things are looking up - kinda...
It was then I felt something else. Someone was stroking my forehead, pushing my hair back. It was a soft touch, gentle even. I tried to open the good eye.
“There, there lady. The sad man hurt you didn’t he ?”
The good eye wasn’t as good anymore but it was still enough for me to take in my surroundings. It seemed to be a small cell, beams of light across the front were crackling with electricity so we weren’t getting out that way. I say we because sitting in front of me was a little girl. She looked no more than ten, a great bush of curly hair framing a sweet face that was creased with concern. She wore an eclectic mix of colours and I could only guess she was a Killjoy. Things were starting to haze over again so I blinked and tried to smile.
“Yeah he did. You ok ?”
“Oh yes, he won’t hurt me. Says I’m important.”
As bait I guessed but I wasn’t going to tell the kid that. I pulled myself up into a sitting position and it took some effort. Every breath hurt and being upright caused the pain in my head to flower again. The kid watched every move.
“My name’s Grace, what’s yours ?”
“That’s so pretty. Why was the sad man cross with you ?”
I nearly came out and said its cos of you and your fucking friends but somehow I didn’t have it in me to be mean to the kid. She had hopped up beside me and settled in with a smile. I may be a cold bitch at times but it was sort of nice to have someone be friendly.
“I was being naughty and stealing his stuff.”
A huge smile appeared on her face, her eyes twinkling.
“But Party and the others do that all the time. Especially Fun Ghoul.”
So she does know them and is therefore bait. I felt sorry for the kid but her associates had pretty much condemned her to death. Wasn’t like Korse would hesitate to kill a child. He had done it before and I’d seen the aftermath. You don’t forget something like that believe me. I tried to stand up, noting that at least my legs seemed ok but the dizziness stopped me from actually moving before I ended up on the floor. Again.
“Rainbow ? Rainbow are you ok ?”
I nodded this time, not quite trusting myself to speak without screaming. I managed to get back up to my knees, hanging onto the cot where Grace was sitting. She was watching me with obvious curiosity, her legs swinging. If she was scared then she was doing a really good job of hiding it. I pulled myself up to sit beside her, walking was gonna be a problem then. If some kind of rescue attempt was made I had to hope they would help me or I was dead. Shit, lets face it, either way I was pretty much dead.
“So you know the Killjoy leaders then ?”
Grace nodded happily.
“They’re my friends. Party Poison’s the leader cos he’s so smart. His brother is Kobra Kid. Then there’s Jet Star, he’s really good with gadgets and stuff and then there’s Fun Ghoul. He’s my best friend and he can make bombs.”
I nodded as she ticked them off her fingers. I’d seen the wanted posters but I can’t say I ever paid much attention. Like I said, I spend a lot of time staying away from people. I admired what they were trying to do in a way but I never had been a cause kind of person. However, I was now identified with them even more and by a bloody exterminator. My life sucks.
“Do you have any friends ?”
I shook my head, wincing at the movement.
“No, not for a long time.”
Such a sad expression formed on her little face that I couldn’t help but smile. She instantly smiled back and grabbed my hand.
“You do now. I’m your friend and when the guys get here they will be too.”
Great. Just fucking great. Still I smiled back, from what I’d heard they were about as likely to shoot me as Korse. Maybe being beaten black and blue was a good thing, if we did get out of here they might not realise who I was. I tried standing again, managing a few steps this time. Being careful not to touch the barrier I tried to get a look along the white corridor. All seemed quiet and I couldn’t see any dracs wandering about.
“You know the sad man wants them to come right ?”
Grace nodded gravely. There was something frighteningly adult in her eyes when she looked back at me.
“I know, he hurt them when he brought me here but Party’s smart. He’ll get us out of here I know it.”
“Hope you’re right Grace. That’s one bad man.”
As if on cue a klaxon started to go off. Flashing red lights started to blink in the corridor which was painful to the one nearly good eye. Fear showed on Grace’s face now and she shrunk back on the bunk. I stood in front of her, alert as was possible all things considered and waited to see if anyone would come for us, good or bad.
“Stay behind me kid ok ?”
