Hailey didn’t feel the needle being jammed into her neck. Sensation was still working its way into her body when the bag was removed and she was pushed forward. Only instinct saved her from falling flat on her face and breaking her nose. Dust coughed up around her as she smacked shoulder-first into the ground. Other puffs filled the air to her left and right. For a minute, the debris in the air was enough to obscure the weak moonlight trying to peak through the broken windows to her right.
“Get them on their feet,” a harsh voice ordered from the darkness.
Hailey’s mind was still fuzzy, and her vision was off. Her mouth tasted like she’d hadn’t had a drink in three days, and in the meantime, someone had used it as a fart box. She gagged at the taste in her mouth and tried to move her tongue around to create a bit of saliva. That only made the taste worse, and she dry heaved. However long she’d been out, it was enough for her to have an empty stomach.
“Pay attention.” The harsh voice’s command was followed by the soul of flesh hitting flesh. Hailey knew what someone being slapped sounded like, and that one sounded like there was some power behind it. “Good.” Whoever had pissed off the voice was being compliant now.
“Ladies,” the speaker raised the volume of her voice as she strode out to where they all could see her. “It’s time to make a choice.”
Hailey’s vision had cleared enough that she saw other women looking around confused at the statement of the woman who was clearly in charge. Hailey focused on that woman because she didn’t want to get slapped.
Whoever she was, she wasn’t from around here! She wore expensive smartcloth that had conformed into a pant suit. Her hair was the color of rust, and woven into a single braid that wound over her shoulder and nearly down to her waist. She was not beautiful, handsome was a better word, but her body was built for a gravity-heavy world. To the emaciated PHA women, she looked like a god, and the gun hanging from a magnetic shoulder holster only emphasized that.
No one spoke as the woman made her declaration, and it seemed that was the right move. “I’m going to give you an opportunity to prove yourself. An opportunity to make something of yourselves. Each of you was gathered because you can look the part.”
A quick scan by Hailey showed that everyone was reasonably attractive, and if not attractive enough, had natural curves.
“Think of this as an audition. If you pass, I’ll feed you, clothe you, train you, and help you make more money than you ever imagined. Everything you’ve wanted in your lives can be yours. You’ll have power for the first time in your lives. All you have to do is work for it.” She looked around at her audience, whose attention she firmly grasped. “If you fail, then you have to go.” She snapped her finger, and the door behind her opened up.
Hailey counted as a line of shackled men stumbled into the room. Armed guards guided them, sometimes forcefully, until they were lined up in front of Hailey and her compatriots. The man directly in front of Hailey smelled like piss, which she knew was recent based on the staining of his pants. Most of his teeth were gone, and his gums were blacker than the night around them.
<Junkie.> Hailey knew the look even before a shiver seemed to shake the man from head to toe. <And in withdrawl on top of that.>
“Here’s your test.” The woman stepped back as the armed guards walked down the lines and yanked down the men’s pants. “The first five of you to release these waste of humanities’ bodily fluids gets a private audience with me. The next twenty five get a free ride out of the PHA. The remaining fifteen have to stay here, but you’ll be taken care of. The last five,” her face scowled at anyone who dared be in that grouping. “You’ll be made an example of.”
<What the fuck?!> Hailey knew what the woman was asking. She wanted the fifty women in the room to blow the fifty men in the room to show their aptitude. That confirmed Hailey had been grabbed by black hats and sold into some sex trade bullshit. This always wasn’t the first time she’d been forced to give sexual favors in lieu of something much worse.
Hailey looked at the guy she was supposed to blow and gaged despite herself. She was pretty sure the guy couldn’t get hard if his life depended on it, much less hers. He was a junkie to the core. At some point, he’d stopped being able to find a vein to shoot up with his drug of choice. It showed the man’s true desperation that there were needle marks on his dick. This guy was so hooked on whatever that he’d mutilated himself. There was no way Hailey was going to be able to do what the woman wanted her. There was no way she was every going to get out of the PHA, have money, power, or anything else she wanted in life. She was going to be in the bottom five and made an example of.
Hailey looked left and right to see women going to town on their assigned men with varying levels of experience. They looked desperate, and the guys either looked high or in withdrawal. Whoever the woman was who’d brought them her, she’d clearly scooped from the bottom of the barrel.
Anger bubbled in Hailey’s gut as she saw one woman succeed as a man gasped in pleasure. One of the guards grabbed her and led her over to stand behind their boss. Hailey looked at that woman’s triumphant smile and wanted to bash her face in.
