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sold my soul to drag you from hell

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Kimber’s shaking; Kimber’s been shaking since they found her, wrists rubbed raw by those damn shackles before those asshole had doped her up enough to keep her compliant, stop her trying to run away. There’s blood on Kyle’s knuckles, on his shirt, flecked across his cheek and broken nose; the blood’s not his, mostly , it’s Clery’s, he tells Sam, the two of them practically dragging Kimber down the mountain. 

All Sam can think about is Whitney, seeing her laying there, unable to help her, powerless, unable to do anything . She doesn’t have the time he knows it’ll take to go about this properly. She’s been there for five fucking years. He thinks he’s going to be sick. 

“We need to get out of this fucking town,” Kyle’s helping Whitney into the back of Sam’s car, buckling her seatbelt, buckling himself in beside her as Sam fishes his keys from his pocket.

“We can’t just leave those girls there,” Sam wrenches the driver’s side door open, fumbling with the keys as he glances back at the woods, “Whitney -”

“You saw her?” Eyes wide, Kyle finally looks away from Kimber to where Sam was climbing into the car, “fuck, man- fuck, I’m -” he wants to apologise, wants to say something, but Sam’s shaking his head.

“I have to go back for her.”

“Now -?”

“If we go back now, they’ll kill us,” Sam swallows hard, “but she doesn’t have a lot of time.”

“As soon as Kimber’s safe, I promise , we’ll get Whitney, Sam, I promise.” Kyle reaches out, rests a hand on Sam’s shoulder and gives a firm squeeze. 

They drive in relative silence, Kyle muttering to Kimber that she was going to be okay, keeping her upright and Kimber’s occasional, unaware groans as she lets herself bury into the instinctual safety and familiarity Kyle provided. Sam’s phone is going off in his pocket, his dad calling again and again and again, until he throws the phone out of the window on the highway already three towns over. They get a hotel room under a fake name with what little money Sam still had from his job, and they hold up for the night, barely getting any sleep between the three of them. Kimber’s coming around by the time the sun’s going down, all twitchy and sick and aching, shaking harder than either of the boys, barely speaking. 

“You need to see a doctor,” Sam murmurs, elbows on his knees where he’s sitting tense on the edge of the bed, watching Kimber devour cheap take out like she hadn’t been fed properly in days - she probably hadn’t . Kimber freezes.

“I’m not letting her out of my sight,” Kyle all but growls from where he’s sitting by her side, his own food untouched, pushed in front of her like an offering. Kimber swallows her mouthful.

“You gonna watch her piss, Kyle? You both need medical attention -”

“We’ll be fine until we reach St. Louis,” Kyle snaps, scowling as he seems to remember his own broken nose, and Kimber, still quiet, reaches out to him, her hand finding his cheek, fingertips ghosting along the bruising beneath around his eyes, never actually touching his swollen, broken nose.

“How long to St. Louis?” Her voice is rough; it’s the first thing she’s said that isn’t Kyle or Sam’s name. Immediately, Kyle’s expression softens, and he catches her hand, presses a kiss to her knuckles.

“Not long,” he assures, “we’ll be there tomorrow.” Kimber turns, eyes wide and bloodshot as she looks to Sam, as if pleading.

“One day, please, just a little further away,” and Sam acquiesce to her almost immediately, nodding and agreeing quietly. Kimber reaches out for him, and Sam’s by her side in an instant, taking her free hand. She grasps his hand tightly, pressing their linked fingers to her cheek, and her skin is so cold . She brings both Sam and Kyle’s hands down to the small hoard of food before her.

“I can’t eat this all myself,” she finally says, letting go of their hands and picking up a burger. Over her head, the boys share a concerned look; Sam grabs a milkshake and Kyle grabs a handful of fries, “do either of you have weed?” Kimber doesn’t look up from her burger. The boys share another look.

“In the truck,” Kyle says slowly, and Kimber hums thoughtfully, but doesn’t speak anymore on the subject. 

St. Louis is loud and large, so unfamiliar when compared to sleepy little Drisking, but it’s a welcome unfamiliarity. It’s easy to blend into the crowd on he street, in the waiting room of a free clinic, never letting go of each other. Sam’s mind is still on Whitney, but something eases in his chest when the Doctor gives Kimber the all clear , and sends Kyle back with a bandage and a prescription for painkillers. 

When Sam tells them he’s going back to Drisking, Kimber almost cries. He’d filled them in on Drisking’s whole sordid history as told by Jimmy Prescot, and they all knew that going back would only lead to bad things. But Sam couldn’t leave Whitney. Kimber begs him not to do it, tells him that he’ll get himself killed, but Kyle’s gaze is shallow.

“Clery’s funeral will be soon, whole town will be there,” he says knowingly, and Sam nods once in understanding, but Kimber is horrified .

What did you do ?”

“Got you out,” Kyle tells her, and Kimber swallows hard, dropping her gaze.

“How can we help you, Sam?” She asks finally, and Sam thinks for a long moment.

“Stay here, stay safe.” 

Sam buys a gun and drives back to Drisking in the same day. He stops at a gas station on the outskirts of town, only to see his and Kyle’s faces emblazoned on the front page of the paper. Wanted. He’s thankful for his sunglasses. He hides his face as best he can, and scours the obituaries; Clery’s is easy enough to find, they’ve basically canonized him. The whole town will mourn him, Sam’s dad included, at the funeral on Saturday. Three days. Enough time.

“We could stay with your dad-” Kyle suggests to Kimber when Sam gets back to let them know the plan.

“He knew,” Kimber tells him flatly, “he would have stayed and looked for me if he didn’t.”

“Everyone in our lives is fucking complicit,” Kyle’s free hand was fisting by his side, “those assholes partying up at Ambercot are gonna grow up to be just like their shitty, complicit parents; there’s no way they didn’t know about this, it makes too much sense.” And he looks sick at the very thought of it.

“Kay, did you ever find that letter from your mom?” Sam asks with the slightest of frowns, and Kimber hesitates. 

“They took me before I could read it; I don’t know where it is now,” Kimber admitted, shifting uncomfortably at it’s mere mention, “do you think she knew? That they… they sold babies and tortured, fucking enslaved these girls? Do you think that’s why…?” Neither Sam nor Kyle can answer, and Kimber’s expression crumples hopelessly. 

“Kyle,” she finally finds her voices, eyes glassy as she comes to the realisation, “ we were born in Drisking, are… are we…?”

“I don’t know, Kay,” Kyle tells her, gazing into the middle distance as he tries not to let the thoughts that plague him overwhelm him, “maybe.” And his lip curls in disgust at the implication of what their parents were complicit to. Kimber swears loudly, hollering until her voice is hoarse.

They all get haircuts, and look for a little, shitty flat, and jobs in the city, because Sam’s measly savings won’t last them long they all know. Sam suggests leaving the state after he gets Whitney, but Kimber’s voice is surprisingly strong when she tells him that there’s even less chance of them getting something done about Borrasca out of state.

“It can’t keep happening.”

“I don’t know how we’re gonna stop it,” Kyle tells her, desperate to wash his hands of the whole situation now that she’s safe.

“We tell everyone ,” Kimber tells him, “we go to the papers, to the internet, to -”

“No-one’s going to believe us, Kay,” and he sounds helpless . Kimber straightens her spine.

“They’ll believe me,” and she looks over his shoulder to where Sam is watching them both, “and Whitney,” she pauses, hesitates, “Whitney’s been there so long, it’ll be hard to ignore the evidence.” And her expression sours considerably as she considers it, “how long until you get her?”

“Tomorrow,” Sam tells her, voice resolute, “I’m going back tomorrow.”