#RunningWilde Ch. 18 | Before the Night Is Through

Vince.jpg

Words like violence

Break the silence

Come crashing in

Into my little world

Painful to me

Pierce right through me

Can't you understand

Oh my little girl

 

-Enjoy the Silence

Anberlin

"Take this and give me one of your guns," Aiden said, thrusting the briefcase into Dani's hand. She pulled a pistol from her back and handed it to him. He tucked it into the holster at his hip, "Your job is to get out of here as quickly as possible. Only kill if you must; leave the rest up to Titan. Once you're back with the others, call Trish and tell her to get inside the panic room immediately, then call Grim and tell him to get my brother. Tell him I don't care how he does it."

"Okay," Dani nodded, punching the alarm button on her iWatch.

Aiden reloaded his clip and looked at Titan, "Dougie and I will go after Lockewood; you two go back the way we came. Tell Driver to start the car and bring it out front, we'll be out soon."

Dani and Titan took off up the escalators and a hail of gunfire sounded instantly. Aiden and Dougie turned towards the tunnel that led to the Northern Line, and crept slowly along the platform with their backs pressed against the tiled walls knowing that more Syndicate soldiers awaited them the moment they turned the corner.

Aiden slowed when he reached Ash. As he stared at her lifeless body lying haphazardly on the dirty concrete, her blood dripping onto the abandoned train tracks, his rage intensified and wrung his heart dry, making sure that all the good was gone. He tightened his grip on his gun and stepped over her, then abandoning his cautiousness, he broke into a sprint with Dougie hot on his heels.

They ran through the tunnels in a blind rage, firing shots at every man they saw, before they even had a chance to see them. Dougie's injuries hindered him from being as fast as he normally was, but he still had the best aim of any mobster worth his salt, so between him and Aiden, bodies fell around them like dominos. 

Stone, Merkz and Baby had entered the building, adding to the slaughter, creating a wall of sound; the morbid songs of the fallen Syndicate soldiers resonated throughout the station accompanied by the bass of bodies hitting the ground and the violent percussion of continuous gunshots.

Once Dougie and Aiden cleared the first tunnel, they hung back in the shadows to reload their weapons.

"Which way do you think they went?" Dougie whispered, swiping his face with the back of his hand before he spat on the dead man at his feet. He'd shot him at close range for the thrill of letting him get too close and was now paying for his fun with a face full of the man's blood.

Aiden double tapped the screen on his iWatch, "They're heading up Catherine Street."

"How the fuck do you know that?"

"Mighty made sonar trackers," he said, waving his watch in the air, "I clipped my tracker button to the girl before I let her go."

"Good thinking. So where are we going?"

"The quickest way to Catherine Street is the front entrance."

"It's bolted shut."

Aiden produced a small hand grenade from his inside pocket, "I know."

"Okay then," Dougie laughed, "I've always wanted to destroy a national landmark."

"It looks like today's your lucky day," he replied, putting the explosive back.

"Why do you even have that?"

Aiden pointed his gun in front of him and started walking, "I was entertaining thought of burying them alive inside this place," he snarled, wishing the opportunity had presented itself.

They headed out to the main corridor, flooded with white light and more of Vince's men posted along it, waiting silently for Dougie and Aiden to reveal themselves.

"Do you think he sent enough?" Dougie jested, cackling manically as he dodged bullets and picked the men off one by one.

Aiden fired upon them with less open enjoyment than his friend, until a stray bullet grazed his cheek. "Fuck!" He winced and touched his hand to his face. Upon feeling the stickiness of his blood wetting his fingers, Aiden pulled out the second pistol he'd taken from Dani and fired both guns, killing the bastard who caught his face first. He dug the balls of his feet into the white linoleum floor to withstand the extra kickback, and fired until both clips were empty and there were only three men left.

The smallest of the three had a clear shot of Aiden. He smirked arrogantly as he aimed for his head, but when he pulled the trigger he was met with only a soft click and no bang. Now it was his turn to curse. "Shit," he hissed as he scrambled to get another cartridge.

Aiden charged at him with his thick, muscular arm raised in the air, roaring like he could breathe fire. He flipped the barrels of his guns into his palms before smashing the heels of the handles into either side the man's head with a brutish force that caused them to break through the skin and knock against his skull. The man squeezed his eyes shut and screamed blue murder as he stumbled backwards. Aiden swung the weapons at him again and gun-bucked him in the mouth. Dougie's gun sounded at the same time Aiden heard the terribly satisfying sound of the man's jaw cracking. 

