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Authors: C. M. Stunich

Get Bent (9 page)

BOOK: Get Bent
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“What about the staff RVs?” he asks as he glances around with squinty eyes. “I don't see them here, but the key could belong to one of them. They're off refueling right now.” He turns and looks at me as we make our way back to the bus. “Or it could be nothing. I don't know where you got the key, but maybe it belongs to some old lady in Oklahoma or some shit. You never know.”

“No,” I say automatically, spinning the bit of silver around in my hand. “I do know. This key is a piece of the puzzle, a bit of the map that's going to lead me to Naomi, and I'm not going to stop until I find out where it came from.” Ronnie nods and sighs deeply, reaching out for the door handle and pausing as his fingers wrap around the cold metal.

“If you're right, Turner, then what?” he asks, but I think he already knows the answer to that question.

“Then?” I say as I look up and watch the gray clouds moving across the dreary darkness of the sky. “Then I kick some serious ass.”

Everything stays stagnant for awhile. How long, I'm not sure. With my eyes covered, in this stifling darkness of blankets and rope, I have no way to judge the passing of time. Some people might be able to weather longs period like this by accessing happy memories, days at the beach or nights out with the girls. They might be able to escape the physical hell they're in by retreating into the glowing depths of joy that they've stored away, the past that glows bright and beautiful, that guides their way into the darkness of their futures.

But for me, my past is not so happy, my memories not so beautiful. I lay there in that blackness, drugged up and terrified. I don't want to get raped. I don't want to be used. It goes against the very nature of my character. Lying here, helpless and trapped, I feel like a different person. Naomi Knox always finds a way out, always triumphs despite adversity. She might do it with a dirty mouth or a fist to the face, but she always manages. Maybe not this time. There's going to be no epic escape for me. The ropes are tied tight and the drugs are solid. My captors are no movie villains, leaving me alone in an unlocked room with a single guard. There are no chances here for daring escapades or hair raising triumphs.

I have to wait to be saved. Not because I want to, not because I'm lacking somehow, but because I can't move. I can't see. My shoulders have transitioned from painful to numb, not a good sign. I'm being kept alive artificially. How fucked up is that? And the most fucked up part of all this is that I don't know why. Have no fucking clue. Am I hostage? Don't think so. A sex toy? Is this human trafficking? But then why do I keep hearing music? The last logical part of me, the bit that's beyond the reach of drugs, gets that I'm still probably following the tour. My music is playing, and Turner is signing it. I want to slap his face and kiss it at the same time. He's keeping my soul alive while my body lies here and rots. I don't know why he's doing it. Is it because of that … that dirty
word, that thing that makes hearts beats but also stops them? I suppose that if … no, no, no …
I get out of here, I'll have to ask him.

So I lie there in forced silence, desperate to keep my mind away from all the horrible what-ifs it wants to play in my head, images of me broken and bleeding, close to death but denied the peace. I shiver and sniffle, trying to think of a moment in my life where I was actually happy. They are few and far between for sure, but there is one that keeps coming to mind over and over and over again.

The night I met Turner Campbell for the first time.

It should be my darkest nightmare, but it's not. Somehow, when I think of that night, I smile.

God, I must really be desperate.

I finger that key while I sit at the table and listen to Milo go on and on about publicity and the police and blah blah blah. I don't really give a shit. All I care about is the rumble of engines. Ronnie and I keep exchanging glances, and he keeps shaking his head. Feels like those fuckers have been gone forever.

“When do they get back?” I ask, interrupting Milo and drawing everyone's eyes to mine. My manager runs a hand through his blonde hair and adjusts his red tie. He always wears one, even in this humid hell hole. It's like he's impervious to weather, a walking, talking symbol of civil obedience and corporate upstanding. Gotta love Milo Terrabotti, right?

“Who, Turner?” he asks me, sounding frustrated. He often sounds like that when he talks to me. I spin my new phone around on the table and stare at the image on the background. Naomi. I'm not a fucking creeper or nothing. I got the damn thing off Amatory Riot's website. It's a group photo, but she's the only face I see. I touch a finger to her lips.

“The RVs, the ones the staff use.” Milo checks his watch with a perplexed frown. He doesn't understand my request, but at least he'll answer the question, if only to prove that he knows. “I thought they were just refueling. What the fuck is taking so long?”

“They're not just refueling, Turner. If that were the case, they could do it on the road. They have to shop for things, you know. Food, pleasantries, items that
requested.” Milo gives me a look. “They'll be back before sunrise. That's when we're leaving.” My manager looks up from his watch and stares straight at and through me. “Why?”

“Need to know basis,” I tell him, squeezing the key tight. He sighs and shakes his head, rubbing at the crinkle of skin between his eyebrows.

“Okay, Turner. Fine.” Milo takes a breath and tucks his small hands into the pockets on the front of his slacks. He doesn't like anybody to know, but he has to take them up because he's so damn short. I keep my gaze on the bottom of his pants and try to pick out the hand stitching while my mind wanders.

Why would any of the staff want to kidnap Naomi? It this a crazed fan thing? Did Marta and America get in their way? And if so, how did we all miss them taking her back there?

I squeeze the key even harder, grinding it into my palm while I try to imagine how big this is and how far it goes. There's the video of Naomi, Travis' hat. I mean, how deep is this thing? How many people are involved?

