Categories > Original > Drama2 Reviews
In a Victor Hugo-esk and corrupted city, who best to lead a coup-de-etat but the homeless, druggies, and whores? (rating may change)
Shouts, din, irritation, filth: all were wont characteristics of Vulcan city, a city of iron monstrosities, suffocating smog, and a plethora of garbage dancing about blithely in the wind. Skyscrapers reared upwards into the sordid heavens like daggers tearing through the muck, and constant chill bit at the inhabitants as they made their way from one sorry establishment to another.
How long had it been since the citizens got a taste of crystalline sky, no one could recall. How many years had it been since a homeless and destitute someone had been presented with a greeting and amicable conversation? That's an easy one: never, and that's not a fact to change.
At dawn (dusk, noon, the pollution kept every hour the same: grim), one person leaned elegantly against a Road-Crosser's sign, scratching at the ground with chipped nails, her hazel eyes drinking in her environment indifferently. Perhaps she had rested there since the night previous, maybe longer; days ran together in this city until one forgot to take notice when new ones came. Her eyelids folded over themselves wearily, and she allowed herself a moment to rest.
But then she was forced to break this peace as a piece of paper encased her ankle and rippled against the worn jeans. With a guttural growl, the girl ripped the offender from her leg, and smoothed it out, polishing it up before she could even let her eyes examine it. When she did, however, her expression dropped, and she ran a hand through her mussed auburn hair.
That face...bastard...he's going for this again?!
The poster held the countenance of a man, perhaps in his thirties, whose appearance the girl could only describe as "Neo-Hitler minus the moustache". His gaze was piercing, forcing entry into the observer's mind ("Eye rapist," she muttered), and his jaw line was set and serious.
"Stephen Irving," the girl read through clenched teeth, "Candidate for Mayor of Vulcan City.... 'I'll purify this magnificent city so we can all experience a Golden Age.' Sounds like a Nazi to me." At this, she scrambled to a standing position. She folded the foul poster, stuffed it into the pocket of her black woolen sweater, and set off down the street.
His face followed her home, campaign propaganda on nearly every wall. Finally, when she could take no more of his sneer, she took her cigarette lighter (clean steel licked by painted flames) and lit the end of one sign, smirking as the fire engulfed his arrogant face.
It had seemed like an eternity since the sky was clear, since the song of a pleasant whatever reached one's ear. And now, on this, daybreak, the smog felt thicker than ever.
A young man, probably about seventeen, laid on a rather dirty mattress. His cloudy gray eyes followed a lovely puff of smoke that exited his mouth. His shoulder length, greasy mass of hair fell about his thin face. The boy reached into his large cloth backpack and picked out a wallet. As he opened it, an identification card revealed that his name was Marcus Jones, though he was known as Twiggy by his friends who were also lacking a roof over their heads.
He was called Twiggy for good reason: the young man had always been a bit unnaturally skinny for whatever age he was. In high school, he has run track for his school, but had been kicked off when he wasn't able to meet the mandatory weight of 120 pounds to participate for his rather tall height. Perhaps it was the drugs that he experimented with that kept him so lean.
Quite snug jeans and a simple white t-shirt were the only things that covered his body. Inside his backpack he carried a sweatshirt for when it got particularly cold. As his eyes scanned the contents of the wallet, he was disappointed to see that there were only a few choice five dollar bills ((A/N: I'm such a dork, when we were role playing this, and I read the five dollar bill thing, I was like "dang, he's rich!")), not nearly enough to fill his drug habit. For now, Marcus "Twiggy" would have to make due with the one pot cigarette that he held in between his index finger and thumb.
A bit more cheerful after her red-hot exhibition of political views, the girl strode down the dilapidated sidewalk, staggering slightly, not from intoxication, sleep deprivation, or whatever; she simply liked the way her hair would swipe across her face with each serpentine motion. In this way she continued down the road, a distant smile dangling from her lips, her calf-length, emerald scarf brushing the cement as she added a slouch to her gait- where better to dance than in the middle of a city in poverty?
