In this very moment, nine year old Holly Hunt finds herself brooding through many school days, it has only been months since the untimely and perilous death of her parents in the fire that consumed their house from inside out. This whole time, little Holly couldn’t help but ask herself questions that only make her sick. How did that fire start? Was it just an accident? Did Daddy carelessly leave the gas on in the kitchen? Could someone have staged the fire? Did someone want to kill my parents? Or was it Daddy that meant to set the house on fire? With himself and Mommy still inside? And me? But why would Daddy wanna kill himself? Why would he even risk Mommy to burn to death? Or me, for that matter? Sure, he would leave constantly but he was a busy man and he’d always tell me how much he loved me, his little darling princess. So why would he do such a terrible thing?
Every question that Holly continues to think only makes things more troubling for her, causing her to break into tears even in class. After her parents’ death, Holly was taken into foster care, living with her Aunt Eve, Mommy’s younger sister. Eve tried making things easy for her but the young brunette girl now withdraws even further from everything and everyone, locking herself in her new bedroom.
At the age of eleven, Holly Hunt walks down a corridor in Old Town Junior High, clutching onto the straps of her backpack when a gorgeous looking girl, perhaps thirteen years old, is standing before a younger girl, slightly smaller than the blonde. The girl is standing against a wall, fearfully looking up at the tall blonde who gloats, “If I can’t have your lunch money, Jessie,” The adolescent emphasises the brunette girl’s name with mock friendliness with a hint of spite in her voice. “I’ll POUND it out of you like the merry crowds of England!”
Jessie begins to sob. Noticing the younger girl’s distress, Holly struts over towards the towering blonde. Clearing her throat loudly, she watches the blonde turn around and looks up at her face.
“What do you want, Snow White?”
Holly responds to the blonde’s smart-ass question with a violent strike to the stomach, causing the tormentor to grunt in pain. “You little bitch!” She rasps through gritted teeth before Holly pounce son her, landing a violent punch across the face, making the face bleed.
“DON’T…EVER…BULLY…ANYONE!” The doe-eyed brunette girl watches for a moment as her blue-eyed schoolmate and rescuer beats the living shit out of the blonde teenager. It takes four members of staff to tear the screaming, punching girl away from the bully, who remains whining and keeping a hand on her bloodied nose and mouth.
“GET THE FUCK OFF OF ME!!!” Holly’s scream echoes through the hallway, startling and shocking all who know her as they see a new side to this girl. Even Jessie couldn’t help but glare at Holly for her violent display, even if it might have been with the best intentions.
Later, Holly sits outside the principal’s office while her Aunt Eve listens to the principal’s account, cooperated from other people’s account of what happened. Moments later, Eve leaves the office to see her dark haired niece, bitter, violent and raging more than an hour ago and now calm, docile and bitterer. The little girl looks up at her aunt.
“Let’s hear it.” Eve says sternly. “Did you hurt that girl I just heard about, Natalie?”
Holly nods timidly. “She was tormenting Jessie, just so she could steal her lunch money.” Holly states guilt a hint of guilt in her voice. “She’s done it before and they don’t do anything about it. She had to pay. I-I was so angry…”
“So? Feeling better now?” Eve asks firmly.
Holly falls silent and looks down.
“Holly, even if Natalie has hurt people without any kind of apology or penance, it still doesn’t give you the right to beat her up. It’s just…not the way and it certainly won’t do any good.”
“No, but it’ll do ME some good!” Holly exclaims in her mind.
Soon Holly Hunt wakes up, now thirty-six years old, in a strange place. It looks like a dark alleyway. As her blue eyes look down, she realises she is now laid out in a garbage bin, her naked body slightly wrapped in a plastic packaging. “What the fuc-?”
Suddenly a gloved hand reaches down to touch Holly’s plastic wrapped body but then suddenly her arm reaches out from beneath to grab the man’s wrist tightly. Startled by Holly’s action and surprisingly infernal grip, the owner of the gloved hand gasps in shock and grunt sin pain.
