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Alley Cat

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Running in wedges (or heels for that matter) was difficult but more taxing when someone was chasing you or you were the one chasing. In this instance, Courtney was doing the chasing. Her brown eyes locked on the man running from her. He cackled as he put the distance between them. He looked over his shoulder and grinned. He held up his Nikon camera and took a picture.

“Get back here!” She yelled

“Oh, man! Just wait until everyone sees these!” He threatened.

Courtney’s brown eyes flared with furry. She couldn’t believe how stupid she was. How could she let this happen? Courtney was always careful especially the public’s eye! That was why she had to catch up to this snake and steal that camera back or else the whole internet would see! She had a reputation to maintain! Lord knows what would happen if her father saw those pictures! She was going to wrap her hands around his scrawny neck and choke him to death.

“Give those back! I did not consent to those!” She snarled.

“These pictures say otherwise, sweetheart!” He dipped into the nearby alleyway.

Courtney cursed and followed him. This wasn’t smart. Not one bit. This is how people were robbed, beaten, and raped but at that moment she just didn’t care. Her focus and determination were too high.

She followed down the alleyway, turning every corner, zigzagging to and fro, this way and that. She just couldn’t lose him. She couldn’t let him out of her sight, However, after too many twists and turns she found she lost him and was in fact lost herself.

“No no no no no!!!” She whirled around trying to find any trace of the bastard.

She ran back and turned to see if maybe he climbed up one of the fire escapes. Nothing. He was nowhere to be found.

“This can’t be happening! Not to me!” She began panicking. She desperately searched around for any sign of him. She swore she saw him run down another path and smirked. “There you are! Just wait until I get my hands on you!!”

She pursued in that direction but realized too late she reached a dead end.

Or so she thought.

She screamed and fell through it. 

“Whoa, what the fuck?!”

“What the-??”

“Holy shit!”

She’d fallen through a painted tarp over a chain linked fence. Apparently, the impact of her body and speed caused it to fall and reveal its secret. She coughed from the dust rising around her and again at the smell of smoke. Courtney glanced up and observed her new surroundings.

She felt like she was in the Wizard of Oz. She’d just traveled through the drab alley way and into a colorful new world. The real dead end had colorful graffiti tagged on the brick walls with several vibrant yet gruesome skull designs. The abandoned buildings towering above were also colorful and reminded her of a Day of the Dead theme. The first five floors were filled with occupants smoking or gazing at the activity below. Anything above were boarded up. There were green banners with a particular skull design: A skull with a dagger in its eye and a tongue sticking out. Plenty of colorful drapery and stringed lights awning to and fro different buildings like something that belonged in a bazaar. Multiple couches leaned against the buildings filled with people dressed like bikers or punk rockers. Each with green bandanas on their hair or arms. Some smoked while others drank. There were also people leaned up against the walls smoking. Others were engaged in activities like basketball or drinking at a kegerator bar.

It took her less than a second to realize she just found the secret hideout of one of the city’s most notorious gangs, the Killer Skullz.

The moment she fell through all eyes were on her.

“Whoa-hoh, what have we here?”

The brunette picked herself off the floor. Her attention on the group of men ogling her. Everyone knew the reputation of the Killer Skullz. Coming face to face was bad enough but stumbling into the hive nest was, well, the outcome would either end in the hospital or buried in the ground. 

“Looks like a little kitten has found her way into our alley.” One of the nearby thugs said.

Another pulled out his pocketknife as he drew near. “Baby, you just made a grave mistake.”

“Aw c’mon man, what a waste that’ll be.”

“She's a pretty little thing.” One reached out to touch her.

 “Don’t touch me!” she snapped

Another snickered “Ooh feisty~”

“She got an ass for days.”

“Yeah, why don’t we just take her to the bedroom and have some fun with her?”

Courtney refused to show the terror bubbling within. These guys were sadists. They loved seeing the fear of their victim. She wouldn’t be one of them. She refused to be. She took a deep breath to calm herself. If she wanted to get out of this alive, she needed to keep her cool. Then she would go home and call the cops. She’d be all over the news! Courtney Van Der Graaf found notorious gang hideout and arrested them all! However, if those pictures leaked it would tarnish anything she would be glorified for.

One thing at a time.

“Look, I’m not trespassing. I stumbled into your hideout by accident.” She gestured towards the tarp and fallen fence. “I was looking for someone and I thought he went this way.”

“Is that so?”

“You expect us to believe you?”

“Yeah, no one just ‘accidentally’ finds our hideout.”

“It’s the truth!” Courtney insisted.

The men started inching closer. This wasn’t good. Her heart was beating in her chest. Her body was itching to tremble, but she fought for self-control. However, her anger was growing the more she insisted on the truth and the drew near.

