A young boy, no older than eleven, walked through an unbeaten and frosty forest road, tailing a spindly man in simple clothing. Even though he was just coming out of the single digits, the boy had a headful of iron-gray hair that wasn’t so different from an old mans and blue eyes as cold as the sleet crunching beneath his little leather boots.
In the child’s arms was a glass container of a golden fluid, and from the way the repulsed child held it as far away from his body as possible, it was quite clear he knew what it was.
“…old man, you’re off your rocker! This’ll never work.” the kid whined to the tall man.
“Shuddup, Aaron. You said you wanted to learn practical stuff instead of the crap from those dusty old books. So, I’m teaching you.”
“You never told me I’d have to lug around a bunch of deer piss! This is just disgusting, Gale!”
Gale looked just about ready to conk the child on his noggin.
“Look, I’m only going to say this one more time, ya knucklehead- that’s doe piss, and it contains pheromones that’ll attract a buck if we play our cards right.”
“What the hell even are pheromones…?”
“They’re like chemicals animals produce to subtly attract potential mates. Tons of animals leave ’em, even humans.”
“Seriously. Now, dump some of that piss right here.”
Stopping in the middle of the forest, Gale shoved a bony finger at a small patch of fresh, green grass poking up through the dirt and frost. It basked in a rare vein of sunlight, that glorious golden ray piercing through a tear in the dense shield of icy branches overhead. Aaron peeled the lid off the container, sprinkling some of the urine on the grass.
“There. Now all we have to do is wait.”
And so they did, taking cover in some thick brush. After an uneventful hour passed, Aaron was just about to doze off… that’s when the biggest buck he had ever seen came prancing into view, sniffing at their trap.
Aaron could already imagine his father and younger brother beaming with pride as they took a look at the buck’s head mounted above their fireplace. The deer’s head would hang overlooking their living room with his vacant black eyes and add a bit of majesty to the humble space with his large, twisting horns.
But all of his hopes and dreams were dashed when the bow and arrow were passed to him.
“Here, kid. You take the shot.” Gale insisted.
“B-but I’m an awful aim… I’ll miss for sure…”
Before Aaron could protest any further, the old man shoved the bow into his young hands and spun him around. With little choice left, Aaron hissed in frustration and strung an arrow.
With the finest delicacy his young, cold, and nervous body could muster, the child Aaron locked his aim on the buck.
“C’mon, just do it before he notices us!” the elder hissed under his frosty breath.
Aaron unleashed his grip on the pent up string, letting the wooden arrow zip forward.
And of course, it flew over the buck’s head by at least ten feet, lodging itself in the branches of the tree behind the beast. Hearing the thunk and sensing danger, the buck shot up and darted back into the thick of the woods.
“Dammit…” Aaron sobbed, tears gathering at the corners of his eyes, “I told you I couldn’t hit him, Gale! I couldn’t line up a shot to save my life!”
The older man responded with a frustrated mumble, pinching the bridge of his nose and shaking his head back and forth.
“Listen, ya little knucklehead. If you expect yourself to fail, you always will.”
Wiping away his tears, the young Aaron sniffled and cast his gaze at the dirty snow at his feet, “Why do you even care, Gale…? Why do you even bother with me?”
“Well, if anyone else asked me why I’m teaching you, I’d say it’s because your old man saved my life, and he wants you and your brother to grow up to be something other than a couple of knuckle-dragging dipshits. But just between you and me- I’ve kinda taken a liking to ya, kid.”
Aaron’s teary eyes looked back up at Gale, “Really?”
“Yep. Not to often you find a someone retarded enough to lug deer piss around the woods for ya.”
Aaron picked up the remainder of the urine, “You know, I’m pretty tempted to toss the rest of this on you.”
“I wouldn’t advise it, kid. We’re still in the middle of the woods- wouldn’t be too hard to hide your body.”
The two shared a laugh, sounds of their joy echoing throughout the snowy woods.
Gale slung the bow back over his shoulder and patted his young companion on the back, “C’mon, kid, let’s see if we can hunt down another buck and cook him up before dinner.”
“Hey, kid. Kid! Wakey-wakey… c’mon, please don’t make me give ya mouth to mouth…”
Aaron, finding himself back in his twenty-five year old body, bolted awake, and gasped at what he saw- Gale’s familiar face hovering above him.
