The Chase (part 2)
Here's the second part, just keep reading from where it left off.
Frank's calm eyes were trained on his leader's face, trying to read his thoughts. Gerard looked at Harley, biting her lip nervously. He thought about Bob, and how hard it was to know that somewhere you had a friend at the mercy of the government. He sighed and scratched his head, knowing that his answer could mean the difference between life and death for not only him, but Russian Roulette, Harley, Bob and every zonerunner out there.
"This heat is getting to me," he grinned at Harley, "Because something must be wrong with me since I'm agreeing to this."
Diamond yelped happily and threw her arms around the Killjoy's neck. "Thankyou Party, thankyou so much!"
He hugged her back and saw the worried look on Frank's face over her shoulder.
"On one condition." Party said sternly.
Harley stepped back and held his gaze. "Anything, I'll give you anything." there was a desperate glint in her eyes.
Gerard looked at Frank as he named his terms. "We find out what happened to our Killjoy spy."
"Spider Bait?" she murmured, nodding. "I promise Party, we'll get him back, dead or alive."
For a moment Gerard felt a strong connection with the relatively young rebel. They were both wiling to go to extreme levels to rescue their friends, risking their lives for those that they loved.
Abbey stretched, shoulders popping at the movement. The thick, velvety fabric that she lay on left a sheen of sweat across her back. The few, weak rays of early-morning sunlight shone in from the skylight above, bringing with it the promise of a sweltering day. She rolled over and smiled at the waking form of Anton.
He yawned, rubbing his eyes and placing a firm kiss on her forehead. "Hey babe."
"Morning." she replied and sat up.
He placed a hand on her lower back. "How are you feeling?"
"So I was thinking," he paused to yawn again, "we go grab some breakfast. Maybe explore this end of the city some more, pack a picnic-"
"Before that though," Abbey interrupted him, "I need to ask you something."
Anton reached up and twirled one of her long, curly strands of hair around his finger. It gleamed pale yellow in the soft light. "Ask away."
Abbey fixed her green eyes on his, trying to read his expression. "I know that you said that we could be together, and last night was amazing - just being with you makes me so happy." He nodded. "But I just wanted to ask, are you serious about all of this? I mean you're supposed to be doing a uni degree in another city. Where are we going to stay, and what are we going to do for money? Are you sure that-"
Anton interrupted her stream of questions by pulling her down onto his chest. "Abbey, shh." He pressed a finger gently against her lips. "I can only answer your questions one at a time."
She blushed and nodded. "Sorry, I'm a little worried. I trust you, but I've never been away from home or taken care of myself. I feel like I'm heading for deep water pretty fast."
Hugh knew that he had to tell her the truth, and soon. He had to start at the beginning and then explain away all the lies that he had been telling her. Lies that had been protecting her. He didn't know how she would react, whether or not she'd want to come with him back to the zones after the Roulette issue was solved.
"Abbey, I need to tell you some stuff. Some pretty important stuff that might make you think twice about being with me." Her eyes crinkled with confusion at his words. "And I know that I should have told you before what happened between us last night," be took in a deep breath, "but I'm just trying to hold onto you for as long as I can right now. I don't want you to hate me."
"Anton, I could never hate you." She pushed the iridescent strands of hair away from his eyes. "You've saved me countless times from this fucked up world."
He shook his head. "You don't even understand half of how fucked up it is. There's so much stuff going on outside this city that you people don't understand. Your world had been painted for you by BL/ind, covering up all the shit that my people are trying to fight against."
Abbey frowned. "Your people? You mean the city where you live?"
He couldn't face her searching eyes, swinging his gaze away. "I don't live in a city. There is no university. No art degree. I don't fly to Battery City to see my parents and you each week. Hell, the car that I'm driving here doesn't really belong to me either."
"Anton, what are you saying? I don't understand." Abbey felt a twinge of panic, she could tell that he was about to tell her something big, something that could change her life.
"Abbey, I'm a zonerunner. A rebel. A fugitive. The government that claims to create a better living for us all exterminates my kind. I fight against the system, along with every other man, woman and child who wants to escape the pills they force you to take." He cupped her cheeks with both of his hands, wishing that he didn't have to break the happy, yet fragile world that she had built up. "I live in the desert. I kill draculoids Abbey. You asked what they did, well know you'll know. They're sent into the zones to find and destroy the vermin of America; the people like me."
Abbey shook her head slightly, trying to process the concept that there was a war raging outside her city walls. So many small things now made sense; the 10pm curfews, the extermination posters, the brainwashing, the disappearance of all her friends, the fact that you could only leave the city by plane. She didn't know why, but she could feel tears well up in her eyes.
"Abbey, please say something." Hugh wiped away that tear that rolled down her cheek. She look confused, and a little like she was trying to figure something out. There was also a hint of fear behind those viridescent eyes.
