Broken Bits(3)

By: Kel O Connor

It’s silly and superstitious, but black is the color of bad deeds, Kit thought as a shiver traced her spine. Why couldn’t he at least be wearing something white? Or a “Hello My Name is Good Guy” label on his jacket? Trying to make as little noise as possible, she edged around his inert body until she could see his face.

The bottom half of his face was covered in short beard stubble, coated in areas with drying blood. Even white teeth peeked through where his swollen lips parted. Upon a closer look, she saw that two of his bottom teeth were crowded, crooked. That small imperfection made her feel more at ease. There was dried blood on his chin, and he was sporting a black eye. That and his busted lip must have happened earlier, judging by the color and swelling.

The guy had taken a beating, but he was still breathing. She could see the rise and fall of his chest under a gray t-shirt. Her own breath whooshed out in relief.

She inched closer, still holding out the pepper spray, her finger steady on the trigger. She nudged his shoulder with the toe of her hiking boot. She took a deep breath, ready to run if he should suddenly grab her.

“Hey!” Kit tried to keep her voice firm and sharp. “Are you okay? Wake up!”

The man groaned in response and turned his head to face the bright blue sky. Kit made an involuntary panicked noise when she saw that the other side of his face was covered in fresh blood.

Cursing freely under her breath, she quickly put down her defense spray and grabbed the rope she had brought. Tying his hands together with the rope, she saw that his knuckles were bruised, the skin abraded on his right hand. She had to wonder who looked worse – the fallen man or the person he’d fought. As soon as she had him secure, she ran back to fetch the first aid kit out of her pack.

Fuck! Where was it? She fumbled through the main compartment where she had thrown the supplies. When she finally found the small nylon case, she dropped it twice before tucking it under her arm. Hurrying back to the injured man, she managed to get the case open and find the pack of sterile gauze.

“This is what you get for being fucking bored,” Kit chastised herself as she tried to find the source of the blood.

Luckily, it did not take long. The small gash was just outside his hairline. She applied pressure with one hand and used more gauze to wipe the blood off his face with the other.

“Wake up,” she pleaded, hoping to see his lashes flicker in response, but the man remained still.

His clothing was non-descript and well-made. Not shiny or cheap. The combat-style boots on his feet were worn. She could see the creases in the leather around his ankles. Was he a cop? Undercover agent? Mercenary? Did such people really exist outside of books and movies?

“Wake up!” Kit patted his arm in frustration as she tried to control her runaway imagination.

She needed to stop reading so many mysteries and thrillers. While her reality seemed surreal now, she had not imagined the helicopter. As far as she knew, it could be headed back for them right now. Discarding the gauze she had been using to wipe his face, she laid her hand on his chest and shook him. Hard muscles moved under her hand as he coughed.

The man groaned, and this time she noticed his eyelashes flicker. She held her breath as his eyes slowly opened. They squinted up into the bright morning sky before shifting to her.

Wow, Kit thought as she reached for the pepper spray with her free hand. Gorgeous eyes. His eyes were a few shades darker than the sky and framed with dark lashes. Even though one eye was bruised and puffy, they were still striking. As they met hers, she was held in place by his gaze as he studied her in confusion.

Excruciating pain in his body brought Mick slowly back to consciousness. His senses quickly told him he was outside. He smelled clean air and dirt. He heard leaves fluttering and the far-off cry of a bird. Bright light pulsed behind his eyelids, signaling that it was daytime.

Good Lord, where was he? The last thing he recalled was fighting with Peck’s goons. That had been at night in downtown Chicago. He must be far from there, since there were no sounds of humans at all. Christ! How long had he been out? How injured was he?

Every part of his body throbbed, especially his head. Fortunately, nothing stood out, so he was hopeful that there were no broken bones or internal injuries. He should get up. Mick knew this but still hesitated. His assignment had turned into a cock-up when he’d been discovered. Now it appeared it had taken an even worse turn.