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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Thirteen: A Reason to Stay

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 Thirteen

A Reason to Stay

 

April 6th, 2003

11:41 p.m.

 

            If we were to look at the George Washington Bridge, we would see that John Uniton had driven his motorcycle to the middle of that bridge and sat himself down. He’d been on the bridge for sometime actually, and been doing quite badly. He’d been conducting an experiment that would never have occurred to him if Marla and the kids were still around.

 

            Jack had to admit this; the Kentucky whisky was better than the Irish. He had consumed quite a lot of each, and had carefully compared the two. He had drunk four bottles of each and even with his unusual constitution was pretty well gone by now. He had compared carefully and as loathed as he was to deny loyalty to his home islands he had to admit which was better. The whisky made in Kentucky was just this side of superior to that made in the Irish workshops.

 


            The problem was, it didn’t make the pain go away. If anything, it had focused his rage and sorrow in on the problem. His wife had gone, and taken the children. They had left him, and she hadn’t even said a word to him. After nearly ten years, Marla had simply upped stakes and left him without a word. He looked at the empty bottle in his hands and then at the river below him. He let the bottle go and watched, as it made it’s decent towards the water. The splash was almost imperceptible at this height, but he saw it all the same. The river rushed on, it hadn’t stopped, matter of fact it might never stop. All the life in the world had left, but the river stayed. Why would that be he wondered. He took his coat off and slung it over the bike. He then took the holster from his side, with the gun still in it and set that down on the saddle. He looked down at the river and jumped, slowing his decent as he flew down towards the river. He floated over it for a long time; the water had ceased to stink. There was no longer the reek the water had once had.

 

            He wondered why this might be? Possibly because there was no one left to throw things in, or maybe because there were no longer any little microbes. If the microbes had gone, they wouldn’t be living, breeding and dying by the trillions, and thus no smell. He considered this for a while, sitting on a dry pylon for a long time, just looking at the bridge.

 

            Not just everyone had gone, everything had gone as well. There was no life in the river, no life anywhere. There was still some plant life, but the grass had all turned blue, which was pretty damn odd. He was already sobering up, which was always the worst part about drinking. He stood up and opened his fly; he would just go in the river.

 

            His body had once again rejected most of the alcohol he had given it, which is always annoying. He just couldn’t get drunk or stay drunk for very long, his body would just weed out the poisons and remove them. He went in the river and his mind cleared to an idea that hadn’t occurred to him. He wondered why it hadn’t but that didn’t really matter did it? He closed his fly and began to fly, his bike and gun forgotten behind him.

 

 

April 6th, 2003

11:58 p.m.

 

            Tommy looked around at the street; he had grown up on this street. The buildings that had been his home as a child were gone now, of course they were. He was nearly a hundred now, and those buildings were just too old. After all, since this was America, a building should only last about ten years right? After ten years you had to knock it down and put up some beast of glass and steel.

 

            He had his own place, somewhere around here, for a year or two before he met The Weirdo. He had quit the police by then, having lost faith in the system. That was an interesting choice of words now, the word system. The Weirdo had given him a chance to be something else, to be a hero. Then The Weirdo vanished, and Tommy sat out of it for a while. He joined the OSS during world war two, because it seemed like something he should do. He’d been nearly forty by the time he’d left and become a silent partner to the FBI. He’d left that too, not because of age, but disgust. He’d fought Hoover, and he had won of course, but then you couldn’t beat a man like Tommy. Unless you were prepared and able to fight on the grounds Tommy had been willing to fight on, so he’d won that one.

 

            The problem was he’d gotten old and had made peace with his God and was ready to die when The Weirdo returned. The Weirdo had offered a new life and Tommy had taken it, of course he had. There was no sense of useful ness like the one that came with following The Weirdo in his mad escapades.

 

            And now he was back here again, back on his home street. He looked at the lamps, half of which no longer worked. Not much a surprise, they didn’t work that well when he lived here either. He sighed and stuck his hands into his pockets; he had a lot to think about. For one thing, he was going to have to think about this whole thing about Amy. He couldn’t tell how he felt about that yet, he would have to think a little longer.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

12:02 a.m.

 

            “Fucking sons of bitches.” The Weirdo said limping along.

 

            He held his right hand, which hurt too much to open from a fist. He’d crushed it pretty badly when he punched the sculpture, and now he couldn’t even open it. He could feel the blood from the back of his head, slowly dripping down his back. His leg dragged behind him, his dislocated knee hardly holding him up.

 

            He tripped and landed on his left knee, his right hand and then rolled over and whacked the back of his head against the wall again. He shouted out in incredible pain from the impacts. He screamed out again, trying to get himself to sit up.

           

“Is it painful?” A voice asked him.

 

He turned his head around and looked at The Other.

 

“Yes it’s fucking painful.” He growled.

 

“What is pain?” She asked, sitting down next to him.

 

She wasn’t trying to tease, she really wanted to know. He closed his eyes and tried to organize his thoughts. Was she asking because she didn’t know or was this that part of her that spoke through the child? Did she want him to tell her or was she trying to tell him something. Most importantly, why wasn’t she in bed? He sat up the best he could to look at her.

 

“When a part of the body is damaged, a signal is sent to the brain, explaining the problem. Well really, it’s just a claxon of alarm bells really.” His eyes were blurring from the pain, but he kept talking. “It’s how the body explains that there is a problem see?”

 

“Do you feel pain in dreams?”

 

“I don’t think so.” He said. “I don’t remember ever feeling pain. Thirst, hunger, exhaustion, but not pain.”

 

“So you know you’re awake now?”

 

“That’s why people often say, in movies since no one says it in real life, they say pinch me when they think they might be dreaming.”

 

“So pain might be a way to explain that the world still exists, that you’re still alive?” She said.

           

“Yeah.” He said, pain making it hard to talk “Life is pain princess, anyone who says other wise is selling something.”

 

            “I’m not a princess.” She said.

 

            “It’s a quote sweetie.” He said, talking quietly to himself. “No pain, no strife, has to have a cost.”

 

            “Cost?”

 

            “Everything has a cost,” He said, looking around as if in a moment of clarity. “Just ask Herbert Hoover.”

 

            “The president?” She asked.

 

            “Yeah.”

 

He tried to close his right hand and found the bones were shattered and the fractured bits were poking into his flesh. The pain was incredible, so much so in fact that his left hand closed into a fist, and the mis-set tendons in his left hand twanged across his knuckles. The Other looked at the sound his left hand made and then at the purple mass of pain that was his right hand.

 

 “Hurts?” She asked.

 

“It’s how we know we’re alive.” He said. “Pain lets you know you haven’t died. If there is a place with no pain or troubles, it would be a heaven. Or it would be nothing, because light without dark is worthless. The greatest of joys is useless without a great pain to compare it too. The only way to obtain a true peace would be to wipe out everything. They are going to try and end the world sweetie.”

 

“Who?” She asked.

 

“Everybody but us.” He said. “We’re going to have to save the world.”

 

“Just you and me?”

 

“Nope.” He said. “You and I are going to find Jack and Tommy, and we’re gonna get Max and we’re gonna kick some ass.”

 

“Kick butt!” She said pumping a fist into the air.

 

“Other.” He said.

 

“Yes?”

 

“If you’re going to swear, swear, don’t fuck around.” Because even blinding pain couldn’t over ride The Weirdo’s sense of decent profanity.

 

“Kick ass.” She said, again pumping her fist into the air.

 

“Much better.” He said, and forced his right hand to close and heal.

 

“I can fix that.” She said.

 

“Can you?”

 

“Yep.” She said with a friendly nod.

 

“Are you making conversation or an offer?”

 

“Do you want me to fix it?” She asked.

 

“What happens to you?” He asked. “Does it hurt?”

 

“No.” She said, shaking her head.

 

“What do you feel then?” He asked.

 

She ruminated about that for a while, which is hard when you’re four. At four you might think or even contemplate if you’re exceptionally gifted, but to ruminate? Well I can think of fully-grown and educated adults who are not capable of true rumination. Actually rumination was easy for her, getting rumination across at four was tough.

