Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Chapter 2

Cyanide Killer’s POV

The Trans-Am crunched and jerked as we drove on the bumpy, dusty desert ground. I leaned my head on the dashboard and closed my eyes, ignoring the way the car jerked and shifted my head into various uncomfortable positions. The windows had been rolled down in an attempt to scatter the heat that had built up in the Trans-Am, but only succeeded in letting the hot, sandy desert winds at us, so we had wound them back up. My tank top stuck to my back, soaked through and through, and sweat rolled down my cheek. My tongue lolled out of my mouth in an attempt to dissipate body heat, but only succeeded in making my mouth drier than it already was. My tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and the back of my throat felt oddly paste-y. Our jackets were slung over the seats messily and our bags were in the back of the Trans-Am. We had reached the desert mid-morning and it was in the afternoon now… the sun was just so hot. I thought back on what happened at the house, remembering my parents… the very people, gone through pain to keep me alive, gone. Finished. Never to move again. The liquid that was rolling down my face now wasn’t distinguished between tears and sweat. Abyss turned away from the road for a moment, using her hand to wipe away my tears before continuing the drive.

“Don’t be too sad, okay?” She tripped over her words, hesitant she might trigger something. “I mean, we’ll get our revenge one day. We’ll spill the blood they spilled for us. We’ll get our revenge.” Her hands clenched the steering wheel so tight her knuckles turned white. I could tell she was thinking of all the people we left behind, all the people we could’ve saved.

I lolled my head back against the headrest and saw Butterflies and Draconis riding behind us, looking out for signs of any settlement here. We’ve heard of a group of people who lived in the desert dunes… Killjoys were their names. They had passwords, apparently. Butterflies’ and Draconis’ jackets were tied around their waists, flapping against the wind. Their visors protected them from the sand and dust that flew at their eyes, and Draconis’ multicoloured hair flapped in the wind. I envied Draconis right now. Neither Draconis nor I knew how to drive properly so we had to ride as passengers. I seriously wanted that wind in my face. Turning back to the dashboard, I muttered to Abyss, “Don’t be so rash. At least so far we haven’t caught sight of any Draculoids yet.”

Lesson learnt: Shut your mouth until you reach your destination.

We passed a boulder and all of a sudden there was the scream of a bullet and the loud “BANG!” of a wheel puncturing. Abyss screamed and swerved right sharply, trying to regain control of the runaway car. The bonnet hit a boulder and the car sputtered to a stop. A Draculoid jumped out in front of the Trans-Am. I looked around us and saw Butterflies as she maneuvered the bike to a smooth stop, a few meters away from the ruined Trans-Am. Abyss and I kicked the car doors open and we got out, brandishing our weapons weakly. Butterflies jumped off the bike, putting it on stand by. She drew her knives and Draconis cracked her leather belt, Butterflies flipping her visor up and Draconis taking her helmet off. We moved closer to each other, huddling, back-to-back.
I shared a glance with them and nodded. “NOW!” And I ran for the first Draculoid I’d face in combat, with many more to follow.

I swung my bat right at his face, and heard him scream behind his mask. Blood fountained and splattered onto my hands and onto the ground. I stared at them for a moment while the Draculoid I had attacked retreated. I spilled first blood.

My mind linked this back to the blood I saw on the carpet at home. Think of your parents, a voiced hissed in my mind. All the revenge you could get! After all they went through for you, is this all you can give them?

Enraged, I channeled that negative energy into scoring as many home runs as I could. I just hit them over and over until they lay on the floor, motionless, in white. So many unconscious Draculoids lay before me and I didn’t hear the one creeping up.

“CYANIDE!” I heard Butterflies yelled, before feeling strong arms wrap around my neck. I struggled for him to let go, but he remained adamant. My hands and legs grew weak, and I dropped my weapon. Black blurred the edges of my vision as my lungs screamed for air. They burned with a fire, as the circus acts must have felt when they swallowed torches. They burned with a fire fiercer than no other, fiercer than any fire I felt. My brain screamed tortured wails, but I didn’t hear them. I saw the blue sky, light blue with a small cloud scuttling across it. That’s a pretty colour. White on blue, white on blue.

