The warm night was humid and oppressive, but the cool rain that dribbled from the sky was pleasant enough. This little grassy knoll is where she had awoken. She had spent several hours here, and those few hours were all she could remember. She knew nothing. Not her name. Not where she was from. She would have to check the tags on her clothing just to tell you what size they were. She had no motivation or drive either. So she sat. She just sat in the silence as the cool rain fell on her, and the grass and soil around her dampened. The smell of rain and moist earth filled her nose as she ran her hands over the soft wet grass. The moon was fast waning, and only occasionally found a break in the clouds to briefly illuminate the world. In one of these brief moments she was able to see the large sprawling field around her. The wind blew chilling her dampened skin and she shivered lightly. The grass waved mysteriously as the wind picked up. Her muscles tensed as she wrapped her arms around her knees. The moonlight was once again hidden, but she wasn't afraid, however she wasn't at ease either. She lays her body on the sodden earth, where as far as she knew is where she came into existence, and curls into herself. Slowly but surely as the remaining hours of night pass the moon falls below the horizon and the rain stops as the sun rises.
The sun's warmth falls across her body and finally she feels she is able to move. Where she will go she doesn't know, but she stands and turns to face the sun. With the sun glaring in her eyes she can't see much except for a line of trees at the edge of the field. As she begins to descend the hillock she sees something reflective past the trees. She takes no precautions against the blinding sun as she wades into the waving green ocean of grass towards the trees. The tall grass was still heavy with the rain that the sun hadn't had enough time yet to evaporate the water from, so it felt almost as if she were truly wading through water. Her eyes stay locked ahead of her as she comes under the first reaching shadows of the trees.
As she stepped under the the sprawling canopies of the forest she can feel a water droplet fall from the leaves of the trees. The trees are all very tall and the lowest branches are far out of her reach. The scents of the forest calm her and she relaxes as a leaf falls before her dancing it's way to the still wet earth below. The forest floor has an emerald cast of light over it from the light filtering through the trees, and is mostly earthy with some beds of moss and shoots of fern near the bases of the woody giants. As the sun continues to rise the rain that served to make the night comfortable has made the day even more humid, and unpleasant, even under the shadow of the trees. She trudges on more slowly as she feels the heat begin to wear on her body. The rare breeze allows for a brief reprieve cooling her sweaty skin. She sighs as she feels one such gust pushes it's way through the tree trunks and greets her softly. She wipes sweat from her forehead. There must be a word for such feelings. She thinks to herself as she continues walking. She wracks her brain for quite a time until she sees a break in the trees ahead, and unfiltered light beyond it. As she emerges and the full force of the sun blasts down on her, she wonders just how long she ha been walking. She looks up into the sky to see the sun hadn't even reached it's apex. Looking back forward she can see what she saw shining in the distance. It was a city. She was close. She continues her trek towards the gleaming city.
As the sun takes the highest point in the sky she reaches the the tall reaching spires of glass and steel. The torrid heat beats down on her from directly above and sweat drenches her body. Her limbs ache, and her throat is painfully dry from her long walk, yet she doesn't know how she can remedy this. Her memory still refusing to return to her. It's almost as if it is a numbness in her mind. A paralysis.
She wanders ever deeper into the city. The noises growing more raucous and intense as she comes in from the outskirts. The streets also grow more populous as people go about their midday business. A particularly loud noise causes her to cover her ears in pain, and she nearly tumbles into the busy traffic, causing even more of the loud sounds to issue as she staggers back onto the sidewalk. People begin passing her at a distance, casting wary glances of disgust and fear, taking notice of her odd behavior and dirty appearance. The added heat reflecting up off the pavement makes it feel near unbearable to continue walking. She glances around with her hands still over her ears and spots a shady alleyway. She slowly works her way into it with unsteady steps. The shade feels like a blessing as it covers her granting a reprieve from the powerful summer sun. She wipes a stray hair from her face and leans against the the cool wall. Her legs give way beneath her and she collapses. The bricks of the wall catch her shirt nearly lifting it and scratching the lower part of her back. It stings slightly as sweat drips into the wound. Her breathing is ragged and dry, but several blissful minutes of the cool shade allow her to regain a little of her stamina, and her breath. She can hear some laughter in the distance, but her relief from the sun far outweighs her concern.
