Dark Skies Looming Over: Chapter Three
Sorry it took me a while to post the next chapter. I’m trying to catch up with the most recent installment, and the editing is taking me forever. Thank you so much to those of you who have read, reblogged, faved the story, or commented! I really appreciate you taking the time to check out my story.
So for those wondering about him, here’s a little insight into Luke’s head. This chapter will have a few minor edits later, but nothing that will change the plot.
Title: Dark Skies Looming Over
Author: Esoteric Fallacy
Warnings: Prostitution, Violence, Language, Sex, Drugs, etc.
Previous Chapters: ONE TWO
Summary: Adam is a jaded, cynical man who sees the world in shades of gray, until troubled Luke stumbles into his life and inadvertently drags him into a bizarre, twisted place full of things Adam never believed could exist.
The tingle started in Luke’s fingers, then slowly crept up his arm. He’d felt the first sparks two days earlier, but until now he’d managed to convince himself that it was just the cold, his skin going numb from the rain. His hair was still wet from the last downpour, and he knew not to count on it drying before the floodgates burst again—not with the air still heavy with the smell of atmosphere, the sky still ominous and gray. It would be just his luck if he got sick out here. He hoped that before the weather acted up again he was off the street. Or out of the whole fucking city altogether. The truth was, that was starting to look less and less likely.
Luke had been on edge all morning, even after two cigarettes—his last two, which just made everything worse. It was like the start of the world’s worst hangover; even the patches of murky, cloud-filtered sunlight were grating on his nerves. The streets were alive with their usual sounds: traffic, dogs barking, pedestrians cursing at one another. It was nothing Luke wasn’t used to, but the noise was particularly chaotic that afternoon. Mostly… because of the trees. City trees were so loud. Swaying, rustling. Whispering.
Luke set his jaw and popped the tab on a lukewarm coke, focusing on the carbonated burn as it hit his tongue. He couldn’t let his thoughts get away from him. Had to stay calm. Had to keep breathing. He’d been expecting this; after flying high for weeks, he’d just been robbed of his wings. There was no telling how long it would take before he struck the ground, but he knew it had been at least five days since his last hit. Only a matter of time before the effects wore off and he was faced with the consequences.
Angel Blood. Sweet as it was deadly. The drug was highly regulated and almost impossible to find outside of the Underground. This, of course, posed a slight problem for Luke. From around the age of nine he hadn’t gone more than 72 hours without the stuff, and experience had taught him that if there were anything more likely to kill you than riding AB, it was coming off of it. Not that he’d gone through it himself, but he’d witnessed it enough. Like something straight out of a schizophrenic nightmare. Luke was fortunate he’d gone as long as he had without feeling any symptoms. He’d expected a brutal crash after the first three days, but the more time that passed, the more Luke had wondered if perhaps his withdrawal would actually delay long enough to allow him to make it out of the city. Stupid, wishful thinking, but that was really all he had anymore.
All around him, vendors called to passersby from street corners, thrusting their goods at any potential customer within an arm’s reach. The smell of hotdogs wafted through the air, making Luke’s mouth water. On cue, his stomach belted out a growl, demanding to be fed. Too bad Luke didn’t have the cash, or the energy, to make off with one of the nearby snacks. Sighing, he fished around in his pocket to see what he had. A protein bar and half a bag of fun-size Doritos left over from what he’d shop lifted two days earlier; wasn’t exactly the breakfast of champions. Luke’s last real meal had been roughly three days prior, and he wasn’t sure when he’d have another. Unfortunately, chances were he was going to have to hit another gas station, which didn’t exactly thrill him. If Luke had planned this… vacation… he would have brought a back pack full of food, water, a change of clothes, maybe even a decent pair of shoes if he could manage it. But the trip had been the worst kind of impromptu: no time for packing, and certainly no time for ruing that fact now.