"I don't want you to be afraid of me. I'm trying to make a better future for all the people out there who are like you and me, who don't want to have to live a perfect, organized, pre-packaged life."
Abbey blinked and nodded, trying to find words to fit her thoughts.
"And I know that I said that you can trust me, but I need you to know that I've been lying to you to protect you." He sighed. "My name isn't Anton. And it isn't the cover name I go by in the zones, which is Renegade."
"So what is your real name?" Abbey's voice was faint.
Hugh's reply was cut off by the sound of splitting wood. He pushed Abbey off him and reached for his jeans. He slipped them on and pulled out his ray gun, motioning for Abbey to remain silent.
She grabbed Anton's hoodie and shrugged it over her shoulders, confused at the panicked expression on Hugh's face.
Renegade peeked out from behind the curtain, into the gloomy auditorium. His heart lurched at the sight of white figures slinking through the rows of chairs and down the aisle to the stage. And there, standing at the door, was Korse. He hissed through clenched teeth and pulled his head back behind the material.
Hysterical thoughts went through his head. 'How the fuck did they find me?' he looked at Abbey, feeling sick. 'I cant let her be dragged down with me. She cant be found.'
"Abbey," his voice was low, serious, "I need you to run. Find some place to hide and don't come out until there is no one here."
"Why? What's happening? What's that thing in your hand-"
"Hide. Right now. And when it's safe to leave you're going to go back to your home and forget any of this happened." He struggled to keep his voice flat.
"Huh?" Abbey's eyes were shiny with tears. "I don't understand."
Renegade shook his head. "Go home Abbey."
The sound of booted feet on the hollow stage floor echoed through the curtains. Abbey started at the sound, clutching his hoodie close to her body.
"Will you be waiting for me at my house?" She searched his pained face.
"Yes." His voice came out in a croak. "But only if you run, right now." He turned his face away from her, so that she wouldn't see the tears in his eyes.
Abbey ran, choking back the sobs that threatened to suffocate her. She knew that he was lying. He wasn't going to be there when she got home.
Korse could smell the fear as he he stepped into the maze of curtains. His ears pricked at the sound of scampering feet. He grinned.
"I know that you're here Renegade." His voiced rang throughout the theatre, reaching every corner of the auditorium. "So why don't you save us both the trouble, and give yourself up now."
A black gun splattered with multi-coloured paint skidded across the polished floorboards to rest at his feet. A voice followed it. "I'm unarmed."
Korse was surprised to see the zonerunner step out from behind a curtain, palms exposed in surrender. He didn't actually expect the boy to give himself up so easily. He pondered the unpredicted action.
"Down on the ground boy." He spat, ray gun trained on the rebel's head.
Renegade nodded and sunk to the ground. His knees hit the hardwood with a thunk, no resistance in his posture. 'If I give myself up, Abbey will be safe. I can't risk hiding from them, incase they find her first. I wont let her be taken.'
A drac grabbed him from behind, pinning his arms to his back and dragging him out onto the front of the stage. Korse followed, ray gun still staying handy. He felt like something was off about Renegade's behavior, but couldn't pick what exactly.
"Now why would you be so willing to give in? You didn't fire a single shot from your gun, and I know from personal experience that that's not like you." Korse upped the magnitude of his gun and motioned to a drac, "Search him for anything suspicious. I wouldn't put it past the zonerunners to send in a suicide bomber."
Renegade glared at Korse as he was patted down for explosives.
"Then there's the strange case of you not wearing very much." Korse waved his gun at Hugh's shirtless torso.
A drac sniggered, catching onto the Scarecrow's thoughts.
"I was sleeping." Hugh ground his teeth, frustrated at the man's deductive skills.
Korse gave a short laugh. "Sleeping? Yes that is one way you could put it, Renegade. Sleeping - with someone."
"No I'm not." Hugh's voice had a layer of threat to it.
The Scarecrow pulled back a curtain and picked up Abbey's bra with the tip of his gun. "Hmm, well then explain this, terrorist."
"What can I say?" Anton batted his eyelids sarcastically, "I'm flamboyant."
"Search the building boys." Korse grinned at the growl that came from his captives throat. "You're looking for a girl, who isn't wearing very much."
Party Poison and Harlequin Diamond were arguing as they reached the Traverse.
"But why cant I just sneak in? I know that you know all the secret passages into BL/i!" Gerard was fuming about his disguise. The drac suit was restrictive, overly hot and worst of all; it was white. He was freaked out by the feel of it against his skin. Gee could have sworn that it was brainwashing him already.
Harley threw her hands up in the air. "Because if you get caught as Party Poison you'll be shot on the spot! No ones going wait around to ask questions with a guy like you." She pulled an extermination poster of him out of her glovebox. "You're not wanted 'dead or alive' Party." she pointed at the text at the bottom of the sheet. "You're wanted dead, simply. I rest my case."
Gerard pulled a face. "Nu-uh, case not rested! I'm in charge here!"
