Eliminator (18+, Violence, Strong Language,Mature Themes)

"She was his queen, and God help anyone who dared to disrespect the queen" - Suicide Squad

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Eddie Blake
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Eliminator (18+, Violence, Strong Language,Mature Themes)

Post by Eddie Blake » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:40 pm

Eliminator

Bad Girl

I know a girl with a GTO,
She's the one that go cat go,
She's a bad girl, she's a bad girl.
See the girl dressed in green,
She's the one that's a mean machine,
She's a bad girl, she's a bad girl.
Ain't it a shame when a girl goes bad,
It's enough to drive you mad.
~ ZZ Top

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“Ten o’clock, Rio.” Zora’s tone was exhausted as she said the words, her arm went around Rio’s shoulder and her turned her to walk up West Ogden towards Vine. Zora wasn’t the girl’s name, though it meant the same thing which made her clever so far as Rio was concerned. “You wanna head downtown, maybe stop at Graeters? I’ll buy.”

“Can’t tonight, I promised I’d be home for the cake.” Rio knew that Zora was just looking for company from someone she trusted. The dark skinned bottle blonde wouldn’t have needed it if she’d just listened to Rio. Tomorrow Zora would be wearing extra thick concealer and pretending that her last appointment hadn’t been heavy handed despite all the girls knowing that Dyers was always heavy handed. At least he paid extra for the privilege. Zora must’ve really needed the cash.

Rio split off at the boulevard, easily navigating the broken concrete of the sidewalk as she slowly turned her outfit back into the school uniform she’d left the apartment wearing that morning. It was amazing what could be accomplished with little effort, a roll of fabric here an artfully placed knot there and a judicious amount of makeup could turn even the purest into the darkest dream girl. Turning onto Fourth would take her home and Rio would magically have transformed back into Yvonne. It was only a few blocks, far enough to know if she were being followed. She gave Juice an upnod on her way past. He’d be the one who took care of anyone too interested in where she lived, mostly because the pusher owed her more than one. She’d saved him several times from being picked up by the watch in crackdowns. It helped to have regulars who were familiar with when those things were happening. This foresight that earned her the name Rio, it had to be considering she looked nothing like the girls who came from there.

Zora had said it first, having watched some movie about jet pilots. “A RIO’s job is to protect that ass, somethin’ you know… to see shit that’s hidden. You always doin’ that, girl.”

Maybe it was true, but it wasn’t Rio’s fault that she paid attention to things others didn’t. Still the anonymity offered by the name was appreciated, that and the watchful eyes if she were being honest. Juice wasn’t a big guy, the image of a large intimidating dealer was a myth. It was at that level at least, Rio was pretty sure that intimidating looks took a back seat to being quick on his feet and able to get into places bigger men couldn’t. He was smart though, and usually armed well enough to let the weapon do his intimidating. He seemed distracted, his acknowledgement of her was a little too abrupt. His gaze usually lingered on her a little longer thinking things that all men did when they looked her way. Today his gaze strayed too quickly, it wasn’t much and maybe she was the only one who would notice it, isn’t that exactly what Zora had accused her of? She stopped, turning to stand next to Juice in his observance of the street, or rather the car parked just beyond the sidewalk.

Rio didn’t need to know that the car was built in 1970 to know that it was old, or that it was made by Mercury to see that there was a cougar on the grill and the word ELMN8R on license plate. It was all enough information for anyone observant to put things together. What was more difficult was the color, it wasn’t quite orange but it wasn’t red either. The shade seemed to be somewhere in between and something about it gnawed at the back of her mind with familiarity.
Before she could ask Juice, he stepped away from the building right into the path of Gee Tee and Race. The pair of them were ten, twin brothers, and had been boosting parts for Gary Thomas senior’s garage for the last two years.

“Not this one, it’s protected.” At Juice’s words, Race crossed his arms over his chest and gave a tilt headed look to Juice before pursing his lips and nodding.

“You gotta sleep sometime though, right?” G.T. asked as though this were already a prearranged deal, and maybe it was.

“The man said it’s upta me ta keep things safe… you feel me?” came Juice’s reply.

The widening of G.T.’s eyes was enough to tell Rio that Juice’s response was not what he expected. That of course only piqued her curiosity and made her analyze the exchange. Right away she could see there was as much information in what wasn’t said as what was. Juice hadn’t said that he’d been paid to watch the car, or indicated in any way how long it was likely to be in the neighborhood. He hadn’t even said he was paid, just that it was up to him to keep things safe. The veiled threat implied was pretty obvious, anything happens to the wheels people get hurt, it was simple enough. Saying that it was up to Juice to ensure that implied something else. Juice’s job was to get the word out that this particular car was not one to mess with. That seemed to mean that whoever owned it was sticking around for a while, but even beyond that the fact that Juice was indeed putting the word out meant he thought it was necessary. It meant that…

“You scared, Juice?” Rio asked the question as she watched the two boys move into an alleyway, letting herself observe the pusher peripherally.

