• Published 10th May 2016
  • 3,277 Views, 427 Comments

The Titans' Orb: Rising Storm - Mister Horncastle

As Callum and the Mane Six continue their quest to find the shards of the Titans' Orb, the path ahead grows only more deadly, as they are now stalked by a relentless shadow that will stop at nothing to hunt them down...

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Chapter Five - Thug Life

After being forced to watch Bunnie being smacked multiple times by her father, she was picked up by one of the men and was dragged away; I initially began to follow her, when her father spoke once more.


I turned around to find he was looking directly at me, and beckoning me to come to him. I hesitated, before walking towards him and Bunnie was taken away and out of sight.

“Você fala português?” He asked.

I knew he was asking if I spoke his language, and I shook my head slowly.


Again, I shook my head.


I nodded quickly, and he smirked at me before walking around the desk and sitting back into his office chair.

“So, you are the one who brought back the girl, yes?”

His Portuguese accent was very thick, but I could understand him reasonably well; I nodded again to answer.

“Well done,” he started, “normally takes a few weeks to find the bitch. Like a rat in a sewer.” He spat.

I stood still and stayed tense, I wasn’t sure what to do. In all four corners of the room there were armed men; if I tried to kill him now I’d be dead before I could even reach my gun.

“Do you not speak?”

I gulped, and breathed in through my nose; I needed to stay calm.

“I do not speak much.” I grunted with a flat tone, attempting to make accent indistinguishable.

The boss raised his eyebrows and gave me a bored expression, rolling his eyes.

“Well, you’re dull. High on my drugs perhaps?”

I shook my head as an answer.

“Then why do you not talk much, hm?”

Desperately trying to keep my cool, I expressed that I hadn't sleep well lately. He hummed and nodded his head, before snapping his fingers and leaning forward, raising an eyebrow with curiosity.

“Tell me, my sleepy friend. Where do you come from, hm? I do not remember employing any Englishmen into my militia unit.”

A bead of sweat formed on my forehead, which was quickly absorbed into my balaclava. Try as I might, he had picked up that I was English. Thinking as rapidly as possible, I tried to come up with a believable reply. I could only guess that this guy had connections with Inigo back in Brazil, why else would he have been there with a clean-up crew, recovering the cartel's product? This must have been another branch of Hoyt Volker's worldwide criminal enterprise; it was a small world after all...
Trusting in my theory, I made the bet, and answered him.

“I worked in Brazil.”

At this, he threw his hands up and gave me an open-mouthed smile.

Ah! You are one of Inigo Montenegro’s men, yes?”

What a relief, it seemed that the odds were in my favour again. I nodded once more and gave him a small smile in return, which was when he got up and walked over to me. He took one of my hands, cupping it in his own.

“You have come very far my friend… I was in Brazil when his compound fell, did many of your men survive?” He asked, surprisingly showing some genuine compassion for his own.

I looked down and shook my head slowly.

“All dead, my group was guarding the Stock Heap, when all the slaves broke out.” I told him.

“Are the stories true?” he whispered, “It was all started by one boy?”

I had to try hard not to smile, I was semi-famous amongst some of the most feared men alive.

“They are true…” I answered, “Callum was his name. He started the uprising and brought hell upon us, then he slipped away from all the fighting and killed Inigo.”

“And Vladimir Kikashkov?”

“From what I hear, Callum stabbed him in the back, like a coward.” I replied, pretending to be vexed with myself.

While I had indeed killed Inigo in a knife-fight, I had lied about Vladimir; for it had been Rarity who stabbed him with his own blade, saving my life. I’d never forget that day, the crooked scar on my chest saw to that.

My thoughts were disturbed by Bunnie’s father clearing his throat, and leaning forward to address me further.

“What is your name, friend?”

I had to think swiftly, or I wouldn’t sound genuine; I quickly decided just to use my fake name from the disguise at my funeral.

“Bruce… Bruce Harding.” I replied, putting out a hand.

After a tense hesitation, he took the hand and shook it firmly, grinning at me.

“Mr Harding, I am Paulo Escuella, head of the most feared gang in Portugal!” He introduced himself.

Paulo… finally I knew the bastard’s name… It seemed that Mr Escuella liked to play nice with his men, probably to keep them loyal; for now I’d have to play along, until I could locate Bunnie and get her somewhere safe.
Then, I’d kill him…
After smirking at his self-appointed title, Paulo flicked his head back in a gesture for me to accompany him.

