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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Eight: Two Ambushes and One Homecoming

Note: The point isn’t really for you guys to read a chapter everyday. That would be crazy, these chapters are about 30 pages long. This is just an info-dump situation, collect them all and read at your leisure.

This is basically an un-edited version of this book. There will be typos. There will be your/you’re errors, because I’m dyslexic as hell. Why am I posting it? I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that some major things needed to change, so I’m changing them. However, I like the old version and I already gave you Twins In Death in the old form, so have this one too. It doesn’t matter, the books are being re-written, so enjoy.

Brothers & Sisters
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay

Chapter Eight

Two Ambushes and One Homecoming.

 

April 2nd, 2003

7:03 p.m.

 

            It hadn’t exactly been an ambush in the strictest sense of the word, they had seen them coming down the road. They had come for the meeting that was what Diana said. They had come in their purple robes, under which they had been carrying their guns. Where they had failed was they got impatient and started shooting before they’d all gotten into a useful range. Now they were at the corner shooting at our heroes.

 

            Tommy was pinned down with Max and Cassimano behind the Mercedes. Jack and Kestrel were still in the building, and Darrian had taken up a position behind the BMW with two members of the Power. Fortunately Darrian had been strong enough to lift the cars and turn them perpendicular to the street. It had been a hastily constructed barrier, but it did all right for the moment.

 


Darrian was trying to do his best, but he had been ill prepared. He knew how to use guns of course, but he hadn’t brought any with him. He only had the small Walther Kestrel had given him earlier, and that only because it happened to be in his coat. He’d taken one of the small machine guns from one of the fallen women, but it was empty far too soon. He was leaning against a wheel of the car trying not to present a target, when the other force came down the opposite side of the street.

 

“Thomas!” He yelled.

 

Tommy looked over at him and then up the street where the vampire had been pointing. He realized then that they had been taken, since the second force coming down the other side of the road was actually the larger one. His heart sank, as they drove towards them in large SUV’s with gunmen, no, they were gun women leaning out the window.

 

“Fuck!” Tommy said sliding the last clip of ammunition he had into his gun.

 

“Shit.” Max said. “We weren’t ready for this.”

 

“Sodbuster.” Tommy said into the communicator.

 

“Yes Pig Pen?”

 

“Where is your bike?”

 

“Would you believe it’s in here with me?”

 

“I would.” Tommy sad. “Can you and Birdie get the hell out of here?”

 

“I think we might be able to, if we time it right.”
           

“I don’t think we can drive out of here.” Tommy said.

 

“The lady bird has just turned into a bird.” Jack said. “She’s already flying away.”

 

Tommy looked as something light brown and about the size of a robin flew out of one of the broken windows. He then looked at Darrian; the vampire could just fly away couldn’t he? No one seemed to be firing, so he experimentally stood up. No one shot him, so he walked over to Darrian.

 

“Could you fly out of here?”

 

“I think so.” Darrian said. “We going to try to escape bravely?”

 

“No.” Tommy said. “We’re going to run like a bunch of pussies.”

 

“Ah.” Darrian said nodding. “Much more sensible.”

 

“If I can get to the car, I’ll be alright.”

 

“The car is a bit of a way away.”

 

“I know.” He said, he turned and looked at Max. “Let me try a trick. Be ready will you?”

 

He stowed his pistol and stood up on the hood of the Mercedes. He waved his hat and no one shot, so he felt relatively safe for the moment. One of the SUV’s pulled up and stopped about twenty feet from them. Max and Cassimano got on the other side of the car, which still had people with guns coming closer to them.

 

“Parlay.” Tommy said. “I call for parlay.”
           

“Who requests the right of parlay?” The woman hanging out of the passenger’s side of the vehicle asked.

 

“You’re actually gonna fall for that?” Tommy asked.

 

Max and Cassimano walked casually towards the midnight blue sedan, leaning against it. Cassimano was a little surprised to find it already running, thought Max seemed unphased by this. The car would of course be ready; it didn’t want to be here any more than they did. They were ready though, at the first vaguest hint, they would be ready to go.

 

            “Who requests the right of parlay?” The woman asked again.

 

            “Me.” Tommy said. “Uh, Thomas Gunner.”

 

            “What terms of surrender do you offer?” She asked.

 

            “Is that what parlay means?”

 

            “Yes.”

            “Shit. Well I’ll be fucked.” He said, drawing his Ruger out. He fired twice, striking the windshield of the truck both times.

 

            Max and Cassimano both opened the doors of the sedan but only Max leapt in. Max put the car into gear and began to drive, the passenger door closed with the sudden motion. Tommy ran towards the car and leapt through the open window on the passenger side thus landing head first on the floor. Max slammed down on the gas and picked up speed as quickly as possible. This meant that he tore through the group gathered to take the car down, but so be it. They flew away from the car, but not all made it. Two were thrown to one side and one fell under the car. There were two thumps and one squelch that Max would hear into his dying days.

 

            Jack’s bike zipped past them with speed that made them appear to be standing still, but they didn’t see Darrian. They kept driving, until it was clear that either they weren’t being perused or they were keeping far in front of their pursuers. Max kept his foot down on the gas until he couldn’t see them anymore in his rear view mirror.

 

            “Max, would you stop please.” Tommy said. “I’d like to get off the floor.”

 

            They stopped and Tommy was able to get from a most uncomfortable position to a sitting position in the back seat of the car. He sat with some visible pain, which made Max wince with sympathy. They began to drive towards Lilith’s apartment and Max looked behind him as the car started.

 

            “We left them.” Max said.

 

            “We were trapped.” Tommy said. “They’ve got an arsenal, we were out in the open.”

 

            “We just abandoned them. That’s not right.”

 

            “Do you have anything bigger than those two pistols?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Not on me.” Max admitted.

 

            “Exactly, not on you.” Tommy rubbed his forehead. “Why didn’t Cassimano come with us?”

 

            “He opened the door.” Max said turning towards the back seat. “I thought he got in.”

 

            “No.” Tommy said. “He opened the door and ran to the Mercedes.”

 

            “Well, he’s immortal.” Max said. “He and Darrian can take care of themselves can’t they? We’ve got to go rescue The Weirdo haven’t we?”

 

 

April 2nd 2003

7:04 p.m.

 

            The fight was an uneven one really. The Weirdo was prepared for a battle like the last one, which was mainly two cutting swords. The rapier and broadsword aren’t generally compatible to fight against each other. They use two totally different styles of fighting, one made up of thrusts and the other of cuts. The Weirdo had been prepared for slash and got stabbed.

 

            In fact in the first six seconds of the fight he was stabbed through the right kidney. Mordred had managed to parry the first attack The Weirdo made and the tip of his sword stabbed right through The Weirdo’s right side and completely pierced his kidney.

 

            ‘Well, that’s alright.’ The Weirdo thought to himself. ‘No worries, still got one kidney left, I’m sure it’ll be fine.’