"Since when!" She exploded.
"Since I was born more than twenty years before you!" He rounded.
"And yet who's more accomplished?"
"At what!? Letting some macho-woman rule your life!?"
Harley gasped. "Roulette does not rule my life, you no-account twat!"
"Could've fooled me, sugar."
"Listen you ranga impersonator; I run a crew 25 times bigger than yours. I have plotted every successful plan against BLi in California. I know enough martial arts to take out Newsagogo blindfolded. I am currently Korse's most trusted apprentice, and therefore am the rebel closest to taking him out. I know BL/ind HQ better than any zonerunner. I have one of the biggest wanted rewards stamped to forehead, yet BLi don't even have a picture of me to run posters with. And I haven't even had my 26th birthday!" she raised an eyebrow at Party, daring him to speak. "That's why I call the shots, not you."
"You know Rabid's temper's starting to rub off on you." Gerard couldn't think of a better comeback to her pretty speech.
Harley cringed. "That is so below the belt and you know it!"
Gee grinned, "Yeah actually that was, I take it back. No one wants to be told they have a temper like that."
Diamond giggled and punched him lightly on the shoulder. "Don't ever let Rabid hear you say that, or you wont have any fingers left to hold a gun."
Gerard laughed along with her "I almost pity her prison wardens, she must be a handful."
Both of their laughter cut off abruptly, realizing what Party had just said. Harley was annoyed for letting herself forget that her friend was behind BLi bars.
"I'm sorry." Gerard whispered, lightly squeezing Harley's hand. "I didn't mean to say that. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing."
Harlequin shook her head. "No, it's not your fault." her english accent wavered with sadness. "I could have said something similar. It just hasn't quite hit me that soon I'll be seeing Rabid in those awful cells, instead of unnamed faces."
Gerard was curious about her work undercover. "So how long have you been acting as Korse's apprentice for?"
She smiled. "Nearly a year now. Not many people know about it and I want to keep it that way. I'm playing a delicate game working so close to the last Scarecrow, without getting my nose into more trouble. It's frustrating because he doesn't tell me much about what BL/ind's planning. He disparages my abilities!"
"So what's involved in your job description?"
Harley sighed and rolled her eyes. "Korse had me babysitting the fucking Battery City Police Department."
Party laughed at this. "Oh come on, they cant be that bad!"
"Oh no, trust me they are. They're a bunch of simpletons, absolute ignoramus's with no initiative and no guts. They spend their days telling the public not to wear any colour, and get angry at people who listen to music or paint or hum for fuck's sake. I hate my job. So much. You cant even comprehend how much it infuriates me when they can't even make the decision to take a toilet break without my permission."
Gerard laughed, completely believing her. It was no secret that the BCPD were pathetic.
"I swear one day I will throw one of them out a window." She smiled at the thought.
"So what happens when one day Korse assigns you to actually take out one of us?" Gerard's question sobered the atmosphere in the car.
Harlery shrugged. "I'll cross that bridge when I come to it. "
There was a long silence, both zoneunners contemplating the consequences for Harley if she didn't complete Korse's order, and the repercussions for her if she did. Gerard hoped she was never assigned to take any of the Killjoys out. He didn't think that she would, but he also didn't want her cover to be busted because of them.
Harley stared out the window into the darkness of the tunnel. 'Party Poison drives fast.' she mused. They had taken the Trans Am, simply because it was the fastest ride around. They would be in Battery City in a few short hours. Soon she would have to play the part of Korsette, and convincingly declare Party as a drac. She hoped that no one asked too many questions. Her thoughts turned briefly to Roulette, wondering what kind of shape she'd find her friend in. No prisoner of BLi was treated well and none of them left alive. The only way out of that place was through the chimney. Rebels weren't buried, they weren't worth the space.
Gerard broke the silence. "So do I really have to wear the drac suit?" he whined.
Abbey was hiding under the stage. She was enveloped in complete darkness, provoking a sense of claustrophobia. The air around her was thick with dust. Cobwebs dripped from the support posts, caressing her limbs like lace. She gulped back screams at the thought of being trapped down here. She wanted to die in the light, somewhere beautiful, away from the city.
Because of her position she could hear the conversations between Korse and Anton. Abbey knew now that he had planned to be caught, in an attempt to draw them away from her. Abbey didn't know who Korse was, but he sounded nasty. She knew that right now the draculoids were searching for her. She wished that she didn't chose a hiding place so cut off. There were only two ways out of this dank, enclosed space. The main exit lead to the change rooms. The other was a trap door, which Korse was standing on right now. She contemplated opening it so that Anton would have time to escape, but from the numerous footsteps above, she knew that he was surrounded by dracs as well.
"This is hopeless." she sighed.
Abbey didn't know what they were going to do to Anton. She didn't want to know. All she wanted was to have him escape BL/ind and return to the desert where he belonged. She wanted to hate him for not telling her about his past sooner, but she couldn't. He was right to try and keep that part of him a secret, and she felt gratitude towards him for protecting her. She wished that she could do the same.
