Lady Madness talks about her parents with Kobra Kid.
Lady Madness was on the front page. The story of how she’d ran away from Korse on their wedding day. There was a picture of Lady Madness, taken the day before she disappeared. She was in her wedding dress and she was smiling at the camera. Korse was standing next to her. He was smiling too. But it sure wasn’t a ‘I can’t wait to get married’ kind of smile.
In fact if it wasn’t for the picture, we wouldn’t have guessed they were talking about Lady Madness. They hadn’t written her name as ‘Lady Madness’. The name written was ‘Cyanide Princess’
“Why have they printed your name as Cyanide Princess?” Screaming Revolver asked her at breakfast.
“It was the name my parents gave me,” She told us “When I ran away I knew that they’d find me easier if I was using my original killjoy name. So I changed it.”
“You were allowed to use your killjoy name?”
“You think that Korse’s real name is Korse?” Lady Madness asked, raising an eye-brow “Most of the BLI workers are using killjoy names. Residents just use different names.”
“But surely their parents know their real name?”
“No, people pick their own identity.” Lady Madness told us “But once you’ve chosen, there’s no going back. You have to make up your mind and there’s no way you can change it.”
“So that’s how Better Living Industries are controlling people?” Agent Anarchy asked “By stealing their identities?”
Lady Madness nodded. She looked as if she was remembering something before getting up from the table and running upstairs.
“What did you say?” Party Poison wants to know.
Everyone shrugged, not knowing what we’d said to upset her. We continued to eat breakfast as if nothing had happened.
Missile Kid skipped into the kitchen “So… What are we doing today?”
“We’ll probably just go looking for trouble,” Party Poison told her “Like we usually do.”
“Maybe someone should go and check on Lady Madness?” Jet-Star suggested.
“I will!” I said quickly before anyone else could say it. I got up from the table and ran upstairs to her bedroom.
The door was shut so I knew I couldn’t just go barging in. I knocked three times and waited for an answer. I didn’t receive one. “Lady Madness? It’s me, Kobra Kid.”
Still no reply. But just as I was about to give up and go back downstairs I heard a quiet “You can come in.”
I opened the door a little and slipped in, closing the door behind me. Lady Madness was sitting on the bed, hugging her knees and crying. I ran over and sat next to her “What’s wrong?” I asked her “Was it something we said?”
She shook her head “We were talking about BLI controlling people and stuff. It just got me thinking about how my parents didn’t want that lifestyle. And how yesterday they were finally going to be set free and they’d be allowed back to see the killjoys they haven’t seen in eighteen years.”
“Eighteen years? I thought you were twenty-one?”
“I am but we were all captured when I was three.”
“Oh. But still, why are you crying?”
“Because I didn’t marry Korse,” Lady Madness sniffed “That basically means that their promise wasn’t kept. You really think Korse and BLI are gonna take pity on them? And if you think they will then you’re an idiot.”
I couldn’t tell whether she’d just insulted me or not. I chose to go with the not “You managed to escape. They might too!”
“They were chatting to some BLI workers when I ran away,” She told me “When they realised I was gone, the first thing they’d have done was turn to my parents and ask why I’d runaway. And whether they knew anything about it. I didn’t tell them I was going to do it Kobra. I didn’t even say goodbye to them. I just disappeared.”
“Would you understand?” She asked me “We’d have all been free. They would’ve ran back into the desert and me… Sure I’d be stuck with Korse but I’d still be allowed to think/believe what I want. Now I’m the free one and they’re the ones stuck there.”
“You really think BLI would’ve just let them go without a fight?” I snorted “There had to have been a catch. They’d probably have followed your parents back to the headquarters were the other killjoys were waiting. Then they’d have killed them all.”
“Death would be better than living a Better Living Industries life,” Lady Madness said “That’s my Mom always used to say to me. She told me it was the reason she had to give me up. She couldn’t stand thinking about being controlled, being told to act a certain way or being told to believe certain things. This chip they insert into your brain, it makes you start loving and accepting the life you have. Makes you adore your enemies and despise your family. I’ve seen what it can do.”
“He showed you?”
“Of course he did,” Lady Madness gave me a small smile “He had to show me everything since I was his bride. He felt it made us trust each other more. We told each other everything. He showed me some really terrible things.”
“This one girl that went in was a killjoy. She was yelling about her sister, I think her sister’s name was Detonator Day-z or something. But this girl they brought in, they tortured her into giving up her real name. They inserted the chip and told her she had a mission to complete. They… They…”
“What did they make her do?”
“They told her to go out into the desert,” Lady Madness sniffed “And told her to kill Detonator Day-z. She returned with her sister’s clothes and her ray gun. All that was left of her.”
I gaped at her “BLI made her do that?”
“Of course they did! Because BLI don’t care about families, friends or anything like that. Their basic message is that you should love anyone in the BLI area. All killjoys are to be hated and destroyed.”
“What else did you see?”
“Kobra, I know you’re interested but I really don’t like talking about it.” Lady Madness sobbed “I hate to think about what they’re doing to my parents right now. Whether my parents have given up their true names. Do they hate me or do they think I did the right thing? They knew I didn’t want to marry him after all. Are they being hurt? Are they dead?”
“They’re probably using them,” I whispered “To find out where you are. They’re your parents, they know you more than anyone.”
“I haven’t left BLI since I was three. It’s not like I have ‘favourite hangouts’ or anything.”
“I didn’t even have any friends. All the kids at BLI are just so tiresomely good. It took me a while to notice but growing up, they were all the same. They all liked the same things, wore their hair the same way, wore the same clothes, talked about the same things. All the things they liked, I just didn’t like. So I didn’t fit in with anybody. To pass the time I sat back and listened to the radio. The broadcast that Doctor DeathDefy does. I imagined all the killjoys running around the zones and through battery city. I wanted to join them, I wanted to be one of them.”
I blinked at her, near tears. Her childhood had been that bad? That boring? Even BLI children were put on the medication?
“Kobra, could you do me a favour?”
“What is it?”
“Don’t tell the others about this? They’ll think I’m weird.”
“They wouldn’t,” But I smiled at her kindly “But don’t worry, I won’t tell anybody.”