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Near Life Experience 12/13

Title: Near Life Experience
Disclaimer: Not my characters – except for one or two. The rest of the ladies and gentleman contained herein belong to entities with a higher pay grade. Thanks for allowing li’l ole me to play; I promise to return them as I found them…just like the tools I borrowed from dad when I was a kid. Also, this is unbeta’d so…mistakes are really all me. Sorry about that.
Fandom: Nikki & Nora
Pairing: Nikki/Nora
Rating: PG-13-ish, there are some adult concepts and themes, but nothing too over the top.
Summary: Nikki's not really "Nikki" and Nora's sings a different tune.

A/N: I'm trying to get back to an every other week posting schedule, sorry updates on this aren't up to my usual consistency.

Ch. 12 – The Grave If I Must

I can handle this.

I can handle this.

I hear Nora’s faint whimper echo from behind the doors swinging closed.

The rapid thump of my heart stutters briefly then picks up a faster beat.

I read this book a while a back about how in high pressure situations time sort of slows down, and you hear about it, eye witness accounts and all. It seems trumped up.

I get it now. I blink and it feels like an eternity between each flutter of my eyelids.

I need to get us out of here.

I need to try to get us of out of here.

We’re going one way and Nora’s going another.

The reality of what is actually happening sinks in and I drop to my knees. They crack against the concrete.

“Nikki!” Geno shouts, but I can’t really respond. There’s movement, indistinct and fuzzy on the periphery of my tunneling scope of site.

Cooler heads need to prevail.

I am not it.

I see black, shiny oxfords step in front of me. Cold metal presses against my forehead and forces my head back. I blink, looking up past the gun pressed to my forehead to the impassive face of one of our captors. “Get up.”

I can’t move. Rooted to the spot, I remain silent.

“Get up,” he says again. “Get up or I kill you here and make your friend clean up your corpse.” His voice is flat, like he’s telling me the time or the next steps from an instructional manual.

“Nikki,” Geno whimpers from beside me. “Get up, kid.”

I swallow and nod. Gathering myself, I hoist myself up, the muzzle of the gun still presses against my skin in reminder of what’s at stake.

I can do this.

I have to do this.

There’s no ‘not doing this’.

“I’m good,” I croak and the gun drops. Looking at Geno, I give him a nod. The other goon is back, watching us. His gun’s resting at his side, but his finger’s wrapped around the trigger, ready to shoot at the first sign of rebellion.

I don’t know how I’m going to get us out of this.

Geno’s grey, sickly. He’s not going to be much help.

“Move,” the one in front of me directs. He motions towards the stairs. We fall in a single line. Me, one goon, Geno and the last one, the one that took Nora away, bringing up the rear.

Slowly, I start climbing. Fumbling mid-way, as my foot catches on the lip of a step. I catch myself on the edge and an idea hits.

It’s crazy. Bad. Dangerous. Bad. More than likely will get all of us killed, but…

We’re going to die anyhow. Darius was tying up some lose ends on plans for next week. I doubt anyone in Nora’s group knows where she’s at.

No cavalry is coming.

I cast a glance back as I right myself. There’s really only one shot at this. I’m outweighed by a hundred pounds on each guy. I’ve got two things working in my favor: leverage and surprise.

There are two steps separating me and one of the ones with a gun. I take a deep breath, steady myself, and whip around. I kick with my right leg. The ball of my right foot hitting right under the knee cap. The crunch is sickening. The wail of pain nearly causes me to vomit.

Before he drops, I launch myself down the steps. I shove Geno out of the way as the muzzle of the second guy’s gun rises. Reaching out, I push it up as I drive my shoulder into his midsection, propelling us backwards.

I know before we start our decent this is going to hurt. It’s going to hurt a lot. I push us backwards anyhow. His arms pinwheel and I drive us down the steps. We tumble. He grapples for purchase. I twist and launch off the last few steps so we go airborne. Hitting the concrete landing, pain rips up my arm. I feel things snap. I hear them amongst the banging of limbs and feet and screams.

The impact drives the wind from my lungs. They burn. My eyes water. But the crunch at my ear deafens everything else. We settle and I wait for a blow. Anything, to let me know the man below me is moving and pissed off.

There’s nothing. I can’t tell if the beating heart I hear is mine or his or ours combined.

Slowly, I roll off him. Twist left and land with a soft thump against the concrete. I blink and look at the man I tackled. His head’s twisted at an odd angle, up and to the right. It’s unnatural and I look away.