“Come.” He spoke warmly.

He led me out of the room and back to where I’d come, we went down the staircase and into the main hall of the large villa where numerous men spoke with one another while toying with their weaponry. In one corner of the hall there were a few men playing five finger fillet with a hunting knife twice the size of Krocsbane; on the table sat a plastic pot, full of severed fingers from previous players whom had failed miserably at the game.

In another corner, were a group of men playing poker; instead of poker chips they gambled with loaded gun magazines, expensive looking jewellery, and syringes of some form of narcotic, probably heroin. I was just leaving the room when there was an outburst from one of the men as he stood up and flipped the table, causing cards, accessories and drugs to fly across the room as he stabbed another poker player in the throat.

Você olhou para porra meus cartões!” He yelled at his dying gang-mate.

Paulo laughed at the scene and ordered some nearby guards to settle down the now chaotic entrance hall, as men were shouting and beating the hell out of one another. I looked to the boss to see he wasn’t at all bothered by the sudden outburst.

“My men are so endearing of one another…” He chuckled, before leading me away.

He took me through the villa and showed me around, we started at the armoury, which was an average sized room with guns and knives, all neatly organised on racks. After the armoury, he showed off not one, but two drug stores, both of which had been modified from old lunch halls. There were at least three times the amount of drugs than Inigo’s compound, with more variations of products too. As Paulo led me along, he showcased everything, from LSD, to Ketamine, to Heroin. Before we left, Paulo offered me a bag of weed, free of charge, which I quickly denied.

"Not a using man?" he inquired.

"I like to keep my head clear." I replied, "Can't fight well with a clouded mind."

"If only more of my men thought this way..." Paulo chuckled, "Perhaps I could expand my business a little more."

From the armoury, we walked outside and across a small, yet elegant garden. There was a large fountain and numerous flowerbeds, along with a large greenhouse, which I rightly guessed was for growing more weed. We came to the other half of the villa, where a makeshift prison had been constructed. Inside was a large array of small rooms which had been altered to make jail cells, all of which were holding groups of prisoners. No doubt, they would be sold into the slave trade, much like Inigo’s organisation; the two cartels must have been in good partnership, before I caused the uprising.

“Pretty impressive, hey Bruce?” Paulo muttered as he peered into one of the cells through a small hole in the door.

“Very impressive, you’ve done well.” I replied.

Paulo reached into his suit and pulled out a handgun, before aiming into the cell’s small hole and pulling the trigger. The gunshot made me jump slightly, and I heard the dying scream of someone inside. He put his gun away and turned to face me with a big grin.

“Most of it is thanks to your old boss, you know? Inigo gave me many drugs and slaves to sell. We were quite close actually, before Callum put a knife to him.” he muttered.

I pursed my lips and hung my head slightly, pretending to show remorse for his loss. He took one last look into the cell to admire the corpse he’d just created before heading back towards the exit, beckoning me to follow.

“Come, drink with me.” He spoke, opening the door and walking out.

I followed him out across the garden and he took me back over to the main building, we walked through the villa and came back to the entrance hall where the floor was bloody and littered with bullet casings and a few dead bodies. Paulo’s guards were dragging them away and cleaning the floor with a mop bucket.

“My business has a few inner groups, you see Bruce.” Paulo told me.

I put my head on one side and hummed in confusion.

“We have the new recruits, who we train in a different village, and then there’s the Raiders, who we send to catch people for slaves, they are always drunk, high, or both. Then we have the Militia Unit, who fight the police and terrorise the bigger towns. Finally, there are my personal guards, loyal as dogs, and exquisitely trained. They guard the villa and shoot anyone who isn’t welcome.” He explained.

I nodded and hummed again with understanding.

“So where do I fit in?” I asked.

At this, Paulo laughed and put a hand on my shoulder.

“We shall see, boy. We shall see…”

We went back up the flight of stairs and across the hallway until we reached his office room again, he ordered for a second chair be brought up to the room, before commanding his guards to leave the two of us alone. Moments later a guard returned with a chair and put it in front of the large desk, he then left and Paulo pointed at the chair and offered for me to sit down; I did as I was told and sat in the wooden chair as he went around the desk and sat in his.