“What do we have here boys?” She looks up. A tall unsightly man in torn clothing rounds the corner. Several other guys of varying appearances and ages follow at his heels with nasty grins on their faces. She notices all of them have the same tattoo sported somewhere on their bodies. A serpent wrapped around a blade. “Oooh looks like a pretty little mouse wandered into the snakes nest.” He smiles menacingly as he begins to close the distance. “What are you doing here little mouse?” She mimics his mouth movements but is unable to produce any sound. A combination of her memory loss and her exceptionally dry throat have seen to that. “Ah she's an uppity bitch! Much to good to talk to us street people!” He roars in mock outrage and laughs. The others laugh as well. He looks back to her and then over his shoulder to the rest of them. “Well we can fix that can't we boys?” He and the rest of them all nod still smiling. “Yes we can! We'll make this pretty little bitch feel what we street people are capable of.” He stalks towards her grabbing his crotch. “You are definitely going to feel it.” He places his other hand in his shoulder as the hand on his crotch goes for the zipper of his pants. An unpleasant emotion grips her and almost seems to cause her heart to seize up. She feels a burst of frenzied energy and her muscles tense and watches in disbelief as her fist flies impacting him between the legs. He drops with a dull thud and a moaned curse.
All but forgetting her exhaustion she leaps to her feet and runs with all the strength she can muster. Her body screams in agony as her muscles strain to keep her body moving. She can just barely hear the group of men pursuing her over the pounding of her heart. She runs down the sidewalk for a short time dashing between people and trying to maintain her pace as she hears them closing in on her. She darts into the road trying to make her way across it. The sounds of screeching brakes and honking horns mingling with the cries of her pursuers causes the pain in her head to increase a hundredfold. She covers her ears and her running becomes slower and more unstable. She staggers from side to side before retreating into the nearest alley, hoping she put enough distance between herself and them to make them lose sight of her. Her vision is blurred with sweat. She wipes the sweat away with her arm causing her eyes to sting, but clearing her sight. What her sight showed her was no more useful than the blurry vision she experienced before. She had wandered into a dead end. She turns to see the first of the gang members come in sight of the alley. He's doubled over and panting as he signals the others. They quickly close off any escape for her as they all gather breathing heavily. She drops her chin to her chest and backs to the wall. Her back meets the sun warmed stone wall ans she presses back into it as if she would move through it. She doesn't and instead crouches and curls into herself trying to make herself as small as possible. She doesn't know the emotion she feels, but it is unpleasant in the worst way possible. Her heart is still pounding, but no longer from the physical exertion.
“We've got you know cunt!” One of them hollers and the entire group laughs.
The man who first approached her walks to her with a a slight limp, and a not so slight scowl. “You bitch!” He growls. “That really hurt!” He grabs her hair and laughs. “Guess what though? Now you are going to kiss it and make it all better.” He unzips his pants. The world goes dark around her as her body and mind scream against the man's touch and actions.
The wind felt good against his face as he vaults over a length of air conditioning vent tubing on the roof of the building. The heat was unpleasant, but as long as he could keep moving the wind would keep him cool. His breathing is somewhat strained, having been running across the city's lower roof tops for some time now. His throat begged for the liquid in the water bottle that bounced at his side. He skids to a halt at the edge of the gravel covered roof, and sits against the lip of the building. He takes a long drink of the now warm water, and dumps about half it's remaining contents on his head, soaking the neck area of his thin hooded sweatshirt. He wipes the water from his head and flicks it onto the concrete lip. He watches as the wet spots dry up near instantly. Damn it sure is heating up quick this summer. He thinks to himself and hears a familiar voice from directly below him. I don't remember coming this far into their territory. He muses as he turns and leans over the edge of the building. It burns at fist but he bears with it his curiosity far outweighing the pain. He looks down and spots Jarred the leader of the Urban Serpents along with several of his flunkies harassing some girl. He hadn't seen her before, which wasn't really surprising considering he lived in the city, but something was strange about this girl. Different. He watched as Jarred mouthed something about feeling while he tugged at his crotch and places a hand on her shoulder. Almost too quick for him to see she lashes out with a punch to Jarred's jewels. He flinches back slightly as he watches Jarred hit the ground. He watches as she leaps from the alley with fairly incredible speed despite the fact her running appears to be unsteady. The Serpents regroup fairly quickly and help Jarred to his feet. A snap decision decides his course of action to help the girl.
