No Asylum – Chapter 7

September 9, 2010

Following the signs to Interview Room 2, Ian paused in the shadows of a doorway, watching the slow pivoting of the security camera in the hall as he slid the magnum back into hiding under his jacket and half-unzipped the hold-all slung over one shoulder, reaching in to feel the smooth metal stock of the silenced De Lisle carbine tucked within. For an instant, he almost smiled, adrenal excitement sparking through his nerves, but then a frown cast over his features like a looming thundercloud.

“Dolly…” His jaw set. Pulling his sunglasses off, he strode to the door of the interrogation room, an artfully-made badge prominently displayed on the chest of his stolen uniform proclaiming him to be an employee of the San Paro Institute for the Criminally Insane named Darius Jedburg. The door was not quite closed, but he rapped on it sharply all the same.

“Agent Walsaw? I’m here to collect your prisoner.”

For a moment, he thought he heard a soft sound, a muted cry of pain from a woman’s throat. He told himself he didn’t, not the cry nor the heavy metal snap of handcuffs that followed it. They were not touching her. They were not hurting her. He forced down the fury that prickled in his blood; the red, red rage that seethed through him until it sank into a cold, clear place in the depths of his heart.

When the door opened, he smiled, clinically charming. “I’m from the SPICI, here to collect Miss Phorbes.”

“No, you’re fucking not! You’re…” Ian slammed his full weight into the dark-haired young enforcer who had answered his knock, silencing his protest with a swift, brutal punch to the stomach, dragging the De Lisle from the hold-all with his other hand as he pushed the enforcer back into the room and slammed the door behind him.

There are only two ways to survive on the streets of San Paro. To be an enforcer, or to be faster than one.

But this guy was fast. Before the layout of the room had even made its way from Ian’s eyes to the mind behind them, the enforcer had grabbed his wrist, pushing the gun aside and down, slamming his wrist savagely against the side of the table. Hitting the nerve, making his fingers convulse. The clatter the gun made as it hit the floor almost drowned out Dolly’s cry of recognition and alarm, but not quite enough. His eyes went to her, taking in the redness and swelling around her eye, the blood on her lip, the drying tracks of tears on her cheeks. It all went to the cold place.

The enforcer’s fist caught him squarely under the chin, snapping his teeth together, forcing him back a pace or two, making static hiss in his ears. By instinct, Ian brought his knee up, pushing aside the kick to the stomach that would have followed, then he grabbed for the man’s wrists, missing his right hand and paying for it with a line of vivid, red pain that lanced through his right shoulder and across his ribs.

If he’d been two inches shorter, the ‘Forcer’s hidden little flick-knife would have slashed his throat.

He slammed another punch into the man’s gut, pushing him back, fighting for room to move. A kick that would have broken his knee bit his shin instead as he stepped forward, letting the blow slide off to the side. He grabbed for the man’s knife-hand again, fingers fastening firmly around his wrist this time.

For a moment, everything froze as the two stood locked, muscles corded and straining, sweat beading their brows, then Ian slowly started to push the agent’s arms back and outwards, away from his body. When they stood almost nose-to-nose, arms outstretched, he slammed his forehead into the guy’s nose.

The crumpling sound of the enforcer’s limp body falling was the only thing to disturb the stillness. He bent to pick up the carbine, then turned to the blonde woman who was already rising from her chair despite her handcuffs, stumbling forward into his arms, sobbing with relief.

Ian rested his cheek against the top of her head as he held her, closing his eyes to let the sweet, vanilla scent that clung to her hair wash over him. She babbled at him, tearful and incoherent, until he dropped a kiss onto the crown of her head and lifted her chin with a tender hand to examine her face.

“It’s okay, Blue. It’s okay now. I’m here… I’m not going to let you go.” He brushed her cheek gently, wiping away her tears. “Who hit you, love?”

She flinched against him as the enforcer groaned on the concrete floor. “Him…” Her voice was hoarse from crying, but she pointed with a trembling hand. “Derek.”

He kissed her again, smiling the smile that was just for her and drew her against his chest with one sheltering arm as the carbine swung to bear on the enforcer. The sound was barely louder than a sneeze, but the man on the floor howled in agony as deep red blood began to blossom on the belly of his shirt.

“Fell said the ginger guy had you. Where’s he now?”

“Behind you…”

Ian whirled, pushing his lover behind him as he pointed the carbine at the red-headed enforcer who stood, frozen in the doorway, staring at the writhing body of his partner on the floor.

“Alright, mate, come on in.” Ian’s voice was eerily calm, even to his own ears. He waved with the gun towards a chair. “Take a seat and then you can explain to me why you and that cunt…” He jerked his head towards the fallen Derek. “…are bothering my fiancee.”

Chris’ mouth was moving like a goldfish’s as he walked to the chair and sank into it. He stared at Derek for a long moment, then up at the muzzle of the gun, then past Carlyle to the pale, shaking form of the woman who was the reason both of them were here. The door clicked shut again, soundproofing the room to the outside.

Chris kept his eyes on the floor as he spoke. “Your fiancee is a schizophrenic, suffering from multiple personality disorder along with severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and a couple of violent psychoses. She killed her whole family ten years ago and the only reason she’s not in prison now was that, as a minor, she was confined instead to a secure mental facility where, for her sake and yours, she should be now.” He lifted his eyes to the blonde girl. “You know it’s true, love. You’re very sick and if you stay out here, innocent people are going to get hurt.”

The rage flashed through Ian like a fire through dry brush. He smashed the butt of the De Lisle across Walsaw’s face, enunciating every syllable with a frosted clarity. “You. Do. Not. Speak. To. Her. You do not look at her. Not ever again. Do you understand me?”

Walsaw clutched the side of his face in his hand, bright spots dancing in front of his eyes as he nodded. The Englishman’s eyes bored into him and he spoke as if explaining something to a child. “She’s not sick anymore. We took care of that. Her only problem, now, is you. And that makes you my problem.”

The carbine was moving. Chris surged to his feet, shouting at Carlyle to stop, but somehow the three soft sneezes from the gun drowned everything else out. Three bullets stitched themselves into Derek’s face and then he was falling back, quite still, quite silent and the gun was panning back to point at Walsaw himself. His left hip exploded in pain, sending him tumbling to the floor. He scrambled for cover behind the chair as Ian drew the silver magnum from his hold-all, firing once into Phorbes’ cuffs as she stretched the chain across a corner of the table. Chris was drowned out by the thunder of the shot as he screamed at the Englishman, “She’s incurable! File says she’s fucking incurable!”

“C’mon love, time to go.” Ian grabbed her hand in his, steadying her as the two of them ran from the room.

Chris dragged himself to the door in their wake, his limp leg leaving a bloody trail across the floor. He shouted after them, “She’s not Dolly! She’s not Priscilla Phorbes! Her name is Peony! PEONY!”


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