“Spirit, pick.” He told me.

“Sorry?” I nervously said back, confused.

“Drink, Bruce! What spirit do you want?” He elaborated, rolling his eyes.

“Surprise me.” I replied.

Paulo chuckled and put his tongue on his bottom lip in amusement, before he reached under his desk and withdrew two skull shaped shot glasses and a large bottle of Lambs Navy Rum. He poured a large shot for each of us and pushed my glass towards me, I picked it up and smirked at him. He clinked his glass against my own before downing his shot in one, I did the same and quickly downed my shot; I instantly felt the warm burning in my mouth and down my throat and tried not to cough, it’d been a while since I’d had a spirit.
I put my glass on the table and he poured me another, along with one for himself; thankfully this time he only sipped at his shot and I was able to savour it, rather than get drunk quickly; I hadn’t eaten since that old lady gave me the small basket of food, meaning I was on an empty stomach, and I didn’t want to risk getting drunk just yet.

“So, Bruce. How did you make it all the way from Brazil to the shit town of Herdade da Portagem, and find my daughter Bunnie?” Paulo asked, laying back in his chair.

I took another sip from my shot, before telling him a bullshit story that after escaping Inigo’s compound with my life, I was able to escape with two other of his men, we'd seized a small boat and made our way to Portugal by sea. I told him Inigo had often spoken of the small town being Paulo’s playpen for live target practice and an open prison for his daughter, so my best bet was to make my way there and hope to encounter some of his men. The boat was intercepted by the authorities on the coast, and I'd jumped ship, leaving my two companions to their fates. After swimming to shore and making my way inland, I eventually made my way to the town after hijacking a car.

I then went on to tell him that upon arrival, I found a load of Paulo's men, recently dead. Soon enough I stumbled upon the culprit (some do-gooder that was trying to help Bunnie escape). After being able to shoot him in the arm, he fled, and then Paulo's militia finally turned up in their trucks to retrieve Bunnie, and so I hitched a ride with them to get here.

“And here you are! My lovely home in Escola de Ervidel!” Paulo exclaimed happily, downing his shot.

“So it would seem!” I pretended to laugh in agreement, downing my own shot.

“A very interesting story Bruce, I’m sure the other English speaking men would like to hear it.” He spoke, once again refilling his shot glass.

“So your men are all from different countries?” I asked.

“Correct boy, all of my men come from everywhere in the world; mercenaries from all parts of the globe who wanted just a little bit more.” He answered, reaching into his pocket.

He pulled out a packet of Cuban cigars and took two of them out, handing one of them to me.

“Thanks, but no thanks.” I declined, shaking my head.

“I insist.” Paulo said back, his tone slightly less friendly.

“I don’t smoke.” I replied nervously.

Paulo nodded and closed his eyes, with his other hand he pulled out his handgun and aimed it directly at my face.

“You will smoke this gift, or I will put a hole through your head.” He ordered, glaring at me.

I gulped in fear, but kept eye contact with him.

{Well this took a quick turn…} I thought.

{No shit, Sherlock.} My conscience replied.

I took the cigar and the box of matches on the desk, lit it, and put it in my mouth; I lightly sucked the cigar and then breathed in, I could feel the hot smoke shoot down my throat and into my lungs; it felt like my lungs were burning, almost as if I’d inhaled water, but at the same time it had an odd pleasantness to it similar to the light burning of the rum in my stomach. Being my first smoke, let alone my first cigar, I quickly went into a coughing fit; Paulo then burst into roaring laughter and put his gun away.

“I was fucking with you, ha! Did you honestly think I was going to shoot one of Inigo’s Montenegro’s men? You're an endangered creature now!”

He took the cigar off me and began to smoke it himself, putting the other one away; I took a breath of relief and chuckled lightly at the situation.

“I like you Bruce, you’re fun.” He said with a smirk, blowing a smoke ring at me.

“That’s funny, Inigo said exactly the same thing.” I replied, my eyebrows upraised.

He chuckled and went on to tell me how he and Inigo were very likeminded, and that they were like brothers. After that, he smoked in silence and I slowly sipped away at my shot.

“So, my daughter Bunnie… pretty thing isn’t she?” Paulo spoke eventually, his grin, wide and toothy.

“Very.” I agreed, smiling weakly.

“Do you want to fuck her?”

