Click the link to catch up with ASAS: Consequence–Chapter Five.
The conversation Ryan had just had with Shaz resounded in his head as he walked in the direction of Sharkey’s abode. It had been a morning just like any other that had taken place over the last couple of months: acrobatic sex; a wash; a light breakfast with coffee. Even the fact they’d conversed over breakfast was normal. What wasn’t normal was the particulars of the conversation.
“Have you heard anything about the research your friends have been doing?” Shaz asked.
“No. Why? Should I have done?”
“I was just wondering if you knew anything because it all seems a bit hush hush.”
“Maybe Sharkey thinks it’s best people don’t know anything until there’s something worth knowing.”
“Yeah, probably.” Shaz daintily sipped down a gulp of coffee. “That woman who was with you, the immune one—she doesn’t look in a good way.”
Georgina! Ryan did a good job of looking unmoved. He hadn’t seen her since the early days of joining Sharkey. He’d tried unsuccessfully to talk to her and she’d only reiterated her stance that her hands were washed of him. “How so?”
“She’s lost a lot of weight and looks really pale.”
“What are they doing with her?”
“As I say, I don’t know. If I know Sharkey then I’d say the tests are pretty ruthless and frequent. He’ll want that vaccine as soon as possible.”
“Doubt she’ll be of much use to him if she’s malnourished and ill,” Ryan muttered, unable to keep a trace of irritation out of his voice this time.
Shaz held up her hands. “Don’t shoot the messenger, baby! I’m just telling you what I know.”
“Yeah… sorry. What about Jay? Do you know anything of him?”
“He’s being starved until he agrees to cooperate.”
“They give him some scraps once a week to make sure he doesn’t, like, y’know… die, or whatever. He’s a stubborn fuck, not that I think anybody expected any less.”
Ryan made a few more minutes worth of small talk before giving his excuses and leaving. He had to speak to Sharkey and find out why he was treating Jay and Georgina the way he was.
A few minutes later, he arrived at Sharkey’s domicile that he used when he was taking downtime, which was fairly regularly. The response to enter came shortly after a few quick, hard raps on the door. He went in to find Sharkey on a couch with two half naked women draped all over him.
“Ryan, lad! Good to seeya!”
“How’s it going, boss?”
“Workin’ hard as ever,” Sharkey gave a suggestive wink. “To what do we owe this pleasure?”
“Unfortunately, this isn’t a social call. We have something we need to discuss.”
The smile vanished from Sharkey’s face and he nodded with comprehension. “Right, off you fuck ladies! Go and take a shower or summat.” He beckoned Ryan to take a seat on the couch next to him, uncaring that his robe was open almost down to his manhood. He crossed his pasty white and mildly hairy legs. “What’s goin’ on?”
“I was hoping you might be able to tell me.”
“Pretty sure you should know everythin’ I’ve had to tell.”
“Probably not everything I might want to know though.”
“Let’s not piss about playin’ games, eh? What’s up?”
“Jay and Georgina.”
“What about ‘em?”
“Apparently, Jay’s getting starved and Georgina’s in a state too.”
“What’s the deal? I never agreed to them getting treated like this when I joined up with you.”
“I don’t recall you disagreein’ either.”
“Now who’s playing games?”
“Jay’s gettin’ starved ‘cause I’d rather t’little food we have get eaten by people who wanna be here. I’m hopin’ a lack o’ food might make him see sense eventually. As for Georgina, you of all people should know what a stubborn bitch she is. Like Jay, she has to learn t’step in line.”
Ryan sighed and then sucked his teeth with frustration. “This ain’t cool, Sharkey!”
“I beg your fucking pardon?!” Sharkey blared angrily. “Exactly who d’you think you’re talkin’ to?”
“I’m sorry boss, but my friends—”
“Your friends? You mean the people you sold down t’river to save your own arse? Make your mind up what you are, Lloyd: are you a loyal mate or a man who survives at any cost?”
“I know I’m not the most loyal of people. Doesn’t mean I wanna see harm come to those I care about. Jay’s a good bloke, and Georgina…” Ryan trailed off. “I’m asking as a personal favour: please don’t make them suffer.”
Sharkey stood and looked down on Ryan with a scowl etched on his face. “I did you a favour when I first met you. Not only did I not kill you for trespassin’ on my property, I accepted you into my fold. I’d say, if anyone here owes someone a favour, you still owe me!”
Ryan stayed quiet; he realised he was playing a dangerous game and his silver tongue wasn’t going to get him out of this one. Sharkey had no doubt dealt with people like him on a regular basis before the apocalypse kicked in.
“You’re a valuable asset,” Sharkey continued. “Just remember that that’s all you are: an asset. You’re my foot soldier. I can make you my footstool if I want to. If you try comin’ in here again makin’ demands, I’ll put you exactly where Jay is now. Get it, kidder?”
All Ryan could do was nod and swallow the insatiable urge to rip Sharkey’s head clean off.
“I can see you’re a proud man, Ryan. Pride has no place here and it don’t wash wi’ me. Ego definitely doesn’t! You’re my bitch; don’t you ever fuckin’ forget it!”
Sharkey was poking him now in order to see if he’d rise to it, Ryan knew. He also knew better than to bite. Pick your battles, he told himself. He looked at Sharkey with a forced look of subordination. “Message received, boss. I’m sorry.”
Placing his hands on his hips, Sharkey expelled an exaggerated breath of air and then returned to his seat with a thud. “Yeah, whatever. Fuck off!”
Ryan rose to his feet and left without another word or glance in Sharkey’s direction.
TO BE CONTINUED
Read ASAS: Consequence–Chapter Seven now!