I know how to load more than a washer and dryer.
-Memphis to her captors
They beat him with a police baton for nearly twenty minutes before he finally came to.
At first they’d tried just slapping him to wake him.
When they couldn’t accomplish that, they tried water. When it didn’t work, they started beating the shit out of him for ruining their ‘grand plan.’
The grand plan being that Downy was awake to witness our dog’s fighting, to the death, against their dogs.
My heart was pounding, and not just with worry for Downy who was getting the shit beaten out of him.
But also for worry for our two babies, who despite being brave, looked incredibly scared.
They were in a pen that was covered in blood, piss, and shit.
I’d witnessed the first fight between the dogs.
I’d learned, in the last hour, that they fought nearly ten dogs at a time. The ‘winner’ was the last one standing.
Even though this last time, the winner wasn’t necessarily standing at the end, but they just scooped him out right along with the losers.
To get the ‘losers’ out, they got a Bobcat and pushed them out using the small bucket arm, scooping them up and pushing them out through the gate where Mocha and Peter were now pinned. Letting their lifeless bodies drag on the ground covered in their own blood.
It was a senseless loss of life that was nearly debilitating to me, especially when I had to think about my own dogs going in next.
God, even thinking of Downy waking up to see his dog getting torn to pieces like those other dogs were having done to them, scared the crap out of me. Which was why I was torn. I didn’t want him to wake up, just so he wouldn’t see what was about to happen. Yet I did, just for the simple fact that I didn’t want to see him beaten anymore with his own baton.
Another vicious hit from Downy’s direction, followed by Officer Prescott’s self-deprecating, ‘You like that?’ Had me cringing.
I’d never wanted to kill somebody more in my life.
His eyes, though, didn’t match his mouth.
I could tell with each slam of the baton that he didn’t want to be doing it.
He’d wince, and surreptitiously look at his father, Ronnie Prescott, to make sure he wasn’t being observed before he’d follow it up with a lighter hit. Then when his father would turn his attention back to him, he’d hit Downy a little harder, albeit doing it in a less vulnerable place.
If you could call getting slammed in the ribs less vulnerable. At least it wasn’t his face anymore.
The first time Officer Prescott had slammed the baton into Downy’s face, I’d heard the definite crack of bones breaking.
“Jesus Christ, Adrian. How much Ketamine did you give him? I told you to give him enough to knock him out until we had him where we wanted him. Not so much that he couldn’t fuckin move for three hours. He’s going to miss everything!” Ronnie bellowed. “And I can’t postpone the time. I have over a hundred people here to witness the finale. What a fuckin’ clusterfuck. You’re worthless.”
Ronnie continued to tear Adrian to pieces, with the power of his words alone, causing Adrian to lose control. Adrian turned to his father with fists clenched, staring at him like he wanted to murder him where he stood.
Well, that made two of us. But I wouldn’t stop at just Ronnie. Adrian would be going down, too.
I’d beat the ever-loving shit out of him just like he’d done to Downy. And I’d do it gladly.
“I’m not your fucking puppet, father. If you wanted a puppet, you shouldn’t have killed Limos!” Adrian roared.
Ronnie moved forward, pressing his pointer finger in Adrian’s chest so hard that he had to take an inadvertent step back to stay on his feet. “Let me tell you something, worm. I got you that job you’re so fucking proud of. I gave you a house. A car. Everything you have right now, is because of fuckin’ me! If you don’t like my methods, you’re more than welcome to take your worthless little self out of my city and never come back.”
The altercation had drawn attention, but instead of the men around the room paying closer attention, they stepped out of the living room, and then out of the house completely.
Ten men in total, exited as if this happened often, which it probably did since the men hadn’t even raised a brow at the altercation.
Which was what Downy, who finally popped his eye minutely open, was waiting for.
With a movement barely by even my own eyes, which had been witnessing the altercation, Downy moved off his chair.
The next movement was quick.
He took the baton from Adrian’s hand, and then followed it up with a vicious slam across Ronnie Prescott’s face.
So fast that I didn’t even realized he was doing it until it was already done.
The old man dropped to the floor, boneless.
