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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16. WOMEN

 

CHAPTER FIFTEEN - WOMEN

EVA

She remained by the stained glass window at the back of the chapel, a towel placed underneath her knees, so that the purple dress wouldn’t dirty too much, and her knees resting firmly on the hard packed earth. It was afternoon and the sun was beating against her back and her fingers were inch deep in dirt. She felt good about it, like she was doing something productive for once instead of sitting in a room doing nothing.

The seeds were easy to plant, all she had to do was dig a hole and she had a tool for it but she preferred to just do it with her hands. The feeling of the dirt underneath her fingernails, the skin that both the priest and Victor had touched disappearing underneath the dirt the more that she dug. Then she would pack the hole with some fertiliser, using gloves for this because the chemicals were too much for her skin, and make sure that the small, little seed was full covered in both dirt and fertiliser. The hole was then patched up and the watering can spurted water to allow the seed to germinate in time.

Soon a line of flowers and plants were positions underneath the stained glass window and she moved on a little bit away to set up the herb garden.

Eva looked up and found the priest – Will – standing there behind the stained glass, watching her with a shy smile on his lips. It was creepy, he was just creepy but she smiled back at him. How long had he’d been there just watching her? Surely he had other word to do beside watch a girl plant flower?

She smiled back, and waved a gloved hand just so that he didn’t have to see her dirt ridden one. As soon as she smiled the priest waved back and disappeared. Maybe it was because he knew that he had been caught by her eyes, or maybe it was just because he had things to do, better things to do instead of just staring at her.

She thought it was because he had been caught.

After he had retreated from the window she sighed and moved a little bit away to start on the herb patch. These were a little bit different since some of them had already germinated. This time she had roots to deal with and water dripping downwards but she could deal with it.

She knew that these must have been purchased recently because they had wilted away while being in the storage room. Soon there were two neat rows of planted seeds. She couldn’t wait until they started to bloom, and she could see the benefits of her work. Maybe Victor would get her more with a greater variety like bushes and grasses and roses. Eva could imagine the barren field being transformed into something resembling Eden.

Even Victor would be proud of her for inserting religious references into her vernacular.

The sun was dipping and there was no point in continuing with the few seeds that was left. So Eva picked her way back to the warehouse, and asked the man on the door to show her to the storage room. He didn’t talk to her or mention the dirt encrusted on her skin going nearly to her elbows in spots.

He watched her as she put back the crate that the Priest had showed her and he showed her out, leaving her to find her way back to the main room because he had a job to do.

That was his first mistake.

The twists and turns made her dizzy and she quickly got lost when the pictured route going in and out to the storage room disintegrated in her mind.

She found herself in a grey corridor, cornered on both sides by metal walls and she had slowed and stopped to try and pick her way to a door that would lead to the outside.

Then she was being crowded towards a wall, quicker than she could blink and her shoulder blades met the cold metal of the walls. A thin arm had worked its way across her collar bone and in the barely lit corridor she could work out the slender form of a woman.

“How could you?” a voice hissed, quiet and low yet still remaining to a woman. They were alone on this corridor and she was being held to a wall.

“How could I what?” Eva asked playing ignorance. The woman’s elbow pressed its way to the bottom of her throat. This woman meant business and Eva knew it now.

“How could you hurt Rebecca like that, shock her until she was unconscious?” the woman went on and Eva remembered yesterday when she had to punish that poor woman for being afraid, for being human no less.

“If I didn’t then I would have just been put in her place.”

The woman scoffed at her words, “You’re a wife he wouldn’t dare hurt you.”

The woman referred Victor as he because none of the women in the warehouse knew what his name actually was. It was only when Eva was asked to be a wife that she got to know Mr. Able as being Victor.

Even in the interviewing stage, their first proper experience in the compound, they only knew him as Mr. Able.

“You want to bet?” Eva hissed back, “Just because I didn’t comply with something he forced me to shock Rebecca.” The name turned to mush in her mouth, almost tasting like the dirt she had just been handling.

“Don’t you dare say her name,” the woman hissed digging her elbow even further in Eva’s skin, “You’re meant to be one of us.”

“I am one of you,” Eva insisted because although she was a wife now she was still a woman and all women got treated poorly here. They were overrun by men who followed Victor’s example and abused them when Victor wasn’t looking, relying on religious justification to excuse their actions.

“How can you be one of us if you’re punishing us for being afraid?” the woman countered.

“Like I said, I was forced to do that.”

“You could have refused.”

“Could you have refused Mr. Able on something that he asked you to do?” Eva asked of the dark form of the woman, she knew that she had the woman there because in the later stages of their cohabitation in the compound all women had learned that it was best if they just went along with what Victor said. The more they went along with it, the more they would survive and the more chance they had staying in the cattle sheds rather than the other room which held the chains and the box.

The woman didn’t answer, then she hissed, putting her face closer to Eva’s so that the other girl could see the whites of the eyes. They were so close they could have one body instead of two women.

This was the only resemblance of closeness between women that would occur while in the compound. In every way except this women were against one another. They had been isolated and the only contact they had was by the sounds of each other’s pain. It wasn’t something strange that the isolation and paranoia would breed resentment towards women as a whole.

