Darcy woke up to the loud screeching alarm on her phone. Groaning she rolled over to turn off the offending noise. She stared up of the ceiling fan twirling round and round. Dread sat in her gut like a heavy weight, she hated this day. Today was March 21st and that meant that night would be the annual purge. A night where anyone could go out and commit crime even murdering others all in the name of saving one’s soul. It was a load of horseshit and it made Darcy sick. Darcy wished she could stay in bed all day but she knew there was no way she was going to get out of helping her mother prepare for her annual ‘Purge’ party, another thing Darcy loathed.
Darcy Lewis was born to a well to do family that benefitted from Hydra, the political party but it was much more like terrorist organization in her opinion. Her father worked for a weapons company that partnered with the unsavory organization. Her parents liked to ‘keep up with the Jones’ as they say but Darcy thought it all was ridiculous. The parties, the cars, the toys, the houses, the vacations and none of it was for the family, it was all for show. The warm and fuzzy family memories were not the Lewis’ style.
The only highlight of Darcy’s home life was her baby brother Lincoln. He was the only thing she thought her parents ever did right. Born 18 years after Darcy from one of her father’s many dalliances with other women, her parents paid the woman off for the son they always wanted. Unfortunately, the sting of betrayal caused Darcy’s mother to ignore Lincoln. Darcy chose a college nearby to be there for Lincoln no matter what. Lincoln was the only reason Darcy stayed near her parents.
After going to college Darcy had her eyes opened to the real horrors of the purge and the new founding fathers of Hydra. She was disgusted with her parents and her friends she’d grown up with, celebrating the purge like it was something good. It was a night where the rich were protected while the poor suffered. Darcy wished she could be brave and stand up for what she believed in but every time she said anything, her mother would scold her for having such unappreciative thoughts, threatening to cut her off. Darcy didn’t care about the money but she couldn’t be cut off from her brother. She didn’t want to lose Lincoln to their parent’s life either. She wanted to protect him, so she would endure her mother’s passive aggressive comments and her father’s indifference to stay with Lincoln.
Darcy dressed quickly in jeans and a slouchy sweater that she knew her mother hated, then headed down the hall to wake up Lincoln.
“Wakey wakey sleepy head.” Darcy cooed as she sat at the foot of his bed.
Lincoln rolled away from her.
“Lin-coln.” Darcy said in a sing-song voice. “It’s time to get up.”
“Noooo.” A muffled small voice came from the pillow.
“I know what can get you up…the tickle monster!” Darcy started tickling the young boy who struggled to get away but giggled happily.
“Stop Darcy! STOP!!”
“Are you going to get up?”
“YES!!” He squealed.
Darcy stopped her attack and smiled down at the blonde boy, after he calmed down, she spoke.
“Come on Lincoln get dressed we have a lot to do today.”
Darcy watched as Lincoln dragged his feet to the bathroom. She knew her family was messed up. Sometimes she even wondered if their parents loved anything other than money but she knew she’d do anything for that little boy.
The Purge party was in full swing as Darcy strolled through the extravagant home. She’d had to listen to her mother bitch and moan all day about how this was her party but somehow their sniveling bitch of a neighbor Nancy was hosting because she convinced everyone that their new home was “a better space” for the neighborhood party. Darcy grabbed another champagne flute off of the tray of a waiter passing by. This would be her third but she planned to have many more before the night was through.
Darcy had spent almost every Purge night at some party or another like this one. Being as old as the purge Darcy never knew any different. She was always told the Purge was ‘saving the country’ and all that jazz. However, in college Darcy got her first taste of what the Purge actually was. She had gotten in with a group of other students from well to do families, much to her mother’s insistence. The horrors she witnessed, but refused to partake in, stayed with her. The attitude of the affluent on the lives of others was that those deemed lesser rarely mattered if at all. It was disgusting but realistically she knew she needed her parent’s position in society to secure safety for Lincoln and herself, despite their differing opinions.
Darcy eventually met and became best friends with a PhD student Jane Foster, an astrophysicist. Jane was consumed with her work but Darcy was the only one who could pull her from it to do normal life things. Darcy herself was not a science loving, rather she took her rage of the system and graduated with a degree in political science. Maybe she could make a difference someday. Darcy was extra sad at the party because Jane wasn’t there. But Jane was safe across an ocean in Norway visiting her incredibly muscly boyfriend Thor. As much as Darcy hated being alone at these things, she was relieved Jane was completely safe. Jane was constantly texting and checking in on Darcy making sure she was okay.
