Keep running. Always running, moving forward. Because when you're on the edge and surrounded from behind, forward is the only way to go. The Killjoys are in for some new surprises and adventures, l...
This was the life of a Killjoy.
Running, always running.
“Has anyone seen my holster?” Hurricane Bunny called down the hallway.
“Shuddup, you're too loud,” Jet Star said from his bedroom door. He leaned heavily against the frame, still wiping the sleep and sand from his deep brown eyes.
“How can you hear anything from under that fro?” Fun Ghoul asked, playfully giving the taller man a noogie. He received a glare in return.
“Don't tease Jet about his fro, you know the consequences!” The leader of the group piped up, his cherry red hair still a mess from his shower.
“Party Poison, stop using up the cold water,” Truthful Blasphemy said, sending the man a rude hang gesture from her end of the hall. Everyone in the desert argued over the supply of cold water, and the purple-haired mother of the group was no exception.
“It's a first-come, first-served basis, Truth,” Party smiled, returning the hand signal with his tongue sticking out. Kobra Kid nodded from behind his brother, his bright yellow hair standing nearly straight up. The two hazel-eyed boys looked at each other and returned to their room, closing the door behind them. Kobra was probably fixing yet another radio or repairing his personalized weapon (a glove that gave off fatal electric shocks upon contact with anything. It simply stopped the heart). His comedic name for the thing was the Beat Dropper. Party was probably scribbling a song or two in his worn out notebook as he kept his little brother company. Maybe he was planning another raid. No one really knew; Party always managed to surprise them.
The brothers' only similarity was their eye color and last name (which they didn't use anymore). Everything about them otherwise was unique. Party was loud, decisive, the leader of the pack. He liked art and music. He nearly never stayed still unless he was writing, planning BLI raids, or drawing. Kobra, meanwhile, was quiet and stoic. He didn't move much at all, and he loved to work with mechanical things. He was the one they went to when laser guns broke or radios stopped transmitting. Kobra kept the Trans Am in perfect condition with contraband parts and things he seemed to pull out of nowhere that always saved the day at the last minute. Kobra was an enigma.
Truth and Hurricane (Hurry) rolled their eyes at the boys and headed for the kitchen. Fun Ghoul met them halfway there and scooped Hurry up into his arms. “Hey sexy,” he smirked at her. She gave him a quick kiss and returned the sentiment.
“Oh gag me,” Truth quipped. Hurry reached forward, offering playfully to do just that.
“You're just jealous,” Ghoul smirked, sticking his tongue out at the blue-eyed friend of his lover.
“Jealous that you two make out in the garage all the time? No, I'm really not,” Truth argued, grabbing a can of Power Pup from the cupboard and making a hurried exit. No one wanted to be around Ghoul and Hurry when they were being romantic. Instead, she opted for the roof, her favorite spot to sit during the cooler hours of the day. The cement roof was where she thought; where she could relax and be alone and just wonder about the universe in general. Today she was composing little songs for herself while she ate and observed the quiet desert around her.
To be totally honest, she was a little jealous of Hurry and Ghoul. They had something rare in a place like the Zones. They'd found each other. After Ghoul's fiance had died in the fires of Battery City's first bombing, he'd been on his own for years. Hurry and Truth had arrived only months ago after their own Zone was raided and burned down by a BLI patrol SCARECROW unit. Neither of them expected to hit it off so well, or to be so passionate about one another. They'd already had to nurse each other back to health from gunshot wounds or laser burns. They'd been by each others sides when death seemed imminent and things looked scary. Truthful climbed up to her special perch and closed her eyes for a moment, soaking in the sound of the wind in the desert scrub and across the surface of the sand. The gentle warmth of the rising sun felt good on her back. She felt the leather of her old vest gathering the rays and holding them in, absorbing their heat. But the peace was shattered nearly as soon as it was found.
Her blue eyes snapped open and her hands were already on her gun when she heard the first groan. It was coming from nearby. Truth stood and circled the roof slowly and silently, surveying the surrounding area for the source of the sound. It was human and it was full of pain. She was shocked when she discovered where it was coming from: a black-and-white masked figure laying in the dirt only twenty or so yards from the hideout. She kicked over her can of Power Pup in her hurry to get inside and tell someone about her discovery. It wasn't every day an injured Draculoid ended up on the front porch. It could be a trap, and she needed to alert the others that BLI had found out about their whereabouts.
“Party!” she called, searching for him. He rushed out of the bedroom, almost slamming into Truth. She looked up at him and spoke hurriedly, “Party there's someone out there! A Drac!”
“What?” he asked, grabbing her shoulders to still her. “What's out where?”
“There's a person out there, just twenty yards or so from the garage. What if they've found us? What if someone's hurt?” Truth rushed, her voice ragged. She was breathless from her dash across the roof and down the stairs and Party could see the panic in her eyes. Truth had lost so much so fast when Zone T3 went up in a blaze. Losing a second home...she may go down with the blaze if it did indeed happen. He squeezed her shoulders gently, reassuring her that he would help.
