“Okay,” I said. “I’m going in.”
Under normal circumstances, this sort of thing would happen with both people getting hot and heavy, some kissing, various body parts rubbing against each other, a sense of excitement in the air… in this case, not so much.
Being unable to see anything other than dark blotches on a background of even darker blotches also added to the strangeness. I finally had the chance to be intimate with the girl I liked and it was about as sexy as a gynaecological examination.
I probably sound a bit self-involved. After all, she was badly injured and in a lot of pain. Did it really matter if I wasn’t able to enjoy this moment for its eroticism? Of course not. Getting turned on would be inappropriate. Although, inappropriate sexiness is one of the best kinds of sexiness.
No. This was a medical emergency and I was doing what I had to. That was all. One hundred percent. Plus or minus five percent standard deviation. You always have to allow for a margin of error when it comes to statistics. What’s that? Standard deviation doesn’t work like that? Shut up and go back to your textbooks, I had lives to save.
I composed myself and placed my hand on Jenny’s stomach. She took a sharp inhale of breath. I slid my hand down her body.
“I’ll undo my belt.” She twisted against me and grunted. “Go ahead.” Her breathing was ragged and she was clearly in a great amount of pain.
“I just want you to know this is purely for medical—”
“Shut up and get on with iahhhhhh—” She let out a gasp as my hand slid inside the fabric of her underwear. They were surprisingly large panties. Not that I was paying attention to minor details like that.
“Oh, you’re really wet.”
“That’s... because... I’m bleeding.”
“Yeah. That’s what I meant. Okay, I have to move my fingers to activate the healing.”
“Yeah, fine, just do iunghhhh.” She suddenly gripped my jacket and buried her face in my chest. Her body convulsed as my hand vibrated. From the healing. That’s all I was doing, one hundred percent healing. Plus or minus five percent. Statistical variance is a thing, don’t judge me.
I pressed down harder as she writhed and moaned. Because of the pain. Probably. I still couldn’t see anything, so I didn’t know what kind of face she was making.
“You know,” I said, “usually the bleeding is the first thing to stop, but my hand seems to be actually getting wetter.”
“Mmmm,” she responded. Followed by, “Ggggggggghhhh.” She bit into my jacket. The pain must have been too much for her to bear.
After about five minutes, my hand was still sopping wet. “Is it any better?”
“Little bit. Little bit better. Keep going.”
I tried not to think about where my hand was. I tried to ignore the soft flesh pressed against my fingers. This was nothing more than a medical procedure. One hundred percent. Plus or minus.
Jenny’s body shuddered and then she went limp. Had she passed out? Did the healing not work?
“You can… you can take your hand out, now.” She was out of breath but didn’t sound in pain anymore. I removed my wet and sticky hand from her pants.
She let out rather a long sigh. “Thanks. I needed that.”
“Me too. I mean, glad I could help. Medically. Hey, I think my eyesight’s returning.” The blotches in front of me had started to take shape and colour was returning as I squinted and blinked.
The first thing I saw was Little Chicken lying on the floor. He was curled up in a ball with his arms over his head. He was making a weird high-pitched whistling sound so at least that meant she hadn’t killed him.
Then my attention was caught by a flicker further down the passageway. A light was coming up the stairs.
Jenny turned her head to see and then jumped to her feet. Her trousers fell down to her ankles and she quickly bent down to pull them back up.
The barman’s face, illuminated by the lantern he was holding, appeared at the top of the stairs.
“He-hello? Are you okay? I heard—” He stopped once he saw the curled up body lying in the doorway. He ran forward. “Little Chicken, oh no.”
He knelt down and cradled the boy in his arms. “What happened?”
Jenny buckled her belt. “It turns out your nephew was helping Corporal Ween.”
“What? No, I don’t believe it. Little Chicken, Little Chicken.” He shook the boy by his shoulders and the whistling sound turned into a gurgle. He was crying.