“Kid!” Geno shouts from somewhere. I pick my head up and look around. He’s dragging the other guy behind him, with every thump of the body; a cry of pain is its accompaniment.

Sitting up, I look at my feet and travel up. Everything looks good. Nothing broken, no blood that I can see.

Until I reach my still cuffed hands. My right wrist is twisted off to the side, purple and swelling. I try to lift my right arm, but it doesn’t budge. I look down and my vision swims. There’s an odd protrusion at my shoulder. The bone presses against the unbroken skin in an odd way.

“Don’t move,” Geno barks. He lands next to me and eases me back down on the concrete.

“The…” I try to warn him of the other guy.

He shakes his head. “Passed out, but you ain’t and have a dislocated shoulder. You dumb bitch. What the hell were you thinking?”

I try to open my mouth to protest. He shakes his head shutting me up. I numbly watch as he goes to the man I just killed and searches him. He pulls a key ring and cell phone from the dead man’s pockets. With shaky hands, he manages to undo his own cuffs and then comes to me.

Dropping to his knees, he gently takes my linked wrists and undoes the metal around them. As soon as the binding around my right wrist is free, pain surges through the damaged part. It thrums and thumps, pinching and burning in ways I didn’t think were possible.

“Oh, Jesus fucking Christ,” I whimper and blink back the tears.

“We’re gonna hafta stabilize that,” he says, standing and goes back to the dead guy. He rips at his shirt, tearing a few strips of cloth free from the now tattered white, button-up.

I only cry once as Geno kneels back in front of me, loosely wrapping my wrist and then fashioning a sling for my arm. The support helps quiet the throbbing, near blinding pain.

I feel my breath start to regulate and he looks over his handiwork. “It’ll have to do.”

“Nora,” I grit out as I stand. “We need to get to her. They’ll…”

The look on his face stops me. His words chill me, “We’ll end up in jail or worse, Nikki. We need to go.”

I shake my head. “I’m not leaving her.” I step towards the man whose knee I broke and cuff him to the banister and tuck the extra set in my back pocket. A gun, whose I don’t know, is off to the left on the bottom step. I heft it in my left hand and flick the safety off. “You go. Get out of here. Call Darius and then call the police department, ask for Dan, Nora Delaney’s partner. That should be enough,” I wince and suck in a breath, staving off a fresh wave of pain as Geno hands me the keys to the cuffs.

“Nikki, jail. They’ll…” he starts to protest.

“I’m. Not. Leaving. Her,” I grit out between clenched teeth. “Go. Disappear Geno. My locker. There’s a small bag. Ten grand in it. Take it and run.”

“Nikki…” he tries again.

“That should get you to Cuba and then some. It’s great about this time of year,” I tell him, cutting off his protests. Kissing his stubbly cheek, I shove him with the butt of the gun. “Go. Make those calls though. We’ll be fine.”

His lips part. He works his jaw and then spins on his heel, taking off in a run towards safety.

Well, as much as being on the run from rapists and dealers can afford.

As soon as the door swings shut, I take off towards the back of the building. Barren walls are the only thing to look at. They’re cold, grey and sort of remind me of this catacomb Darius took me into when we first got to the city.

This space feels just as dead as where actual bodies lay.

My arm throbs, my right wrist is distorted and ugly, and sweat drips from my hairline and down the nape of my neck. It trickles along my spine and cools.

I don’t really know where I’m going, but every door I’ve hit has been open and the rooms empty. Of course having a plan for when I actually find them would be great. It’s not like I planned any of this.

It was more, blind panic and rage. The panic’s pretty much gone.

The rage…

That—that’s still burning white hot. When I get back into town, I swear I’m going to obliterate everything Paula Connolly ever was, is, or ever could be. I know I’m not innocent. There are lines though.

Until today, I’ve never taken a life. Never had to. Never wanted to. Usually addicts are so miserable that they’ll do themselves in if they get to a point.

Or they’ll sober up.

Maybe I’ll try that road again…if I make it out of here to try. It could work. I think.


Maybe if there were more for me than what’s been.

But first, save Nora, save myself and then…

I hear a grunt and then a cry of pain towards the end of the hall. It echoes off the concrete and drives me forward.

It’s the second to last door on my right. I edge to the frame, my back presses tightly against the wall. Leaning left, I look over my shoulder into the room. Nora’s off to the left, hanging from a set of chains extending from the ceiling. The tear in her shirt along her left side reveals bloody, black and blue skin. A table is next to her with a few items laid out, a knife, forceps, and matches. The only other person in there is Howard Evocovich. The mover Darius identified.