“I'll get Jet and Kobra out there to pull them in, okay? I need you to wait in the infirmary so you can take care of whoever it is, just in case,” Party Poison both assured and instructed her. Truth nodded and hurried to their small medical-purposes-only room. It was the only white room in the whole hideout, and it was the only one underground. She ducked down a short flight of stairs and prepared one of the cots with new sheets and a soft pillow. She poured a pitcher of water and double-checked the medicine cabinet for their drugs and various homemade remedies. She didn't have long to wait before four figures nearly tumbled down the stairs carrying a fifth.
“It's a Drac,” Jet spat, nearly tossing the unconscious figure onto the mattress.
“I could have told you that,” Truth snapped, hurrying to its side. She rolled it onto its back and laid the head on the pillow. She reached for the edge of the mask and gently pulled rolled it up and away from the actual skin. When she revealed what was underneath, everyone gasped. It was a boy.
“It's not a mutant...” Ghoul mused. “Surprising. I figured they were all just lab accidents put to use.”
“It's probably only your age, Truth,” Party pointed out. She nodded, gazing at the face that had been hidden under the mask. Tan skin, smooth red lips, two closed eyes, and dirty blond hair that fell just above his eyebrows. He looked clean, too clean to be human.
“It's a he not an it,” Truth remarked, tossing the mask across the room and into the trash can. She'd burn it later, when she didn't have a sick boy to worry about.
“He's still one of them,” Kobra snorted. “He's probably a clone.”
“I doubt they all look like this,” Truth argued. She held up his torso and removed the clinging white jacket. There was a small tattoo on his bicep, barely noticeable. “Look, you see? That tattoo says Zone D9. He was a Killjoy just like us.”
“Did you ever think maybe Better Living put that there to trick us? I bet he's just a clone, like Kobra said,” Jet spat. With his fists clenched at his sides, Jet Star stalked from the room, refusing to look at the Drac any longer.
Party ruffled Truth's hair. “I'm sure you can take care of him just fine. We're going upstairs. If you have any trouble with it, just yell, okay?”
“Alright. I think I can handle him,” Truth smiled. Party, Kobra, and Ghoul followed Jet upstairs. Ghoul seemed almost reluctant to leave Truth alone with the strange man who still slept nearby. Being the nurse of the group had trained Truthful well for jobs like these. Many burns, cuts, scrapes, and incisions had been healed by her hands. She stripped him of his dusty jacket and blood-stained pants. Luckily he wore a white t-shirt and BLI-issued underwear. She cleaned and bandaged the wounds on his lower left leg and right bicep, making sure that they were properly free of dirt and wrapped tightly. The white linen on his leg was soon stained with specks of blood, but most of it had dried already.
When she was finished, Truth sat down and waited for him to wake up. She sang snippets of songs that the boys upstairs had once written and performed in their garage band. She remembered the summer days when everyone had partied at the beach together and enjoyed the feeling of the waves against their skin and the sand between their toes. Now the sand was everywhere and they would do anything to get rid of it. She kept singing as she stood and tidied up drawers and the cabinet, making sure the only other cot in the room had clean sheets.
“What's that song?” a voice asked. She whirled around, gun already aimed at his face. Always aim for the face, Party had taught her. He blinked twice before repeating himself, “What's that song?”
“I'm Not Okay (I Promise),” Truthful responded, obviously confused by his reaction to her threat.
“I like it.”
“Well that's nice,” she said with a breathy laugh, mostly to herself out of disbelief.
“So why are you going to shoot me?” he inquired. His voice never wavered in fear or confusion.
“I'm going to kill you if you try to kill me first,” she answered steadily.
“I am Draculoid 594. I am part of SCARCROW unit 209. I am lost.” he stated. She put her gun back in its holster, her eyes never leaving his.
“I am Truthful Blasphemy, originally from Zone T3. I'm a Killjoy,” she said. He nodded twice in understanding.
“Then I guess I have to kill you. I am programmed to exterminate all Killjoys,” he frowned, trying to stand and hissing in pain when he put pressure on his arm or leg. Again and again he tried to stand, eventually falling back onto the cot when he could not support himself any longer. “It hurts.”
“I know,” Truth said. She walked to his side and tucked the covers around his arms, pinning them to his sides. He eyed her gun, his green-and-brown gaze itching to take it and knock her to the ground. In his mind he stood triumphantly over her dead body, another BLI win. She acknowledged him with a simple sentence. “If I die, you die twice as painfully.”
“Have this,” she helped him swallow a purple pill without the use of his arms. His eyelids fluttered and he fell back onto the pillow.
“Thank you, Truthful Blasphemy of Zone T3,” he smiled.
“You're just here to kill me. I'm just here to heal you.”
“That sounds like a song,” he whispered. And with those very human words, Draculoid 594 fell into unconsciousness once again.