“I’m sorry Uncle Enwye,” sobbed the boy. “I’m sorry.” His face had lumps and bruises all over it.
The barman, Enwye, looked over at the three carpenters who were in a pile behind me. “Are they dead?” he asked.
I got up and kicked each one. They all made various noises indicating that they were breathing. “They live.”
Now that we had some light, I could see their clothing. They were wearing matching jumpsuits with large collars and shoulder pads that wouldn’t have looked out of place in an 80s music video. I knew this was a backward society, but I hadn’t expected to see something this primitive.
I turned back to the barman. “Help me get these men naked.” Which was the first time I’d ever said that. Yes, I’m sure. “And you,” I pointed at the kid, “how well do you know those guys downstairs?”
Little chicken looked confused.
“Well enough to want to help them out of this mess?” He nodded. “Then take your clothes off.”
Despite what you might think, a gay gangbang was not part of my plan. But I did have a possible way out of this predicament and the others seemed to sense it. At least, they did as I said without wanting wasting time to ask questions.
It took a while to get Duran Duran out of their outfits. They were tight-fitting duds with plenty of straps and belts so some squeezing and twisting of limbs was necessary. This produced a number of groans and painful yelps, but none of them regained consciousness.
Once we had them stripped, the barman found us some rope and we tied their hands behind their backs. The youngest of them was actually around my age, he just had an unusually high voice. He also now had an extremely broken nose. But I had no qualms about having hit him, even if he had been ten. Child or adult, he came to kill us. He deserved what he got. The important thing was that he was about the same size as our traitor
Little Chicken put on the guy’s clothes as I told him what I wanted him to do.
“We’re relying on you,” said Enwye in a stern manner. “You’ve gotten yourself in big trouble, Little Chicken, but you can still get yourself out of it. A man faces his problems. Right? And don’t be thinking of running off. Don’t matter where you go, you can’t escape from Enwye, you know that.”
Little Chicken trembled in his Flock of Seagulls one-piece, but he had a determined look on his face. He nodded and we boosted him out through the skylight. His disguise probably wouldn’t fool any carpenters close up, but his outline running over the rooftops might not raise their suspicions too much.
“Now we just have to get these guys down the stairs,” I said.
Easier said than done. The three of them had finally regained consciousness but were still quite out of it. Guiding them downstairs required a mixture of prodding, coaxing and carefully targeted kicking.
While Jenny and I had been dealing with the intruders upstairs, Enwye and his staff had been busy sorting out their customers. The drugged men were all lying on the pub floor arranged in rows, snoring.
We maneuvered the bound carpenters through the field of sleepers towards the door. Once we got there, Enwye unbarred it and opened it just enough to let his face out.
“Crunchy!”Enwye called out “We got a gift for you.” He pulled the door wider and kicked the first man out.
He was stark bollock naked with his hands tied behind his back, but he didn’t make a sound. Too embarrassed at having royally fucked up, I would guess.
He was quickly followed by the other two.
“If they took a blood oath on this job, I think you can safely mark them down as failed. But feel free to send down a couple more. We’ll have a couple of fellows waiting to give them a warm welcome.”
That wasn’t true. We’d simply closed the door to the back room and hoped our bluff would stop them from trying the same thing again.
The three naked men stood in the street, shivering. Corporal Crunchy and his hired thugs could have tried rushing the door, but they seemed too shocked by the unexpected turn of events, or perhaps there was a truce in operation as we returned our prisoners. Either way, there was no attack.
Hooded men came forward and bundled their naked colleagues roughly towards the wagons. There were some unpleasant sounds which I assumed were the consequences of taking a blood oath on a job you thought would be a pushover.
Enwye closed the door and barred it. “Now we wait.”
“Yes. Let’s hope your nephew comes through for us.”
“He will. He’s not a bad boy. He’ll do what’s right.”
I didn’t feel so confident, but it was our only chance of getting out of this. And, more importantly, I wouldn’t be the one to save us.
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