However, this isn't to say that other pedestrians, even vehicle operators, didn't flash her suspicious looks. In fact, one lanky cop tailed her for a few blocks.
Once she was alone again, she reinitiated her special trot, with new added fervor as a song fell in step with her. Greatly enjoying this unorthodox act, she almost didn't catch the image in her peripherals. About a few meters later, her feet ceased their journey, as if her tattered Vans had melted into the ground beneath her. "Bossy," she simpered at them before doubling back.
"You," she said, "Are you new? I've never seen you here before, and I never forget a face." An extra emphasis was placed on the last "never".
Twiggy looked up at the girl who had approached him. "Nice scarf," he replied, a bit high. "And yes, I am new. Just moved here a couple of days ago when my family split." He sat up. Some of his dark, tangled hair fell into his face, and he shook his head to the right so that he could see her entirely.
Nodding, she turned her head to scan the area all around them. A few women chattering amongst themselves were strolling by, blind to the world. There was also a businessman, tardy no doubt, shuffling along, suitcase under arm and eyes glued to his wristwatch. And then she caught sight of a portly policeman.
"Oh hell," she groaned, and then turned back to the man before her.
He was obviously fried, with bloodshot eyes and a slack jaw, cold sweat beading on his neck. The cop would know this and probably cart the man away. A deep sigh escaped her throat. Bending down swiftly, she jerked the man up, linked arms with him, and made the druggie move forward, but not before he was able to snatch his backpack.
It was horribly brisk, the girl noticed, and the man smelled rotten, but she tried to walk on her tiptoes in order to reach his ear and whisper: "A cop is behind us; walk with me and don't freak out. I can take you somewhere safe. My name is Lucia, by the way." This last part was insurance, in case the policeman stopped them and they needed to put on a faÃ§ade.
As Lucia had explained the situation, Twiggy expertly pushed the cigarette underneath a scrap of fabric that was tied around his wrist. The burns hurt, but the pain was better than being caught.
His eyes looked her up and down as she pulled him along. "Lucia, eh?" he whispered back, brushing a lock of her hair from her ear so that she could hear him clearly. The contact between their flesh was brief, but still Lucia felt a thrill run through her veins, or maybe it was just her body revolting against his stench. "My friends call me Twiggy," he finished, his feet shuffling along, his old Converse kicking the pebbles he encountered.
Hugging his arm closer, Lucia tried to match his stride as best as she could, but its sporadic movements, understandable in his state of mind, obliged one leg to take two steps, his balance thrown off each time, and he would falter, curving to one side or another. Needless to say, she found it to be a difficult venture, but, regardless, laughter bubbled in her throat. Considering that the officer was close to them and they needed some sort of guise, she allowed her guffaws freedom.
This noise shattered the pressing confines of city-life around her, and she somehow managed at this time to predict and mirror his movements, sauntering beside him and nuzzling his shoulder. Twiggy walked along, eyes widening a bit at this strange behavior. Don't get him wrong, it was not that he didn't enjoy this sudden contact or the sound of her laughter; it was just unexpected.
Apparently, her strategy was successful, and the two appeared, at least to the officer, to be a couple, a bit eccentric, but a couple nonetheless. After a block, he left them alone. And so, when she was somehow able to juggle being Twiggy's doppelganger in strut, his lover (and therefore a giggling little schoolgirl), and crane her head back to check for their government-issued stalker, an even bigger grin exploded on her features, and she sprung away from the druggie.
"Yes!" she exclaimed. "What morons they allow into the police force! My, I sure feel safe at night knowing that the ADHD Santa Clause scours the city for wrongdoers. Oh, yeah, but you played along excellently."