 

            He managed to parry a stab attempt from Mordred. He took a step back and swung the blade across the place where Mordred’s midsection had been a second ago. He decided not to mess around with the sword as much and jabbed his left fist out. He caught Mordred completely off guard and was delighted to hear the snap of the nose. He swung the sword back and as he came in for a blow that would have taken the red suited boy’s head off, he was stabbed in the left kidney.

 

            ‘Oh Bugger.’ He thought.

 

            He then realized that perhaps the problem was that he was letting this Mordred ne Loki fight him on his terms. He hadn’t won fights by letting the bad guys define the parameters. He just had to figure out how to take control of the fight.

 

            “Ready to give up yet?” Mordred asked.

 

            “Oh fuck you.” The Weirdo said.

 

            He let the sword drop from his hands, and grabbed Mordred’s ears. The sword clanged to the ground as The Weirdo’s forehead came forward and he yanked on the flesh he held. Mordred’s nose broke against the edge of The Weirdo’s skull, and he fell back wards. The Weirdo, not done yet, jabbed a quick stabbing finger out. It struck Mordred in the throat and the red clothed man held his neck and fell over.

 

            The Weirdo drew Coast Runner from his side and looked at the blade. He dropped the bloodied rapier on the ground next to his own sword and gave both of them a sweeping kick which sent them into the gutter and out of reach for Mordred. He held his sides and closed his eyes, concentrating. He concentrated on the wounds closing themselves up; the fibers of his body stitching themselves back together. As they were only small puncture wounds, he could close them easily. They did close quickly too, just as this new clone of him was getting up.

 

 

April 2nd, 2003

7:05 p.m.

 

            “Why’d you stay?” Darrian asked as he and Cassimano stood back-to-back, machine guns in both hands.

 

            “This sounded more exciting.” Cassimano said dropping the two empty rifles and drawing out his energy pistol.

 

He pulled the trigger and a bolt of energy, too fast to be seen, zipped through the air. One of the vehicles for sports or utility didn’t so much exploded as suddenly vaporize. The vehicle had reached a super heated state and that had caused it to burst. Molten metal flew through the air like the most dangerous shrapnel ever. He blasted a few more vehicles and then leaned back, but found that Darrian was gone. He turned around to look and saw that he his weapons empty the vampire had resorted to more traditional means of warfare. He might have been feeding, but it was hard to tell. There was so much blood being sent into the air. He was slashing with some sort of knife, or maybe just his hands. The neck wounds were the ones to watch, they caused fascinatingly disgusting spurts of blood to sail six or ten feet into the air.

 

            Everyone stopped to watch the vampire, and then they ran. He let them run, he’d feed on those who were left. Cassimano watched with some amazement as the trucks pulled away and drove from their pincer movement. They had been trapped, and one insane vampire later, they were saved.

 

            “That was horrific.” Cassimano said as Darrian was wiping his face clean of blood.

 

            “Thank you.” Darrian said. “You notice that I only had to kill eight though. If we continued blasting away, it would have taken three times that before they’d even have deiced to think about backing off.”

 

            “I noticed.” Cassimano said, looking around at the street, which was literally a wash with blood. “But God damn.”

 

            “Well it should make them think next time.” He pulled a small pen shaped device from his pocket. He then said something that sounds ridiculous for someone with a Boston accent to say. “Pig Pen, have you got your ears on son?”

 

            “Mosquito?” Tommy’s voice came over. “How did you get out of there?”

 

            “We didn’t actually.” Darrian said. “We made them retreat.”

 

            “How did you manage that?”

 

            “I’m not sure you really want me to answer that.” Darrian said. “But all is well at the Chrysler Building.”

 

            “We’re just about on top of The Weirdo and, what the hell?”

 

            “Something?”

 

            “I think we’ve got another problem. On the bright side I think we found Cassimano’s sword.”

 

            “Coast Runner? Don’t let them leave with it!”

 

 

April 2nd, 2003

7:07 p.m.

 

The two men circled each other, Loki cum Mordred taking the stance of a boxer. He had light movement, graceful jumping from foot to foot. He must have trained to do this, trained long and hard. Or they had programmed him with some kind of hyper learning, sending signals into his brain, making him think he’d done the work. It could be supposed that the melding of mind and body could be performed in a tube, while images were being fed directly through electrodes into the brain.

 

            The Weirdo took no stance, just looked bored, and a little confused. He wondered whose brilliant idea it was to teach him to box. The Weirdo had learned how to box, but he didn’t really call on it. He’d also learned the fighting styles used in the orient and in Russia. He’d learned almost every fighting style in the world and had then broken them down into a single fighting style that had no style. It was simply about getting from one state of fighting, into another state of not having to anymore, as quickly as possible. There wasn’t and flare, and it wouldn’t be interesting to watch. It would be terrible for movies because it was usually over before you knew it had started, and that was why it worked.

 

The Weirdo moved in closer, and it would have taken an expert to see that he moved very careful and gracefully. To everyone else he looked a little drunk. Mordred’s fist struck out, and The Weirdo dodged it with graceful ease. The Weirdo took hold of the wrist, shifted his weight, and spun Mordred through the air. The Red suited man landed flat on his back and a fist struck him in the nose, causing stars to shine. The same fist landed in his throat and then struck the center of his rib cage. He then, just to be sure, brought his fist down into the midsection, hopefully causing a myriad of internal bleeding.

 

            Nanobots or not, it was going to take a moment to get up from that. The Weirdo walked towards the two swords and walked towards the midnight blue sedan. He opened the trunk and dropped the two swords in, looking over his shoulder at Mordred who was getting up already. He had hoped that the multiple strikes would keep him down longer, but they hadn’t kept him down long enough. The trunk was devoid of automatic weapons, which was a disappointment. In fact today had been full of disappointments on the front of illicit weapons. He swore quietly and looked at Lilith, who was holding up Julie. She looked worried her face was ashen. Julie’s head was lolling, and she didn’t seem to be aware of her surroundings. Tommy opened the door of the car, and walked towards them.

 

            “She’s not doing well.” Lilith said.

 

            “Get in the car.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I can help.” Lilith said.

 

            “I’m only going to make a… fuck.”

 

            “What?” She asked, turning her head.

 

            There were about ten black GMC trucks coming down the road. People with machine guns were emerging from the park. They were all decked out in the same sort of jumpsuits, and they were carrying larger machine guns meant for front line combat. He knew a trap when he saw one, and he was in the center of it. This wasn’t going the way he had thought they should go, but you couldn’t choose the traps you fell into.

 

            “Get in the fucking car.” The Weirdo said, pushing her in.

 

            “Take these.” She said holding out her two pistols.

 

            He looked at the two hammerless pistols as she held them out. Her fingers around the barrels shifted nervously as he reached his hands out. He was used to having everything he needed, but this was a different kind of offer. He reached out and took the both of them in his own hands.

 

            “Thank you.” He said slipping them into the waist of his pants. He looked at Tommy and sighed. “Get out of here.”

