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Taylor's Time

Hey everyone!

You might realize that I get to read these before you do.

Well, someone has to, right?

Do the editing and all that?

Actually, I don't do the editing. That's Adam's job.

But I do get to read the posts first, see how they scan, try to gauge the reaction of the "average" reader. I mean, I don't know squat about publishing, I just know what I like, right?

Imagine my pleasure when I saw that this week we have another piece from "Safe Now"?

Now imagine my fury when I get to the end and find...

Well, I can't tell you.

But, Taylor, you can't do this to me!

- Kendra

"A self once masked by these stains

That filth washed out with the rain

When I'm done only thing that remains

Is a tombstone etched with my name

Look into a face that has changed

Recognize the corpse in that grave

Resurrect, what's lost can be saved

I am now free, once slave." - Zack Hemsey

Nice To Meet Me

The men tied Avan's wrists to the railing across from me. They forced him to stand, loosening the rope so that his toes touched the ground. Avan's face twisted as he shifted his weight, seeking comfort which eluded him. The movement caused fresh blood to stain the cloth around his feet and pulled an agonized sound from him. Kain smiled.

"She finally knows what you did, Gutierrez." he said, looking at me.

I shot him a dark glare. He ignored me, preferring to pull out his gun and pistol whip Avan. Avan coughed and lowered his head, hiding his face from Kain. Hiding his pain from me. I whimpered.

Hit me, Kain… Hit me!

Kain frowned, placing the gun on a nearby table. When he spoke again, his voice was low, menacing.

"She finally knows."

Avan mumbled, voice quiet, words unintelligible. Kain grabbed Avan's hair, jerking his head up. Avan winced. Blood gushed from his broken nose.

"What was that?"

Avan's eyes flicked to Kain standing beside him. He didn't look like him anymore. His whispered the words, "I'm sorry."

Kain let go of Avan's hair. Avan's head fell forward. One of the other men walked up to us holding a bamboo cane in his hands. Kain took it, bending it and testing its flexibility.


"Kain, wait!" I yelled.

He paused behind Avan. I took a deep breath, my entire upper body burning from the action.

"I know how you feel. I lost my brother. It hurts like Hell, I know, but killing Avan won't bring your son back."

Kain held the cane tighter. My words weren't helping. They weren't making him understand that what he was doing, what he'd been doing, was wrong. I jerked and twisted in a futile effort to free myself, my starved body losing energy quickly. After giving up, I looked to Avan and saw clearly that he wasn't even trying to support himself anymore. He'd gone completely limp. His blood dripped onto the floor.

"I'm sorry," he said again.

Kain stepped back.

"You're too late."

It was useless. It was always useless. Everything we'd done, everything we'd fought for, was all just a waste. We were going to die. And Avan would be the first to go.

Kain swung the cane, striking Avan across the bsck. The thuds rang out, loud and sickening as Kain continued, lashing Avan from his shoulders to his calves.

"Kill me!" I cried.

At my cry, Avan lifted his head. The action was slow, heavy, like it took all of his strength. A stream of red dripped into his mouth, down his chin, and stained his already bloody shorts. Kain kept hitting Avan with all his might. Avan didn't react. The only indication that Kain was still whipping him were the thuds and twitches of his body at every blow. He wasn't even wincing. He was just standing there, his eyes empty, his mouth agape, watching me without a hint of recognition on his face.

I was losing him with every stroke of the cane.

He didn't acknowledge me. He didn't even blink. His mind was somewhere far away, escaping the reality of his breaking body. His chest fluttered, his lungs barely taking in the air that he needed to survive. His pupils dilated. His lips were turning blue. I shuddered. This wasn't Avan anymore. This was a wounded animal, using every last ounce of its will to stay alive. Seeing him like this, so broken he seemed to welcome the torture, was worse than seeing him writhe in unbearable agony. He bowed his head once more, and though I knew he was still breathing, it felt like he was already gone.

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