“So, if this stuff’s magic, what exactly does it do?” Genevieve did not answer. She pursed her lips and stood - well, if she was actually standing - her ground. Her gaze was firm and unwavering. Although she quivered on the inside, she would not show them weakness. Genevieve was strong, and she wouldn’t let them know she was scarred.
“When I ask a question, I expect an answer, Missy.” The same man that cut her arm wrapped his fingers around her neck and lifted her up. Genevieve scrambled for purchase, but her feet no longer touched the ground. She could hear the jingling of the chains around her ankles, could feel his jagged nails digging into the skin of her neck. She saw angry red marks on his hand, and Genevieve knew instantly that they were hers from a couple days ago. “Just because you’re merchandise, don’t think we aren’t afraid to hurt you. You remember what happened to that boy, don’t ya?”
She felt tears prick her eyes at the memory of the boy crying out in pain. Genevieve was instantly reminded of last night, when the two of the men broke into her house and drugged her; only this time the pain creeped slower, and the burning was torturous. She could hear them laughing, and a small part of her couldn’t blame them. Despite her gift, she was still nothing more than a young girl whose bark was worse than her bite.
It seemed as though they weren’t punishing her anymore for not answering, they were just enjoying it. Genevieve couldn’t help but wonder about all the people who entered the doors of the GTN. How many of them faced the same pain that the boy faced--that she faced--and had lost hope? How many of them begged and pleaded for freedom but never saw sunlight again? Would she end up the same way; a nameless face amongst the victims claimed by the Global Trade Network?
Just as she veered on the precipice of unconsciousness, a loud crash caused the men to drop her. She tried to focus on what was happening, but her sight and hearing were too muffled to clear her mind. She saw disfigured shapes rushing into the warehouse and heard muffled bangs as a fight ensured. Genevieve felt someone moving her around. Should she be concerned? She couldn’t grasp onto any sort of clarity as her world faded to black once more.
She regained consciousness slowly, lazily. Her eyesight was filled with bright blue sky, and her skin was warm from the sun. She leaned forward, a worn black coat fell off her shoulders. Genevieve had been laid against the side of wooden carriage. She looked around to see many like it surrounding her. Across the wood read “Portsmith Authorities” on them. She saw the warehouse she had been held in. It looked as though a war had taken place inside, which mostly likely had. Lots of holes and damage had been afflicted on the building, and smoke was rising from it as well. Dozens of men in suits and uniforms were walking amongst the chaos. Genevieve noticed one walking towards the carriage behind her, walking towards her.
The man was tall and lithe, but held himself high. He wore tan pants and a black buttoned shirt that was rolled back to reveal his forearms. He had on a black hat, as well as dark brown boots that went up to his knees. The outfit was form fitting, but it was loose enough to allow mobility if the need arose. He had one hand in his pocket and another attached to a cigarette in his mouth. He approached Genevieve slowly and kneeled beside her.
“Are you alright?” Upon closer inspection and the sound of his voice, the man was younger than she had first thought. He must’ve only been a few years older than her, at the most. She nodded as he held out the hand that had been hiding in his pocket.
“I’m Chief Inspector Hughes.”
Genevieve shook his hand tentatively, still wound up by what had happened the past few days. “Genevieve.”
“I pulled you out of this warehouse, unconscious. The warehouse was owned by the Global Trade Network, and it seems as though you and many others were planned on being sold. Do you have any information about what’s been happening inside there?” he asked.
Genevieve shook her head, “I wasn’t in there for longer than a few days at least, and I was incapacitated most of the time. I don’t have a clue.” Hughes frowned. Genevieve could see that he was agitated. His polite demeanor quickly vanished and she was left with a scowling policeman. He snatched the coat that Genevieve had used as a blanket and put it over his arm.
“Then you’re no help. Go over there, they’re talking to the people that we found inside right now. After that, scram. We don’t need little girls hanging around while we’re trying to work.” Hughes put out his cigarette and walked off to interview someone else.
Genevieve was seething. All of her anger seemed to vanish, however, when she stood up. It had been too long of a day for her to be upset. She had been drugged, kidnapped, and rescued all within 72 hours and although she just wanted to go to sleep, she would have to go home and bathe as well. There was no doubt that she was filthy, and she had to dress yet another wound.
Wanting to get everything over with, Genevieve walked over to where Hughes had gestured. A man was conducting interviews. When it was her turn to be interviewed, Genevieve contemplated the idea of making a story up. The last thing she needed was more people knowing about her white blood, she could feel her mother turning in her grave right now. Genevieve decided that it was more work than it’s worth to create and keep up with a fabrication. She just wanted some good old honesty.
With that in mind, Genevieve answered all of the man’s questions honestly, albeit shortly. Was she aware that she was being held at the GTN? How long had she been there? Why was she there? Did she have any information about the GTN? What was it like? Where did she live? How old was she? What she do for a living? All routine questions that she could’ve answered in her sleep.
Of course, the man was surprised when she told him that she had only spent a few nights in the warehouse and that she had white blood, so she showed him the cut on her arm and knee for clarification. He asked her if she needed medical attention, but she declined, she could take care of herself. This man was much more polite than Hughes, Genevieve thought, but she was sure that Hughes was much more lively and interesting.
Genevieve couldn’t help but ask about the boy. When she mentioned this, the man’s face turned forlorn and she could tell the news was grim.
“Ah, that one. We tried to talk to him, but like you, he was unconscious when we found him. One of our men took him to the nearest doctor, but by then, it was too late. One of his bones had been broken, and it had pierced through his skin, causing him to go into shock. His young heart couldn’t handle the stress, I’m afraid. He wouldn’t be the first and he won’t be the last.”
Genevieve didn’t try to stop the tears. It had finally begun to sink in what exactly had happened to her. The very thing that he mother had warned her about her entire life had happened. She was drugged and kidnapped, torn from her home in the dead of night. She could have died. That little boy did die. It was only by sheer luck that a policeman had discovered the warehouse. If they hadn’t stormed in when they had, then she might’ve been lying next to that boy with a sheet covering her face as well.
Her shoulders quivered and her legs trembled. Genevieve sank to the ground, her breath quickening and throat closing. Suddenly, she couldn’t breathe. Her mind flashed back to the moment she was taken, to the moment that took place only moments before inside the warehouse. She was sweating and her vision blurred again.
She was scared.
Genevieve felt someone grab her hand and place it on something firm. She felt it move up and down, in and out, one and two. Genevieve tried to get her breath to match her hand. It was slow, but eventually her breath evened out and she was no longer desperate. Her vision cleared and she saw the interview man holding her hand against his chest. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Hughes staring at them, but when she caught his gaze, he sneered and turned away.
The man released her hand in favor of reaching into his pocket. He pulled out a card and handed it to her. Genevieve grabbed the paper with shaking hands and turned it over.
Genevieve smiled at the benevolent man. “Thank you.” He nodded and returned her smile.
“You’re welcome. I may not understand how you feel, but if you ever find yourself in need of some one to talk to, you are more than welcome to come and see me.”
Once the man cleared her to leave, she did just that. He had offered her a ride in one of their carriages, but she declined. She just wanted to be alone. Genevieve wandered home as the sun began to set. It was surprising that the GTN was so close to her home, she even remembered walking past it before and thinking nothing of it. That’s how it always was, though, it was always what you’d least expect.