 

“I’m not going to leave you.”

 

“She needs to get to Doc, get them out of here.”

 

“You can’t handle this.”

 

“Call Jack and tell him to come get me. Now go.”

 

Tommy got into the car and was already calling Jack when they peeled away. The Weirdo heard Mordred walking slowly towards him. He knew that there was a gun barrel pointed at him, and he knew that his kidneys weren’t healing properly. The joints of his left hand began to ache, which caused him tighten his hand into a fist. That caused the painful sound of tendons twanging off bones. The tinnitus in his right ear also began to scream at this moment. In this moment of stress induced system failure he even felt the place over his heartache again. He touched it and reached into his coat as he spun around.

 

The coat spun out as he turned, because he’d slipped his finger into a buttonhole. He pulled the coat up so that it would billow out as he moved, calculating how cool he could look. He spun around and the coat billowed and fell perfectly, removing the stain on his coolness that had been caused by his trying to prime a round into a gun that was already cocked and ready to fire.

 

The Thompson was firing before he’d turned around completely, but it still cut Mordred in half before he could get a shot off. The Weirdo had been ready, and he was sneakier. He looked around him and fired at the SUV’s and then at the people coming from the park. He walked towards Judy and fired at the cars again.

 

“Is this what you wanted?” He yelled, firing again at the park dwellers. “I certainly hope so.” He heard Jack’s bike pull up and skid to a halt.

           

“Come on!” Jack shouted.

 

            “You can still come back.” The Weirdo said holding his hand out.

           

“I’m not coming back.” She said.

 

            “Tommy loves you.” The Weirdo said. “You ask yourself if any of them can say the same.”

 

            “I’m not a whore here.” She asked.

 

            “You’re nothing but a whore here.” He said.

 

            A sensible mind might have asked how he knew that, but then a sensible mind wouldn’t have been available. She looked at him and realized he was right. She wanted to cry and to scream, tears simply spilled from her eyes. She had been hurt by his words, but Eve had told her he’d say things like this. Eve said he would try anything to get her home; she would have to be strong. She didn’t feel strong though, she felt terribly weak, and she had to say it though.

 

            “I can’t come with you.” She said. “You better go.”

 

            The Weirdo’s hand fell and he looked crushed, his shoulders sagged again. He looked at the two groups and got on the bike with Jack. He looked back at her as they started to drive away, firing at the group in the park as they ran over the grass. The gun doing little more than providing crackling sounds, causing dirt and grass to fly into the air.

 

 

April 2nd, 2003

7:21 p.m.

 

            “I don’t think there’s anything I can do.” Doctor Crazy said leaning over Julie.

 

            “There must be something.” Lilith said.

 

            “She was shot through the liver, despite what The Weirdo thought. It’s a miracle she’s not dead already.”

 

            “Isn’t there some sort of technology, I thought you had everything?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “If I try and move her to the lab, she’d die from the shock of movement.”

 

            “Can I try?” The Other asked.

 

            “Sweetie, you shouldn’t be here.” Kestrel said.

 

            “I can do it.” The Other said.

 

            “Why not?” Tommy said, taking the child in his hands, and she grabbed his hands as he did.

 

            When he lifted her, he felt a strange feeling in his arms and legs. It crept to his back as he held her up to the dying girl. She placed her hands on Julie’s face, and color immediately came back to her. The Other’s eyes closed and she seemed to glow with an inner light for a moment. It was a sort of pinkish glow, since whatever light source it was had to pass through her skin. The corpuscles and veins were clearly visible as the light within her glowed brighter. There was then a plink sound as the bullet that had lodged in Julie’s liver fell onto the table. The glow faded, and Julie’s eyes fluttered open. She looked around at the faces surrounding her.

 

            “Oh my God.” Julie said sitting up.

 

            “Told you.” The Other said. “Down please.”

 

            Tommy set her down and looked at his hands when he stood back up. The cuts in the back of his hands were gone. That was the strange feeling; it’s hard to describe being unhurt, because it happens to rarely. The deep cuts, which had severed muscles in his legs and arms, had been undone; he looked down at the little girl who walked to the other side of the room while everyone was crowding Julie. Lilith sat down on a chair next to the little girl and looked at her.

 

            “Hi.” Lilith said.

 

            “Hello.” The Other said.

 

            “My names Lilith, what’s yours”

 

            “I’m The Other.” She said.

 

            “How did you do that?” Lilith asked.

 

            “You’re going to have a baby.” The Other said. “You might have The Weirdo’s baby, if you’re spared. She’s going to have his baby too.”

 

            “Julie?” Lilith asked.

 

            “If you live, you’ll both have babies. So you see, you don’t need those test tubes you two spit into at you’re apartment.”

 

            Lilith’s blood froze when the child said that. There was no way this little girl could have known that when they were pretending to have a shot of whisky to wash it down, they were spitting the semen into vials. The Weirdo didn’t notice, and he couldn’t have told this little girl. She looked at the little girls blue eyes and sat back, somewhat frightened of the little girl.

 

            “How do you know about that?” Lilith asked.

 

            “I can see you’re heart.” The Other said gravely. “You want to love him, but you have to stop lying to him first.”

 

            “What?” Lilith tried to smile because she realized Tommy was watching them but probably couldn’t hear their conversation.

 

            “I drew a picture, you want to see?”  The Other was suddenly just a child of four, and she wanted to show a picture.

 

            “Um, sure.” Lilith said, completely thrown by the sudden change of subject.

 

            “Okay.” The Other ran to the table Tommy was leaning on and grabbed a piece of paper. She held it up for Tommy to examine. “See?”

 

            “I do see.” He said. “You gonna show it to her?”

 

            “Yeah.” She spun around and ran back to the place where Lilith was sitting.

 

            The picture was done in the style of a renaissance master, even though it had been drawn in crayon. The image of The Weirdo was unmistakable, unless you’d never seen him of course. He was dressed in a charcoal gray suit, and he looked immaculate. As The Weirdo shaved about every third or sometimes eighth day, it was somewhat romanticized. His burning black eyes seemed not only to follow you, but also to accuse you of every sin you’d ever committed. Those eyes demanded an apology, even though the rest of the face was actually quite affable. There was a banner below him that simply read “Weirdo” in an ornate gothic script.

 

            “That’s some picture.” She said.

 

            “Yeah.” She said, and then walked to the door.

 

She held the picture up as the huge oak door opened. The Weirdo looked down at the picture, being held up by The Other. He looked down at the picture and placed his finger to his lip and began to circle the tiny child. She didn’t move, just stood stock-still. He took the picture from her hands and slid another piece of paper into her hands. She looked up at him as he continued to walk around her, still holding his finger to his mouth as he admired the work. Kestrel and Tommy watched from the hallway as he walked around the little girl.

 

“Have you seen this Jack?” The Weirdo asked as Jack entered.

 

“The Other?” Jack asked.