That in mind, he needed to rest while he had the chance. He was currently fairly far from Damien’s territory, and the streets weren’t flooding up to his shins; it was the best situation he had at the moment. If he could sleep on the ground without drowning, he had to do it right away, before that changed. Luke was well aware that he needed to keep running if he ever expected to get out of Wyrmwold Flats, but he’d been on the move since dawn, and he wouldn’t make it much farther if he were exhausted. There was no telling when he’d get another chance to relax, especially with the way his senses were starting to fizzle. Besides, it was getting a little harder to think with the building cacophony in his ears…
Maybe luck would suddenly shine on him and he would find another safe place to crash where no one could strike him while he was vulnerable. If he could get off the streets for a few days, it might give him enough time to sober up before he started running again. Of course, he figured he’d sooner meet some guy in a suit offering him a million bucks. Luke wasn’t an idiot. He knew that that opportunity several days back had been a fluke. There weren’t many people in the city as generous, or as stupid, as the guy he’d met that night. …Adam. Yeah, that was it. Some Mother Theresa wannabe. Or maybe he was just a few sandwiches short of a picnic basket. Luke wasn’t sure. For all he knew, the guy could have been some sort of religious type trying to add points to his “get into heaven free” punch card.
It was pretty amazing, though, that the man had offered a no-strings-attached helping hand and hadn’t gone back on his word. That was something Luke hadn’t experienced for a long, long while, mostly because he didn’t know many people with that sort of personality. What they referred to in the Underground as “a dead man’s survival skills.”
It wasn’t that Luke didn’t appreciate what Adam had done, but even he knew a bad decision when he saw one. People who lived on the streets had to survive one way or another. Luke was opportunistic, just like anyone else would be. Come morning, he’d dug around for whatever valuables he could find. A wallet, any electronics lying around, but the living room was pretty barren. Of course, there was that picture frame beside the phone. It had stood out to Luke among the others on the wall. Those were cheap—nickle or stainless steel, even plastic. The one on the end table had definitely been silver. He knew because Damien had a taste for sharp, pointy things, and silver happened to be his favorite flavor. Over time, Luke had developed an eye for it and could pick it out from less valuable metals.
The thought of Damien made Luke grit his teeth. His hand traveled to his throat automatically and he tenderly touched the still healing bruises there. The image of that sneering face in his mind was almost enough to make Luke vomit. It put a bad taste in his mouth and he took another swig of his soda as if he could wash it out. A million rage-filled scenarios began to flood Luke’s mind, but he did his best to shove them down; he couldn’t lose himself in his emotions right now.
Meanwhile, all around him life was going on like it was nothing. Luke watched as people laughed and chatted outside of shops, hurried down the sidewalk with cell phones to their ears, jogged with dogs on leashes. Across the street, some high school kids were horsing around in front of a small cafe. They were probably around Luke’s age, but they looked so much younger to him. Cleaner, too, and happy. Secure. They wouldn’t be looking for a place to sleep tonight.
Luke’s mind traveled to Adam once more. In the end, he was glad he hadn’t taken the photo. It wasn’t the picture he’d wanted, of course; that frame would have probably earned him a penny or two at some seedy pawnshop. But he had felt a twinge of regret when he’d considered robbing the dumb sonofabitch who’d probably saved his life that evening. Luke was no saint, but even he could appreciate genuine compassion. It had been a while since anyone had been good to him without an ulterior motive.
Distantly, Luke wondered what that man was doing now. He didn’t know anything about the guy—just what he could assess from the apartment, and the fact that he was letting a strange kid stay there for free. He’d probably forgotten about Luke by now, back to whatever it was he did in his day to day life. Luke almost laughed as he recalled the sexual favor he’d offered the man in his half-drugged state. He had been so high, he probably would have sucked at it anyway. In retrospect, Adam probably had a girlfriend or something and was currently trying to wash any “gay” cooties out of the sheets Luke had slept on. Not like straight guys hadn’t opted to use his mouth before, but he didn’t really expect that out of a do-gooder sort.
For a while there, Luke saw a lot of those: do-gooders. They had soup kitchens, and clothing drives, and porcelain, middle class smiles. All of them were more than willing to lend a hand. That is, until there was a risk of getting that hand dirty. Then there wasn’t a hint of that overly polished grin. No, Luke realized. Adam couldn’t be one of those. Maybe he was his own breed.
It was getting later, and Luke needed to figure out where he’d be crashing for the night. What he really wanted was to get a bus ticket straight out of Wyrmold Flats, sleep on the trip over. But bus tickets required money—money Luke didn’t have—and while shop lifting was simple enough to pull off, he wasn’t about to try holding up a register.