Darcy roamed the house to keep from talking and getting into arguments with other guests. They were locked in for the night. All the houses in their neighborhood were equipped the best security systems money could buy. She caught a glimpse of herself in a mirror in the hall. She was in a dress that her mom picked out, completely over the top considering the night. It was a light blue sheer short dress. Gucci. Completely ridiculous in Darcy’s opinion. Her hair and makeup had been done up big highlighting her eyes.
Darcy wandered upstairs of the huge house and stumbled into another neighborhood boy, Slade. He quickly got handsy.
“Hey there Darcy. You look nice tonight.”
“Thanks Slade.” Darcy said as she tried to remove his hands from her waist.
“Want to find a room and celebrate together?” He said staring right at her breasts.
“No Slade, I think you’ve had too much to drink.”
“You can’t say no to me. You’re asking for it with this little number.” He breathed on her neck.
“Get off of me!” Darcy pushed the bigger but drunker guy off of her and threw her champagne in his face. She wished she kept her taser with her. “Come near me again and I’ll make you regret it.”
Darcy stormed her way back downstairs. Douche bag, she thought.
She mindlessly walked through the different rooms. Most of the men were gathered watching the Purge news. The women were in the sitting room gossiping about God knows what. Darcy was caught up in her thoughts when she heard a loud boom. After a moment to grab her bearings she heard pops followed by screams. Only one thought entered her head after that. Lincoln.
Darcy ran to the play room where most of the younger kids were hanging out.
Darcy spotted Lincoln’s blonde head and scooped him up, when the lights went out. Several of the other kids began to cry.
“Shhhhh everyone quiet and hide now.” Darcy urged all of the kids.
“D-Darcy what is happening.” Lincoln asked, shaking in her arms.
“I don’t know but we’ll be okay. Just stay quiet. Okay buddy?” She felt his head nod yes against her neck.
Darcy held Lincoln even tighter as she tried to think of what to do. She hoped whoever it was out there would just leave, but as the pops got closer to that part of the house Darcy realized that was a dream. She set down Lincoln and knelt down in front of him.
“Everything is going to be okay buddy, alright?” She whispered.
“Where’s mom and dad?”
“I-I don’t know but I need you to hide for me okay and don’t come out until I tell you to.”
“I’m scared Darcy.” Lincoln choked on her name.
“I know. Me too but I won’t let anything happen to you okay? Now go hide in the closet.”
Darcy shut the closet door behind him and searched around the room for anything to use when she saw a baseball bat in the corner. She raised the bat and waited.
As footsteps approached Darcy started to shake. Then she heard voices.
“Fuck Hydra! Fuck the founding fathers! And fuck the motherfucking Purge!!”
These were people protesting the Purge by purging the rich?? That certainly made a statement. Deep down Darcy knew she should be worried about her parents but she only had one thing in mind and that was keeping Lincoln safe. Hope blossomed in her chest thinking if these guys were against the Purge that they would be against hurting children, but before she could formulate a plan someone busting into the room and her next movements were just reflexes.
She swung the bat at the gun in the man’s hands and quickly dropped to the floor picking it up.
“Kids!! There are kids in here!!!” Darcy yelled shaking as she attempted to hold the gun up. The gun was awkward in her hands and much heavier than she expected.
It didn’t take long for the guy to recover and wrestle the gun back out of Darcy’s hands. He raised his hand to her and Darcy gasped flinching away as the other man spoke up.
Darcy held her hands up and willed herself to stand up straight even with a gun pointed at her. Darcy tried to find her voice.
“Please don’t shoot. I heard you. You’re against the Purge.” Her voice was quiet.
“Yeah but doesn’t mean we can’t take what we want tonight.” The one called Billy stepped towards her.
“Look I get it.” Darcy said in a shaky voice but she tried to sound confident.
“What the fuck do you get bitch?”
“Billy shut the fuck up and go back downstairs.” A voice called from behind him.
Darcy flinched as Billy made an aggressive move towards her again but backed off leaving the room. The other man stepped further into the room flashing a light in her face. He raised his eyebrows and waited for Darcy to continue.