Hailey didn’t do anything she didn’t want to anymore. If she had to die for that, so be it. She wasn’t going to be a part of some psycho’s sick game. She was going to go out on her own terms. <Fuck all you motherfuckers.>
She reached down into her boot and pulled out a serrated bit of metal. The man in front of her was oblivious to the danger as he swayed on his feet. He looked like he was about to collapse. She was surprised he could even stand, but thankful. It would be harder to do what she wanted to do if he was on his ass.
Hailey lashed out with all the speed the PHA had instilled in her. The metal flashed forward and neatly sliced to tip of the guy’s dick off. At first, the guy didn’t do anything. Then, it was like he was waking up from a deep sleep. He opened his eyes, blinked a dozen times as his drug-addled mind tried to make sense of what his body was telling his brain, and then he screamed.
He looked down at his partially-severed appendage, screamed for another second, and then collapsed. Blood continued to spurt from the end like the guy was taking a piss. Hailey had barely barked out a laugh before the guards were on her. One hit her hard from behind, forcing her back onto her face. The second got a hold of her wrist and torqued it to the point she thought it was going to snap. It didn’t, but the metal shiv she’d used to remove a chunks of the junkie’s manhood fell to the floor. The guard scooped it up and secured it, while the second guard wrenched her arms painfully behind her back and hauled her to her feet. Surprisingly, he didn’t take her out back and put one in the back of head like a rabid dog. Instead, he half-dragged, half-carried her to the front of the room to stand by the boss woman and the woman who could apparently win a gold if blowjobs were an Olympic sport. The sucker gave her a look that she’d just sucked on a lemon, while the boss woman just smiled.
“I did just say bodily fluid. I didn’t specify what,” the boss woman said softly enough that only the two victors heard.
If Hailey hadn’t just cut off the junkie’s dick to stay alive, she might have thought it was funny. Instead, she felt a cold shiver pass over her. She still had no idea who this woman was, but it was clear as day she shouldn’t be fucked with.
None of the other woman seemed to take the hint as they continued to work the dicks of the worthless men in front of them. One by one, they finished until only six women remained. All six were crying at this point. None of the men were even hard anymore. Finally, one of the women growled in frustration and bit down…hard. The man screamed, and punched the woman hard in the head with one hand while trying to cover his bleeding dick in another. A loud crack made Hailey jump as a bullet cleanly slid in the back on the man’s head and punched out a much larger hole in the vicinity of his forehead. It was hard to tell, since it was just a mess of brain and bone at this point. Ten more loud cracks echoed as the remaining five women and men were executed by the guards. That left Hailey and the twenty-nine other women standing with the boss woman.
“Everyone look at them.” The boss woman gestured to the men who’d just received various degrees of sexual pleasure.
Hailey took a good look and saw that most of them weren’t too different from the guy she’d refused to suck off. They looked like addicts or other various versions of sketchy individuals. If she was right, Hailey guessed that each of these guys had done something to piss someone powerful off. She just couldn’t guess why getting their rocks off was some type of penance.
“From this point on you will no longer be slave to any man. You will be part of something greater than yourself. You will be expected to work, to earn your keep, but you will be protected. Men will work for you to keep you safe.” The boss woman waved her hand and the room was filled with gunfire.
Nearly a dozen of the forty-five remaining men had their head blasted open before the rest knew what was happening. They tried to scatter, but with their legs restrained, they were only able to waddle a few meters before they caught a bullet. In thirty seconds there were forty five less scum balls in the PHA.
<So it wasn’t penance but a last meal.> Hailey shrugged. She’d seen people die, and even killed a person in self-defense before. She didn’t have any empathy for these assholes.
“Take them. Give them a hot meal, a soft bed to sleep on, and something pretty to wear.” The boss lady ordered, and the guards, turned executioners, gathered up the women and started to lead them out of the room. “Not you.” The boss lady stopped Hailey and the four other women who completed their task first. “You five are with me.”
Hailey didn’t argue. She followed the larger woman out the back door and into a fancy air-limo that cost more than she’d be able to make in five lifetimes. Inside, the subtle nano-fibers conformed to her body. Sweet aromas in the air made her head swim for a second while she adjusted. Then she smelled the booze. Not the shitty distilled crap they made in the depths of the PHA. This smelled like the legit scotch from Scotland province or bourbon from Kentucky sector. Hailey reached for it, but stopped. She looked up to find the boss woman smiling at her. It wasn’t a happy smile. It was a predatory one.
“Feel free.” She waved at the impressive bar that was equipped with snacks.
Hailey greedily snatched at anything within arm’s reach. She didn’t even feel the air-limo lift off the ground and head away from the PHA. If she missed that, she sure as shit missed the guards tossing accelerant on the abandoned building and burning it to the ground to cover their tracks.