“Knocked down by a little girl huh?” He hollers down making his face visible as he searches for the fire escape. “That's going to be a major blow to the Urban Serpents reputation. Their leader was taken down by a random girl.” He laughs as loud as he can as he drops onto the top level of the fire escape taking it slow as not to arouse their suspicion.
“You!” Jarred scowls up at him. He looks around at his subordinates before looking back up. He was still working his way down the fire escape. “You wait here and we'll deal with you after we have fun with the lady.” He spits at him and the entire group leaves the alley.
“Bought her a little time at least.” He says to himself as he reaches the bottom of the escape. I hope it was enough. He sighs as he hurriedly looks for the ladder that is supposed to lead to the ground. He looks down and sees it laying on the ground. He doesn't have time to look for another way down so he dangles himself from the escape and drops the final 15 feet. He grunts and tries to roll as he impacts the hard street below. He fails and ends up falling and scraping his arm. His feet thud painfully as he stands back up. The adrenaline takes over and the pain fades from his mind as he runs out onto the sidewalk. He takes off in the direction he had seen her running. It took him longer than he'd liked to make it down the escape so he couldn't see any of the Serpents. He looks side to side as he runs to see if they had went into an alley. He has no luck until he comes across an area of stalled traffic. He runs across as well hearing him being curse, by the people who were trying to set everything right. He ignores them and begins looking into the alleys again. As he nears the fourth or fifth alley he hears the sounds of people fighting. He stops a moment confused. Why would they be fighting? Unless they are fighting over who gets to use the girls body first. He shakes his head and runs towards the sound. He reaches the alley and is dumbfounded. The girl lay passed out on her stomach on top of one of the Serpents who appeared to have a broken nose. All of the other members were also knocked senseless, and were injured. Several other broken noses, some busted lips, and even a couple broken arms were scattered throughout the injured men. He steps through the beaten men and reaches the girl. She looked uninjured excepts for some blood on her knuckles. Did she do all this? He wonders to himself as he grabs her hand. If she had collapsed elsewhere she probably would have busted open her head open. He grimaces at the thought. He turns her over.
She was very pretty despite being fairly dirty, and covered in sweat. Her skin was pale, but very flushed from her exertions in the heat, and it looked like she may have a slight sunburn. Her face had tattoos resembling tear lines that stretched down to her jaw. Her hair was a deep red orange very similar to autumn leaves. It was mostly short with long strands in the back that reached to the middle of her back. She was dressed in a black strapless tank top, and a loose fitting pair of cargo pants. He arms were mostly covered by a long pair of gloves that covered only her middle fingers, keeping the rest exposed, and were secured at the top with a small belt. Her shoes appeared to be an older style of shoe that wasn't worn much any more and were made of canvas.
He notices her body seems to be shivering so he places a hand on her forehead. The heat coming from her is incredible. He takes his hand from her head and wipes the sweat on his pants. He fumbles with his water bottle trying to remove the cap. He succeeds and lifts her and tips the water bottle against her heat chapped lips, hoping that her body would swallow by instinct. As her mouth fills he begins to worry, but finally she swallows the water, and coughs. He sighs in relief, and put the cap back on. I cant' leave her like this... He thinks to himself. He mulls the thought over in his mind a moment. Alright. He adjust the arm under her shoulders, and places his other in the bend of her knees and lifts her from the ground.
