Marked. Part I: The missing Link

By: J.M.Sevilla

“Good, it should make this more fun.” I can't see my neighbor's face, but from the animalistic growl he spits out I don't have to.

“For us, but certainly not you.”

“We'll see.” My ears must be deceiving me, because I could swear his voice sounds excited.

The man on the left lunges forward and so does my protector. Sheer panic courses my veins as I watch the other two men circle in around him.

The next few seconds happen so fast I can't be sure what I see. My neighbor turns into some kind of ninja. He has the first man knocked out in a single punch. The next man he headbutts and tosses onto the hood of the car, denting it underneath him. The third man starts approaching from behind. I'm about to yell out when he gets back kicked and sent crashing into the ground, head cracking against the concrete. They all wobble to their feet and scurry to the car.

“Take this piece of shit with you,” my neighbor yells after them, kicking the man he grabbed through the window in the ribs, eliciting a soft groan from his lips. “He's not going to die here.”

They obediently come and carry him off.

“Oh, and guys,” my neighbor speaks to them like they are old friends catching up, “If I hear you were near this bar again, I'll kill you. If I find out you so much as look at her,” he nods his head at me, “I'll make you choke to death on your own balls. Got it?” His eyes have turned cold and murderous. A chill runs through my body.

The car squeals off, leaving tire tracks on the road.

He faces me and I swear his eyes turn darker; I truly fear him.

“What the fuck just happened?” He growls at me in a voice that does not match the warmth it usually carries.

I try to speak, but no words come out and my whole body starts shaking uncontrollably. I fall to the ground and he is next to me in an instant, kneeling beside me.


I black out.

Chapter 3

Wednesday, January 1


The sound of cheering and people crying out, “Happy New Year!” jars me awake.

“Lily, Lily, are you okay?” The familiar voice of Naomi rings in my ears and my lids slowly flutter open. I try sitting up but my head is pounding and the room starts to spin. I groan and clench my eyes shut. “Lily, can you hear me?”

“Yes,” I croak out, my voice dry and hoarse. Why does my body ache so much? My eyes reluctantly open and my surroundings are not at all familiar. I appear to be in a small office, next to a desk, “Where am I?”

“You're in The Recovery's manager's office,” Stevie’s voice says in the distance. I think she's at my feet. “Is she okay?” I hear the panic behind her words, but I don't hear a response.

“Why am I here?” Why does my throat feel so sore and scratchy? I cup my hand around my throat and memories of tonight’s events flood into my mind. I shiver in fear.

“Where is he?” My raspy voice asks.

“Who?” Naomi leans over me and gently strokes my cheek, “Does this hurt?”

“A little,” I wince. “Where is he?” I ask again. Naomi looks confused, which irritates me.

“I think she means me,” a calmness washes over me when I hear the soothing warmth of my neighbor's voice.

“Are you okay?”

He chuckles and the sound is beautiful, “Are you seriously asking if I'm alright?”

I slowly lift my body up to sitting with Naomi's help. I lock eyes with him and all coldness from before is gone, replaced by something else. Concern? No, I'm too familiar with that look lately. It's worry mixed with another emotion I can't place. His face scans mine and cringes, letting out a grunting noise before closing his eyes and massaging the bridge of his nose.

“Are you hurt?” My raspy voice makes me sound like a ninety year old smoker, but I guess that will happen when you scream for your life.

“Fuck, stop asking me that,” he moans. “Are you okay, are you hurting anywhere?” He has his hands on his hips now, head hung low while he stares at the floor. Why is he avoiding looking at me?

“A little achy, but no real damage.”

“Can you remember what happened?” Stevie probes, handing me water that I guzzle down.

“Unfortunately, every detail.”

My neighbor's head snaps up, “I think you guys should let me take her home. She needs to rest. She can fill you guys in on the details tomorrow.”

“Is that what you want, Lily?” Naomi asks, appearing to not like the idea. “I can bring you home just as easily.”

“No, it's fine.”

Stevie and Naomi help me up.

Stevie wraps her arms around me in a hug, “I'm so sorry. Jay told us some guys tried to attack you but ran off when they saw him coming. I'm so so sorry, it's all our fault. We shouldn't have let you go outside alone. I'm so sorry.”

I hug her back, “It's not your fault. Please don't blame yourself for something only those dickheads should be blamed for.” I tilt my head back, “Who's Jay?”

My neighbor clears his throat, “That would be me.”

Now I have a name.

“I'm ready to go home,” I inform him.

He nods and opens the door. We follow him out and Naomi leans in to whisper in my ear.

“You sure you're safe with this guy?”