“Get away from me!” She snarled. She quickly reached into her pocket and pulled out her pepper spray. “I found your dumb little hideout by mistake. I’ll spray you if you get any closer to me!”

They laughed at her. “You don’t have enough spray for all of us, baby. We greatly outnumber you.”

“Whoa whoa, easy there, guys.” A voice called from above. “Is this how the Killer Skullz act around a chick?”

The gang and Courtney turned their attention to a man sitting on the shingles of the second-floor awning.

He sat with one leg dangling from the roof with the other bent to his chest. His right arm rested on his knee and the other held a cigarette to his lips. His skin was a warm ivory color. His face an oval shape with low cheekbones. He had a snub nose with a piercing in his left nostril. His eyes were blue. She noticed his left eyebrow was also pierced as were his ears. His hair was black but styled in a green mohawk. He had stubble along his jaw and a soul patch under his thin lips. He had a black spiked collar on his neck and wore a black shirt with a skull. He had a long white undershirt underneath and a black wrist band on his right wrist. He wore baggy shorts with red high-top converse.

The young man brought his cigarette to his lips and glared at them. “Last I checked we weren’t rapists. That better be how this gang still runs.”

“It is, Boss!”

“We weren’t really planning on doing nothing to her.”

“Just trying to spook her.”

“Better be.” He warned them then turned his attention to Courtney.

 His dangerous glare faltered into an observant gaze.

After a moment of lingering he realized something. “Hey, wait a second. You’re that super rich guy’s daughter. Yeah, the perfect little priss. Does charity and all that volunteer shit.” He smirked and leaned back against the wall. “I bet your daddy would pay handsomely for your safe return, huh?”

Courtney glared at him. “So, you’re of a pig just like your lackies.”

The leader laughed. “Money, makes the world go round, Princess.”

She scoffed. “Don’t call me that.”

“It suits you.” He leaned forward then made a gesture to his people.

A few of the gang members grabbed Courtney’s arm and forced her to move closer towards the boss. She fought them and demanded they let her go.

“Easy guys, don’t want to bruise the merchandise.” The leader chuckled.

Courtney glared spitefully at him. She struggled and threatened them as they brought her just underneath their leader. The green haired man grinned as he looked down at her. Courtney was glad her shirt was buttoned up so he wouldn’t be able to see down her shirt like he was trying to do.

“I’m not an object for you to sell and I won’t let you use me as a ransom!” Courtney kicked the men still holding on to her with her wedges then slammed her fists into their face. The men who came to aid their fellows were sprayed in the face with her pepper spray.

Courtney froze when the leader started laughing. She stared in wonder. She expected the big bad leader to be furious and demand they tie her up or some other barbaric method. But no, he just laughed then wiped an invisible tear when he calmed down.

“Oh man that’s hilarious! You’re feisty. I like that.” He smirked flirtatiously at her.

She scowled in disgust.

He brought his cigarette to his lips and inhaled. He glanced at his members.

 “Hey, can we get some privacy here?”

“What if she runs?”

“Where is she gonna run?” the leader retorted.

Slowly they recoiled away from her. The victims of Courtney’s wrath were escorted into one of the building. The others went back to their activities but kept an eye on her; ready to pounce if she tried to escape.

Courtney relaxed an itsy bit. At least it seemed their leader wasn’t a complete Neanderthal like the rest of them. Maybe she could reason with him to let her go. If she played her cards exactly right, he would let her go...then she would call the cops.

He smirked. “So, what’s your name, Princess?” 

“Courtney Van Der Graaf.” She crossed her arms and stuck out her hip. She continued to scoff at him. “I assume a barbarian like you has one?”

He grinned. “Duncan, leader of the Killer Skullz.”

“Yes, I’m aware of that.” She rolled her eyes. He was just trying to show off his feathers.

He nodded towards the painted tarp. “So, what the fuck happened there, Princess? How’d you find our hideout?”

She pinched her nose at the name. “Why bother asking my name if you’re just going to call me that?”

“Princess suits you better” he smirked.

She rolled her eyes. “That is my business.”

He leaned back. “Guess you and I are gonna have a sleepover then. I’m not letting you go until you tell me the truth.”

“My father will search for me!”

“And he won’t find you. You know how long the cops have been looking for our hideout? Years, Princess, years, and they’ve never found this place. You’re the first.” He took a drag of his cigarette then flicked it. “If you want any chance to leave then work with me. I just want to know how you found this place and maybe we can arrange for you to return to your mansion.”

“If I’m going to discuss anything with you then at least show some human decency and meet me at eye level.”

“I like the view up here.” He winked at her.

She flushed. 

Duncan laughed. He scooted off the edge of the roof and jumped down in front of her. He smirked and stood proudly.

