Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Disclaimer:  Johnny and Sonya aren’t mine. (SOB!)  But all the other characters are.  Doesn’t that make me special?

 

 

‘3, 2, 1.’  Using the arms holding him as a lever, Johnny jumped up and kicked both legs out in front of him, sending them right into Jack’s stomach.  The gang leader was thrown back, his arms flailing in a wide arc to catch his balance, and his lack of control sending the singing chain right down across the face of the man holding Johnny’s left arm. 

He cried out and loosened his grip on the actor, who wasted no time in breaking free, ducking down to a half crouch while shifting his weight into the other man holding his right arm, pulling the clueless member onto his back, and throwing him off to fall right into his pal.  They sat on the floor dazed.

There was a shout and Johnny felt something snap against his head.  He stumbled forward, rolled, and stood.  Sean held a broken pool stick and was slowly advancing.  Hank tried to creep around to the side, and Jack was pulling out a knife.  ‘Let’s dance.’  Hank attacked first.  An easy side step and a chop to the back of the neck sent the scrawny brown haired man to the floor.  The knife clattered to the floor and slid under the pool table.  Johnny caught a flash of blonde and bobbed to the side as Sean swung the right stick at him.  The left lashed out toward Johnny’s right side, but before it could hit he seized the pool stick with his left hand, spun around so his back was to Sean, and pulled the surprised attacker over his shoulder.  The blonde lay dazed on the floor. 

The wall next to his head sprayed with a few pieces of plaster.  Johnny dodged to the side as the chain whipped down again, aimed straight for his throat.  As the spinning metal came at him a third time, Johnny threw his arm out and hissed as the metal wrapped around his arm, burning his arm red with the sting of its attack.  But now he had a grip, and pulled the chain into his hand and yanked Jack toward him.  The leader wasn’t expecting this and was dragged helplessly right into Johnny’s fist.  He flew back onto the pool table.  Three more blows sailed across his face as he tried to get up, but Johnny’s bombardment of devastating punches was leaving him dazed and short of breath.  Jack’s face slammed down into the pool table from a vicious backfist.  He noticed for the first time the amount of blood that was staining the green cloth.  All of it was his.  Coldness seeped into his neck, and suddenly he couldn’t breath, his back was arching up, and Johnny was slowly tightening his hold on the chain.

“You kill me, they kill her,” Jack gasped in a small voice.  He attempted to swat at Johnny but his arms weren’t long enough to reach the head of the slightly taller actor.

Johnny pulled harder on the chain, forced Jack farther up from the table, and hissed into his ear.  “Tell me where she is, and pray to God I don’t find her harmed or else I will do you over so fucking good--”

A click.  Johnny tensed as the barrel pressed deeper into his temple.  ‘Shit.’ 

“Let go of the chain, JC, and back up.”

‘That voice… who the hell?’  Johnny couldn’t place it, but did as it asked.  Slowly he let the chain loosen he removed it from Jack’s neck.  His eyes tried to shift to the man standing next to him, but he was hidden behind him. 

Jack, coughing and red faced, stood up straight, cracked his neck, and glared at the man behind Johnny.  “It’s about time.”

“Traffic was a bitch tonight.”

 Jack stepped up to Johnny and punched him.  Johnny’s head was knocked back with the force of the hit, and he was slightly dizzy.  “I see you’re still as stubborn as always.  I guess we’ll just have to find another way to break you in.”  Jack lifted his cold eyes to the man behind Johnny.  “Let’s g--”

The door at the back opened and someone voice drifted across the room.  “Boss, we got a problem upstairs.”

“Not now!” Jack snapped.

“It’s Lee.  He wants his money.”

Jack stared at the wall for a moment.  “All right,” he growled.  “Sean, Hank, let’s go.  You, keep him here,” Jack commanded Johnny’s captor, and then he walked out.  His fellow members limped past, their icy glares threatening of future retaliation.  The door slammed shut and the room became silent.

