Oliris 2018(2)

By: S Neff

I sank back down into the flimsy chair. My heart raced and for a second, I almost felt lightheaded. How did Beal know about Rhyan’s encounter with Payne? There was no way Payne would admit to a crime like that, and it would put him in direct involvement with an affiliate gang member, which went against the leader of his own gang. He wouldn’t turn on Dingo, not if he wanted to live a long life.

“I don’t know what you’re fucking talking about,” I growled. I would never let it get out what Payne and his men did to Rhyan. Knowledge like that would ruin his reputation in Old City; I couldn’t let that happen. I would always protect him, even when it would jeopardize myself.

“Sources have informed me that Mr. Sekik was beaten and tortured over a few days.” Beal made a motion on his tablet. “It says here he had to have more than three hundred stitches from the lacerations covering his body. He also suffered from a fractured tibia, multiple broken fingers, as well as a concussion.” He looked up from his device, beady eyes staring right through me. “It must have been infuriating to see your friend suffer through so much violence.”

I felt the tickle of bile as it climbed up the back of my throat. The gory reminder of my lover’s pain brought back the memory of the day I’d found him six months ago.

Like horrible flashing reels on an endless film, I would never be able to escape that one moment. Each time it was mentioned, I would be thrusted into that day again, feeling cold as the rain soaked me to the bone.

It was the rain that made me shake and not the fear and horror I felt swallowing me as I looked down at the heap on the sidewalk outside of the Tower, the massive sky-rise hotel blocking out what little light remained in the day. The shadows left me guessing the identity of the naked form huddled on the pavement, broken and most likely dead. It wasn’t him, I told myself even as I approached the mangled, bare mess lying still in the downpour. There was no green hair, I debated, so it couldn’t be my Rhyan. Still, my body shook as I kneeled down and gently turned him over to reveal what I already knew. My lover’s battered face was hardly recognizable, his skull shaved bare. Tattered, broken skin covered in black and blue with large swelling. A wretched noise escaped me as I pulled the barely breathing man to my chest. Fear and anger tore me into practically two people. Nothing mattered in that moment but Rhyan. Nothing should matter but him. Over and over, I kept thinking of nothing but keeping him safe. Yet as I screamed for someone, trying to lift his dead weight into my arms, I knew I was lying to myself. Revenge also mattered. A lot.

The ugly pitch in my stomach caused my teeth to clench, my cheek filling my mouth with blood as I bit down on the soft inner flesh. The images made it hard to breathe, made it impossible to think past the roaring emotions, swamping my mind at times so thickly that I couldn’t trudge past the pain and hopelessness that swallowed me completely. I had to remind myself that he was alive and whole, that I hadn’t lost him. I reached up to rub my right pectoral where the R was tattooed on my skin, giving myself an anchor through the torrid memories.

The doctor watched me, his violet gaze tracking over my movements with a calculation in each motion. He leaned back deeply into his ridiculous chair, immersing himself in the rich brown leather as he began his next round. “Senana, did Mr. Sekik tell you that they didn’t just beat him?” The doctor set his com pad down on his lap, right hand reaching up to adjust his glasses, pushing them farther up his nose. “They raped him over and over again, while he begged for you the whole time.” Beal leaned back, a sick grin forming on his nasty flushed face. “Or so my sources say.” The doctor drummed his fingers on the arm of the chair rhythmically. “Does that make you angry, Senana?”

The chair cracked under the force of my weight as I lunged across the space toward the doctor. Somehow, this man was part of it, part of all of it, from the moment Rhyan had been tortured to me ending up in this room with him. I wanted to feel his blood slide down my arms, smell it clog the air as he begged for me to stop. I wanted him to wish he’d never been a part of touching my lover. I couldn’t think past the belly full of violence that consumed me like the monster it was. If Dr. Beal thought what I’d done to Payne was bloody, I would show him something far worse.