Juice puffed up before he answered, a sure sign that this did affect him. He would act the same way when she warned him about raids, but he would disappear at the right time. “Shee-iiit Rio baby, you know better than that. There’s just them you mess with, and them you don’t.”

Rio rolled her eyes and stepped away from him heading for the steps that would take her inside the building and home. She didn’t get two steps when Juice grabbed her arm. “It’s getting darker round here Rio, watch yer ass.” She laughed as she pulled away, did he even have any idea of the darkness she endured every day? She looked back at him, then beyond to the Cougar, something in the way the streetlight hit the car flooded her with the answer to that gnawing question about the color. She had seen it before, it was blood, not the fresh stuff. This was older, a stain left behind something impossible to ever come clean. A chill ran down her back that had her hurrying into the building. Retrieving her bag from the closet she’d hidden it in, Rio spent several minutes removing the makeup from her face with the remover she’d stowed inside it before heading upstairs. Reluctance welled in her as she ascended. She’d promised Sammy that she’d share his birthday cake, but Max her mother’s live in boyfriend would be there. He knew what she was, they’d caught each other over on Ogden. Somehow his presence didn’t surprise her at all, not like when it was her he’d picked up.

Rio had thought that concern was what brought him to that neighborhood. That was as far from the case as one could get. He’d made her do things, boasting how lucky he was now that he wouldn’t have to pay for it. He made her sick, Zora covered for her anytime he rolled through, but that didn’t make it right. It didn’t change what happened when she finally got home either. Max was waiting for her outside the door when she got there, reeking of sweat and alcohol. Rio was used to being looked at by men, sometimes she even liked it, but the leer on Max was enough to make even her feel dirty. She backed her way to the wall doing her very best not to tremble.

“Seen ya walkin through the window, Yvonne, stoppin’ by that boy. He one of yer clients too? Ya make him pay to touch ya? Bet if he knew… if he did, he’d be wishin’ he was me.” Rio looked past the man holding back the urge to vomit while hoping for her mother or brother to appear in the doorway. “I stopped by the boy earlier too, picked some bath salts up for your mother. Sent Sammy over to his friends. We won’t be disturbed.”

Screaming wouldn’t help, seriously, Rio knew from experience that screaming never helped. Not here. She screamed anyway, unable to stop it. She imagined she could hear the latching of additional locks three floors down. That was just her mind playing tricks right? Sound was funny the way it bounced around, the minor phase distortion caused by bare walls and floor reflected an imperfect echo. Even Max’s footfalls echoed through the place, except that the timing was all wrong, they didn’t match his movements.

Rio screamed again as Max was suddenly propelled into the doorway she’d been looking at a moment before. A shadow fell over him, a massive form that had her running down the hallway testing every door knob on the way until one finally turned and allowed her access. She put her back to the door closing it hard, her hand shaking as it engaged the locks. The place was empty, barren of any furniture, no pictures lined walls which had been repaired so often they were no longer flat. She moved further into the place, it was laid out just like her mother’s place, two bedrooms off the west wall, a kitchenette on the east and ahead of her was the bathroom. The light showed through the cracked door. Why was the light on? Why was it even working? She crossed the room and pushed the door open to reveal a curtainless rod over the tub occupied by a hanger holding an extremely large, old leather bomber jacket with the words The Dark Angel across the shoulders. Beneath the words sat the image of a blonde woman in a top hat and tuxedo-esque corset. Rio’s heart began to pound hard as she moved through things that were known to her now. One unlocked door in a sea of locked ones, the thing in the hall, it all clicked together the very moment that she heard the key slide into the lock. She turned around in time to see the handle turning, her heart had practically stopped, she was going to die… unless she could bluff?

The top of the shadow’s head nearly touched the top of the door frame, Rio straightened all of her five foot nothing back, planting her fists on her hips and adopted a most disapproving look on her face. “About time you got back! That... ain’t where your jacket goes…” Her tone was reprimanding as she twisted held her hand palm up towards the leather coat before walking towards it with an exaggerated sashay to take it down. She brought it back, pressed it into a wall of muscled torso. “Tomorrow I want something to sit on and at least one picture on the wall.” She pulled her hand away leaving the jacket to fall or be caught. “I’m going to take a long bath and let you think about what you’ve done.” Rio stepped through the bathroom doorway and promptly locked the door before sliding down it to sit on the floor and cry silently.
Opportunity dances with those already on the dance floor. ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
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