Read The Strange Path Online

Authors: D Jordan Redhawk

Tags: #Gay & Lesbian

The Strange Path (2 page)

BOOK: The Strange Path
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Disgusted, Manuel released his opponent, who dropped to the ground with a thump. “Fine. I’ll go catch the one that got away.”

“Do that.” The redhead approached Whiskey. “Are you well?”

Whiskey tried to speak. Relief and shock clogged her throat. She nodded.

The woman smiled, held out her hand. “My name is Fiona. Shall we leave, my little
lamma?
We have place of safety nearby.”

Clearing her throat, Whiskey finally found her voice. “Uh, okay.” If anyone came by now, all of them would be locked up, and on their way to prison. She glanced at the unconscious Paul, unable to tell if he still breathed. A part of her hoped not. She gathered up the moisture in her mouth and spit on him, blood and saliva mingling to slide down his face.

Laughing, Fiona took Whiskey’s hand and tugged, pulling her attention away from him. “Come then. We’ll keep you safe.”

Whiskey allowed herself to be guided, hardly noticing that her backpack ended up on the shoulders of one of the men. Fiona held one hand, and the blonde supported her as they walked. The rest, except for Manuel, ranged around them in a loose circle. They flanked and surrounded her, leaving no escape. Whiskey couldn’t help but connect her situation to the book she’d recently read about children captured by some of the roughest Indians in the west who were either adopted into the tribe after a period of testing or killed before their arrival at camp. Whiskey limped into the unknown, resolving to make it through any tests these punks could come up with.

 

Chapter Two

The pain in Whiskey’s abdomen didn’t abate, making a ten-minute walk drag on for hours. She couldn’t stand straight which made the going rough. If she moved too fast, she stumbled beyond the blonde’s ability to keep her upright. The group paused while Fiona helped get Whiskey back on her feet, and moving. Something tickled along her right cheek. With her free hand she rubbed at it, fingers coming away with blood.

“His ring,” the blonde said. “When he hit you.”

“Which he’ll never have the opportunity to do again.” Fiona squeezed Whiskey’s hand. “We’re almost there.”

Whiskey nodded, biting back a looming nausea. In light of her apparent safety, the adrenaline had fled her system. It left behind a shakiness she couldn’t afford. These people might have saved her ass, but they had no reason to do so, and weren’t harmless. She didn’t know who they were, or why they’d interfered. Heroes didn’t exist; everything came with a price. 

They broke through the trees onto a typical suburban street. Far off, a dog barked, and Whiskey heard the faint hiss of traffic from the highway in the distance. She hadn’t been here before, didn’t recognize the location, but she saw downtown Seattle over the rooftops. It looked like they were probably at Portage Bay rather than Lake Union. It eased her mind to know she remained near her territory, though she’d never succeed in a try for freedom. At this point, she could barely walk.

Fiona directed them down a side street. Whiskey didn’t know what to expect. Most street punks she knew—herself included—lived hand to mouth, traveling on foot. Her saviors had so much money invested in their clothing, she thought it possible they had a fleet of Harley-Davidsons with which to terrorize the city. Her stomach turned. She couldn’t imagine riding a motorcycle in her current condition. They stopped beside a black Lexus, and she weaved, blinking at the vehicle. These people were much more affluent than the kids they’d just dispatched. Paul’s attack on her had been motivated by anger and revenge. She’d kneed him in the nuts when they’d initially accosted her on the street; she expected nothing less of him.
But what the hell do these people want?

Fiona tugged gently on her hand, reaching to open the rear passenger door. “Come, my little
lamma.
We’ve a safe place for you.”

Whiskey glanced around at the others. Her nerves were oddly soothed by the apparent disregard of the others. Only Fiona and the blonde seemed interested in her. The Goth woman argued softly with one of the two spiked mohawks while the other watched in boredom. At the trunk of the car, the third man held her pack, waiting to put it inside.

“Who are you? Why did you help me?”

Fiona gave another mock pout, and tsked under her breath. She released the door, and stepped in front of Whiskey, reaching up to caress her cheek. They were the same height, and Whiskey caught that reflected flash of gold in the woman’s eyes.
Have to be contacts.
She reminded herself that Fiona had just laid a boy’s face open with those fingers, and steadied herself.
Damned if I’m going to flinch like he did.