“You’re a wife and you work for Mr. Able now so don’t preach that you are one of us. If I hear of you punishing one of us again then this meeting won’t end with us going our separate ways.” The other woman’s tone was threatening and the elbow to her neck pushed most of the air out of Eva. “You are against us not with us, and don’t try and tell me otherwise.”

Eva wouldn’t be able to get through to her, she knew that now. To their perspective she was almost as bad as Mr. Able because a woman had hurt a woman and all dreams of positive interaction and of rebellion were thwarted with one action. Maybe that was what Victor had planned when he forced her to push the buttons and shock Rebecca.

The elbow was then released from her neck and the woman was off her before Eva could blink. Eva allowed herself to get her breath back while the woman disappeared.

She knew that the direction the woman went was back to the Warehouse and she did not want that. She didn’t need another woman to berate her for being forced to do something. She went the other way, twisting and turning and getting lost all over again. Eventually, after what felt like an hour more she found a door that led to the night.

She picked her way across the field back to the chapel and thanked God that the Priest wasn’t there to enquire where she had been for the last hour or so. She went up the stairs to her room, the wives room and hoped that the wives weren’t in.

They were.

“What happened to you?” Naomi asked turning to face her from the bed she was scrutinising and Eva had to look down at herself. The purple dress was dirtied at the knees, at the hem and from where she’d swiped her fingers on it to rid them of the dirt, soil covered her from her hands to her elbows and there was smears on her chest.

“I’ve been planting flowers near the chapel, restoring the field,” Eva smiled, motioning with her dirt ridden fingernails.

“We haven’t seen you all day,” Kate mentioned, a book on her lap.

“I’ve been back and forth, round the back I don’t think you’d see me from here.” Eva didn’t want to sit down, especially since she had just noticed the forest green blanket that not covered her bed. “Naomi it’s beautiful.” You could tell that it was homemade and it was made with talented hands, Eva wanted to touch it but she knew that she couldn’t because of the soil on her hands.

“Thank you,” Naomi smiled, “Now don’t change topic, do you like it?”

“Yes, I love how methodical it is,” Eva began, “I think I have found my job here.” The women smiled at her.

“But you hurt yourself,” Kate motioned and put her book down.

Eva looked down, not seeing the injury that Kate was going on about. Kate moved off the bed and came closer to her, pointing at a spot near her collarbone. Eva could just see a red mark from the bottom of her eyes. She knew that it was of when the woman had put her elbow there, but she couldn’t tell them that.

She would not be made more of a snitch and a traitor more than she already was.

“Oh,” she tried to come up with the good sort of a lie, something that was believable and would pass over them like water, “I must have hit myself with the trowel accidently. I’m clumsy at the best of times.” She laughed and put her hand over the mark, noticing that it briefly hurt.

Kate must have believed her because she smiled, “You really are clumsy,” she laughed and went back to the bed.

“Now excuse me I think that I should clean all of this grime off of me.”

“The bath is ready if you want it, Melanie was due in but she’s running late.”

Eva wondered what Melanie did and she asked that question to the other wives, “She’d rather tell you that herself, she’s rather touchy about the small things.”

“But I make clothes for people, the other women in the warehouse, the men too, it’s not that much of a surprise when you think about it ,” Naomi looked sheepish as she sat on her bed, crawling under the covers just to make herself warm and to give herself something to do.

“I generally cook for the men and women, and also make soaps and things.” Kate added, and mentioned how although Melanie liked to cook inside the Wives Quarters she didn’t do it as a job. Kate did it because it kept her occupied and she could work from inside the Wives Quarters if needed. Where she made the soaps and things were the other room in the bathroom, the room that Eva hadn’t investigated yet.

Eva thanked both of the wives for what they did. In the Warehouse new clothes that were warm and comfortable were a god send, especially in the winter months and where there was no kind of heating where the cattle sheds were. They had a chance to shower every week, and the soaps were a return to the basic life that there had once had before their life in the compound.

She was sent off to the bathroom to rid her skin of the grime and it was only when she looked in the mirror that she noticed the mark on her collarbone. It was a red, a deeper red then subtle, it was shaped like a starburst and Eva couldn’t hide it with clothes like this. She would have to wear shirts with high necklines, and leggings just to hide it, Victor would surely comment on it.

The bath was full to steaming and she cringed just looking at it. It was discomforting but she could handle it. She still preferred showers however, she had even before coming to the Compound. She would deal with it just to give herself a second skin, a cleaner skin.

She stripped the purple dress off and put one foot into the water, cringing at how her skin went red at the heat. She waited, half naked, until her body got used to the heat and immersed herself in warmth. She scrubbed herself until her skin was raw and the water came away brown with the dirt.

She didn’t allow herself to stay in there long, there were no time for luxuries like that, no she got out as quick as she could and dried herself with a towel, berating herself for not bringing a change of clothes in to the bathroom with her. She was going to go out, only clad in a towel, but she heard voices from the other side of the closed door.

It was Melanie, and she didn’t want to interrupt.

 

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