 

“Tingly.” She said. “Warm tingly.”

 

“Good tingly or bad tingly?”

 

“Good I think.” She said. “It makes me feel happy, and stronger.”

 

“Stronger?”

 

“Yeah.” She said. “I could do it a lot I think.”

 

“Well, you can give it a little try then.” He said holding out his hand.

           

She touched the broken, brightly bruised knuckles and bloodied. Her tiny hands glowed when she touched his wounded paw, from a golden interior light. He felt his knee slipping back into place, and his head didn’t hurt any more. He also felt something else very odd, an emotional state of well being. For the moment, there was no feeling of guilt. There were no faces and the voices were silent.

 

            He looked at her face and it was like looking into bliss. It was the face that you knew had a mouthful of the best ice cream ever. Her eyes were closed and a tiny smile played on the closed lips. She breathed through her nostrils, and her face had blushed some. There was an inner light to her as well. A literal inner light, like some one had turned on a big halogen bulb just where her heart should be

 

            She then opened her eyes and pulled her hand away from The Weirdo’s hand. He opened his fist and the digits moved easily, though he thought a bit of arthritis that had always been there was still there. She had fixed what was broken, and not done any more.

 

            “Better?” She asked.

 

            “Yeah.” He said. “Thank you.”

 

            “Well, c’mon then.” She said standing. “I wanna see a movie.”

 

            “A movie?”

           

“Yeah.” She said. “Another one with the funny little man with the mustache.”

           

“Okay.” He said lifting her up. “We’ll see a few more Chaplains then.”

 

 

April 7th, 2003

12:20 a.m.

 

            The black car was an expensive one, and Dagron Piedmont was driving while Cydrill Blackheart sat in the passenger seat. Piedmont had been loyal for thousands of years, and rarely ever spoke out against Cydrill’s decisions, but this one to leave for a while had struck him as odd.

 

            “Mister Blackheart.” Piedmont said.

 

            “Yes Mister Piedmont?” Cydrill responded.

 

            “What are we doing here?”

 

            “I don’t get what you mean.”

 

            “We’re leaving aren’t we?”

 

            “Only long enough to make sure that there are no other warriors in hiding.”

 

            “No.” Piedmont said. “We’re running away.”

 

            “Are we?”

 

            “We aren’t actually.” Piedmont turned the car around, which was easy on the empty street.

 

            “What are we going to do then?”

 

            “We’re not going to run away this time.” Piedmont said. “We ran away last time and it only got us here.”

 

            “We could find Tanteroy.” Cydrill said.

 

            “If he’s still about, he’ll have come here.”

 

            “How can you be sure?”

 

            “Everyone is coming here.” Piedmont said.

 

            “But we were about to leave.”

 

            “And now we’re not.”

 

            “You’ve made a decision have you?” Cydrill said. “Without a consultation?”

 

            Piedmont slammed on the breaks, and brought the car to a halt. He turned to look at Cydrill and after a long moment, finally spoke. There was a great deal of restrained rage in his voice.

 

            “I betrayed my family, I killed everyone I’d loved and helped destroy Assitania. I now see what happened there, happening here. I’m not going to be on the wrong side again, and I’m not going to run away. I’ve got a scant chance at maybe making right what I did wrong; I’m not going to squander it. You want to run fine.” He opened the door and got out of the car. “I’m not going to though.”

 

            Piedmont closed the door and began to walk away, his feet tapping on the concrete. He had gone quite someway, without looking back, before he heard the car. He had half expected that Blackheart would turn the car around and keep driving away; instead he heard the engine approaching him. The car pulled up beside him and the passenger window lowered.

 

            “Get in the fucking car.” Cydrill said. “I can’t let you walk back there.”

 

            “Are you going to leave after that?”

 

            “I don’t know.” Cydrill said. “But we won’t leave just yet.”

 

            “Alright then.” He opened the passenger door and climbed in.

 

            “I will have to find a way to attract an army though.” Cydrill said as they drove back into the city. “Got to be someway to do it.”

 

            “We don’t need an army.” Piedmont said. “We’re army enough.”

 

 

April 7th, 2003

1:15 a.m.

 

            Max looked out across the city, thinking about things. He’d been under The Weirdo’s thumb for a long time hadn’t he? He wasn’t sure about the phrasing of that statement, but he felt it sometimes. It wasn’t easy being the kid around those three; particularly since they’d started having other old people like them around. He wasn’t even thirty yet and he was around people who had seen the building of the pyramids who looked younger than he did.

 

            He watched the clouds drift away from the sky, and looked at the city. He could see the dark places where the city ended and the sea began, amazed he could see this far. He had heard that on a clear day you could see forever. He had been given the same line every kid is given, that one day all this would be his. He was becoming sure though, that there was going to be no place for him to inherit by the end of the month. There was an even guess as to weather it would be here another week, or it might be all gone.

 

            He looked at the city, and thought about the women below, on the lower floors. They never teased him, never gave impromptu lectures on the strategies of the Vikings. These women never suddenly started quizzing him they just loved him. It was very easy for him to see the benefit of staying here. Besides, there was strength in numbers wasn’t there? When the destroyer comes, some one was going to have to stand against him. Max didn’t know if he could really stand against a villain like the one they said was coming. He was willing to try though, and not just hide on the island and put his head under the sand.

 

Some things Lilith had said though, they disturbed him. Her tone was one of ownership, not partnership. It was also quite odd; he’d never found himself questioning The Weirdo. He might enquire why they were doing things in a certain way, but not questioning the motives. He’d never asked, even to himself, why The Weirdo did things the way that he did them. He simply accepted, on some empirical level, that this was the right way to do things.

 

            The Weirdo, was as advertised. He was exactly what he claimed to be, and not more. He had said he was a brutal, evil bastard. Lilith seemed to be trying to get him to believe she was something besides what she had shown him. It seemed that she wanted him to think she was noble, to think she was greater than she really was.

 

He was thinking that he was going to have to watch her, watch what she did and how she did it. He was thinking that he might have to go home soon, and check in, find out what was going on. He couldn’t really take up arms against the guys could he?

 

 

April 7th, 2003

2:21 a.m.

 

Kestrel was tired, and she was angry. Well to be perfectly honest she was beyond fucking furious. She wanted to know where everyone was, and why they weren’t at the house and who the hell kept turning the lights on? There were lights in rooms and buildings all over the city. Some one had to be turning these lights on, but who?

 

            She was distracted by seeing a car moving the opposite direction, now who was this? She spun the car around and began to chase it, flashing her bights at it as she did. The car fortunately pulled over and prevented her from trying to see if she could drive and shoot at tires at the same time. She pulled over and got out of the car, the big five hundred magnum in her hand. The door of the car opened and Angel stepped out.

 

            “Hi Kestrel.” She said.

 

            “Who’s with you?” Kestrel asked, the gun resting at her side.

 

            “Kaala, Judy, Sheila.”

 

            “Where were you four off to?”

 

            “We were thinking…” Angel began.

 

            “You were going to leave.” Kestrel said.

 

            “We were thinking about it.” Angel said, looking down at her shoes. “We just wanted to be safe.”

 

            “Safe.” Kestrel said walking back to her own car and throwing the revolver into the drivers seat. “Wendy’s the lot of you.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “You ever read Peter Pan? Wendy was a useless little bitch.”

 

“I’ve got something to live for thank you very much.” Angel said stomping towards Kestrel. “You might not have anything but I do.”

 

Kestrel’s response might have been a bit harsh, but under the circumstances it could be viewed as justified. The back of her left hand wasn’t particularly hard, but it had some power behind it and the big gun in it. There was at least enough power to send Angel sprawling to the ground. Kaala burst from the car and began shouting at Kestrel, waving her fists at her.

 

            “Don’t you hurt her!” Kaala said. “I’ll kill you.”

 

            Kestrel’s right hand swung this time, and a slap sent Kaala falling back. The slap was an open handed slap that hardly had any backing to it. Kaala had fallen more from the surprise than anything else. Kestrel looked down on the two of them and her glance went from to the other.