“We have some renewed interest in the album. It seems this whole tragedy, as horrible as it is, has gotten the attention of some very important people.” Milo clears his through and gets ready to launch into his
Professionalism, Practice, Progress
speech. We can always tell when he's about to get into it because he snorts like a damn pig and shuffles his feet.

Fortunately, he gets interrupted by a knock at the door.

Glances are exchanged and then Milo goes to open it, revealing Hayden Lee standing in front of our bodyguard, hair dripping around her freshly washed face. She smiles at us all and then focuses her gaze on me.

“Oh God, please come in,” Milo says, ushering her through the door. In the distance, I can see some of her band members hovering under umbrellas and watching carefully. Milo closes the door on them and helps Skinny Bitch get a towel to dry off with. She's not as wet as you'd imagine, making me think she probably walked here with one of her friends.

“What do you want?” I ask her, not trying to sugarcoat shit. I don't trust her. I'm going to be honest. Bitch disappears the same day Naomi goes missing and comes back remembering nothing? Hah. Fat load of crap. If she's involved, I'll destroy her. A good throat punch could end her career.

Hayden licks her lips and touches the bandage on her forehead with tentative fingers.

“I was hoping we could talk,” she says and then glances around the room at my friends. It's obvious she wants to have a little one-on-one. Fine with me. I have a lot of questions for her. Without responding, I reach out and grab her wrist with one hand, snatching an umbrella with the other. The key remains in my hand, clenched tight against the wooden handle. I kick the door open and we move out before Milo can finish his protest, splashing through the rain and moving away from the bus.

“Better start talking,” I tell her as she struggles to keep up with me.

“You have a problem with me or something?” she snaps as she wraps her hands around my arm and slows me to her pace. I let her touch me. But only just so she can keep up. “I do something to personally fucking offend you, your majesty?” I look around and lick some stray drops of moisture from my lips.

“Yeah, actually. Now that you ask, I am a little suspicious, princess.” Hayden slams her palm on my chest and jerks away from me. I whirl around and feel my muscles burning with adrenaline. I want to hit her fucking
but I'm not going to. I am done with that shit.
Breathe, Turner, breathe.
I let my eyes flicker closed and then open them again.

Hayden watches me struggle to get control of myself and smirks. She doesn't look or act like a girl who's been tied up for a week. I resist the urge to spit in her face as she looks up at the rain and lets it drizzle down her gaunt cheeks and thin lips. The rain surges and starts to pour, sticking her white ribcage tee to her chest and revealing little hints of the real thing underneath. If the bitch was skinny before, she's halfway to the grave now.

“Do you remember fucking me?” she asks which knocks me off my guard a bit. I sniffle and run my hand across my face. My tattoos look neon out here in this gray light. You'd think they'd be muted, but they're not, they're staring me straight in the face, blazing with color, a stark contrast to the monotone all around us. I examine the stars across my fingers, the paw prints. I curl them tight and slip the key into my pocket, just in case this gets ugly.

“I don't remember shit. Why do you ask?” Hayden shrugs and scratches at the gauze around her wrist. Her smirk falters a little, but she tries not to let me see it.

“I heard about Naomi,” she says as she moves forward, drawing me along behind her, swaying her hips like she's trying to bait me. Not a chance that's going to happen. I get out a cigarette and fight the wind as I try to light up. The absence of chemicals in my system is really screwing with me. I feel shaky and dizzy and weak at the same time that I feel free, clearheaded. It's fucking odd. “And America. And whoever that dead chick is.”

“Marta Yadley,” I say and Hayden glances over her shoulder with a wet frown, moisture running down her pointed chin and hitting her erect nipples like they're bull's-eyes.

“I thought the cops weren't releasing her name to the public?” I get the cherry to light and snap my lighter closed, tucking it in next to the key and assuring myself that it's still there, still safe.

“They're not,” I say, but I don't explain how I know who it is. I just take a drag on my cig and keep walking. I have no clue where we're going, but I follow along, trying to see what information I can glean before Hayden decides to clamp up about it. It doesn't escape my attention that we're moving in a circle, heading back around towards the dumpsters behind the venue, the place where Hayden says she woke up. There were cops out there earlier, but they've gone now. I can see some of them milling around the fence, trying to figure out how to deal with this shit. Since we're on tour, they're having a hard time fitting us into their fucking jurisdiction and politics bullshit. We crossed state lines, but the murder happened in one place, so it isn't FBI territory. The county where it happened is still in charge of the investigation, but although they held onto Knox's bus, they couldn't keep the rest of us there after questioning. Some of them came along with us, but I haven't seen them do shit while being here. They mostly stand around and drink coffee, glare at us all. It's really put a damper on the fucking fun factor. I hear the roadies grumbling about it backstage.

“Where did you get it?” Hayden asks me as we get close to the building and pause. Her face lifts up and her blue eyes lock on the boarded up bell tower. Whoever did the construction tried to make it look like it'd always been that way, but it's still obvious that something isn't right, that something's missing.

“Get what?” I ask her as she wraps her arms around herself and shivers. I hand her the umbrella and she takes it, but I don't join her beneath it. Instead, I take a step back and start to move away. In the distance, I can hear the rumble of engines. This is a private road and the show's over. There's only one thing that could mean.
The RVs are back.

BOOK: Get Bent
8.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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