“They had an unfair advantage. We take care of our own. As for who we are, I told you my name. This is Cora showing such provocative attention to you. The man holding your belongings is Daniel; Alphonse is in deep discussion with Bronwyn; and my other colorful colleague is Zebediah.” She smiled. “And you, my sweetness, are my little
lamma.
Unless you have another name?”

Whiskey stared at Fiona’s wolfish grin. Should she worry about the fingernails gently tracing her jaw, or be more concerned with the sudden image of Fiona ripping out her throat with those teeth?
What does she mean, ‘taking care of their own’? That’s a crock of shit.
They and Whiskey were worlds apart.

Fiona awaited an answer, a mocking smile on her lips.

“I’m Whiskey.”

Cora whispered, “Whiskey.” She spoke again, a bit louder. “I like it. Are you well-aged, slow and smooth? Or are you young and rough, burning your way down?”

She attempted a little bravado. “I can be either. What do you have in mind?”

The two women laughed, not unkindly. Fiona stepped backward, drawing Whiskey with her. “What I have in mind is to get you home. You need rest and food.”

Whiskey paused a moment longer. The women remained silent, not pushing, giving her time to think. They’d saved her from a life-threatening situation, whatever their reasons. Had they wanted to do her harm they’d already had the opportunity, yet rescued her instead. In her current state, Whiskey couldn’t protect herself. The thought of strapping on her pack, and lugging it to the youth club, Tallulah’s, caused her knees to quiver in preemptive weakness. The shelters were closed, she had no options for medical attention, and she seriously needed to eat something and sleep as Fiona suggested.

On a more calculating level, Whiskey knew that at least one of these people had outrageous amounts of money. She couldn’t deny the allure of hanging out for a while despite the alarm bells clanging in her head. Maybe some of that cash would trickle down to her. It could simply be a case of a hard-core group of rich bitches wanting to piss off their parents by socializing with a street kid. Although that didn’t explain how they had handled themselves.

With a single nod of her head, she allowed herself to be helped into the car.

“Come along, children,” Fiona called. “Let’s get my little
lamma
home for the nonce.”

Whiskey wondered where they’d put everyone. She sank into the backseat, the plush leather cushioning her aches, driving the thought from her mind.

Cora slipped in beside her. “Lean on me, Whiskey. Stretch out.”

Whiskey concentrated on finding some level of comfort for her bruised body. She didn’t note who got into the car until Fiona settled in the driver’s seat. Only Daniel had joined them. “Where are the others?” She peered out the window.

“As you know, Manuel was hungry.” Fiona shrugged as she started the car. “Bronwyn and Zebediah decided to join him for a bite to eat before coming home. Alphonse is keeping an eye on them.”

Whiskey saw Manuel in her mind, leaning over one of the boys they’d beaten. He’d gone after the one that got away.
Do these people believe they’re vampires?
The idea both intrigued and worried her. She’d read about people who thought that they needed human blood to live. She gave Cora a surreptitious glance, but didn’t see fangs. Whiskey had always been drawn to stories and movies about vampires, but she’d never been swayed to believe she had anything in common with them.
Other than a morbid curiosity and sense of humor. It’d be fun to pretend though. Maybe I’ll have a chance to play the game.

The city blurred past the passenger window. Cora produced a bottle of water from somewhere and, after Whiskey drank her fill, used the remainder to wet a piece of cloth. She gently cleaned Whiskey’s most apparent facial injuries. At first skittish with Cora’s proximity, exhaustion and pain took a toll on Whiskey’s ability to guard against danger. Her body relaxed into Cora’s, a distant part of her noting the softness of the woman’s figure. Her eyelids drooped.

“You must stay awake, Whiskey.” Cora shifted to rouse her. “You may have a concussion.”

Whiskey blinked and sat up a little, the movement causing her stomach muscles to throb in protest.

“Very true.” Fiona glanced at her in the rearview mirror. “We’ll have Doctor Daniel here have a look at you when we get you home.”

Whiskey looked at the blond punk in the passenger seat. “Doctor? He’s no older than me.”

Fiona laughed. “You’d be surprised, little
lamma
. Our Daniel has a medical doctorate. Certainly you know better than to judge someone by appearances alone.”

