Owin #19 Someone is coming
Check out the start of the series.
Gwen sat in the abandoned room, but she still did not see the debris and refuse around her even with the light of the morning coming in through a broken window opening. Everywhere she looked, all she could see was her mother laying discarded on the floor. Why did I steal that damn spoon? She demanded of herself, tears leaking from her eyes. Damn it, why?
She had no answer for herself, despite having asked the question through the morning and prior night. She knew the fault remained with her. She wanted to blame Owin, but the idea of being free from a life of servitude had overruled her own doubts at the time. “Damn it. Damn it. Damn it.”
She sighed. Her stomach growled. Her tongue clung to her parched lips. Her bladder protested. However, she had no strength to move. She closed her eyes again, but then opened then suddenly as she heard the sounds of someone in a different part of the building.
Listening carefully, she tried to remember what the building looked like, but Owin had led her to this room in the dark and she did not remember how many rooms they passed through. Her hope that the noise was Owin returning died the moment she heard the voices. The distance and walls between her and them made it impossible to understand what had been said, but she knew Owin would have made no sounds and neither voice sounded like him.
Trying to avoid making any noise, she slowly rose to her feet. The dryness of her mouth now from fear. The people who were normally found in abandoned factories and warehouses were not ones she could trust or want to meet.
She glanced down at the bundle of things she had taken from her home. Most of it remained wrapped in the old blanket. She crouched down and pulled out the short dagger Owin had given her on her twelfth birthday and then gathered the rest of her things back into the bundle.
“You know we don’t have time to head all the way across town,” came one masculine voice. The speaker sounded older to her ears, but not ancient. Perhaps Owin’s age, she considered.
“Don’t give me that,” came the voice she heard more predominately before. “You need to just keep up. Otherwise you’ll starve.” This voice sent a chill down her spine. The tone in that voice spoke of a willingness to be physical. “Let’s see if that guy left anything behind.”
Gwen looked toward the window, but it sat high in the wall, allowing in light and letting out heat, but limiting anyone from using as a means to come or go from the room. A second doorway in the back wall led to a dark hall. Her heart racing, she gathered her bundle and started to head toward the narrow hall, but a squeak came out of her mouth when a face appeared in the darkness. The momentary hope that it was Owin decayed instantly into fear as a roughly dressed man emerged from the hall.
Gwen had already stepped back, her right hand instinctively moved behind her to hide the weapon. She stepped back again, turning slightly to keep her eye on the other doorway as she heard the men who had been speaking step into the room.
“What do we have here?” The physical sounding man demanded. His bearded face hid under a mop of hair that had not seen more than a hand brushing in a long time. His broad shouldered form stood a head shorter than the thin man behind him. The man looked Gwen up and down, but then turned his attention to the other man who had come out of the darkness. “Vik, you’re not welcome here.”
The roughly dressed man shifted his shoulders, loosening his torn and threadbare shirt around his body. “I can go where I want.”
“We saw this place first,” said the broader man, a club made of a broken bit of wood lifted up for everyone to see. “You want us to prove it to you?”
The roughly dressed man sniffed once and looked at both the men before him, and then Gwen watched as he turned back to her. With a final glance around the room, the man shrugged and turned back to the dark hall. “Pin, you’ll get yours one day,” he said as he moved quickly away.
Gwen’s heart still raced. She had remained a silent watcher, but now the two remaining men’s attention fell totally upon her. The smile that came across the shorter man’s face made her swallow.
“I had thought to find a few cloths and perhaps some food. This is so much better.”
Gwen tried to remember all the fighting moves Owin had taught her, but nothing came to her mind. Owin, I need you, she thought, praying he would come up behind these men and rescue her. Not seeing him, she found her voice as the broad man stepped forward. “I’m protected. You don’t want to harm me.”
The man’s grin widened. “Really, where is this protector of yours? He hiding in that bundle of yours? Perhaps he’s under your dress. We can take it off and have him protect you.”
“Pip, leave the girl alone,” the taller man said from behind him. “I’ve got a daughter not much younger than her. Take her bundle, but nothing more.”
The broad man turned his body and head to the man behind him. “Rigor, you don’t want to enjoy the girl, then don’t. But don’t tell me what to do.”
Gwen glanced toward the dark hall, wondering if the other man had left or was still waiting for her. She calculated a run toward the hall, but the broad man’s voice froze her in place.
“Don’t think about it girly, I’ll yank out your hair if you try to run for it.”
“Pip. I won’t let you harm her. Take her bundle and let’s be done with this.” The tall man put his hand on the broad man’s shoulder. “I’ll stop you if you try.”
The broad man’s movement startled Gwen. He moved so suddenly that the tall man did not have a chance to dodge the club as it flew up and struck his head. Gwen’s eyes widened as the tall man slumped to the floor, unconscious or dead, she had no way to know.
“Now, where were we?”