Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1)

BOOK: Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1)
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SONGBIRD

 
 
 
 
 

To
Travis, Lola Eve & Silvie-lace … my true loves

 
 
 
 
 

SONGBIRD

 
 
 

Jaymin Eve

Songbird

 

Copyright
© Jaymin Eve 2014

 

All
rights reserved

 

First
published in 2014

 
 

Eve,
Jaymin

Songbird

 

1st edition

 

No
part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or
transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in
writing of the publisher, nor be otherwise circulated in any form of binding or
cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition,
including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. All
characters in this publication other than those clearly in the public domain
are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely
coincidental.

 
 
 
 
 

Chapter 1

 
 

The smell in the room was
always the same, an intermingling of sweat, blood and death that tingled her
senses and left an imprint of every moment before. Melodee was used to it now,
but that first moment when she entered the arena was when the old memories
threatened to consume her. They never would, though, she had faced down far
worse than past pains, and now looked only forward, to the next town, the next
fight, and the next moment to run.

A
faceless, nameless man let her into the cage; the clanking of the door was loud
behind her. The screams, jeering and catcalls at these events never bothered
her. At five feet two, she was not the typical cage fighter, but in reality the
ability to be underestimated was an asset. No one thought her tiny build,
straight shoulder-length black hair and big blue eyes hid anything but a naïve
girl set to get her ass kicked.

Melodee
strode into the center, waiting for her opponent to appear. She didn’t play the
intimidation game, drawing out the moment. She simply needed the anonymous,
untraceable money. Unlike her parents, she didn’t get her kicks from hurting
people, and was proud of the fact she’d never killed in the ring. Plenty did
die down here. The underground fight circuit was not a place for the weak.

Finally,
Demon – the other fighter – was let into the cage. The hulking six foot blonde
was infamous in the Manhattan underground. So far undefeated in her last thirty
fights. Melodee took a moment to take in the flashy spandex suit of her opponent.
Melodee always wore a simple tank and shorts, close-fitted without any loose
material which could be used against her. That, and her wrist straps were all
she needed. Demon, on the other hand, had on a cape, a freaking red cape. The moron
had relied on her brute strength for far too long.

There
was no announcing here. Just a simple command and then they were alone in the
ring, and the fight only ended on knockout or death. Well, on the rare occasion
you could tap out, but then the crowd would probably kill you on your way out
of the cage.

“Pretty
little girl is going to die.”

Demon
started to circle around, her steps confident, arms hanging uselessly at her
side. She sneered, her bulbous nose which had to have been broken numerous
times dominating her entire face.

Melodee
didn’t move. She was a master of more fight styles than she even had names for,
although she didn’t have one formal qualification to her credit. She could end
this fight right now without blinking an eye. But the crowd wanted a show and
she made twice as much money if she drew it out for at least two rounds.

Demon
crossed the cage in three large strides and threw out her signature move, the
big haymaker swing. And if that had connected there was no doubt Melodee would
be out cold now. But it took no effort or energy for her to shift her stance
minutely, allowing the fist to fly right past her face. Demon’s gasp and
expression registered her surprise, but she was seasoned enough to know not to
stop coming at Melodee. The next few punches came faster, but Melodee had been
trained by fighters who made Demon look like an eighty year old ex-junkie; she
could dodge her slow ass all day. The jeers of the crowd increased, they wanted
to see blood. This defensive stance Melodee was taking did nothing but piss
them off.

Finally,
when she’d had enough of watching the useless woman lumber around the ring,
Melodee took a running start, hit the side of the cage, and using that as
leverage ran up the wall and flipped over to land behind Demon. Her leg shot
out and she snapped the side of Demon’s left knee. The crack was the first
sound, followed by a scream of pain as the blonde hit the ground. Before Demon
could blink, Melodee was on her back, and with two smooth moves she had the
larger woman’s right arm twisted behind her. Melodee held it in a position that
the slightest shift to the left would break the elbow joint.

“Do
you concede?” Melodee asked, leaning in close to her opponent’s ear.