 

“You’re both willing to defend each other? You want to make sure that you can live in a world where your love will be accepted? Then you’re going to have to do something about it. You’re going to have to put your own little butts on the line! You can’t just sit around expecting some knight in shinning armor to save the day, cause it’s not gonna happen.”

 

            “Kestrel?” Judy’s voice was meek as Kestrel’s voice raised.

 

            “What?”

 

            “We’re just women.” Judy’s voice seemed to come from far away.

 

            “How long are you going to use that fucking excuse?”

 

            “Not any more.” Sheila said, looking at Judy. “It’s time we did our part Judy, Tommy needs us for more than just bed mates and emotional support.”

 

            “What?” Judy asked, looking confused.

 

            “What are you afraid of?” Sheila asked. “You afraid of dying, we can’t. You afraid of death, we were beaten and burned and frozen, what pain can they inflict?”

 

            “I, I just.” Judy stumbled.

 

“If Tommy dies, can you live with the fact that we did nothing?”

 

            “No.” Judy said, tears spilling from her eyes. “He’s not going to, is he?”

 

            “How do we know?” Sheila asked.

 

            Kestrel looked down at the two girls who were beginning to gather themselves up. Angel and Kaala didn’t look determined, they looked scared. Kestrel made a mental bet with herself that they were more scared of her than of death at this moment.

 

            “Now lets go back to the house and I’ll show you how to shoot a gun.” Kestrel said.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

3:21 p.m.

 

            There are some things that children should be made to see, certain images, and certain stories. There are times, when a child must sit before whatever story telling alter their generation has to offer, and see a certain story. The picture, in this case, was monochromatic. This was strangely appropriate since the movie in question was really a study in shades of gray, even though it was referred to as black and white. The Television was showing a huge image of a Japanese man, who turned his back and walked away, hitching his shoulder as he walked. The music swelled up and the camera followed the man.

           

The Other watched, her mouth slightly slack in amazement. She had, in her four years, seen many movies. They had just seen a handful of Charlie Chaplin shorts before The Weirdo suggested this film after all. She had seen movies, and been told stories, but never like this. The… protagonist was… something else.

 

            “Did he even get any money from that?” The Other asked.

 

            “Nope.” The Weirdo said, “Remember he gave it to that family.”

 

            “I thought he wanted the money.” She said.

 

            “You’re supposed to think that.” He said. “I think he did at first, but things change sometimes.”

 

            “But, was he a good guy then?”

 

            “What do you think?” The Weirdo asked.

 

“He came into the town, to make some money.”

 

            “Right.”

 

            “But then when he had the money, he risked it all to give these people a way out of the trouble they were in.”

 

            “Right.”

 

            “And then they figured out it was him that let the girl go, and they beat the tar out of him.”

 

            “Still on the factual kick.”

 

            “So he got them to kill each other and then killed everyone who was left.”

 

            “Right.”

 

            “He killed all the bad guys for no reward.” She said.

 

            “Well, he walks away with nothing.”

 

            “He must be a good guy then.” She said.

 

            “He’s mean to everybody though.” He said.

 

            “But he cares.” She said. “And in the end, he did what was right.”

 

            “Not sure that’s heroic.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “But he’s a good guy.” She said. “He didn’t do for people what they wanted, but he did what was needed.”

 

            “But did he act nobly all the same?”

 

            “What?”

 

            “Did he do what he said he would? Did he act in a truthful and honest manner? What was one of the first things he said when he came to town?”

 

            “That the town would be better off if all the bad guys were just killed.”

 

            He nodded to her and smiled as recognition dawned on her face.

 

            “He said what he was going to do and then he did it.” She said smiling.

 

            “Maybe.” He said. “We could watch the sequel.”

 

            “There’s another?” She asked, naked excitement on her face.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “Then you have to go to bed.”

 

            “Oh sure, no problem.” She said, already eyeing the movie about the knighted horsemen of a particular number.

 

           

April 7th, 2003

3:28 a.m.

 

            “I cannot help but notice that this is not the house Mister Piedmont.” Cydrill said.

 

            “I wanted to see her Mister Blackheart.” Piedmont said.

 

            Their eyes were trained out towards Liberty Island, a place where spotlights shone on nothing. The remains of the statue were visible, in the light from the spotlights. She had been broken pretty well, knocked down by some one just trying to make a point. He remembered the first time he’d seen it. When they returned to America after a ten-year absence. The statue stood up fairly proud in those days, before it was cowed by terrorist and then torn down by religious extremist. He had felt something when he first saw the statue that day, something powerful. His eyes had teared somewhat, because he saw a new dawn. He’d felt the same way then he’d first seen the massive statue at Rhoades.

 

            There had been many giant statures in his own country of Pentora, at least one at each of the great harbors. Each time he saw these people put up a statue, he felt the elation he had felt when returning from a voyage. The first thing you’d see coming toward a Pentora harbor was the flame bearer. A great statue that served as a lighthouse and beacon. The Flame Bearer was a figure in their mythology, the solider who had killed the god Gentoka and taken fire from him and brought it to mankind, holding the bowl of fire over his head. He felt something like home whenever he saw these great works, but then no others would be built.

 

            He felt a sadness that these statues always ended up being toppled. This statue would not be rebuilt, it was broken forever. There would no longer be even a symbol of welcome for visitors from other lands, just a broken platform. He had nearly cried when he first saw the statue, and he found a tear trickling from his eye this time.

 

            “You’re crying.” Blackheart said.

 

            “No I’m not.” Piedmont said as he wiped at his face. “Just a bit of dust.”

 

            “Oh.” Cydrill wisely said. “Okay.”

 

           

April 7th, 2003

3:39 a.m.

             

            “Have you got it now?” Kestrel asked, handing the pistol back to Judy.

 

            “I’ll see.” Judy said, holding the gun up and aiming.

 

            There were seven shots in a row, and then she stopped to look at the target. The paper hadn’t been put all that far away, but it had been far enough. There were three holes in the paper, which meant four had completely missed. Judy looked a little frustrated with the weapon.

 

            “I pointed it at the thing.” She said.

 

            “It’s alright.” Kestrel said pressing a button that made the paper target roll closer to them. “I’ll show you a trick.”

 

            She pulled out the small automatic pistol, and checked it. She then raised the gun up, almost without looking. There was a procession of eight shots before the Walther ran empty. There were eight holes in the head of the vaguely human target, Kestrel pressed the release and the clip slid from the gun and clattered to the floor.

 

            “But that’s cheating.” Judy said.

 

            “There is no such thing.” Kestrel said. “In this situation, rules are for people who don’t want to remain standing.”       

 

            “Let me try that.” Kaala said stepping forward.

 

            Kestrel looked at the painfully pretty young girl, her hand held out. She thought about it for a moment, and then pulled a fresh clip from the back pocket of her jeans. She held both the clip and pistol towards her, and waited for the youth to take them. Kaala looked at them for a moment and then took them from her, examining the weapon. She slid the ammunition magazine into the pistol and pressed on it until she heard it click into place. She then worked the slide, very carefully, watching with great interest as the round slid home. Kestrel had replaced the paper target and everyone was conspicuously standing behind her.

 

            Kaala nervously took a decent recreation of a shooters stance and carefully looked down the barrel of the weapon. She pulled the trigger and one round fired. The shell made a small ping sound as it clinked against the concrete floor, and a single round hole appeared in the paper target. She then stepped forward and pressed the button that sent the target skirting away. It was about ten feet further when she let the button go, and looked at it carefully. She seemed to be judging the distance from where she was to where the target was. She then raised the pistol and fired again, and another round hole. She repeated this until she had spent two magazines and had sent the target nearly a hundred and fifty feet away. She had missed on the last two shots, but she seemed fairly pleased.

 

            “I’d like to try another gun please.” She said, as she brought the target back.

 

            Kestrel looked at the distance the target had been at and considered that she must have a prodigy here. Kaala had said she’d never shot a gun, but maybe she lied. She could have seen enough television shows, watched a lot of documenters. It wasn’t that hard to fire a gun these days, they were fairly idiot proof. Still, there was something about the shooting she had done.