“W-what… Gale? Gale, is that you?!”
“Gale? Kid, the name’s Reese.”
Aaron rubbed the sleep from his eyes. No, it wasn’t his friend. The facial structure and dark hair were similar, but that was about it. Where Gale was neat and tidy, this man was wily and unkempt. Where Gale was scrawny and stringy, this man looked like the statue of a lost god given flesh. Not to mention the stranger hanging above him looked a good ten years younger than his old friend even back when he was still a child. If Aaron had to hazard a guess, he’d put the stranger somewhere in his early thirties.
But looking a bit closer and into the man’s eyes, Aaron recoiled in shock.
The man’s sclera was pitch black, just like Valerie’s. But unlike her, he lacked any sort of of pupil. Instead, his eyes were purely a bright amethyst that seemed to glow in the dim lighting of the dingy cell.
Dingy cell? With a few perplexed blinks, Aaron realized that he was wearing nothing but his undergarments and that same odd collar all the monsters were wearing, just like the strange fellow sitting across from him.
Aaron shook his sore head from side-to-side, trying to remember what happened after his thoroughly unpleasant dinner with Otha, Wes, and their guests.
After they’d watched the raiju’s dance routine, Wes had said he’d start his examination the next day. Then the guards approached, tried to uncuff him and lead him to his cell. In a fit of rage, Aaron had slammed his head into one’s temple…
And they’d knocked him clean out.
‘Well, at least they took out that fuckin’ ballgag.’
With a heavy grunt, Aaron sat up and landed on his bum, facing towards his new cellmate. Following a few more blinks to make sure he wasn’t seeing things, Aaron began watching the strange man’s blank eyes follow him. Raising a single finger to test him, Aaron traced it left and right through the dingy air. While the irises followed his finger, Reese’s brow furrowed in annoyance.
“What the fuck are you doing, kid?”
“How can you see me!? You don’t have any pupils!”
“Ah, well. Not too sure about that myself. Probably has something to do with all that demon energy I’ve absorbed, though.”
In the end, Aaron had just decided to roll with it. He had neither the expertise nor inquisitive spirit to challenge the workings of any sort of magic, let alone the workings of the Demon Lord.
But he did have one question.
“Don’t take this the wrong way, Reese, but… what exactly are you?”
Reese must have found that question humorous for one reason or another, as he brushed back a lock of dark hair behind his ear and started giggling. With a wicked smile, Reese exposed his sharp fangs, then flicked out his forked tongue.
“I’m an incubus, buddy.”
Aaron could only sit in stunned silence. Thinking back to what Mayor Arlo had told him before his death, the madman who called himself Cronan Kane also had somehow obtained pitch black eyes.
“Yeah, but… what is an incubus? I thought monsters were all female.”
Making himself comfortable, Reese leaned his back and kicked his left foot atop his right knee. Clicking his forked tongue, he scratched his stubble-covered chin in thought.
“Well, from what that stubby redheaded cunt told me, I think I have the basic idea down… although the finer details are lost on me. Wanna know?”
“Of course I do.”
“Ah, I see. Do you know why monsters look the way they do?”
With the bitter image of Cronan still fresh in his mind, Aaron thought back to what the sludge-armed maniac had revealed to him.
“Yeah. The Demon Lord Lilith, right? She changed all the monsters in the world to be part succubus like her, didn’t she?”
“From what I understand, yeah.” Reese responded, “Well… ya see, an incubus is basically what happens when a man absorbs too much demonic energy like I did- they turn into the ideal man for a monster.”
“Ah. I see.” Aaron muttered, thinking back to the black mass floating in his chest.
“So, what’re you in for, pal?”
Aaron quickly explained his situation to Reese, and while the incubus wore a nonchalant face, he listened with both ears wide open.
“Urgh. Sorry to hear that, buddy. That Wes is a real bastard, yeah? He’s been doing all kinds of screwball experiments on me for years.” the incubus explained, running his fingers across the thin, white scars across his stomach, “Shit, how long have I been here, again…?”
Aaron tapped his bare foot against the cold stone floor, deep in thought. Glancing around, he looked at the cells surrounding him- they appeared more like kennels in which one would keep dogs, with each individual cell being separated by more iron bars instead of a stone wall. Taking a look at the shadowy figures in each prison, Aaron found a disheartening sight.