Now Johnny was left alone with a man he couldn’t recognize.  Without warning he was shoved forward, his head being purposefully rammed into the side of the pool table.  The actor stumbled to the floor.  Feet shuffled near him, and then he was dragged to a sitting position, his back was leaned up against a leg of the table, and he could feel cold metal wrapping itself around his wrists.  The cuffs clicked closed.  A moment later, a face drifted into his fuzzy vision, and Johnny’s eyes widened slightly in surprise.

“Hey buddy.  Ooh, nasty cut there.  Get into a fight again?” he mocked.  He was about 6’2”, with a very lean figure, jet-black hair, and completely white eyes with the black pupils showing through from what Johnny had to assume was contacts.  He would have been handsome if not for the ripples of keloid tissue that traveled down the left side of his face.  Horrible burn scars was what it looked like. 

“Tommy.” 

“I’m glad you remember me.  I mean, after all, you’re now this big hot shot celebrity.  Why would you even care to think about your old family?”

Johnny didn’t give him the pleasure of an answer.

“But then again, you never really understood family, did you JC?  You never understood the loyalty between us.  And while you’ve been attending your big Hollywood award ceremonies, I have been faithfully keeping the old gang together, and making a new one while Jack was… out of town.  After sixteen fucking years, I still do everything he asks, without question.  Now that, JC, is loyalty.”

“You tell me that like I’m supposed to care,” Johnny muttered.

“Oh, I know you don’t care.”  Tommy reached inside his coat and pulled out something that looked like a rubber band, only longer.  It snapped across his hands.  “But loyalty has its benefits.  Like the ability to backstab when no one is expecting it.  See, when Jack was arrested, I finally got my due.  I was leader of the pack.  I had my own gang, and they did everything I said, or I killed them.  That’s what happened with Anty, and Matt, and Drake, ya know.  They did things I didn’t like, they tried to betray me, so I killed them without question.  And for sixteen fucking years, I was my own master.”  Tommy’s voice turned hard as ice while he leaned forward and wrapped the band tightly around Johnny’s right arm, just above the elbow.    “And then Jack was up for a re-evaluation of his case.  He was going to be let out.  And he wanted to take back everything.  He wanted to be the leader again, wanted to take away everything I worked so fucking hard for, and he expected me to give it up silently, without question. 

“I was so tempted to kill him when he got out.  I had it all planned out in my mind how I would welcome him back into the fold, before beating the shit out of him.  Then I saw a poster for a movie, starring some guy named Johnny Cage.  And this guy, he was familiar.  So I had some research done by some of my more upperclass members.  Told me you had changed your name.  Told me you were a big star.  Told me you had money; money that I desperately needed for my gang.  And it gave me an idea.  I knew Jack wanted you dead, so I’d help him get you, let him get access to your money.  And then I’d kill Jack and take the money for myself.

“So I reverted back to humble servant.  I kept tabs on you, kidnapped your little slut like Jack asked, and I set up the pleasant surprise in your bathroom.  And now that I have Jack’s complete trust, I can move in for the kill.”  His hand slipped into his coat again, and this time, he pulled out a small metallic object. 

Johnny recognized it almost immediately, and began to struggle with his cuffs.

“Only I’m not going to be the one to kill him.  I think I’ll leave that to you.”  Tommy smiled viciously as he flicked the needle.  Next his hand wrapped around Johnny’s throat and began suffocating him.  “We all know how much you hate Jack for threatening your girl, and we all know how violent you get when you’re angry.    So, it wouldn’t be such a surprise if you went crazy seeing your girl done over, and you just happened to kill Jack…”

Johnny choked under the pressure, and his struggling began to cease from lack of oxygen.  A burning sensation went up his arm as the syringe was pressed into his skin, making him hiss in pain.  ‘No…’

“…Now would it?”  Tommy yanked the needle out after depositing all of the injection into the actor’s blood stream.  He chuckled as he hid the syringe away and unwrapped the band from Johnny’s arm.  “The best part of it all: none of it would lead back to me.  This way, I get the money, I get the gang back, and I still have their trust.  You know how much we despise backstabbers.”  Tommy smiled smugly before walking over to the cabinet to fix a drink.  He offered one for Johnny, but the actor cut him off.

