A/N: CAUTION! This chapter has a lot of adult language and themes. You have been warned.

Chapter 12: The Cane and the Gun

I had a surge of fear and adrenaline when I saw Wolf's wrinkly, boxy face. As soon as I got a good look at him, he stood up again out of view, waving at one of his men to come around to my side of the crashed truck and retrieve me.

"Ryder… Ryder, wake up…" I tried to shake his arm a little to rouse him, but he was out. His head was bleeding as was a good chunk of his right arm and shoulder. This was a nightmare and I couldn't help but wonder if this was the last night I would ever have. What did I last say to Ryder?

"Ryder, please…" I pleaded, shaking him some more. This was my nightmare.

A large, toady man managed to get my passenger's side door open, and tried to drag me out of the car. My hand was still attached to Ryder's limp wrist, and I wouldn't let go for anything.

"Wait!" I pleaded to the brunette, burly man trying to drag me out by the shoulders. "Ryder! We don't know if Ryder's hurt! Please, he may need to go to a hospital!"
Wolf was laughing in his hooting way with the other men as the toady one pried my hands off Ryder, who was still unconscious.

I could now see there were at least five others with him, all of which were built like linebackers. All of them carrying various crude weapons like chains and bats, but Wolf held a gun.

"A hospital?" Wolf's laughter slowed enough for him to get words out. "Who'dja think was the one that hit your car here, little girl? You think I really intended for Ryder to be healthy after that? Though, I must say, him havin' you along with him was a bit of a surprise. Glad you came out fine or that could've been a real headache to cover up, couldn't it, boys?"

The others laughed again I now noticed that one of the men had a large black canvas bag over his shoulder. Was that a body bag? Were they planning on killing Ryder tonight? My eye immediately threatened tears, but were stayed on account of all the shock I was in. I could barely register what was around me. It was like I was so scared I was getting tunnel vision. Was I going to faint?

"Needless to say, this does change a few things."

Wolf started to eye the barrel of his gun, fingering the silencer on the tip. It was a beastly looking silver thing, and it rattled intimidatingly as he moved it around.

"Ya see," Wolf shifted in his stance like he wanted to pace around but fought against it. "Ryder wasn't happy just walkin' away and goin' straight, no… he started talkin' to my other boys, and 'fore I knows it, wouldn't ya know, I lose five dealers in less than four months. That's when I realize that this piece of shit son been alive too long. Problem is that he's been reeeeaal careful about hidin' where his crackwhore mama is. "

Wolf came up close to me, and I could smell the stink of alcohol and sweat on him like an assault on my nose.

"But YOU know where she is, don't you? Cuz you mean a whole hell of enough for my boy to want to take ya home to meet her, I see."

He put his face near my face, and I nearly gagged on the stench. Like someone had died by chemical burn.

"So, where is she?"

I wasn't trying to be brave. I would have given it up immediately out of fear. I had a real problem, because I really and truly did not know. Ryder had drove, I had zoned out. I knew a general direction, but in no way could I know my way back even if I tried.

I might die for this.

What did I last say to Ryder? Was it even kind? I wish I had told him that I loved him. I wish I had told him that every day since I met him. God, I loved him.

He needed to wake up before his father shot me. He needed to wake up so I could tell him that before his father murdered me.

I didn't know the answer.

Wait… wait. His father had just got through saying he couldn't kill me. No, I might be getting out of this alright.

But that bodybag…

I saw Ryder begin to stir on the hood of the car. The clinking of glass falling off him was heard as he started to get up.

"Oh, look who finally decided to join us!" Wolf sang out, drunkenly stumbling around in his amusement. He let Ryder take his time rising up, gathering his surroundings. He noticed Ryder fishing around the front seat for his cane, before getting to his feet.

"Oh that's just perfect," Wolf said, motioning with his free hand to Ryder's legs. "That last fall made you a gimp, did it, Son? That's just swell."

Ryder glared fire in his eyes and scowled in a manner that I had never seen on him before.

"I'm not your son, you worthless filth."

Wolf marched right up to Ryder and grabbed the cane out of Ryder's hands, then swung it like a baseball bad to his bad leg. Ryder cried out in pain, falling to his hands and knees. Wolf then grabbed Ryder by the hair, and lifted his head up to direct his eyes right at me.

"You see that pretty lil' girl over there? Look at her. With those big ol' squirrel cheeks and those cute lil' doe eyes… That one you like so Goddamn much? I'm real glad you brought her along. Aren't you?"

I heard a crony giggle. Ryder met eyes with me, and I could see his fear in them. Knowing he was afraid only made me more terrified. All I could do was stand there and watch, gasping for breath that refused to come to my lungs.

"Seems you have a choice to make, Son," Wolf said near his face.

"Alright," Ryder agreed immediately, waving away Wolf's hold on his hair and Wolf let him. "I'll leave everything to do with the circuit alone. Just let us walk and I'll ghost. It'll be like I never existed."