In all of the other cages, there were up to three monsters under lock and key. Each had been outfitted with that same collar, and each radiated a crushing sense of melancholy. Compared to the usual gungho, larger-than-life personalities that he had seen in so many monsters, Aaron immediately began feeling dejected himself.
The iron-haired swordsman turned to Reese, “Hey, you guys are working on an escape plan, right? I mean… even without their powers, a lot of them still have fangs and claws, right? And you look like you could handle yourself in a fight.”
“Nope.” Reese replied so quickly Aaron was certain the incubus was anticipating the question, “Sure, they’d all rush out of here like a bat outta hell if the opportunity presented itself… but none of them have the will to fight.”
“But… but why?”
With a heavy sigh, Reese shrugged his shoulders and answered Aaron’s question.
“They can’t have sex.”
Reese tugged on the silver circlet around his neck, “These goddamned collars they slapped on us. They don’t just nullify any powers that come from demon energy. Any time the wearer feels sexual arousal, it gives them a nasty shock. If they fight through that pain and keep trying, the shock will keep going and keeps getting worse until it knocks them out cold.”
Throwing away the will to escape because of something so trivial made Aaron furious. Springing to his feet, he raised a single fist in the air and began shouting, “So they’re not fighting back because they can’t get off!?”
“Think about what we just talked about, bud… every monster on the planet is part succubus now. Sex is second nature to them. So, what do you think happens when you deprive them of that, cage ’em up like animals? Same thing that happens when you lock up a bird and don’t let it fly, or keep a horse trapped in it’s stable and refuse to let it frolic. They lose both their edge and spirit.”
So that was it. They were broken birds. Poor creatures being deprived of their greatest desire.
“Why are they even here? Is it that Wes freak? Is he studying them like he wants to study us?”
“Yeah. He’s the bastard who built the collars in the first place… but he’s only half the reason why these girls are being held captive. The girls… well… you seem like a country boy. Ever seen what a shepherd does to his sheep after winter?”
Aaron blinked in surprise at the strange inquiry, but after another split second of thought, it suddenly dawned on him, “He… he shears them…”
Reese’s tone suddenly became dishearteningly grim, “The ‘special’ products Otha makes? They’re all byproducts of the monsters trapped here.”
“Thats… thats sick! Does she use some kind of demon energy extracted from them?”
“Close, but no. Wes studies monsters to give him more ideas to build his crazy gadgets, but Otha? She makes her goods using monster’s produce.”
Aaron remained silent, the idea was so sick and disturbing he felt a deep revulsion creep up from his stomach and send a chill down his spine.
Reese solemnly nodded as he stood, pointing past the bars of their cell, “See that monster in the cage across from us? The frog girl? Her mucus, when mixed with certain other chemicals, can actually become a powerful cleaning agent.”
Aaron looked towards the frog girl, who looked positively miserable as she sat motionless atop the dinky straw mat she was provided with. She didn’t even bother to keep her elongated tongue in her mouth, and the long, sticky appendage lay draped across her chest.
“And her… “ Reese said, pointing to the frog’s cellmate, a hybrid of a woman and sheep was sprawled nearly motionless across the floor, “Well, you can take my metaphor with the shepard a bit more literally with her. Catch my drift?”
Aaron could only slowly bob his head up and down, the deep sense of disgust he felt taking his tongue from him.
“And that girl over there?” Reese brought Aaron from his thoughts, pointing to the cage to the left of the frog girl before them.
Aaron looked over to get a glimpse.
She was some sort of hybrid of a myriad of beasts, with fuzzy arms and legs, leather bat-wings, and dark pink hair. But by far, her most interesting feature was the long, needle-covered tail that extended from the base of her spine, coming to a rest on her knees. The thing was naturally armored with red chitin plating not too different from a scorpions… but at the very end, in the place of a stinger, was some sort of fleshy bud surrounded by nasty-looking spikes.
Aaron’s mind flashed back to his days in the Legion, and the old wardogs stories about the various rare and exotic monsters they met in battle.
“Is that… a manticore?”
“Yup. And when you rip those needles from her tail and remove the aphrodisiac chemicals from them, the remaining liquid makes some kinda real tangy, spicy sauce.”
Realizing that he had eaten some of that for dinner, Aaron suddenly felt very, very sick to his stomach.
What Otha and Wes were doing… it was beyond slavery. If Aaron had learned anything in the past few years, it was that monsters were far from mindless beasts looking for a mate.