"What am I going to do now?" her hushed voice when unanswered. She couldn't stay here alone, she wouldn't last a day without help. However if she went home she'd be stuck in the dangerous rut that she had been before. She might go a month or two without going insane, but she knew that sooner or later those voices would come back to taunt her.
Abbey shook her head. 'There's no point agonizing over what's going to happen months down the track. I've gotta concentrate on what's going on now.' She thought.
She sniffed, trying to pull herself together. Her situation seemed hopeless. She couldn't see how her and Anton would be together again. Korse didn't sound like he liked Anton at all, and the dracs, from what he explained to her were brainwashed murderers.
"Suck it up Abbey." she wiped away her tears viciously. "You've got to do this on your own, so make your next move a good one."
Abbey weighed up her options. She could stay where she was and pray that they didn't find her. Perhaps she could make a run for it. Or there was also the option of trying to take out the people who had captured Anton. And lastly, she could just give herself up to the dracs.
Immediately she crossed out the last two. She knew that if she surrendered she wasn't going to be taken anywhere good, and although she liked the idea of rescuing Anton, she had no weapons or skills. Not to mention she hadn't fought a single scrap in her life that wasn't verbal.
So that left hiding or running.
"There's no point sitting here and waiting to be found." she told herself, trying to inspire bravery. "I'm better off getting out of here."
Abbey contemplated every way out of the building that she knew of. The best one was probably the exit next to the younger kid's ballet classrooms. It was fairly low-key and lead out to an alleyway that joined two streets. The quickest route that she'd have to take to get to that doorway was through the change rooms, down the corridor lined with actors quarters, through the managers apartment and down past the dance teachers offices.
'That should lead me straight to my old dance studio.' she stood carefully in the dark, mentally kicking herself for only wearing Anton's hoodie. It came halfway down her thighs, but she still felt vulnerable. Shrugging off her embarrassment she began to pick her way through the thick darkness, trying not to squeal every time she reached out to a support post and her hand touched sticky web.
Korse's voice echoed through the hollow space, citing his irritation at the dracs unsuccessful efforts to find her. She cringed at the thought of coming face to face with the voice that roared his displeasure. He sounded terrorizing.
Abbey felt relief surge through her when her hand hit the smooth surface of the door out. She grasped for the handle and cracked the door open only a few centimeters. A line of light shone strongly into the darkness and she was able to see into the change rooms beyond.
There were three dracs digging through the closets on the other side of the room. Or at least Abbey though that they must be dracs. They were wearing white suits, naturally. However each were wearing a sort of halloween mask. She shivered at the plastic, screaming faces of the draculoids.
Between her and them there were multiple racks of clothes, making a kind of maze. Taking a deep breath Abbey slunk out from behind the door and slipped behind a row of costumes. The dracs continued to pull apart the closets on the other side, unaware of her presence. Her knees wobbled and she crawled/hopped towards the door at the other end of the room.
Every time she came to the end of a rack she had to make a dash for it to the next, and pray that they didn't turn around and spot her. So far she had been successful. There were three more racks before she reached the door.
Abbey dashed to the next rack, crept along it, peeking through the hanging costumes every few seconds to check on the dracs, and then made a leap for the following row. Her barefoot feet made very little sound on the heavily carpeted floor. Her heart, however pounded loudly in her ears as she crossed the final length to the last rack, unnoticed.
She paused, trying to breathe evenly and wiped her sweaty palms on the carpet. Between her and the door was three or four meters without any cover. Thankfully the door itself was slightly ajar, however Abbey knew that if she was unlucky, she could come face to face with a drac on the other side.
She steeled herself mentally. 'Come on Abbey, if you don't make a break for it, you never will.'
Her knees prickled at the scratchy material beneath them as she took one last look at the dracs. They seemed just as preoccupied with finding her in the cupboards as they had been five minutes ago, so she felt pretty confident.
However, right as Abbey broke away from the cover of the clothes rack she heard a shout from the other side of the room. A drac who had turned around to go tell Korse of their failed search spotted a teenage girl fling open the door and disappear into the next room.
Abbey pelted along the long corridor, heart thrashing about in her chest. Yellow stars flashed by on red doors, blurred in her vision. She could hear shouts and footsteps behind her. The dracs boots were loud in the narrow hallway, drowning out the sound of her own feet slapping against the concrete floor. She sucked in great lungful of air, trying to douse the burning sensation in her calf muscles.
She skidded around a corner, bumping into the wall before scrambling once more into a sprint.
The door to the manager's apartment swung easily as she wrenched it open. Abbey flung it shut behind her and locked it from the inside, wasting no time afterwards to catch her breath before continuing her mad rush to the exit.
