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Nomad Kind of Love

By:Nicole Snow

I: Broken (June)

To find a knight, first you need a dragon.

My dragon came in columns of snorting engines and leather jackets emblazoned with a roaring bear. It reeked motor oil, cheap tobacco, and hard violence from every savage nook and cranny.

It arrived on the morning of my eighteenth birthday, the day everything I knew and loved was burned to cinders, including my soul.

Rather than becoming a bright young woman, I became a dark shadow.

Lost. Forever broken. Emotionally murdered.

They ruined me, and made me believe I was wrecked beyond redemption. They infected me with their evil, and I waited for it to finish me. Inevitable, right?

I thought so, but then I met him...

“What the fuck!”

I jerked up in bed when I heard the words. My father's startled cry shook the entire house.

Clara was rustling beneath me on the bottom bunk, just as rudely awakened as I was, struggling to figure out what was going on.

My ears prickled, and I listened to the conversation just a short walk away.

“Don't act so fucking surprised to see us, Spinner. Did you really think we wouldn't find out?”

A chair was knocked back and hit the floor. My stomach convulsed with terror. I could practically see my father being jerked out of his seat at the kitchen table by some roughneck in leather he called brother.

“Find out what? What the hell are you looking for?” Dad made a noise like he'd been punched. “Oh...you stupid motherfuckers...you think it was me...”

“Let him talk,” the gruff voice boomed from the kitchen.

“This is about the shipment that went bad in Boise, yeah? You think I put a fucking bug on it? You think I'd work with pigs? Vulture...brother....what gives you the right to break into my own house and call me a fucking rat?”

Deadly silence. Nobody answered my Dad's agonized plea.

Beneath me, Clara sniffed tears sticking her throat. The club had always scared her, and she practically hid whenever the huge, barbaric looking men my father gave his life to showed up to visit.

Then the silence broke. The whole house rattled with the sounds of the kitchen turning upside down, a man struggling, and not very well.

Their numbers subdued him. He never had a chance.

I shook my head, mouthing my worries while the clatter went on.

No, no, no...what the fuck have you gotten yourself into, Dad?

My heart was racing, but my legs still worked. The racket stopped.

The voices were lower, and I climbed down from the bed to get a closer look.

Clara whimpered again behind me. I threw my head over my shoulder and saw her holding up her trembling hands, silently begging me not to open the door.

I did it anyway. I had to know what was going on, what was happening to Dad.

“I didn't fucking do it, Veep! Come on! You've got to believe me. Oh, God...not that. Vulture, you've got nothing. Nothing, and you fucking know it!” Dad's words flitted between horror and defiance.

“Shut the fuck up, rat!” Vulture howled, slamming his fist into soft flesh. “Just shut up a minute. You think we'd break down your fucking door over nothing? How fucking stupid do you think we are, boy?”

Dad snorted. His breathing became a gurgle. I pushed the door open a little more and forced one leg into the hall.

“Nobody rats on the Grizzlies, Spinner. And any bitch who does gets exactly what he deserves.” Heavy footsteps fell on the floor as the man spoke, as if he were circling his prey.

“I get it. I really do. You wanted out. You wanted to ride off into the sunset with the family you've neglected for ten years. I can respect that.”

“Then...why? Why're you doing this?” Dad's voice sounded shakier than ever. Exhausted. “What the fuck do you want from me?”

“You know nobody leaves this MC alive. There's only one retirement package we offer. And sadly, brother, you don't get any say in it. Not after you ratted out half a mill in smack to the Feds.”

Dad screamed again, roaring like a cornered animal, but he was cut off just as fast. More shuffling, boots pounding kitchen tile, and then a sickening crack. Dad's screams were muffled by what sounded like a big block of ice being knocked around in a metal sink.

I gasped. I was frozen in our dingy hallway for what felt like an hour, but it must've been no more than a minute or two.

Adrenaline shot through my system, nearly making me pass out. I forced myself toward the kitchen.

God help me, I did, having a terrible idea what I'd find. The smart thing would've been to stay quiet like Clara wanted.

Unfortunately, my twin sister had the brains in her family. I was just a stubborn bitch, too damned curious for my own good.

Not that it would've saved us.

I realized there was no saving anyone, least of all my father, when I burst in on them. Two greasy men looked up in surprise.

One of them held a dagger in his hands. It dripped the same red gore as the stuff smearing the floor around their feet.

The pair of boots between them was completely limp, the pair belonging to Dad. He was slouched halfway into the sink, head beneath the facet now broken and smeared rusty red.

The third guy, a bigger, even greasier bastard I'd seen before, saw me and smiled.

“Well, if it isn't little Juney Boo-Hoo.”

He began moving toward me, too fast and confident for me to turn away. I couldn't do anything except stare at my father's limp body. His blood echoed as it swirled down the drain.

Two goons held him by the shoulders. If they held him up so I could've seen his face, I know I would've screamed at the mangled mess that was left. Steady blood dripped down his sides from where their dagger had torn into him, spilling blood all over the place where we had family dinners a lifetime ago.

“Don't worry, darlin'. This shit with daddy's got nothing to do with you. We're gonna take real good care of you and your Mom.”

Vulture clapped me on the shoulder. It wasn't friendly or comforting in any way. His