 

“It may look like The Other,” The Weirdo said, “But it’s actually a three dimensional sculpture, which doubles as a picture frame. Observe. I take this lovely picture of me some one drew. Now with my incredible ego I would normally attach it to the fridge with that magnet in the shape of a strawberry. But that’s not necessary because we have this frame now. Look, I take the old picture away and I insert the new picture. Ta da! Now anyone who walks into the house will have to see me. Brilliant huh? I should go find The Other and tell her about it.” He walked out of the hall and began to call for The Other.

 

“It’s me silly.” The Other said walking after him. “I wanted to show you my picture.”

 

“Oh my god!” He said jumping. “Tommy, Kestrel! The picture frame talked.”

 

“I am not a picture frame.” The Other shouted, and stamped her foot.

 

“Of course you’re not.” The Weirdo said, bending down to her level. “You’re a piece of conceptual modern art. And, you are it.” He tapped her on the head and then ran down the hall giggling like, well a fully-grown man who giggles on a daily basis.

 

The Other got an extremely cute, confused look on her face, and then broke into a smile. She dropped the picture and ran after him, laughing. She ran after him, calling that she was gonna get him. He called back that her legs were too short and besides he could fly if he wanted to he just didn’t want to.

 

“Took years to do it,” Tommy commented to Kestrel, “But we finally found someone on the same mental level as him.”

 

“Odd that it would turn out to be a four year old.” Kestrel said.

           

“I would have expected three.” Jack said looking at the picture. “She drew this?”

 

            “That’s what Mrs. Pendleton said. Took her about ten minuets.”

 

            “What the hell is she?” Jack asked,

 

            “Good question.” Kestrel said.

 

            “A little girl.” Tommy said and shrugged. “Who can produce old master style art?”

 

            He took the page from Jack and looked at it as he walked to the kitchen. He had a regular theory about children’s art that it belonged on the fridge. He didn’t really care if the work in question could have hung in the Louver, he was going to put it on the fridge, and hang it up with that stupid strawberry magnet The Weirdo liked so much.

           

 

April 2nd 2003

9:23 p.m.

 

            The room was a small library, filled exclusively with art books. There were books with every kind of art in it. The Weirdo had wanted to show The Other what different art looked like, and she had taken to it. He watched as she sketched a near perfect reproduction of Escher’s Belvedere tower. There were two things that were really surprising about the fact that she was drawing a picture from the memory of a book they had looked at twenty minuets ago. The First surprising thing was that she wasn’t looking at the paper as she was drawing it. It was as if her hand had the desire to create art and couldn’t be bothered to consult the eyes or even the brain. The second surprising thing was that each of the characters in the picture had been replaced by characters from AA Milne’s work.

 

            “What’s this one?” She asked pointing at a picture.

 

            “That’s the Scream.” He said. “It was painted by a man named Edvard Munch.”

 

            “The person doesn’t even look like a person.” She said.

 

            “But you can tell it’s a person.” He said. “See every detail doesn’t need to be perfect. Think about what people think of as a face. Two eyes and a mouth, even if they’re not very well placed. People find faces everywhere.” He said.

 

            She looked up at him, scrutinizing him, trying to find his mind. All she could see was clouds, and a gentle falling rain on a spring field. She then looked at the picture again, scrutinizing the picture. She looked at the picture and placed her hands against her own face, and opened her mouth wide. She stood on the ground and looking at the picture, experimented with the look of despair she saw on the face of the screamer. She then touched the side of the picture, where two men were walking out of shot.

 

            “Why aren’t those two men helping her?”

 

            “Because they’re bastards.” He said.

 

            “Oh,” She said. “Okay.”

 

            Had he been asked, The Weirdo wouldn’t have expected that she would accept that answer. Next to the picture of the impossible tower, she began to draw a flower. That is to say she reproduced a wood cut of a type of orchid that went extinct in the late eighteen hundreds. She even wrote in the Latin name of the plant. She seemed totally unaware that she was doing this, and only glanced down once to see what her hand had made. She turned the page and saw an odd squareish painting of a man staring back at her.

 

            “What’s wrong with this guy?”

 

            “That’s cubism.” The Weirdo said. “Have they never shown you this stuff before?”

 

            “No.” The Other said. “Grandma Aph likes classically stuff, Greek and roman revival. Mainly she’s happiest to look at pictures of herself.”

 

            “Oh.” He said,

 

            “Hey, what’s this style?” She was very excited and he was finally glad she found something she apparently liked.

 

            “That’s pointillism.” He said. “Its where the artists puts down a dot of paint and then puts down another point to make a picture. It’s kind of like how a television works, with pixels.”

 

            “Huh?” She asked

 

            “Pixels, you know, dots on a TV that produce red green and blue?”

 

            “Television has dots?”

 

            “Yes.” He said. “Come on, I’ll take you to the television and we can have a look at it.”

 

 

April 2nd, 2003

11:45 p.m.

 

            Max looked into the room where the big Plasma screen television was positioned. There were two bodies on the couch, one fast asleep. The Weirdo’s head turned and waved him in, moving The Other very carefully. Max looked at the comatose body of The Other, who was snoring very slightly. The Weirdo raised his fingers to his lips and held the tiny body up.

 

            “We’ll take her to bed.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Okay.” Max whispered.

 

            They walked with the tiny girl like they might a bomb set to go off. They carried her upstairs and to her room. Max pulled the covers from the bed and The Weirdo set her down on the mattress. Max drew the covers up to her chin and they both walked out very quietly.

 

            “What’s up?” The Weirdo asked as they left the room.

 

            “I haven’t seen you since you left today.” Max said. “I showed Lilith where you’re room was, Julie was with her. I think they’re sleeping in your bed, hope you don’t mind.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “I don’t mind.”

 

            “She seems to like you.” Max said,

 

            “I think so.” The Weirdo said. “I think we could say that.

 

            “I meant The Other.”

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “Her too.”

 

            “What is she?” Max asked. “I mean I know what she’s meant to be, she’s supposed to be your daughter, but what the hell is she?”

 

            “I don’t know Max.” He said. “She’s a little girl right now. I suggest that as far as we can, we treat her as such.”

 

            They began to walk down the stairs and felt they could talk with a bit more volume than they had outside The Other’s door. They still didn’t raise their voices though, because other people might be sleeping or trying to relax. They came down to the kitchen where Tommy was making a sandwich.

 

            “Shouldn’t you too be in bed?” Tommy asked. “Big day tomorrow?”

 

            “What’s tomorrow?” Max asked.

 

            “Every day’s a big day around here.” Tommy said closing the sandwich to his mouth.

 

            “I can’t sleep, never can.” The Weirdo said opening the door of the refrigerator.

 

            “I’m young.” Max said.

 

            “So what went on today?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Well, the opposition made a fresh clone. The evil twin and I have agreed that he shall be called Mordred.”

 

            “Making you Arthur?” Max asked.

