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Union Candy (part 20)

 
Joe Spivey's picture
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The only one good thing about having a broken finger, Finny thought, the following morning as she held up her hand to display her splinted middle finger to the gaggle of under tens who came to stare. Was that it brought an immediate end to her jankers. True, the sentence could have been resumed once her finger had healed, but the staff weren’t naive enough to think that Finny’s accident had been in any way accidental. They understood institutional politics.

Of course, the real story of what had happened had spread like wildfire among the inmates and had not only enhanced Queen Bee’s reputation for being a bully, but also Finny’s for standing up to them.

Having a broken finger didn’t normally stop you from working in the ammunition factory either. Even if you couldn’t operate a press or manhandle the full boxes of ammunition, work would always be found that you could do. In Finny’s case, however, Joe made an exception. Partly because of the minute amount of barely acknowledged guilt he was feeling, but mainly because of the conversation he had listened to from Kirsten about how putting Finny in danger like he had wasn’t good for her well-being… or his.

A broken finger, though, certainly didn’t excuse Finny from the reading group. So, after breakfast then, Finny, Casper, Onetooth and Worms chatted happily together in the fresh morning sun as they ambled to the factory.

To Finny, however, it seemed that Casper wasn’t paying much attention to the discussion. He seemed to be lost in his own thoughts, even more so than usual. She felt a pang of sympathy for him. She knew he would have rescued her from Queen Bee if he could, but if he had even tried then it wouldn’t have gone well and might even have made things worser. She’d explained all this to him yesterday but it seemed, from his sad and worried expression, that he still felt bad about it.

Finny was wrong.

Bethany was in a very good mood as she and her two minions, Abigail and Tati left the orphanage that same morning for their daily posturing time at the market stalls surrounding the pond. Clones were the ‘in’ thing at the moment and it was absolutely de rigueur to be noticed flirting with one.

However, rather than be seen dead following the poor bullet monkeys on their trudge to Spivey’s factory, Queen Bee and her ladies in waiting always took a short cut down a short but narrow alley from Badger Court to emerge onto Milton Road.  Like the reading group before them, they too chatted happily in the sunlight… Right up to the point where a shadow crossed their path.

It was a boy. He stood a few feet away at the end of the ally. The three teenagers stopped in their tracks. They had been street kids too, and knew the dangers of enclosed alleys and for a moment the old fear snagged at their senses. But the boy in front of them only looked to be about fourteen and he was better dressed than the usual street rat, probably a local was the collective thought.

Queen Bee struck a typical, hands on hips, Queen Bee pose.

“Excuse me?

The boy ignored her.

“Are you Bethany?” He asked. “The one they call the queen bee?”

The tiny hint of suspicion that all was not well began worming its way into Bethany’s consciousness. But it was too late.

Behind her, Abigail snorted.

“Of course she is. Can’t you see?”

The boy smiled.

“Oh good. I just wanted to be sure.” He gestured with his hand.

A second boy, a year or two older appeared from around the corner, carrying a short length of time aged two by two. He handed the wood to the younger boy and then stood examining the girly entourage with a smirk on his lips.

Bethany was already backing away by this point and, as she reached her ladies in waiting, all teenagers turned to run.

Except there now were two more boys, both about their own age, stopping them. Neither of them were smiling at all. The trio turned back again.

Resting the length of two by two casually against his shoulder, the fourteen-year-old just as casually commanded the girls to get down on their knees and put their hands on their heads.

Now terrified, the three teenagers started to sink to the ground.

“Not you, your majesty. You get all the way down. On your back.”

His words brought a choking sob from Abigail and a tight, keening wail from Tati.

“Oh God, they’re going to rape us!”

“Relax ladies. That’s against the rules. We just want a word with the queen bitch here.”

The ladies in waiting clasped their hands on top of their heads and watched their leader as she awkwardly got down onto the dusty, hard-packed ground and rolled over onto her back. Looking up at first her friends, and then her tormentors, with an expression of frightened disbelief that this was actually happening. Bethany fought back the tears. Despite the young boy’s reassurances, she too was convinced she was about to be raped.

Then the boy nodded to the one of his two friends that had appeared behind the trio of victims. The older boy and the one who had brought the piece of wood stepped forward.

Bethany squealed as each of them grabbed one of her arms and pulled them uncomfortably taught above her head. Abigail continued to sob quietly as she and Tati watched, both absolutely sure that they were all going to be raped despite the words of the boy who was obviously the leader of the four.

He now squatted down, looking down into the face of the queen bee.

“You did a bad thing.”

“Wh… What do you mean?”

The boy slid the two by two under Bethany’s elbows and stood up.

“You’ll figure it out.”

Without saying anything else. He lifted his foot and stamped down hard on Bethany’s left forearm.

The sickening snap made one of the boys holding her wrists cringe and look away.

Bethany Ambrose screamed.

Abigail wailed, long and loud. Tati stared, wide eyed, at first not believing what had just happened. Then she threw up, splattering Bethany’s kicking feet with barely digested breakfast.

The fourteen-year-old silently walked around the queen bee.

“It’s gonna be hard being a bitch with a broken arm.” He taunted. “Good job you’ve got another one.”

Understanding broke through Bethany’s pain and she opened her mouth. Maybe to say something snarky. Maybe to beg. But she never got the chance. The boy held up a finger, as if he had forgotten something.

“Oh wait…”

The second stamp broke Bethany’s other arm, this time there was blood and the jagged end of a bone tearing through the skin.

“Oops”

He turned to the two ladies in waiting, still kneeling but visibly shaking in fear.

Tati puked again. Abigail saw the boy look directly at her. Her sobs were choked off as dread tightened her throat. Warm wetness flowed into the dust.

The boy wrinkled his nose at the meandering river of frothy urine. Ignoring it, though, he spoke to Abigail.

"You should get her to the emergency room.”

With a flick of his head, he and the other boys left in the direction of the same square where it was now unlikely that these particular girls would be doing much of anything for a while.

When the factory workers returned to the orphanage that afternoon, the attack on Queen Bee was the only subject of conversation.

In the Matron’s office, two NFPD officers were talking with Maisy after taking statements from the two witnesses.

In the dorms, small groups, including Finny with the girls and Onetooth and Worms with the boys, huddled and whispered together. Who did it? Why did they do it?

In the Union Medical Centre, Abigail and Tati sat either side of the bed where Bethany, both arms in plaster was sedated and thankfully oblivious.

In the orphanage ablutions, Casper sat, pale and trembling, behind the cubicle door.

Comments

Hyle Troy's picture

0.0   

I would rather die peacefully in my sleep, like Grandad, than screaming, like his passengers

Sang's picture

((Such a ruthless lesson in ruthlessness.. loved it))

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