There was, of course, one other way he could earn a little money, but the thought alone made his stomach twist in nerves. There weren’t many things Luke was good at, but he did know how to get a stranger off. Men were willing to pay a decent price for that; the city was crawling with ticks ready to suck him dry. However, though Luke didn’t exactly love the work, that wasn’t what had him so uneasy. Sucking a few dicks, fucking a few strangers—that was a small price to pay to get the hell out of the city. Lord new if he went back now he’d be doing the exact same thing. Minus a few teeth after Damien got a hold of him. But there were serious risks at taking clients now that he’d run off on his own.
For one thing, Luke wasn’t familiar with this part of the city. It could be someone’s territory, and he wasn’t prepared to deal with an angry pimp or whatever else might be prowling about. Then there was the fact that he wasn’t sure what the cops were like around here, and it would be very, very, bad if he got arrested. Unfortunately, it was even more risky to return to his usual neighborhoods. It wasn’t like there would be “missing” signs posted everywhere, but there’d certainly be people who knew the Underground was looking for him. He was fifty times more likely to be spotted at one of his old haunts.
The tingling in Luke’s fingers was now more of an itching burn, and it stretched from his arms over his chest, a painful reminder of how precious his time was becoming. He couldn’t just keep wandering through the city; if Luke didn’t leave soon, he’d be trapped forever. That meant finding money as quickly as possible. Eventually Luke would have to make a decision; he just hoped it wouldn’t be the wrong one.
Across the street, a car came to a screeching halt as one of the teens from the cafe was sent flying across the asphalt. People crowded around the boy all at once, causing a commotion as someone called an ambulance. Luke stayed where he was, just watching with a sick feeling in his gut; it was a cold dread creeping from the bottom of his stomach up into his throat. Luke wasn’t superstitious—he didn’t believe in omens, good or bad. But that didn’t quiet the nagging voice in the back of his mind. The one that told him he wasn’t getting out of this town. That he was stupid for trying. That this was just delaying the inevitable.
Sirens sounded in the distance, but Luke knew the boy was already dead.
He finished his coke and moved on.
Luke woke with a jolt and was greeted by pain shooting through his entire body. The night had not been kind to him, and by day six what had previously been distant withdrawal symptoms was now white agony and crippling nausea. His eyes focused, and he was overcome with a sensation like his body being torn to pieces by fire ants: little legs and mandibles and bites covering his skin. So much for tingling. Luke’s clothing was damp, from the night’s rain or his own sweat. He had camped out beside an empty dumpster and covered himself with some discarded rags, but they were all gone now, probably thrown off in his feverish sleep. Even with his clothing wet, he was burning up; his blood was like lava in his veins.
Somehow, Luke managed to roll onto his belly and crawl to his feet. He leaned against the alley wall, catching his breath. Then he was on the sidewalk with no memory of how he’d gotten there. The sun was beating down on him, so hot that it felt like it was right beside him. There were still several heavy clouds in the sky, but not enough to block out those burning rays. He could feel their weight, like they were trying to smother him. Luke grabbed his hair and tugged as hard as he could, focusing on the sharp pain to stop himself from breaking down. He wasn’t losing it. He wasn’t.
People on the sidewalk gave him a wide berth as he stumbled around aimlessly; they kept their heads down, avoiding eye contact, though Luke hardly noticed them. He had to focus on where he was going, but for some reason he couldn’t exactly remember where that was. Now and then, Luke stopped to wipe the sweat from his forehead with the back of his sleeve and catch his breath, which now felt thick and heavy in his lungs. Every step was taking so much energy, like he’d never walked before. At some point, his feet decided he’d had enough, and he found himself lying on the ground, half curled into a fetal position and completely ignorant of his location. In a brief moment of lucidity, he realized someone had placed a dollar in his hand, and he looked around, eyes burning from the light. Everything was starting to look painfully sharp, and the whispers and voices were a jumbled, constant hum—deafening white noise. His head felt like it was going to burst, and his stomach was growling angrily.
Food. He needed food, that was all. Once he’d managed to sit up, he noticed a fast food joint nearby; a dollar wouldn’t get him far, but it would get him something. It was just a matter of standing, which Luke eventually pulled off after a few tries—then he was dragging his feet, his shoes hardly protecting him from the sharp stabs of gravel. They were old, that was why. If only he had a better pair. Something that protected his skin, made walking easier. It was the damn tennis shoes that were causing him to trip and weave. They were like cinder blocks on his feet.
