One-Shot of the Killjoys, tears in the desert. Please tell me what you think :)
Party Poison was restless. His sleep was being ever deprived by the sounds of the night. The walls of his room did little to dampen the noises outside as its original purpose had been that of a store room and who needs to soundproof a storeroom, as if the food would suddenly be able to yell ‘bloody murder’.
A creaking set of springs squeaked its way to Poisons ears, emanating from the room next to his, Fun Ghoul was turning over in his bed. It was a kid’s mattress so he only just fit on it but he never let them replace it- he said it made him feel tall, an almost laughable point to Poisons mind. Ghoul was the shortest and youngest of the group of rebels next in age was The Kobra Kid then Jet Star before Party Poison himself. Ghoul was constantly taunted about his size even though he was only about five inches shorter than Poisons 5’9” who was the next tallest in the group before Kobras 5’10 and Jets 6’1”, needless to say being stood next to jet did not make Ghoul look any taller.
More creaking springs, a wheeze as the mattress was parted from the weight previously upon it. There were soft footsteps, you could hear with an aggravating clarity through the paper thin walls, a door handle creaked and clicked before the sound of a door sliding over a carpeted floor roared through the silent diner.
Party Poison sighed, he didn’t feel like hearing his friend go to the bathroom at the end of the hall- it was disturbing, even after all this time, to be able to hear someone pee. More soft footsteps, the sound muffled by the carpet. Then, unexpectedly, two gentle knocks at Party Poisons door. The man in the room looked down his chest towards the door close by the foot of his bed and waited to see if it had been his imagination, a trick of his tired mind. Two more knocks.
Party Poison grunted in response. The knocking insomniac opened the door, quietly, the faint click of the handle barely audible. He stepped into the room. Fun Ghoul. He was in his black baseball t-shirt and dusty grey boxers he’d chanced the night with no socks. His hair lay greasy and limp on his head. His eyes were tired and aged; the growing purple bags beneath his hazel eyes drained his face of any colour. He stepped forward, shutting the door silently behind him. Fun Ghoul turned to face Party Poison who had watched, unmoving, from his bed.
“You awake?” the man by the door asked his companion.
Party Poison smiled, almost laughing at the ridiculous question “Course not you idiot, I’m fast asleep and so are you.” He lifted his arms and gestured around the room before continuing “this is your imagination.”
Fun Ghoul frowned at Party Poisons sarcasm. He waited until Party had put his arms back down before he tried saying another word. “I can’t sleep” he sighed.
“So I’ve noticed” came the short reply. Fun Ghoul seemed to get hurt by Poisons playful midnight banter. Ghoul turned to the door and reached for the handle, his subtle hint for conversation having been shot down.
“Sorry I bothered you” he muttered as he quietly opened the door. “I’ll just go and not sleep.” He left the room quickly and quietly before another word could be said. Party watched the door click back into place and continued to stare into the air where his friend had previously stood. He raised an eyebrow, part confused part intrigued. That had been an unusual reaction for Ghoul.
Silence. Another door opened. Heavier footfalls made a steady rhythm straight to Ghoul’s door, from which there had been no sound, it hadn’t been closed. “Ghoul?” a tentative murmur sounded, alerting Party Poison that Jet Star was now awake too.
So much for the early raid tomorrow. Party thought as Jets footsteps retreated down the hallway to the diner. “Where are you Ghoul?” he asked the night air. Ghoul was missing?
Impossible, Poison reasoned, he’d been in Party’s very room only moments before. He couldn’t have just disappeared into thin air, he wasn’t a spectre or one of the un-dead and he certainly wasn’t a vampire. Party Poison was curious and a little worried about his sleep deprived friend. He sat up on his mattress and swung his legs out over the cold tiles of the floor. He pulled on his boots, his socks having never left his feet.
“Kobra” Party called as he opened his own door. He stepped into the hallway and waited for a reply. Shuffling noises came from behind Kobras door before the man himself opened the door and emerged, sleep deprived, opposite Party Poison.
“I heard” Kobra grumbled as he padded out of his room, fully clothed. Had he even tried to sleep? Party followed Kobras slow advance down the hall, taking a moment to look into Ghouls empty room. The only evidence anyone used the room was a small pile of clothes and a rumpled blanket on the small mattress. Where was he?
They padded towards the diner, Jet and hopefully a Fun Ghoul. No such luck, sure there was the sandy diner floor with red booths with a matching counter top and Jet Star was stood out in the middle of the room but there was no Fun Ghoul. The three gathered Killjoys scoured the room with their eyes, each hoping for a sign of their lost companion. Was he hiding from them?
“Stop pissing about Ghoul” Kobra near yelled in frustration. There! A whimper, very faint but still, it was a reply. The three men looked at each other, silently asking if they’d all heard the noise. It seemed they all had. However, it had been so quick and so small they hadn’t been able to pinpoint its location.
