Shadow:The Hoods MC(3)By: Heather West
A few people walked on the street to avoid the crowds, and I shuddered at the sight. No way would anyone catch me doing that. Being hit by a car wasn't something I ever wanted to relive.
Unfortunately, there were only a few awnings, and the rain continued to pour on me. Most of the crowd didn't seem to care, and why should they? They weren't alone and miserable. They had family and friends. They had money to buy clothes, food, or alcohol. They had homes to return to.
All I had were the clothes on my back, and they weren't even mine. Karen had gotten them for me since the clothes I had were too torn and bloodstained to be salvaged. I wished she didn't live in a cramped apartment that she had room for me, but my life was my responsibility. I wasn't a mooch; I fucking hated that word.
I also wished my own raincloud of depression would just disintegrate.
It was disheartening to think that maybe I always suffered from depression. The doctors had run tests on me and determined that I did not suffer from any chronic physical conditions; mentally was another issue. It felt like a tight blanket of self-loathing was suffocating me. The more I tried to ignore it or bury it deep inside of me, the more I felt it taking over me.
Even though my leg muscles were screaming from exhaustion, I picked up the pace, walking up one block and down another. Slowly, the crowd thinned out. The streetlights were farther and farther apart. It was getting harder to see the cracks in the sidewalk, and the rain just wasn't letting up at all. I almost fell at one point, and at another, I did, scraping my knees and palms. I climbed to my feet, brushed off the dirt, and kept on going. What choice did I have but to move on? Looking back wouldn't help any.
But maybe I should turn around and go back to where there were people. I could ask someone for directions to the nearest homeless shelter. I couldn't stop shivering, and at this point my teeth were chattering. It wasn't that cold out, but I felt as cold as ice.
Before I made it more than halfway back up the block, a van pulled up alongside me. The door opened.
Maybe my luck was finally turning around. I offered the man a wide smile. "Excuse me, sir, could you tell me—"
"Get in the van," he said, his voice gruff as he gestured violently to the vehicle.
"What?" I backed up a step and almost fell again.
He lunged forward and grabbed my arm, so tight I cried out. The man was strong, and he jerked me around easily, trying to drag me inside.
My scream pierced the quiet drum of the rain.
I couldn't believe my eyes. No! It couldn't be her. No way. No way in hell. After so long? Why here? Why now?
Before I could ride my bike up the block to get a better look, a van pulled up, blocking my sight of the woman I could swear was Allie, the one woman whom I truly hated.
Just thinking about her made me want to punch something, even kill someone. She was the last person on earth I wanted to see. Abandoning me after all we had been through together. Leaving me as if I was worthless. Saying I wasn't good for her. Please. As if she ever wanted me to be good.
I should just turn around and continue my routine patrol. Why should I bother with Allie when I wasn't sure it was her in the first place? Besides, even if she was Allie, she had been out of my life for months now. No way in fuckin' hell would I want her back in my life, not now, not ever.
But, it was my self-imposed duty to stop sexual predators in their tracks. A little rain never stopped them from their crimes, and that van looked suspicious. As if to confirm my fears, a scream ripped through the air. A scream I knew. A scream I recognized. It was Allie all right. Normally when I heard her scream, she was calling out my name. Visions of us tangled together quickly filled my mind; in the bedroom, in the kitchen on countertops, or in the shower…Now was not the time for this!
This was anything but a scream of ecstasy. This one was one of pure terror.
I jerked my bike to the right, nearly hitting the curb, straining to get a better view. A guy was trying to drag her into the van.
No way in hell.
Before I could even think about it, I raced up the street, my bike vibrating with as much intensity as I was. I quickly disengaged the ignition and jumped off. Allie was struggling with the guy, but she was losing. She was halfway inside the van by the time I yanked on the back of her ill-fitting shirt.