Despite being amazed at how strong her grasp is, Holly remains stoic and almost as furious as she usually attempts to act whenever she’s taken captive by bad guys. “Where the hell am I? Did you wrap me up like this?”
The man, a fifty-something year old dressed like a homeless bum, stutters, “You were lying out in the gutter around 4am! You didn’t have any clothe son. I thought you were another Shrike victim. So I thought I’d do you a favor to bury you…”
The old bum trails off nervously as he notices Holly’ her hand still gripping his gloved hand, slowly and elegantly, with little to no effort at all, rising from the plastic and garbage, completely naked. Absolutely no clothes!
“Eyes up here please!” Holly exclaims demandingly, clearing her throat as she does, causing the old man to look back up at her face rather than her bare breasts. “What Shrike?” The nude reporter narrows her eyes inquisitively. “You must be new in town? The Shrike is one of the most mysterious and most dangerous criminals in this city, a prolific rapist and murderer, but nobody has ever seen the killer and lived to talk about it!”
Holly looks down at her hand holding the bum’s hand. “If I let go of your hand, no funny business?” The old man nods hesitantly. “Y-yeah. Sure. You got it.” With that, she lets go.
“Now all I need is something to dress me up until I can get back to my apartment.” Holly then sees a long brown trench coat, she grabs it and throw sit over herself, hiding her nakedness and only showing her bare feet and thighs.
“You gonna be okay?” The bum asks.
“Yeah, I think so. And by the way, if you find a new Shrike victim again, do better respect to them and call the authorities. The dead are more at home in a cemetery.” With that, Holly looks around her before quickly making a run for it, only to end up doing something she’d never thought she could do; she makes an unbelievable leap in the air from where she stood all the way to around the next corner, on her way home.
Once back in her apartment, Holly throws away the trench coat and slips into a black bra and underwear, a turtleneck sweater, a denim skirt and a pair of black boots. Feeling tired and exhausted, despite having just woken up, she collapses flat onto her bed, feeling the warm, homely comfort of it, relief that she’s back after a long and painful night at the mercy of Professor Gore and his assistant doctor Griffith Lovecraft. “What were they doing?” Holly thinks to herself. “Just what were they up to exactly, what did they do to me? And what were they doing to me while I was unconscious?” Just as Holly tries to shrug these thoughts away, something rings; she goes to the front door to find her cell phone on the welcome mat inside her apartment. Somehow one of those thugs who’ve abducted her must have taken phone to see if there was anything on it that would incriminate them and then decided to send it back to her just now. This is the only explanation that Holly can think of.
Holding the ringing phone up and seeing the name “Joel W” on the display screen, Holly presses the green button and holds the cell to her ear. “Hello?”
A male voice speaks up. “Holly’ it’s Joel. Where have you bene all day? The Guru’s been asking after you. He seems pretty pissed.”
Holly wipes her eyes. “Death in the family. Among a couple of other disasters.” She pauses for a second. “Uh huh,” Joel murmurs on the other end. “Joel, do you have anything on a certain string of sex crimes? Murders specifically?”
“This is the Shrike, right?”
“I guess so.”
“What’s this about, Holly?”
“I’ll explain later. I’ll see you in about an hour. And you can tell Bill that too.” Holly then hangs up without as much as saying goodbye.
Immediately, the brunette, statuesque reporter heads for the door, only to stop again to see a photograph of herself with Sara, the armless young woman who once helped her while she was travelling abroad.
Now, in Columbia where Holly and Sara first met and have now been taken prisoner by a gang of mercenaries, the two young women are firmly tied to posts in the mercenary camp, well Sara is secured to her pole with a large amount of rope due to her having only one arm, while Holly has her wrists around the back of the pole and tied together while her ankles are just bound together. Just outside the tent, the kidnappers sits around playing cards.
While Sara simply remains stoic, silent and as close to calm as you can possibly get, Holly struggles against her bonds, grunting with all her might, for the last five minutes she’s been doing this. “Holly, stop. It’s not worth it.”
After letting out her umpteenth grunt of defiance in bondage, Holly looks at Sara. “How can you be so calm? We’re in the camp of slavers, tied up and, at best, sold to be playthings or, at worst, mutilated and dead!”