Suddenly Luke was in the fast food restaurant, ordering a dollar burger. He had no recollection of coming up to the counter, but he didn’t take the order back, shakily handing the bill to the skeptical cashier. The kid looked Luke over warily, then put the bill in the register, mumbling something about tax, before digging a few cents out of the penny cup. Luke didn’t have the energy to reply.
The lapses in time were growing worse. He had the burger. He struggled to eat it. It was gone. He was in the bathroom. He was slumped down on the floor. Everything was happening so quickly, Luke could hardly comprehend what was going on. The door was locked. He double checked, then he leaned into it, resting his forehead against the cool, fake wood.
The walls were vibrating, pulsating, closing in around him. He realized with a start that they were going to crush him, and he tried to press himself against the door in fear. Tried to make himself as small as possible. But then his organs started coming up through his mouth, through his nose. He smacked his hand over his lips, but he couldn’t hold them in.
It wasn’t his organs, though. It was what he’d just eaten, and he doubled over the toilet just in time to lose everything that he’d possibly consumed within the last 24-hours. When that was gone, it was nothing but bile, and even when the bile was gone he dry heaved, his fingers digging into the porcelain beneath him until they turned white.
He couldn’t breathe. The room kept swirling, and now the lights were dancing around him so quickly they made him nauseous. He tried to swat them away but they only moved faster, closing in on him like a vicious swarm of insects. He jerked away from the toilet, fumbling with the flusher before he staggered over to the sink and clung to it. It was all that was keeping him standing, like a crutch beneath him, his legs buckling. The water came out in loud gushes, but Luke dared to reach beneath it. When his fingers weren’t shattered, he splashed some on his face. The feeling of water cooling his skin made him groan; it was at once relieving and painful and he dug his fingers into his cheeks to ground himself. This was punishment; it was eating him from the inside out.
When he could open his eyes again, Luke gazed into the mirror at the frightened, ill-looking young man staring back at him. His eyes were blood shot and swollen, dark bags beneath them. His skin was so pale he looked dead, and he was dripping with sweat like he’d been running for miles. Luke’s mouth looked funny. It was moving in the mirror, like it was trying to say something, but he wasn’t aware of any words on his end. He tried to make a sound but nothing came out. Instead, colors like disjointed music poured from the mouth of his reflection; the image began to twist and warp, spreading from beyond the mirror to the walls and the ceilings until everything Luke saw was deformed. The colors were violent and aggressive. They meant to kill him.
Luke stumbled back quickly enough to hit the wall rather hard. It knocked the wind out of him and he froze, gasping for breath. Unable to move, he sunk to the ground, trembling so violently he could hardly see. Back and forth he rocked, head in his hands as the world assaulted him, unrelenting. A sudden, sharp knock at the door momentarily broke through the haze and Luke screamed something in retaliation— though he couldn’t be sure what. The knocking stopped.
The flashes of blinding color came and went, and Luke waited it out in the bathroom with no sense of time. When he’d finally managed to pull himself off of the floor and head back out, it was already dark. Luke was granted a few more lucid minutes, and as his body rebelled, as it tried to shut him down and leave him quivering on the floor, he realized there was no way in hell he was getting out of here without another dose of Angel Blood. He couldn’t continue like this. Especially not with people more cunning than himself on his tail. There were no safe places, no hide outs where he could wait for the drugs to leave his system. He’d been kidding himself, such a fool.
No more room for deliberating now. He needed the cash. He needed the drugs. And there was only one place he could go.
Luke’s fingers twitched with electric shocks as he stumbled down the street. Every breath was needles assaulting his lungs; every step made his empty belly feel like it was filled with glass. Of all the pain Luke had experienced in his short life, this was beyond compare. In the back of his mind, he feared that he may be driven half-mad before he could find relief.
The sun had set hours earlier, but the many street lights and neon signs kept the area looking bright as daytime. There was a slew of clubs along the strip, and pounding techno music flooded out to the street as Luke passed. He ignored the crowds of people, partly because he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, and partly because if he didn’t focus on walking, he might topple over. He didn’t even have the energy to fear his decision to return to his usual territory. The rationale from the day before was still in there somewhere, still shouting at him to turn back while he could, but it was nearly drowned out by the chaos in his ears, in his mind. Now all he had was an agonizing need for AB; never had he craved something so badly. He deliriously wondered if he wouldn’t be willing to sever one of his own limbs to get the stuff. Now if only he could find it.
