It’s SINful Saturday!
Take a look at the latest episode of.. SIN of the Shed.
It’s like watching a car accident happen in slow motion. I want to help him, stop him, plead with him to come back, but like a driver inside of a car, he wouldn’t hear me.
Watching as Sin walks toward the savages of this town, I silently pray for his safety. He didn’t ask me if I would rather him jump into the riot and fight for food, or if I would be okay with starvation. I would have told him I’ll starve. Asshole or not, he saved my life. Asshole or not, he’s the only friend I have right now. Although, I doubt he would refer to himself as my friend since I’m pretty sure he hates me.
Sin walks into the crowd as if they had parted ways for him. Except they didn’t. He parted ways for himself, and within a blink he was swallowed up in the crowd. Why are these people acting uncivilized? How long have they gone without a normal supply of food? Why are they even here? I’ve tried to ask these questions, but I’m rationed answers when necessary. It’s something I’ve had to accept.
I press up on my toes, keeping my grip firm against the side of the shed. I still can’t see much, but I see people flying in the air as if they were merely sacks of potatoes, landing with a thump and a grunt before the silence returns. Women are beating other women, and men are beating both men and women. This is what starvation does to a person. I want to know who is supplying the food, and I want to know why someone would purposely hold all of us hostage here in this town. I’m not sure what we did to deserve this type of treatment.
A man separates himself from the crowd, holding a brown bag as he runs down the path toward the other sheds. Another man follows him with a bag tucked tightly within his grip. I wait and watch to see who will be next, wanting to hold my breath until Sin makes his way back here.
I feel cold inside, despite the blazing hot sun still burning every inch of my exposed skin. I’m not sure how long it’s been since he walked into the crowd, but I know there isn’t a line of people just waiting for their food. Because I see blood and unconscious bodies lying still on the ground. Sin is larger than most of them. He must be over six feet and more than two-hundred-fifty-pounds. He has to be strong enough to make it through. He has to be.
I drop back down onto the soles of my feet and wrap my arms around my body, needing to comfort myself from the fear of what might happen if Sin doesn’t return. With so many unanswered questions, I feel like my likelihood of survival here won’t be good.
With my eyes still glued to where the crate should be, a tight grip squeezes around my shoulder. I fling around, startled to find JJ standing before me with his paper bag of berries pressed against his side. “Where’s your boyfriend?” he mutters. “Stealing my food?”
“He already told you to leave us alone,” I tell him. Knowing that won’t suffice, I take a step backwards toward the pit where I know I shouldn’t be heading.
I could run, but I don’t think I’m fast enough to get away from him—I would surely lose this chase. I could cause a scene, but that may force the riot to shift their attention toward me, and that wouldn’t end well either.
“Sin isn’t here,” he scowls. He leaps toward me and grabs my arm, bringing a scent of rotten trash along with him. Holding me tightly and pulling me against my will, I try to fight him off, but I’m reminded of how weak my muscles really are. He’s dragging me away toward the tree line where Sin told me to meet him if something happened. It’s the only hope I have right now.
I allow JJ to continue wasting his energy while using all of his strength to pull my weightless body in a direction I don’t want to go. His fingernails are piercing into my skin, and I want to ignore the pain, but it’s fierce. I feel a breeze turn cool against my arm as blood drips down to my elbow. Closing my eyes to imagine this isn’t happening, I see a flash of Mom and her smile, the way she soothed me with her quiet, calming words when I was hurt or scared. Now, I don’t even know if she’s alive. I wonder if Snatcher took her too. I would do anything to see her again, to hear that everything is going to be okay—to hear her say, “I will never let anything happen to you, so you can rest easy knowing you will always be okay.”
Maybe she mourns for me if she thinks I’m dead. Maybe it would be best for her to think I’m not suffering and scared, starving and possibly minutes from dying because there’s no one here to save me this time. I miss her. She must be so alone without me.
My back hits a hard surface and I open my eyes, finding myself surrounded by trees. JJ has his hand up against my throat as he reaches into his bag of berries. “We can do this the hard way, or—“ he laughs. “Never mind. This won’t be hard. You’re as frail as a leaf in a gust of wind.” It’s the most I’ve heard him say, and as slightly poetic as his words are, it makes me wonder who he was before he was here. It makes me wonder who all of these people were before they were here.
What would you tell me to do, Mom? JJ’s hand retreats from the paper bag, his fingers are closed tightly, concealing the berries that he’s bringing up to my mouth. She would tell me to use what I know.
Without a second thought, I jerk my knee into JJ’s groin, quickly finding out I’m not as weak as I thought. Or maybe he’s much weaker than I assumed. Either way, four years with a soccer ball taught me how to kick something with force. I drop down to my knees where JJ is curled into a ball crying for mercy. I sit on him and squeeze my fist around his neck as I press my thumb into his artery as hard as I can, holding it there while he struggles to fight me off. His hands grab at me as his gangly fingernails scratch at my skin. He tries to kick his legs, but I hold myself down, and I hold my hand firmly where it is, gritting my teeth, using every ounce of anger I have. His weakness is greater than mine, or maybe it’s the adrenaline rushing through me. I stare through him, feeling the blood pump through my veins as my pulse beats loudly in my ears. When JJ stops struggling, I release my hand and bring it up to my chest where I hold it tightly against the heavy beat of my heart.