He groaned gluttonously and smiled. The shooting had been fun, but there was nothing more invigorating than inflicting pain on another person with his bare hands. When he fought like this, he became the weapon, and the heady rush of power and the thrill of the danger belonged to him alone. This man's fate could not have been in worse hands. Aiden had numbed himself to the agony that he knew was ripping him apart inside, so until the adrenaline wore off he would make this inconsequential Syndicate solider feel it for him. He would make him know how it felt to lose everything at the hands of a monster.

 He dropped his guns to the ground and punched the man in his already shattered jaw, enjoying the way the slackened, lumpy flesh crunched and flailed against the flat side of his fist. He then wrapped his thick fingers around his victim's throat and pummelled his stomach until it caved in from lack of breath, and his wheezing sounded like screaming. When his face had turned the deepest shade of puce, Aiden let him go, but before the man had the chance to collapse, he raised his knee in the air and delivered an almighty front kick that would make Leonidas envious, slamming the sole of his boot into his chest so hard that it clapped like thunder and sent the man flying several feet through the air before he crashed to the ground. Aiden wasted no time in chasing him down and stomping him out, revelling in the way the man's body twitched as he finally surrendered to his fate. Whatever little fight he had left in him was waning critically. Aiden didn't give him the chance to get back on his feet, he just kept on laying into him like a deranged animal, growling and snarling with every blow. He swiftly stepped up onto the man's chest and clipped his face with the steel toe of his boot. A violent burst of blood gushed from his mouth as his neck did a sharp one-eighty degree turn and snapped.

He stopped twitching and the dreadful crying sounds he made were silenced, but Aiden didn't stop. He couldn't stop. His rage had consumed him and all he could think about was Keegan being beaten to death by this bastard's boss, and then chopped limb from limb.

He'd promised his little brother that he would take care of him, that he would get him back home safely. He promised him, and now he had broken that promise. What kind of brother was he? Why didn't he just do what he had to do to find the money, pay up and bring him home? What value did maintaining his power have now that he had lost his heart? How was he supposed to look his nephew in the face and eventually explain that the reason that both of his parents were gone was down to him? And Ashleigh; she deserved her death, but she also deserved so much more than what he did to her. If he'd just let them be what they were meant to be, she never would have turned on her family. He sullied everything that was beautiful about them because he was afraid of what loving her did to him. He had put his love of power before her too, and it was quickly becoming clear to him that his selfishness was why nothing that he loved would survive him. 

This was all his fault.

"AIDEN," Dougie shouted over the gunfire.

Something hot and hard slammed into Aiden's abdomen, snapping him out of his torment and forcing him off of the bloodied, broken body beneath his feet. He grabbed his stomach as the searing pain dominated his senses and cried out, dropping to his knees next to his victim. He'd been shot. 

He heard the footsteps of the shooter closing in on him, probably to get a better shot. Gritting his teeth through the pain, Aiden reached down to his ankle and pulled out his Mora knife blade. With a skilful flick of his wrist, he flung it hard and fast, sinking it deep into the man's windpipe.

Dougie fired three bullets into the last man standing, and as his body hit the ground, Aiden noticed how quiet it was. There were no more soldiers to fight.

"You okay, A?" Dougie asked, extending his hand.

Ignoring the throbbing in his gut, Aiden grabbed his guns, clasped Dougie's hand and hoisted himself up.

"Yeah, I'm good."

"I though you got hit."

"I did," he lifted his shirt, that now had a small hole in it, and flicked the lump of lead out of the Teflon. "Thank God I don't leave the house without my vest." It still hurt as much as being shot with lead could hurt, but it would pass in a few days, and the worst to come from it would be a nasty bruise. Aiden dropped his top and glanced at the iWatch screen, "They're still on Catherine Street. Let's move."

They raced up the frozen escalators to see Stone and Baby walking around, making sure that all of the bodies on the ground were dead. The moment they saw Aiden they rushed to his side.

"We was about to come find you man. This ting said you was outside," Stone said furrowing his brow at the watch.

"I put it on the Lockewood girl."

"Oh." Stone cast his eyes over the two men and his smoke blackened lips turned down when he saw the state that Dougie was in. He shook his head, "Yo, where's K. Dot? He with them lot?"

Aiden tensed up, "No."

Stone stood quietly waiting for his leader to say more, and when he didn't, Dougie stepped in. "K. Dot's dead, and so is Ash," he said abruptly like he was ripping off a plaster.

Stone and Baby both looked to Aiden but he wouldn't meet their eyes.

"I'm sorry, bruv," said Stone, stuffing his hands in his pockets, "Whatever you need us to do, say it."

"Go get Ash. She's on platform two."

"Fuck that," Dougie growled, "Let the bitch rot down there. She sold us out."