“I must commend you.  It’s a beautiful plan.  Just as fucking beautiful as your face, Frankenstein.”  Johnny grinned slightly.  “Speaking of which, what did happen to your face?  You get burned by one of your hired flamers?”

The glass shattered against the wall and suddenly Johnny was breathless with the kicks he took in the stomach.  He tried to roll away, but was restricted by his cuffed wrists.  The actor could do nothing more but sit and bear it.  His vision was beginning to black out when his head was yanked up and Tommy’s face fuzzed in and out of the swarming darkness.

“You are so fucking expendable, JC,” the scarred man sneered.  “It’s only out of my good patience that you’re still alive.  But don’t worry, that won’t last for long.”  Tommy reached around and undid the cuffs.  Johnny wanted to pounce him but was too dizzy, and suddenly so tired.  The drug was kicking in.  “Rex!”  The door opened.  Johnny could see a shadow crossing the floor.  “Get him up.”

The world around was beginning to shift.  When Johnny was hauled to his feet, he was overcome by a sudden wave of nausea and tried to grip his stomach.  The two henchmen wouldn’t allow it.  They dragged his staggering form down the hall to another room.  It felt like hours to get there, but it was only a few steps.  Johnny knew he was drifting away, and he tried to fight it, but the euphoria was coming back, and he was so tempted to just sink away… 

He shook his head violently, throwing himself and his captors off balance, but things cleared up ever so slightly.  The next thing Johnny knew, he was in the new room.  The light fixture swayed back and forth across the ceiling, casting a changing light over the room.  As soon as Johnny inhaled, he was dizzy again with nausea.  Sweat hit first, followed by the pneumonia scent of urine.  A stale taste of sex hovered in the air as well, making a concoction of frightening reality the deeds that took place here.  Johnny’s eyes finally adjusted to the low light of the room as images became more than shadows. 

There was a bed.  There was a shape beneath the sheets.  There were discolorations all over.  Strips of cloth were bound tightly around the posts.  Patches of white were barely discernable among the deep rouge.  Blood rolled across the floor and swam down the walls.  They began to take shapes, oh God, the horrid shapes of screaming women and rapists going after them.  The men were hitting the women so hard, and the blood continued to gush until Johnny was choking, was drowning, was dying…

Johnny heard a gunshot and his body jolted against the wall.  He pulled his hands toward his pounding heart to feel for the blood from the wound, but found he couldn’t move his arms.  Above him, his wrists lay locked in handcuffs.  The gunshot he heard was the click of the cuffs closing.  This revelation didn’t slow his heart, or the sudden perspiration that was making his body slick.  Something smacked his face, and a three-headed Tommy was swaying in front of him.

“It’s gonna be real entertaining to watch, JC.  After sixteen fucking years, Jack’s finally got his man.”  Tommy leaned closer to whisper right in the actor’s ear.  “Or at least, that’s what he thinks.”  Tommy slapped Johnny’s face in a gesture that could almost be described as friendly.  And with that, he walked out.

But Johnny couldn’t tell where he went.  Doors were opening and closing everywhere, and shapes were dancing in front of his eyes.  Moving like a strobe light, a figure walked across the room, right up to him, right through him.  Johnny started laughing.  He stopped abruptly.  Something reached his ears.  Why was he here again?  He didn’t want to ride the pony.  Another bark of laughter, and tears were streaming down his face. 

His head tilted back against the wall, and he looked around the room again.  Someone was watching him.  His heart raced.  Didn’t he know her?  The pretty girl couldn’t speak.  Something was in her mouth.  He liked her hair.  She had red hair, and then it became green, black, and went back to red.  Red suited her pretty face.  Why was she crying?  She looked so close but she sounded so far away. 

