Killjoys - friends or enemies ?
I knew I was dreaming because I was lying in a meadow surrounded by trees. The grass was long and I could hear grasshoppers somewhere enjoying the sun just like I was. There was a slight breeze, I could feel it shifting my fringe and I thought I was lying on my back.
Sounds great right ?
Problem is the world blew itself to fuck a few years back and there are no meadows no more, not much in the way of trees or anything else. So while this was great, it wasn’t real. It was nice though, when I opened my eyes the sky above shone clear and blue with just a few puffball clouds. The canopy of trees stretched out above and I could see birds among the branches.
I wanted to stay here. Reality is hell, I couldn’t remember back far enough to a time when it wasn’t. Childhood is clear enough but the chaos and destruction after the bombs fell has pretty much wiped everything else out. There is nothing now but running, hiding, killing and being forever on my guard. So this made a nice change.
I thought I could smell jasmine, the breeze had picked up a little and I watched the leaves coming down, twisting gently. Even the grass stirred slightly and it seemed so cool, so comfortable on my skin. This is how things should be, I knew I was smiling. I turned my head to the side and the smile faltered cos Danny was lying next to me. He was staring at me, the sun casting green glints in those pretty blue eyes of his and I could hear him chuckle at the look on my face. I wanted to lean over and touch him, hold him like I used to and feel his arms around me but I couldn’t.
Danny’s dead. He’d been dead for a year and a half. We got caught in the middle of some sort of gang fight not long after we hit the U.S. We were so fucking dumb, thinking it would be better over here, thinking that things would somehow be different. In some ways I suppose it is, at least there was a semblance of law and order but its wrong. Its screwed up and just another thing to fight. As if anything else was needed.
So if Danny was here and smiling at me it meant I was dreaming. Or I’d finally lost my mind completely. Or maybe dead. Wow, that would be good if this was heaven. For a while now I’d only resisted the urge to blow my own brains out by being bloody minded. The world pretty much wants me dead so fuck the lot of them, I’ll stay alive a bit longer. However if heaven involves Danny and this grassy meadow then I hoped I was dead.
He looked good, that haunted look he always wore toward the end had gone now. His face was relaxed, the ready smile I used to love there just for me. His hand reached out and stroked my face and it’s like I could feel him, that warm soft touch. There was a lump in my throat now, I missed him, God knows I missed him and it hurt.
Something was wrong. Missing Danny always hurt but it was an ache, an internal thing that could be suffered without interfering with daily life. This pain was different and it was spreading. The dull pain in my stomach travelling in ribbons of fire up to my head, almost blinding me. I couldn’t see Danny anymore or the meadow just a bright, brilliant white pain, accompanied by the feeling of hands under my shoulders, lifting me up.
I tried to open my eyes but that really hurt, one of them was swollen completely shut while I had to blink to clear blood out of the other. I couldn’t say I was entirely conscious but it was enough to see the man in front of me and a stinging swing of my head told me I was being held up by two dracs. The guy obviously noticed I’d come around because he grabbed me by the jaw, diverting my attention back to him.
Korse. I tried my best to keep my one good eye on him. The room was all white, the strip lights making the raging pain in my head worse and he almost blended in. There was unnatural paleness to the man, especially seeing as he lived in the middle of a desert. Even I had got a tan after eighteen months. I’d been trying to avoid him nearly as long. I wanted no part of it, not Battery City, not BLI or the mess outside and certainly not the Killjoys and whatever insanity they felt like getting involved in. Me, I just wanted a quiet life. I wanted to be left alone but somehow it never ended up like that.
The fight that we had inadvertently run into, the fight that had killed Danny, had been between Killjoys and Dracs. Korse hadn’t been there but the report that had gone back had put me on the Killjoys side whether I liked it or not. The mere fact that we had been wearing leather jackets and jeans had been enough to do that. We just hadn’t known any better, hadn’t known about code names and masks and all that shit. We were so fucking dumb.
I ran. Ashamed to say it but I did. When Danny fell, when I knew in that awful split second certainty that he was dead, I ran. Haven’t stopped since and I hate both sides. Stayed well clear of them all and hoped that would be enough. Sure I wear a mask now, carry a gun and I’m a fucking good shot, even took on a code name but I’m not one of them. Danny was the last person to call me by my name and that’s the way I want it.
Problem is once you’ve been seen anywhere near the Killjoys, that’s pretty much it. Getting supplies, being anywhere near anything approaching civilisation is difficult. Either you’re getting shot at or somebody’s wanting your help. Neither is a good option in my books but if you’re smart you can use it to your advantage. I use the Killjoy supply lines, use their broadcasts to stay in front of bald guy and his friends and then go the other way if they ask for help. They had figured it out by now so I wasn’t exactly popular with them either.
“Rainbow Revolver I believe.”
I tried to focus on Korse, the pain making it difficult especially where his hand was gripping my face. He was grinning, it made his bald head look like a skull. I badly wanted to pass out again.
“You’re going to tell me where the Killjoys main hideout is.”
I couldn’t help it although in hindsight it was really fucking stupid. I laughed. I shook with it, the pain in my side increasing as bloody tears worked their way down my face. Korse stopped smiling so I took in a stinging lungful of air.
“I don’t know. Why would I know ? I hate them just like I hate you.”
The pain in my head exploded as he slapped me hard around the face.
“Liar, you are a Killjoy, you run with them.”
“I don’t. I use them when I need food and shit. That’s all. I don’t know any of them.”
I could hear my words were starting to slur and again cursed the idiocy that had found me with my hand in the till at a BLI outpost. I should have known better than to get greedy but it had been too good to resist. The six dracs had been less good although I reckon I must have got at least two before they managed to knock me out.
Korse nodded at the dracs and I had a brief sensation of falling before the floor and my head said a bruising hello to each other. That hurt. It didn’t hurt as bad as the kick that Korse aimed straight at me, the sound of at least one rib breaking rang in my ears. Breathing suddenly felt a whole lot harder.
“You will tell me. You will scream it to me. I know you know where Party Poison and his gang are hiding.”
Now it was getting laughable, I’d never even met the guy or his pals. Wouldn’t want to either but I knew Korse was never going to believe that. I tried to think around the pain, I needed a way to buy myself some time. There was no hope of getting away under my own power at the moment but if they left me alone for a couple of days, well there’s always hope right ?
“C’mon, I really don’t know. They move around a lot.”
The two dracs dragged me back up. Korse had a gun in his hand this time. Ok so things were now getting serious. I couldn’t help but flinch as he put it against my temple but there was one part of me that wanted him to pull the trigger. Maybe I could go back to that meadow, back to Danny.
“Go on then you bald fuck, do it.”
He smiled that creepy skull smile of his obviously considering it before lowering the gun again.
“No I don’t think so. I have something of theirs here already. Something I know they will come to get. Perhaps you will be an added incentive.”
I was trying to think of something smart to say to stop him talking in riddles when he raised the gun again. Knowing what was coming I shut my good eye and waited for the explosion of stars that would herald a return to the welcome dark.