Twiggy, after noticing that the steps of the policeman who had followed them and caused him to waste his last marijuana cigarette had left, snapped back to whatever reality he could muster. "Oh, right. Um...." his expression was that of bewilderment. "So... where are we going...and...uh... Santa Clause?" He could feel the high begin to drop, along with his temperature. His body shivered as he realized that it was barely day and January.
"Cold," he stated, not remembering the sweatshirt in his bag.
Finished with her spastic celebrations, Lucia bobbed back over to Twiggy and slid her hand once more into the crook of his elbow, getting a smidge closer to him. "Indeed it is," she flashed a challenging look at the swollen clouds. "Not to mention the fact that you might as well be naked for all the warmth your clothes are probably providing."
Each building they passed looked like the next, and that one was similar to the edifices to come. It was all a twisted arabesque of stone, glass, and greed. Graffiti spiderwebbed across the walls, competing for dominance with Hitler's posters, graying gum wads, and stains of where people snuffed out their cigarettes. One overly elaborate tagging read "Ice" beneath folds of spikes and curls, and Lucia remembered with a start where she was, who she was with, and how chilly that person was. To compensate for her inconsiderate episode, she quickly unwound the scarf from her neck and draped it over his shoulders.
"Oh," she said as she attached herself to him once more. Twiggy quirked his eyebrow as she returned to him, but was grateful for the heat that radiated off her body. "And about where we are going: I'm not gonna tell you, now hurry up!" Her shoes slapped in a resonating way against the sidewalk as she witnessed the first razors of snow spiral downward.
One of Twiggy's thin hands traveled upward, touching the scarf. "Thanks." His face spread into a grin, showing off his rather white teeth, which was a rarity considering the place in which they lived. "So..." he began, his eyes flicking between a few snowflakes, his voice and tone returning to normal. "How long have you been here?" His gray eyes met her hazel ones, and the legs of their pants occasionally swishing against each other.
Lucia paused for a moment at his question. The frozen crystals were coming down heavier now, looking almost otherworldly in the stark contrast between their pure white and the drab backdrop. This image before her made her smile to herself, and she unconsciously cuddled closer to his arm. It was then that she began listening to his heartbeat, which was regular, almost as if he was untouched by the drug's effects.
The rhythm was solid and entrancing, causing the racket of Vulcan around them to mute temporarily. But soon she came to notice his tingle of his gaze on her scalp, and she then remembered his question. "Sorry," she apologized, "I tend to zone out easily. But, uh, right, you're question. I suppose I've been here for about twelve years, give-or-take." The shine of content in her facial features dimmed with a haze of some emotion, but she swatted the invisible fog away and produced a cheery face.
Twiggy exhaled deeply in recognition of her answer, and stealthily moved his bare arm around her waist. As the flakes continued to fall, he tilted his head upwards and caught a few fine crystals on his tongue. "Pretty..." he exhaled, again just one word. It wasn't clear if he was speaking about her or about the falling snow, it was up to her. But whichever way she took it was unknown, for she didn't respond.
"Where are we going again? I promise I'm not high anymore." He smiled, and squeezed her tiny waist, which was covered in that bulky sweater. "It'd be nice if we got inside some time soon, as much as I do enjoy sharing body heat with you." The grin grew larger on his angular face.
"I already told you," Lucia smirked coyly, running a finger across his knuckles, "I'm not going to tell you. Besides," her voice dropped suddenly until it was barely audible, "we're kind of basically there, not really." Before Twiggy could retaliate or inquire further, Lucia's hand flew to his mouth, smashing the words "Where are- -" underneath her palm. Most of his cold sweat had disappeared... or fused with the snow, she couldn't be sure. And now he couldn't be confused with carrion by her olfactory glands, which was a relief to her, though by now she had grown accustomed to the sour scent. Again, the cautious girl whipped her head about, searching silently for anyone who could possibly impede their escape.
At this time, about 7 AM, the doors of crumbling apartments, battered stores, and office buildings swung wide, as cavernous as the gaping jaws of ravenous beasts. People were beginning to cross the thresholds of these mouths in massive numbers. 'Good,' Lucia sighed, her shoulders relaxing for the first time since... possibly two days before.