Adrian turned, but he couldn’t get into a defensive position fast enough, and he went down much the same way as his father had.
His blood shot eyes looked up at me, and caught the tears streaming down my face, as well as my hands tied behind my back with the rough, coarse rope.
I knew that I was bleeding.
I could feel the slick blood pouring down my hands.
It reminded me of what warmed lotion felt like between my fingers: thick and sticky.
When his eyes made the complete circuit over my person, he bent down, painfully, to the ground and started unthreading the two men’s shoe laces.
Once he had them off, he tied the two men’s hands together, ripped their shirts to pieces, and then shoved them into their mouths.
He must’ve seen my surprised look taking over my face, because he explained. “If I kill them, that’ll be a lot more trouble than they’re worth. Alive, I’ll know that Adrian will be in prison getting his due every night from the men of Huntsville State Penitentiary, and with any luck, his father will, too.”
I winced when I thought about how a man could be treated poorly, but I couldn’t work up the ability to care.
These two men had just abducted me from my boyfriend’s house, beaten said boyfriend senseless, and killed Lord knows how many dogs all because he wanted to make money.
Really, I didn’t care about him at all.
Not even a little bit.
“Let’s go,” he rumbled, startling me.
I looked up and raised my brows. “My arms are tied behind my back much the same as yours were. Did you want me to untie them with the power of my mind?”
He sighed and walked around me, hissing when he saw the state of my wrists, and started the painstaking task of unthreading the knots that Adrian had put in to keep me contained.
“The fight,” I said quickly once he was finished. “They’re starting it in ten minutes…or maybe it’s even now. I don’t know. I have no sense of time in this room.”
He hissed and started walking faster, opening and closing doors in the rooms beyond to see what they held.
He must’ve watched exactly where the men had disappeared because that was the one door he didn’t open.
“Bingo, bitches,” he muttered, walking into a room and gesturing me inside.
I went easily enough, but froze when I saw the rows and rows of cages in the room beyond.
“Oh, my God,” I said, dumfounded.
The cages were all full. Some were two and three deep with dogs.
Dogs of all shapes and sizes. Brown, black, small, stocky. You name it, and they had a dog with that build and color.
“What is this?” I whispered in horror.
The dogs all looked healthy, at least. It made me wonder if they were newly stolen, because they didn’t have a hint of wear or tear.
They all looked like they’d come from someone’s home…or a shelter.
There had to have been at least fifty cages, if not more.
“Let them out,” I whispered brokenly.
Downy’s swollen face looked back at me, blood now running from a cut above his eye, down along his nose, around his lips, and disappearing into his beard.
“No. If we let them out, then we’ll never catch them all. Some could die. They stay. They won’t be here much longer,” he decreed.
And I believed him. I knew he’d get them out.
“They’re about to put Peter and Mocha into that pit,” I gasped, remembering suddenly.
He nodded. “I know. That’s where we’re going next.”
“Gotcha,” I said, following him out the door and into the warm afternoon sun.
If I had to guess by the sun’s position, it was near three or four in the afternoon, but I could be wrong.
“They’re just out the back side. But there were ten…” I started to say, but he interrupted me.
“I know,” he rumbled.
Just how long had he been awake?
“Why’d you let them hit you if you were awake?” I asked quietly.
He shrugged. “I had to work my hands loose before I could let them know I was awake. It was the only way I’d be able to hold out against the two of them. It was sheer luck that by Adrian not ‘rousing’ me pissed old Ronnie off, causing all those men to leave the room.”
I nodded in understanding.
The man was a freakin’ genius.
I just wish his plan hadn’t factored in him getting the shit beaten out of him.
A fist swung quickly at my face, and there was nothing I could do.
It hit me hard.
A solid ‘whack’ right to the cheek.
I turned at the last possible second, feeling it land solidly, but at least it wasn’t in the nose.
Pain blossomed around my right eye socket, exploding into an agonizing shock of pain that traveled from the right side of my face all the way down into my neck.
I swear I even felt it in the tips of my fingers.
I’d, of course, never been punched before.
Especially by a man’s fist that was the size of a sledgehammer.