 

            “I thought you’d never shot before.” Kestrel said.

 

            “I haven’t.” Kaala said. “It’s just obvious, you be careful and you can hit it.”

 

            “Okay, what sort of gun would you like?”

 

            “What’s that you’ve got there?” Kaala asked, pointing at the big five hundred magnum.

 

            Kestrel didn’t actually tell her, just pulled it from its holster and handed it over. Kaala looked like she hadn’t expected the weight. The hammerless automatic had been far too light in comparison to this revolver. She raised the gun with both hands and thumbed back the hammer. She then aimed carefully and fired the gun, the kick surprised her but she managed to get control of the gun before it whacked her in the head.

 

            “Too strong.” She said.

 

            “I’m sure we can find something for you.” Kestrel said.

 

            “What about the machine guns?” Sheila asked. “Maybe we can do something with those.”

 

            “Yeah.” Kestrel said looking at the large hole between where the targets eyes would have been. “Yeah lets do that.”

 

 

April 7th, 2003

3:56 a.m.

 

            Max had found the cemetery that had been easy enough. Grandma had guided him along as he walked, leading him to this place. He looked at the dropped hat, coat and guns. There were two Thompson sub machine guns that had been discarded without care. The hat and coat had been dropped as well, like some one had just given up. He looked at them and realized that something had happened to Tommy after the fight. Lilith had mentioned talking to Tommy. He wondered what it was she had said to him, what had they talked about.

 

            He had seen a mirror, a mirror that when she’d picked it up showed him the absolute worst things about his mother. The men she had fucked up against walls, the lighter and spoon boiling her heroine. The day the man hadn’t wanted her, that man had wanted him. She’d given him up of course, to be used however the man wanted. He’d been forced to swallow the most foul thing that day. He’d washed his mouth out with soap, because that was all they’d had. He’d not felt clean for days after that, and the next week the man came back.

 

            There was no trace in the mirror of the woman who had saved and scrimped and denied herself her addiction to buy him the toy car and cake on his birthday. Not in that mirror. He still had that car somewhere, even when she was forcing him to be the receiver of her perverted friends; she never took the car away.

 

            She was a broken, and lost woman, but she had loved him in her lost way. She had cared about him, not in any way remotely healthy, but she had cared. The mirror didn’t show that though, didn’t show the night on the third week when the man came back and said he was going to invade Max’s rectal territory. His mother had drawn the line there, she’d let him suck but she said he was too small. The man had hit her so hard she spat out a tooth, and raised a bruise over her eye that lasted nearly a month. She always complained that the eye was fuzzy after that, but she had done the ultimate in protection after that. The man grabbed Max and tired to yank his corduroy pants off, screaming that he was going to learn. Max didn’t know what the lesson was, but he had no interest in learning. There was then a sound like some one punching a watermelon.

 

            The man stopped suddenly and dropped Max, and then he saw the knife flashing up and down. His mother flipped the man onto his back and stabbed him until she couldn’t raise her arms any more. She hadn’t screamed, hadn’t cried out, just stabbed him until she couldn’t move any more. They left that place that night, as soon as she got her strength up to move. He had searched the body and took everything worth even a few cents later. They left his body, still clothed because the shredded clothes were useless. They just left the body, with its plethora of evidence and abandoned it to its fate.

 

            She had saved him, and six years later he administered the shot that would kill her. He had killed his mother, thinking it the only mercy he could offer her. He’d shot her with what he’d been told was enough pure junk to kill an elephant. He’d had to though, because it had to end somewhere. She had been in constant pain for more than a year; she could hardly get up and was dependent on him to administer her drugs. She had depended on him; he couldn’t have just left her. He had been told that she would have been dead in a day or two anyway, but he couldn’t leave her for that long. She was his mother, and she had loved him. Most mothers say they’ll kill for their children, she had actually done it.

 

            The mirror though, hadn’t shown any of that, none of the good. Just the pain, just the bad, just the weakness. There was no mention of the sympathy or the desperate love she showed for him. She had read to him, had taught her to read those badly spelled stories to her. She would often laugh when he’d read a word like cint and she’d ask if he was becoming prudish or did the printer make another mistake. She had told him, perfect from memory, the story of Beowulf. Years later, in The Weirdo’s house, he’d read it. He’d been amazed; the differences from his mother’s story and the one he held in his hands could have been nothing more than differences in the translations.

 

            He’d no idea what she had been before she brought him into the world, but something had happened to her. She had been his mother though, and she’s loved him. He’d killed her, because he loved her. He couldn’t call it a murder, just a mercy. He’d cried for days, every time something made him think of her. She’d been the only family he’d ever known, the world as far as he knew.

 

            Then another family had come along, and he had realized that the world wasn’t like what his mother had shown him. He had been given a chance most people would never even think to dream about, and he had turned away from it. He’d actually considered, for however brief a moment, turning against these people.

 

            He touched Tommy’s coat, and tears spilled from his eyes. They had taken care of him, cleaned him up and polished him off. He hadn’t considered any of this, not for a long time. He hadn’t thought about his mother, well for years. She hadn’t been the best mother, but she’d been his mother. He had a sudden and intense need to go home, and to find that toy car. He thought he knew where it was, but he had to be sure.

 

            He’d have to go to a bridge first, Grandma demanded it. He slipped Tommy’s coat and hat on and picked the two machine guns up. He slung them over his shoulder and walked towards a bridge, where he thought he would find something of Jack’s.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

5:21 a.m.

 

            Jack looked at the sun as it rose over the ocean and towards the city. No, that’s not true, the sun wasn’t rising. The earth was rotating and the sun was stationary, wasn’t it? No, he remembered reading that the sun was slowly moving around the galaxy, which was itself part of a larger bubble like cluster that was moving away from each other. So the sun might have been moving away from him, as it appeared to rise. Or, maybe, just maybe, the Catholic Church had been right all along and the earth was at the center and everything else was attached to crystal spheres.

 

            No, that couldn’t be right because he came to earth on a rocket ship when he was a baby and that would have smashed either through or against the spheres. Although relatively speaking the earth was as good a point as anything else for the universe to rotate around.

 

            His world had rotated around his family, and now they were gone. He began to think about that critically now though. If they had left, it was because Marla was worried about their safety, if they had been taken by the Gods, then he’d have to get them back. Either way, sitting on the edge of the world crying wasn’t going to help anything. He was going to have to get up off his duff and go save the world. That was the only answer wasn’t it? He would have to make the world safe, then his family would be returned to him or he’d at least he’d go get them.

 

            He stood up and brushed some dirt off his butt, determined to go on now. He wondered where his bike was; he’d walked a long way. It didn’t matter; he could find it after he told everyone of his new conviction. He lifted himself into the air and on sheer determination, he rocketed towards the house.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

8:29 a.m.

 

            “They all died.” The Other said.

 

            “Well.” The Weirdo said. “Not all of them.”

 

            “The kid, the old man and the second survived.” Darrian put in.

 

            “They killed the best one though.” The Other said, almost demanding that it was unfair. “He grew more than anyone else and they killed him.”

 

            “Got the job done though.” Cassimano said. “You notice, he’d already been killed basically and he still charged in and killed the guy with the gun.”

 

            “But, Kikuchiyo.” She said, tears welling up in her face. “He died, just as he was becoming something.”

 

            “No sweetie.” The Weirdo said. “He had become something, he died a samurai, which is what he’s always wanted to be.”

 

            It was then that the final image of the hill, with the samurai graves was shown on the screen. She looked at the shot and wiped another tear from her eye, sighing heavily. She picked up a Kleenex and wiped at her nose, dabbing at her eyes again.

 

            “People die in war.” Cydrill said. “With odds like seven against forty, only half losses are amazing.”

 

            “Never quiet got this movie myself.” Jack said.

 

            “But Kikuchiyo.”

 

            “Especially Kikuchiyo.” Piedmont said. “He had to die more than any one else, or else why would you care later? If he’d lived you would have smiled and said well that was nice and forgotten all about it.”

 

            “Sanjuro didn’t die.” Shed said.

 

            “Sanjuro would have never been there.” The Weirdo countered.

