Treading the Traitor’s Path: Out Bad, Neither This, Nor That, book #2
Excerpt, Out Bad
Po’Boy waited in silence, or as much silence as he could manage. It was hard and becoming more difficult by the second as the pressure on his hand increased. Twisting his neck, he looked, even as he told himself not to, and saw the balloon-like swelling of his fingers, skin stretched taut. Purple with pooling blood, he didn’t know how much more strain his flesh could take without bursting. For a moment he reconsidered the silent thing, because while screaming wouldn’t help, it couldn’t hurt.
The trap was simple, and elegant. Noose around his ankle, tight and secure, positioned where he couldn’t reach. It had been laid in a hallway, rag rug tossed over it to conceal the presence of the rope. All it took was him creeping through the darkness looking for Deuces, and a step in the wrong place. Snap, the trap tripped, and he’d been dragged down the hallway like a rabbit lure at hound races.
The one on his hand was harder to explain, but he remembered reaching out for something, anything to slow his terrifying rush up the hallway. Pulled to a jolting stop, his shoulder joint stretched to near breaking, anchored to a point somewhere along the path. Once the shock wore off, he’d looked up to see a thin wire wrapped around his hand and wrist. But the motor pulling on his leg hadn’t stalled. Oh, no. That bitch is quality machinery. Fuck. Hadn’t stopped and was actively pulling, whining as it worked overtime to continue its job. The wire around his wrist was small, thin, and looked disturbingly like a cheese slicer against his skin.
Images from text books ran through his mind, of men suspended from ropes, tied to four horses, one for each appendage. Drawn and quartered, but in his case he figured it was halved. The sound of the motor changed, nearly stalling, and he hoped this meant the clutch was giving out. Fucking finally. Then another sound rattled through the hallway, and he twisted his head to look towards the front of the building. Standing in the opening was a man. He wasn’t moving, was just standing there quietly. From the tilt of his head, Po’Boy knew he was looking down at him. Not moving, not jumping to help, not saying anything.
Not friend, then. Can’t hurt to ask. It did hurt like a motherfucker just to lay there, so asking was where he’d head.
“Little help?” Rough and hoarse from holding quiet for so long, Po’Boy watched as the man’s head swung back and forth, slowly. “Oh, come on, man. You can’t be fuckin’ serious.”
“As a heart attack,” the man told him, stepping forwards and into the light shining through a window in a room opening onto the hallway. Slender, with long red hair pulled low on his neck into a simple queue, the man looked like anyone you might pass on the street. Nondescript, dressed in clothes which wouldn’t pull someone’s gaze twice. He was everybody, and nobody. “You’re in quite the pickle, Po’Boy.”
Well, fuck. If he knows who I am, then I’m screwed. The motor whined and stuttered, then caught, and at the resulting yank, Po’Boy felt the cable around his hand break the skin, finally.
Copyright © 2017 – MariaLisa deMora
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