'Sure is crowded,' Twiggy noted with an exhalation of saved breath.
Suddenly the winter showering about them was a lot more brutal.
Her head shook violently as something scratched at the back of her mind, but she managed to ignore it; she always did. Slipping from Twiggy's embrace, Lucia shifted the contact to their hands, and she immersed herself in the thick crowd. "Be quiet," she warned him, her expression carefully blank. "I'm going to take you there now, but if we're caught, followed, or whatever, we are going to be sent to jail. Now, come with me." Twiggy nodded in compliance.
The mob was instantly two faces short as Lucia dove into another group, Twiggy in her grasp. While they were moving between the flocks, Twiggy had noticed that a store they had passed displayed cartons of cigarettes in the front window.
He wanted them.
With this declaration, Twiggy soon noticed the all-too familiar feeling of his addiction. His large gray orbs followed the signs and advertisements that were posted up on both the front and side of the shop. The fingers then intertwined with Lucia's began twitching absently, a tendency that his body reverted to when it wanted something. Only when Lucia plunged into an alleyway did his concentration break.
The back street was stretched between Chin's Fortune Cookie, a large Chinese restaurant, and a Starbucks. Also, the shady, narrow area served as a sadistic wind tunnel, and so the pair nearly gagged once a cloud of fish odds-and-ends and ruminating coffee grounds stuck to their throats and virtually demolished their sense of smell. Covering her nose, Lucia choked out an apology to Twiggy, and then staggered further on into the alley.
She came to a stop directly above a man-hole covering, and squeezed Twiggy's hand twice before dropping their connection and crouching by the circular plate. The cast iron was weathered and nearly smooth, the raised label of "Water Services" now only a slight relief, and the handle gaps widened by extensive use. With much bravado, Lucia rolled it up and onto the ground, and gesticulated to the inky void awaiting their descent.
'That looked heavy,' Twiggy observed.
"After you," Lucia tempted with an innocent smile.
"Me?" Pointing at himself questioningly, Twiggy gulped down an anxious breath, and hung over the opening. He swished his hair out of the front of his face to get a better look, then got down onto the knees of his constricting girl jeans. 'These better not rip,' he thought wryly. "You might want to hold this," he held out Lucia's scarf to her, which she collected from him. "I don't want it to get stuck on a nail or pipe or whatever and make me choke and die," he said, the words dripping with affection once he reached the word "die".
As he lowered his head to get a better look inside, an updraft from the darkness sent him backwards. Boy that smells bad! He scrunched up his nose in distaste. "Ugh... well, I guess I'd better get down there, eh?" He looked back at her as he climbed down into the sewers, using the rungs of the ladder that were fused to the inner wall.
After traveling about thirty feet, his shoes touched the bottom, which was yet more concrete in this monotonous city. It's pitch black in here! Twiggy hoped that Lucia had a lighter or something- his had run out of fluid. His eyes traveled upward, attempting to see where she was.
When she was sure that he had reached the bottom, Lucia sank down the manhole until she was a mere torso, and then slid the covering over to herself. She became consumed by the darkness then, and dragged the rest of the cover over top. This left only two pinpricks of sunlight left, and both were from the handles.
Indeed the sewers were rank, but that was one of the more basic characteristics of the underground waste rivers, so Lucia was less affected by it than Twiggy. Dangling from the third rung, she wrapped the scarf around her face, filtering out most of the malodor, and then hopped down the ladder, taking two levels at a time.
'I hope he isn't standing right below me,' she prayed before releasing the ladder and freefalling the rest of the way. Her landing was without collision, though she could sense Twiggy give a start at her tumultuous arrival, and she drew out the lighter. Although the glow given off was meek and spanned only a short distance in front of them, it at least designated Twiggy within the arcane darkness.
