Summer Kids

When Lucas Tweedle, leader of Left Hand Private Investigators, receives a box containing a film he hasn't seen in years, he is prompted on a road trip across miles and years. He has to save Eva Grey, the only girl that ever loved his teenage self.
She may be in the clutches of the Nemesis Crime Ring but the memories of the summer after college graduation haunt the both of them.

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34. LOSING BLOOD

 

CHAPTER THIRTY THREE – LOSING BLOOD

EVA

 

They found Melanie in a cattle shed cradling a woman’s head and weeping. Naomi rushed in, not caring about being seen and drew a blanket around the new woman.

“What are you doing here?” Eva asked stupidly, kneeling next to Melanie in an attempt to comfort her.

“I had to bring her in, they said to look after her until she woke, but she hasn’t woken and…” she hiccupped as she was encouraged away from the sleeping woman. So this was a new recruit, another woman to add to the long list of kidnap victims. Naomi checked on her, lifting anxious fingers to her pulse and drawing away when she found it steady.

“It’ll be like the others,” she murmured and then looked at Melanie, “She’ll be alright, just like you all were.” Naomi doesn’t mention the emotional trauma of discovering exactly where you were and what you would be doing while in the cattle sheds. “The women will look after her now that they know what we are doing.”

Eva wished that she had protection from her female companions when she first arrived there instead of the hissing commands that she had gotten. Loneliness could be just as much of a silent killer as the fear was.

“What we are doing?” Melanie repeated sounding confused, lifting her head up to face the first wife.

Naomi came in close, pressed tightly to both of their bodies, “Rebellion my dear, finally we are going to rebel.” The words were whispered so as to not be heard by the men and when Melanie didn’t say a word they were all led back to the chapel.

Kate looked once at Melanie and clucked her tongue, “After all you’ve been through and they send you out for another mission.”

“They can do what they want,” Melanie muttered and leaned heavily on the bed, unlacing her boots so she could rest comfortable. She hadn't mentioned rebellion, or inquired further about what Naomi had said, and maybe she was downtrodden after all that had happened to her. She had been through a traumatic twenty four hours and even her head wasn’t configured properly due to Victor’s interference.

“Victor’s father started this on his own, recruiting members of his chemical factory and of his church group under the bribery of money and going to Heaven. He made it sound wonderful but he had been running it far long before Victor knew about it. He then indoctrinated Victor into carrying the business on. We break the hydra by breaking the foundations that it thrives upon.” Naomi began, giving them a short history lesson on the Compound.

“How do we do that?” Kate asked, leaning forward with her chin rested in her hands.

Naomi smiled, “We are women and we can do anything with our bodies, we trick the men and we refuel the women with hope. We provide them with clothing and weapons and see if we can get some men on our side, plan a trip outside, never telling them what we are actually doing. We use a combined effort, we use the drugs they used on you, we do everything we can and then we run and keep running until we get to safety. God, whether he’s there or not, will guide our way.”

“We burn this hell down,” Melanie muttered, turning so her face was pressed into her pillow, “We regain our souls and show them true fear.” Eva pictured her with a match in hand, watching as the decision to strike it wavered in intensity. Would she or wouldn’t she or was it a matter of simply when she would strike it? She imagined her curiosity at the tiny flame that sprouted, then dropping the match and suddenly the flame would grow like the flowers Eva had planted in the field.

But that story, that possibility wasn’t real in that moment. Maybe it could be. But at that minute they were forming a plan, waiting for that possibility to come.

“We need to track the supplies, see what there is and what we can use, sneak away some of it without them knowing.” Eva mused, tugging at a brown lock of hair. Her hair was getting long and Victor seemed to like long hair since it was more to anchor their bodies to him.

“Good idea,” Kate was nodding along, “I need to make more soaps, I’ll go down to the stores tomorrow and see if I can knock up an inventory of what they have down there.”

Naomi was smiling, “I’ll see what I can get out of Victor, I think it’s time that I use him for a change,” she mused, thinking of their time together which had transformed into more of a reprieve for him. The change in Naomi may have been physically startling and quick but Eva sensed that it had emotionally been denied for a long time and it was only now being realised.

“I can manage the Scouting front, see what they are planning,” Melanie said as she sat up, her face showing small lines from her pillow, “Carson or Henry will be easy enough to break.” The last sentence was muttered, said so quietly that even Eva doubted the words.

Eva didn’t have a chance to wonder on what her role would be for noises erupted from downstairs, things being knocked about, panicked footsteps and curse words. The wives froze, their plan halting as they feared that their words would be heard from the commotion downstairs.

But Eva sensed an edge of familiarity in the words echoing from downstairs, some gruffness that she had heard before. She put her hand up to the women, “I’ll deal with it.” She crept quietly down the stairs, noticing that the women copied her movements, but they didn’t move further than halfway down the steps.

What they saw was the Priest – Will Eva had to remind herself – crouched down by the front most pew, leaning heavily with blood coated hands. He wore all black, sunglasses hooked around the collar of a black shirt and his white collar was missing.

He may have been in the house of God but he couldn’t have looked more like a sinner. Eva gasped and Will looked up, “Eva,” he murmured, sliding down to the floor as blood spurted from beneath his fingers. The wives scuttled back upstairs and Will’s gaze barely slid to follow them.

