St. Louis, Missouri
117 Herbert Street
Allison sat on a beige couch that had seen better days. Amber sat across from her. The apartment they were in was stripped bare, the wallpaper darker where pictures and posters had been. Agents Smith and Rollins stood behind the women, going through their hair strand by strand. "Found it," Smith said as he pulled a lockpick from Allison's hair. He pulled Allison's head back by a lock of hair. "Think you're clever?"
"Leave her alone, man," Rollins said. He pushed on Amber's shoulders to get her to stand. "Go sit with your friend," he ordered her. Amber shuffled over to the couch, her arms still restrained behind her. "We're going to behave, aren't we, ladies?" Amber stuck her tongue out at the agent. Rollins rolled his eyes. "Defiant to the end. It gets tiresome."
The phone rang. Smith picked it up. "Yeah, hold on." He covered the mouthpiece. "It's Thompson. Wants to speak with you."
"Watch the girls." Rollins exchanged places with his cohort. "Rollins here. What's up Thompson? About time, really. When? Won't there be too many witnesses there? Got ya. What about our guests. That won't be a problem." He hung up. "Looks like you ladies get a big reunion."
Allison looked over at the agent. "What do you mean?"
"The boss has invited her for tea. What do you take me for, an idiot?"
Amber stared pointedly at Smith. "No, not you," the green-haired said, answering Rollins' question. Smith shifted, opening his jacket to reveal the pistol in his shoulder holster.
"Amber, don't annoy the villains any more than necessary," Allison admonished. "We're in enough trouble here."
"They broke my car."
"You have more to play with at home." Allison rolled her eyes. "You have to excuse my friend here. She still plays with stuffed animals."
"They're called plushies!"
"Shut up!" Smith roared. "Both of you." Allison slunk back in the couch's back, glowering. Amber stared at the agent. "Better. I don't need a headache."
"We've got a bit of time before we have to leave," Rollins said. "Go take five and have a smoke." Smith grumbled but took Rollins' advice. He slammed the back door as he went outside. Rollins turned to Allison and Amber. "Try not to provoke him. He's going through a lot."
Amber hmphed. "Oh, and like we aren't? We don't normally get tied up. Right, Allie?"
Allison shrugged. "Try to behave, Amber. No use getting hurt."
"Listen to your friend," Rollins said. "I'd hate to have to kill you now. The clean-up is a pain."
Amber settled back in the couch without a word. Allison breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks. I don't want to see you hurt."
Amber tried to smile. The attempt faltered when Smith returned inside. "How much longer?" he demanded.
Rollins checked his watch. "Another five minutes."
"Where are we going?"
"Not in front of the--"
"It doesn't matter," Smith said with a wave of his hand. "They're loose ends. They have to be eliminated. It's not like they can tell anyone. Where are we going?"
"Back to the warehouse. No one's there and the area isn't exactly the best neighbourhood around."
"Excuse me," Amber said.
Smith turned on her. "Shut up." He raised his hand to strike the woman.
"I have to go."
"What?" Rollins asked.
"I have to go," Amber repeated. "You know, to the little girls' room? Go potty? See a man about a horse? Answer the call of nature? Any of this ringing a bell? Anyone? Bueller?"
"Oh, for the love of God," Smith complained.
"Amber, now?" Allison asked.
Amber leaned over to Allison. "Trust me, Allie." She kissed the brunette on the lips.
"What was that?" Rollins demanded.
"I wanted to know what kissing a girl was like," Amber answered. "Since I'm going to die and all. Sheesh."
Rollins pulled Amber to her feet. "Smith, get the other one to the car. I'll watch this one." He pushed the green-haired woman towards the bathroom.
As Smith hauled Allison out of the couch, Amber stopped dead. She threw her entire weight at Rollins, catching him unaware. They both fell to the floor behind the couch. Smith stepped away from Allison to find out what happened. The brunette threw her head up sharply, catching the agent on the nose. Blood sprayed out. Agent Smith staggered backwards. Allison spun around, extending her leg. Her foot struck Smith above the kidney. The agent grunted with pain and fell to his knees.