She hurtled through to a short corridor and found herself bumping into a solitary drac coming from the other direction. She screamed at the distorted face, forgetting that it was a mask, and swung her fist towards it. She was slightly surprised to see her fist connect with the draculoid's head, which was knocked against the wall. The man went down without a sound, sliding to the floor with no resistance.
Abbey gulped back and sob and jumped over the crumpled form, crossing the short distance to the teachers offices. As she slipped through the door she could make out the sound of splitting wood coming from the other side of the apartment she had just left.
Abbey locked the door behind her once more and had to lean against it for a moment to settle her shaking legs.
'It's gonna be fine.' she told herself, scrubbing at her wet eyes. 'I know this place better than they do. They wont know which way I went. I'm gonna be fine... I'm gonna be fine...'
She gritted her teeth and pushed away from the door. The offices were all linked together, and Abbey made a point of locking each of the five doors behind her, hoping that they would slow down the dracs enough for her to gain a little distance.
She passed into a long hallway, lined with classrooms. As she jogged down the empty corridor she could see herself reflected through the entraces of each dance studio. The mirrored walls were dark. There were no lights to illuminate the echoing space and every window had been boarded over from the outside.
She stumbled round the corner and felt relief at the sight of the flight of stairs which lead down to the exit. She took the concrete steps two at a time and skipped the short space to the door. In the darkness she had to feel around for the handle, but when she closed her fist around the cool metal bar Abbey could almost taste the freedom that was now hers.
She turned the handle and pushed.
The door didn't budge.
Abbey twisted it and pulled.
It didn't give an inch.
"N-n-no!" she cried, frantically shaking the door.
Faint rays of morning sunshine peeped through the crack at the side, around the planks of wood that nailed the exit shut on the other side.
Abbey sobbed and beat her fists against the solid wood.
"Help!" she screamed in desperation. "Someone help me, please!"
There was no answer.
She whimpered and slumped to the hard, cold ground. There was no other way out from here. She was trapped.
"Anton," she sobbed, "I'm so sorry. You gave yourself up for no reason."
There was a low thud. The dracs had broken through the second to last door.
Abbey curled into a ball.
A few second later there was another crash. Booted feet spilled out into the hallway.
Abbey flinched at the shouts that echoed into the dark space where she sat.
"Check around the end!"
Her heart fluttered fearfully.
Footsteps drew closer.
"So sorry, Anton" she whispered
A light shone, hurting Abbey's eyes.
"I found her!"
Abbey didn't move as the white figures drew closer to her. They aimed their strange guns at her, in a rather pointless gesture of strength, seeing as she wasn't armed.
In silence they grabbed her, cuffed her and dragged her back to the auditorium.
Party Poison had just driven the car out of the Traverse tunnel into the abandoned train station in Battery Cities east, when Harlequin's mobile went off.
Gerard jumped at the sound. Zonerunners hadn't had the use of mobile phones for seven years, and the harsh ringing had taken him by surprise. Harley calmly winked and extracted the small device from her pocket.
"It's me." She spoke in a cold tone.
Gerard couldn't hear the voice on the other end, although the widening of Harley's eyes made him curious.
"Yes Korse. I'll be at HQ in 5...... No, I only have one drac with me.... I'm sorry I wasn't there to organize the BCPD when they found the rebel.... I'll give them a briefing later."
She cut the connection and sighed.
"We are so lucky that I happened to have reception when he called me."
Party raised an eyebrow. "What would have happened if you didn't?"
Harley shrugged. "He would've thought I was out in the zones, which he has strictly forbidden. Apparently I'm not ready for that." a ghost of a smile played across her lips.
Gerard continued to drive the car towards the city centre. "Then what happens when you are out in the desert?"
"I have a transmitter that Black Jack set up for me. It keeps me in contact with Korse, although it's a risky alternative. The signal can be unreliable at times."
"So what did he want?"
Harley frowned, saddened by the news. "Korse has caught a zonerunner in the city."
Gerard's heart leapt. "Did he say who?"
She shook her head. "No, but they found him around this end of town, so it can't have been one of our spies. Probably some kid in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Poison chewed on his lip. He hoped that it was no one he knew, although the idea of any zonerunner in BL/ind hands made him angry.
"They apprehended a suspected BC citizen with him. Korse doesn't know what to do with her. However he needs me to swing by to interrogate his usual prisoners while he takes care of the two of them." Harley didn't like interrogating people. It felt wrong trying to pry people's personal information from them through sick and twisted means. However it did give her the opportunity to edit the information she got from rebels, before it was given to Korse, stopping anything important leaking through to BLi.
"Good morning Dearest Roulette!" Korse flung open the door to her cell, grinning.
Rabid looked up from the corner of the room blearily. Her breathing was off-kilter so she didn't bother answering.
"You know, I was looking forward to prying more information from you. Perhaps today we could even take off a finger or two." The threat fell on deaf ears. Rabid didn't really care what happened to her anymore. "However, I found one of those sneaks that you mentioned earlier, creeping around the city."
