Sunday, March 18, 2007

Just 'cause - Chapter 11 - Escape

Rowena found herself standing in endless white, a room devoid of dimensions and texture like she had never seen. Everything in her head was blurry; she turned around to inspect her surroundings, but found nothing. On a hunch, she bowed down to touch the ground, but couldn't reach it - it was as if her feet were anchored in place, with her in the middle of an impossibly large, empty sphere of uniform whiteness.

Suddenly, there stood a silver surface before her, and she saw herself in the mirror-like surface; she appeared older, with hard lines tracing her cheekbones and jaw. Her dress was all one large shadow of blackness, and the longer she looked at herself, the more gaunt her face became, drained of life and spark to resemble nothing but a death's head. Shocked, her hands shot up, only for Rowena to feel the wetness on her skin; she looked down onto her hands to find them encased in smooth, black fabric, dripping blood. Her eyes shot back to the mirror; in it, she was holding two USPs and wore a smirk on her face.

"Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent," Mirror-Rowena said. "That's because competent people use it much earlier."
"I'm not like this," Rowena said.
"She's right, kid," came another voice, and the woman in the mirror was joined by Mark. Rowena couldn't help but notice how alike they looked. "Seems to me like we don't have much of a choice. Your Daddy's got plans, and he's making us dance. Kinda begs the question, doesn't it?"
"You'll say, 'what question?'. The question," Mirror-Rowena said, "has been on your mind for a long time."
"It's simple, really simple," Mirror-Mark added.

Rowena tried to look away, but she couldn't avert her eyes.

"What is Daddy hiding from us?" Mirror-Rowena asked.
"You see," Mirror-Mark said, "where I come from, havin' a Daddy means havin' a Mommy."


For a few seconds, Rowena wondered when Mark had started speaking German before she fully came to and realized several things:

a) that wasn't Mark,
b) her hands were cuffed behind her back,
c) that her current location was rather un-aircraft-like - in fact, it sounded and felt like the back of a truck tacking a dirt road, but Rowena didn't feel like opening her eyes and announcing her return to consciousness.

"Die Strasse wird wohl auch nicht kuerzer..."
"Hast wohl vergessen zu pissen?"
"Du kannst mich mal, Schmitt."
"Amuesier dich doch mit der Schlampe."

She realized that they were talking about having their way with her.

Rowena flinched a bit listening to that, but kept quiet. Judging from all the movies she'd seen, this should've been the point where her fragile female psyche shattered into a pile of shards, leaving her a sobbing, paralyzed mess - but instead, she only felt cold anger. She opened her eyes slowly, hoping to catch a glimpse of her guards; one man was sitting on a bench inside the cargo area of the truck, the other one was driving. Apparently, they didn't feel that she warranted a serious threat. It was time to prove them wrong.

She waited for the guards to resume talking, and just as she'd thought, the soldier's attention slipped away from her as he turned his head to face the driver's cabin up front. Rowena had to move fast; with well-practiced grace, she drew her legs in, slipped the cuffs under her feet and darted towards the rear without a sound. It took the guard a few seconds to realize something had happened.

"Halt an!" he shouted, and the truck stopped obediently; he hurried to the back of the truck and looked out, trying to spot Rowena; but all he saw was a flash before he was pulled up. Rowena was lying on top of the truck's softcover, using the cuffs to choke the guard. Without conscious thought, she sat up and whipped her legs around, then braced her feet against the structural beams below; she put her back into it, and her arms, and her legs.

Something snapped, and the guard was dead.

Rowena wasted no further time; she angled her fingers the way Mark had shown her and pulled, ignoring the pain as the cuffs stripped her skin, until she was free again. The driver made it to the back of the truck just in time to see the guard drop to the ground, the cuffs' chain still wrapped around his crushed windpipe; the driver pulled his sidearm and turned around, but that only served to rotate his face into Rowena's snap kick. He stumbled backwards, his weapon still ready; Rowena pushed forward, easily brushing his attempt at aiming the gun towards her off with her left arm. Her right arm showed a V as she went for the eyes, blinding the driver; without slowing down, she punched his nose with the flat palm of her left hand, then grabbed his shoulders and rammed her knee into his crotch. It was a testament to his toughness that the driver was still standing, though he was in no shape for a fight; Rowena took a step back, spun around and delivered a jaw-shattering roundhouse kick to his face. The driver finally fell back, landing on a splintered tree stump that turned his liver into mush.

Rowena grabbed the gun from his hands - she noted that it was a USP, albeit in .40 S&W. She checked the gun - the magazine was loaded, but she'd have to pilfer the guards for spare magazines. No sense in letting valuable equipment go to waste.

"Du...du kleine...Fotze..." came the voice from below; the driver's face was shattered beyond recognition, but there was something in him, a spark, that kept him going.

She raised the gun, racked the slide and clicked off the safety.

"The name's Rowena," she said, then pulled the trigger twice. The first shot blew out the guard's descending aorta, the second one rattled around in his brainpan until there was nothing resembling a functioning human brain inside. She hadn't pegged the guy as a smart man, but it seemed like he'd gotten the message.

"...asshole," she muttered, then began to strip the bodies for gear.

She had a long way to go before nightfall.

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