“Oh, those guys. Of course she knows everything, the Artists have all that weird shit happening to them all the time,” Daisha comments.
Ash opens her mouth to say something, but a guy with very unkempt blonde hair runs toward the group. “Daisha! Abyss and Inferno have found us!” he shouts, sliding to a stop.
“Fuck.” Ash says.
“Yeah, fuck is right Ashley. Give the new girl and gun, grab yours and let’s go.” Daisha snaps, leading the others outside.
Ash grabs a duffel bag with one hand and my arm with another as we sprint out of Horizon Center, running as fast as possible.
Once outside, the problem becomes clear. At least thirty police cars, with painted flames, are forming a semi-circle around the front door. Maybe five black sports cars are inside the ring. “The entire groups must be here… This is bad.” Ash mutters, dropping the bag on the pavement.
We crouch down, and she unzips it. Quickly, Ash pulls out a handgun and presses it into my palm. Then she grabs a second. It has purple and white streaks of paint. Clearly her personal weapon. “Come on. If you don’t know how to shoot, I’ll teach you as we fight. If you do, that’s great. So, do you know how to?” we begin to walk towards the rest of the group.
“I think so,” I say, gripping the gun really tightly and pulling the trigger. A bullet shoots right into the windshield of one of the cop cars, shattering the glass.
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Horizon takes that as a signal to start fighting. So do Inferno and Abyss. “Good job Mesa. Now, let’s kick some ass.” Ash laughs, running into the fight.
As I shoot the handgun out into the crowds of Inferno and Abyss members I see Daisha, her hands wrapped around her baseball bat, completely bash in someone’s skull, blood spraying all over her bat and arms. The person she’s killing flies around 40 feet through the air and onto the windshield of another police car, breaking it. Daisha smirks at me before swinging her bat around to hit another person.
I shoot down an Abyss girl, who looks somewhat familiar. Probably some bitch from the Republic. Or maybe the cult I grew up in. I don’t care.
As my bullet pierces through her chest I see her eyes, angered but familiar, so familiar. I can’t dwell on this, I think.
Just as some Abyss member puts a knife in my back.
I black out before I hit the pavement.
Several Hours Later
I sit as Daisha stitches the cut in Mesa’s back, then wraps bandages around her torso. She snips what she used away from the roll, and tapes the wrap around her down. “There. She should wake up within in the next day or so. Come on, we need to see if the guys have gotten any where with the interrogations.”
Daisha walks out of the small room we put Mesa in, and I follow her. The mall is deserted, with most of Horizon outside burying dead Inferno and Abyss members in a nearby park. The ones that aren’t are with the captured leaders of the groups. Which is where we’re headed.
The captured leaders are tied up in the mall plaza near a set of escalators and a busted fountain.
We stop at a railing which overlooks this area.
Two Abyss leaders. Faithe Bone, 23 year old founder. Her red hair is in a messy bun atop her head. She’s in a heated argument with an Inferno leader. Miles Bone, 23 year old co-founder. Faithe’s twin brother. His hair, which is the same red as his sister’s, was gelled back during the fight. Now it’s a complete mess. He’s sitting quietly, watching his sister yell.
Three Inferno leaders. Demetria Lawson, 19 year old admin. She’s the one arguing with Faithe, yelling and thrashing about, causing her bright blue hair to fly into her face. Moe Lucas, 27 year old admin. He’s waiting for Demetria to shut up. And finally Thane Ware, the 30 year old founder of Inferno.
Thane, with scars covering his face and eyes turned as black as night. Thane, with tattoos covering his arms and that plastic surgery that sharpened his teeth. Thane, smirking and staring directly at me. Thane, speaking in a dark and raspy voice, saying things that I could never begin to understand. Thane. One of the corrupted.
My hand reaches for my gun, but Daisha shoots me a withering glare. “No. Not yet Ash.”
“But he’s… one of the Corrupted, please, Daisha, listen to me, Mesa said-”
“Mesa,” Daisha pointed out, “is bandaged up in the dressing room of an old Forever 21 with my little sister guarding her unconscious body. It doesn’t matter what she said, or what she knows, or what she knew, or what she thought. Right now the only thing about her that matters is the possibility of her death.”
“Oliver is real, Daisha. Mesa has spoken to her-”
“Daisha, why are you doing this? Why won’t you listen to me?”
“Because, honestly, I think you trust this mysterious new girl more than you trust me,” Daisha said. “She could be lying to us, she probably is lying to us, and you trust her more than me and your better judgement. So please. Just shut up and let me run things.”
I scoff loudly, cross my arms, and look away.
Actually, I don’t just look away, I run away, right in the direction of that Forever 21 where Mesa is.
I hear Daisha make a call, and just as I reach the doors, they slide shut and lock. Daisha’s sister waves cunningly at me from behind the glass.