Her
voice was low and sweet, like a songbird. Something her parents couldn’t have
known when they’d named her Melodee Lee. But it had become her ‘name’ in the
underground world, the Songbird. Demon roared and bucked, attempting to throw
off the surprisingly solid weight on her back. Melodee flipped backwards,
allowing the woman to limp awkwardly to her feet.

Two rounds
, Melodee reminded herself. She had been saving hard,
and this prize pool would give her enough to make it through the winter without
needing to fight again.

Demon’s
left leg was pretty much useless now, her features creased in determination as
she hopped across to attempt a wrestling dive. She flew forward and Melodee hit
the ground, bringing her opponent with her. She kept one hand attached to
Demon’s right wrist, and then with her legs she used this momentum to throw
Demon over her shoulder and onto the floor. The larger woman’s head snapped
back, cracking into the hard cement. Because the crowd expected it, Melodee
then flipped up to her feet and, straddling Demon, punched her reasonably hard
in her face. The crunch of cartilage was a sure sign that Demon had another
broken nose to add to her tally. Melodee leaned back from the first spray of
blood – the red splashing around like a macabre painting – before bouncing
upright and back onto her feet.

Melodee
knew that if she’d hit Demon at a slightly higher angle she would have sent
nasal cartilage into her brain and killed her, but that was always the last
resort. She was equipped with at least a dozen ways to kill a person within
seconds and without a weapon. That was her inheritance from parents, who had
been dead ten years now. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Demon
lumbered up again, looking worse for wear.

“I’m
going to kill you, bitch. You’re dead and you don’t even know it.”

Melodee
sighed. She preferred to fight the quiet ones. Brassy blondes like this loved
the empty threat, and she knew right then they weren’t going to make two
rounds. Demon swung out her bad leg somewhere in the vicinity of Melodee’s
mid-section. She dodged, her black hair swinging as she crossed behind Demon.
Using the wall for leverage again, Melodee gained enough height for a variation
of roundhouse and wheel kick. Her shin connected with Demon’s jaw, followed by
her foot. Sweat, blood and saliva flew across the cage as Demon’s head snapped
back; the cracking of her skull echoed through the cavernous room. Melodee
landed lightly on her feet, her expression unchanging as Demon hit the ground,
knocked out cold.

Guess
a cape didn’t give you superpowers.

Crossing
the cage, Melodee waited at the door to be let out. Dwayne, the organizer of this
event, knew her well. She’d been fighting in his comps for a few years, so he
gave her no grief. He just handed her the wad of cash and let her leave via the
back entrance. Her last view before the door shut behind her was of two men
dragging Demon out of the cage and dumping her in the corner. It was someone
else’s turn to fight now. Crossing into the alley to her right, Melodee
retrieved her pack, which she’d hidden under a mass of old packing boxes. She
didn’t have anyone to leave it with, and anything not tied down in the
underground disappeared. She had very few possessions, and having had most of
them taken from her at one point or another she was fiercely protective of what
she had left.

The
temperature was not much above freezing. She quickly shimmied into her pants,
boots, an old black shirt and thick dark coat. She made enough money now that
her clothes were quality and warm, although she didn’t have much variety. But
who was she dressing up for anyway? With a quick glance around, she left the
alley and headed toward downtown.

 

The bus had a damp smell to
it. It was old, and snow-covered-boots had turned the carpet into a soppy,
reeking mess. It was the morning after the fight and Melodee had hopped the
first bus she could find. It didn’t matter where it was going, she just always
made sure she didn’t stick around after an underground event.

The
man across the aisle with his slicked-back grease-ball of hair continued to
shoot glances in her direction. Any normal woman carrying a backpack with large
wads of cash would have been nervous, but Melodee recognized his type. He
wasn’t a threat, just an annoyance. Staring out the window, she watched as the hustle
and bustle of New York City disappeared, slowly fading out to suburbia and
finally the countryside. The further from the city they got, the more snow
filled the landscape. As she rested her head against the window pane – its
freezing cold seeping into her – Melodee fought the weariness. She would not be
able to sleep until she got far enough away and then found a dump of a motel
that required no credit card and wouldn’t look too closely at her
identification.

