It’s SINful Sunday and we have an announcement!
** BIG—SIN OF THE SHED—ANNOUNCEMENT **
After today’s episode, there will only be two more episodes left of Sin of the Shed. Episode Twelve will conclude Book One.
Yup, there will be more books!
Book One will be published and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iBooks, and if Amazon allows it, it will remain free!
The series title is officially: NO WAY OUT and Book One will be titled SIN.
Once Book One is complete, I would love as much feedback as possible so I can dig into Book Two and get it out to you all as quickly as possible.
Thank you for your continuous participation and support with Sin of the Shed. I’m excited to see what this turns into!
Take a look at the latest episode of.. SIN of the Shed.
My focus swings from JJ to Sin, pondering who might come to first. I pray for Sin, but my prayers usually go unanswered. I look around, taking inventory of what’s around me, which is very little with the exception of the bag of food from Sin and the bag of berries from JJ. I grab both and hurry back to where Sin is lying. “Sin, can you hear me?” I whisper. “I have the food. I’ll keep it safe.” With my hand, I dig into the dirt, relishing the soft soil soothing and cooling my trembling hands.
It takes me several minutes to dig down far enough, creating the space needed to conceal the bags. Regardless of keeping the food safe, I know I’m running out of time. JJ is likely going to wake up at any moment. I lie down beside Sin, placing my ear over his chest, listening to the soft, steady rhythm of his heart. I need to see how bad his injury is, but I know well enough not to move a person who has a head or neck injury. I place my hand along the side of Sin’s jaw, feathering my fingertips against the grain of his growing facial hair. “Sin, if you can hear me, give me a sign. Please,” I beg. Anything.
“I don’t want to stay here,” he mumbles. “Not with him. He isn’t right, Mom, don’t you see this?”
“Sin?” I don’t know what he’s talking about or who he’s talking to for that matter? “Can you hear me?”
“You promise you’ll come back from me?” he asks. His eyelids crunch and his forehead strains. “Then why are you crying?”
“I’m not crying, Sin, and I won’t leave you,” I tell him, stroking my fingers over his cheek again, trying to keep him talking, regardless of his nonsensical thoughts.
A groaning noise grows ahead of me and I look over to where JJ is lying, or where he was lying. He’s on his feet, hunched over, holding himself up against the tree. Panic reignites within me, and I question whether or not I have the strength to fight this man off again. I stand up, shielding Sin. JJ slowly cocks his head to the side, looking at me with a snarl. “You don’t know what you just did to yourself,” he says.
I hold myself back from responding and feeding his anger. He’s still holding himself up which tells me he might not have the strength to fight me off either. “You just wait.” He turns away from me and limps away toward the sheds. I don’t know what his threats mean or if they have any validity, but in any case, we need to get the hell out of here. I drop back down to my knees and clutch my hands around Sin’s arms. “I need you to wake up now, “ I grit through my teeth. “We need to go.” I don’t know where we can go, but I have to hope Sin has more insight than I do.
“I didn’t kill her!” Sin yells out. With firmness, I slap his face, feeling a slight sting itch over my fingers. His eyes flash open and he looks from side to side with only his gaze. He presses up on his elbows quickly and halts almost immediately. “Whoa.” His head looks heavy and his focus seems disconnected. “What happened?”
Feeling my face crumble with despair, I look at him for a long moment, hoping he can fill in his own blanks, but when his matching stare holds strong against mine, I offer him my hand. You kissed me and “You passed out cold. I think you hurt your head.” Holding himself up with one hand, he reaches around behind his head, feeling for proof. When he pulls his hand back around, blood coats his fingers. Shit. I move around behind him, taking a look at the injury. I can’t help but recoil at the sight of a large open gash, oozing with blood. “Are there medical supplies anywhere?”
“At the hospital,” he says, his words slurring a bit.
“This has to be stitched,” I tell him.
He nods his head slowly. “They won’t do that. They’ll let me die or ‘phase out’ as they would put it.”
I look at him with confusion, wanting more of an explanation, but, by the way he’s looking around, it appears he has nothing more to say. “What do you mean by phase out?” Sin closes his eyes slowly as if he’s fighting sleep, except his eyes open back up again.
“I mean, they wait for us to die so they can send more people in. It fixes their overflow problem.” Again, his eyes close slowly and then reopen. I want to know who “they” are, and I want to know who everyone else is.
