The Sixth 11
The voice in the night
Simone is barely able to think with Rory breathing and sniveling near the rock with that idiot staring at her menacingly like he is. It’s unbearable. The guy’s been on his haunches in front of Rory for like a minute without saying anything. Just freakin staring. It would bother Simone to have someone stare at her like that. It’s bothering her watching and being unable to do anything about it.
She knows the history between the guy and Rory, too. If that’s who Simone thinks it is, which, the way Rory is acting, it has to be him. They don’t have a good history and he shouldn’t be anywhere near her. His name is Jason. Simone would love to call him a lot of other things besides his name, none of the names she would love to call him have good in it. But almost every conversation she’s ever had about him has been about avoiding him. So much for that.
The gist of Jason is that he’s like that accident folks pray to god they never have. If they do, they pray that they have a way out or don’t live through it. The whispery silence of the wind right now kind of says death might be scared of coming in Jason’s line of sight, should they fail to find a way to escape this trap. And the way Rory was screaming till her voice became a hiss says they just had that damned accident nobody wants. Add two federal agents slinking away with their tails wagging, with a word from him in this too early morning, sucks.
The sun is barely smearing the skies somewhere far behind Simone, eastward. All she sees is him, in the rest of the dusky darkness the dark orange hue is trying to chase away.
It gets worse, too. Simone had tried to jab him with a mental javelin that he swatted like it was nothing. It was a pitiful. She packed enough energy into that Javelin to at least make his nose bleed or something and he just brushed it aside. Pitiful.
And Rory is still scared stiff and she can’t do a damned thing about it. Simone had heard stories about Jason. Plenty. But she had never imagined there could be anybody this strong for real. She doesn’t even think Cory comes close to this guy although she wishes they had found Cory and he was here to try to beat the snot out of the guy. Jason wouldn’t be sitting there staring at Rory the way he is now with three of them instead of just her, she bets.
Jason has yet to even acknowledged her presence. He just keeps staring at Rory and not saying anything. Rory has given up trying to crawl into the rock behind her, at least. She’s just sitting there crying her eyes out and, Simone bets, hoping Jason goes away. Like that’s gonna happen. His men have the girls surrounded and he looks like he’s totally in control. Simone hates the look she sees, the arrogant prick.
“That’s a good girl.” Jason teases Rory, when her sobs begin to wane.
Simone tries to get into his head again but can’t get anything, even with him distracted by Rory’s whinnies. He’s even shielding Rory and his people from Simone, if that don’t beat all. She knows it’s him doing it. The rest of his people are normies or what passes for that these days. He’s practically treating her like a joke. “Leave her alone!” Simone warns. At least she could annoy the living daylights out of him.
“No.” Jason chuckles, his eyes flashing on Simone now. But it’s a quick, playful glance before he goes back to paying some uncomfortable attention to Rory. “Do you know how this girl knows me, Miss Abernathy?” His voice calmly addresses Simone while he watches Rory pressed back against the boulder.
“Who told you my name?” Shocked, Simone doesn’t realize she’s staring hard.
“Girl please,” Jason looks at her with his eyes turning over in their sockets. “I have eyes and ears everywhere, including your camp.”
“You’re a liar!” Simone shouts. Her voice bounces on the wind through the valley.
Jason watches her. “Do you know how she knows me or not?”
Simone stares him down before she says, “no.” because he actually seems like he wants her to answer. What point does he have to make?
“I’ve been in her head since the day she was born.” He says, his eyes latching onto Simone. He gauges her reaction carefully. The fear he sees in people’s eyes never gets old. It doesn’t matter how young they are, their eyes open wide, their thoughts go haywire and their hearts thrum a painful beat giving him almost full access, even if it is fleeting.
Frightened, Simone says “fuckin liar!” Her voice is barely audible as she catches herself and gets defensive. Glowering, Simone wonders if she just gave up anything.
Jason leans closer to Rory so she has to pull closer to the rock to keep him from touching her. “Am I lying, Ro?”
Rory shakes her head emphatically. “No!” She sobs and starts sniveling again.
“I didn’t expect to see her again for another three years, though.” Jason goes on to explain without waiting for either girl to explain anything to him. “So this is a surprise I don’t like. But, I will assume the two of you being out here has something to do with my cargo. Do you want to tell me about that? Doubt she’ll be able to tell me anything useful, scared as she is.” And his eyes find Simone standing there watching him spitefully.
She’s decided she’s not going anywhere near him.
Jason touches the crown of Rory’s head when Simone doesn’t answer. Rory lets out a nervous sound, a cross between a giggle and a sob, Simone looks at her. When Simone looks at Rory she notices that the tears stained eyes are shut tight. Her hands are folded into tight fists pressing into the ground, urging her body to try and break through the boulder.
“No.” Simone says. She wants to tell him to get away from Rory, but she doesn’t know what he’ll do.
“I’m only asking once.” Jason warns. He’s unable to get past her psychic defenses. “Been in a bad mood all night. I’m in the desert instead of a club and it’s almost six in the morning.”
“Let her go and we can talk then.” Simone offers.
Rory starts crying when Jason taps her on the head with his fingers. His hand doesn’t move from the crown of her head. It is obvious the sarcasm didn’t get lost in translation.
Jason says. “You should be working for me, kid. You got guts.”