She
tried not to think about how damn tired she was of running. A real home was a
distant memory, and even those days had been tainted with blood, pain, and the
endless cycle of death. Her parents’ murder – by a sniper competing for the
same job – had set her free, but being only thirteen at the time she’d ended up
in the foster system. Her hands tightened reflexively on her backpack. Bouncing
around one home after another. One abusive man after another had honed her
skills until she no longer remembered the child she had been. Now she was
determined to remain independent and indebted to no one. Ever.

“Next
stop … Syracuse.”

The
driver’s mumbled words sounded over the bus speaker. Melodee straightened in
her seat. It had been a few hours; this was a good place to stay for the night.
The slime-ball followed her off the bus. She swung her pack onto her shoulders
and hoped he’d decide she was a lost cause. She started toward the small bus
station and he fell into step behind her. Great, he was too stupid to notice
her cold glares and decided lack of interest. He stayed practically on her ass
the entire way into the shelter. She was just pulling open the glass door when
he grabbed her wrist. She sighed. Time for a reality check.

Two
moves and she had retrieved her hand and had his locked back in an agonizing
position.

“What
the fu– ”

She
cut him off before he could continue; she hated that word.

“Never
touch a woman without her permission. Next time I’ll break your arm off and
beat you to death with it.”

She
was just kidding, she didn’t really have the strength to remove a limb – and it
was damn messy – but men like this needed big obvious threats. To reiterate her
point she pulled his thumb and wrist back another inch.

“Okay,
okay,” he gasped out in pain. “Sorry.”

She
released him and in an instant he was off running in the opposite direction,
his shoes sliding on the icy sidewalk. He was lucky she hadn’t broken his
wrist.

Melodee
grabbed the door again, stepping inside. The air was warm within the
glass-walled room. Condensation coated the inside of the glass, water droplets
streaming to form puddles on the floor. She unwound her gray scarf, letting it
fall over her shoulders. The red-haired man behind the counter looked up as she
halted a foot before the counter.

“Can
I help you?” His tone was polite, but his eyes registered interest as they
scanned her up and down.

“I’m
looking for an inexpensive place to stay.” Cheap places didn’t ask a lot of
questions and that suited her. She liked anonymity.

His
expression warmed, a grin spreading across his features. Melodee realized he
was only around her age, maybe a little older.

“This
here is a college town, there are a few places which would suit.” He rattled
off a couple of names, pulling out a map to give her an idea of where
everything was. “But really the temporary dorms at the college are the closest
to here.”

Melodee
was exhausted. She could have slept on the concrete floor. But college dorms,
that was the sort of scene where she could find trouble. And right now she had
no interest in that.

“Thanks,
the Motel 7 by the freeway seems fine.” In reality, she was heading to the
other one he’d mentioned, but she’d prefer he didn’t know that.

She
turned to leave the room.

“Wait…

She
halted, spinning to face him.

“There’s
a big party in the dorms tonight. My frat brothers are having their annual beer
bash. You should stop by if you have time.”

She
gave him a smile but didn’t say anything as she left. She didn’t make false
promises and nothing on this planet would get her to go to a college party.

 

It was afternoon by the time
Melodee walked the two miles to the Charmont Inn, an establishment that had a
fourteen year old manning the front desk. At thirty dollars for the night he
barely even glanced up, just handing her a key over the top of his video game.
Finding her room – on the ground floor, as she’d requested – she had to wiggle
and use her shoulder to get the door open. Stepping inside, it was the same as
a thousand other crappy rooms she’d stayed in. Twin beds, faded green
bedspreads, a faint smell of disinfectant and mold. The heater was wheezing in
the corner, but it was warm enough for her. Melodee dumped her pack on the bed
farthest from the door, then, noticing the shitty two dollar lock that wouldn’t
keep out anyone older than ten, decided to push the dresser in front of the
door. This would give her plenty of notice if someone tried to enter, and
having this security was the only way she would get any sleep.

BOOK: Songbird (A Sinclair Story #1)
3.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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