I was too busy calming my roiling stomach to see Downy’s retaliation blow.
I heard it though, and it wasn’t something I could really describe.
Even when Adrian Prescott had been beating Downy’s face with the baton, I hadn’t sounded like that.
It was a sound that, I swear on my life, I never wanted to hear again. I’d already be replaying this one in my dreams.
Surprisingly, it was more of a soft, wet sound. No bone crunched, per say, but it was a sound in which I’d never heard before. When I looked up to see the man laying down on the ground with the baton sticking out of his eye, I nearly lost what little was left in my stomach.
I did lose my battle with my puke when Downy pulled the baton out.
Downy waited patiently for me to finish before he lifted me up, his hand underneath my arm.
He guided me around the body, and I kept my eyes tightly closed until we were well past the man and his prone body.
“That was sick,” I wheezed.
He tightened his hand on my arm minutely. “He shouldn’t have hit you.”
I snorted. “It wasn’t that bad.”
He stopped and turned me until I was staring at his face.
His blunt fingers lifted up until he touched my jaw area, and I winced from that touch alone, even though it was well away from the original injury.
“Yeah,” he murmured, staring into my eyes. “That’s what I thought.”
His jaw was hard, how I could tell through all the swelling over his own face was a miracle, but I managed to do it.
“Oh, Downy,” I whispered.
He leaned in and gave me the softest of kisses on my lips before turning around and starting back around the side of the building.
We weren’t noticed.
There was well over a hundred people in this part of the yard.
Men and women. Even some kids.
They were all hooting and hollering, and yelling about something we couldn’t see.
That’s when I realized that the fight had already started.
Downy kept a hold of my hand and walked up to the first person we saw that looked like he was officiating.
He had a long stick in his hand, and on the very end looked to be a Taser of some sort.
When a dog would get near, he’d zap it with the end of the stick.
Was that what a cattle prod looked like?
I wouldn’t know, though. I’d never seen one. Only heard about them.
Downy didn’t waste any time, though.
The first thing he did was cold cock the man.
Who dropped like a fucking stone to the wet grass at our feet.
I looked around to see if anyone had witnessed it, but all of their attention was on the dog fight.
My heart panged when I saw Peter and Mocha back to back, snarling and snapping at an approaching dog that looked like he was on steroids. I couldn’t even tell what breed he was by all the scars.
Downy bent down, recapturing my attention, and took the cattle prod. He handed it to me and said, “Watch my back.”
I nodded and took the improvised weapon, brandishing it like a fuckin’ avenging angel, even though everyone’s attention was still on the fight and not me.
However, we were on the man’s radar that was directly across from us.
His eyes were narrowed, and he reached behind him to get something, but a hole appeared in the middle of his chest, blooming scarlet right in front of my eyes.
I looked over in time to see Downy with a gun in his hand.
He was lowering it to his side as he scanned the area some more, eyes darting around like he was trying to see everything at once.
Which made me pay even more attention.
The crowd, I saw, was now looking at us instead of the dogs.
The dogs, however, didn’t stop. They still fought with a single-minded focus.
Just when all the men started towards us, a sudden flurry of people started to pour through the area. People came from…everywhere.
So many, in fact, that I got dizzy.
I would’ve gotten worried, too, if I hadn’t seen one of the first people to enter the fray.
My daddy started batting people around with the palms of his hands, popping one after the other like one would do with a tennis racket. Also similar to the way a cat pawed at a ball. Except my father was using people’s heads.
Big Papa was with him at his side, as he always was.
Downy’s relieved sigh had me turning to him just in time to see him yank the pole from my hand and wade over the rib high concrete barrier that kept the dogs in and fighting.
I felt someone at my side, and turned to see Nico there, standing at my shoulder like a sentry.
Relieved, I turned my attention back to Downy.
He walked through the dogs, not scared at all that they were fighting, and went to the two that mattered most to him.
Mocha and Peter were still back to back, but they had two large, muscular dogs on them.
They were holding them back, but just barely.
Using the cattle prod, he zapped the first dog he came to with his Taser.
Down like a sack of potatoes.
I’d never been so happy before in my life.