“What happened?” Eva asked coming closer to see the ripped shoulder of Will’s shirt, blood making the black even darker than it was. Will panted and then laughed, his eyes drawn to the cross at the front of the church.

“I was shot, does it look like something else?”

“I can see that,” Eva rolled her eyes and kneeled next to him, ushering him onto a pew so that the light could hit the wound properly. Blood dripped down his shirt and his arm, his hands were coated with the liquid and he refused to look at his own hands. “Why didn’t you go to the doctor?”

“Victor doesn’t like failure and I failed, what happens next depends on when William gets back.”

“I thought you were William?” Eva asked stupidly, untying the purple checked over shirt she was wearing and balling it up against the wound. Pressure was key to slowing down the flow of blood. Basic first aid had taught her that but she was a primary school teacher, not a paramedic. There were some things that she didn’t know and a doctor would be best suited to this situation.

“There’s many William’s that’s why I prefer Will,” he laughed and then turned his glassy eyes to her, “the flow of blood isn’t slowing, I tried all that pressure nonsense.”

“It’s not nonsense, do you have bandages in here somewhere?” she asked and breathed a sigh of relief when Will pointed to the drawers at the back, he remarked that he had some mishaps and always kept them on hand for when the violence in the Compound became too superficial for the 'doctors' to keep up. They didn’t really have a doctor, just people trained with first aid and books to help them. Punishments were either death or treatable, nothing in between.

Eva elevated the arm above his heart, knowing from university first aid courses that gravity would cause blood flow to increase. But the blood kept coming, swelling around the fabric of her over shirt. She cursed and Will drooped towards her chest.

He gurgled on his own breath, not dying, but hurt and in pain, then his head rose, his eyes coming into contact with the cross once more and he breathed without a single rattle in his chest. “Press on the brachial artery,” he alerted her and she looked at him quizzically, “it’s underneath the armpit, do it.”

She didn't know how he knew it, maybe he felt God had told him, but it was something to try. Eva hesitated for only a moment and then pressed her fingers to his inner arm just below his armpit. She pressed and pressed, willing it to slow and laughing in hysterics when it did. She bandaged it, replacing the shirt with clean cut bandages and septic spray, wiping away excess blood when she could. She didn’t dare remove the bullet and for an extra measure tied a loose tourniquet around his arm. She didn’t know if what she was doing was at all effective but it was better than nothing, and he would live.

Will grinned at her, delirium seeping into his eyes as he stood and swayed, using his other arm to anchor him to the pew. “I think we both deserve tea, don’t you?”

He didn’t let her refuse and instead led her off to the side room that he reserved as his office, bloodied fingertips coming into contact with her own. His office was simple, a desk, two chairs, a bookshelf full of bibles and surprisingly tomes on philosophy, a bench with a kettle and set of mugs, a kitchen sink hidden into the corner; a mix match of rooms crowded into a small space. 

He directed them both to the sink, turning taps to mark the silver surface with red smears. Together he pushed both of their hands under the spray, scrubbing at his own first to rid his fingernails of his own blood and then scrubbing hers. The water ran red and then it still ran red, at least to his eyes because he couldn’t stop scrubbing, going back to his own hands. “I’ve never had to take a human life, but I would do anything Victor told me to and so I tried.” He didn’t give her more than that and instead directed her to dry her hands on a tea towel and then sit down.

He moved to the kettle and his hands shook as he switched it on, quietly she pressed him into a chair and took over, asking him how he liked his tea. He sat down gratefully and heavily and talked his worries away. “I even failed at that and I’m glad for it, if I feel as guilty as I do now, forever seeing my own blood on my hands for what I tried to do, then what would I have felt if I had killed him?”

Eva didn’t ask who the him was. The dread in her stomach told her not to. “But you didn’t kill him.” She murmured to him, pouring in hot water to blue mugs with red handles.

“I didn’t but I tried and that is enough from God, god I should be going to Hell for this,” he paused, taking the cup from Eva and leaning back in his chair, closing his eyes so he didn’t have to see the red on his fingers. “Victor caught my father at a church meeting and my father was so proud to call me his boy, he only offered me to work for Victor but I got dragged in by the purpose. Ridding fear from humanity? How inspiring. Even my father begged me to ignore the signs from what Victor was doing. My ignorance paid and soon enough my ignorance faded into acceptance. God needs sacrifice, the world needs sacrifice and sometimes that sacrifice is our punishment.”

Over hot tea and crumbled Priests Eva saw an advantage and so she leaned over and pressed her lips to his. It was nothing like the kisses she and Lucas shared back in the day, or the boyfriends she had in university, but it felt like a thrill, the science of manipulation. She pulled back and found him dazed, pliant to her because he had already disgraced God enough.

“Did you shoot him or…?” she whispered between them and he licked his lips before he replied, words coated in delirium. He nodded yes and when she asked him how many guns they had he was compliant.

“The Compound has an arsenal of guns, Victor’s father got them off the black market…” and he told her about the seventy guns they had on site and how they distributed them. He told her how it had felt in his hands, how the bullets ripped through the air sinfully, how he hated every minute of it but felt the thrill under his bones. He felt scared of that thrill.

Contrary to him Eva was made high on the thrill in her blood, talking and kissing the answers out of the Priest, she could use this, the wives could use this and so she lost herself in it, not caring that she was being heartless in the process.

Rebellion didn’t need battles between the head and heart factored into the fight.

 

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