How frustrating can one short man get? Party Poison asked himself but then again, this was Fun Ghoul they were dealing with. They could be there a while.
“What time is it?” Party asked Kobra and Jet. They each seemed Puzzled by the question but Party was putting the pieces together subconsciously. They would all realise what the smallest killjoy knew soon enough.
“Some time past midnight?” Jet guessed. Kobra nodded his agreement and muttered something along the lines of “it must be”
Dots were being joined in Parts head. It was a new day, a new summer day. None of the four men particularly liked summer anymore because of the unforgiving heat, the long days and the fact that everything that had led them to where they were today, in the desert, had begun on a single say in summer a long time ago.
“Crap” Partly cussed, the puzzle clearly completed in his mind. How could I have been so stupid, so forgetful? “It’s today isn’t it?” he asked, directing the question to the missing member of their ranks.
“What’s today?” Kobra asked, sleepily impatient for an answer.
“Yes” the small answer. Poison, Jet and Kobra turned to the counter, which had been concealing Fun Ghoul. He had tears running down his face. “Yes, it’s today” he choked out, fresh tears spilling from his eyelids. “It’s July 18th 2015”
“Shit” Kobra hissed. Jet stood quiet, unable to respond to this new development which was already weighing heavily on his mind.
“It’s the day the bombs dropped” Party said aloud, though no clarification was needed, he had to say it or he wouldn’t have believed it himself. He’d have looked for an excuse, anything, He’d convince himself Ghoul had counted wrong, it was a leap year and they’d missed it. But no, there was one thing Ghoul had always done and that was write a letter to his wife, daughters and son every day. Poison often sat with him and wrote to his own family. They’d find scraps of paper and pour their hearts out on the pages, they’d even used power-pup can labels they were so desperate to get everything down. They would write about how they felt, who they were, how things changed, the love they never stopped giving.
“Three years, to the day” Ghoul informed the group, he always included the date on his letters.
Party Poison was suddenly lost in his own memories of the before time, when there was no ‘Better Living’. His wife, dark hair flicking round her face as she danced around in the kitchen, putting on a show as she prepared a breakfast feast. His daughter, three years old, watching and giggling, applauding with chubby hands as her mother performed. Their dazzling smiles when he came into the room. “Dada!”
The memory was lost, thrown back into his mind, not to resurface for another year. Tears fell from the eyes of Party Poison. He gestured Ghoul over to him. He’d be insensitive, turning him away earlier. His mind had been so caught up in last minute raid planning and needing to sleep that he’d neglected that other things existed too.
Ghoul shuffled round the counter and trod carefully over the grime covered floor before stopping in front of Poison. His bare feet had left small clean patches in the dirt. Party held out his arms, finally understanding what ghoul had wanted earlier; someone to confide in. Ghoul fell into the embrace as huge sobs wracked through his small body. Party shivered and his own sobs joined that of Fun Ghoul.
Kobra and Jet joined the pair, their own arms circling Party and Ghoul and holding them all together as they all cried. Tears of heartbreak and sorrow flooded from the four men, they needed this, needed to let this go, to let out all the pain, regret and sadness. It fuelled their revenge they sought, their fight against the company. For what had been taken was too precious to ever be replaced. Nothing could compare.
Party held tightly to Ghoul, his head buried in the short man’s hair. “We don’t have to go, not today if you don’t want.” No reply, just more tears, more sobs, more pain and anguish all pouring into the thought of vengeance.
They had a Vendetta which needed to be fulfilled.
“No” Ghoul replied, at last, shakily. Poison lifted his head to look at his small friend, what had changed? “This is OUR day, not theirs” he declared “We can’t give them any hold over us and this day is our victory day, not our day of defeat”
The group processed the short speech Fun Ghoul had given. He was right. They needed a win, wanted a win and would win. This was the day that brought them here and they would own it, a message to all the desert rats that they would not be defeated and one to the company demanding they acknowledge that they would never forgive.
We will not forget.
Silent understanding and agreement filled the room and the men separated from each other. They stood in a loose square and wiped away their tears.
We will fight.
Hurried sounds of men preparing for a battle like no other filled the abandoned diner which had become home to the killjoys. The emotions, like static, fill the silent desert night. Each man thought of what they were fighting for, remembering why they were here, and becoming stronger.
They filled the grimy Trans-am, unable to wait for the first rays of dawn on the desert horizon, sleep was no longer wanted or needed as the adrenaline filled killjoys sat on the edges of their seats, eager for a fire fight, as they barrelled down the desert road, the black widow a beacon in the night, leading them to the night. As they drove one thought ran through each man’s head;
WE WILL WIN