Lilth spat a mouthful of blood onto the dingy, dirty floor; a little mushroom cloud of dust floating lazily up around her expelled bodily fluid. Her eyes drifted hazily about the room, a little dazed by the force of the fist that had connected with her jaw. She grinned up at the swaying black figures that surrounded her.
“You’re one stubborn bitch Lilth.” Her tormentor leaned over her, both grubby, bloody hands resting on the arms of the chair she was tied to. She tugged again on the ropes that pulled her wrists tightly together behind her back. “Just tell us where the gem is and we’ll let you go. It’s that simple.”
“Like hell, dickhead. I sweated way too hard for that thing, and I broke at least two nails in the process.” She craned her head to wipe the blood from her chin on her shoulder. “I’m not telling you shit.”
Her captor sighed; his breath reeked of bad scotch and bad decisions. Leaning back a little he cracked his violence weary knuckles. The guys behind him chuckled a little to themselves in the shadows, excited by the promise of another beating.
“Wait, wait.” She sighed, leaning back a little further in her chair, shifting her weight off her dead left leg. The man before her grinned, yellowing teeth protruding from a dark, tanned face that was hard lined and scarred. “I’ll tell you something, but you have to come a little closer. I don’t want everyone knowing what I do with my stash.”
He leaned in a little further, too eager for the information he’d been paid to collect. The promise of a large hoard of treasures an eagerly awaited bonus. The smile that crept across her face matched his own, corrupt grin.
“You should really learn to tie a better knot.” She whipped both hands forward, balled into powerful tiny fists that she slammed into both his ears making his head ring with the force. Her stumbled backwards with a roar, clutching his large, meaty head with both swollen hands. Swinging her body up and away from the chair she perfectly distributed her weight through her hands. In one swift motion she delivered an unrelated kick to her interrigator’s solar plexus, bringing him to his knees.
Three others leapt forward from the shadows, their reactions slowed by her unexpected attack. The distance between them disadvantaged her opponents and she used those few seconds to her advantage; grabbing two implements from the torturer’s table. A scalpel and long metal rod gleamed in her hot hands.
A brief moment of hesitation passed over her; her choice of weapons didn’t exactly fill her with confidence, but taking a deep breath she arched her arms into a wide throw. Connecting hard with one beefy bicep the scalpel found its mark, eliciting a high pitched howl of pain from the man attached to it.
Bringing the other arm around from the left she took a two handed grip on the metal rod and swung it around her head as the second man reached her. The metal hit his skull with a dull, but satisfying crunch. A horror filled his eyes as blood started to pave its slow trail down his forehead and into his eyes; he crumpled to the floor as Lilth leapt over him. Ducking under the flailing tree trunk arms of the man she struck with the scalpel she bolted towards the door to her small cell in a bid for freedom.
Shoving her shoulder hard against the tough wooden door she threw it open. For a second the bright light of the sun blinded her and she staggered out into the world dazed as a newborn. Rubbing her face she kept moving, feeling her way until her eyesight came back to her. She ran.
Throwing a look over her shoulder she took in a fleeting glance at the one roomed shack she’d just escaped from. The field it sat in full of bright blue grass that waved in the fake summer breeze. She wasn’t that far from home. She’d never seen her captor before but it was a safe be to place that someone from the slums had called him in. She’d have to be more careful about bringing her loot home in future.
Skidding out onto the road at the edge of the field she looked left and right wildly. She knew exactly where she was, she could run left, straight home, grab the loot and hop on the next ship across the Skylands. Or she could go right, they wouldn’t be expecting that, into the wilds to hide out for a couple of days until the hubbub died down and she could sneak back into to town to claim what was hers. What if they got there first? What if they knew where she lived and they ransacked the place whilst she was still hiding out of town like a nervous cat? Fuck that, no one stole from Lilth.
She raced down the road, feet thumping, bright red blazen hair flying out behind her in a long plait that reached to her waist. Her heeled boots clicked and clacked on the rough tarmac and the waistcoat she’d left undone flapped about, skittishly in the wind.
It wasn’t long before she reached the outskirts of the shanty town. Broken down, beaten up houses leaned jaggedly from side to side, crashing into each other like drunk men. Holes in the old cement walls leaked bricks and dust like fat silent tears into the street below. The whole place stank of despair and poverty. Lilth hated it.
“Hey Lilth!” She groaned as a group of local street kids popped out from under a pile of bricks they’d been playing in at the edge of the street.
“Hey.” She muttered as she wandered past, trying to make herself look casual. Her green eyes darted around, looking for any hint of a jump, giving away her nervous demeanor.
“What happened to your face?” One of the grubby little girls asked, eyes wide.
“Did you get in a fight?” One of the boys piped up, excitement flashing in his tiny eyes.
“I bet she did! I bet there were at least ten of them, all huge and disgusting!”
“Yeah! With big muscles and bulging eyes!” The chattering group began to swell in volume. Two of the oldest boys began a convincing reenactment of the fight, rolling around on the floor taking pot shots at each other.
Lilth groaned a little to herself. She loved all the local kids despite that annoying, gnawing anger that they always brought out in her. They always appeared at exactly the wrong moment.
“Look guys, I’m kind of busy right now. Why don’t you come back later and I’ll tell you all about it?” The group groaned aloud, little faces of disappointment swam around her knees like irritating puppies. She felt her eye twitch a little. “If I give you a couple of gold rottles will you go find yourselves some cake or something?” She hated parting with money but needs must, and they looked like they could do with a big cream bun each.
The group burst into bunch of clamouring hands and squeals of delight. She couldn’t contain the smile that crept, unchecked across her bloodied face as she quickly dolled out one gold coin to each eager hand and watched them scamper off down the road towards the bake house, pushing and shoving each other in their excitement.
The street grew quiet. The night watch bell rang out from the city centre, loud, ominous and deep. She braced herself for the artificial, shivering wind that she knew was coming. Looking up she took in the sky and watched as the pixels of colour that once made up the false blue and white fluffy clouds fade. A shimmering ripple of black moulded itself across the great glass dome that they lived under and fizzled out all the light the fake sun gave.
A few seconds passed before the street lights, flickered lazily into action . The half light they made casting long fingers of shadow across the street. She kept to the walls, hiding in the sudden darkness and felt her way, one, two, three, four doors down. Feeling for the round door handle she wriggled it, twice to the right and once to the left and gave two good pushes on the left hand corner before it gave way.
Time was running out, they’d be after her by now, using the cover of night to their advantage. She needed to pack up and go as soon as possible, she cast one last nervous look out into the night and slid the door to her house shut behind her.