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The three of us look at each other. The same question is running through all of our heads. What the hell do we do?

The lady speaks again. "I know you're in there. So open up. Or your friend is going to get killed. Plus, we'll barge in anyways. So make it easy on yourselves."

Anne slowly walks to the door. She debates in her head whether or not she should open the door as her hand reaches for the knob. She looks at us, gives us a nod, and opens the door. Jose and I pull out our weapons, ready for a fight.

"You actually listened," the woman laughs. "A smart group. Well, at least you are. I saw those two yesterday." She points at Jose and I with her pistol. "Idiots lead us straight here. Gave us a nice working van and supplies, too. Really appreciated."

Guilt hits me as I hear her words and see Naoto's terrified face. He stands at the door with the woman on one side and two men behind him. They're holding him hostage in front of us. The shorter one has a knife held up to Naoto's throat and the tall one points his gun at us. I look around for a gun of my own, but I don't see one.

The tall man must know what I'm doing because he says, "Hey girl, you better not be thinking of doing anything tricky. You see this gun? I call her Lex. She's damn fine, isn't she? She's not afraid of killing some young blonde." He turns to Jose and says, "Or some ugly Mexican."

"Ouch! That really hurts," Jose says sarcastically. "We can play this racial card if you want, Cornrows, or we can get into a real discussion."

The woman actually laughs at his words. She looks at the tall man with cornrows and says, "Cornrows! That was good."

Cornrows looks at her with fury and embaresment. He aims his gun at Jose. "Okay, Pablo. You better keep your mouth shut."

"It's actually Jose. But good try." Jose aims his gun at Cornrows. "And yours?"

"No need for such an introduction," the woman says. "But since we're on the topic, my names Jane."

Anne steps up formally. "My name is Anne. This is Alice, and as you know this is Jose." She doesn't pause as she says, "We want Naoto back."

"Well, Anne, I can't do that just yet. You guys have this nice house here, up on the hills where there are rarely any deadly creatures that want to rip your face off. It's a nice place. Real nice. And I see behind you that you have a good amount of supplies in that kitchen. Don't think I didn't notice the stacks of cans and the case of water bottles."

"So what is it that you want?" Anne asks.

"To receive back this lovely but weak fellow, you're going to have to give this place up. We get the house and your supplies, even your weapons, and we'll give you your man." Jane gives Anne an evil smirk. "So what will it be?"

I study the woman carefully. Watch her movements and look at her appearance. She has long brown hair and bright green eyes. She looks a mess, but yet she's still pretty. She wears a blue flannel and black shorts. Cuts and bruises cover her face, hands, and legs. She stands with good posture, making me curious as to what she was like before hell started. She squints when she speaks, as if trying to see through us.

"That's all? We give you everything we own and you give us our guy back?" Jose speaks.

Jane looks Jose dead in the eyes. "I'm not asking you, am I?"

"Look, just give them the bag and take me," Naoto says. "Just please give them the bag!"

"The bag with all the medical supplies?" Jane laughs. "I'd prefer to keep the bag."

Our group starts trickling out, watching us from the stairs and the doorways, curious and scared. Tessa tries to hold Mia back, but Mia breaks from her grip and runs past us.

"Mia, no!" I scream.

Their weapons aim at her, and she freezes. She makes eye contact with Naoto and begins to cry. He tries to calm her down but Cornrows stuffs a rag into his mouth to prevent him from speaking.

Mia falls to the floor, sobbing and gasping for air. I kneel down next to her, trying to calm her. She can't breathe.

"Give us the bag!" Anne demands them.

"Asthma attack?" Jane nods to herself. "I know exactly how it feels. I really appreciate you getting the inhaler, it was needed. I'm almost out."

"She is out!" Tessa cries from the stairs.

"Well isn't that obvious?" Jane points to Mia. "Get her."

"No!" Anne shouts, reaching for Mia. But the short man draws his knife on Anne. He gives her a cut on her arm as she's reaching.

Anne steps back, pressing her palm against her arm.

"Don't touch her!" Naoto screams as soon as he spits out the rag in his mouth. He watches, hopeless, as the short man gets Mia and drags her by her shirt to the door.

Cornrows points the gun at us and takes out a knife and holds it back up to Naoto's throat. "One more fucking word and you're going to die in front of everyone here."

Mia reaches forward, trying to grab hold of Naoto's hand. The short man then raises his knife and slashes Mia's red cheeks. Her tears mix with the blood that drains from the gash.

Naoto pushes his head back so the knife doesn't slice his throat. He shoves Cornrows sideways. His gun goes off and the bullet pierces through the wall.

Jane pulls Mia up from the floor. She's gasping for air. Tears and blood run down her beautiful face. Her eyes are filled with fear and pain. She knows she's going to die.

Jane suddenly slashes Mia's throat.

Mia falls to the floor at Naoto's feet.

Jane looks up at us with a grin. "We don't fuck around. You guys are going to cooperate with us now."

"Who are you?" Jose hisses, gun raised at her head.

"We're the Slashers."

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