His smile is visible in the ember colored light signaling the morning encroaching on the desert blackness. “If I don’t hear an answer in the next couple of seconds I’m going to extract the information from her.” He warns. “She won’t fight because she knows it’s inevitable I’ll get what I want. But I’ll make sure she suffers if I have to.” He continues with his eyes on Simone. “Bad night all around.”
Simone stares him down.
“Are we talking or not?” Jason demands. His eyes menacing.
Simone sees Rory’s eyes turn to her pleading. She gets the impression to run. There is no hope of rescue. Not out here in the middle of nowhere, with no one knowing where they ran off to, and certainly no one around here will be able to help them with this guy. Rory screams when Jason grasps a tuft of hair and tightens his fist in a clump on her head.
“That’s enough out of you.” He warns Rory. “Where’s she gonna run to? Who’s been trying to give you courage anyway?” He studies Rory. “Last time I saw you, you could barely do anything but freak out around me.”
“Let her go!” Simone demands. She feels tears threatening at the sight of Rory in tears and struggling in his grasp. One of his people takes one step intentionally to imply he’s between Jason and Simone. She would never make it to him before they got to her if she tries to attack him. Not unless she does something to them. But there’s so many of them.
Jason stands up. He hauls Rory to her feet with a hand on either of her upper arms. He lets her go and sighs deeply. “Last chance. I need one of you to tell me what you know about my cargo.”
“Nothing.” Rory says. Her voice is near a peep and her head is shaking frantically when Jason turns his head to look at her. She is screaming through the shield he has up for Simone to get the hell gone.
”Nothing?” He turns to square with her.
“Yes!” Rory stands stiffly in front of him. Fear grips her excising the brief mental link she had with Simone while she tried to get her to run. Get help. Do something other than try to be brave and face Jason on their own. The two of them are just not strong enough.
“Here’s the problem with that.” Jason touches her cheek causing her to nearly fall backwards over the rock. “I’m aware that a group with you and Simone, watched my men capture, Cory. I know what house you were in.” Jason says to their absolute dread. “I know about the little stunt you two used to fool my people. I’m willing to admit it was ingenious, lifting that heavy-ass go-cart and holding it while they passed right under it.”
Rory and Simone swallow the information like a hard loaf of bread on parched throats. If there is any other way except to be in someone’s head while that was happening, none of the girls know.
Jason continues when neither girl says anything. “So, I can’t believe that neither of you know nothing.” He studies Rory. “And I don’t plan on staying here much longer. So, I’m a need one a y’all to tell me something other than nothing?” He finishes with his eyes glistening in the coming light.
Neither girl says anything.
Jason takes a deep, angry breath and spews it at the sky. When he starts to move, Rory flinches and his men immediately make a step toward them. It isn’t like they can do anything. But the move is a buzz-kill anyway. Simone wants to deck him. Rory just wants to get away.
Jason calmly raises his hands and clasps them together in front of his torso, keeping both elbows pointed outward. His fingers join together and flex and he rounds Rory, keeping his eyes on Simone with each step. If anything, she will have the answer he’s looking for. He knows that from the reports he’s been getting from his people on the inside. Cory is closest to Simone.
But after having spent the night out here instead of in bed, Jason has no patience left to give. Not even to two teenage girls trying to waste his time. And mercy isn’t something he would afford anyone for the type of cargo that went missing during the night. But they are going to give him an answer one way or another.
The wind rustles unhindered in the flat plain, swirling at the dust but not enough to fill the air with it. Jason relaxes his hands to fall at his sides and slows his pacing around Rory. He stops directly on the opposite side of Rory so he can make eye contact with Simone behind her. Maybe he can force her to give him an answer and walk away with everything. No sense killing any of them. He needs her to see just how serious things are right now, though.
Jason walks so close to Rory she feels his heat on the back of her neck and cringes. “A little more time would have been great, huh kid?” He whispers.
As soon as Jason speaks, Rory feels as if she knows what’s about to happen. Her heart begins to pummel the bones beneath her skin. There is less than zero chance she will survive what he’s about to do. And there is even less chance either of them could stop him.
“Run!” Rory shouts at Simone decidedly. She shifts her weight on her left leg, flinging herself into Jason, knocking him to the ground. “RUUN!!!!!!!” She shouts so loud at Simone the girl jumps and starts full speed away from them. Two of the men with Jason immediately gives chase while the rest surround Rory, who is so frightened she doesn’t have the strength to fight.
But Jason has other plans. Rory sees it when she sees his insidious smile. His right hand is on top of her head dissolving her thoughts of anything but being afraid. “Good chase. Make sure she escapes. Do not lose visual.” Jason says to his men, his eyes never leaving Rory. She barely hears him.
Knowing better than to ask for clarification, one of the men takes off running in the direction Simone and the men pursuing her went. He starts shouting in a communication device attached to his ear. He gives the same order Jason had just given so his people know not to touch her until Jason gives the order.
Left behind in the shadowed morning with nothing but two men looking on, Jason tilts his head to the right to gaze at Rory. His eyes begin to glow an orange neon. Rory flinches but is too weak to break his kinetic hold but she’s going to resist him for as long as she can. She is rocking back and forth in his grasp before long.
And when the throbbing pain in her temples become too much, Rory screams.
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