Chapter Six - RhyDin Horror Story

Our late fees are murder.

Moderators: Devon Goral, Onyx, Jonas Drava

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Jonas Drava
Posts: 28
Joined: Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:18 pm
Location: At the Circus


Post by Jonas Drava » Wed Oct 12, 2016 9:37 am

Shafts of light cut through the heavy air in the garage as Jonas struck the thick leather bag. Chains strained against their moorings in the ceiling beams under a steady but relentless assault. Jonas' hands were wrapped and taped but he did not wear gloves, and his knuckles were already bloody from the intense workout.

He wore his typical outfit of a sleeveless white t-shirt and well-worn jeans. The shirt was soaked with sweat and dirty from sawdust. His face was almost unrecognizable — he hadn't shaved his beard in weeks and his hair was unkept and wild. He'd claimed he wasn't ready to rejoin society, to go back to being normal. Perhaps letting his hair grow out was part of the healing process. Or maybe it was a need to reconnect with his baser instincts.

Otherwise, he looked healthy. The wounds from two severe beatings were almost completely healed, leaving just a few remaining bruises and discolored patches. He certainly felt whole — no longer grunted in pain every time he stood up or took a corner too quickly while out on a jog.

The psychological injuries, however, were taking longer to heal.

The heavy bag grunted under the onslaught, each of Jonas' fists seemingly and impossibly hitting harder than the last. Eyes focused intensely, and Jonas seemed oblivious to the outside world as he savaged the stiff leather hide. He didn't even initially notice his girlfriend's arrival.

Onyx was not typically one for a morning workout, but it was impossible to sleep with all of the noise he was making in their increasingly well-equipped garage gym. She padded past him with a yawn, dressed in loose clothing and carrying a metal water bottle. Jonas grunted a greeting at her — barely distinct from the growls and groans directed at the heavy bag.

"Did you already go on your run?" she asked, taking a seat on a bench nearby.

Jonas nodded. "Double-timed it. Working off some energy."

Onyx chuckled, inclining her head at his intense boxing session. "I can tell. Anything you want to talk about?"

"This bag isn't long for this world," Jonas answered simply. "Going to need a new one."

"Well not if you keep hitting it like that." She winced at the sight of his bloody knuckles. "We could rig up a concrete post if you need something tougher," she added with a hint of teasing.

Jonas didn't respond. His sense of humor had soured the last few weeks. He was self aware to the point that he didn't want to alienate Onyx by being too negative. But it was clear to them both that, even when his mood brightened, a storm lurked beneath.

Onyx reached over to a metal rack and selected two free weights. She was already masterfully agile and adept, and had spent the last few weeks working on her strength and muscle tone. She began curling the weights into her torso at a steady rhythm.

"You let that grow out much more and I'm going to have to get you a dog bed," Onyx teased, eyeing his beard.

"I thought you liked it when I look a little wild." That they could still verbally spar, despite his overall malaise, was refreshing — and a sign that their relationship was enduring.

"Wild, sure. But you're bordering on Sasquatch territory," she added with a grin. "Kissing you is becoming only slightly less uncomfortable than kissing a kitchen mop."

Jonas grunted in response, refocusing on striking the bag. Onyx shook her head at his intransigence, returning to her own workout.

There was a long pause as the couple trained, independent yet together. Onyx began to work up a sweat, and Jonas was surrounded by a literal aura of dust, made to glow in the morning sunlight. Yet the experience was shared for them as they each sought words to bring them closer together through this difficult time.

It was Jonas who finally and mercifully ended the battle. After one final devastating strike, he stopped punching the bag and staggered away from it, clenching his bloody and swollen fists in pain.

Onyx set down one of the weights and wordlessly handed up her water bottle to him. Jonas accepted the bottle and took a long swig from it, before pouring water over his knuckles to soothe the burning.

"Thank you," he breathed towards her, returning the bottle. She took a sip before setting it down on the concrete floor.

"You ready to talk?" Onyx asked pointedly, once again hefting the weights.