My eyes widened in shock and I almost choked on my last bit of rum, I stuttered with confusion as I had no idea how to respond.

“I, erm, uh, I... I beg your pardon?”

“Oh don’t be so coy Bruce, all of my men want her, I’d have her myself if she wasn’t my daughter! It's no secret that the little bitch is the forbidden fruit of my holy garden.” He interrupted me, laughing loudly.

I pretended to laugh, but at this point all I wanted to do was put a knife in his throat. The thought of Bunnie being thrown from man to man within the gang sprung up in my mind and it was too much to bear, I needed to find her and get her out of here, along with finding her mother.

“Well, she’s very beautiful.” I admitted.

“And no man ever said otherwise.” Paulo chuckled.

“Why does she run away so much?” I asked, pretending to have no idea of how horrible he was.

“The girl is a traitor, and has no respect. She ran away with her whore of a mother to seek asylum in the UK, and topped it off by trying to sell out my business to the British police, they almost ruined my entire organisation. Eventually I was able to track them down and have them brought back to me, and they’ve been my prisoners ever since. My wife is now my personal servant and does whatever I command, and Bunnie? Well, that little troublemaker goes back and forth from being a kitchen wench, to being dumped in that town to live on the street after attempting to poison my food. Although, with this do-gooder you speak of roaming around there, I'll probably just start locking her away in a cell.” He explained.

I hummed with interest, and then Paulo leaned forward and looked straight into my eyes.

“You do want her, don’t you?” He asked.

I tilted my head on one side, before inhaling through my teeth.

“Well, from one fine gentleman to another... Have you seen her!?” I exclaimed, gesturing outwardly.

At this, Paulo leaned back in his chair and roared with laughter. When he eventually calmed down, he looked at me with a massive grin.

“Bruce my boy, you really are funny. You English have always talked in ways that make me laugh.” He giggled, stroking his moustache.

He got up from his chair and came around to me, I instinctively got up as well and turned to face him as he put both his hands on my shoulders, grinning wildly.

“Well Bruce, I have an offer for you, a deal, if you will… I have a few jobs that need doing, but my militia unit are too busy warring the Portuguese authorities to do them. Some are easy, and some are hard. If you do all of these things for me, I will give you Bunnie, as a reward for your service.” He told me, giving my shoulders a small squeeze.

This was it, this was my chance. If I played along as one of his cartel members for a little while and built up this guy's trust, I’d be able to get her out of here…

“Consider them done. What are the jobs and when do I start?”

“You’re very keen aren’t you? You have my word that Bunnie will be yours, soon enough Bruce. I’d be quite glad to be rid of her anyway. But we shall talk of your jobs tomorrow, you have come a long way from Brazil and will need to rest. Come with me, I will show you to your room, you are a guest in my home and will be treated well.” He said, beckoning me to follow him once more.

He led me behind his desk and through a small door that led to a hallway with a series of rooms, bathrooms, kitchens, and other ordinary household rooms; I guessed the upstairs area was the living quarters for Paulo and his more trusted men.
He took me to a small bedroom, which entailed of a dresser, a single bed with bedside tables on each side, a marble sink, and a wardrobe.

“This is your room, make yourself welcome. Are you hungry?” Paulo asked.

I turned to him with wide eyes at the sound of food.

“Absolutely starving.” I replied.

“I will have my slaves cook you some food, you can dine with me and my ‘wife’.” He said, using his fingers to quote the word ‘wife’, which was surely Bunnie’s mum.

I gave him a grateful bow of the head in respect, he then showed me to a bathroom with a marble bath that was nearly the size of a hot tub.

“You must be filthy from your travels. Please, bathe as long as you like, we will fetch you when food is ready.” He offered kindly.

“Thank you.” I said with a smile.

I hated to admit, I temporally loved Paulo right now; I hadn’t had a bath in months…

After going back to my room and stripping naked, I took a towel from the dresser and wrapped it around myself and headed to the bathroom; I took my phone with me just in case.
I locked the door behind me and examined the bath, the taps looked like they were made of gold, but at closer examination I could tell it was just extra shiny brass; along the side were some really fancy shower gels and shampoos; being the upper section of the villa I assumed Paulo reserved these luxuries to himself and other people that were close to him.