 

            “Yes he would.” She said, “They just didn’t ask him.”

 

            “Well Mifune had to play Kikuchiyo in this so he couldn’t do both parts.” The Weirdo said. “Having them both in the movie would have caused a time flux variation that would have ripped the universe apart.”

 

            “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” The Other said, some what conspiratorially.

 

            “You’re the first one to notice.” He said.

 

            “She’s the first one to mention.” Max said as he appeared at the door. “We’ve all known you were full of crap for sometime, we were just being polite.”

 

            “You came back did you?”

 

            “Yeah,” Max said. “I did.”

 

            “Well good.”

 

            “Glad you approve.”

 

            “Had your end away then did you?” Jack asked.

 

            “None of your business.” Max said.

 

            “He did then.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Hey.” Max protested.

 

            “Yes?” The Weirdo asked. “Do you not want this assembled group to know that you sir,” He placed his hands over The Other’s ears, “Banged four chicks last night and at least three of them at one time?”

 

            “I can hear you, you know.” The Other said turning her head towards him. “Your thoughts radiate of your brain like radio waves.”

 

            “Bugger.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Are all the people in the house in this room?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “We are.” The Weirdo said, “But we’re very, very tired.”

 

            “Not me.” The Other said. “I wanna see another movie.”

 

            “You’ve just watched three movies in a row kid.” The Weirdo said. “I’m beat.”

 

            “I just wanna see one more.” She said.

 

“You said you would go to bed after Sanjuro.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “No.” She said, shaking her head. “I said sure, no problem. There was no problem getting you to put another movie in.”

 

            “She won.” Cydrill said. “I think you have to give her another movie.”

 

            “I’m tired.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Oh just one more won’t hurt.” Max said sitting down.

 

            “Where’s Tommy then?” Max asked.

 

            “Not home yet.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Shouldn’t we find him?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “He called and said he had to think some things out. Mrs. Pendleton went looking for us and every time I tell her that we’re all accounted for says that when we’re all at home she’ll believe that.”

 

            “Other.” Darrian said. “You’re not going to make us watch something else with sub titles are you?”

 

            “We could watch that Lestat movie.” Kestrel offered.

 

            “Black hair.” He said grabbing part of his hair and holding it out. “Black hair, black! I have no interest in Lestat; I’m all about the ladies. I am nothing like that little gay twerp.”

 

            “I know.” Kestrel said, smiling. “But it’s just so much fun winding you up like that.”

 

            “Why don’t we watch a favorite of mine?” Darrian asked.

 

            “You’ve got a favorite?” Jack asked.

 

            “I do indeed, if The Weirdo has it.”

 

            He looked at the row upon row of movies, documentaries, TV shows and the like until he found the film. He held it up for everyone to see, and it elicited nothing but bewildered looks from the crowd. They looked at him as if a large flip top had suddenly opened on his head and a miniature Susan Lucci had stepped out.

 

            “What?” He asked.

 

            “I’ve just never seen you that way.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “What’s wrong with it?”

 

            “Nothing’s wrong with it.” The Weirdo said. “I just would have thought… I don’t know what I thought, just not that.”

 

            “Can we just watch it?” The Other asked. “I’ll go to bed after that.”

 

            “Anything to placate the child.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Excellent.” Michael Darrian said and inserted the disc into the player. He sat down next to The Weirdo and lifted The Other onto his lap.

 

            “What is it?” She asked.

 

            “It’s the story of a man named Bandit.” Darrian said putting the movie into the player. “He and his buddy Snow Man have to get a truck load of beer to Georgia from Texas in just a fist full of hours.”

 

            “Is this a good movie?” The Other asked.

 

            “My dear, it’s the finest cinematic event since the creation of celluloid.” Darrian said sitting next to the tiny cleric.

 

“I have never heard this referred to like that.” Jack said.

 

“Hang around, you’ll learn things.” Darrian said with a wink.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

8:35 a.m.

 

            It was impressive really, how far a determined person could walk. Tommy had already made it out of the city and was walking along suburban streets. He didn’t have much in the way of a clear destination, just the idea that he had to go west for a while, and then north for a bit. He could have taken a car of course, but that would have been cheating somehow. It wouldn’t have been right to take some one’s car anyway.

 

            He looked at his shadow, which he’d watch grow from an indistinct thing into the long companion he had now. He hadn’t turned his back on his companions; he felt it was quite the opposite. He had to find something, something very important. He knew that he’d know what it was he was looking for when he found it, but until then he’d have to keep walking.

 

            He remembered this route; they drove it when they were going to go to the cottage. The Weirdo didn’t have trouble with traffic, somehow, so he always took the direct route. Tommy looked around at the suburban landscape that was spread around him. There were only about five different designs of house, all made with a big cookie cutter. That wasn’t such a problem though, not so much as the contents. For the most part, the contents would also be exactly the same, reflecting the same thoughts.

 

            He looked at houses, thinking that this was what the prosperity of the world had given us. A billion people, with the same wants, the same ideas, and the same wishes. And god, how he wanted them back. He had understood how important their pointless mundane lives were. These were the people he had fought for. He had fought the Nazi’s so they could have a boring pointless life. He had fought the Vestugi’s so these people could have the exact same nick knacks, the same TV shows, the same music being played by teen-agers who all dressed the same. He wanted them all back; he wanted them to be having their lives. It was only by their lives that he could judge his, his long life.

 

            His wife, who had been so beautiful. So what the hell had it mattered that she had been part of a group he’d never heard of when she died? What if that mirror showed you a worst-case scenario? What if the only thing that mattered was that night when their son was convinced, when he thought his heart had stopped at the moment of orgasm. When he had to wait for the buzzing in his ears to stop before he could hear the throbbing of his heartbeat. She had fallen against him, her hair soaked in sweat, unable to move. They had lain connected, long after he had gone soft, because neither of them could move. He wondered if the child had been conceived because after sex like that the gods would not allow other wise.

 

            If that was all that mattered, then she had never lied. You couldn’t lie to him; he had been gripped by despair was all. He lifted his head and thought about the smell of her sweat, of her breathless pants against his throat. Of the sweet pain he’d suffered in his arms, legs and back, and how he’d had trouble walking the next day. People asked if he’d been hit by a car or something. He’d explained to the man who sat across from him at the office that a car couldn’t do as much damage as the wife. The man nodded and said he understood, but Tommy was dubious.

 

            She had been his wife, and she had loved him, and some one had tried to ruin her memory. That made him angry, and that made his chest burn. Some one had tried to destroy his wife, and had played him. He then suddenly stopped and looked around him, to see if anyone could see what an idiot he was. Amy had loved him, but she was nearly thirty years in her grave. Judy and Sheila were at home, probably waiting for him, wondering where he was. The two women, who loved him as much, if not more than his wife, were missing him. He patted himself and remembered he had put the com in his coat. He couldn’t call them and tell them. He looked at the road ahead and began to walk. He thought if he could have the car, that midnight blue sedan, he might drive that.

           

 

April 7th, 2003

10:21 a.m.

 

            The Other had fallen asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow; The Weirdo had pulled a blanket up to her shoulder and brushed her hair back. He thought that this tiny cleric must be a child of his line, or at least his family. She hadn’t even conceived yet though, he knew that much, yet here she was. She was a tiny ball of energy, and all she wanted was to be loved. She could possibly put the world back together, but all she really wanted was to watch another movie. She had started with the silent movies and reached upon the idea of heroes. She had wanted to see a movie where a guy was sort of a hero, so he showed her one. She had insisted that he was a good guy, a hero, and he wondered now about that. She was trying to argue in the larger sense perhaps? It was possible he supposed, but he didn’t know who she was talking about.

 

            He stroked the tiny cleric’s head, and kissed her brow. She rolled her head and muttered a single Japanese word as her dreams began to take her.

 

            “Yojimbo.” The little child said.

 

           

April 7th, 2003

10:30 a.m.

 

            “So what do we do?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “I say we call her out.” Cydrill said. “They want an epic fight between good and evil I say we give it to them.”

