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"Hey what are you doing," i heard a familiar voice call out.
The man that was about to find me under the thin layer of leaves turned. I listened closer to the voices and recognized Darren in the mix. I began to crawl forward, but as soon as i saw the knife that was clutched in his hand i stopped myself from inching forward by digging my nails into the thick dirt. Apparently it was too late, the man saw my face in the foliage and dragged me out by my hair. I clutched his hand that was ripping my hair from it's roots and kicked out at another worker that was trying to grab my feet.
The sound of his hand cracking was followed by a line of curses as he kicked at my ankles. I shut my eyes as tight as i possibly could as the man released my hair and plucked my off the ground like a toddler. His hands wrapped around shoulders in a vise-like grip, my head whipped back and forth as he shook me, and my feet kicked out in search of the ground.
"Hey," Darren broke through the curses and sounds of my breath panting in the sudden wind, "stop it! Let her go!"
I opened my eyes and cringed as the man stared at my with piercing eyes and i was suddenly dropped. My knees broke under me and i fell to the ground in a withering heap of dust and tattered fabric.
I looked up at the group of men standing over me, Darren was to my left and was still clutching the blade in his hands. I stood and was pulled to Darren's side just as one of the workers were about to say something. They were cut off by the deadly look on Darren's face and the next thing I knew I was inching away. Once I was out of reach of the group I pivoted, pressed the wilting fabric of my sleeve back to my bloody arm, and bolted for the construction site. The exclaims of the workers echoed behind me and I ignored them as I skidded across smooth pavement and my feet hit soft grass.
I ran, blindly, down the grassy hill that led to a mediocre lot. The front of the building was a plain white and I noticed the man that had taken my bags at the bottom of the steps. I ran over and stopped next to the car.
It was definitely an old model that looked like he drove it out of the Adams Family’s driveway. The door opened, on its own, and the suit cases I had brought with me were tucked inside. I jumped in and slammed the door shut even though my arm was still throbbing.
“Ready to see your new home,” the man asked as he started the engine.
I looked out the back window and saw the image of Darren, standing on top of the grassy hill, his trench coat flapping in the cold wind.
“Yes sir,” I mumbled as we pulled out of the parking lot and onto a smoothly paved road.
“Good...my name is Mr. Bane, but you can call me Mr. B,” he said and punched the gas as we hit the highway, “Mrs. Silvain will be glad you have arrived.”
I drummed my fingers on the cold glass of the window, “can't wait.”
I should have been more guarded and polite but I knew he was a servant just like me. I was aloud to say things like that and use my naturally sarcastic personality without worrying how many hours I would have to spend in punishment. My cousin, who was only ten when she was assigned her 'master' or 'owner' whatever you want to call it, mouthed off to one of her superiors and was assigned twelve extra hours of chores.
She was collected by some type of captain that looked like he just stepped out of a story book...he even had a scarlet parrot on his shoulder that watched the two of us with beady little eyes. I was supposed to go with Rebeka, my cousin, but I was too young and the captain wasn't going to let a four year old on the ship. Some of the people that collect the kids at that place are real characters, I mean, one woman collected a set of triplets and everyone said that she was a vampire. She had skin that looked like it was chiseled out of the palest marble and her inky black hair seemed to make her face like the moon. Her white teeth were surrounded by ruby red lips and the rest of her was a mixture of leather and lace.
She even had her teeth filed down to look like fangs. Everyone said they were going to be killed as soon as they stepped out of the building, but we received a letter and photo from them a month later. They seemed to look just like her in the picture though; black sweeping hair, shimmering white skin and pointed teeth. Yeah, we definitely have some strange collectors, they live in some strange towns where everyone looks like monsters so when you're collected you are molded into a painted husk that looks just like them.
“It's not that bad darling,” he said and reached back to place a hand on my knee, “everyone says that being collected is the worst thing...and that just depends on who is your master, but others also agree that it is the best thing that has ever happened to them. Mrs. Silvain is one of those masters who can easily relate to you best of all.”
He shifted in his seat so that he could look at me and still flash his eyes to the road every few seconds, “you'll see why.”
I was jostled out of my seat as the road changed from smoothly paved concrete to scattered gravel. I looked out my window, almost eager to see my new home...wondering if it will be like some of the mansions that my friends were taken to. The windows were cracked, and the familiar scent off of Mr. Bane's jacket embraced me in a wave of honeysuckle. He hummed to himself as he rolled the windows down the rest of the way, and took in a deep breath of the fresh air.
The car was now bursting with the scent of pine and flowers and I was almost dizzy from the sickly sweet scent of this house.
The yard was easily two acres, maybe three and at the end of the gravely path was a house that seemed like a shadow against the green vegetation. The car slowed dramatically and I poked my head out the window to get a better view of the house. The front porch was flooded with potted flowers, the door was an intricate design of iron and wood, and the exotic stone made the walls seemed to be splashed with chipped rainbow that gleamed in the orange sun. The car stopped and I climbed out of the back seat gingerly, realizing that I was not supposed to be excited...I was just traded for money and I hadn't even met the collector yet. Mr. Bane dropped my bags by my feet and I coughed as the thick fabric popped with a cloud of dust and dirt. The windows were huge on each side of the house and I jumped as one of the velvet curtains fell back into place. I had caught the smallest glimpse of a woman's face before the thick fabric had swallowed her profile.
The ground was scattered with different colored rocks and I carefully stepped across them, not wanting to ruin the beautiful patterns that seemed unknowingly tossed into a blooming design. The wood on the front porch creaked as I stepped up to the door.
"Go right in," Mr. Bane called as I stopped in front of the cherry wood.
I took a deep breath before placing a hand on the crystal handle, it fell away at my touch. The door opened and threw a golden knife through the doorway.