Building, building, building. They all looked the same. They passed like yellow dashes on the road, whirring by in a blur of color with no clear definition or outline. Somewhere… Somewhere nearby, someone was holding. He could feel it. It had to be close, close enough for him to get to it before the clock ran out. Before he collapsed. Before he ceased to breathe.
Then, like the arms of God embracing him, Luke’s eyes landed on a familiar face outside of Reuben’s Diner. Pure mercy. Or pity. He didn’t care. There were so many other people he could have run into in front of that place, so many he did not want to meet; but it was Shark, the friend he hadn’t even seen in months, who greeted him with a perplexed and disturbed look. Luke tried to speak, tried to beg his friend for help, but his voice refused. Then his legs were giving out beneath him, and it was an entirely new set of arms holding him up. Through the haze, he barely heard Shark’s panicked questions. What’s wrong with you? What did you do? Jesus, Luke, you’re gonna get us both killed.
None of that mattered right now. He held out his arm. His scarred arm, where a needle had pierced him time and time again. It wasn’t the only way—he’d taken the stuff in so many forms. But this was fast, potent, brutal. He couldn’t puke it back up if it was shot straight into his blood stream.
Another lapse in time. They were in an alleyway now, behind the diner. It stank like old french fries and rotting vegetables. He’d been tied off above the elbow. Luke was nearly limp against Shark’s body, arm half raised as his friend searched for a vein, fumbling with the needle with shaking hands. When Shark couldn’t hold him up anymore, Luke slumped over, face pressed into the dirty alleyway ground. It had a distinct, memorable flavor: gasoline and filth.
“Shit, boy,” Shark breathed, still struggling with the syringe. He shifted his knees so that he could pin Luke’s arm into place. “Come on, don’t wiggle around.”
There was a prick, then a familiar burn. Not like that morning—this wasn’t lava. This was so hot it was cold, and when Shark ripped the rubber tie away, it washed over him like a wave, hit him all at once. What had been pure agony almost immediately morphed into pleasure so intense he would have vomited again had his stomach not been empty. His body writhed in Shark’s arms as the drug was reintroduced to his system; firm hands held him up, kept him steady so that he didn’t bite off his tongue. Shark had done this way too many times.
“FUCK!” Luke screamed when his mouth worked again. He opened his eyes and didn’t even need a mirror to know they were fully dilated; even light trickling out from the dirty window above them burned, and he inhaled sharply, pressing his palms against them. The rush was always intense, but after being deprived of it for so long, it hit twice as hard.
“Shit, man,” Shark said, pushing away from Luke and lighting a cigarette. “What the hell you thinkin’?”
Even though he could move his mouth again, the rest of his body took a while to adjust. Luke rocked on the ground as he waited to regain control of his muscles, his fingers, his toes. It was all coming back, little by little, and the torment from before was becoming a fuzzy memory.
“…Fuck,” Luke whispered again, but this time the word had a whole new meaning.
“Damn straight. That’s the good stuff, too. Not that you deserve it.”
They sat like that in the alley for a bit while Luke gasped and panted like a drowning victim brought to shore. His fingers dug into the asphalt, but now it was to ground himself, rather than to distract himself from the pain. There was no describing the way AB made him feel; he could just lie there for hours if he were allowed it. But after a while, Luke managed to pick himself up from the ground, weaving on shaky legs as he brushed himself off. “…You…”
That was all he said, but Shark nodded. “It’s cool, baby. We look out for each other, eh?”
“Come on,” Shark gestured. “Guy in there? Marvin or whatev, he don’t care if you use the kitchen. You can clean up in the sink, too—cause boy, you smell like shit.”
Luke silently followed Shark inside, past a heap of garbage waiting to be taken out, into a sketchy looking kitchen where two people were cooking without gloves or hair nets. Over in the corner, a guy was half washing some stained dishes.
