He barely noticed the flames as he strode towards the small figure on the bed. She looked so tiny, so fragile, so young, barely out of her teens.
She wasn’t moving, as still as death, had the fire already claimed her life, or had one of the men currently chained to the wall in one of the other rooms waiting for the fire to get them taken her life from her?
Garrett dropped to his knees beside the girl and touched his fingertips to her slender neck.
A pulse bumped weakly against them.
“I have a live one,” he screamed over his shoulder.
The girl didn’t flinch at his touch, he didn’t think that she knew he was there. She was beautiful, long matted blonde hair hung around her shoulders, she had delicate features, she looked like a porcelain doll. Quickly his hands skimmed her body in search of any injuries he needed to be aware of. He felt numerous old ones but nothing that was immediately life threatening.
Angrily his hands circled the metal clamp around her ankle, the chain ran from it to a metal ring embedded in the stone wall. He yanked on it, knowing it wasn’t going to budge.
He had to get her out of here.
The fire was coming, he couldn’t let it have her.
Helplessly he yanked on her chains, “You’re going to be okay, I’m going to get you out of here,” he told her, stroking her tangled locks. “You’re safe now. You’re safe. They can never hurt you again. Ever. No one will ever hurt you again.”
The smoke was thickening. The flames inching ever closer to the bed. Time was running out. He wouldn’t leave her, he couldn’t. Where was everyone? Had they run from the fire, leaving whichever girls were still alive to perish along with their tormentors?
He looked up to see his partner drop bolt cutters on the floor beside him. There was no time to waste. Garrett snatched them up and cut the chains that kept the girl trapped in what would soon be a fiery prison. With her free he grabbed the sweat pants and oversized t-shirt his partner had also brought, the clothes would help protect her skin as they walked through the flames.
“I’m not going to hurt you,” he murmured to the unconscious girl. “I’m just going to put some clothes on you.” Sliding one of her thin legs into the sweats his anger boiled at the scars that criss crossed her naked body. “Just putting on pants,” he fought to keep his voice soothing, “because you need to wear pants. And now a t-shirt,” he propped her up and slipped it over her blonde head.
When she was dressed he didn’t miss a beat, snatching the girl into his arms, he headed back into the flames to take her to safety.
The girl was his now.
His to protect, his to heal, his to care for.
He had walked through fire to save her, that made her his.