As he leaves the alley it takes a moment for him to get his bearings. From here all that separated him from his home in the city's northern district was the park. Already he was getting some dirty looks from people on the street as he carried the girl from the alley. He just shrugged them off and began walking into the park. The park itself was fairly sizable and had a lake on one side. It would be a forty-five minute walk by the paths to the other end where his apartment building was. He walks for about thirty minutes, his arms and legs growing weary. He adjusts her as her sweaty shoulders begin to make her slip from his grasp. I should have just called an ambulance. He sighs and then recalls the aftermath of the alley fight. Maybe not... He chuckles. He looks down to make sure he has a solid grip on her. He looks again at her face and thinks about how pretty she'd be cleaned up, and notices a simple black choker around her throat. His gaze drifts lower still and stops at the swell of her breasts. He catches himself and shakes the thoughts from his mind. I'm just trying to help her out. He quickens his pace to the apartment.
Finally he reaches the entrance to his apartment. As he pushes the door open with his back he notices some of the other residents giving him some strange looks. He smirks devilishly and winks at a few of them. The lobby almost explodes with whispers as he carries the unconscious girl up the first flight of stairs. He chuckles as he keeps going until he reaches the floor with his apartment. He eyeballs the doors until he reaches the one with 147 inscribed on the placard. He lifts a knee to try and support her while he fishes in his pocket for his identity key. He discovers he can't and sighs as he gently places her against the wall near his door. Before sticking his hands back into his pocket he places his hand against her head again. The buildings air-conditioning helped to reduce her temperature some, but heat still radiated from her. She moans a little so he grabs the water bottle again, and pours a little into her mouth. She swallows more easily this time, but some runs down her chin from the corner of her mouth, and he wipes it away. He plunges his hand into his pocket and grabs his IDKey. He holds it up to the doors sensor and it the click of the mechanism unlocking greets his ears. He smiles as he shoves it back into his pocket and lifts the girl up again. He pushes the door open and nudges it closed from inside with his foot.
“Welcome home Konzu.” A feminine electronic voice greets him.
“Thanks L.E.A.H.” He replies with a smile. L.E.A.H. was the apartment complex's virtual intelligence unit. L.E.A.H. stood for Learning Enhanced Apartment Helper.
He leans back against it to make sure the lock catches and proceeds over to the couch where he softly lays the girl down. He wipes his head and gazes at her for a moment. He nods and proceeds to the bathroom where he cleans up his face and wets a couple rags. Returning to the living room he kneels next to the couch. Using one of the rags he wipes the dirt smudges and sweat from her face. He brushes some stray hairs from her face and folds the other rag placing it on her forehead. Out of the harsh midday sun he can tell that she is sunburned slightly, but he doubts that it will be much of a bother, as her skin is only slightly pink and not a harsh red. He goes and grabs a bottle of water from the fridge discarding the warm one in the trash chute. He returns to the couch again and sits against it. Every so often for the next several hours he refreshes the rag on her forehead. Occasionally a moan escapes from between her lips leading him to believe she is dreaming. After a while her moans cease and she is sleeping normally, even snoring somewhat. His own fatigue takes hold as he refreshes the rag one more time. Instead of sitting beside the couch he falls into the chair at it's foot. As he allows himself to relax he can feel the pain in his feet from his fall finally begin to register. Carrying her to the apartment hadn't help matters any he suspected. He lays across the chair not to worried about the dull pain, and hoping it would disperse by the time he woke up.
“L.E.A.H. ,” He says softly addressing the apartments virtual intelligence. “If she wakes up while I'm out, let me know please?”
“Yes sir. I will monitor her for you.” The VI responds.
“Thanks.” He says with a yawn falling asleep in the uncomfortable position.