 

            “Let’s leave my ego out of this or the rest of us can’t fit in this room.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Granted.” Max said.

 

            “And we were ambushed, and Judy slashed my face, as I told you earlier.”

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said.

 

            “But that’s not really what we want to know about.” Max said.

 

            “Hey.” Jack said walking into the kitchen and opening a bottle of beer.

 

            “You drink beer?” Max asked.

 

            “Once in a while.” Jack said, “I do drink the occasional German or Irish brew.”

 

            The particular brew was Lowen Brau, but that doesn’t really enter into the story in any way shape or form. It’s totally unimportant what kind of beer Jack was drinking. We really shouldn’t be dedicating as much time to Lowen Brau as we have, but it did seem important for those who keep tabs on these things.

 

            “You’re just in time for The Weirdo to kiss and tell.”

 

            “Oh that what happened today question?” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I said we didn’t have time to talk.” Max said. “We all sat around for the little debriefing. We now want to know about a debriefing of a completely different variety.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “Partly for privacy reasons, but mostly because of that appalling pun. You should be ashamed of yourself, and as punishment no story for you.”

 

            “Why should Jack and I be punished?” Tommy asked.

 

            “You two are seen with him quite a lot.”

 

            “So are you.” Tommy said.

 

            “Am I?”

 

            “Yes.”

 

            “Damn.”

 

            “So spill it.” Jack said.

 

            “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I had a very nice afternoon talking to the two of them.”

 

            “About what?” Tommy asked.

 

            “A number of subjects.”

 

            “Such as?”

 

            “Politics?” The Weirdo asked. “There were some impassioned speeches which could be described as theology, some creative ideas on the administration of limited resources. There were a number of oral arguments and group discussions is all I’m saying.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You know you could just tell us you nailed them both and we’d get it.” Jack said.

 

            “Embarrassed.” The Weirdo said in a meek voice.

 

            “We’ve all done it.” Jack said.

 

            “I haven’t.” Max said.

 

            “Oh, well you simply must.” The Weirdo said. “Few things are as enjoyable.”

 

            “Really?” Max asked.

 

            “I can attest to that.” Tommy said.

 

            “You never mentioned half the possibilities.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “One hates to brag.” Tommy said.

 

            “You can all fuck off and die now.” Max said.

 

            “There’s more though.” Tommy said. “The Other told Lilith she was pregnant. She also said that Julie was pregnant. She said that if they lived, she would have your kids.”

           

“My kids?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “That’s what the little blonde said.”

 

            “Why would she say that?”

 

            “I don’t know.” Tommy said. “Lilith didn’t seem at all comfortable with her though. I think maybe Lilith is not a children sort of person.”

 

            “Kestrel likes her though.” Max said. “The Other I mean.”

 

            “Well she would.” The Weirdo said. “But now to this business about being ambushed in the street.”

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said. “That was not fun.”

 

            “Should we do something about it?” Max asked.

 

            “Like what?” Jack asked. “Attack a large scale organization?”

 

            “We’ve fought large groups before.” Max said. “Okay this group is a little larger than before, but it’s still just a group.”

 

            “We should talk about this tomorrow.” The Weirdo. “I got about four hours sleep, the last time I slept, and that was a long time ago. Max, you think about what would be involved in a large scale attack. Who could we count on, who couldn’t we count on? What if neither group really exists and this is just a ploy to draw us out to kill us? What if Lilith is really here as a spy and wants to try and sap my will by screwing me until I submit.”

 

            “That was possibly the most cynical outburst I’ve ever heard.” Max said.

 

            “That’s only because you never listen to anything I say.” The Weirdo said, “I’m going to bed.”

 

            “You’re bed is full.” Max said.

 

            “Then I’ll go for a swim.” He said.

 

            “Isn’t it too cold for that?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Isn’t the pool too empty?”

 

            “It’s filled and it’s heated.” The Weirdo said walking out the back door.

 

            “The hot tub is heated.” Jack said. “The pool isn’t, is it?”

 

            “I suppose it could be.” Max said.

 

 

April 2nd, 2003

11:58 p.m.

 

            The pool was filled with clear water that had seemed almost to glow from the lights set in the sides. The Weirdo could clearly see the mosaic that had been laid in tiny slivers of tile. At one end was an image of Zeus, rearing back to hurl a lightning bolt like a javelin. At the other end of the pool was Thor, holding a crackling hammer over his head. In the middle of the two Gods was a fairy standing on a mound of dead Spartans and Vikings. As a special bonus, the fairy was shrugging her shoulders and looking directly out in bewilderment.

 

            The Weirdo sat on the edge of the diving board, and looked at the water. She had been so beautiful, her long brown hair tumbling around her shoulders. He felt tired, and compelled. She had calmed him when he was angry, cheered him when he despaired. He stood up and pulled his coat off, like he was taking a weight from his shoulders. She had been everything to him, a column of truth in a false world. The air was still too warm, far too warm for April. She had the most beautiful royal blue eyes they almost looked artificial. He let the coat drop behind him, the sleeves falling on the water and floating on top from surface tension. Her face came to him, her eyes staring at him. He raised his left foot up and took his shoe off. He then threw the shoe, which landed in the water. She was bleeding, scared and confused. He took the other shoe off and simply tossed it over his shoulder. She had been so beautiful, so alive, and so vibrant. He took his shirt off and let it fall. She had been carrying his child, and he never knew. He closed his eyes and dove into the water, his fingers touching the tiles of the floor a moment later. She had told him she loved him before she slipped away. He pushed himself up from the bottom and slid through the water towards the surface, hoping never to get there.

 

            He felt weightless under the water, and then popped up into the air of the world. He expelled the breath he had held in his lungs and took in a deep gulp of air. He slipped under the water and touched the tiles of the floor again. There was nothing but the feeling of the tiles for a moment, an escape that made no sense. He opened his eyes and looked at the tiles as best he could. The water made everything blurry; a fact he’d noticed was regularly missing from books and movies. People could always see quite clearly underwater without any goggles or facemask or anything.

 

            He slid his fingers across the tiles, reveling in the feeling of these tiles that let him go away from the world for a moment. He swam across the pool, his fingers dragging across the tiles. He felt his lungs crave for fresh air; he expelled the used air that was in his lungs, giving him another moment. He then had to swim up, his head breaking the surface. He took in another deep lung full of air, and sank under again. He swam back towards the deeper end of the pool, kicking softly with his legs, his arms running across the tiles.

 

            He had seen documentaries about killer whales doing a similar thing. There were places that had gravel shallows, and the whales would scrape across the stones. They would do this for hours sometimes across those graveled grounds. Families would take long turns watching over the group and scrapping across the pebbles. He wondered if this was some long forgotten connection between himself and the killer whale. He slid across the tiles some more.

 

            As long as he was down here, touching the tiles, he was safe. He didn’t have to think about anything but the way the tiles felt against his fingers. He came up to the surface again and touched the wall as he did. He took in a few deep lung fulls and rested his head against the lip of the pool. She had already fallen and the pool of blood was spreading around her when he came to her. She had been confused, and scared and shocked. She hadn’t fully comprehended what had happened when he lifted her up, she had just known she was dying.