A stab of jealousy soured Whiskey’s curiosity. Paul and his crew were privileged assholes, but eventually they’d get into a fix from which their parents’ money couldn’t rescue them. Whiskey had a suspicion that Fiona’s pack didn’t have that problem.
God, what would it be like to have the money and the parental support to become a doctor at eighteen or nineteen?
The idea simply amazed her. She knew that not everyone had loving parents, they were an extreme rarity in her world. They did exist, though, and she studied Daniel’s profile. Did he rebel against his parents by dressing and acting like this? Maybe he hadn’t wanted to become a doctor, and that’s why he hung with Fiona. She felt a faint wash of disgust.
Spoiled. What a fucking waste.

Fiona guided the car off the road and into a driveway. A garage door widened, brightening the darkness. She pushed herself up to see where they were, falling back with a groan. “Shit, that hurts.”

Fiona laughed as she shut down the engine. “We’re home, children. Let’s get our visitor inside and comfortable.”

With creaky movements, Whiskey disengaged herself from Cora’s lap, trying to keep from expressing how much pain she felt. Looking out the window, she anticipated some wildly decorated flophouse, a la
The Lost Boys
movie. Instead she beheld an immaculate three-car garage. A black Porsche skulked next to the Lexus, low-slung and gleaming danger in every curve. Past that a fleet of Ducatis and Triumphs crouched on their kickstands, ready for action.

The car door behind her opened, and Cora eased out of the backseat. She helped Whiskey swing around and exit the vehicle, once more supporting her. Whiskey still couldn’t straighten, but at least her knees had stopped shaking.

Fiona tossed the keys to Daniel. “Get her things and bring them into the house.” She took Whiskey’s free hand, and escorted her toward a door. “Welcome to our humble home, my
lamma
. I hope it’s to your liking.”

“Why do you keep calling me that? What’s it mean?”

She received an enigmatic smile in response. “It’s just a pet name from the old country, sweetness. Something I picked up from my family.”

The house substantiated Whiskey’s assumptions about Fiona’s wealth. Tasteful wood and marble marked every surface. The vast kitchen held the latest quality appliances. A polished dining table gleamed under decorative light. Fiona had to be bucking parental authority by bringing her here. Whiskey wondered when Mommy or Daddy was expected home. Her mouth watered at the sight of a bowl of fruit artfully placed in the center of the table. It’d been hours since she’d eaten. Her stomach growled in distress even as it spasmed with sickness.

Fiona released Whiskey’s hand. She reached for a banana, and handed it to her. “You should be able to eat this without much pain. Daniel, why don’t you bring her things to the guest room, and get your medical bag.”

Daniel’s unspiked mohawk hung over his eyes in a dark blond mop. He was dressed completely in latex and his tank shirt stretched low enough across his chest to reveal an intricate medallion and chain tattooed across his skin. He sauntered by the women, Whiskey’s pack on his shoulder, and disappeared into the next room.

As much as she wanted to eat, she couldn’t peel the banana. Cora supported her under one arm, and Fiona had reclaimed the other hand. Her queasy stomach bitched at her.
Just as well. I’d probably throw it up. Maybe later.

“Shall we?” Fiona led the way through a living room just as richly adorned as the kitchen and dining area. Plush leather dominated the room, with a wet bar in one corner. A couple of game systems and stereo speakers were hooked up to a large screen television. They passed the front entry and stairway to continue down a long hall as Fiona kept speaking. “I believe I could tempt you with a shower if Daniel deems it safe, yes?”

Swallowing, Whiskey fought a blush. The boys who’d grabbed her had commented that she stank. It’d been days since she’d been able to do more than wash in a public restroom. Showering at the Youth Consortium meant leaving her belongings unguarded and subject to theft. It was much easier and safer to let nature take its course. Fiona didn’t seem to mean anything snide by her question, however, and Whiskey nodded. “That’d be cool.”

“I’m sure Cora would be delighted to assist you in that endeavor.” Fiona gave Whiskey a knowing smile.

Fiona threw open a door and gestured for her to enter. The “guest room” was, in actuality, a suite decorated in white and crimson. Polished dark wood, contrasted with the color scheme, shone in the light of a crackling fireplace. Whiskey stared around her, unable to take it all in.

“As you can see, this is the sitting area. Through there is the bedroom.” Fiona gestured through an archway toward a vast bed with an intricate iron frame. She led Whiskey to a door. “But I must say that the bathroom is a religious experience.”

BOOK: The Strange Path
7.03Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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