“I understand why you’re doing this. The Purge targets the poor and protects the wealthy. I don’t support the Purge. My parents forced me here tonight. Please there are kids in here. Don’t hurt them. Hurting them will make you no better than those who Purge. Please. I’m begging you, leave the kids alone.”
Darcy was searching the dark to see the man’s the face for any indication that he’d leave them alone. After a moment of only hearing her heartbeat in her ears and heavy breathing the man spoke up.
“Where are the kids?”
“Are you going to hurt them?”
“No, we have a safe place. You’re right we don’t want to hurt innocent lives tonight, that isn’t the goal.”
“Promise me?” Darcy knew this man’s word meant nothing but she needed some reassurance before bringing her brother out. He nodded. She didn’t see any other choice than to trust him.
“Lincoln you can come out now.” Darcy called out softly.
She waited and spoke again.
“It’s okay, come out buddy.”
The closet door opened slowly and Lincoln peeked out the door. Slowly Lincoln stepped out followed by 5 other kids.
Darcy protectively put the kids behind her and waited.
“What’s your name?” The dark headed man asked.
“Darcy and this is my little brother Lincoln.”
“My name’s Frank. You’re safe. Nobody will hurt you now. We have a safe place to take you all. I’m sorry about the violence but it’s the only way for change right now.”
Darcy nodded her head minutely deciding to stay quiet at the moment. She’d heard of Frank Castle, went by the name of the Punisher. He punished Hydra and its followers. Darcy was surprised their party was worth an attack but her parents and their friends were more deeply connected than she originally thought.
Darcy followed the man downstairs and shielded the eyes of the kids she could to the massacre they passed. Most were crying and she did her best to calm them down but when they were the only ones put in a van, she realized the fate of the rest in the house. It appeared to be no survivors.
Darcy heart broke for the children around her but didn’t know any of them by name. She held on to Lincoln tighter as they got further into the city. Frank was sitting up front periodically looking back at them. Every so often they’d come across groups of purgers.
Darcy saw through the back windows two groups squared off on an open lot. It looked a lot like larping but the swords and axes slicing through bodies looked very real.
A man being drawn and quartered by with motorcycles.
Bodies dropping from the roof of 10 story building.
Downtown was littered with bodies strewn across the streets.
Darcy just held on tight to Lincoln hiding his eyes away. Darcy began to shake with worry on how she was supposed to protect Lincoln the rest of the night with hours to go. Let alone keep him safe the rest of his life.
They arrived at a warehouse building and were directed to a large room filled with people. There were cots lined up in sections of the room, a food line, and a medical station. Frank turned to her.
“You can take the kids over there. They’ll get you all set up. I’m sorry for the circumstances.” He looked sincere.
Darcy only nodded and herded the upset children to some cots where a couple women came over to help calm down the kids.
Darcy sat down on a cot with her arm around Lincoln. She felt eyes on her and felt even more self-conscious in the outfit her mother had picked out. Chills ran up her spine as she looked around. Lincoln nudging her side pulled her out of her trance.
“Darcy, isn’t that the lady off the tv?”
Darcy looked up to see it was the lady off the tv, Senator Pepper Potts. As much as Darcy was a fan of hers, she was still too overwhelmed with the evening to say anything. Even as the Senator spotted the group of kids. Senator Potts came over and knelt down by the children who were finally starting to calm down.
“Oh dear, where did you all come from?” The beautiful woman spoke.
Darcy didn’t speak until Senator Potts looked at her expectantly. Darcy cleared her throat to speak up.
“A man named Frank brought us here, he and a group of men attacked our neighborhood Purge party. We’re all that’s left I think.”
A man appeared behind the Senator, he had dark hair and eyes that pierced Darcy. He had on a suit with a coat. She could see blood on his white dress shirt.
“Where was this?” His voice was gruff and sent chills down her spine but not in a bad way.
“This is my bodyguard Brock Rumlow, you can trust him.” Pepper introduced the handsome man when Darcy hadn’t answered yet.
“Longwood.” Darcy finally answered his question.
The Senator’s eyes widened in recognition there were many politicians in that area. The man nodded obviously understanding the situation.
He leaned down and whispered something in her ear but she looked like she wasn’t agreeing.
Darcy found her nerve and spoke up.