It was true they loved sex more than breathing, but each had their own goals and dreams. Friends and family. Consumed by rage, Aaron gripped his hands into tight fists as several faces flashed in his mind.
Valerie, who only ever wanted was to be an actor and enjoy life to its fullest.
Kiera, the pride of her happy little tribe he who just wanted to help him reach his goal and find her true parents along the way.
And his niece Cordelia, struck down before she could even truly understand the cruelties of the world.
And Otha was treating their kind like cattle.
“I’m going to kick her ass. Mark my fuckin’ words Reese, I’m going to free every monsters here and make Otha pay for what’s she’s done…!”
“HAHAHA! Big talk from an even bigger fool. And how exactly do you plan to do that?”
Aaron, who was nearly burning a hole in the ground with his furious gaze, looked up as he heard the mocking voice of an eastern woman reach his ears. Turning around, he looked between the bars separating his cell and the next and saw a monster with her back turned to them.
It was the raiju, the one who danced at Otha’s dinner party.
“Whats up with her?” Aaron whispered to Reese, surprised by her negative attitude.
“Her cellmate and best friend died a few days ago… a little siren. Poor thing was so tired of being sucked dry, so she grabbed a knife from a guard and used it on herself.”
“Yeah, I know how bad that can sting. I’ll try to go cheer her up-”
As Aaron turned to meet her once more, Reese slapped his hand over Aaron’s shoulder.
“Look, just… don’t, alright? She’s got- well, she’s got a bit of a temper on her. You’d best just leave her be.”
“I think I’ll be fine.” Aaron grunted in response, shaking off Reese’s hand and returning to the opposite corner off the cell, where he kneeled over.
Aaron tried to reach through the bars, but he could only manage to place a single finger on her shoulder… which he quickly retracted after he felt her teeth chomp down on it.
“Ouch! You bit me!” Aaron whined, sucking on his sore finger.
“Well, I can’t shock you enough to hurt you. Not with this thing on me…” she said, tugging at the hefty metal collar ensnaring her neck.
“Look… I just wanted to say that I know what it’s like to lose someone close to you… it’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit… and each one was my fault.”
“You don’t know anything about me, human.” the raiju hissed. Despite keeping her vicious tone, the blue monster’s expression seemed to soften, if by just a bit.
Aaron took a knee, locking eyes with her, “What’s your name?”
“Well, listen, Nariko. I’m going to get everyone out of here, alright? And I’m going to beat that fat bitch Otha and her little boyfriend into paste so they’ll never do anything like this again.”
“Big words… but you’ll never back them up.”
Aaron opened his mouth for a rebuttal, but was interrupted by the sound of an iron door swinging open, shortly followed by a blinding light shooting through the dark hallway between the two rows of cells.
In walked the prison guard, a stern-faced man armed with a spear and clad in simple hardened-leather armor.
“You know the drill, raiju-” the guard began.
“Yeah, yeah. I’m not going to shock you. Let’s just get this over with.”
Entering her cell, the guard removed a small key from his pocket, sticking it into a hole in Nariko’s collar and twisting it. It didn’t remove the collar, however. Instead, a small slot fell open, revealing a sliver of a red crystal set within.
“What the hell is going on…?” Aaron muttered to himself, unable to take his eyes off the sight.
That’s when the guard removed a small metal cylinder from behind his back. Twisting open the lid, a puff of steam shot out before it dispersed and revealed another red crystal sliver suspended within it. However, it seemed to glow much more vibrantly than the fading one set in Nariko’s collar.
Removing the old crystal with a pair of tweezers, the guard tucked it into his pocket before sticking those same tweezers into his cylinder, removing the fresh crystal, and sticking it in.
“There we go.” the guard murmured, closing the slot to Nariko’s collar and standing up, dusting off the dirt that got on his knees. Scooping up his spear, the guard left the cell door and slammed it shut behind him, making sure he locked it and clipping the keyring to his belt before taking his leave.
Waiting until he was gone, Aaron turned back towards Nariko, “What the hell was that about?”
Rolling her eyes and groaning, the raiju answered his question, “What do you think, dumbass? I have electric powers. Even with this collar, my body still absorbs the shock. They had to retrofit this one to burn me… that’s the reason they need to change my crystal out every week.”