Jonas dropped down to the floor in front of his girlfriend, crossing his legs beneath him. He massaged his hands, working out the cramping and discomfort. His head hung low and he looked at her feet as he first spoke.

"I need to learn a new fighting style."

"Oh?" Onyx asked, tilting her head curiously.

"I need to learn how to kill."

Onyx raised a brow. "Oh."

"I won't be a victim anymore. I won't let anyone get the better of me."

"Jonas," Onyx answered with concern in her voice, "you're one of the most consistent boxers I've ever seen fight. If you put the time into it, you could have a ring."

"I'm not talking about the duels."

Onyx lowered her voice, as if afraid someone would hear them despite the privacy of their own home. "And I've seen you kill."

"In self defense," Jonas answered, finally looking up at her. "And only just barely."

"I've never seen you lose. Not when it counted."

"And yet we both know how close I came to dying in that bar. Closer than either of us dare admit out loud. I can't risk that. Never again."


"I've always fought for fun, for sport. Other than an occasional bar fight with some drunken slob, I've never been in a real fight. Not until I moved here. Not until recently."

Onyx nodded slowly. They both knew that she was much more comfortable taking lives than he was. It was a simple fact of their differing paths. They often joked about her bloodlust, but it was also a core aspect of her personality that he simply didn't share. He had never quite gotten over the hump of a fight being more than a joke.

"I've learned that you can't live in this place unless you're willing to kill to defend what you have," Jonas explained. "What's important to you."

Onyx set down both weights and leaned towards her boyfriend. "It doesn't have to be that way, Jonas."

He backed away from her, rising to his feet. "But it does. I'm not going to lose my life to some punk because I was too busy devising a boxing strategy. My style of fighting is great for the Outback. It's useless in a real scrape."

Onyx took a breath, also standing. She took a step forward, and reached out a hand to touch his chest. She ran a single fingertip along the muscular ridge below his collarbone, and he took a deep breath in response.

"I want to be able to sneak up behind a man and kill him before he knows I'm coming. I want to be able to severe a man's spine with my bare hands and feet. I need to be capable of killing someone before they can kill me."

Onyx nodded slowly.

"Will you teach me?" Jonas asked, taking a sharp breath. What he was asking of her was not easy — for either of them.

Onyx tipped her head to look up at him, her eyes clouded and deep. "I don't want you to lose who you are Jonas. I don't share your optimism, but I do sometimes admire it."

Her confession got a tiny smile out of Jonas, although it was largely masked beneath his thick beard. "I promise to stay an optimist, Onyx. I haven't changed who I am. But I'll be damned if I'm going to die in a bar fight just when things here in this place — when things between us — are getting so good. I want to learn to kill not because I'm afraid, but because I finally have things that are worth fighting for."

Onyx took another half-step forward, pressing her forehead against his sternum. His heart was still beating rapidly — either as a result of his recent intense workout, or because of the emotion of the moment. It felt good to have her so close. He trusted her in ways that he didn't trust anyone else — he never had.

"I can teach you, Jonas," Onyx said firmly and calmly. "And when you learn everything I have, I can introduce you to people who can take your training even further."

Jonas wrapped his arms around his girlfriend and clutched her tight. He loved her and he needed her. She would make him better.

"Is that why you've been so difficult the last few weeks? Have you been stewing over this?"

"This … and other things," Jonas admitted. I had to figure some things out. Get right in my head."

"And are you?"

"I'm getting there," he answered with a nod and a smile.

"Good," Onyx answered, giving him a squeeze.

"Now," Jonas started, changing the subject, "I think I'm going to shower and shave. My face is getting a bit too top heavy with all this."

"Can I help?" Onyx asked, pulling back from him and grinning at him with a twinkle in her eyes.

"Promise not to cut undignified shapes into my hair?" Jonas asked suspiciously.

Onyx pursed her lips and shook her head mischievously. "Nope."

Jonas grumbled. "Let's go. I'm ready to be human again."

He took her hand, and the two of them walked together out of the gym.

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