Roulette's brain sparked. She tried to process this information, but it didn't sound right. Korse had said that he found a spy.... but the spies weren't in the city. They were already in positioned in this building. She shrugged mentally, it didn't really matter to her anymore. She probably didn't even know the person...
"I believe that you're familiar with him. He's the sidekick of your old 'friend' Maverick."
Roulette's head snapped up. "Wh-what did you say?"
Korse reveled in the stress he had inspired. "Ahh, so I was right, you do know him! You see I wasn't sure. He's a shifty character, we don't know that much about him. But from the look of it, you could tell me plenty about what he does."
Rabid felt hatred, cold and thick tighten her throat. She wanted to slam the Scarecrow against the wall and engrave a pair of dice on his face. Slowly. With a blunt knife. Her signature beneath it.
"And I'm curious," Korse went on, "do you know anything about the girl he's got with him. A friend of yours too perhaps?"
Roulette raised an eyebrow slightly. She didn't know what he was talking about.
Korse hummed. "I thought so, she doesn't seem like the kind to be cavorting around the desert with you vermin."
She held her silence, not fully understanding his deductions. All she could think about was the fate of Renegade. She hated the thought of him being tortured, interrogated and imprisoned. He was good through to the heart; he didn't deserve this.
There was a soft knock on the door and Korse turned away for a second to receive a message. When he looked back at the crew leader, there was a hint of regret in his eyes.
"Duty calls sweetness. It seems I don't have the time to sit here and drag useless shit from your brain." Roulette sighed a little, relieved. "However," he threw her dice on the ground, cutting off her moment of happiness. "I will leave you with your new guard for...... ten hours! Wow, isn't he lucky?"
The Scarecrow picked up the dice, rolling them around in his hand. He loved the way Roulette slumped even further against the wall. Her eyes were downcast.
"Korse?" she whispered hoarsely.
He reached out for the door. "What?"
"I'll be dead by tonight if you don't give me anything to drink." she hated herself for asking. She wanted to embrace death, but her cracked throat couldn't bear it any longer.
He pondered this for a moment. "I don't particularly care Roulette."
She felt a simultaneous burst of resignation and agony.
"Then again, I'd miss having our morning chats. Play nice with your drac guard, he's new."
Korse slammed the door, leaving Roulette alone.
She counted the tumble weeds that flew across the floor.
"Five..." she croaked. "Two..... Twelve....."
'I'm hallucinating.' her final shred of sanity piped up 'I wonder how long it will be till I go crazy?'
Party Poison opened the door quietly, half afraid of what he'd see on the other side.
He and Harley had spilt upon reaching BL/ind HQ, which was worrying considering he had no idea how to get around the place. Harlequin had told him that he would be fine. He was her 'assigned draculoid' or some bullshit, meaning he'd be back with her by nightfall.
Gerard had felt so much rage at the sight of Korse. When they had arrived he hadn't even noticed the new drac by Korsette's side, addressing her only. He had told her that the captured zonerunner was a tricky one, and that she wasn't permitted to go near him.
"I don't want you being fooled by them." he instructed her to go and pull some information out of his usual prisoners. Because of the multitude of them, Gerard got a job too.
The Scarecrow had raised an eyebrow at Party. "So this is your new drac trainee?" He drawled, talking to Harley.
"Yes." Her response was short, obedient.
"He any good? There's no point trying to train an idiot. You can't take the stupid out of the stupid." His lip quirked nastily.
Harley nodded, her short, white haired wig swept across her eyes. "The best drac I've found so far."
Korse smiled. It was a sight to make children cry. "Fabulous. He should be rewarded then, I suppose."
Both of them remained mute, not knowing where this was going.
"I have a special prisoner here who needs to be taught a few lessons. She's lots of fun, her last guard would of agreed." Gerard felt his stomach clench. The man in front of him make him want to be sick. He was glad of the mask that covered his face, lest the Scarecrow see his disgusted expression. It was only through extreme control that he didn't just shoot the man on the spot.
When Korsette and him went separate ways she had told him to keep en eye out for Roulette.
"I don't know where she is." she murmured. "It might take us a day or two to find her."
And so Party Poison had been led to the prison cell, and told that he was to spend ten hours "teaching" the rebel respect for BL/ind in any way he deemed fit.
"Just don't kill her." the other drac drawled to him. "That's what got the last two exterminated; they went a bit too far. And give her this."
Gerard had nodded and accepted the cup of water they handed him. The drac stalked away, leaving Gee at the door to whatever poor zonerunner had gotten themselves landed in this place.
As he looked inside, Gerard couldn't see anyone. However his hearing picked up an erratic, husky breathing.
He shut the door and placed the glass of water gingerly on the only table, then spotted the misfortunate figure slumped in the corner.
"One.... six.... eleven.... eight...."
Gerard's heart lurched at what he saw.