I turned on the hot tap and added a load of shower gel and scented shampoo to make the water bubblier, as the water began to steam up I caught a large whiff of lavender from the shampoo, which was my favourite smell; after being surrounded by the smell of drugs, dirt, and the body odour of the sweaty gang members, I couldn’t help but give a very small hum of delight from the fragrance.
While I waited for the tub to fill up, I decided to go to the toilet; as I sat down and did my business I switched my phone back on. After booting up, I saw I had one unread notification; in the form of a text.

I rolled my eyes, I assumed Twilight was now in Portugal with the group; I had no idea how my phone could receive a text as I’d taken out the sim card, but I trusted in Twi’s magic and texted back a response.

I exhaled through my nose in amusement at my own reply, I found the best way to survive during a dangerous situation is just to joke your way through it; that was my method anyway.

After flushing the toilet, I walked over to the bath and put my down down by my towel; I put one foot in and hummed in delight, the water was the perfect temperature. I put my other leg in and then slowly eased myself down until all but my head was submerged; the hot water sloshed up my chest as I lay back and moaned in delight from the senses that sent me into a state of relaxation.

I spent about quarter of an hour just zoning out and enjoying the sensations of the bath, before I went on to cleaning myself properly and took a bottle of body wash gel from the bath ledge along with a sponge. I applied the gel to my body and began scrubbing away, I started with my upper arms and was shocked to see how many layers of dead skin started to break away; it then occurred to me that I hadn’t properly washed since I had departed on this whole adventure.
By the time I’d finished washing my whole body, the bath water was a dark brown colour; needless to say, I felt absolutely disgusting, to the point where I ended up emptying the tub and refilling it with fresh hot water. While the water started filling the tub, I took some shampoo and conditioner and squirted a huge egg-sized glob of each into my left hand; I then rubbed it into my hair and used my fingernails to make sure the products went deep through my hair and into the roots.

“I need a haircut…” I muttered as I combed my fingers along my head.

My dark brown hair, once upon a time was short on the sides with a spiked cone at the front, a little bit like David Tennant’s hairstyle when he'd first started out on Doctor Who. Now, my hair was a great big shaggy mass that almost reached my shoulders, looking in the bathroom mirror I noticed it had also blackened from all the dirt and dust on my adventure, primarily from my visit to Chernobyl.
That was nothing compared to my beard however; back when I first went on my journey with the six, I was lucky enough to have a small amount of stubble on my neck and some short sideburns.
Now, my whole lower face was covered in thick scraggly hair; my moustache was wiry and almost covered my top lip, and my chin was barely visible at all.

“Jeez, how long have we been doing this…?” I whispered to myself, scratching the beard.

{Dunno, I’ve completely lost track of time now…} My conscience replied.

I got back into the bath and held my breath before submerging my head under the water, with my head under, I rubbed, scrubbed and scratched my head to get all the shampoo out, and the dirt with it.
Exactly a minute later I brought my head back up and took a breath in, I used my fingers to brush my hair out of my face before wiping my eyes to get rid of the soapy water; when I opened my eyes I was greeted by more brown water.

“Fuckin’ hell, you really are one filthy shit-cake…” I mumbled to myself under my breath.

I looked up to see there was also a shower-head, and felt it’d be best to have a quick shower rinse to get rid of the last of the dirt; I unplugged the bath and let the water drain out before standing up and turning on the shower, after an initial cold blast the shower heated up to the perfect temperature and I stood underneath, finally removing all the remaining dirt from my body.

I stood out the bath and walked over to my towel, it was at that point where the door opened and a woman stood in the doorway; before I had time to cover up she had already seen me and let out a startled yelp, she instantly turned away and started apologising in Portuguese, I blushed from the embarrassment and covered myself up with the towel, the woman kept apologising in fear, as if I were about to harm her.

“Hey, relax. It was just an accident.” I said calmly.

She instantly stopped and turned to look at me (thankfully my privates now hidden from sight), and stared at me with her eyes wide with shock.

“You’re British?” She asked shakily.

Her accent was English, like my own; she was a little shorter than me and had shoulder length dark auburn hair.

{Bunnie’s mother, located!} I thought to myself.

“Yeah, I take it you’re Bunnie’s mum?” I replied, tilting my head on one side.

At that, she gasped and shot forward and gave me a rib-crushing hug; I wheezed as she nearly took me off my feet.