Johnny’s heart began to race again.  She was drifting away!  ‘No, don’t go!’  She was becoming distorted.  What was she saying?

…No, Johnny…

Her hair was changing again.  Johnny wished his hair could do that.  Oh, blonde was pretty.  Wait… blonde and red, that’s odd.  His stomach lurched and he pitched forward with dry heaves.  ‘Sonya…’

A distant bang.  A muffled cry.  A sick laugh.

“Oh, look at the little boy all upset for his girl.”

A giant tulip was talking to him.

“Tommy beat you up?  You mentioned his face.  He’s still mad at you about that.”

‘Don’t touch fire to see if it’s hot.’

“You know what happened right?  The fire at the bar?  All those years ago when you got free?”

‘I like flames.  Flames burn.  That’s hot.’

“Tommy took too long to get out.”

‘That’s what condoms are for.’

“But enough of that.  The past is done.  Let’s worry about the present.  The account.  Number.  Password.  Transfer.  Got it?”

‘Got milk.’

“Call and demand a transfer.” 

Something was shoved in Johnny’s face.  He shook his head violently from left to right, making him more nauseous and more dizzy and the colors more free falling.  He didn’t want sardines, stop making him eat the fucking sardines!

“No?!”

‘No!  Ow.’  The tulip smacked him with a heavy leaf.  Johnny almost started laughing.  It was so great; he didn’t feel anything.  He had no awareness of pain. 

“Fine.” 

Johnny’s darkening eyes grew.  The tulip was Jack.  ‘Hey, neat trick.  Where’s he flying off to?  Ooh, he’s flying.  No, wait.  Touching her?  Pretty red head, don’t touch the hair.  Pretty red head?  Charlie Brown liked the pretty red head.  Snoopy.  Snoooopy.’

Johnny cowered into the wall.  ‘Stop screaming!  Stop making her scream! ‘ Johnny didn’t like screaming.  Screaming scared him.  She was always screaming, and it scared him. 

No, dear God, Johnny! 

‘No, what?’

…No, please don’t… please, Johnny, no more…

‘I can’t.  I can’t stop.  God, why won’t she stop screaming!’

Johnny watched helplessly as he ripped her clothes, he pinned her down, he made her bleed.  Tears streamed from his eyes.  ‘Please make him stop hurting her!’

Johnny’s muscles convulsed and clenched, and he couldn’t breath.  He jumped with every new scream, and his eyes focused through the flowers and the bees and the falling stars to see that beautiful woman being ravaged by that hate filled man.  He was powerless to stop it.  Why couldn’t he stop it?  Why couldn’t he save her?

‘Christine…  Christine!’

Christine?  ‘Sonya.’  His Sonya.  Jack was hurting his Sonya.

But that’s not what he was seeing.  Sonya was gone.  She disappeared into the beautiful redheaded prostitute.  The black walls became the fire-engine brick.  The new mattress rotted into a lumpy decrepit piece of haggard furniture. 

And he was hurting her again.  Christ the blood.  The screams.  That hideous laughter.  Her tears dripped from her swollen eyes; the blood oozed from her chaffed wrists.  Just like the blood that rolled down his arms and into the floor.  Their mixed pains, their collided fears.

And Johnny was powerless to stop him.

‘What?’

Johnny jolted against the wall.  ‘No…’

Christine begged for help.  Begged him to stop.

Begged him to stop him.

Sonya screamed.  Christine screamed. 

…No, please don’t … please, Johnny, no more…

            …No, please don’t … please, Tommy, no more…

            A surge ran through Johnny’s shivering body, his breaths became pants of dawning horror.

            No, dear God, Johnny!

No, dear God, Tommy!

‘…Or at least, that’s what he thinks…’

‘… After sixteen fucking years, Jack’s finally got his man… or at least, that’s what he thinks…’ 

…He was in the alley, he kissed Christine.  She went downstairs.  He went downstairs.  He was being carried?   The red room.  Christine, bed.  Him, bed.  No, him, wall.  Wall?  Vince and Anty.  What are they doing?  No, not the handcuffs again!