 

            “We have no army to give them a fight with.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “How many of us can’t die at this table?” Sheila asked raising her hand. The Weirdo looked around and had to admit the count of people who actually could no die as far as they knew was quite impressive.

 

            “We just might have a chance anyway.” Lucifer said walking into the dinning room.

 

            “Oh yes?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “We’ll need three days, can you manage that?” The Gray man asked

 

            “I suppose we could.” The Weirdo said. “Why though?”

 

            “We don’t actually have the army yet.” Lucifer said. “We’re trying to gather one.”

 

            “You want me to bet on an army that might not show?”

 

            “Yes.” Lucifer said. “I believe that is what I am asking you to do.”

 

            “Fuck me.” Darrian said

 

            “Yes, we could be fucked.” The gray man said. “Thing is, their going to attack tomorrow afternoon if you don’t go challenge.”

 

            “You sure?” The Weirdo asked

 

            “Pretty sure.” The gray man said.

 

            “If nothing else.” Kestrel said. “It’ll keep us from having to sit around this table and discuss what we’re not going to do next.”

 

            “We have to decide what were going to do next.” The Weirdo said. “What’s the use of us having these big maps for other wise?”

 

            “Looks cool.” Cassimano said.

 

            “We could get you a little hat and a mustache.” Max added. “Look like Field Marshal Hague.”?

 

            “Sounds counter productive. Besides Hague was on the German’s side.”

 

            “No.” Max said. “He was British.”

 

            “But he was on the German’s side.” Piedmont said. “He killed more Brits through stupidity than all the Germans in the world could have with bullets.”

 

            “I feel that can’t be valid.” Max said.

 

            “Trust me.” Piedmont said. “I remember the papers.”

 

            “Okay.” Max said. “If you say so.”

 

            “Not the point.” The Weirdo said. “I am not Hague, and I will not lead you into death, and where the fuck is Tommy?”

 

            “I don’t know.” Jack said.

 

            “Fuck.” The Weirdo said. “Okay, new plan. I leave for a while and think this out, you guys do whatever.”

 

            He spun on his heel and walked quickly out of the room.

 

            “What the hell was that about?” Darrian asked.

 

            “Don’t ask.” Jack said. “He’s just having problems concentrating. He’ll be fine soon. He’s been fighting with the problem for days, he needs to walk away for a little while.”

 

            “That’s your official conclusion is it?” Cassimano asked.

 

            “You watch.” Jack said. “The next time he comes through those doors, he’ll have the answer. It won’t be logical, and it won’t work in your head, but when we get out there it’ll work.”

 

            “What do you suggest we do then?” Cydrill asked.

 

            “I suggest that you go call them out, and set the date for three days from now.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Why?”

 

            “Because these guys need time.” She said pointing at Lucifer and The gray man. “And I’m fairly certain that he’s right about them coming in for an attack if we don’t set something formal.”

 

            “Why would that stop them?” Max asked.

 

            “It’s formality.” Cassimano said. “They’ll respect it, they want a world of chivalrous behavior.”

 

            “So who will go and who will stay?” Jack asked.

 

            “I’ll go.” Cydrill said. “I’ll put the offer to them.”

 

            “Central Park.” Kestrel said, “Noon.”

 

            “Fine.” Cydrill said, “Anyone else.”

 

            “I’ll come.” Jack said.

 

            “Me too.” Darrian said.

 

            “Fine then.” Kestrel said. “I’ll look over some of these maps.”

 

            “Should I go?” Max asked.

 

            “Do you want to?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Sort of yes, sort of no.”

 

            “Well does he or doesn’t he?” Darrian asked.

 

            Kestrel looked at Max, and saw the moment of desperation on his face. He wanted to go, but there was some sort of look there. There was a moment of desperation, a look of fear, a moment of hesitation. He had formed some sort of relationship with some one or some ones from their group. She realized that while he was here with them, he wasn’t sure about seeming to be against the other side just yet. She decided to get him out of it just this once, but there would be words.

 

            “No.” Kestrel said. “He’s going to help me.”

 

            “Right.” Cydrill said. “You coming Mister Piedmont?”

 

            “Yes Mister Blackheart.”

 

            The walked from the room and the huge doors closed behind them. Kestrel looked at Max after a moment, and lifted a pen to her mouth. She bit the end of the pen and sighed heavily as he looked towards her.

 

            “So.” She said, “You don’t want to be seen to be standing against them?”

 

            “I was going to go.” Max protested.

 

            “Yes.” She said. “Very manly.”

 

            “Hey.”

 

            “How many?” She asked.

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “How many did you sleep with?”

 

            “That’s rather a personal question isn’t it?” He said, his face flushing brightly.

 

            “Nothing to be embarrassed about.” She said. “You’re over twenty one now. You’re old enough to drive a car, buy booze and have sex with girls.”

 

            “That doesn’t mean I want to talk about it.”

 

            “Can I ask a question?”

 

            “Can I stop you?”

 

            “No.” She said. “Nothing you can do would stop me.”

 

            “Then yes, you can.”

 

            “Good.” She set the pen down and looked at him. “How long was it after your mother passed away that you met The Weirdo?”

 

            “Two months.” He said. “Give or take.”

 

            “And how long would you have made it with out him?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Not long I suppose.” He said.

 

            “And where were they when your mother died? How valuable were you then, did they give two shits about you before you were his assistant?”

 

            “I’m not just a kid you know.” He said.

 

            “I think everyone knows that.”

 

            “I am a person of my own. Just because I’m a bit young, they treat me like the child of the house.”

 

            “No.” Kestrel said. “They treat you like the guy who has been around for only four and a half years. You’re also, you might remember, the guy they went back for. You told me that they came after you in the river.”

 

            Max’s right hand touched his left collarbone, where he had been shot. A man he had thought was a friend shot him once in the chest. The bullet had struck the vest, which had stopped the bullet. The impact force of the bullet however had broken ribs and cracked his collarbone. The bullet had smashed into the bulletproof vest which he had worn. The shock had broken ribs and his collar bone, causing a lot of pain. He still couldn’t lift his left arm much higher than his shoulder, a pain he tired to keep from people. He had managed to strengthen his arms up, but something had happened that kept him from getting his hand up.

 

             The force of the impact sent him over the low and flimsy security rail, and smashed through the ice. He hadn’t realized, when he fell, that that the boat had been there long enough to gain a layer of ice around its bow. His shoulder had gone the rest of the way towards dislocating when his left shoulder had struck the inch thick ice. The ice gave and he went through.

 

            The water had been cold, so god damn cold. It was hard to say which was colder, the water or the air. He sank into the water, and caught hold of something, only his right hand would wrap around it. He pulled himself up with his right hand, since his left hand wouldn’t work. He came out of the water and in the dark, saw that the chain he was pulling himself up on was connected to the boat.

            He had begun to drown when they’d pulled him out. There had been mouth to mouth, and they had kept him warm. They had saved him, had come back for him. He hadn’t been left behind.

 

            “Yeah.” Max said. “They did come for me.”

 

            “You think that Lilith would come for you? She wouldn’t, would she? How interested in you was she before The Weirdo broke off with her?”

 

            “You don’t think she likes me?”

 

            “No.” she said. “I do not.”

 

            “You think these guys do?”

 

            “I know this much.” She said leaning against the table, placing her arms behind her. “If they find you tiresome, or useless, they’d have nothing more to do with you. They don’t like to be around people they don’t respect. I think they sometimes make life a little harder for you than they do each other, but you’re going to have to take over one day. The Weirdo wouldn’t have anything to do with you if there wasn’t something in you that had impressed him.”

 

            “You want to look at these maps then?” He said walking towards the table.

 

            “Yes.” She said, turning towards the maps, “Lets.”

 

           

April 7th, 2003

11:02 a.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the sculpture again, it was still an ugly sculpture. He touched the place where he had punched last night; his hand still ached a little. The Other had healed him, but the hand still hurt. Maybe it was impossible to completely heal, or maybe he was fundamentally broken. He was thinking that all the pain might be in his head, in his shattered mind.