“Use that one,” Shark said, referring to a large, empty sink. Luke didn’t need to be told twice. He was dying for a shower and this was close enough. There was only dish soap, but it was better than no soap at all, and Luke poured a large amount of it into his palm. Hard enough to turn his skin red, Luke scrubbed the residue of his withdrawal from his body. He wanted no memory of that experience. No hint that it had ever happened. When he was clean, Luke noticed that Shark had made him a plate of leftovers from unfinished orders, and he assaulted it before he could show any appreciation for the gesture. Luke was absolutely starving, and now that he could keep it down, there was no stopping him.
An hour passed. Luke’s belly was full, and his skin was no longer crawling. The cool night air felt so good, and he sucked it in like he wouldn’t get another chance. This sense of calm was almost enough to convince Luke he’d made it through the worst of it; unfortunately, now that he could breathe, the reality of the situation was starting to sink in. Coming back had been a very bad idea. Of course, he hadn’t really had much of a choice—the withdrawal was still fresh enough in his mind to remind him that he had been nuts for thinking he could make it without the stuff.
“I need a little more. Just a dose. Maybe two,” he said, reaching over to snatch a cigarette from between Shark’s lips and inhaling deeply.
“You think I just carry around a suitcase full of AB? That was my last one until Wednesday.”
“Whether it’s from you or someone else, I just need it. I’ll do whatever it takes to get it, but I gotta get it fast. Don’t know how much time I got left.”
“Shit, man,” Shark sighed, shaking his head. “I don’t wanna see you dead, you idiot.”
“What the fuck you think, bitch?” Shark snapped, incredulous. “You think I always fuck around with runaways who got drug lords chasin’ after ‘em? This ain’t no goddamn charity.”
He snatched back the cigarette and took a long drag that burned halfway through the white paper.
“Then tell me where to get it outside of the Underground. I can’t get outta here alive without it.”
Shark took another drag and released it in a heavy cloud of smoke. He didn’t look at Luke, and the silence suggested there wouldn’t be an answer this time. Not that anyone could blame him. If Shark got caught helping Luke escape, he’d be in as much shit as Luke already was.
“It’s risky goin’ out there right now.”
Luke shrugged. “Shark, I gotta get outta here. We both kow Damien’s been looking for me, so no doubt other people know, too.”
Shark’s eyes darkened and he nodded. “Yeah… Rumor’s been goin’ round.”
A sick feeling settled in Luke’s gut, and he scratched at his arms though they no longer itched. “Come on, man. Just an ounce or two to tide me over til I’m outta the city limits. Just tell me where to go. You don’t even gotta come with.”
“No,” Shark replied. “No, I do gotta come with. Ain’t no one givin’ anything to your skinny white ass. You think these fuckin’ pasty cokeheads know how to get Angel Blood? Fuck no, you need to talk to Los Diablos. You think they trust someone like you? Shit, you don’t even speak Spanish, do you?”
Luke stared at Shark breathing slowly and deliberately to stave off panic. Finding Shark had been pure luck. There was no telling whether or not he’d be able to find more AB on his own. It could take days, and Luke didn’t have that much time.
Shark sighed, dropping his cigarette and crushing it with his foot. “Come on then.” He pushed away from the wall and gestured toward the street. “But gotta hurry. I ain’t gettin’ my ass beat just cause you decided to be stupid.”
Shark was rightfully upset, and Luke half-wondered what he’d done to deserve this help. Sure, there were certain loyalties developed in the Underground, but the general rule was to watch your own back. Of course, Shark had been around for years, almost as long as Luke could remember; maybe they were growing a little fond of one another. Feelings like that weren’t necessary for survival, though, and neither of them ever brought it up.
Under the streetlights again, the chit-chatting ceased, and Shark led the way. Luke did his best to keep calm, to stop thinking about the eyes of the city, little lapdogs in suits. Once they were in front of the diner, Luke was shocked to see how far he’d actually walked. Amazing how being half out of his mind could take away so many hours. All that time stuck in his head had been like a dream. It was a miracle he’d found the right place, and in one piece. “You ever come off that shit before?” Luke murmured, like an afterthought.
Shark shrugged. “Yeah, maybe. Don’t remember. Not something I usually have to worry about, you know?”
Shark was comfortable where he was; but then, Shark was good at playing by the twisted little rules. He dodged the system, blended in with the background—a total pro. And he didn’t have someone like Damien looking after him. “Nothing special,” the man had called him once. Damien probably didn’t realize how much of a compliment that was.