…No, please don’t … please, Tommy, no more…

“Christine!”

Johnny went stiff.  ‘Tommy…’

“Christine!”

After sixteen years of the guilt… of the hate… of the self loathing…  And now that he knew the truth, he couldn’t get out of it.  Tommy kept raping her, kept hurting her, kept making her scream.  Johnny couldn’t handle it.  He had to stop him.  This time he would stop him.  This time he wouldn’t get free.  With a vicious scream, Johnny pulled himself from the wall, pulled himself out of the cuffs that weren’t shut properly, and charged the young boy that killed Christine.

His steps were faulty by his mind determined, and oh, he could taste the blood.  It was sweet and cold and so fulfilling.  It was the only thing on his mind when he crashed into the man on the bed and sent him in a mass of limbs to the floor.

“What the fuck!”

“Kill you!  Tommy--bastard!”

Jack’s face twisted in surprise.  He pulled his arms in front of his face to block the blows, but they kept coming, along with the accusations that Jack couldn’t understand.

“Set up—damn chain—raped her!”

Jack was able to knock the enraged actor from him and seized his wrists in an attempt to stop the punching.  They struggled viciously on the floor.

“You killed her!  Raped, beat her!  Not me!”

“Liar!” Jack snarled.  “Tommy tried to keep you from running!  He found you right when she died, and he stopped you!”

“No, you never left!” Johnny slurred back, still convinced it was Tommy he was fighting.  “I remember!  Anty!  Vince!  Dragged me down… chained to the wall!  You were there!”

“No!”

“I never touch—never touched--her!”

“Yes you did!” Jack screamed back.  “You were covered--!”  He paused.  His face scrunched slightly.  Wait—

 

 

Nick and Hank were making some dirty jokes while Sean stumbled around the alley, threatening to drop the pack of beer every time he took a step.  Jack was simply quiet.  Chris wasn’t at her corner, and he didn’t like that.  He expected her there, just like every other night.  Of course, she may have had a job and would stop by later, but it still didn’t settle the jealousy and the anger.  When they walked into the hideout, Anty and Vince were leaning against the bar, their heads down and faces somber.  Matt and Drake looked dead on the floor.  Tommy was leaning against the door to the red room, tension obvious in his body.  Jack’s quick eyes perceived Tommy’s different shirt, and the knuckles on his one hand were scuffed and bloody.  He turned to face the leader.  Taut and pale was his face, but his eyes burned with fury.

“Jack… something’s happened…”

 

 

“You were the best, JC, and then you betrayed me!  You fucking betrayed me!  You are a dead man.  You are a fucking dead man!  Nobody messes with my fucking property!!”  Jack raised his bat to hit him again, but something heavy crashed to the floor in the other room.  Jesus Christ, now what?  He quickly turned and marched out of the red room.  He was not pleased with what he saw.  The poker table was knocked to the floor, chips and cards having flown everywhere, and Drake was lying curled on his side, holding his bloody nose.  “What the fuck is going on out here?!”

Anty, who held the fist he had used to hit Drake, nodded at the injured boy.  “They’re making up lies.  The drugs are getting to them.”

“No, you were here, damn it!  We saw you!”

“Shut up!” Vince screamed and pulled a gun on Matt.  “Just shut the fuck up!”

Tommy grabbed Vince and started wrestling him.  “Drop it!  Drop it!”

“Goddamn it!”  Jack grabbed Matt to keep him from going after Vince.  “Everyone stop!  Just fucking stop!”  They listened, and aside from some heavy breathing, everyone was cool.  “Now what the hell is this about?”

“They were here, Jack, we saw’em,” Drake groaned as he got up.

“Shut up, Drake, you don’t know what you’re saying,” Anty snapped.

“You dragged her down here!” Matt countered.

