Chapter 7: Inside the Belly of the Snake

Ophiuchus briskly walked down the hall and into his makeshift office space he had in the secure location. He opened up the door and shut it behind him. His eyes had looked around the room and saw the wooden table that he used as his desk along with the matching armchair. He made his way over to his seat slowly and sat down.

He folded his hands together as he thought about the time he had joined the Sheffield Snakes, then going up the ranks to eventually become their leader. He had inherited the name Ophiuchus or as he liked to be called by those less intelligent than him, Ophi was the name he went by. The nickname for the leader of the Sheffield Snakes had been made when it was first founded. The founders thought it appropriate to name the leader after the Greek constellation of the Snake Charmer as the group was personified as snakes and the leader be appley named.

It was a long and arduous process for the newest leader to be crowned and accepted as the leader by the other members. They had to prove themselves in a series of three trials. Those trials weren’t easy by any means and they certainly revealed the character of the person taking them. It was not only their skill and execution of the trials, but their character that determined if they were worthy of being deemed as Ophiuchus.

Every trial was harder than the last. Every trials proved the leadership skills and the character of the candidate. His trials were no different. The only difference between him and the previous leaders was that he was able to play the game. That he was able to outthink and out character the previous leaders. He was able to slink his way through and slithered himself into the number one spot.

The leader’s character had to match a certain frame. They had to be confident, strong, and they had to look out for one of their own. They were a family. But Ophi was confident and strong, though he hardly cared about the others. They weren’t his family. Once he made his way up the chain of command, he found the corruption in the system and that unlocked his need to want to take revenge on the ones who had wronged him. He wanted to get back at Rachel Riken, Richard Maynard, Lynn Carmichael, and especially Leo Hart.

The click of the door had brought himself out of his own thoughts and he looked up to see who was going to be coming through the door. “Come in.” He called out as he straightened himself in the chair and placed his folded hands in his lap. His head tilted gently to the side and he raised an eyebrow, waiting for his guest to come through the door.

The door opened to reveal the member of the Snakes who had kidnapped Lynn from Sheffield Read and Watch. His name was Deren. He closed the door once he entered the room and he approached the desk. His hands were neatly behind his back. He cleared his throat. “… Hey boss.” He greeted with a slight nod.

“Deren, hello. What’s going on?” Ophiuchus asked, clearly open to what he had to say. The other male had seemed to be wanting to say something to him and it seemed urgent. He had to listen like a good leader and show concern so they would open up to him. So that they could let him know what was going on with their captive.

“Yes. Right. A lot of us are wondering why you are going through all of this trouble to capture Lynn and getting her friends to get those things for you. It seems like if you wanted to, you could’ve coordinated everything yourself to get what you wanted.” Deren answered calmly. He was wondering that as well. It seemed a little too far-fetched to be kidnapping someone to get a file from the police and some money from an old man. For all Deren knew, they could have robbed the place when Mister Mickerson was there and gotten the money. The file would have been relatively easy considering that the place was hardly guarded heavily, especially their case files. It was an easy target early in the morning. It was a small town police department after all. They didn’t need a lot of people there in the middle of the night and the force was considerably smaller than the other police departments in the towns neighboring them.

“And we were wondering what our next move is regarding her. Like what is the plan moving forward once we get the ransom?” He questioned further. The fellow had no idea what the next move was or what it could be. He was curious along with the others what their next step was.

Ophiuchus listened carefully and precisely to what his largest lackeye was asking. As he had listened further and something about Deren questioning what the plan was, made his blood boil. He was questioning his authority, was he not? By asking, he did not trust what he had coming for them next. Although he wanted to shout, he refrained because he had to maintain his composure… For the people. “Right… I am sure that they are wondering what we are doing next and the reason behind kidnapping Lynn Carmichael. …You see… I have a very special plan for her. She is an important chess piece to the game I am playing. I need her to know that she is no longer the leader… She needs to know that I have the power. That I can choose to end her life any second and that she lives because I will it.”

“Why the grudge against her? She hasn’t done anything to cross us or catch any of us. She hasn’t bothered us.” Deren inquired. This Deren guy may have been the muscle and not the sharpest. He did make a point… one that the others that were with him had been wondering.

The blood inside of Ophiuchus’ veins had boiled. The lackeye had no idea what he had gone through, but it still infuriated him when his authority was questioned. It bothered him to the core. “LISTEN! YOU DON’T NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHY I AM DOING THIS. I JUST NEED YOU TO FOLLOW MY ORDERS AND DO WHAT I SAY! NOW LEAVE!” The leader snapped, his index finger pointing to the door. There was pure rage in his eyes and nothing Deren could say to change any of that. Nothing.

Deren got the hint and quickly left, slamming the door behind him out of pure fear.

He slammed his fist against his desk and he stared at the closed door. He clenched his fists together and his fingernails dug into his skin. The rage pushed through his veins. He couldn’t stand being questioned about his authority. He had worked so hard to get to where he was, to become the leader of this group. He had clawed his way up to the top from the very bottom. He transformed himself for this role. He changed for his own selfish reasons, but he did so and became so much more than who he was before he had joined the Sheffield Snakes. He was useless, nothing, before he was brought into the Snakes. Taken under their care.

He seethed his breath through his teeth, making himself take a deep breath to calm himself down. At the very least to start the process of it. He didn’t want anyone else to catch him like this. This wasn’t how he conducted himself with his gang or anyone else he had done business with.

Part of his frustration laid within the fact that he had lost everything he had and only got stomped on by the people who he thought were his friends. The people he trusted had left him in the dust… alone and afraid.

He ran his fingers through his brown hair, splitting a part through his hair on the right side. He walked over to his desk and sat down in his chair. He rolled his head to stretch his neck. He slipped his head into his pocket and pulled out a small rectangular metal box. He opened it up and took out a cylindrical stick from it, grabbing the lighter in the same hand. Over the years, Ophiuchus had gotten into a little concoction of tobacco and Raz. The perfect combination for a stressed out and angry leader of a gang that dealt in dealing with the drug. It was simple to get the tobacco from any gas station. The lethargic daydream like state mixed with the sweet addictive element of the tobacco was…perfect.

He put the cigarette into his mouth and light up the end, watching the paper begin to burn. He took a drag in and watched as the end burn brighter for a moment. The smoke seeped into his mouth, down his throat, and into his lungs. He moved the cigarette from his lips and he exhaled, watching the smoke bellow out of his mouth.

He tapped his fingers against the desk as he dragged another hit from his cigarette, letting the smoke come out of his nostrils. He placed the burning cigarette on the ashtray and watched it. He tapped his fingers against the desk and his mind wandered, thinking about what he would do to Lynn if the others didn’t have what he wanted. If they tried to get their way and their friend out with the file and money in hand while doing so. He would not hesitate to kill her if he needed. He had no remorse for doing such an act if he needed to. After all, no matter which way everything went down, he would get what he wanted. Whether she lived or died, it didn’t matter to him. He required the file to make his old self disappear and he’d go off into the night, off the grid. The cash was to help himself get on after he had sold off the last of his supply of Raz that he would take from the Sheffield Snakes before they could deal all of it off.

He grabbed the cigarette and took a few more drags until he had nothing more. His mind was clear with the effects of the concoction and he could think. He was himself. He was sure of himself. He was Ophiuchus. No longer his older self. He was confident.


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