“I’m… I’m sorry to hear that.” was the only thing the shocked Aaron could manage to say.
With scoff and roll of her eyes, the raiju retreated to the other side of her cell. Left squatting there for a few moments, a plan was starting to form in Aaron’s head.
Turning back to his cellmate, Aaron posed the incubus a question, “Reese, do you know when that guard will come back?”
“Lunch should be in a few hours. He also hands out the meals.”
Nodding to the incubus, Aaron turned and clasped the cold iron bars, calling out to the frog girl to the cell across from him, “Hey, can you do me a favor? If my plan works out, we’ll all be able to get out of here.”
The amphibian woman looked skeptical, “Let me guess… you want me to stretch out my tongue and grab the guard’s keys while his back is turned, right? You don’t think I’ve tried that before? He’s got them clipped on his belt too tight.”
“What are waitin’ for, kid? Eat up.”
Aaron, sitting in his cell opposite of Reese, watched the guard who brought them lunch stand watch at the end of the room. Then, his attention was brought back to the horror sitting between his legs.
It was a clay bowl filled with some sort of thick, gray goop.
“Is this… edible?”
“Hopefully.” Reese said through a mouthful of his own bowl, dipping his wooden spoon in for another bite, “If not, I’ve been surviving on nothing but mud and paste for the last few years.”
After bearing witness to a grand feast the previous night, the supposed porridge made the queasy feeling in his stomach all the stronger.
“C’mon, just eat. It’s not supposed to be tasty. It’s supposed to be nutritious.” Reese said, “Otha can’t have any of her little coin makers wasting away, right? You gotta keep your strength up if you really wanna get outta here. Just choke it down.”
Shoveling the first bite into his mouth, his taste buds went numb and mind began to swim. He had never tasted anything so foul in his entire life. With his brow scrunching up in disgust, he tilted his head back and swallowed.
Somehow, Aaron managed to down the entire bowl of gruel without vomiting.
“Alright, lunch is over.” said the guard, approaching Aaron’s cell. He opened the slot on the cell door, motioning for he and Reese to approach, “Hand back your bowl and spoon, new guy. And don’t try anything funny.”
“Nothing funny, eh? Too bad. I’ve got this killer joke about an ugly prison guard’s fat mother.” Aaron quipped as he handed his bowl over to the guard.
From the furrowed brow to flared nostrils, it was quite clear that Aaron had successfully infuriated the guard. The jailer slammed a balled fist up against the iron bars of the prison, “Care to repeat that, punk?”
With a small smile, Aaron spat between the bars and right into the guard’s face.
Aaron could’ve sworn the guard nearly ripped the cell door off of its hinges as he rushed in. Stomping forward, the guard smashed his shield across Aaron’s face, sending him sprawling to his back with a bloody nose and busted lip. Before he even had a chance to get up, the guard was upon him, savagely slamming the tip of his boot into Aaron’s stomach.
“Maybe… this’ll… teach ya… to shut… that big, fat… MOUTH!” the guard screamed, delivering a hard kick to his prisoner’s gut with every word.
Convinced he had taught Aaron his lesson, the guard returned the favour and spat on Aaron’s face. Slamming the cell back into place, he stormed off with all his prisoner’s used cutlery.
“Guess he didn’t want to hear the joke…” Aaron coughed, rubbing his sore ribs and struggling onto his knees.
“You alright, kid?” Reese asked, propping Aaron to his feet.
“Y-yeah, I’m fine.” Aaron nodded, turning to the frog girl in the cell facing his, “More importantly, did you get it?”
The amphibian nodded, spitting the spoon from her mouth and tossing it between the bars of her cell. As it landed at the feet of his own, Aaron reached over and grabbed the slimy utensil, slipping it in.
“See? I told you it would work.” laughed the swordsman, holding up the slime-coated spoon for Reese to see, “When you’re that steaming mad, it’s hard to notice little shit like a spoon going missing, right?”
However, his cellmate seemed less than impressed, “Great. Good for you. Now, how exactly do you plan on sharpening it, smart guy?”
Aaron broke out into a wicked grin, a mad glint flashing in his cold eyes. Rearing back the spoon like it was a bloody knife, Aaron crept toward the incubus.
“A-Aaron? Don’t try anything cute, you bastard!”
“Open wide, Reese…”
Some time later, the guard, now calmed down after beating Aaron, heard a commotion from behind the heavy iron door he was guarding.