“We’re goin’ down a buncha alleyways, got it? You gonna follow me, and don’t talk. I’ll do the talking. And shit can you put on a sweat shirt or something? That fuckin’ hair of yours, it’s like a goddamn flare gun.”
Luke reached up and pulled his hair back, not that it did much good. He’d have to dye it eventually, anything to help him blend in. But he didn’t exactly have the time right now.
“There’s these guys, see? Real suspicious. Gotta keep your mouth shut and—”
Shark stopped mid-sentence and Luke looked up. For a minute, his brain froze, refusing to tell him what he was seeing like that would somehow protect him.
Shark put a hand on Luke’s chest.
Luke spun around to make a break for it, but there were several cars closing in around them. All black, dark windows. Luke didn’t have to see inside to know who it was. He backed away from Shark, spotting an opening near the diner entrance, but before he could slip out, a car flew in front of him, blocking him. The door flew open, and a greasy, stocky sleaze stepped out, sunglasses at night and everything.
“Yo, Dag,” Shark called. “Bringing back the 80s?”
There was a cool grin on his face that didn’t reach his eyes. There, Luke could only see nervousness and justifiable fear. Shark didn’t try to run. Neither did Luke, now. He stood a few feet away from Dag, frozen in his spot like he was trying to blend in with the scenery. Dag didn’t waste any time. He ignored Shark and went straight for Luke, serious as a rattle snake. “The fuck you think you’re doing, you little bastard?” he snarled.
“Stay the fuck away from me!” Luke shouted as if he could do anything to stop the man.
“Both of you, in the fucking car. NOW!” Straight to the point—there was no playing around. This was going to be a quick conversation, but like hell was Luke going to make it easy for the guy. Shark, on the other hand, wasn’t up for fighting. He was already halfway in the vehicle when Luke spoke again.
“Leave this guy alone. What the fuck you want with him? He ain’t runnin’!”
“Shut up!” Dag grabbed Luke by the arm and jerked him forward like he was a child. “Get in the mother fuckin’ car before I knock you the fuck out.”
Luke tugged once but didn’t fight the grip. It was painful enough when he just stood there, and he suspected there would be bruises after Dag let go.
“Fuck your mother,” he offered, helpfully.
“Ain’t my mother needs to worry about being fucked,” Dag said. “Now get in the fuckin’ car before I beat your ass so bad, Damien won’t have no choice but to kill you. I swear to god I will break your fuckin’ ribs, Luke. Don’t you fuckin’ test me.”
A sneer rose on Luke’s face, and some more pretty words were about to spill from his lips, when he was suddenly hit with a strange sensation. Someone was watching him. Given the circumstances, it was a little odd that he was more distracted by that feeling than he was the fact that he was about to piss his pants in fear. It was like a bolt of lightning straight to his chest, and he looked over instinctively.
“Shit.” There was no way. No fucking way. But there he stood—that guy from before, Adam.
Luke didn’t know how the fuck the guy had spotted him out of all the people in the city, how they’d ended up in the exact same place twice. But as quick as he saw him, he realized that didn’t matter. What mattered was that Adam had signed a death warrant the moment he let Luke stay with him. If Damien knew the guy would recognize Luke, it was all over. Enough said. He wasn’t the sentimental sort, but there was no denying what the man had done for him.
“Fine, let’s go,” Luke murmured. Shark scrambled inside with barely enough time to shoot Luke a ‘what the fuck’ look. It wasn’t like they were getting out of this anyway; Luke wasn’t going to get that guy killed in the process. Loyalties and all. Maybe he was starting to hand those out too easily.
Dag was too busy puffing out his chest to notice Adam, thankfully, and a moment later they were in the car, speeding away. Luke didn’t dare look back.
“You’re gonna get it, you little bitch.”
“Probably,” Luke said. “But not from you.”
Dag raised his hand sharply, rage in his eyes, but Luke met his gaze with that same stubborn defiance. He could practically taste how badly the man wanted to strike him, but he didn’t turn away. They stared at one another for a few tense seconds, then the expression on Dag’s face faltered and the hand withdrew. Without another word, Dag faced forward, bitterly. He knew better.
*Thanks for reading!*
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