"Dougie," Aiden warned.

Baby looked at Dougie, "What do you mean she sold us out?"

"She betrayed the family. She joined Vince and told him where Jamie and Trish were. It's a good thing they killed her because if I got a hold of her it would have been much worse."

Aiden clenched his fists at his side, "I don't give a fuck what she did, Ash was one of us and now she's dead, so it's irrelevant. We're not leaving her down there like she never fucking mattered. Go and get her, NOW!" He barged through Stone and Baby, and Dougie followed with a sigh. Aiden looked over his shoulder, "Don't follow me."

"A, c'mon_"

"I've decided that I want to do this alone. Do not follow me."

Dougie frowned at him but from the steely look in Aiden's eyes, he knew better than to push. "Watch out for yourself, okay?" he said with a heavy heart.

Aiden nodded sharply and continued walking.

 

*

 

"I'm taking Ava home. Double the security detail outside of my house -no, triple it."

"All right, me and Max will tail the car."

"No, the Mafia will be expecting that, and we're not out of the woods yet; they'll be looking for me. There's a dummy car down the street, follow that."

"Are you sure that's a good idea?" Max said, glancing at Ava, "We won't be able to protect you."

"I know what I'm doing," Vince stepped away from his hushed conversation with Chris and Max, and put his arm around Ava's stiff shoulders, then guided her over to his silver Jaguar. "I will inform you when we reach."

Ava was silent. She hadn't spoken a word to anyone since they'd fled the station. Her release from being the prisoner of a mob war was slowly setting in, and now that she was away from the threat of any immediate danger, Ava was coming to terms with how messed up this whole ordeal really was. She kept seeing all of who she now knew to be her father's men, outside of the station, and the red haired girl -their bodies falling to the floor, the life draining from their eyes like dementors had jumped out of the night and sucked their souls right out of them, their mouths going slack...and the blood. There had been so much blood. 

How could people be like that? How could they have such a blatant disregard for human life? All of this over some drugs. Drugs!

She hated that Max had killed that girl without any question just because her father told him to. Even worse, that he didn't even look like it bothered him. She knew he was her bodyguard and that sometimes violence was a part of his job, but she'd never actually seen him kill anyone. Max had always been a protector and now in her eyes he was as bad as the rest of them -a stone cold killer. And Uncle Chris, her godfather, another man who'd played a big role in her upbringing; he was a part of it too. Was everybody else in on this big secret except for her? Had her mother known?

What bothered her even more was that she couldn't stop thinking about Aiden. She knew she should, but she didn't know how. He should have been the last thing on her mind, she should hate him. He was worse than her father, Max and Uncle Chris put together.

Her time with Aiden seemed a lot worse now than it had been when she was actually in it. That sadistic thug had kidnapped her, tied her up, drugged her and beat her for his own perverse pleasure, whilst simultaneously twisting the experience by seducing her at the same time. Ava had thought that on some level she had enjoyed it, but now that she was free of him she wasn't so sure. She thought that maybe she had downplayed the seriousness of what had happened to her for her own sanity, because good girls like Ava didn't like those kinds of things...

The weight of the Ben Wa balls, still buried deep inside of her, tugged downwards and she sunk her teeth into her bottom lip to stifle the sound that would contradict her thoughts.

But as bad as he was, Aiden hadn't hesitated to come to her rescue when the red head attacked her, and when the shots were fired outside of the station, he'd shoved her down behind him to keep her safe. If he'd been hurt she didn't know how she would feel about it, but she knew that she wouldn't be happy.

Ava hoped that it wouldn't take too long to get him out of her head, assuming that she would be able to. How did you even get someone like that out of your head? She'd never met anyone like Aiden before; no one as openly cruel, twisted, and yet so very, very complicated; no one as real as him. Nothing in her life had ever been as real as him. Aiden had never been anything but the truth, and that was more than she could say for the men around her.

"Get in the car, quickly Ava-Marie. Our window is closing and the police will be here soon so we need to make it like we never were." Vince closed the door behind her then walked over to the driver's side, gripped the handle of the car door and braced himself. He was finally going to be alone with his daughter and he wasn't sure what to say to her. Now she knew the truth, knowing Ava, she would only want to know more, but he wasn't entirely ready to tell her more. He wasn't ready to stop being her hero.

Chris raised his eyebrow, "Vinny, you all right?"

"Of course." He laughed at himself; he was Vince Lockewood, he wasn't afraid of anyone, and yet here he was afraid to face his little girl. The rules have a way of changing when you love someone.