The empty spaces are becoming filled with garbled words and desperate cries for mercy. There is no comprehension of what's happening, and she is surrounded by total darkness. As soon as the cacophony reaches a point where she feels like her head will burst the sounds begin to die away fading until she is left alone. The silence is nearly as painful. The sheer loneliness is agonizing, but familiar. New sounds begin to filter into her personal purgatory. Not not new sounds... Old ones. Sounds from her past? She is unsure of everything, but these sounds are just as familiar as the loneliness clutching at her chest.
A bright light blinds her from above. She realizes that she is lying on her back on a cold metal table stripped of her clothing, and staring up at black undefined silhouettes. The specters move back and forth slowly gazing down at her naked body. They are speaking amongst each other but she can't understand them. One word seems to call to her though. Reeva. Something about this word feels like it belongs. She hears it several times as the shadows poke and prod at her painfully. One voice stands out clearly from the rest as a bespectacled specter comes into focus.
“Calm now Reeva.” He confirms her name for her. “We are almost done. You are very valuable to us after all.” The laugh that comes forth is at odds with his reassuring words. It causes her to squirm on the table. “Put her to sleep.” He says before she can begin to protest she feels a sharp pain at her neck. She looks over just in time to see a hand withdraw with a needle. Everything fades to a black silence once more.
Falling? He feels himself falling. His eyes shoot open quick as lightning as his side meets the floor with a loud thump and his aching feet smash into the coffee table. “Son of a...” He curses half awake as his feet begin to throb again. The pain sharpens as he works his way to his feet. He looks to the clock and see's that it is almost seven o'clock. He stretches to yawn, but immediately regrets the decision as the weight on his heels seems to double causing them to flash with sudden pain. He clenches his jaw and grunts against the pain. Slowly he limps to the bathroom and opens the cabinet grabbing the bottle of pain relievers.
“These fast acting capsules better work as quickly as they claim.” He mumbles making his way out of the bathroom. Leaning against the wall he hears a moan from the couch. It's her! His mind panics a little and he forgets his pain rushing to her side.
He stands over her as she tosses and turns on the couch. He watches for several tense moments as she continues to do this taking the cloth, which has since fallen from her head, and drops it on the table behind him. Her body stops moving and he can see her eyes moving beneath her eyelids. Her eyes flitter open. At first they don't seem to actually see him, but as they become more focused her eyes widen in alarm. Her body tenses up and he takes a few hurried steps back. Pulling into a crouching position she jumps over the back of the couch eying him suspiciously over the couch. He raises his hands showing he doesn't have any will to harm her and begins painfully circling the couch. Her eyes lock to his and she begins backing away.
“I'm not going to hurt you.” He says reassuringly. “My name is Konzu. I brought you here after you passed out back in the alley.” He explains softly. “You were overheating, and I wasn't going to leave you to the mercy of those thugs when you woke up... IF you woke up.” He emphasizes. She doesn't seem to understand him fully. He steps a little closer his hand raised higher above his head. She throws a punch that strikes him in the shoulder with more force that he had expected. Before she can retract it he drops his arms and grabs the fist pushing her against the wall pinning her. Her other hand goes to the collar of his hooded sweatshirt, and she tries pushing him away. Her strength is rather surprising as he presses himself against her to make sure she cant swing another punch at him. Her warm breath tickles his skin and he shivers. “That really hurt...” He says softening his face. “I'm not here to hurt you.” He smiles. “I'm a good guy.” She finally seems to understand him and her grip on him loosens. Konzu releases her and backs away as she drops her hand to her side. Her face relaxes, but she doesn't smile, nor does she remove her gaze from him. Something about those gray eyes were dangerous, but Konzu didn't fear their steady gaze. He forces himself to break eye contact and walks around the couch grabbing the half empty water bottle he had been drinking from. He removes the cap taking the bottle to her. He offers the bottle with an outstretched hand. “Here. It's water. You're probably pretty dehydrated.” She snatches the bottle causing some of the water to spill. After a sniff, and a small sip she starts to takes most of what is left of the water in great gulps. “Whoa slow down a bit or you'll make yourself sick!” She removed the bottle from her lips and looks at him. “Drink it slow.” He says motioning to the bottle. Slowly she tips the bottle and takes smaller drinks. It still doesn't take long for her to finish the bottles contents. “Yeah like that.” He smiles and backs away a few steps. “There is some water and soda in the fridge.” He says pointing at it. “I'd suggest water for now, at least until you've gotten a little more of it in your system.” The thudding in his feet was finally starting to lessen. “The door is over there.” He points it out. “You are welcome to stay or leave as you please.” He stretches and catches a whiff of himself. “Well I'm going to go get cleaned up.” He smiles. “By the smell of me I can't imagine it was pleasant for me to be that near to you.” He walks into the bathroom with a chuckle shutting the door behind him.