“The drugs are mixing you up again, Matt,” replied Tommy in a controlled tone.  “Jack, believe me, when we got back, she was already dead.  These guys were passed out, they’re making shit up…”

 

 

The argument.  The fight that distracted Jack long enough for Johnny to get out.  Matt and Drake were saying that Tommy Vince and Anty were in hideout the whole time Johnny was there with Christine.  But it didn’t make sense.  If they were there, they would have stopped Johnny. 

Right?

Tommy said him, Vince, and Anty, had found Johnny after she was dead.  Said that they had stopped him before he could get away.  So they wouldn’t have been in the hideout.  They should have stayed there until Jack returned, but if they went out for a smoke, then sure.  But Jack was only gone for a short time.  Christine must have come by just after he left.  How could they have not seen her, or her with Johnny?  There was such a short time frame, where could that have gone that made the them all miss spotting each other…

Jack inhaled sharply.  He had looked at Christine and went into a rage.  His eyes shifted to Johnny and he went at him with hurricane force.  But there was something odd, and he didn’t pick it up until now. 

Johnny was clean.  Jack saw in his mind the blue-eyed boy cuffed to the wall, just before Jack went at him, and he saw no blood.  Not a drop.  Nothing.

Tommy… his knuckles were scuffed and bleeding…

“I missed it,” Jack muttered.  “I was so angry… I missed it.”  His eyes went cold.  “That son of a bitch…”

Jack always knew Tommy hated JC.  He never bothered to hide it.  Used to complain Jack was getting too close with the younger boy, and leaving him high and dry.  Jack suddenly understood.  Tommy framed JC so Jack would kill him.  Tommy killed her.  Jack was going to kill the wrong guy.

“JC, let me up.”

“Fuck you!  You die!  Now!”

“No!  I’m not Tommy!”  But the actor wouldn’t listen.  He untangled his arms from Jack’s grip and wrapped his hands firmly around Jack’s throat.  The pressure increased, his vision rippled in colors of black and red and white, until he brought his knee up into Johnny’s stomach.

The movie star, already having acute nausea, was instantly doubled over as the pain in his stomach increased.   He moaned into the floor when Jack rolled him off, and he gripped at his pounding head.  So sick, he felt so sick.  And suddenly, his anger was gone.  All he wanted to do was sleep.

Where was he again?

He looked up at the figure standing over him.  It had bright red eyes and four arms and long black hair.  Johnny’s heart raced in fear at the knowledge that Goro was going to kill him.  He blinked.  Goro was gone.  Jack was staring at him.  The leader’s eyes became slits, and with clenched fists and taut muscles, Jack walked out of the room.

It became strangely quiet.  Even Christine was without sound.  There were no screams.  The demons disappeared.  Johnny felt himself relax.  Floating.  He was floating.  ‘Ooh, how nice.’  He twitched.  ‘Who’s there?’

“Johnny…”

His head rolled back on his neck.  With jerky movements his eyes observed the room.  It was circular.  Wasn’t it square?

“Johnny?”

His eyes looked for the sniffling.  They were hiding under the sheets.  The sniffles.  Evil, evil dust bunnies.  Over the lumps of their furry bodies, Johnny looked at the pale form painted red.  Such pretty red hair.  Why does she have red hair?

“Johnny!”

“Son…ya?”  Dragging himself to his knees, he crawled over to the bed.  “Sonya?”

“Johnny, oh God, what did they do to you?”

He ran his fingers through her red hair, red hair?  Blood.  Her hair was dripping with blood.  It ran down her face and neck.  It stained into the pillows.  Even in Johnny’s drug induced state, he could see how much blood was gone from her.  Was it all hers?  His fingers fluttered from her hair and moved up her arms to the strips of stained white bound around her wrists.  It took many minutes of struggling, but Johnny finally undid the bands. 

As soon as she was free, Sonya flew up into his arms.  Though he felt disorientated, he felt like she was miles away from him, he reached his arms out and pulled her closer.  Bugs crawled over his arms and around his face, and though he tried to swat them away, they came back.