"Twelve... twelve... twelve is the highest number." Roulette whispered. "Two sixes.... Twelve..."
"Oh god." He gasped and took a step towards the crew leader. Her blank eyes didn't register his appearance. They stared, unfocused, at the floor.
"One... One... Snake eyes.... One... Two one's is two is eyes..... One..." her voice was broken, grating against Party Poison's ears.
He knelt next to the crumpled figure. The contempt he felt for her before melted away. Gerard couldn't believe how broken she looked.
"Russian Roulette?" He shook her shoulder gently.
Her glassy eyes slowly swiveled up to meet his. "Ten." she hissed. "Ten white dots.... Six and four... Ten... Ten hours he said...... Ten"
Gerard rushed back to the table and grabbed the water. He pressed the cup to her mumbling lips and tipped the liquid down her throat. She gulped, coughed and gulped again. Party took the glass away from her lips.
"Renegade!" she screamed suddenly, and burst into tears.
Party flinched at the outburst. 'Renegade?' he thought. 'What has Renegade got to do with anything? Maverick's got him hiding right now. Frank was telling me about him and some girl-'
His thoughts were interrupted as Roulette's sobs turned into deranged mumbling.
"I killed the Albatross!" she giggled. "I killed the bird that flew and swam and bought good luck, like the dice not there, not upon my wrist. The bird that sang, that sang the words. The famous last words. I'm not okay dear Harley I'm not. Oh Alison, how wrong we were to believe that being immortal meant never dying." she took in a shaky breath, "Haven't you heard the news; I'm Dead!"
Gerard calmly pulled the trembling girl onto his lap and closed his arms around her.
"Maverick?" she cried, leaning into him. "I'm so sorry... When you said that you loved me... I couldn't say it... Don't blame you for... I'll love you to the end..."
Her terrified stream of words grew faint as he hummed Desert Song, singing the lyrics gently.
He never knew that Roulette was a My Chemical Romance fan. The thought hadn't even crossed his mind. When she had spewed out titles and lyrics, so familiar to him, he had partially understood her reasons. Misfits world wide had once told them that their music and the band had saved them. Gerard was hoping that the comforting song would help bring Rabid back from the edge.
"Well after all, we'll lie another day...." she whispered with him.
"And through it all, we'll find some other way..." He sang, wiping the tears from her eyes.
"To carry on....." She smiled and leant against his chest.
"Well tonight, well tonight will it ever go?"
"Spend the rest of your days rocking out..."
They sat in peace, reciting the mellow song all the way until the end.
When the last words died from their lips, Roulette felt sane again. She breathed in the scent of the desert that clung to Gerard's body.
"Who are you?" she held his hand tightly.
Gerard deliberated for a moment before pulling the drac mask slowly off his face. His red hair fell across his eyes and he smiled. "Hey Roulette."
She gaped a little, and let go of his hand. "But I thought... I hated you and I thought you felt the same way about me."
He nodded slightly. "I can't say that I've liked you Rabid, and to be honest, you aren't the reason why I'm here."
"Spider Bait?" she asked softly.
Party's chest tightened. "Yeah, I'm trying to find him."
"So then why are you here with me?" He picked up a trace of the cold tone that she alway used on him. He felt a little hurt at the stinging attitude.
"I'm here with Harley, actually. She came to bust you out and needed some backup. She promised me that if she found you, she'd do anything she could to help me find my friend."
He watched as Roulette processed this information.
"You need to go." she slipped off his lap and staggered over to the other side of the room. "Tell Harley to help you find Spider. And then leave. I wont risk her being caught trying to save me."
Party Poison watched her lean against the wall for support. Her legs were shaking visibly. "She wont leave you behind Roulette." His voice echoed his concern. "And neither will I. Not only because you know too much, but because you're a freedom fighter. You don't deserve to suffer under Korse's orders."
"Then shoot me!" she shrieked. "Stop my suffering. At least then I wont be able to tell Korse about-" her words were interrupted by a hacking cough. Rabid's lungs rattled dangerously.
Party rushed to her side and tried to support her. She swatted him away angrily. "Don't help me." She hissed. "I don't deserve it."
"I kill people Party Poison." she lowered herself to the ground. "You know that. I kill our own people for the sake of my crew. I promised myself that I would change, but I don't know if I can."
"Don't be stupid!" He exclaimed. "I know you better than that! You're not the kind of person to give up this easily."
She looked away from him.
"You have the most ruthless reputation there is in the zones. So what is it!?" He pulled her head back to face him.
"What do you mean?" she growled.
He rolled his eyes. "What's the real reason for you not wanting to go back to the zones?"
Roulette sniffed a little. "I love him." she moaned.
Party was taken aback. He forgot how strongly loving someone could rule a person's life. "Who?"
She whimpered. "Maverick. I cant face it. If I tell him how much I love him and he doesn't feel the same way, I don't know why I'd bother living. But if he loves me too, we still cant be together, because my crew takes up all my time."