“I am terrified. But life’s just too short to be constantly struggling all the time. Especially when you know your life can end any second.” Sara looks down both helplessly but also with a touch of wisdom as if she knows that what she says is a fact of life.
Holly shakes her head. “No…No, don’t say that. You’re young, you still have a whole life ahead.” As she says this to Sara, she continues to tug at her wrist bonds.
“Maybe I do, but then maybe I don’t. Who the hell knows?”
“I do.” Holly says boldly. “At least…I know that you have a lot to live for. You saved me when I didn’t expect anybody to do so. You must know some things about this men, you’ve kept me safe so far and all this with just one arm.”
“You’ve only known me for less than a day, Holly.”
Holly bites her lip in thought. “You know how to fight?”
“If we can get out of this, I’ll let you train me.”
Sara looks at her new friend in confusion. “What?”
“That’s why I’m here. You know how to fight. I wanna learn. I NEED to learn and I won’t leave your sight until you teach me, whether we get out of this mess or not!” Holly insistently whispers, hoping not to arouse the attention of their captors.
Sara looks to the side, biting her lip. She turns back to Holly. “Scream for help.”
“If you scream as loud as you can, they’ll come back, untie you and take you away to be put down. They’ll only bind your hands again but you’ve got to hit them and do it quick then you’ll have a chance.”
“Just do it.”
“HELP! HELP ME!!! SOMEBODY!”
Holly’s high-pitched screams startle the Columbian captors who suddenly drop their playing cards down and charge into the tent.
“HELP! SOMEBODY, ANYBODY PLEASE HELP ME!!!”
The tall, muscular merc strikes Holly across the face, causing her to scream again. Soon he shoves a long strip of cloth inbetween her lips, pulling it all around her cheeks and head, tying off the ends behind her head. “HLLP!! HMMPH!”
“There! That’ll shut you up.”
Holly chatters like mad through her cleave gag. “This won’t be enough. This one’s been struggling and moaning the whole time. We have to silence her for good!”
The chubby man cuts Holly’s wrist and ankle bonds so she can walk. “Once we’ve sliced this woman’s head off, I think we’ll see how well you can pole dance for the boys. Considering you’ve only one arm and everything…” The muscular man teases Sara, who looks at Holly.
Suddenly, with the cleave gag still in her mouth, Holly Hunt strikes the chubby man with a hard kick into his stomach before landing a violent strike to the tall captor’s face, creating a bloody scar on his cheek with her long fingernails. “AAARGH!” As the two men struggle with their physical blows, Holly removes the gag from her mouth, takes a blade and swiftly slices the ropes off Sara, freeing the one-armed girl. “Get out of here!”
Sara hesitates for a moment. “Sara, go now!”
Soon, as her new friend makes a fats run for it, the young brunette makes such a loud, violent and frantic rumpus in the tent that several other men barge in, surrounding Holly, who proceeds to take them on. This proves a mistake as one man suddenly shoves a handkerchief on her face, muffling her cries and drugging her. The blue-eyed beauty struggles for a moment only to fall asleep to the fresh scent of chloroform. Her body collapses lifelessly.
The army of Columbians gather closely around Holly Hunt, looming over her sleeping body. “Well,” says the tall, muscular man, tending to the bloody gash that his brunette captive gave him. “Two lovely female arms is so much better than one.”
Back in the present day, Holly marches out of the elevator and down the hall of The Herald Hawk, still clad in her turtleneck sweater and denim skirt and boots, a sight which seems to stun everybody in the workplace that notices her; a series of shocked whispers fill half the office space as the intrepid brunette storms down to the main office. “Oh my God!” and “Didn’t she get kidnapped again?” and the last thing that reaches Holly’s ears is “Look, it’s the Herald Damsel!” After stopping in her footsteps and briefly turning around both shocked and slightly offended, Holly turns back towards the door which reads “WILLIAM KANE CHIEF EDITOR”, she pauses for a moment, contemplating what may happen should she walk through this door, in casual attire, after having been missing for half a day without any explanation at all. She thinks about this and then at last she enters the room to find Bill Kane, sitting at his office desk, while Joel West, a handsome, dapper young man with dark hair, sits in the chair opposite him. Both their heads turn towards the door to see Holly dressed in her casual wear.