 

            “I love you.” She had said.

 

            He had held her to him, and tried to save her. It had been to no avail, and she had passed on. That little girl though, she had seen it. If The Other had been there, why had she simply stayed put. Maybe she couldn’t move, maybe she wasn’t allowed. Maybe Shannon had to die or he’d never have been able to get on with killing Captain Scourge. No, those were all unacceptable to him, there would have to be a better answer.

 

            “Please Mister Weirdo, save my mommy.”

 

            Some one was going to have to give him some answers. He was going to go and get some answers, and the first one that said it was ineffable gets a shovel up the butt. He’d heard that reason before, that the answers were ineffable, but he didn’t buy that either. There was no such thing as ineffable, everything could be understood. You could have a simple answer to anything, if you broke the question down correctly. There was no question that couldn’t be answered, no answer that couldn’t be understood. There might have to be a learning curve, but the answers were there. The idea that human’s couldn’t understand the will of god was like the parent who just says because I say so. There were reasons; you just had to ask the right questions. You also then had to take into account the prejudices and motivations of the person answering, and then you had the truth. Truth could be found, and even a God’s will was a pretty simple thing. Once a person had all the facts, then a reasonable decision could be made. It was only that so many people knew the value of information and didn’t want to disseminate it.

 

            One day though, he was going to get them to answer his questions, and he was going to have the proper answers. He was only worried that when he had all the answers he wanted, he would come to the conclusion that those who ran the universe were either as fallible as humans or more so. He had seen after all, how governments were run. The higher up the ladder you went the stupider the person you spoke to was. He had no reason to believe that the Gods were not the same.

 

            A cloud shifted, and the shadow on him slid aside and he was able to see the light of the half moon. It was not a full moon, you will note, nor was it the sliver of a crescent moon. This was a half moon, a few days had passed since the quarter moon and now fully half the moon’s face was lighted from the perspective of those on earth. To the people of Mars, if they could see our moon, it would have appeared all black. To those on Venus, it would have looked full. To The Weirdo though, it looked half full, or possibly half empty.

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

12:02 a.m.

 

            Judy was sitting up in her room, looking at the empty bed. She had been prepared for The Weirdo to call her nasty things Eve had said he would. He hadn’t though, not really. She’s been told he’d call her a cunt and a bitch, and even a whore. He didn’t do it the way she’d thought though. When he’d said she was behaving like a whore, he’d not said it like an insult. He’d said it, like it was hurting him to say it.

 

            Eve had said he would be playing mind games, but Judy had known him longer. He didn’t relish in the idea of playing with people. That wasn’t his style at all. He had a distinct sense of what was right and what was wrong. He always thought it was wrong to manipulate people. She couldn’t be sure about what Eve had said anymore. She’d said that Tommy didn’t miss her, and The Weirdo said he did. She didn’t know if Tommy loved her or not anymore, but she thought she loved him.

 

            No, that wasn’t exactly true. She knew she loved him, and she knew she loved Shelia. She loved them both, and she had been a whore for these people. The Weirdo had been right about that, there was no love here. She was being used, and she could now see it for herself. She picked took her cell phone and walked to the elevator. She pressed the ground floor button and waited.

 

            There would be a party tonight, and she should have been at it. Some one was going to come for her soon and ask why she wasn’t at the party. She hoped that she could get down to the ground floor and out into the street before they saw her. They would want to hold her over their heads again, and carry her around the room. They would want to celebrate what she had done, and then they would all want to fuck her.

 

            She didn’t think she could stand to have any of them touch her, to insinuate themselves into her. The elevator touched down on the ground floor, she exited and there were only a few people standing around in the lobby. 

 

            “Hey Judy.” One girl said waving.

 

            Judy pretended not to hear and moved as quickly towards the nearest door with out running as she could. She exited the building and began then to run down to street, running away from the building. She looked behind her to confirm no one was following her, which is how she ran into the giant.

 

            She hit a chest and fell to the ground, flat on her butt. She looked at the heavy combat boots and began to look up, passing over the black jeans, the Pantera t-shirt, and up to Cydrill Blackheart’s face. He looked down at her quizzically, extending his hand.

 

            “Hello Judican.” He said helping her up.

 

            “You can just call me Judy now.” She said wiping the dust from her buttocks. “What are you doing here?”

 

            “Watching.” He said.

 

            “Watching what?”

 

            “They just received something that will be very bad if they use it the way I think they are.” He said. “I’ve been tracking it since it was stolen six years ago.”

 

            “Oh.” She said. “Do you have a car here?”

 

            “Yes.” He said. “You need a lift somewhere? I thought you were with these people now.”

 

            “Um,” She said looking back behind her. “I need to talk to Tommy for a while is all.”

 

            “Oh yes? Well I think I could call him, hang on.” He produced something that was shaped about like a capped fountain pen. He looked at the buttons on the side and pressed one experimentally and then shook his head and muttered something and then looked at her. “Don’t know how this thing works do you?”

 

            “I could call him.” She said. “I’ve got a phone.”

 

            “You don’t just want to talk to him do you?” Cydrill said.

 

            “I need to see him.” She said.

 

            “Okay.” He said. “Well let’s go and see him then shall we?”

 

            “Thanks Cydrill.” She said hugging his massive arm.

 

            “Sure, sure kid.” He then raised the pen shaped device to his lips. “Pig Pen, this is the Dead Leaf King get you’re pants on I’m bringing a visitor to see you.”

 

            “Ten Four King.” Tommy’s voice came over.

 

            “I thought you didn’t know how to use that thing.” She said.

 

            “I just asked if you did know.” He said. “I didn’t say I didn’t know.”

 

           

April 3rd, 2003

12:21 a.m.

 

            Tommy was waiting in a chair at the foot of the stairs when Cydrill walked in. He looked at the traditional Lord of Autumn and stood up. Cydrill walked towards him and took him gently by the arm. He led him out of the foyer and towards the billiard room. When they entered, Cydrill closed the door and turned to Tommy.

 

            “I think that maybe you should have some privacy with this particular visitor.” Cydrill said.

 

            “Who is it?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I’ll go and get this person, you stay here.”

 

            Cydrill was certainly being bizarre, that was for sure. Tommy leaned against the table and folded his arms. He was wondering whom Cydrill could possibly be bringing to see him when the door opened. She stood in the doorway, her red hair covering half her face. She looked up at him with one blue eye, the other obscured by hair. He could see the tears trickling from the one eye and saw a drop fall from the left side of her jaw. She was crying from both eyes then, and biting her lip.

 

            “Why don’t you come in?” Tommy asked.

 

            “I…” She started, but couldn’t say anything else.