“So you’re saying, we’re here to die.” I don’t know how those words came out sounding braver than what I feel inside, but I’m losing the will to care. I only want to know the truth.
“Where’s the food?” He remembers the food. Does he remember… “You have it right?”
I point to the lumpy soil beside the tree. “I buried it,” I tell him.
He pulls himself to his knees and shoves his fist into the packed down soil, retrieving the two bags. “Where’s JJ?”
I shrug. “He made some threats and headed back toward the sheds.”
Sin’s eyes widen as much as I think they can right now. He pulls himself up against the three, stabilizing himself before he grips his hand around my elbow. “Let’s go.”
“To the hospital, right? Your head. It needs medical attention.”
“I already told you know one is going to fix me, Reese.”
“I can. Take me to the hospital,” I demand.
“You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Yeah, Sin. You’re right. I don’t know a damn thing about anything. It’s because I’m too freaking stupid to comprehend anything going on around me. Right? That’s what it is? Maybe. Just maybe if you spent less time being so pissed off at me and at everything surrounding you, you could take one lousy second to tell me what the hell is going on, or even where the hell we really are. Because wherever the hell we are isn’t a place someone just ends up. I know that much.”
Sin’s leaning against a tree, his arms crossed over his chest with the bags contained within his grip. This small shit-eating-grin tugs at his lips and part of me wants to smack it off. The other part of me wants to taste it again. Dammit, this is not the time to wonder what else I’ve been missing out on. “I like you way more when you’re feisty.”
“And I like you way more when you aren’t so damn stubborn.”
“Well, I guess you aren’t going to like me very much then.” He tilts his head to the side a bit, stretching his neck out, cringing at the movement. “Okay, Reese, have at it. What do you want to know?”
With the abundance of questions I have and answers I desperately need. The one I’m about to ask should be my last concern, but it’s what’s nagging at me most right now, “Did your mother abandon you here with your father?”
He straightens his posture and narrows his eyes at me. The smile on his face fades into a straight line as a red tinge fills his cheeks. “What kind of question is that? I thought we already moved on from the fact that I murdered her. Didn’t we?” He brushes by me and begins walking through the row of trees we’re in. He doesn’t tell me to follow him or keep up. He doesn’t say a word to me.
Playing the stubborn game along with him, I remain still, waiting for him to stop running off. If I’m going to coexist with this man and try to survive this doomed hell alongside him, then he’s going to treat me like his equal. We’re going to fight through this together, without him tugging me along. Otherwise, I might as well just give up now. I’ve had enough.
By the time he makes it past the fifth tree, regret seeps through me. I’m being stupid. He knows I know this. “Watch your back, Reese,” he shouts, continuing forward.
Asshole. Asshole. Asshole. I look behind me, just because, and move forward, following after him, swallowing ever last bit of pride I had left. He slows his stride, allowing me to catch up with him, and when I do, he places his arm around my neck and pulls my head into his chest, dropping a soft kiss on the top of my head. I inhale deeply and close my eyes. “I don’t want to follow you like a lost puppy. I was someone’s object for three years, and I don’t want to be yours now too.”
Sin stops walking and turns to face me. “You are not my object. You are the one person I care about. The one person I want to save me from this goddamn misery.”
“What about yourself. Don’t you count?”
“I can’t be saved, Reese.” He takes my hand and laces his fingers in between mine, bringing my knuckles up to his lips. “But you can try.” His words mixed with the sensation of his lips on my sensitive skin forces a weakness through my body. A weakness that ends our banter.
Until I remember he’s still injured.
“Then take me to the hospital so you don’t die of an infection, leaving me here to rot alone.”
He glances over at me and sucks in a sharp breath. “Very well. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
“I won’t say a word.” I just hope I don’t eat my words. I haven’t noticed a hospital or any type of facility other than a condemned shed. Sheds. He pivots around in the opposite direction, pulling me ahead with him. “It’s this way.”
We walk for what feels like forever, stopping every few minutes so Sin can take a breather. He must have a concussion. The paleness on his face and the hazy look in his eyes is worrying me. “Are you okay?” We’ve been standing still in this spot for several minutes.
“Nah. I’m no—“ Before he has a chance to complete his thought, he falls to his knees, heaving into a pile of brush, but nothing comes up. There’s nothing in either of our stomachs. He rolls to his side, leaning up against the tree.