You’ve seen Bunnie!? Oh gosh… Where is she? Is my little girl okay?” She pleaded desperately, letting me go.

At the mere mention of her daughter’s name, she was already crying; this poor woman had clearly suffered a lot, just looking into her eyes I could see a lot of supressed trauma and distress.

“She’s okay. A little bruised, but okay. I’m trying to find out where she’s being held so I can see my plan through.” I answered.

“What plan?” She asked, frowning with concern.

I narrowed my eyebrows and put a hand on her shoulder, before giving her a small smirk.

“Oh, haven't you heard? I’m the man that's going to kill your husband…”

After quickly explaining my plan in more depth, I left Bunnie’s mum to go back to her forced duties and went back to my room to change into some clothes. In the wardrobe was some casual clothes, a pair of dark navy trousers and a white baggy shirt with a frilly collar. I got changed and put my phone in my pocket; a few minutes later there was a knocking at my door.

“Bruce, are you in there?” Paulo’s voice came from the other side.

“Yeah, just got dressed.” I replied.

The door handle turned and he opened the door slightly to pop his head into the room.

“Dinner is ready, come, join me.” He beckoned.

I put on a pair of sandals from the dresser and left the room to walk alongside Paulo; he led me through a series of rooms and we soon came to a large dining room with a table large enough to fit ten people. My mouth began to salivate as I stared in shock at the amount of food that was laid upon it; there were platters of turkey, beef, pork, potatoes, cheese, and various vegetables from one end of the table to the other.

“Hungry?” Paulo asked rhetorically, chuckling at the look on my face.

I blinked and shook my head to snap back to reality, I looked back at Paulo and nodded, almost drooling. He laughed and led me to a chair beside him at the head of the table; most of the chairs were empty besides some of his personal guard and a few Portuguese women whom I could easily tell were slaves.
Moments later, Bunnie’s mother came into the room with a stack of plates in her arms; she walked around the table and placed a plate in front of each person before sitting down next to her ‘husband’, opposite me.

“Bruce, this is my lovely wife, Dijla.” Paulo introduced her to me with a dark smile.

She looked at me and gave a weak smile, pretending not to know me; in turn I also just blinked and dipped my head as though I hadn’t met her already.

“Nice to see you without your balaclava boy, I was wondering what you actually looked like.” He said.

“Well, with this scraggly beard, it’s not much of a pretty sight.” I joked in response.

“Indeed,” he replied with a grin, “after dinner I’ll have Dijla shave it for you, won’t you dear?”

His wife shuddered and gave me a nervous nod; I pretended to give her a pompous sniff and looked back to Paulo.

“That would be very much appreciated.” I spoke.

“Like I said, you’re my guest, and will be well looked after.” He replied, smiling.

He stood up and leant forward into the table and began putting food onto his plate; he then looked at me and gestured for me to start helping myself to food, I didn’t hesitate before piling up my plate.

An hour went by before we finished dinner, I’d ploughed through two main course meals and three plates of dessert, which ranged from fudge cake to an ice-cream sundae, to a wonderful cream-coated Eton Mess; I had eaten so much that my belly had bloated into a little food baby.

“Eaten your fill?” Paulo asked cheerfully, just finishing his own sundae.

“Yes sir…” I groaned, almost burping.

He chuckled before clearing his throat and beckoning to everyone else at the table to leave.

“Leave us.” He commanded.

Everyone got up and left; as his wife stood up he grabbed her arm and told her something in Portuguese, when she left the room, Paulo and I were left alone.

“I’m glad you’ve eaten your fill, it’s the least I can do for one of Inigo’s men. I admired the man, psychotic and wild, yet also intelligent and clever, a true human being!” He exclaimed.

“What do you mean, a true human being?” I quizzed, tilting my head on one side.

“Well,” he started, “humans were born to kill, my friend. From the inception of our species, we were animals, at the top of the food chain, the apex predator. But as the years have gone by, we have become soft, and cowardly.
Once upon a time, you could kill a hundred men and nobody would batter an eyelid, but now, people lose their minds over so much as petty theft. As a species, we’ve transformed, Bruce. We have become the prey!
But men like Inigo… Men like you, and I… We’ve retained the animal inside us. We feel the true extent of our human ability, our reflexes and our strength enhanced. Our brains, active!
We, the killers… Are the only ones who are truly alive...”