“What? Don’t you have stairs?” she retorted

Now that he was close to her she saw see his eyes weren’t blue. They were in fact teal. They were actually really pretty. Like a lost gem of the ocean. Probably the only appealing thing about him.

Duncan ignored her question. “C’mon, we can talk privately.” He walked over to the nearby door and opened it for her.

Courtney was hesitant to enter. Duncan noticed and threw her a look.

“I’m not gonna do anything, Princess. We’re just gonna talk. Nothing more. Unless you wanna.” He wiggled his brows.

“Absolutely not!” She screeched, appalled.

Duncan shrugged with a knowing smile. He gestured to the door.

Courtney bit her lip. Uncertain about entering but something inside her told her this gang leader was trustworthy. That was a strange feeling. Trust a gang leader? Not just any gang leader; the leader of the Killer Skullz. They murdered people who just look at them. How could she feel trust towards their leader? Not like she had much of a choice at the matter. She heeded the feeling and follow him inside the building.

The inside was surprisingly decent. She expected it to be abandoned inside but it wasn’t completely. The leader had a mismatched couch and armchair centered around an average TV. A bookshelf with about ten books and a bunch of Knick knacks. The wooden tables were different color varieties with more clutter about them. None of it matched but it seemed to be in decent condition. However, the carpet was soiled with liquids she didn’t want to know, and the walls were cracking and stained with graffiti spewed all over. It was unappealing.

Duncan moved towards the faded green armchair and sat down. He gestured to the faded purple couch. 

“I think I’ll stand, thank you very much.” Who knew what vermin made this furniture their home? 

“Suit yourself.” He shrugged. 

“You don’t actually live here do you?” She asked, distastefully. 

“Not all of us have fancy mansions to go home to.” He reached into the mini fridge nearby and pulled out a beer. He held another up to her, offering the drink, but she shook her head. He leaned back in the chair and gave her his undivided attention. “Alright Princess, shoot.”

Courtney sighed. “Look, Duncan, was it? I wasn’t trying to trespass on your alley or anything. Some guy took pictures of me and I was trying to get them back. I lost him in that maze of an alley and fell through your hideout. That’s how I ended up here.” 

She spoke calmly. Trying not to show her irritation. After all, Duncan was just trying to understand the situation and although he was a pig earlier at least he was trying to be civil now. 

“Did he take a naughty picture of you, Princess?” Duncan smirked. “Something you don’t want daddy to see?”

Or not. 

“Ugh! You’re a pig!”

“Hey, I’m just trying to get more information here.” He feigned innocence. 

“It’s none of your business!”

“So, it is naughty. Prissy girls are always into kinky stuff.”

She threw her hands up. “You’re unbelievable!” She stomped towards the exit. 

“I bet you’d love to get those photos back.”

She stopped and turned to see his smug face. She wanted to slap it off so badly, but his offer had her attention. 

“Do you know who he is?” She narrowed her eyes accusingly. “He was one of your gang members, wasn’t he?!”

“No. My guys don’t do that shit to girls.”

Courtney scoffed and folded her arms. “Yeah, you might want to check that out for yourself.”

“Leave the gang business to me, Princess.”

She rolled her eyes. 

Duncan chuckled at her reaction. He took a sip of his beer then leaned forward to look at her. “Tell you what, Princess. I’ll make you a deal: Give me a detailed description of the guy and I’ll find him before he uploads anything. Guaranteed.”

She arched a brow and looked at him skeptically. “And what do you want in return? Money? Drugs? A fancy car?”

Duncan laughed. He held up one finger. “One, you don’t tell anyone where we are. And two-” a flirtatious smirk. “- a date.”

She blinked at him. Not sure she heard correctly but that stupid smug face made her own curl in disgust. “A date? You want a date instead of money or drugs?”

“I can get that shit easily.” the leader shrugged. “But yeah, why not? You’re hot and have a nice ass. I’m an ass kind of guy.”

Courtney blushed. “No way! I won’t go on a date with some alley cat like you!”

“Then I guess that guy is gonna keep those naughty pictures of you.” He chuckled. “What will daddy think?”

“What makes you think you can even find him and get them?” Courtney challenged. 

“I’m the leader of the largest gang in the city. I have resources at my disposal. You give me a description of him, and I promise we will find him and get the pictures back. Simple right?”

It was simple. Too simple. 

“And all you want is a date?”

The leader nodded. “And of course, you don’t tell anyone where you found us.”

She weighed her options. She could easily go along with her previous plan. However, if these guys could actually get the pictures back then her reputation would be saved, and she wouldn’t feel her father’s wrath. But then there would be her reputation being seen someone like him...She would deal with that in time. Right now, getting the pictures back was more important than a date with the gang leader.

Courtney huffed. “Fine, Duncan, I accept your deal.”

Duncan grinned triumphantly.