By then, the druggie had become acutely aware of the stench shriveling his nostrils. In the subsequent silence that followed Lucia's decent, he also picked up the occasional drip of something, he hoped was water, that sounded against the ground, once even on his hand.
"Now," she said as loud as she dared-the walls would repeat her voice in a monstrous tone-"stay to the side and try not to step on any rats."
"Rats? I'm used to them...." Twiggy began to walk behind Lucia, admiring the way the flame made her hair shine and her face glimmer in an almost ethereal way. Then he realized that a few moments ago he had started speaking. "Funny story about rats," he continued. "I remember once waking up, maybe a few nights ago. Would you believe that there was this rat, just sitting next to me with a bag of pot in his hands? It ran away when I made a grab for him. Stole it outta my bag...damn rodent...." He finished his anecdote with a laugh.
An almost mournful smile graced Lucia's lips at his lighthearted tale. "I've only ever had bad experiences with those demons," she muttered, the image of a coal black rat with ember eyes gnawing on the flesh of a dead child popped into her mind. That had been two years ago, and still she abhorred the little beasts.
The glow from her lighter blushed on the floor, etching out her shadow in quavering lines. Was it the light that was shuddering, or her own shoulders?
"Have you ever heard of the Utopian Tunnels, Twiggy?" Her voice was enigmatic and soft, virtually unclaimed by the repercussive walls, a mere vibration against the threads of her scarf. Casting a look back to the man, who was only an imprint on the darkness, Lucia opened her mouth to finish out her dialogue, but then snapped it shut.
'What am I doing?' she wondered, eyes widening. 'Why was I about to tell him about the Tunnels? For all I know, he could be working for that jackass, Irving.' The corners of her lips melted into a grimace. 'How could I have not thought of this beforehand? I just have to always act on impulse. "Oh, he's homeless, like me, I have to help him!" Who do I think I am, Jesus?' She exhaled in self-loathing. 'I'm going to be the death of me.'
'Utopian Tunnels?' Twiggy asked himself, stepping over some mass at his feet, and hoping that it wasn't the body of some person. 'This sounds familiar.' He adjusted the tight legs of his pants; they looked like they were painted on, and felt as constricting. His complex and confused mind had only begun to ponder the "Utopian Tunnels" when Lucia spoke again.
"Forget the Tunnels," the pathetic ring of light cast off by her lighter illuminated Twiggy as closed the gap between them; she fixed him with a piercing gaze. "Do you know Stephen Irving? Have you ever worked with him?" Twiggy jumped a bit at her sudden appearance and interrogation.
"Stephen Irving?" he questioned, pushing the lighter, whose flame was snatching at his shoulder, away from him a bit. "Yeah, that name rings a bell. My dad was one of his campaign managers, but um...." Twiggy trailed off, not sure of her motives. "Uh...." He glanced over, seeing a furious glare seep into her features, and that sent shivers down his spine. "My dad was murdered not too long after dropping out of Irving's campaign party." At this he shrugged, and then went into a coughing fit. His body contorted so that he was doubled over himself, hacking up something dark that could very well be blood.
Concern furrowing her brow, Lucia bent to Twiggy's side and kneaded his shoulders with her palm, careful to keep her lighter on. 'If this is a ploy, he sure as hell is committed to it,' she mused, waiting for the man to finishing his spasm. No, she didn't know what it was exactly that was splattering against the cement, and no, she wasn't going to find out.
"C'mon," she hooked her arms under his armpits and hoisted him up. "We'll get you some water and rest."
'So, can I trust him or can't I trust him?' She felt divided, torn between common sense and blind duty. It was with only scant humor that she could picture herself with an angel ornament perching on her left shoulder, and a devil for her right shoulder.
'I can,' one part of her offered. 'I mean, he said his dad was murdered by Irving.' Every step she took supporting Twiggy became uncertain and even hesitant.