“Holly…” Joel says, looking concerned.
“Where the hell have you been? How come you haven’t bene here all day?”
“Hasn’t Joel told you? A death in the family? Not to mention,” Holly looks down at what she’s’ currently wearing and then gestures to it with her hand. “Basically, when I get back to my apartment, I found that my washroom had bene set on fire. All my work clothes, gone! I mean, what is this city coming to when a woman’s laundry is no longer safe, huh?”
She saunters towards the second chair beside Joel’s seat and sits down, assuming a formal position, crossing her bare legs, clasping both her hands over her knee. “So what did I miss?”
Bill glares at his beautiful employee impatiently. “Good question. I have a better one. What the hell did I miss from you?” Holly’s eyes beam as if Bill caught her doing something she shouldn’t. Bill leans forward in his seat. “I don’t think I need to remind you that a reporter who constantly gets into danger, specifically the most extreme near-death kind, is not a good image in any way, least of all for such a promising talent like yourself, let alone for such a high profile newspaper company as The Herald Hawk.”
“I’ve only gotten in danger twice!” Holly argues.
“Three. Three times, if you count last night when I found out that from Mr. West here that you decided to snoop around,”
“Snoop?” Holly scoffs.
“To investigate a shady warehouse where gangsters and heroin addicts tend to hang out in, since it was abandoned by the state council which was only more than a year ago, at the risk of getting yourself captured, or worse, murdered! Is that what you want, Holly?”
Holly glares at Bill, breathing through her nose while Joel widens his eyes in surprise. “No.” She replies.
“No, of course you don’t,” Bill mutters, leaning back.
“It’s just…Life’s too short to be constantly struggling all the time, especially when you know your life can end any second.” Holly says this as if she is reciting the words of a late, great historical poet. She bites her lower lip. “I joined The Hawk for a very serious reason, Bill.” She puts certain emphasis on her boss’ first name. “To find justice and truth. I’ve seen so many people lie, cheat, even murder. I’m sure that you’ve seen your share of violence and deceit in Nam. If I have to put myself in danger, if it means exposing the corrupt and unjust, so what if I get kidnapped and butchered, so long as I manage to bring shed enough light on those who prey on others who are helpless. So if you want to fire me, go right ahead. But I can tell you that you WON’T find anyone who’s more determined to seek the truth about crime like I am.”
Bill lets out a sigh as he sinks back into his seat. Lifting a finger, he points it at Holly and says, “Two weeks leave and no pay. You try anything funny like this again, you’re gonna have to be let go.”
“All right,” Holly gets up out of her seat. “I think I’ll pay my mother a visit.” She says sardonically as she walks out of the office.
On her way to the elevator, Joel hurries up behind her. “Holly, wait.” He calls out calmly, causing the tall brunette to turn around. With a folder in his hand, Joel approaches Holly. “The Shrike files you asked me for.”
But just as Holly reaches out for the file, Joel recoils back. “What’s this about, Holly?”
Tightening her lips, Holly snatches the folder out of Joel’s hand. “Justice.” She looks him in the eye as she says this and then turns back around to the elevator and enters. “Strange man,” She thinks to herself. Already she was beginning to see that Joel is a good man, calm, steady and with good intentions and yet there’s just something about him that doesn’t seem right, as well as how sleepy-eyed he looks. What does her get up at nights, Holly has no idea, though she aches to know.
Back in her apartment, clad in her white pyjamas, Holly pored over several different notes surrounding the murders of this so-called Shrike. All the different notes had the same pattern; a young, attractive woman walks down the street alone and then a mysterious figure, cloaked in shadow, approaches them and snatches them from behind, dragging them off the street and having his way with them.