“Johnny… what happened to you?  Oh, God, there’s so many cuts.”  She pulled his head up to look him in the eyes, and she noticed he was sweating profusely.  His body was hot to the touch, and his eyes were jerking rapidly from side to side.  “They drugged you.”

Johnny nodded slowly, so slowly, because everything was slowing down.  “Ang…angel dust.”

Her eyes grew large under her purple bruises, and then she nodded.  Her mouth went tightlipped and she was already undoing the ties at her feet.  With a small bounce she was off the bed and pulling Johnny to his feet.  “All right, Cage.  Let’s get the hell out of here.”

‘No.  Weak.’  But Johnny couldn’t say it.  He shuffled the few paces to the door and began to pitch forward.  He had no balance.  He had no strength to stand on his own.  Sleep, that was all he wanted.  Sonya’s arms wrapped around him and he could make out her heavy breathing as she supported him, though she herself wasn’t in much better shape.  They stepped through the doorway and down the hall that was surprisingly clear. 

“No… too far…” Johnny gasped.  The hallway stretched on for miles.  There was no way they could get out of here.  “Won’t make it.”

“Like hell we won’t.”

Gunshots echoed off the walls, making Johnny shout at the sudden explosions.  He tried to pull Sonya to the floor, tried to tell her they were being shot at, but she continued walking.  They passed a room with the door partially open.  Blood oozed under the crack, and three dead bodies lay inside, all shot. 

Johnny stumbled, nearly taking them both down.  Sonya grunted and lifted him back to his feet.  Her arm tightened around his waist.  “Stay with me, Johnny.”  They reached the stairwell without mishap, and somehow made it up.  The music of the club blared behind the doors where the bouncers stood stoically, and Sonya knew that if they could just make it past those doors, they’d be all right.  She remembered that when she was first brought inside.  It was just getting past the doors…

She tensed. 

“This… isn’t… over…”

She looked past the gun barrel to the mangled face of the man who had jumped her in the alley.  He had multiple lacerations on his face and neck, blood dripped into a spreading pool at his feet.  Yet his teeth still glistened a bright white in the pale light of the room.  A vicious smile greeted the lieutenant and actor.  The gun waved back toward the basement. 

“Back… downstairs,” he panted lightly.  “And we’ll… discuss the final… exchange.”

Sonya knew they’d be killed, but attempted escape was futile.  Both were too weak.  Her pride wouldn’t accept that, though.  With a sudden snap kick, she knocked the scarred gang members arm up into the air, moving the gun away from them for just a moment.  She let go of Johnny, who collapsed to the floor without the support, and spun into a swinging backfist that knocked her kidnapper right into the door leading out to the club.  But she couldn’t get the gun out of his hand, and he was suddenly aiming for her heart; two bullets exploded with a terrible crack and she jumped as they lodged themselves into her chest.

Only she wasn’t hit.  But her attacker was.  He sank to the ground, dead before he hit the floor from the bullet to the head.  The other bullet was gouged into the wall.  In a moment the door was flung open and the bouncers entered, armed and angry.

“Jack?!” 

Sonya turned to the body crawling across the floor.  Her face turned in anger at the man who tried to rape, who almost achieved it, but she noticed the smoking gun in his hand. 

“Let these… two out.  They… are with me.”  Jack smiled painfully at Sonya.  “Sorry… for it all.”  His head lowered to the floor, and he didn’t move again.

“What the fuck?!  What the hell happened here?!” one of the bouncers yelled at Sonya. 

She completely ignored him, instead focusing on getting her companion to his feet.  “Johnny, get up, we have to go.”  She moved him onto his back and placed her one hand under his neck while the other rested on his chest as she tried to regain his focus on her.  “Johnny!”  It took her a moment to realize something was wrong with her hand; it wasn’t moving with his chest.  Her fingers moved and pressed into his neck.  They flew to her mouth as it fell in a silent cry.

He had no pulse.  His heart had stopped.

Johnny Cage was dead.