I sat back and thought about his words; he may have been an evil psychopath, but he made sense to an extent; ever since I killed my clone at the beginning of my adventure, I felt this emotion inside me; I rarely felt calm anymore, I was constantly full of adrenaline, ready to act.

I was taken out of my thoughts about the matter when Dijla walked back into the room with a small box; Paulo stood up and took the box from his wife and puckered his lips for a kiss, to which she very reluctantly had to oblige.

“If you would like to head to the bathroom Bruce, my wife will shave you. You must be extremely tired from your travels, so by all means go to bed when she’s finished.” Paulo told me.

I stood up from the table and gave Paulo a respectful bow to show my gratitude, he gave me a smile before turning to his wife once more and gave her a threatening stare.

“Se você cortar o menino, vou cortar sua língua fora; e você vai usá-lo em torno de seu pescoço.” He spoke coldly.

I don’t know what he said, but I could assume it was something nasty; Dijla gave him a nervous nod and took the box back from her husband, she turned towards me and began heading in my direction when he slapped her arse; she yelped quietly in shock but kept quiet, she led me away to the bathroom and Paulo went off to his own personal room.

“Now that was a good meal…” I moaned as I closed the bathroom door.

Dijla frowned at me.

“What? I haven’t eaten properly in months!” I pointed out.

“Well I’m glad you had such a nice time with the man who has ruined thousands of lives, mine and my daughter’s included!” She growled angrily.

“Dijla, relax. I enjoyed the food, not the company of the guy I’m planning to kill.” I reminded her, raising an eyebrow.

She sighed and dipped her head apologetically.

“I know… It’s just so hard living like this. I thought I’d escaped and found a good life for Bunnie, and now here we are, back in hell…” She sighed, her eyes tearing up.

“Hey… I’ll get you both out of this, I promise.” I whispered gently.

“How can you be so sure?”

“Trust me, I’ve dealt with worse things than Paulo.”

“Like what?” She asked.

“Things you wouldn’t believe.” I replied, walking over to the bathroom sink.

She came with me and opened the box, inside was a cutthroat razor and a bottle of shaving foam; I wetted my face and applied the foam before standing perfectly still, looking in the mirror as Dijla approached me.

“How do you want it?” She asked.

“Keep the sideburns and the goatee, take the rest.” I told her.

She nodded and stood beside me, she placed the blade to my face and began to carefully shave me; but careful as she was, I could feel her hands trembling.

“Relax…” I soothed.

“It’s not so easy, when your tongue’s on the line.” She retorted.


“That’s what he said to me earlier. If I accidentally cut you, he’ll take out my tongue and force me to wear it as a necklace.” She explained.

“Jeez…” I muttered.

I stayed quiet and let her continue; as she went on, her tremor slowed down and she became more confident. As the hair fell away, I could finally recognise myself again, I honestly had lost complete track of time throughout this adventure and didn’t even know what date it was…

Twenty minutes later, the shave was complete; not a scratch, and I looked five years younger again.

“Beautiful…” I muttered.

“I hadn’t realised how young you are.” Dijla commented.

“Aye, seventeen. Going on eighteen soon, I think.” I replied.

“You think?”

“Lost track of time, don’t even know the month.” I elaborated.

“It’s late December, it was Boxing Day just two days ago.”

“Already!? Aww… I missed Christmas…” I mumbled sadly.

“You’re not the only one…” She sighed.

I hummed in reluctant agreement, before shaking the thoughts from my mind; there were far more important matters at hand than a holiday.

{That explains the icy cold storm when we got here…} My conscience pointed out.

“Hmm…” I agreed.

After a brief chat with Dijla, I went off to my room and she went back to Paulo’s; I closed the door behind me and stripped down to my underwear, I looked down to my chest and lightly stroked the large scar Inigo had left me.

“Got me good, you bastard…” I muttered.

I switched off the light and hopped into bed, the mattress was spongey with a wonderful firmness underneath, this was a very high quality memory foam mattress; I guessed Paulo used a lot of his drug money on personal luxuries for himself. After the exhausting day I’d had, it didn’t take me too long to start drifting off to sleep; and at the moment the darkness of sleep took me over, one word was spoken in my mind. The voice was deep and raspy, but being asleep I didn’t have the consciousness to identify it, or its meaning.


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