'Actually,' another part of her retorted, 'all he said was that his dad was murdered after he dropped out, and that could mean anything. And there was no sort of emotion at all when he said that about his father. Shouldn't he at least show some sort of forced calm?'
'But it's a pretty strong coincidence, for his dad to be killed after leaving Irving, and maybe he's just over it now. Besides, he's sick, and I can't very well leave him here to die.'
A silence filled the other end of the debate, one possibly punctuated with a malicious smirk.
'No, oh no! No way am I going to let someone die!'
'Well, why the hell not? What if I end up taking him to Utopia and he signals for Irving's forces to strike?"
'But what if he's an innocent? Can I risk his blood on my hands?"
'His blood, one person's blood, stacked against over a hundred's?' Lucia narrowed her eyes in reality, and chewed thoughtfully on her lip for a moment.
'Fine, I'm taking him to Utopia, but if he acts suspiciously, I'll kill him. Happy?'
Once this conflict was settled ('I seriously need psychiatric help,' she thought), Lucia became aware of her surroundings once more. "Um...." She coughed lightly with chagrin. "How're you doing? We're almost there." Twiggy was grateful for her help. It would seem that he caught a cold in this, well, cold weather. He blinked a few times to rid the purple spots that invaded his vision.
Throughout his entire life, Twiggy had never been quite healthy, even when he was still known as Marcus Jones. As a young child he had always been small, and being born at three pounds and ten ounces didn't help either. According to the doctor's and nurses present at his birth, it was a "miracle that he lived".
At about eleven years old, he began to experiment with drugs. At first it was the occasional joint at parties and such functions, but as high school started, and his problems escalated, his drug habit increased and opened wide to all the new possibilities.
Along with playing around with drugs, he also began to test the limits of his sexuality. Hooking up with four or more people, gender was no issue, was not unusual for the tormented boy. Twiggy was greatly relieved when metrosexuality became accepted.
As he snapped out of memory lane and stopped coughing, he remembered Lucia saying that they were almost there. "Thank God," he stated, brushing some hair from his eyes and wiping his lips.
The two of them limped through the blind dark in an uncomfortable silence, Lucia still acting as a crutch (she had relinquished the lighter some time ago and was now relying on memory). At one point her hand found its way to Twiggy's hip, and she held them close, so close that their sides touched with each step.
'I want to trust him, God I do,' a mental image of the man etched itself into the nothingness before her. 'But I can't risk it. Not now, at least.' Bitterness clawed at the back of her eyes, pooling tears at the ducts, and she buried her head in his shirt for a second, trying to suffocate the feeling. 'Just because of Irving, I can't approach anyone, help anyone, without wondering if they're a spy or something.... Right turn in twenty paces.' Twiggy felt the warmth on his shoulder at this sudden action from her.
It seemed like nowadays whenever she wanted to do her job, and just help do her part to better the lives of all those out there like her, that nagging voice tapping on the back of her skull made her want to knife the person right there as a message to Irving.
'Left turn in fifty paces.'
What good luck it was that Lucia had journeyed through these rotten catacombs so many times that she could be sleeping and still get to the right place. And since the situation called for her to be wary of the knowledge that Twiggy could possibly gain, she was relaxed slightly by the opaque black they were wading through, making it impossible to store away directions in one's brain. But as a bit of extra insurance, Lucia wound them through an extra turn before encroaching upon the Utopian Tunnel system.
She leaned Twiggy against one side of the room, and made her way over to the center, where there was a curious little raised stone, almost impossible to distinguish (of course, it was still dark, so Lucia again had to trust her memory).
"Well, Mr. Twiggy," she stated with a flourish as her foot mashed the stone in, subsequently triggering a string of lights about the room to turn on. This also caused Twiggy to cry out "What the heck?!" in surprise; he was obviously less than pleased, and he shielded his eyes frantically with his arms. "Welcome to the Utopian Tunnel system."
A/N: Thanks for reading, and we would looooove you forever if you'd review ((I try to return reviews at least, and if not....um....love you?))