Thread: Alpha and Omega
Startled at the clatter of the mobile’s destruction, Ariadne leaned forward and said, ‘Fay, I’m sorry, no really I’m sorry, I just wanted to be able to get hold of Bobby if I went into labour-’
Fay stepped toward the bed with an inferno dancing in her eyes, jabbing at Ariadne with a sharp finger. ‘Listen, girlie, I haven’t got time for your boo-hoo stories. Dontcha geddit yet? These people want yew dead and if yew don’t follow my advice then you’re going to be dead. You, Bobby, Tamsin, the whole crew. They’ll order a black fire on the lot of yew and Heaven fakking help you then!’
Ariadne drew her knees up against her stomach – a strange feeling as she’d been unable to do it for months – and hugged them. She looked down, sorry for disappointing their benefactor. She pulled the sheets up over her shoulders, but they didn’t make her feel any better. The Cloth swirled around them like a pack of wolves on an eternal hunt, looking for prey. Fay was right. Complacency was lethal.
‘I’m sorry, Fay. I was… not thinking. Bobby did tell me… maybe it’s just all the hormones… so tired…’ Ariadne leant back against the headboard, unwilling to continue the conversation. The exhaustion was back. She closed her eyes.
‘You’re still thinking like some petty agony aunt. I’m not hear for sorry or excuses. They will come here with purpose,’ Fay continued, relaxing a little, her accent losing some of its hard edge. ‘They’ll shoot Bobby in the face; his beautiful looks will be splattered across this dirty carpet here. They will shoot you in the back first and while you lie there entertained with the numbness of paralysed legs they will advance and finish it, wiping the brains from your skull with two bullets.’
Bad images in Ariadne’s head forced her eyes open again. She turned away from Fay’s childish outburst. ‘Stop it, I understand alright?’
Fay grabbed Ariadne’s neck and yanked her off the bed like a naughty child. Fay slapped her once across the face with her free hand. Ariadne’s cheek burned. She struggled, confused at what was happening, Fay’s iron grip forcing her into a hunched position. She’d just given birth, for Christ’s sake. She’d just given birth!
‘Get off me, Fay! What the-’
‘Do you really understand? Do you? What this is about?’ shouted Fay.
Fay slapped her again, this time even harder. ‘Do you understand me? They will kill you.’
‘Fay!’ Ariadne screamed and her arms and legs convulsed trying to fend off Fay’s blows, but Fay timed each one with precision. Slap. Smack. Slap.
She started screaming, tears pouring down her face: ‘Bobby! Bobby! Come quick!’ Ariadne tried to pound on the floor with her hands.
Fay released her, and Ariadne scrambled over the bed to the other side of the room. She watched with salty eyes over the unkempt dune of bedsheets, waiting for Fay to make a move. She thought about making a break for the door. Her heart pounded. This day was supposed to be joyous, happy, pleasant… memorable.
‘Weak,’ Fay said, the word bulging with scorn and disgust. ‘Riddled with woodworm, rotten and dead. You hoard your guns and you make your plans but a l’il bit of foreplay and a scratch or two and it’s poor me. Belief is rock.’
Fay took a step back from the bed, as if trying to calm herself and buried her mouth into an open palm as if something tasted bad. She turned away briefly but suddenly dived across the bed like a black panther. Ariadne tried to duck but was too slow: Fay’s punch caught her jaw, driving her to the floor.
Ariadne retreated into the far corner of the room, crying, sobbing: ‘Please, oh God, please stop, Fay…’ She started banging on the floor again. Come on Bobby, where are you? Why don’t we have a gun up here?
Stretched across the bed, Fay leering at her like an angry lover, swiping at the air just out of reach, growling. Fay spat a glob of phlegm onto the floor, turning away from Ariadne as if her very presence nauseated her.
Ariadne cowered, burying herself deep in the corner. ‘Please.. stop it…’
‘Stop it? STOP IT?’ Fay screamed, getting to her feet on the bed, dirty trainers muddying the sheets. ‘There isn’t a single Clothman who isn’t looking for me. You, however, are off-watch and no one round here knows who you are. You’ll stay safe – s’long as you don’t make a stupid mistake like use a bloody phone! You’re no good to me dead!’
Fay paused, looking down at Ariadne as if she owned her. The expression of disappointment set in her dark eyes morphed into something harder, controlled and cold. ‘Maybe I chose wrongly. Maybe you’re a waste of my time and effort. Maybe you’re no good to me alive. I’m supposed to love you. That’s your job. You’re not supposed to anger me.’
She leapt off the bed at Ariadne, claws outstretched.