by Jennifer Thompson
Vincent walked into Fathers chamber carrying his cloak. Placing his arm around Fathers head he gave him a quick kiss on the forehead.
"Going above tonight?" Father asked with a hint of disapproval in his voice.
"Yes. There is something drawing me up there tonight." Vincent said cautiously. He didnt wish to reveal too much just yet.
"Well." Father said with a heavy sigh. "Just make sure whatever it is doesnt let you stay up there too long."
Vincent had been going Above more and more often recently. He was sure Father was confused by this sudden interest in going Above, but he didnt want to reveal too much. Not until he was certain himself.
"Ill be careful Father." He said putting on his cloak. Walking to the threshold of the chamber he turned to look back. Father had already started reading his book again.
Catherine had stormed out of the party. "Just another excuse to for Tom to wine and dine the planning commission." She thought to herself as she walked out of the building. She was so tired of this lifestyle and feeling more and more like a fraud as the days went by. She just didnt know how to get herself out of it.
Walking quickly down the street she raised her arm up. "Taxi!" She yelled running into the street.
"Allow me." A man said coming up behind her. "Im an expert at this."
Walking into the street he yelled for a cab as well with no luck.
Turning around Catherine saw headlights pulling up next to her. A van with the doors opens. The man grabbed her by the shoulders.
"Going home alone tonight Carol?" He asked forcefully as he pushed her inside the van.
Falling down she tried to steady herself but another man already had a hold of her.
"Shh. Thats a good girl Carol." A third man said looking directly at her.
"My name is not Carol!" Catherine said beginning to protest.
"Shut up!" The man said pulling out a knife. "Youre going to remember this every time you look in the mirror."
Looking at the knife she shuddered in horror. She felt the blade move quickly across her face. Closing her eyes she heard the men laughing. Suddenly the van door opened. Keeping her eyes closed she felt them lift her up and throw her out of the van.
As soon as she hit the ground she felt a severe pain run through her midsection. Closing her eyes she felt the wet grass as she tumbled down an embankment.
Vincent walked out of the drainage ditch next to Central Park. He looked around quickly checking for homeless wandering through the park or late night joggers. Walking on the grass he continued to look around cautiously. His biggest fear was being caught Above.
Hearing the crunch of leaves behind him he turned around quickly. It was only Mouse, on of the teenagers from Below. Sighing with relief he ran over to him.
"What are you doing Above?" Vincent asked sternly. "You should be asleep. It is very late."
"Father say you Above. Want to know why?" Mouse asked innocently. Vincent had to smile. He had found Mouse as a young child; abandoned, alone and starving. He brought him back and nursed him to health again. He felt very protective of him ever since.
"Im just enjoying the scenery." Vincent said quickly. He felt terrible about lying to Mouse, but he couldnt tell him the truth either.
"I go back to sleep." Mouse said after a few minutes. "Hope you find what looking for."
As Mouse walked back to the drainage tunnel Vincent looked back with amusement. It amazed him how intuitive Mouse was. Continuing his walk further into the park he wondered if he would find what he was looking for.
Catherine lay on the ground in a heap. She could feel pain in her ribcage. A pain so great she couldnt will herself to get up. Closing her eyes she sensed herself drifting further and further away from consciousness. She was submitting to it; losing her struggle to remain lucid. Feeling coldness entering her body from all surfaces everything suddenly went dark.
Walking along a path Vincent suddenly felt coldness overcome him. Shivering he looked around. It wasnt even cold outside. Succumbing to this feeling he realized it was coming from someone else. Whomever it was they were very near. "What was happening to them?" He thought as he walked further down the path. Looking down an embankment he saw a body lying there.
Running down he realized this was whom he had been feeling. It was a woman. Her face was slashed in many places and she looked like she had been badly beaten. Lifting her he was amazed at her lightness. Quickly he ran into the drainage ditch carrying her.
Once inside he balanced her body with one arm while opening a grate on the wall that had a lever. Pulling the lever down a door rolled away to reveal a tunnel.
Walking inside he closed the door with another lever and quickly ran through a series of tunnels and chambers and staircases until he entered Fathers chamber once again.
"My God Vincent, who is this?" Father asked as he looked up from his book.
"A woman. I found her in the park. Shes been badly beaten and shes very cold." Vincent said looking into her face. She was beautiful, even with the blood stains and knife marks. How could someone do this to such an angelic face?
"Put her in your chamber. Ill bring down bandages, fresh clothes, and something to cleanse and stitch the wounds." Father said getting up from his chair.
Walking into his chamber, Vincent carefully placed her across his bed. She had been wearing a black dress, like she had been at a fancy dinner. Her eyes were closed and her face looked peaceful, like she wasnt near death. Leaning over her body he lay his head against her and looked across her body to check for breathing. Seeing her chest rise and fall he sighed. She was still alive.
"When did you find her?" Father asked as he walked into the chamber with his arms full of medical supplies.
"About 45 minutes ago." Vincent said quietly.
"Lucky for her you were there." Father said putting the supplies on the bed.
"Uh-huh." Vincent said quietly. He didnt want to explain to Father that he felt her. Not now. He was still sorting this out for himself.
Father looked at the body lying before him. Pulling out a tunnel nightgown he lifted her to a sitting position.
"Hold her while I remove her clothes." Father said waiting for Vincents arms to hold her. Gently he removed her jacket, dress, and stockings. Underneath she had on a matching black panty set. Bruises were visible around her midsection.
"She must have been badly beaten." Father commented. Gently feeling around her stomach he nodded his head. "She has a broken rib on each side."
Carefully he pulled the nightgown on trying not to touch her face. It was covered with dried blood from the wounds. Laying her back down he reached for his doctors bad.
"I need your water basin." He commented pulling out gauze and peroxide.
Vincent picked up the basin and placed it on the table beside his bed, pushing aside his books that were stacked there.
Father poured the peroxide into the wounds he let them ooze for a few moments. Taking a cloth he carefully washed her face. The water in the basin became red.
"You can rinse that out now." Father commented putting the peroxide back into his bag.
Vincent picked up the ceramic basin and walked to a natural spring in the center of the above tunnels. Pouring out the water he cranked the spigot to fill it up again.
Walking back into his chamber he saw that Father had bandaged up her face entirely leaving a small opening at the mouth. He was sitting in a chair next to the bed looking at her carefully.
"Will she survive?" Vincent asked looking at her. She was completely still.
"I think she is out of danger now." Father said sighing. "Hand me her coat so I can check for ID. I imagine her family is looking for her by now."
Picking her coat off the bed, Vincent handed it to Father. Going through her pockets he found a card that had been opened.
"Her name is Catherine." He said examining the card and handing it to Vincent.
"Catherine." Vincent replied smiling.