I should probably mention that there is a lot of crude language in here. Kind of forgot that not everyone knows about the R rating on the Bedlam series. Sorry about that.
Trapped within the shipping container, Lloyd is unable to avoid the firehose blasts that knock him to the ground. Stripped of his clothes and shivering beneath the icy barrage, he refuses to stop singing an old cartoon theme song. When his body has gotten used to the cold, he uses the wall to stand up and pretends to bathe himself. The firehoses turn off when the guards realize that they are having no effect on their new slave, who skips over to them and dries his face on a woman’s shirt. Even with his face covered, Lloyd is able to catch the wrist of a guard and stop the man’s punch. Pressing his thumb into a pressure point, the serial killer finishes drying off before dislocating the arm. The others move to restrain him, but stop when he knocks their coworker out with a heel to the temple.
“Anybody have a towel? It’d be rude to molest this lady any further,” Lloyd says, pulling the female guard by her shirt. Coming to a window, he grips her by the neck to hurl her out of the building and into the river. “That’s for darting me in the sausage. Be thankful I’m not in much of a killing mood today.”
“A hideous man like you should be nicer to the pretty ones,” a silky voice states over an intercom. A burst of static is followed by a curse, the man on the other side having hit a wrong button. “I usually don’t waste much time with overused refuse like yourself. Better to kill a maniac after a day since they rarely sell. The only thing keeping you alive, Mr. Tenay, is that you have a reputation. I see that the warden of Riker’s Island still wants you as well as a few warlords that you managed to anger over the last year. There’s also the possibility of selling you to Battle Mountain.”
“Oh no! Anything, but Battle Mountain. I’d never survive in a place like that,” the killer mockingly complains before cackling. Still in need of a towel, he picks up a chair to knock out a guard and takes his shirt to dry off. “Been there, done that, and have a sweet fan following. I hope you can threaten better than that, Mr. Dick-less. Hiding in an office while I mess with your guards. Did you tell them to play nice with me or are they as gutless as you? Then again, they’re actually in the room with me.”
The cracking of knuckles can be heard over the loudspeaker, followed by the faint sound of someone counting to ten. “You have a mouth on you. I have another bounty on your head that is rather odd. An Emily Tenay wishes for your safe return. That your mother or wife? Not much money in that one, but it is curious.”
“Never heard of her.”
“Just a coincidence then?”
“Yes. I have no knowledge of this sexy, pants optional, mega-crazy woman that haunts my nightmares.”
“Wait . . . What?”
“So, you do know her.”
“Not in the biblical sense.”
“What does that mean?”
The intercom goes silent and a door on the other side of the warehouse opens with an echoing bang. A large, bald man wearing shorts and an open dress shirt by the cages, the slaves inside reaching out to their captor. He uses a backscratcher and an umbrella to smack at their hands, his face a mask of disgust. The man screams when one of the prisoners touches the circular scar on his chest. Pulling a machinegun off his back, the slave trader fires at the imprisoned young man until he is satisfied. He runs his hand along the collection of keychains that dangle from the weapon, the gentle clinking calming him down. Using the backscratcher on his scar, he continues toward Lloyd, who is standing with his hands on his hip and not a scrap of clothing. The guards quickly move to stand in two lines and create a straight path to the unruly captive.
“Nobody mocks the Blonde,” the slave trader growls when he gets within a few steps of the serial killer. Putting his umbrella on a chair, the man hits the backscratcher against his palm to make a loud smack. “Business has been slow, so finding a valuable bounty is just what I need to stay in the game. The Redhead and the Brunette insult me with their success. People always want women and kids, but men are only good for hard labor and violence. The attractive ones keep scarring themselves to avoid the sex trade, which angers me. Now, you’re going to behave or I’m going to kill you.”
“Why do they call you the Blonde?” Lloyd asks, accepting clothes from a guard. The tight shirt and baggy pants make him feel ridiculous, but he gets the sense that rejecting them would start the fight early. “Do you run a catering business or have a husband who can dislocated his jaw to eat sandwiches? Sorry, wrong name there. Though, I do wonder if the carpet matches the drapes. If so, you’re a lot braver than I am. Even thinking about putting a knife near the personal firehose makes me shudder.”
“Shut up!” the Blonde snaps, smacking the other man across the face.