“You little shit!” Reese growled, his grip tight around Aaron’s windpipe.
“Fuck you, asshole!” Aaron shot right back, kneeing the incubus in the ribcage.
As the two men rolled around on the hard stone floor, the iron door separating the prison from the rest of the manor swung open, and the very same guard rushed in.
“Whats going on down here?!”
“T-they’re going to kill each other!” the frog girl in the cell across from them sobbed, clutching the bars of her cell and unable to look away from the violent scene.
Watching the two men continuing to roll around and throw punches at each other, the guard’s heart sank as he realized just how much trouble he’d be in with Wes if he allowed such a rare subject to die before his examination.
“HEY! Break it up! Don’t make me come in there!” the guard snarled at the two, rattling the cage with his spear.
They didn’t stop. In fact, Reese’s chokehold around Aaron’s throat only seemed to tighten just to spite the guard.
“That’s it! I’m going to kick both of your asses!” the guard snarled, opening up the cell and stomping in.
And the instant he was in, Aaron and Reese sprung off of each other and at the guard. Taken totally by surprise, their jailer could do nothing but gasp for breath as Reese slipped behind him, pulling him in for a full nelson and making him drop his spear.
From behind his back, Aaron pulled out his spoon. He had ground it down to a wicked shank with Reese’s sharp fangs. It was quite awkward having to hold his cellmate’s jaw steady and rub the spoon up into his mouth- having to stop every so often for the incubus to spit out the wood chippings- but in the end, was worth it.
The guard’s eyes widened for but a split second before Aaron held the shank up to his unprotected throat.
“Alright, pal… strip.”
“You sure you don’t want the armor, Aaron?” Reese asked, slipping on the guard’s helm.
“You’re asking that when you’re putting on the final piece?”
‘It was rhetorical.” Reese said, “You’ve got to be as stealthy as possible, right? Besides, I’ll need it more when his partner shows up… my power is still being nullified, and I haven’t exactly been keeping my skills sharp cramped up in that cell.”
Aaron looked around the prison, seeing a mix of reactions from the girls. Some beamed at him like he was some sort of miracle-making demigod. Others, appearing more frail and timid, shrunk back into the shadows of their prison, afraid they might be caught up in the punishment for his transgressions.
Then, Aaron cast his gaze towards the grinning Nariko. But unlike some of the others girls, her smile wasn’t one of admiration and gratitude… instead, she wore a wide, toothy grin of amusement.
“Hehehe. What, do you want a hug and kiss?” she asked him, finding his gaze lingering on her.
“Look, Nariko. I just want to free everyone from this shithole, and hopefully burn it to the fuckin’ ground in the process. That’s all.”
“Maybe. But when humans want something, they lie and manipulate to get it. That’s the way your kind operates.”
“Well, trust me… I ain’t that kinda fella.” Aaron assured her, sticking his thumb to his chest and flashing her a wide grin of his own.
“Yeah, you seem like that other kind of human- the type that throws subtlety to the wind then smashes and maims anything in the way of something they want. So maybe I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.”
Aaron scratched the back of his head with the handle of his shank, unsure to whether or not to take that as an insult or compliment.
“Dumbass…” Nariko muttered under her breath, turning away.
“Hurry up, Aaron. You only have two hours until the next guard takes his shift- I’ll take care of his replacement, but someone will eventually notice the guy we caught is missing.” Reese warned the iron-haired human, “-and remember, your first priority is to find a way to get these collars off. It doesn’t matter how strong those maids are. If the monsters get their powers back, we can match them in muscle.”
Aaron nodded, giving the incubus a thumbs-up and grin before departing.
“Heh. Crazy kid…” Reese laughed as he watched Aaron take his leave,. He took a seat outside of his cell, holding the guard’s spear close and training his violet eyes on the door, ready to spring at any intruder…
“MPHP!” came a muffled holler from below, Reese stuttering in surprise as his seat began wildly wiggling and shaking.
“Hey, calm down, asshole. You’re lucky Aaron decided to spare you.” the incubus said, looking down at the bound jailer whose chest he had taken a seat upon.
“Mphphp…” the guard sighed through his gag, settling back down.
Readjusting himself, Reese let out a long sigh and stared at the iron door Aaron had closed behind him.
“Good luck, kid. You’re gonna need it.”