Suddenly a loud bang startled the city and shook the ground. They all looked over at the station to see thick clouds of smoke cascading towards the sky as clouds of dust and debris rained down. Tyres screeched against the tarmac, horns blared, alarms sounded and the few people wandering the streets gasped and screamed.

"Fuckin' 'ell Vinny, get out of here," Chris yelled.

Vince opened the door and jumped in the car, his ice blue eyes widening and paling to the colour of his pallid white skin. "Put on your..." he looked over and Ava's seatbelt was already on and her eyes were as wide as his. "Never mind." He rammed the key in the ignition they pulled off down the road, making sure to keep within the speed limit so that they didn't look too suspicious. Once they were out of the area he would go faster.

"Are you okay?" Ava held onto her seat and stared out of the wind shield, pulling her bottom lip into her mouth and biting down because she wanted to say how she felt but feared that if she opened her mouth to talk now that she would scream. "Ava-Marie, I am talking to you."

"I heard you!"

Vince gripped the steering wheel, "I understand that this has been a frightening ordeal for you, but I am still your father, and you will show me some goddamn respect."

"Or what, Dad?"

"We'll talk about this when we get home," he said tightly.

"Oh you bet we will. You are going to stop lying to me. You are going to tell me everything."

"I will tell you only what you need to know."

"No Dad, you do not get to keep anymore secrets. It's because of your secrets that I ended up with that man in the first place."

"I was trying to keep you safe."

"You were trying to keep me in the dark!"

He looked over at her, "Because the last thing I wanted was for you to be a part of all of this."

"But that's the thing, I am. I always have been, no matter how you try to dress it up."

"No Ava, you're not," he shook his head and placed his hand on top of hers, "You're good. You're so, so good. You don't belong in this world." Ava snatched her hand away and folded her arms. "Darling, I do this for you, so that you can have a great life, but I never wanted my life for you."

"Saying that you do this for me makes it even worse," she sneered. "If these are the kinds of things that you do for me then I want you to stop it. I want you to stop hurting people, I want you to stop making other people hurt people, and I want you to stop selling substances that make people hurt themselves. Just stop."

"I can't just stop, Ava. It doesn't work like that." He sighed, "See this is another reason why I didn't want you to know. I knew you wouldn't understand."

Ava closed her eyes. "What I don't understand," she said balling her hands up into fists and pressing them against her ribs. She was about to cut her chest open and was trying her hardest to keep everything from spilling out. She took a deep breath, "What I don't understand...is why you killed my mother."

The traffic light turned red and Vince pressed his foot down on the brakes. This is what he'd been afraid of.  

"You need to say something, Dad," she said squeezing her eyes tighter, "Please, say something, because I'm not sure if I can ever look at you again."

Heat began to build behind Vince's eyes and he looked out of the window. He dragged his tongue across his lip and blinked back his tears. "I don't quite know what you want me to say."

"Tell me it's not true."

"You said you wanted me to stop lying to you."

Ava unclenched her fists and her body sagged forward. Everything began to spill out of her and she hadn't the strength to keep it in any longer. She was so tired of crying. "You're a bad person," she whispered.

Vince turned to Ava and took her forlorn face in his hands, "No baby, don't say that," he pleaded. "Those people I saved you from, those were the bad people, not me. I'm still your Dad, Ava."

She opened her eyes and Vince could see her heart breaking. "You're the same, the only difference is that they didn't lie to me, you did."

"Ava, no," he kissed her forehead desperately. She pushed him away

"Did you even love her?"

Vince slammed his fist against the dashboard, "OF COURSE I DID!" Ava jumped. Vince settled back into his seat and closed his eyes, "It was your mother who didn't love me."

"That's not true."

"I wish it wasn't. I loved her so much, maybe too much." The traffic light turned amber and he placed his hands back on the steering wheel. "When I found out that she was having an affair, I just...I lost it."

"Oh my God," Ava dropped her head into her hands, "You're a monster!"

"And now I've lost you," he concluded morbidly.

"You killed my mother. All of this time I thought that she committed suicide; that's what you told me, that's what I had to live with. I used to drive myself mad wondering why she would want leave us, why we weren't enough for her to want to keep living, but it wasn't us, it was you. You make me sick. She shouldn't be dead, you should!"

The light turned green and Vince stomped on the accelerator. As he made it to the cross section another car came out of nowhere, racing at warp speed and slamming into them so hard that the Jaguar hurtled onto its side. As it flipped, it jumped and it spun, banging into the railings and slamming against the ground. It kept going, rolling and rolling, until it finally came to a stop half a mile down the road wrapped around a lamppost, laying on its side with steam rising from the engine and Vince crying out, "AVAAAAAAAAA!"


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