"Amber!" Allison called. She ran behind the couch. Amber bounced off her agent. Rollins wheezed from the sudden weight. Allison took aim, then stepped in close, her leg coming through in a kick, her toes pointed. Rollins scream of pain shot up an octave. He writhed on the floor.
"Allie, look out!" Amber charged at Smith. The gunshot rang loud in the small room. Amber threw herself on top of Smith, her weight pinning him to the ground.
Allison ran back around the couch. She stepped on Smith's throat. "Drop the gun," she ordered. The pistol clattered on the floor. Allison released the pressure on the agent's throat, then stomped hard once, twice on his head. She took a few steps back. "I'll go check on the other guy. Amber, see if you can find the keys for the cuffs."
Allison returned behind the couch. Rollins still lay on the floor, hands over his crotch. Shaking her head, Allison kicked the agent in the jaw. He lay still on the floor. "You are insane, Amber. It worked, though. Find the key?"
"Yeah," Amber answered weakly.
"You okay?" Allison asked. She returned to Amber. A red stain grew on Amber's right shoulder. "Amber!"
"My shoulder hurts, Allie."
"Don't move. You've been shot."
"That . . . that explains the pain. Allie, I don't like this." Amber's face turned pale.
"Keep talking, Amber. Where's the key?"
Amber took a breath. "In my hand, I think. I can't feel my hand anymore."
"I'll get you to a doctor, Amber."
"Will I be able to drive?"
Allison knelt down with her back to Amber's. "Of course. You'll be fine. You'll be perfectly fine and driving like you did today."
"It hurts. Allie, I'm so tired."
"Stay with me, Amber. I need you still." Allison felt around for the key to the cuffs.
Amber snuffled. "Allie?"
"Was my kiss any better this time?"
"It was, Amber." Allison found the key in Amber's right hand. "I have the key. We'll be out of here soon."
"Mom's gonna kill me. She told me not to get hurt."
"Moms always worry. Rose worries about her kids." Allison worked the key around with her fingers. "Your mom worries about you. She's not going to kill you, though." One lock clicked open. She turned around to unlock Amber's handcuffs.
"Mom always wanted a girl. Ow."
"Sorry." Allison tore a strip of cloth off her shirt. She wadded into a ball and placed it on Amber's wound. "Hold this here as tight as you can." She picked up Amber's good hand and pressed it against the cloth and the wound.
"Ow. Allie, that hurt."
"Keep pressing, Amber," Allison ordered. "We have to get out of here." She ran over to the prone body of Rollins and started searching his pockets.
"I can't feel my hand. Allie, I can't feel my hand. I need it to drive. I don't want to go back to automatic."
"You'll drive again, Amber. Ah, got it!" Allison pulled a key chain out of the agent's pocket. She looked at the large number of keys on the ring. "Oh, great."
"What if I don't?"
Allison returned to Amber's side. "Don't flake out now, Amber. I still need your help." She held up the key chain. "Which key do I use?"
"Use for what?"
"To start the car. Which one, Amber?"
Amber pointed at a key in the middle. Allison moved in to keep pressure on the wound. "That one," the green-haired woman said.
Allison picked through the keys one-handed until she got to the one Amber indicated. "Okay. Put your hand on the bandage again. I'll help you to the car."
"I'm not driving?"
"No, Amber. You've been shot, remember? You need to keep holding your bandage until we get to a hospital." Allison stood up, then helped Amber up to her feet.
"What about Rose?"
"Rose can handle herself."
"They're going to kill her, Allie."
Allison started leading the wounded girl out of the apartment. "You need to see a doctor."
"No! Not until I know Rose is safe."
Allison sighed. "Okay. We'll go make sure Rose is safe, then you go see a doctor. Alright?" She guided Amber down the stairs.
"Take it easy on the stairs. That's it, just a few more steps. There."
Amber stumbled a bit stepping on to the ground floor. "Much further?" she said, her voice small.
"I'm slowing you down. Go without me."
Allison took Amber by the uninjured shoulder and walked her to the Grand Am. "I am not leaving you behind. I still need you, Amber."
"Okay. I just need to sit down. I don't think I can walk any further." Amber staggered, staying up only with Allison's help.
Allison opened the passenger door of the Grand Am. "Here. Sit down and I'll buckle you up. Then we'll go help Rose."