"Roulette?" Gerard ruffled her dark hair. "You really are an idiot."
"I am not!" she cried out.
"Yes, you are. And as much as I'd love to sit here and help you work out your love life, right now we have to go." He pulled her to her feet.
"No!" she wailed stubbornly.
"Yes." Party pulled his drac mask back over his face. "Now come on, before I sling you over my shoulder and carry you out of here."
Rabid deliberated. As much as she'd rather stay and wait for death to greet her, the idea of being carried out of Battery City on the back of Killjoy didn't agree with her pride. "Okay, fine." She hobbled to the door. "But we're going to have to take it slow. I'm not exactly at peak condition."
Party winced at the bruises that blotched most of her skin. "Ok, but just so you know, if we get sprung I'll be running for the exit with you over my shoulder."
She flipped him off, but cracked a grin at the same time.
Abbey woke up in a blindingly white room. They had knocked her out with some terrible smelling chemical at the theatre. The last thing she remembered was Korse's leering face and Anton's screams.
The room was empty, except for her, a chair and a table.
"Hello?" she cried out.
The door opened. Korse strode in, his face blank.
"Who are you?" His voice was flat and cold.
Abbey felt a slight shiver go down her spine. "Where's Anton?" she whispered. She was surprised at her bold question. This guy didn't seem like the kind you wanted to disobey.
Korse sat down on the other side of the table in a calm manner. He was playing with two red dice. "What is your name girl?"
She couldn't see the harm in telling him her name. "Abbey."
"Where do you live?"
"Um, in Langford. My parents own a house there." she watched him process this answer.
"Renegade is currently under arrest for rebellion against Better Living Industries. His crimes are serious." Korse saw the brief confusion on Abbey's face, and then a hint of pride. "How do you know him?"
Abbey didn't want to answer that and so evaded telling the truth. "We met on the train."
"I'm not stupid little girl." Korse flashed a dangerous smile. "I know that you work for him."
Abbey pulled a rude face. "If you mean by dating him I work for him, then yeah, I do."
Korse's smile closed abruptly. "I don't like rude people Abbey."
"Wow, you must really hate yourself then, huh?" Her snide remark angered and intrigued the Scarecrow.
"You're not scared of me, are you?" He watched her body language closely.
"Well, your face if pretty scary." She smirked.
Korse actually laughed at this. "This has got to be a bad joke. Don't you know who I am?"
Abbey rolled her eyes. "Your Korse."
She paused and shrugged. "I don't know. You boss those dracs around or something."
After years of interrogation and studying the responses of prisoners, Korse knew how to read body language pretty well. It surprised him that the girl before him wasn't faking ignorance. She had the guts to back-chat him, because she didn't know the consequences.
"Tell me Abbey, have you taken your pills today?"
She nodded. "Yep."
"Would you take some more if I asked you to?"
She pondered this, not trusting the bald man for a second.
"Trust me Abbey, if I wanted to kill you, you'd be dead." He waved his ray gun casually and slid a bottle of pills towards her.
She picked them up and read the label. It declared the pills to be level seven; the highest they went. She knew that Korse was testing to see if she really had taken her medication today. 'I'm not going to let on that I'm actually not affected by these things.' she thought and swallowed two capsules.
"So Abbey, what are you feeling right now?" Korse asked.
She pulled a blank smile. "I feel wonderful."
The words Korse expected, the tone he did not.
"What do you think of me Abbey?" He pressed.
"You're really nice." She kept smiling.
Korse shook his head. "Bring in the boy!" he shouted to the drac outside.
As they dragged Renegade in Korse watched the girl's face intently. "What would you think if I told my dracs to beat up your boyfriend?"
She kept her voice lucid. "He must have done something terrible to deserve that, so I don't mind."
'There!' Korse thought, seeing the small flash of panic in her eyes.
"Are you sure?" he asked, watching her intently.
Abbey looked at Anton. He shook his head, knowing the Scarecrow couldn't see him mouth the words "Don't tell him"
She returned her gaze to Korse and suppressed her anguish. "I don't mind at all."
Korse waved at his dracs. They began to beat the rebel, kicks and punches knocking him to the ground.
Abbey kept her eyes trained on Korse's, desperately ignoring the sounds of fist on flesh.
The Scarecrow couldn't be sure, but he thought he saw a slight hint of hatred in the girl's otherwise blank expression.
"Stop." He called out to his dracs.
Renegade gave out a low groan, holding his stomach.
Korse stood and aimed his gun at Anton. "He really is useless isn't he?"
"Yes Korse." She smiled.
"I think I might just get rid of him now."
Renegade shook his head at Abbey, beginning her to stay silent. He didn't want the man to know Abbey's secret.
Korse switched the safety off his ray gun and flicked the setting up.
"So die all traitors, hey Abbey?"
Korse pulled the trigger.