"That's just about the opposite of what I want!" Wolf laughed. "I either want you useful to me or I want you dead, boy, you don't get that by now?!"

Wolf starting coming towards me again, and my breath caught in my throat. I felt sick and my hands wouldn't hold still with my shaking nerves on edge.

"What are you going to do, Wolf?" Ryder's voice was still commanding and brave. The elbow of his sleeve was ripped and his right hand had road burn from falling on the asphalt. "You won't kill me, because you know you need me. Especially since I just depleted your ranks in three different counties. And you can't kill her. You can't have that to deal with. So, what are you doing?"

"The way I see it," Wolf went on. "There ain't any other reason for me to have a son. You did me proud once, kid. Everyone knows we had our best numbers when you were working for me, trying to prove yourself to dear ol' dad. I know you just need the proper…" Wolf touched my face and I was too paralyzed by raw fear to move away. "Push… to do it again. That's why finally I came here to do it myself. Talk some sense into you, man to man."

Ryder and I locked eyes again. I shook my head no.

No, Ryder. Don't do it…

Ryder lifted his nose up defiantly, glaring toward Wolf with a newfound bravery. He pained himself to stand on his feet again without his cane, but managed it, and called after his father trying to command his attention again.

"Hey, you drunken prick, you think you the Big Bad Wolf again just because you got your filthy ass off the Lazy Boy and roughed up an already injured kid? You want some of this, asshole, come get it! You hear me, you fat, old cocksucker? Come here! Go ahead! Hit me again!"

Wolf nodded, digesting his words. With a sudden force, Wolf hit Ryder again with his own cane. Ryder's ear leaked immediately with gushes of blood, but he didn't cry out this time. Wolf handed the cane to one of his minions.

Wolf came back to look me in the eyes again, coming close to rub my shoulder in a way that made me extremely uncomfortable.

"Do you see there, what he's doin'?" Wolf asked me with an amused nod. "Tryin' to throw empty insults at me to get my attention back on him, cuz that's exactly where he wants it. Cuz if it's on him, it's not on you. You see, he's smart, he knows I got a thing about lil' young innocent girls… Ooo… they get me all kinds of riled up… So, tell me, sweetheart: Has my boy here gotten all up inside of this yet? Be honest now…"

His cronies chuckled some more, and I couldn't think of much besides that smell, barely registering his words as my mind swirling into a mush of fear, and I could see Ryder shifting his weight furiously, like an attack dog on a leash.

Wolf laughed at me too, and I could feel my stomach somersault at his hot breath. I gulped, and my mind raced. Sweat beads rolled down my temples.

"You love him, don't you?" Wolf went on to me, like he was genuinely confused. "You love my son?"

I watched my own tears fall from my own nose to the black street below me, as I nodded. Somewhere inside of me I was somewhat relieved that I was getting to communicate that to Ryder, in what might be my last opportunity to.

"Aw, that's sweet," Wolf trailed his thumb under my eye to wipe some of the wet away from them. He he pulled me closer to him by the neck, his eyes going serious again. For some reason, whatever my reply was to his question was very important to him. "Now answer me, have you let him dick you yet, or no?"

"Fuck you! Don't you touch her, Wolf!" Ryder was livid, spitting as he spoke. "Get your fat fingers off her right now! RIGHT NOW!"

"The way Ryder sounds right now, I'd say that would be a no," Wolf answered his own question. "He knows I got this sixth sense, you see, I can smell the virginal a mile off… It's a talent I always did possess."

Ryder looked ready to blow a fuse.

"LOOK AT ME, you SICK BASTARD!" Ryder bellowed. "I am NOT going with you anywhere. And you are NOT going to lay one single, greasy finger on her. LOOK AT ME, you FILTHY PRICK!"

Wolf obeyed, looking right at his son, sweeping me under his gun arm to stick the side of my face on his chest, near his armpit. I thought his breath was bad, apparently smells can always get worse. I felt the cold metal of the pistol even through my shirt.

"You really want to try me right now, gimpy?" Wolf asked with rage. "Don't tempt me, you lil' shit. Don't you tempt me, because you have seen firsthand what I am capable of. You wanna see me stick my cock so far up in your girl that she got my tip for teeth? Is that what you wanna see? IS IT?! Then SHUT UP AND STOP DICKIN' AROUND. You know what, nevermind. I'm going to do it anyway and teach you a Goddamn lesson-"

Several things happened at once then, as I saw Wolf's hands reaching for his waist, tearing his belt buckle apart and moving on to the button of his strained jeans, while Ryder was already moving, exploding with adrenaline like he had never had an injury in his leg before in his life, plowing past a thug trying to stop him. Since Wolf's hands were busy elsewhere, I was ducking away, and didn't see when Ryder collided with his huge father. All I heard was the sound of Ryder's cane falling to the floor, the same moment a gunshot went off towards me.

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