I kick his bag to the side, placing it behind the tree for now, and I kneel down to search him for any weapons he might have on him, but he has nothing.
Backing away, debating where to go—where to hide, I feel the ground gently vibrate beneath me. I turn to find a reason, but I don’t see anything.
Sin is off in the distance, but I can see him clearly, as well as the bag he’s holding tightly. My name echoes between the trees. “Reese?” he shouts in a broken voice, hoarse and weak sounding.
Afraid to take my focus off of JJ, I walk backwards toward Sin. “Reese,” he says more contently. The vibrations in the ground intensify and I turn quickly to see how close he is. Only a foot away, Sin scoops me up in his right arm and squeezes me tightly. He’s flushed and breathing heavily, his focus is everywhere, but his words are clear: “I was so worried about you. What happened?”
“JJ’s over there,” I point.
“He—he took you?” The volume of his voice grows and his grip tightens even more. He eases me down onto my feet. “Take me to him.” I grab Sin’s hand, leading us back to the spot where JJ is lying unconscious. I look to Sin, gauging his reaction to what I did, and I see the confusion play across his face. “You did this?”
“Yes, it was self-defense,” I explain. Although, I’m not sure I need an explanation. Sin’s glare is blazing through JJ, but at the same time there’s a lost look in his eyes. “Are you okay?” He doesn’t look okay.
“You know how to incapacitate someone,” he says in confirmation.
“I took a self-defense class once, and my mother is a nurse, which means I know where things are on the body and how they work. For three years, I scolded myself for not knowing how to defend myself against your dad. For three years, I conjured up strategies that could work if I were ever given another chance. My mom always told me to use what I know. So I did.”
A slim, struggling smile stretches across Sin’s lips and for the first time, I notice he has two curved dimples that outline his lip line. “I was wrong about you,” he says. “You’re not this weak, little thing who can’t take care of herself.” He turns his focus back to me, studying my face as if he were looking for something. “I see the rage in your eyes. You want to survive this too. Reese, this changes things.”
“I am going to survive this,” I tell him. “I’ve survived for three years, living in a shed with the bare means to survive. Nothing is getting in my way of escaping this hell. Nothing.” Anger is searing through me, a type of anger I’ve tried to control for a long time, knowing it wouldn’t do me any good. However, I think I’m seeing now that anger might just be my only form of defense to survive this nightmare. I understand Sin’s anger now. It’s the only way to be.
Sin’s arms wrap around me as his fingers press into my back, pulling me in against him. He releases the bag he had been holding from his other hand and pinches his fingers around my chin, tilting it up. His hand is trembling—his body is trembling. What’s happening? Heavy breaths consume me, fighting against my erratic pulse as he lowers his mouth toward mine. “I have to do this,” he whispers. I close my eyes, first feeling the warmth of his breath tickle my lips like a soft feather, then the smooth sensation of his skin touching mine as our noses brush together. My chest aches, but with a new type of pain—a good pain, one I didn’t know I was capable of feeling. I quiver slightly as his lips press against mine, fulfilling the wonder of what it might be like to experience a first kiss—a situation where I would survive the shed. Where I would survive everything. Where I get to live a normal life and find what life is supposed to offer. If the pleasure of his lips moving against mine is any indication of what I might have missed had I chosen not to fight, than this is true motivation to push forward and overcome all obstacles.
His arms wrap around my back as he lifts me up slightly, holding me as if I were weightless. With our lips still connected, he walks us backwards until his body jerks against mine. Startled, I open my eyes and pull away, finding him leaning up against a tree with a lazy look washed over his face. His hands weaken and he releases me from his hold. “Sin?” I clench my fists around the material of his torn shirt, but he closes his eyes as a pale flush creeps over his cheeks. “Are you okay?” I ask through the weakened breaths he tried to steal.
He slowly begins to slip down, his back scraping against the coarse bark of the tree until he meets the ground. I fall with him, cupping my hands around his cheeks. “Sin, please tell me you’re okay.” What’s going on? “Sin!”
Fear of JJ waking up, fear of Sin not waking up, fear of fearing everything past this moment in time consumes me. I stand up, looking around, wishing I could call for help, but we’re truly helpless. I’m helpless.
I take Sin in my arms, helping him to lie flat on the ground. As I settle him down, I notice the area of the tree where he was leaning—blood thick enough to coat the bark remains. My heart stops, my eyes burn, and I want nothing more than to kill whoever did this to him. And I just might.
***Recommended for anyone 18+ due to upcoming dark themes and adult language***
Don’t forget this is an interactive story. Each week you have a chance to lend ideas to Shari’s story. Check out her website for more details. And click HERE to leave comments on this week’s Episode.
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. It will air on Friday on Shari J Ryan's blog!
About the Author:
Shari J. Ryan is an Amazon Top 100 Bestselling author, a Barnes & Noble Top 10 Bestselling author, and an iBookstore #1 Bestselling author.
She hails from Central Massachusetts where she lives with her husband and two lively little boys. Shari has always had an active imagination and enjoys losing herself in the fictional worlds she creates. When Shari isn’t writing, she can usually be found cleaning toys up off the floor.
To learn more, visit her at, www.sharijryan.com.
Brought to you by the Author, Shari J Ryan and Paging Through The Days.