 

            He had died here, he had fallen and died on this spot. He climbed up on the sculpture and lay down on the spot, looking at the gray sky. He watched the clouds lazily; sluggishly drift along, nowhere particular to go. He looked at the building, at that window. He thought he could see a figure in beige looking down at him. He raised himself up and realized that it was just a trick of light on a building across the street. He leaned back again, at this place of his death. This place where he had died, and gone to meet the fallen angel. There was an old man too, who took a tin of biscuits he had carried. Where had he gotten the tin? No idea. He had given the old man the tin, and the old man nearly cried.

 

            He looked up at the sky, where a patch of the blue was fleetingly reveled like a hint of ankle on a Victorian woman’s dress. The sort of thing that would have sent a man a hundred years ago reeling with delight, but not him. He had seen too much to be excited by a flash of leg.

 

            This had all gone too far, and they had an army. They had an army and he had less than a dozen people, how does one fight with that? How does one fight against an army with a hand full of people? Surely they had done it before, the four of them had driven the goddamn mafia out of New York for fucks sake. That had been a lot of hit and run jobs though, and they had been very dangerous. They also had the help of the police and FBI at the time, and weren’t fighting a centralized fortified position.

 

            “Is this were you fell?” He heard a voice below him.

 

            He looked down and saw the fallen angel looking up at him.

 

            “It is.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Ugly statue to die on.”

 

            “It has been noted.” The Weirdo said sitting up and looking down at the angel.

 

            “How ready are you to do this alone?” Lucifer asked.

 

            “If I have to, I will.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You could be killed.” Lucifer said.

 

            “Happened before.” The Weirdo said.

 

            Lucifer looked up at him and didn’t say anything for a long time. He shifted his gaze down to the sculpture and then up at The Weirdo again. The Weirdo had the impression that he was being evaluated. The one time archangel seemed to be coming to a decision, or at least forming an idea.

 

            “Can I ask a question?” And before waiting for an answer asked, “Why do it?”

 

            “Because I promised that I wouldn’t let the world end.”

 

            “How do you know the world is going to end?”

 

            “It’s not going to.” The Weirdo said. “I promised that I wouldn’t let it happen.”

 

            “Is that it?” Lucifer asked.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “I resent someone else deciding what’s best for me and the rest of the world. They’ve come to the conclusion that we should all be very grateful that their going to remove pain and suffering from the world. Where would I be without pain and suffering? There is pain every time I wake up; it’s how I know I’m alive. I’m a little ball of suffering, I want to continue for the moment.”

 

            “Don’t you think that you’d find a new find a new purpose?”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “Have you ever read about the soul?”

 

            “The soul?” Lucifer asked. “You’re asking me?”

 

            “The soul, claimed by some people who were right about everything else, is not given. God can’t give you a soul; it’s not there when you’re born. You have to build and earn a soul. You earn it through learning, and suffering and contemplation. You have to have lived and learned to create a soul; you’re only given the seed of a soul. It’s like a persons mind, you can’t expect to just have a great soul, and you’ve got to work on it. You do that through toil and examination. You make mistakes, or commit sin if you want to look at it like that, and then from those mistakes you learn and build onto your soul. These people want to take my sins away, and thus negate all the learning I’ve done. My bright spots have to be contrasted by the dark points. Light is impotent without dark, and I have a lot of dark. I’m so balanced, that if you took one side away I would spiral away out of existence. You see, even if they don’t destroy the world, they’ll make it impossible for anyone to have a soul ever again.”

 

            “You’ve given this some thought.” Lucifer said.

 

            “I think about everything.” The Weirdo said. “That’s why I don’t worship anyone, because no one has yet lived up to the standards I set for myself.”

 

            “Are you going to fight this alone if no one else shows up?”

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said. “I will crush them or they will crush me.”

 

            “I’ll find you an army.” Lucifer said. “I promise you that.”

 

            “Thank you.” The Weirdo said, but found himself alone.

 

            He leaned back again and looked up at the sky again. He ran his tongue around his teeth, and thought that he was going to have to brush his teeth when he got home again. He probably could just walk into any shop in this city and grab a toothbrush and some paste. Should he do that though, was that stealing? If a thief breaks in and no ones around to know he did it, does he commit shoplifting? If he left a couple of dollars on the counter, he could console himself then. He got up off the sculpture and began to walk towards the nearest convenience store.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

12:39 p.m.

 

            Cydrill looked like a nightmare, in the black armor of his old days. His dragon mouth helmet was held under one arm, and his large sword hung to his right hip. He looked like a monster made of steel and fur. Lilith still looked like an Egyptian goddess, stiff and regal in the large golden throne. Jack and Darrian were also dressed in their best clothes. For Jack it was his armor, for Michael it was the long red Russian coat made of velvet and lined with fur. Piedmont was the only one who looked like he did everyday, dressed in a suit.

 

            “Lord Blackheart.” Lilith said sitting up in her chair, her blue eyes melting into gray. “How nice to see you again.”

 

            “Have we met before?” Cydrill said.

 

            “I’ve seen you before.” She said. “This looks like quite a group.”

 

            “We have come to challenge you.” Blackheart said briskly.

 

            “Really?” She asked.

 

            “Yes.” He said, resting his left hand on the massive pommel of his sword.

 

            “The four of you are going to fight us?”

 

            “There will be more of us.” Cydrill said. “We wish to arrange a time and place.”

            She watched him, and leaned back arching her back, so that her breasts were plainly visible through the thin white fabric stretched taught. His face didn’t change and his eyes looked at hers as they switched from gray to green. She leaned forward again and smiled suggestively, tugging one piece of the white muslin aside, exposing a nipple.

 

            “Do you have a suggestion for time and place?” The giant asked.

 

            She looked deep into his eyes, which had never left hers. He must have been made of stone, or maybe he was gay or something. She pulled the small thin piece of muslin back to barely cover the pink nipple again. Her eyes flashed to a sort of fuchsia color. She bit her lip, as her eyes changed to red.

 

            “You pick.” She said.

 

            “The tenth of April.” He said. “New York’s Central Park, the great lawn.”

 

            “Fine.” She said. “We shall see you on that day.”

 

            “Then on that day.” Cydrill said turning.

 

            “Are you a sodamite?” She asked.

 

            “I beg your pardon?” He asked turning.

 

            “Do you fuck boys up the ass or something?”

 

            “That’s a bit crude.” He said.

 

            “You didn’t even look at my tits.” She said.

 

            “You’re tits aren’t that interesting.” He said. “And you were only using them to distract us, I’ve got better self control than the rest of the boys.”

 

            He turned around and walked out of the room. Piedmont and Jack followed, leaving Michael alone with her. Well if you consider that alone meant that Lilith’s guards surrounded them. He walked towards her and leaned towards her, setting his hand on hers. She was surprised how warm his skin was, she had expected him to be as cold as a corpse. He was quite warm actually; when he smiled she was also surprised to note that none of his upper teeth were particularly long. Maybe they were sharp, or it was the lower teeth that he used to bite in with.

 

            “Could I see that nipple again?” He asked. “They might not want to but… well you know.”

 

            She smiled at him, glad that at least one of them wasn’t apparently gay. His eyes swept over her, and she could feel his cold gaze like a hot spot light at is swept across her creamy skin. She touched her breast, brushing it with the back of her hand as he watched her. He watched her hand as if moved over the slight rise across the smooth breast where the nipple rested just under the thin material.

 

            “You want to see it?” She asked.

 

            “Yes please.” He said, and his red tongue slipped through the thin lips and touched the top lip for only a second. “I’m not like them you see.”

 

“Well since you asked so nicely.” She pulled the material away from her left breast again, with just gentle and loving fashion it made something in her ache.  She then played with the material on the right. “This one too?”

 

            “Oh yes please.” He said. “If I could.”

 

            She pulled the other strip of material away and he looked from one breast to another. He leaned in for a better look and she could smell a jasmine incense on him, a hand resting on the chair arm. He looked up at her face, as her jade eyes seemed to wipe to silvery green. His hand on the arm of the large throne tightened slightly; she touched it and brought his left hand to her right breast. He stroked for a moment and squeezed it gently, with great appreciation. His thumb brushing ever so gently across her hardened nipple as her breath caught. Her eyes closed and she felt the smooth movement of his hand across her flesh. He did the same with his right hand and her left breast, holding one then the other. She smiled up at him, and his eyes caught hers. He smiled and then recovered each breast with the strip of muslin.