 

            She turned, and closed the door behind her, cutting them off from the world. They were alone in this billiard room, and she knew he was going to send her away. She knew at that moment that it had always been Sheila he loved and had just put up with her to keep Sheila happy. She was going to be sent away and she had no way to kill herself. She couldn’t kill herself and she couldn’t live without him. She had said and done terrible things and he would throw her out.

 

            “I…” She began again, but still nothing came.

 

            Tommy just stood there, waiting. He would wait until she said whatever it was she had to say, and then he was going to chain her to this goddamn table to prevent her from leaving if that’s what it took. He’d been in love with her, since the moment he’d first seen her, and he wasn’t going to let anything like what had just happened, happen again. He was going to keep her near, and the he was going to go and get Sheila. To hell with not making a scene, he was going to get his family back.

 

            “I love you.” She said. “I’ve always been in love with you. When I used to think about the sort of man who would come and rescue Sheila and me from Vena, well it was fantasy really. I never thought that anyone would ever be able to steal us away from her.”

 

            He waited, she was going to have to say all of this on her own, and he couldn’t say it for her. Tommy Gunner, it has been said, could wait out a rock if that was what was required. He waited for her to speak again, carefully breathing so that it wouldn’t sound like he was ever sighing.

 

            “I always wanted it to be with someone like you.” She said, turning slowly, the tears now forming a regular service form her eyes to her jaw line an from there either to her shirt or the floor. “I wanted someone who wouldn’t get cross or impatient with me. I know I don’t know anything, and you’re very patient with me about that. I always wanted you, even before there was a you to want.”

 

            “Okay.” He said.

 

            “I did something terrible.” She said. “I had sex with people I didn’t love, and I hurt The Weirdo, who I do love.”

 

            “Yes you did.” He said.

 

            “And I left you, I thought I would never come back to you.”

 

            He took in a deep breath and held it. He held it because he didn’t want to sigh at her. He wanted to be all the things she thought he was, but he knew he wasn’t. He wanted to be the man that she saw when she looked at him; he wanted to be the person she apparently thought he was. He didn’t think he was half the man she imagined him to be, but she inspired him to try to be that man.

 

            “I want to come home.” She said weeping

 

            “So you’re here.” He said.

 

            “I mean I want to come back to you.” She said, her words barely coming out.

 

            “So come here.” He said taking her in his arms. “I mean did you think I was gonna say no?”

 

            He held her close to him and tears spilled from his eyes. He held her close and he held her tight, her sobs breaking against his chest like waves. He kissed her hair and squeezed the breath from her. She held onto him, crying into his chest, looking up into his face. She was amazed to find that his tears fell onto her face. She hadn’t thought he would be crying, he was supposed to grudgingly accept her back.

 

            “I can’t sleep with out you.” He said. “I can’t function without you here.”

 

            She couldn’t talk; the tears running down her cheeks prevented her from being able to talk. She sobbed, and then gasped, but said no words. She hadn’t expected any of this. He held her close to him, his tears dripping into her hair. He couldn’t say anything else, he wanted to though. He wanted to explain to her how the world had lost its color without them with him. How the food had no tastes and the air was always stale. He couldn’t say these things though, not now, not here.

 

            “There is nothing you can do that I wouldn’t forgive.” He said.

 

            “Sweet Monkey Jesus!” Max’s voice called out. “The fucking statue!”

 

            Tommy looked at the door, hearing feet pounding past the door. There were voices, and Max’s voice was saying things that made no sense. He was babbling about a statue, something exploding. Tommy wiped the tears from his face and opened the door; he looked down the hall towards Max’s manic voice.

 

            “And then the thing just fucking fell down. Kaboom!”

 

            “Kaboom, kaboom, there was an earth shattering kaboom.” The Other’s voice rang like a tiny bell in the air.

 

            Tommy squeezed Judy’s hand and began to walk down the hall. Everyone in the house had collected around the large plasma screen television. There was just a shot of the statue of liberty. He couldn’t immediately see the connection between what looked like a shot of the statue from a helicopter made by some film crew and Max’s fit. It was then, without warning that the statue fell down because of explosion.  The explosives didn’t make pieces didn’t actually sail for miles; they would have if it had been a movie.

 

            This wasn’t some eighteen-inch high model of the statue though this was the thing itself. It was a giant statue made of copper plates that had been riveted into place. It didn’t so much blow up and out as it did just down. The explosions were barely visible from the outside.  A few of the panels that had been welded together blew off from the statue. The explosions were all near the bottom of the statue, and nowhere else. Nothing happened for about a second and then the statue fell face forward, just about where the ankles would be. The statue fell a lot faster than a person might think, the back of the long toga tearing away as the weakened metal couldn’t hold the weight of the falling statue. The torch was the first thing to hit the ground, and is smashed before the entire arm snapped off. The body of the statue did nearly a complete flip, and crashed into the large building that served as it’s pedestal. Then the weight was too much for the bits of copper and steel that had held out this long and the statue crashed down, head first and landed on it’s own arm.

 

            The group watched silently as this replay went by again. Well not completely silent, there was a small child bouncing in the corner repeating the same word over and over again.

 

            “Kaboom, kaboom, kaboom.”

 

            “Other.” The Weirdo said turning towards her. “Could you stop that please? A great big statue just fell down and the adults don’t know how to handle it.”

 

            “That was just petty.” Kestrel said. “Why? Who?”

 

            “We didn’t want to do that.” The voice came over the speakers of the surround system. “But we had to be sure you realized we were serious. We know where each person still in this city is, and we will kill each and every one of them if our demands are not met. This comes to about six thousand people in case you’re wondering.”

 

            “Oh shit.” Lilith said looking at the screen. “You did it, you crazy bitches. You finally did it.”

 

            “If The Weirdo and his group don’t surrender themselves to the Empire State Building immediately, they will be directly responsible for the deaths of six thousand people. We have someone watching you, we’ll give you a few minuets to get yourselves together, and then we start with the children.”

 

            There was never a face on the screen, just the broken remains of the green copper statue. The uncorroded insides could clearly be seen on the camera. It was like looking at a hollow chocolate bunny one might get for Easter. The outsides had been sprayed with a green powder, but the inside was still the chocolate color you loved. Such hollow bunnies were always terrible, had a lot of wax in the chocolate. The Weirdo bent down and looked at the screen.

 

            “Could some one go up to the roof with a pair of binoculars and make sure they just actually did what they claim they did?”

 

            “I’ll go.” Max said.

 

            “What do we do?” Marla asked.

 

            “You and Judy and Mrs. Pendleton stay here with heavy machine guns and the rest of us will go and see what they want.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I thought we didn’t negotiate with terrorists?” Tommy said.

 

            “No, that’s what stupid people do.” The Weirdo said. “We talk, and when their done talking we decide if we’re going to shoot them or not.”

 

            “Aren’t we going to shoot them?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Oh, yes.” The Weirdo, “Just a question of where when and how.”

 

            “So we’ve decided before we’ve begun.” Kestrel said.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “We don’t know how or how many yet.”