All stories remained the same, save one: Margot Nicolls. According to the final note as written by Joel West, Margot was just walking home after a friend’s birthday bash when a gloved hand suddenly clamped over her mouth while an arm swiftly pulled her into a dark, secluded alleyway, as the masked man, who had the appearance of a homeless man, like the one who found Holly naked in the street, except this one wore a heavy parka coat zipped all the way the front with gloves to hide the hands and obviously to avoid all traces of fingerprints, this masked bum harshly tore Margot’s shirt open and pulled down her skirt ready to assault her sexually when suddenly Margot raised her clenched fist to reveal that she was holding a strange set of blades within the grip of her fingers before kicking the man in the balls but then just after Margot got back on her feet she was mortally stabbed, wounded in the stomach by a knife from the homeless-looking rapist.
It was so terrifying but soon, after a passer-by found a bleeding Margot on the street, after crawling out of the alleyway, the half raped girl was quickly transported to a nearby hospital where she managed to recover from her traumatic ordeal and fatal wound, with help from the best doctors and nurses. Somehow Joel was able to pay a visit to poor Margot and record her account. But why wouldn’t he get it out, publish the story? Maybe he’s trying to protect her and save her possible humiliation. Or is it to serve an ulterior purpose? Maybe he’s the Shrike! That would explain how sleepy he looks in the eyes. Could it be that spending his nights stalking, assaulting and disposing of gorgeous young women resulted in him looking like an insomniac??
Between Joel briefly hesitating to give her these files and his sleepiness, Holly could only suspect this possible revelation.
Soon Holly’s thoughts of vanishing female victims of a faceless freak eventually shaped into memories that should be distant; Holly Hunt, having freed her new friend, Sara, only to remain a captive herself, was now being manhandled and forced along the camps, hands bound behind her with rope, with a cleave gag back in her mouth, as she continue to struggle fruitlessly.
On her way, the lovely brunette sees sights that both frighten and anger her, several women and children locked in metal cages, crying, one particular child was bleeding out. Some of their Columbian captors were wearing a strange, freaky and chilling mask that hid their face to full effect. Eventually, Holly is stashed in a cage of her own, hands still bound behind her.
After mildly struggling and shaking and jerking her head, Holly manages to work the gag out of her mouth, when a very young child clutches to the bars from her cage opposite Holly’s. “Why are you here?”
The bound woman turns around to see the small, eleven-year old girl speak to her. She approaches the end of her cage and gets down on her knees beside the equally imprisoned girl. “What do you mean?”
“They took us and put us in cages because of our beauty.” The girl replies, looking down with her hands holding the bars. “Why did they put you here?”
Holly looks away, still tugging at her wrist bonds. “I did things. Things a girl, a good girl, isn’t supposed to do. Things a girl, good or bad, shouldn’t be proud of.”
Moments later, two of the Columbian men, clad in the chilling masks, unlock the door to Holly’s cage. “Come on, senorita. This is it. You get to serve a higher purpose!”
Holly gets up on her feet just to get grabbed by one the stocky captor who holds her bare arms with a tight, firm and somewhat grope-like grip. “What’s the matter, baby? Was that gag too loose for you?” The slender Columbian holds up a long roll of vet wrap and starts pulling at it. “We can fix that.”
Holly glares at her slender but strong kidnapper defiantly, though in her heart she feels that this could be the end for her; far away from home, held prisoner and locked in a cage by mad, heartless men and now..
“HMMM!” Holly screams as she begins to feel her mouth totally covered by the vet wrap as the slender kidnapper wraps it around the back of her head and back around her mouth and over and over until at last Holly Hunt is tightly gagged with a heavy wrap. She chatters and yells through her gag, which only muffles her voice more than the cleave ever did! Soon, after the chubby man firmly binds her feet, Holly is now carried over his shoulder, struggling and crying out for help only to receive hard spanks on her rear end.
She is taken to into a secluded camp where she is thrown down into an open sleeping bag where the tall, slender captor slowly creeps on top of her. Her eyes wide with fright, Holly Hunt knew that in just a second, she was about to be an impending victim of assault…..
TO BE CONTINUED.....