Shackled Ch. 10


I wouldn't want you putting my washing away, Laura, waste of a damned good ass.

Cute. Reminiscing are we?

Come back to say goodbye, have you?

Thinking of Laura. How nice. And you're stuck with a nerd who's going to get you killed.

I've got the Palazonol so just go quietly eh?

You're going to get us both killed.

Irish and I will be fine.

I meant us. You and me.

There is no us. No you and me. There's me. They put you here. You don't belong.

You're dead without me. You won't be able to do what's needed.

We'll see.

I hope not before it's too late.

I'll help the girl.

Just fuck her. She's just a girl. Fuck her and you'll see she's just that. Don't make her a cause, put her on a pedestal.

Nervous are we? Jealous maybe?

She's not important. We're important. She's nothing. A girl. To fuck. Then bye bye.

No. Bye you.


His thoughts were interrupted by Emma.

Thank God for that.

If only you really knew how crazy I really was Irish....

He shook his head at her. He knew he shouldn't be drinking, but he knew his limits. He'd never had a problem with alcohol and the Palanozol and Laura had never warned him of one. They probably didn't know enough about it. What you don't know, won't hurt you. Jess had said that all the time. Now there were lots of things he wished he didn't know.


No more.

Emma was fidgeting around in her seat. She wouldn't be quiet for long. He knew her well enough now. She started to speak.

He smiled.


She winked at him. She looked tired and was trying to keep some yawns down. It was time to go to bed. They had a big day tomorrow. He had to talk to Bonnie, but there would be heat everywhere. Carl would be with her. He needed to find out about Irish's friends, especially the guy that helped her. There was no point having the information on the disc and getting killed for it if there wasn't a chance they could hurt the government. Shit, that was the whole reason to do this. Hurt the motherfuckers.

He took another sip of his beer. She spoke again.

It's easy talking to you, Irish, I like it.

"I've trusted you with a lot recently and well, I'm hoping you will trust me here too. I'm not a doctor and I won't pretend to know what you go through when you take those magical little pills. It doesn't sound like much fun."

She paused. He thought it must have taken her a significant amount of effort since she was rolling now. She drew in a breath.

Ahh, she needed air.

He loved watching her try to get everything out. He was sure that if she could, she would have two conversations going at once. She was beautiful and independent.

And innocent.

Her hands brushed his and he got that feeling again. Warmth. She was so small compared to him. A lot of people were, but he wanted to scoop her up, tell her it was all going to work, brush her ears with his lips, whisper that they were going to be ok....

But I didn't know.

For sure.

She kept going.

He winked back at her.

I better get a word in....

"Oh, with my charms, Irish," he said, "I think I could find a truck load of women willing to wash my socks. I can keep you.... for other purposes."

He smiled slyly. He knew he would embarrass her.

He drank again from his beer and his face became serious.

"Thank you for the dinner, Irish," he said, looking directly at her. "I appreciate it. Why don't we get cleaned up and ready for bed."

He stood up, directly in front of her, his legs almost touching hers as she perched on the kitchen stool. He put one of his hands over hers.

"If you want to be here, that's fine. Any excuse to lie next to me, eh?" he said playfully. "When I take the Palazonol, things happen. I don't exactly know, but it's not good. I say things. I'm not dangerous.... that I know of." He paused, his face blank. He stepped back and looked at the plastic bottle on the counter that Laura had given him.

The truth was, Hansen didn't like the Palazonol. It made him softer, less inclined to do the first instinctual thing. It was meant to do the opposite, of course, but Laura always worried that if did its job properly one day, then he would become an amoral killing machine. And uncontrollable. He worried about that, but for the moment, the Palazonol helped.

And it got rid of him.

Me? No reason to be afraid.

I'm not.


He shook his head.

"Why don't we get cleaned up and then go to bed?" he said. "The longer I have resting, then the better we'll both be tomorrow. You need to rest too. You get ready first, ok?"

He walked over to the bed and sat on it to wait for her.

He grinned at her and patted the spot beside him.

"No need to be shy after all we've gone through, so we'll sleep together," he said.

He wiggled his index finger at her and pretended to look scared.

"But you really do have to keep your hands off me this time...."


His sly smile made her blush even while she rolled her eyes, trying to brush him off. "In your dreams." She mocked back and grinned in return. "And you're more than welcome for dinner. I girls gotta eat. You just happen to be stuck with me."

She clasped the hand that he slid over hers as he stood before her. She had to crane her head back slightly to gaze into his face as he spoke, reminding her of how small she was compared to him.

She snorted, "I confess, I cannot help myself. You are irresistible!"

Still, the possible effects of the drug made her worry. She tightened her smaller hand around his and drew herself up, pushing him back slightly so that she could stand without putting a crick in her neck. "It'll be fine. I'm not worried about it." She told him. It was a small lie. She was worried, but about him more than herself. She wanted him to be okay. To be better and not have to suffer.

Moving away, she reluctantly let go of the warmth of his hand and plucked up the shirt she had worn the night before. In the tiny confines of the bathroom, Emma brushed her teeth and rinsed her face, taking care of business as usual. She tend wiggled out of her pants and folded them neatly, setting them aside along with her shirt, then wiggled into the over sized one that was Liam's.