“How much farther is the hospital?”
“Another ten minutes or so.”
“I’ll go alone. You stay here,” I tell him, unrolling the paper bag with the food. I find a bottle of water and a small loaf of bread. Squatting down before him, I hand him the bread. “Here, eat this.” I unscrew the cap off of the bottle and hand it to him too.
“No, I got this food for you.” He pushes my hands away.
“You’re hurt and you’re sick. Eat it.”
“No, Reese.” I look into the bag, confirming there’s nothing else in here. All of those people were fighting for bread and water—the mere necessities of survival.
“How about I split it?” I ask gently. I place the bottle of water down and tear the bread in half unevenly. Hiding the smaller piece within my fist, I offer him the bread once more. He looks into my eyes, his forehead lined with concern—a look I’m not sure I’ve seen. “We are supposed to survive this. Not just one of us.”
He takes the bread and devours it in one bite. I do the same, feeling a more intense pain grow in my stomach as I swallow it. I was afraid of how much hungrier I would feel after tasting the small bit of food we had. I take a few sips of the water and hand him the bottle. “You need water.” The loss of color on his face is concerning and I place my fingers up against his forehead, feeling an intense heat burn against my skin. He has a fever.
He takes the water from my hand and downs a few gulps. “I’m coming with you. You’re not going yourself,” he says.
“Sin, you can hardly walk right now.”
“Reese, I’ve already told you, you don’t know what you’re walking into. Will you just keep quiet and listen to me for a change?”
He hands me back the bottle of water, the plastic crunching in his hand. “Finish this.”
Knowing that he’s had at least half of the water, I feel a little better about finishing it up. The coolness of the liquid running down the inside of body feels good against the ache and heat, giving me a false sense of energy to push forward. “Well, let’s get going then.”
Trudging uphill for the ten minutes Sin assumed it would take, we come up on an empty field surrounding a tall, brick building. The edifice is breaking apart, and it looks like every other window is either broken or missing. “This is the hospital?”
His eyes widen with a snide smirk. “Yeah, pretty special, huh?” He moves on ahead of me and I follow. “This is where I lived before—“
“You escaped.” I’m not sure it looks like it was hard to escape from. I turn around, looking behind us at where we came from, and I can see everything below us: the pit, the sheds, and the trees.
“Exactly.” Approaching the black, metal door, he places his hand around the handle. “Look I know you’re sick of me bossing you around and shit, but do me a favor, don’t make eye contact with anyone in here. And don’t talk to anyone.” I didn’t really need the warning this time after what happened with JJ because there is no part of me that wanted to talk to another person right now.
He turns to face me, the color on his face even less than the last time he looked at me. “Yeah?”
“If you escaped, won’t they recognize you now that you’re back?”
He laughs softly and nods his head. “You don’t need to worry about that.”
“Why are all of these people here in this town?” I have asked this now several times, and he has yet to answer me.
He releases his hand from the door and grinds his jaw back and forth for a quick second. “I wanted to conceal the reality of our situation for as long as I could, and that is why I haven’t given you an answer to this question. But, I regretted this decision when I went looking for you after the pit fight. You should know.”
“So you’re going to tell me now then.” Please, just tell me.
He looks down as if he’s gathering the right words to describe whatever is going on in his head. “I take it you’ve heard of Applebrook?”
“Of course, that’s where my mom used to work.” The hospital for the criminally insane. Mom wanted to make a difference with those who chose the wrong path in life. That is who she is—was. Always trying to do good for those who couldn’t do it for themselves. I never questioned why she chose the career she chose. It always made sense. She changed lives and that made her happy, which was good since I can guess that she hasn’t felt much happiness in the past three years I’ve been gone.
“Yeah, I know. Well, as you’re probably aware, Applebrook is run by the state, and the state has strict laws. And of course, when laws are broken, secrets develop. Jackson Crownwell—“
“That was my mother’s boss. I met him a few times.” He was a quiet man, but he didn’t need to use words to get his message across. He was one of those people you were immediately intimidated by. He held this kind of power with just the way he carried himself. His hands were always folded in front of him, hanging below his waist, and I remember his eyebrows being slicked in a straight line. For some reason, that always stuck out to me. It made his face always look angry. His shoes clicked loudly when he walked down the halls, and he smelled like an expensive cologne. People waited on him hand and foot and no one would blink in his presence. Although strangely, Mom never seemed afraid of him.