The bathroom begins to steam up as Konzu takes his time in the shower. He thought it would giver her time to decide what she was going to do. He was uncertain himself about if he felt either way. There was something strange about this girl, but now that he established himself as a friend he didn't think there was anything to fear... He hoped anyway. He turns the knobs shutting off the water and steps out of the shower. Grabbing a towel he hurriedly dries himself leaving his hair somewhat damp. The pain in his feet had mostly gone, but standing in the shower had caused some of it to return. Cleaning the scrape on his arm had stung, but it was far from the worse wound he had ever received. His shoulder also still hurt where she had hit him. Opening the foggy mirror he grabs another of the pain relievers. Popping it in his mouth he closes the cabinet again and wipes the moisture from the mirror looking at himself. Sure enough a light purple bruise was appearing where she had punched him. He chuckles and prods the area in disbelief. Konzu was in his mid twenties. His hair was a light brown with his eyes being slightly darker, and his face had two scars on the left side under his eye. He stood at roughly six foot two and, was muscled from his city traversing antics. Physical fitness and knowing how to get across the city in all forms were a necessary part of his past. He wraps the towel around his waist and peeks out of the bathroom door. He looks to see the girl sitting on the couch and notices several drained water bottles laying in disarray on the coffee table in front of her. He shakes his head and chuckles as he walks out of the bathroom.
“I've just got to get a change of clothes.” He explains as she looks at him. “Forgot to grab some before I went in.” He skirts the wall as he goes to his room. She merely casts a curious glance at him as he shuts the door into his room. He grabs the first clean shirt and pair of jeans he can find dressing hastily and walking back into the living room with a pair of socks in his hand. “Well your still here so I guess that means you are sticking around for a bit.” He smiles as he sits down in the chair pulling on his socks. He glances at the clock. It was close to eight and the sun would begin setting soon. This gave him an idea. After pulling on a pair of hiking boots he walks over to the fridge grabbing two cans of soda. “I'm gonna go up and get some fresh air.” He shows her the two cans. “You are welcome to join me.”
He walks over to the window to access the fire escape and begins climbing to the top the clank of his feet on the metal accompanying him. He reaches the top and stretches to place the two cans on the lip of the building in a safe place. Satisfied that he wont knock them over he jumps catching the edge and pulling himself up onto the roof. He listens as he gets himself righted and hears the faint sound of her steps on the metal. Smiling he leans over the edge till she comes into sight. She looks surprised to see him looking down at her. Extending an arm to help her up. She looks at him suspiciously, but takes his hand. Lifting some he allows her to grasp the edge with her other hand and use her own muscles to get the rest of the way up. Grabbing the two cans of soda he walks over to a broken air-conditioning unit. It had been out of order for some time, and didn't vibrate or make the low electronic humming sound that working ones did. He sits on it and places the cans on one side of him.
“Come take a seat, and have a drink.” He says patting the warm metal. She approaches slowly the lowing sun casting her shadow across the whole roof. Her hair looked like fire against the orange glow of the dying light. For a moment he's stunned as she approaches and sits down at the far end of the unit. He shakes his head and jerks his thumb back over his shoulder. “We aren't technically supposed to be up here, otherwise we could have used the door back there.” He laughs opening his can with a loud hiss of releasing carbonation.