She she returned, he was grinning and patting the spot beside him. She quirked a brow and gave him a small smile. He wiggled his index finger at her and pretended to look scared.

She giggled at that and crawled onto the bed, mindful of how much flesh she was flashing. "I can't promise anything. Your animal magnetism is hard to resist." She teased and pulled the sheet up over her bare legs, wiggling down into what had been her spot the night before. "Your turn. Hurry before I pass out and forget that I'm supposed to be molesting you."

That tickled her again and she giggled despite the seriousness of their situation.


I hope you do pass out.

He got up and let Emma crawl into bed. She seemed relaxed enough. That was good. He wanted her relaxed. Not scared. It wouldn't do to be scared.

You fuck up when you're scared.

Tell me about it. You're going to take those stupid pills. With me gone, you're fucked.

Because you been such a great help so far.

You're alive.

Jess and Cassie aren't.

Can't win 'em all.

I have to.

He walked over to the kitchen bench, scooped up the little plastic bottle that Laura had given him and walked into the bathroom.

There used to be an old singer. He remembered his father used to play things called CDs. He always used to play this singer who'd been long dead, even then.

"It's now or never...."

Elvis. That was his name. Cheesy.

But Hansen had liked him.

Summed it up really.

Cheesy. Sentimental.

That's why they'd had to fuck with his brain.

He washed his face with cold water. It stung, but it felt good. He hadn't shaved for a while. Since going out after Fat Fuck actually. The thought of what had happened to him made him smirk and he regretted it instantly.

Thatta boy. That's the old Liam. Why take the pill? It'll take your edge. Your difference.

I can't think clearly with you there. You're not an edge. You're....sick.

His thoughts returned to Emma. Hopefully she'd fallen asleep. He doubted it, but it would be better. The Voice wouldn't give up without a fight and he didn't want her to hear it.

The struggle.

Yet he did though. Deep down, he did.

He wanted someone to hear the struggle. To share it with him. Like Jess had.

When she was alive.

He looked at himself in the mirror.

You're fucked.

No argument there. Hehehe.

He shook his head. He opened the bottle and tipped it slightly. The little blue pill fell out onto the palm of his hand. It was so small, but it could do so much. It's promise, just it's promise was nearly enough. He hadn't taken one for a while. He'd wanted the edge. The difference. He couldn't go around getting people like Fat fuck without that. The Palanozol tempered that.

Or could he?

Maybe he was damn good, regardless of what they'd done to him. Maybe he could be effective and not be....

....a killer. A monster.

"You're the devil in disguise...."

Elvis again. Did that old dude have a song for everything?

Maybe he could do his work and be normal, whatever the fuck normal was.

Emma didn't seem to be afraid of him. Maybe it was because he'd saved her.

So far.

When the shit came down, would she be able to cope with it. Her situation was an excuse for him. Ok, it was more than that, but the truth of it was, her plight gave him a reason to hit back. To make a final last attempt at getting everyone to realize what was going on. That this was no way to live. No way to exist.

Exist. That's all people were doing. They were existing for the benefit of others. Gullible. Scared. Ignorant people.


We'll I'll make you see, whether you like it or not. I'll take the blindfolds off and then it's up to you. But at least I can say, "I did something." It might have been wrong. It might have been stupid, but I did. Something.

There was an old saying in Australia when he was growing up.

Don't leave it to your mates, do it for your mates.

None of these people were his mates. These gullible climbers who believed that existing was enough. But they didn't deserve this and he had to do something.


He put the pill on his tongue, closed his mouth and looked at himself in the mirror a final time. His eyes stared back, an infinite reflection of glass onto cornea onto glass. No, not reflecting. Refracting. Bending. Twisting. Would he ever find the real Hansen again? The one that swam with his friends. That kicked a football. That loved the sun? His eyes started to moisten and well up so he turned and left the bathroom. He switched off the lights in the room, not looking at Emma. He could hear the low hum of the fridge and the rumbling of the electric buses on the surface.

He walked to the bed, navigating the short distance easily. He pulled the sheets back on the bed and slowly slid in, hoping that Emma would still be asleep. She would pretend she was anyway to save arguments.


He left his clothes on. He still didn't want to make her feel uncomfortable, even after all they'd been through. He lay on his back, staring at the ceiling, but not seeing it. There was only darkness.

The pill was still on his tongue.

You don't have to do it.

I do.


I have to do good, by being good.


To you.

She's gonna die. You know that, don't you. And you probably will too. Dickhead.

I have to try.

You won't win. You'll kill all your friends. Those fucking humans up there don't give a shit. They're happy with the handouts they're given.

I don't care.

Fuck, Liam. You could still be with the government. Be one of the lucky ones.


He swallowed the pill.

You're a cunt, Hansen.


The Voice was getting lower.

You'll regret this....


He didn't care how it looked or what she would think. He rolled over and placed his arm over Emma and snuggled against her back. He pulled her close, his arm fully encircling her, only the t shirt between her bare body and his arm. He lowered his head a little so that his nose was buried in her hair. She smelt good. Like a woman. Different to him.

Tighter he pulled her. He would be crushing her soon if he didn't stop increasing the pressure.


The Voice was fading.

But he would be back.

He wouldn't give up.


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