for the hands at least.
If she’d been able to think past the pain, she would laugh at the irony. Her arms ached, and she swore the holes tore bigger every second.
And then noise. Noise. He’s come back. “Finish me off, you ugly little fuck,” she snarled, but the room was empty. Empty, and so loud in its silence.
At the voice over the radio, Christoph nearly lost his balance and tumbled off the rock he was crouching on. “Tiger?”
Svorak was prone, stretched out on salt slick rock and staring straight ahead. “Baba, you remember when you treated Bloody Woman’s burns?”
“Looks like you’ve got a bigger job to deal with this time.”
“Shit. I don’t have… Doesn’t matter. What’s her status?”
“Nailed to a wall, looks like.”
“And she’s still alive. Holy shit.”
“Yeah. I’m going in, I’ll let you know if there’s any mines by setting them off. Cheers.”
Svorak lifted his finger off the mic button and sighed. Pursing his lips, he flipped a pebble down to through the gap in the warehouse wall. It pinged off the pitted metal about three feet from her bloody left arm.
‘Bloody Woman’ indeed. We didn’t need you to live up to the name again.
She flinched. “FUCK YOU!” she shrieked, and subsided into tiny gasping sobs. Fuck. She was going to pass out again…
Shaking his head, Svorak repelled down the side of the cliff and secured his line before leaning in through the torn section of wall. “Honestly, woman, if you had wanted sex that badly, you could have just called me,” he called down softly.
She blinked slowly, and lifted her head, tipping back as far as it would go. “… kiddo…?” she whispered, and coughed out a laugh. “I’d think heaven, but that’s not my final destination. Must be one of those coincidental rescues, huh?”
A sad chuckle rippled down the warehouse walls. “We work with what we have,” he replied. “No more screaming okay? I’m coming down to secure the area, then we’re getting you out.” He scanned the floor as he spoke, watching for wires or hidden triggers. Fucking sand.
She coughed again, lowering her head as the black approached again. “… Chris… here?” she mumbled, fighting unconsciousness.
“Goldie is here, yeah. We’ve got two new teammates for you to meet. Real kiddos.” Svorak magnanimously ignored the burst of crackling static on his radio. “Eh… teens.”
He dropped another pebble on the floor below him and touched down after a tense moment. “Hmm. What do you think? Any traps in the floor? It’s a wet rusty kind of world you’ve got here.”
“He was an amateur,” she mumbled. “Just big… lucky…” She peered at him. “I’m gonn… pass… out… soon…”
Looking over at her hands and the way she hung from them, Svorak blinked back the white swell of rage. He unclipped the rope from his harness, said a quick prayer, and strode along the wall towards her. Reaching her in seconds without mishap, he reached out and gently touched her cheek as he touched the button on his mic.
“Area secured, path by the wall is clear. Someone get over here and help me get her down.” He let go of the wire, but didn’t lift his other hand. One corner of his mouth hitched up. “Passing out might be a good idea. Getting you down is going to black you out anyway.”
“Dead weight,” she mumbled. “Don’t forget the locket. It fell… s’on the floor.”
Dark brows snapped down and he took his eyes off her only to look at the sand at her feet. There, half hidden by crumbled granules of rock, was a small round piece of jewelry. Bending down, he lifted the piece and its chain up to show her. “Is this it?” The locket rested in his palm, before her eyes. Already he could hear another two members of their team coming into through the wall, but he didn’t care.
She smiled slightly. “Lucy…” Her eyes slid closed, and she sagged, finally unconscious.
“What a woman,” he sighed, dropping the jewelry into a vest pocket. Arana’s clothing was torn to rags, her body was streaked with her own blood this time.
“Bloody Woman, huh?” the younger voice of Wolf came from his left. “This is going to be brutal for her.”
“Wolf,” Ruby warned as she gazed up at the nails through Arana’s palms. “I’ve got the cutters; let’s get her down.”
Up on the cliffs, Christoph gritted his teeth and kept his post, even as his radio relayed the wailing screams as headless nails were dragged through shattered bones and dislocated arms were brought back to proper alignment.
“Rookie is going down,” he swore.
“Amen,” Svorak answered. “Rookie is going down.”