 

            “Thank you.” He said. “Some of them might disagree, but they really are a fantastic pair of tits. I mean I have had my hands around some soft glowing orbs of magnificence, but those take the cake. You should be proud of the achievement that generations of breeding has made in you.”

 

            “Thank you.” She said,

 

            “They really are delectable and delicious looking breasts. I look forward to tearing into them and feasting on your blood.” His tongue then flickered out and just touched the tip of her nose.

 

He then turned slowly and walked out of the room. He had to control himself, not to run, not to laugh, not to let her know how much he’d enjoyed the look on her face. It had been a wonderfully shocked thing, the look she had. She had thought that maybe she had won one of them over with her frankly childish flashing stunt. He had then copped a cheap feel and made her feel like the idiot she undoubtedly was. Now that he had all but defused her sexuality, which he presumed was possibly her only weapon; he wondered what she would fall back on. Maybe she had nothing but her back to fall on, which would certainly be sad because it misses a whole range of fun positions he thought.

 

Besides, getting his hands on a nice pair of knockers was no problem for him. All he had to do was walk into one of a number of clubs in the greater Boston area and he could have all the bits of totty he wanted. Particularly if he let the fact of vampirism slip, he’d be knee deep in overly pale fag hags who think that having a disease, which degenerates your blood, is sexy. He never understood it, but it was good for a quick shag in the dark.

 

 

April 7th, 2003

1:24 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo looked up at the empty buildings and wondered again who kept turning the lights on at night. All the power stations were automated to a point were people just had to be around to make sure things didn’t go wrong. There were hydroelectric and nuclear plants that kept the city supplied with power, but who turned the lights on? They couldn’t all be on timer switches, so who was doing it? Some one was turning the lights on every night, and not the same lights either. There were different lights, in different places on different nights.

 

            He stuck his hands in his coat pockets and looked up at the sky, and the contrast to the buildings, many of which were made of glass and steel. He understood that it was more efficient, that it gave the people inside a better view. It was better for mental health if the buildings had as much window space as possible he’d read that somewhere. The problem was they were so god damn ugly. Not just ugly either, but also dead boring. How can any one claim any sort of joy at designing one of these? They must all come out of the same book surely; they almost all looked exactly the same. Even on the inside they looked just alike. He’d seen the tiny variances from one building to another, but it was like identical twins who wear different t-shirts to be told apart. Or the twins where one dyes his hair blue and gets multiple piercing so as to be told apart from his unpierced brother. In the end, they still looked exactly the same when you stripped away the stupid window dressing.

 

            He longed for the day when some group of architects would realize that there were five thousand years of building styles behind them and instead of homogenizing everything, actually make some building statements. They could do anything; they should try it from time to time. Make some hideous errors, and possibly achieve true greatness. The Weirdo had thought that Frank Lloyd Wright had made some truly awful buildings, but the ones he got right, were some of the most beautiful places of earth. It was only through grievous mistakes that the heights can be reached.

 

            “Are you The Weirdo?” A man asked approaching him.

 

            The Weirdo looked at the man, younger looking than he was, but with the same sort of aged look that Cydrill and Piedmont had. There was something familiar about him, as if they might be familial in fact.

 

            “Yes.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I know you have no reason to trust me, but my names Tanteroy, I’m an ancestor of yours.”

 

            “Oh yes?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yes.” He said. “On your fathers side.”

 

            “Oh yeah?”

 

            “Yes, unlike Cydrill Blackheart who is your grandfather on your mothers side. I am an ancestor from about ten generations or so back.” I think, I’m a little hazy on the time difference.

 

            “Where are you trying to get to?”

 

            “About five hundred A.D.” The young looking man said. “Give or take a hundred years. Look, this is easy, Cydrill and Dagron and D’var will know me. Although D’var will try and cause as much trouble as he can by pretending that he doesn’t.”

 

            The Weirdo looked at the young man and pulled a small pen shaped device from his pocket.

 

            “Forest King you read me over?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Ten Four Rubber Duck.” Cydrill’s voice came over.

 

            “You know a guy named Tanteroy?”

 

            “He’s the son of Tamarock, and one of your ancestors.”

 

            “Would you know him if you spoke to him?”           

 

            “Yes.” Cydrill said. “Is he there?”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “Ask him how many cakes there were?”

 

            “There were only five you stupid bastard.” Tanteroy said. “There were five when we started, and there were five when we finished. You counted wrong and I would think after this long you’d be a man and admit it.”

 

            “It’s him but there were seven cakes.” Cydrill said.

 

            “Thank you King.” The Weirdo said and switched the device off. “So your who you say you are.”

 

            “Yes I am.” Tanteroy said. “Have you found the sword?”

 

            “I found Excalibur if that’s what you mean.”

 

            “Where is it?” He asked.

 

            “You know I’m not sure at the moment.”

 

            “You found my father’s sword and then lost it?”

 

            “Your father?”

 

            “Yes.” Tanteroy said sitting down on a bench. “I’ll explain everything from the start shall I?”

 

            “Yes I think you better had.” The Weirdo said sitting down as well.

 

            “The sword wasn’t originally called Excalibur you see. It’s called Terintas, and it was the flaming sword. That is a sword that when held by a great warrior would be covered and would cover its holder in an aura of flame. This flame protected the wielder from harm and made it more powerful. When we left Assitania, my father gave me the sword and told me to take care of it. The swords fire went out when we left and came here. I hung on to the thing for a few thousand years but I became sick of it after a while and gave it to a river spirit, who would only give it to my heirs or me. I took the name o Pendragon, got married had kids, who had kids. My grandson’s name was Uther, who begat Arthur, who got the sword. The design of Excalibur basically then inspired the shape of swords all across Europe for some time.”

 

            “So you’re saying that…”

 

            “Arthur Pendragon is in your linage. You’re the most direct heir to the throne as it were.”

 

            “I thought Arthur died killing Mordred who was his only son.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Gueniver was infertile, Arthur banged a lot of ladies besides his wife, they all did back then. The daughter of a young woman from South Hampton is where your line began, and you’re the most legitimate link to Arthur through survived blood lines, it’s the only way the sword would come to you.”

 

            “Does this go anywhere besides a history lesson?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “It does.” Tanteroy said. “I didn’t come here for this war, though it seems I’m in it now. There’s a man, well sort of a man, called Chandelroth. I’ve been hunting him for some time, because I need to kill him. He’s one of us, and he sort of slipped though the same door we did. I found him about a year ago and I’ve been trying to hunt him down to kill him ever since.”

 

            “Who is he?”

 

            “He’s the man who destroyed Assitania. If he got here, and my father didn’t follow him, then my father is dead.”

 

            “And you want to avenge him?”

 

            “Is that so wrong?”    

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “I’m just trying to make sure that I’ve got everything in neat little rows.”

 

            “He’s here in this city, and he’s probably going to try to destroy this world like he did the last one.”

 

            “Where will he be?”

 

            “Who are the worlds greatest enemies right now?” Tanteroy asked.

 

            “I think we are.” The Weirdo hazarded.

 

            “Who would be elated at the idea of ending the world? Who would want to stand on the fingers of the sinners and keeping them from gaining access to the next world? Who would actually want the world to end so they could gloat about how right they were all along?”

 

            “You’re talking about religious people.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I am in deed.” Tanteroy said. “They want the world shattered so they can stand on a hill of skulls and denounce those they hate.”

 

            “Well.” The Weirdo said. “We’re just not going to let that happen. I need an army though.”

 

            “Where is Cydrill Blackheart?” Tanteroy asked.

 

            “Why?”

 

            “Between him and me.”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “You talk to me or you get no help.”

 

            “I think I know how to get to our home and get our countrymen’s help.”

 

            “Lets get you two together then.” The Weirdo said.

           

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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May 7, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | , , ,

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