She nodded and I could feel sweat trickling down my back. There was movement and I tensed as four dracs went past but they didn’t look at us. Waiting was driving me mad, I wanted it over one way or the other and had pretty much ceased to care which way it went. The kid was making things worse, I didn’t want to watch the kid die. Seconds passed into minutes and still nothing, I was beginning to think they had already been cornered and the rescue was over before it really started. Grace peered out from behind me expectantly.
There were more footsteps heading our way. Every breath was so bloody painful I knew I wouldn’t be able to put up much of a fight but there was no way in hell I was gonna go down easy. What came into view however wasn’t Korse and his boys, it was them.
The first thought that came into my head was oh fuck I’m being rescued by a gang of rent boys. In fairness to them it might have been the head injury talking but they sure were a cute looking bunch of guys and very colourful. One had bright red hair and I mean bright and a blue jacket, another was blond with a red jacket, I was really starting to regret the lack of clear vision.
Grace darted out from behind me causing the red head to raise his hand.
“Get back Gracie, Ghoul’s gonna blow it.”
She immediately stepped back, grabbing my arm and pulling me away as a shorter guy with black hair stepped forward. He smiled at the girl before fiddling with something on the side of the wall. They took cover as a loud explosion shook the room and the electric bars went out. The little girl rushed to hug the red head before turning back to me.
“This is Party Poison, Party this is Rainbow.”
I watched him flinch as he looked at me. So this was Party Poison, leader of the Killjoys, most wanted man in the zones. He had pretty hazel eyes and there was no doubting, he looked like he could handle himself. I could see the pity in his expression and his voice was kind.
“Can you walk ? We need to get out of here.”
“Yeah, it’s a trap you know that.”
He nodded with a half smile, pushing Grace over to a big man with a head of familiar curls. Was this her dad ? I kinda hoped so, kid that age shouldn’t be wandering around alone. I limped after them, out into the corridor. Keeping up was gonna be an issue but the thought of being left back with Korse was a damn good incentive. Problem was it was too easy, too quiet. No resistance at all as we headed out the narrow corridor and toward the main entrance.
I was painfully aware of my own physical state and the lack of a gun. Sooner or later the trap was gonna spring and I was a sitting duck. I knew the stories, these guys were supposed to be just about the best fighters out there but there was only four of them and god knows how many dracs heading our way. I checked behind us, panting for air and hoping I wasn’t about to pass out for the third time.
The trap sprung as we entered the lobby. Sudden bursts of white hot laser fire that caused us all to turn, the Killjoys instantly returning fire as Grace stood frozen in fear at the sight of Korse and about twenty of his minions heading straight for us. I can’t deny the first thought that went through my head was that we were all very fucking dead.
The second spurred me into action. The guys were holding there own for sure but I watched in horror as one drac headed straight for Grace. Again I blame the concussion but I did the only thing I could think of and launched myself at his legs, bring the guy down and nearly breaking myself in half.
He struggled under me as my left hand reached for his gun and my right grabbed the back of his mask, with my full weight behind it I drove his head into the floor, repeating it until his hand loosened on the gun. Prying it loose, I put a round in the back of his head and then scrambled to my feet. The fight was closing in but all the Killjoys were still standing, backing slowly toward the door at the front. I grabbed Grace by the collar, shoving her behind me as I tried to move that way too.
Swinging my arm to the left I took out another Drac trying to get the drop, the third behind him stumbled over the corpse, the hot bolt coming close enough to feel against my face. I couldn’t step back to get enough range to be on target so took a step forward instead, planting as hefty a kick as I could in the guys balls so he dropped to his knees. Head shot from that angle was a piece of cake.
I kept firing, everything starting to blur into one but making sure I aimed for the whites and the greys and stayed well away from the four bright beacons of colour. The child trembled as I stumbled, a curse escaping me before a strong arm looped itself under mine. It was the blond one with the red jacket. He winked at me and pulled both Grace and myself over to the others. I still kept firing with my left hand until the cool air from the open door hit me.
We’d made it further than I thought we would but the sirens were blaring out here too and I was pretty sure it was going to bring every Drac nearby running. At least now I had a damn gun in my hand, although my aim was pretty much zero. Still it was looking like these guys were as good as their rep and I was grateful for my continuing good luck.
Every inch of exposed skin seemed to sting but the pain helped me focus on keeping my legs moving as they led the way to a rather cool looking beast of a car. Blondie near enough threw me into the back seat and it was another blow to the head that sent me into blackout number three.