His profile snaps through my mind.

Ukranian. Mean. Old organized crime.

I dart back to safety and bite my lip.

My choices aren’t great. My dominant hand is busted. I have a gun that’s getting heavier to wield by the minute and the floor keeps on wanting to somersault. The ache from my shoulder is the only thing that’s keeping it from not going full tilt-a-whirl on me.


That’s all that I’ve got working for me right now.

I could just pop him, one shot to the head and call it a day. Self-defense and all that. But I’m not a great shot with my left.

I’m not a great shot period.

Darius has tried to teach me and I do okay, but it’s usually with both hands. My scores are always solid. Maybe I can make that work for me.

I shake my head and come to a conclusion.

Larger targets are always better and I don’t want to hit Nora. I draw in a breath, shut my eyes for a split second and let it go. Launching myself off the wall, I round the corner as swiftly and quietly as I can. I bring the muzzle of the gun up just as Howard looks up from his table of torture instruments. I lay pressure on the trigger and squeeze off a round high and to the right.


That gives him enough time to reach for his own sidearm, but I’m quicker, adjusting my grip and line of site. The gun bucks in my hand as I let off another round.

It hits its mark though. High, on the right side, it spins my target around and drops him. I move fast, around the table and to his side. He’s scrambling against the concrete. I lower my gun, aim and the gun jumps again, letting off a single round in his hip.

He screams. I threaten him, “Move again and I take off the family jewels.” He stills. Sweat drips from the end of my nose and splashes down on the floor.

I take the cuffs from the back pocket of my jeans and toss them on his stomach. “Make yourself useful and tie yourself up. Make them nice and tight around that pole.” I direct him to the support pillar off to his left and I watch as he scoots himself over.

“Straddle it,” I indicate with a wave the gun. He rolls his eyes at me, but does as instructed. The cuffs ratchet close and I say, “Tighter.” I motion again until I see the skin of his wrists pinch up around the edges of the metal.

Satisfied that he’s not going anywhere, I finally turn my attention to Nora. “You’re a sight,” I tease her. I can’t help it. This need to playfully goad her until she huffs and harrumphs and smiles my way.

“You’d still do me,” she rasps thickly. A small, cocky smile spreads over her lips and tears prick my eyes.

“How we gonna get you down?” I wonder. Looking around for something to get us some leverage. I look around at the table, look at the legs. They’re bolted to the floor.


That leaves us with one option. I’m not sure who it’s going to hurt more, me or her. Sighing, I flick the safety on and tuck the gun in the front part of my waist. I stoop down a little and wrap my good arm around Nora’s thighs and lift. She cries out, squirming to try and get away from the source of her pain, but I manage to get her free as she falls forward. I drop her as gently as possible to floor.

“Fuck!” she hisses.

“Christ!” I grunt, dropping to my knees next to her. I fish for the keys that Geno left me with and reach for her battered wrists. I fumble, missing the keyhole once, before catching it right. The lock springs lose and the cuff opens. I make short work of the second before tossing both the key and the cuffs to the far side of the room.

Nora looks me over as she massages her wrists, wincing as the feeling starts to work itself back into them. “Why?” she asks, cocking her head to the side.

My eyebrow arcs at the question and she motions towards a bleeding Ukrainian mobster. I shrug with my left shoulder. “Couldn’t leave you.”

I hope that’s enough for her.

“You could have. Should have been easy for you to leave me once you were free,” she croaks.

Instead of answering, I motion her backwards to the wall where we can both rest against. We settle against the cool of the dark concrete. I press my left shoulder to her right one. Rest my head in the crook of her neck to wait on our cavalry. “No, I couldn’t.”



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 8th, 2013 02:13 pm (UTC)
When you said Tourniquet, did you mean sling? Because you only tourniquet an injury that is bleeding. And with a broken wrist and dislocated shoulder, a sling would be more useful.

Good choice Nikki! And you survived the easy part. Now the hard part, the legal system.

Waiting for more :)

Edited at 2013-05-08 02:13 pm (UTC)
May. 8th, 2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
Fixed. Thank you. =0)
May. 9th, 2013 02:03 am (UTC)
Fantastic scene! Thank you for having Nikki sustain real world injuries and not be unscathed. Anxiously awaiting lucky chapter 13!!
May. 11th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
I figure if you launch yourself down a flight of stairs while trying to take out someone, something's gonna happen. Like you know, broken bones and stuff. =0D

So thank you and thanks for reading.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )



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