Long Road To Ruin

He kills them all without remorse, but very much with reason.

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4. Chase

She fell against the concrete, her fingernails scraping the granite in a vain an attempt to find something to grab, to hit him. With her fingers outstretched, she turned her head and saw that there was a long, black pipe several inches from her bruised hand. She shut her eyes as she heard his footsteps approaching.

Her hand felt the cool sensation of metal as she wrapped her injured hand around the pipe, lying perfectly still as the wind rustled her clothes and hair. Taking a sudden breath was difficult, and she winced as an unfamiliar pain shot through her, from her shoulder down to her hand.

“What are you doing?” he breathed, reaching a hand out to touch her shoulder. She cried out and started to crumble back onto the ground, but held herself up. “You aren’t trying to get away, are you?”

“No, I’m not.”

Twenty seconds after the words were spoken, she whirled around, wielding the weapon in her good hand, and swung it with all the strength she had left; part of the pipe connected with the attacker’s jaw with a satisfying crack. He howled in pain and stepped back, clutching his broken face. Suddenly, he reached for her, caught her and slammed her head into the brick wall she stood near.

Her head pounded and she knew that it was bleeding, and as she pulled herself away from the wall, she heard a sucking noise. Gasping for breath, but never loosening her hold on the pipe, she swung again. This time a smirk appeared on her face instead terror as she struck him - he stumbled back and tried to glare at her; it was hard through a blood-covered face. He sank to his knees on the sidewalk and slumped forward, completely still.

Glancing around, she found the streets empty. With the pipe still securely in her hand, she staggered to where she saw the most light. It was the neon sign from a bar.

She stumbled inside after trying the door for a few minutes, leaving bloody fingerprints on the window as she passed. She was slightly aware of the silence that filled the bar as she walked through it. She was halfway to a barstool when someone shouted at her.

“Dear God, are you all right?” a stranger muttered. “Hey Steve!”

Steve, the man behind the bar, glanced up. His green eyes widened as he watched the girl limp toward. She had managed to pull herself up onto the stool, her head bloody as she raised her eyes to stare at him.

“I need a drink,” she mumbled weakly. “Please, anything will do.”

“There’s blood all over you,” Steven muttered. “Darling, I think you need a doctor, not a drink.” He ran a cloth from some water and touched her face with it. She winced and reached up to place the pipe on the table; Steve’s green eyes flickered with worry. Instead, he said rather calmly, “What’s your name?”

“Emma,” she breathed, staring at Steve. “There’s a man,” she said suddenly. “Outside in the alley. He was after me.”

Well, that explained why she had carried a bloody pipe into his bar at nearly midnight.

His eyes widened at her words, and, as her eyes slipped shut and she pitched forward, he was able to stop her from smashing her face against the bar.

“Easy there, honey,” said another man as he came up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. “I think she needs to go to the hospital.”

“Yes, thank you, Jasper.” Steve frowned. “Isn’t this your job?”

“Hm?” Jasper mumbled, bringing Emma’s head against his chest. Her eyes were shut, her pretty face flooded with agony. Whatever this asshole had done, he was going to pay. Carefully, he scooped her into his arms and held her tightly.

“You’re a cop, Delaney. Someone was attacked. Shouldn’t you get out there and get the sick son of a bitch before anyone else gets hurt?”

Jasper eyed him. “Steve, you’re already involved in one murder investigation, please don’t make it another one. I don’t really feel very comfortable arresting my friend.”

“What if it’s the same guy?” Steve asked suddenly.

“I think it’s time for us to go,” Jasper muttered as Emma moaned, clutching at his shoulders. “Come on, baby. Stay with me. I’ll get you there soon.”

The girl moaned again, her eyes fluttering open, and she mumbled, “Who-?”

“I’m a cop, Emma.” He smiled thinly.

“I think the man that killed that girl was the one after me tonight. Will you go and check?” Emma muttered, tightening her grip on him.

“I will, but first I have to get you to the hospital,” Jasper whispered.

He turned and walked out of the bar and into the street. He held her tightly, her hand sliding from across his shoulder, dragging across the door before he got out his keys and opened it. He placed her inside and went around to the driver’s side. When he reached over to buckle her seatbelt, he felt her warm hand touch his cheek.

“Thank you,” she said quietly, letting her hand drop onto her lap, her eyes falling shut.

He grinned at her exhausted form before starting the engine and pulling away from the curb. He heard north toward the hospital. It was an easy ride because the streets were clear and the night was calm. When they reached the hospital, he glanced over at Emma; her face was much calmer than it was a few moments ago.

“We’re here,” muttered Jasper. “You’ll be better in no time.”

As they entered through the automatic doors, Jasper was hit with a sudden uneasy feeling. He watched the patients being wheeled down the hall, some sitting in the waiting room, and some just standing around. So many sounds filled his ears at once, but nothing made me look more worried than a shriek that came from the girl that was leaning against him.

“He’s-” she gasped, pointing.

Jasper’s eyes widened and he held her tighter as his eyes connected with a man several feet from him – he was covered in blood, and his right eye was swollen shut. He smiled and Jasper shuddered.

William Hastings stared at them from the receptionist desk.

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