 

            “You’re going to kill them for a statue?” Judy asked.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “I’m going to shoot some one for threatening to start with the children. I may not kill them, that is involved with the how.”

 

            “Kaboom!” The Other said. “There was a earth shattering kaboom.”

 

            “No, there wasn’t.” Kestrel said. “The statue just fell down.”

 

            “Not if you don’t get the iridium p thirty six explosive space modulator.” The Other said.

 

            “Huh?” Kestrel asked. “Is their going to be a kaboom then?”

 

            “She’s talking about a cartoon.” The Weirdo said. “Bugs Bunny steals the iridium p thirty six explosive space modulator from Marvin the Martin. Without which Marvin did not get an earth shattering kaboom.”

 

            “You remember that?” She asked.

 

            “You don’t?”

 

            “It’s down.” Max’s voice came from his pocket. “And there are five helicopters flying around the island.”

 

            “Oh goodie.” The Weirdo said, and then began to sing an adaptation to the words of brining in the sheaves. “Nipples in the breeze, nipples in the breeze, growing hard and perky, them nipples in the breeze.”

 

            “Pardon?” Kestrel asked as he walked away.

 

            “Nothing.” He said. “Just singing a song.”

 

            “Guns?” Jack asked.

 

            “Guns.” The Weirdo said. “Everybody should have a gun.”

 

            “Is that a statement about right now or a general statement?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Right now.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Then I’ll need a gun.” Darrian said.

 

            “We’ll stay behind just now.” Cydrill said, “I’ll just go check our defenses.”

 

            “Okay.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I’ll get some guns from the Hole.” Jack said, walking out of the room.

 

            “I’ll go with him.” Darrian said following.

 

            “I think I’ll just change into a suit.” Tommy said.

 

            “I’ve got to get my outfit too.” Kestrel said.

 

            And one by one, they all left the room, until only The Weirdo and The Other were left in the room. He looked at her, as she was writing on something that looked like music bars. There was a symphony being composed by hand on the table before her. She didn’t seem to be making a misstep or after looking at it deciding that she didn’t like the way that bar went. She just kept writing out the music, as it seemed to be coming to her.

 

            “What are you writing?” He asked.

 

            “Music.” She said holding a large stack of paper to him.

 

            “I’m not very good at reading sheet music.” He said. “It’s the one thing I can’t do.”

 

            “It’s a song.” She said.

 

            “Is it about anything or is it just a pretty tune?”

 

            “It’s not folk music.” She said. “It’s a concerto about the goings on in a pond of water in south Wales. I’m working on the flute part now.”

 

            “You’ve never seen a Bugs Bunny cartoon have you?” He asked

 

            “What’s a Bugs Bunny?”

 

            “The single greatest rabbit of all time.” He said. “What’s this about an earth shattering kaboom then?”

 

            “See the flutes are these shrill instruments that make you’re teeth hurt.”

 

            “I do know what a flute is.” He said. “I was asking about earth shattering kabooms.”

 

            “I don’t know what they sound like.” She said.

 

            “You’re not going to answer me are you?” He asked.

 

            “No.” She said. “I said something too early. I haven’t learned about it yet but it’s in my head, are you mad?”

 

            “No.” He said. “I could do without having to deal with an earth shattering kaboom just at the moment.”

 

            “Do you like me?” She asked, looking up at him with those crystalline blue eyes.

 

            “Yes.” He said. “It’s very difficult not to.”

 

            “I like you too.” She said. “Are you gonna be my daddy?”

 

            “I don’t see as I have much choice.”

 

            “You’re the only person who ever took my flashlight away.” She said. “I always thought my daddy would take my flashlight away. I knew I’d know him because he took the flash light away and told me to go to bed.”

 

            A vaguely sad look crossed her face, and she looked at the paper before her. The Weirdo looked at her hands, so small and pudgy. They were the hands of a child, not of an adult. She ran them over the paper she had just been writing on. She can hear the tune, he thought, she can look at those little dots and make them mean something. She could look at the little dots and make them mean something, possibly something greater than what was on the page. She must have been able to hear the flutes in conjunction with the oboes and clarinets. She could hear the way the brass instruments played against the woodwinds, and compose the entire work in her head. He wondered if this piece of music would ever be played, would there ever be enough musicians again to play this song? He wanted to hear the song he realized that. He wanted to hear what she heard in her head.

 

            “Dose it sound like it dose in your head?” She asked suddenly.

 

            “What?” He asked.

 

            “The song.” She said. “I’ve written it all out, except for the clavier part. I’ve got it down to the measure and the note, is it going to sound like I hear it?”

 

            “I don’t know.” He said. “I can sing, but I can’t read music. I do everything by ear.”

 

            “Sing me something then.” She said.

 

            “I’m supposed to be marching off to my death you know?”

 

            “A short song.” She said.

 

            He looked at her and realized that he was going to give her what she wanted, so he picked up the first song he could think of that wasn’t of a bawdy nature. He looked down at her and cleared his throat just to make sure and began. It was a song of his own devising, but he only had the chorus. He’d been trying for well over a year to come up with more, but nothing would come. His voice was golden, it was a shame he didn’t live a thousand years earlier or singing would have been part of his job description.

 

            “Monkey, monkey eating cheese,

I’m dancing with a walrus if you please.

The Monkey likes to sing and play,

It’s a monkey, monkey, monkey day.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “You go get killed now.”

 

            “You didn’t like it?”

 

            “I liked it.” She said. “But they’re ready for you now.”       

 

            The Weirdo turned and everyone was looking at the two of them. He stood up and looked at them. There were his best friends, the psychic and the alien. There were the loves of his best friend’s lives, a nuclear physicist and a bi-sexual immortal former slave. There was a boy who sometimes like his little brother and sometimes like his ward. The amazing polymorphic bird girl, and the vampire who could have been a black haired Lestat look a like. The housekeeper stood next to the fun loving but horribly scarred immortal on one side of the group. On the other side stood the giant lord of nature and his immortal valet. In front of their parents, Amanda and Rutherford stood, waiting for whatever was to come. And next to him, this spooky little cleric who could create an old master or an opera while watching cartoons.

 

            There was a face missing, and he realized it wasn’t Lilith’s. She wasn’t there, but that wasn’t the face they were missing. Sheila was missing, because she wasn’t here. They were going to have to get her back, and they were going to do that very soon. The Weirdo realized that though a few more faces might come and go this was it as far as family was concerned for him. This was the family he had been given, to replace the one that had been taken from him. It might require a bit more work, but it was going to give greater results in the end.

 

            “Where’s Lilith and Julie?” He asked, although he already knew.

 

            “Left a little while ago.” Mrs. Pendleton said. “I thought you knew.”

 

            “I sort of thought that.” He said.

 

            “I’m sure they’ll be back.” She said.

 

            “No, they won’t. Ah, well.” He said, and then he changed his mood and stood. “Shall we go folks?”

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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May 2, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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