The Society - Elizabeth Knox
RAE B. LAKE
Rue Lennox & Angela Sanders
Sting of Pink
Ella Kade & Harlow Layne
RUE LENNOX & ANGELA SANDERS
No one ever accused me of being shy. In fact, at twenty-one years old, I was more likely to be arrested for more than simple mischief than anyone else in my life. What could I say? I was a sucker for all things dangerous—and bloody. A junky, really. A moth to a bloody flame.
That, and likely a mild case of insanity, were the only reasons I could find to explain why I’d grabbed my roommate Emma and dragged her out of our dorm instead of going to dinner. Just so I could watch the underground fight I’d heard about in my Ethics class, of all places. And it was so much better than I could have imagined.
Overhead lights directed at the ring washed out the crowd across from me, but I didn’t give a shit about them. I was mesmerized by the action, by the tangy, coppery scent of sweat and the bald guy’s blood.
The ring was way better than what I expected of an underground fight club, too. The ropes were taught and springy, the mat mostly white except for the spatter of crimson-red blood and the sweat stains soaking in from this fight. A giant “H” was stamped in the center of a circle, located in the middle of the ring. Apparently, “underground” didn’t mean second class.
Next to me a buxom blonde draped in a fur—too warm to wear in here—buried her face behind over-jeweled fingers at the crack of fists against skin.
“This is insane,” Emma shouted next to me, but I could barely hear her over the roar of the crowd.
If my mother were here, she’d probably say the same thing. In fact, I could practically hear it: Rylie Nichole Keller, one day your insanity and need to know why everything ticks is going to get you into trouble. Curiosity killed the cat, don’t you know?
If she could only see me now. It was definitely a good thing I’d decided to go to college over five hours away from home.
We were standing right on the edge of the ring where two men were engaged in war. There was no other word for it—not one I could summon from the depths of my mind at that moment. After all, the way they moved and danced around the ring brought forth images of wolves or lions about to decimate their opponent. Even though I wanted to tear my gaze away from the scene in front of me to reassure my roommate and friend, I couldn’t. She’d be fine hiding behind her hand for a few minutes.
The blood fascinated me. But there was something more than that, too. Something feral, deep in my soul, calling out to the brutality happening in that ring. It made my heart race, and my thighs began to quake with a need that I wasn’t even sure had existed earlier that day.
“You’re doing that psych thing again, aren’t you?” This time, Emma’s voice rang out right next to my ear, and I shifted to face the gorgeous woman I shared a dorm with and smiled.
If there was an award for the most Southern of Southern belles, Emma would Scarlett O’Hara herself into taking the prize. Her long, brown hair was pulled up in a ponytail that still managed to reach the middle of her back, swaying like a pendulum. I was surprised it hadn’t ended up in some drunk asshole’s cup. Her dark gaze surveyed the crowd, like she expected a monster was about to jump out and attack at any second. One day, one day I’d get her to completely relax around me. Standing in the middle of an underground fight might not be the best time to start, though. After all, we didn’t belong. We stood out—in a bad way.
I should have worn something else besides my Muck boots with jeans, but they were warm, and I had no idea the fight would take place in an actual building, and not in the middle of the woods. I guessed I really wasn’t in Maine anymore. Absently, I shoved my hands in the pocket of my hoodie to keep from fiddling with my long, brown hair, which I’d pulled into a messy bun on top of my head. I didn’t want to miss a second of the fight—even if only to flip my mop out of