“Yes, Jackson Crownwell is a crook with a very large gambling problem. He takes the states money and rather than investing it into the hospital as he should, he uses it for personal gain. Because of this, the patients at Applebrook don’t receive the proper treatment—medication or professional help. Patients aren’t moving through the system because of this, which has caused a population overfill situation.”
I’m looking at Sin with confusion, but strangely I understand it all and I even think I know where he’s going with this, which causes a large pit to form in my stomach. “So, Chipley is—“
“Chipley is the overfill for Applebrook. The people in this town are those who were not well enough to move on from Applebrook. This town is made up of two-hundred untreated, criminally insane prisoners. And us.
My head spins with understanding, with fear, and anxiety. I’m essentially locked in an open forum prison with some of the most dangerous people in this state. And Sin. What about Sin?
“You were in Applebrook,” I say, looking for confirmation I don’t need. I saw him there when he was being taken away.
“Yes,” he says, opening the door to the hospital. “Follow me.”
I suddenly don’t want to follow him into this building, but he needs care. “Why is there a hospital here too?” I ask, afraid to know how much worse this can get.
He stops with one foot inside of this dimly light, empty room. “Because some of us are meant to rot to death. Some of us don’t get the opportunity to fight for our life. Instead, we’re supposed to die slowly, alone, repenting every sin we’ve made. We don’t deserve a quick death. We deserve torture. Unless of course, you find a way out.”
“Are there guards?” I ask, now walking through the musky foyer.
He laughs. “No. There are caretakers who deliver our rations, but they only appear when lights are out and when everyone is allegedly secure.” This is a nightmare. A real life nightmare. “And no, you are not safe walking in here.”
I am not safe anywhere. “Just bring me to medical supplies. Quickly.” He laughs again. Why is this funny? How is this amusing? The hallways are lit by faint, hanging lights every several feet, and whispering conversations filter through the hall. I don’t see anyone, but we walk past barred walls, locking in a darkness I can’t see through. “Is everyone locked up?”
“Supposed to be.”
The farther we walk, the more constricting the air feels. The scent of mold, mildew, and something else I can’t quite put my finger on is so pungent it’s sickening. “Hey baby,” a voice yells. “Are you my last meal?” Instinctively, I look toward the voice, only to see hands gripped around a set of bars we’re passing.
Sin’s hand grips tightly around my arm as he pulls me down the hall at a faster pace until we push through a door on the right. “The medical supply closet is downstairs.”
Walking down these stairs feels like I’m walking into a dark basement with no lighting—what I thought was everyone’s worst fear. Turns out, I’m guessing this might be everyone’s worst fear. We walk through another door at the bottom of the stairs and into an unlit hall. “You know where you’re going?” I ask quietly.
He doesn’t answer.
I can hardly see Sin in front of me even though he’s holding on to me, which means I slam into his back when he stops short. “Right here.” He opens another door and pulls us in. I can feel the constricting walls around us. We’re in a tight spot. Sin moves around me and shoves a handful of materials into my chest. “Hold this.” I hear him rustling with something else and then he pulls me back out. “This should be enough to fix my head.”
“Got it,” I whisper.
“Reese,” he says.
“Yes?” his lips press against mine firmly, breathtakingly. His hand loops around my back and pulls me into his hard body. I can hardly focus on his warm touch flirting with the skin over the small of my back because the taste of his lips are incredibly overpowering and mind altering, almost making me forget we’re standing in the middle of a dark closet, in the basement of a abandoned hospital for the criminally insane. Almost making me forget how screwed we are.
“Sorry,” he breathes. “I needed to touch your lips again. You quench my hunger and numb the pain. You may be stubborn and crazy, but you care about me. And I care a hell of a lot about you. Don’t forget that.” I won’t forget, and I won’t be able to remember anything else. “We need to get out of here.”
Back up the stairs and through the hall with the cells, I feel a sense of relief, knowing the door to the outside is close.
A cell door flies open in front of us and there isn’t more than a blinking second between the time of comprehension and the time it took for me to be shoved into the cell. The metal bars slam shut, locking me. “Sin!”
I hear nothing. I see nothing.
I need the light.
***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.