“Excuse me.” The two looked at her. Darcy stood up but still held Lincoln’s hand. She spoke quietly so the children wouldn’t hear her. “I understand why you are here Senator but these men just murdered a house full of people, the parents of these children including me and my brother’s so I need to ask. Is it safe here?”
Both of them looked at her for a moment, the Senator spoke first.
“I’ve seen nothing to indicate that you would be in danger from the men running this place tonight. However, I do want you to know I don’t condone any violence no matter the message.”
Typical politician, Darcy thought.
“You and your brother keep your head down you should be alright.” The gruff voice informed her. Suddenly the chills were replaced with heat on her face from the intense look the man gave her.
He broke the eye contact after Darcy nodded to his suggestion and then walked towards a room on the far wall.
“My bodyguard Brock is the best. If he says you’ll be fine, you can believe him.” Pepper gave her a smile.
Darcy kept her eyes on the dark-haired man now across the room. She could tell that man had seen and done things. She made a mental note to know where he was at all times.
Darcy got Lincoln settled with some food and then got him to curl up on a cot for some sleep. As people came and went, Darcy got the feeling that she needed to be ready for anything. Carefully lifting Lincoln’s head off her lap, she got up and looked around for any sign of supplies. She found a couple ladies in the corner organizing bags.
“Excuse me. Do you know if there are any clothes anywhere? This isn’t really practical….” Darcy tried to joke but the two women stared at her without any kindness in their eyes.
Darcy turned to go when a young girl stopped her.
“I have some extra clothes if you need some. Follow me.”
Darcy followed the girl to a corner of the room, periodically still looking over at where Lincoln slept.
“I don’t have anything to give you unless you want this dress. This and the shoes should be able to get you several hundred dollars in resale easily.”
“It is very pretty.” The girl said shyly.
“Well then it’s yours.” Darcy tried to say with a smile.
The girl handed her plain jeans and a black t-shirt. Darcy quickly pulled the jeans on under the dress and then pulled the dress off handing it to the girl. She pulled the t-shirt on over her head. The jeans were a little tight whereas the shirt was large on her. Darcy couldn’t care less though.
“Thank you so much….” Darcy dragged on hoping she’d give her, her name.
“Thank you, Kate. I’m Darcy. I truly appreciate it.”
“I don’t have any shoes to give you.” The girl looked apologetic.
“Don’t worry this is so helpful. But I have to get back to my little brother now.”
Darcy headed back to where Lincoln laid. She caught eye of a pair of boots on the floor by a woman who was asleep. Darcy felt bad but tonight it was a free for all. She swiped the boots quietly and quickly headed over towards Lincoln. A voice startled her.
Darcy jumped and fumbled the shoes almost dropping them. She turned to see the handsome bodyguard. She couldn’t stop herself from looking him over. His name was ridiculous but his everything else was not. He was tan with dark hair, definitely Italian. He wasn’t overly tall but taller than her. Even through his jacket she could tell he was muscular. His eyes though, dark and intense seemed to pierce right through her.
“Technically I can tonight.” Darcy pointed out.
“Smart, getting those shoes.”
Darcy couldn’t quite tell if he was serious or if he was being sarcastic. His eyes kept flicking from her face to around the room. Senator Potts was sitting with some the injured, always campaigning Darcy assumed.
“Can’t run away in heels.” She shrugged.
He nodded. His eyes traced her face almost looking for something then he looked over to where Lincoln was sleeping.
“Keep your brother close. Nowhere is completely safe tonight.”
Darcy left him to go back to Lincoln. She pulled on the boots she stole. They were a little big but they were much better than the heels she’d had on.
She looked down at Lincoln’s face. She had to keep him safe. She had to. Darcy settled in with Lincoln in the corner of the room.
Darcy’s eyes drifted back over to Brock, keeping track of where he was. She watched as he went into a side room with some of Frank’s men. Darcy wanted to scold herself for having any feelings of attraction towards anyone when chaos was happening all around her but she couldn’t help it. She wanted his warm eyes to look at her again. But she remembered where she was and what was happening. She needed to focus on Lincoln and keeping him safe.
Soon the adrenaline wore off and Darcy had trouble keeping her eyes open. She had Lincoln’s head back in her lap and leaned back against the wall behind her. She told herself it would only be for a few moments but as soon as she had her eyes closed, she was out.