Josh KaineJune 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm
Joshua Kaine sat in the dark, unable to see anything except what the slivers of light coming through the ceiling allow.
The floor beneath him is cold concrete and he’d lost track of how long it has been since the Titan and his hound chased him through the woods. He’d tried to escape up a tree the moment he saw them enter the trees carrying a cold metal collar and chain. A meaty hand hooked around his ankle, yanking him back down to the forest floor before someone else leapt on him.
Josh had come to the House of HATE willingly, only choosing to remain on the outside. He didn’t want to live in their walls. He wanted to be free. Like he’d been before, but they came in the day…hunters seeking to capture a predator of their own.
The son of Sinnocence ended up breaking the Titan’s nose with a well-placed kick before the smaller of his capturers looped that cold metal collar around his neck and locked it in place. Rayner bled freely as they dragged him across the open grass of the clearing towards the house…to the basement doors on the side of the house. Josh shouted, shrieked, and fought them for every step. He was chained to the old stone foundation wall and left there in darkness.
He could barely hear them speak.
But Rayner wiped the blood from his face, smiling to his companion. ”Good way to break bad habits, innit?”
”Indeed, my friend.” The Stranger nodded, ”The inspiration from that story he told you was key.”
Josh’s heart was up in his throat as he snarled, pulling at the chain and collar.
Rayner spoke, that gravelled voice reverberating off the old stone walls. ”Odin chained up the wolf Fenrir and when he broke free, it was Ragnarok.” He stayed just out of the teenager’s reach, grinning at Josh’s attempts to free himself. The boy had become a feral thing, pulling at his chain and lashing out at any who came too close in hopes of freeing himself. ”And the kid is too much like his old bitch of a mother. So afraid of being trapped he’ll chew an arm off to escape a snare.”
”Only wolves allowed in this house. No coyotes.”
”Break free or die, kid. Your choice.”
The last words Josh heard before the doors closed and they left him down here. He’s struggled for hours to the point of exhaustion. Four times since, Rayner had come down with a plate of food, putting it just out of reach. Each time he appeared, Josh was a vicious beast on the end of the chain.
The teenager kept himself fed with the scraps given to him. Each plate was a fight to get to.
He was filthy.
He was alone.
This wasn’t like being alone in the woods. He couldn’t run to wherever he pleased. Josh spent hours each day screaming his voice away, demanding to be freed. Struggling his confinement and regretting every moment he spent telling that stupid goddamn story to Rayner. He hadn’t trusted the old Titan, he always stayed out of reach.
The teenager even let the odd tear fall from his eyes, staining paths down his dirt-covered cheeks.
His mind wandered to that last conversation with Nikki. Telling her to go if she wanted to go so badly. The looks of pain from Moe as they left. Seeing the shame in his mother’s eyes after the fight from last Thanksgiving. The world weariness in Jada’s expression in that hospital bed after her battle with Sahara.
The expression of bliss on the heavenly face of the angel in the house at 2 Potter Park when he’d been between her legs.
Josh could not break the chains that bound him.
He was going to be down here forever.
He leaned back against the wall, his blue eyes closing as a soft sob escaped his mouth.
”Don’t tell me you’re crying down here.”
The voice wasn’t one Josh instantly recognized. It felt like it had been so long since he’d heard her speak to him directly. His eyes opened and he gasped. ”Don’t tell me you’re afraid of the dark.”
”Ain’t afraid of the dark! Ain’t cryin’!”
On the other side of the room, just as dirty and just as broken down…was most assuredly the woman who’d given birth to him. Jada looked like she had when she walked from the ring after her match with Sahara. An absolute mess, blood dried under her nose and under an open cut on her cheek. Her dark locks were tangled, framing a dust-streaked face. Josh moved quietly, reaching a hand out, desperately needing some human contact. Some form of comfort from her touch. ”Ma?”
The woman shook her head, but he didn’t see it. He didn’t believe it. ”Ma, please…”
”You’re being awfully loud, you know.” Her voice was gentle, but firm. “Hasn’t been any peace in our house for weeks. You being loud down here makes it worse. You’re starting to stink too. We don’t need another offensive aroma wafting around the House. ”
”Can’t break it, Ma. I’ve tried and tried.” It came out in a soft whine. Josh didn’t want to let words like that come out of his mouth, but it was true. He wasn’t physically strong enough to break through that heavy steel chain. ”Chained me up like a dog, Ma. It’s drivin’ me nuts. I can’t do this. I can’t break it.”
He wasn’t listening.
She got up from her perch at the bottom of the stairs.
The eyes that met his bright blues in the dim light decidedly were not his mother’s. Her face wasn’t scuffed, nor dirty. She wasn’t bleeding. She was beautiful. He knew her face.
Josh had seen it from the trees outside of the property.
He’d admired it. Her presence was akin to that of the woman who lived in the building next to his mother. The manager of Valhalla who’d outright stolen his ability to speak at times. Silent power spoke the loudest.
The entire household was under her command when she wished.
Serena Collins knelt in front of him, reaching a hand out to keep Josh’s eyes focused on hers. She narrowed her gaze at him.
”There are no physical chains to break.”
She stood there with no fear. This one was easy to control. He sought nothing but his freedom. The son of Sinnocence would come to find peace in this darkness, just not his freedom.
But he would damn well give the House some peace and quiet. She pulled a washcloth from the pocket of her shorts, cleaning his face. ”You’re not trapped. You’re here to learn. So learn, but do it quietly.” With the dirt gone from his tanned skin, she looked him over a little more closely. The teenager was so very young, but there was a fire in his eyes that was familiar. He just needed the right guidance. ”I like it quiet.”
Josh almost recoiled from her touch, it was unfamiliar, but she pressed the washcloth into his hand anyway.
There was something in her presence he couldn’t read. There was no playful side to her that he could tap into for a good time. Serena was ever loyal to her husband. There was no pity for him in her eyes for him to appeal to. Josh had the puppy-dog look beaten out of him by Rayner and Calder. He liked his sharper teeth, but he wasn’t getting out of here with the help of the Purveyor’s wife.
”I’ll be quiet.”
The teenager looked up to her, honesty in his eyes. “I’ll be real quiet. I’m just goin’ nuts like this. Can’t…ain’t scared…just…”
“You are scared.” She stated very plainly.
Rayner was right in seeing a future for HATE in this boy. He was strong, but the weakness had to be tempered out. Confinement was one he’d inherited from his mother. It resonated through most aspects of his life. Chains, literal or not, scared the piss out of Joshua Kaine. It was an effective way to break him of such things. It would break him of the fear, or break him all together.
Serena Collins stood up, giving him a brief smile. “But what you’re scared of is nothing real. This will end, until then…be quiet.”
Josh was scared, but the Silent Queen of HATE knew what she was talking about. She knew, better than most anyone, what was going on. What would happen. What she would make happen. Serena was like his own biological mother in that aspect. There was no negotiation. No confrontation needed here. A simple command from the right voice and it would be obeyed. HATE was a house held up by strong pillars. Pillars that held an inner strength few could comprehend. Some in the house had only an empty void where that strength was, but like the Titan, Serena could see it in the son of Sinnocence. No matter how reprehensible the tree, the fruit could be made into anything they wanted now. There was unlimited potential there now.
Potential had to be brought out and guided.
And like all things, was made easier with a woman’s touch.
She moved to the stairs and Josh watched, moving from his space against the wall with a grateful expression of relief on his face.
This would end.
And he would be quiet.
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