The rope is thick and coarse. It cuts deep into my wrists, making them itch from the blood that trickles down over the burns. My hands, pulled tight behind me, are a dead, numb weight. I wait for the next blow.
When it comes, the world turns to black for an endless second. The Chinese bastard has been tickling me for a while now. This is the first I actually feel. As blackness fills the world, shadows in the dark carry me back to the morning.
Yet again, the sun shone a false cheeriness on the world around me. I stumbled my way to a meeting with Baltam in some cafe on St James' Street. Greasy bacon and barely-cooked eggs. I left him to pick up the bill. I wandered the town trying to pick up the scent of the Eigonvectors. Baltam is getting restless. He seems to gain a new worry line in his forehead every time I see him. Besides, I need to get paid.
The roads and whispers lead me to Hove. Wretched place to get lost. The wide roads, terraced houses and brick walls never seem to end. I didn't recognise the Eigonvector hideout until I'd walked through the front door of the warehouse. Seems they don't like strangers. They're kids, mostly, Chinese teenagers looking for some fun. Providence helps me send two of them down screaming before the brick hits my chin.
I don't know how long I've been here. It must be before dinner time. These kids haven't been called home yet. They stagger around the empty building, drunk on alcohol and false power.
One of the Chinese has taken a liking to me though. He comes over to punch and kick at me, screaming nonsense at me all the while. I call him Sam, because he's like a short samurai. He doesn't know why I'm grinning at him. Poor little bastard gets so angry, it only makes my smiles larger and more bloody. I count the punches though. Twenty-five. And six kicks, for good measure. He'll get everyone back by the end.
Faith lies on a table not too far away. Some little bastard took Providence, decided he wanted some target practice. He'll soon learn that it's not wise to seperate the twins.
They'll all learn that it's not too smart to piss me off.
I wince. Twenty-six.