Funny how you can think of the most irrelevant things at the most dangerous times.

Finally Butterflies broke away from the Draculoid she was fighting, stabbed him once in his abdominal cavity and tore her dagger out of him. He screamed in agony, a tortured wail, before collapsing to the ground. “LEAVE HER ALONE!” She roared, and lunged at us both. I felt the Draculoid stiffen and the tip of something sharp poking the small of my back, before he loosened his grip and fell to the ground. I turned away from them, tripping slightly over my weapon, and gasped for air. The tip of the dagger stuck out from where Butterflies had stabbed him, and she stood there, her pain splattered across her blood-stained face. It was guilt ridden, a crime written in blood.

“I…” she stammered, back to her quiet self. I walked over to the Draculoid, now dead, and pulled the knife out. Blood stained my hands and clothes and I passed it back to Butterflies.

“You’re good at close range,” Draconis said, smiling. We breathed heavily and trudged back to the Trans-Am.

“Holy shit,” swore Abyss under her breath. Nodding in agreement, I tucked the bat in between my jeans and belt in my side and leant against the boulder, planning our next move. The others did the same.

Suddenly, Draconis’ stomach made the sound of a dying pterodactyl. Her cheeks turned rosy and she spoke loudly, trying to cover embarrassment. “I’m hungry! I haven’t eaten anything all day!”

“We need more food supplies, Cyanide, we didn’t pack much!” Butterflies spoke.
“Where would we get more food, though? We are in the middle of a desert,” I whispered hoarsely, passing Draconis a sandwich.

“We can’t just go back and take food, right?” Abyss sighed. I closed my eyes for a second, my head pounding with the heat of the midday sun. I opened my eyes just in time to see a white, gloved hand trying to cup Butterflies’ mouth. She noticed it too, thank God, and bit down as hard as she could.

The yell of pain was enough to cause permanent hearing damage. It echoed across the empty desert roads and sand dunes, and the Draculoid tore himself away from Butterflies, shaking his hand and bending over in agony. Butterflies spat out the powdered latex from the glove. “Ew,” she muttered.

Abyss lunged at the Drac but stopped herself – just in time – as more and more sprang out from nowhere. “Fuck…” she muttered. Blood drained out of Draconis’ face as she counted the number of Draculoids armed with guns of some sort, ready to take down four runaway kids.

Heart thumping wildly, I pulled my bat out from in between my belt and swung it at one of the Draculoids’ head. It missed, but I nailed him in the back when the bat came swinging back. I heard a satisfying crunch as he fell to the floor. The gang huddled together in a line, brandishing our weapons.

“Plasma guns, Transfix-and-Trash model.” whispered Butterflies as we dodged white laser beams, fired out from the barrel of the Dracs’ guns. The Trans-Am got struck and caught fire. In a gigantic flash bang, only seconds later, the Trans-Am was reduced to a mass of fiery rubble and ashes that drifted away.

“Plasma shots that can kill. Be careful!” I hollered as I dodged another beam. I managed to end up behind a Drac and was about to knock him out when my bat was ripped out of my hands. Horrorstruck, I turned to see three Dracs walking towards me. I was defenseless and they knew it, taking their time, one holding my only defense. I backed away slowly, eyes flickering, my heart racing wild with fear. I looked around to see that the other four Dracs were surrounding the gang, whose weapons were scattered on the ground.

“Fuck you!” Butterflies yelled, lunging at the closest one, only to have her hands caught in a delicate hold that could break her neck. She swung her legs backwards, catching the Drac’s ankles and was pulled to the floor with him. She sprung up and attacked another Drac but was pinned down.

One of the Dracs lurched forward, ready to grab me when at that precise moment, multicolored beams were shot into its back and it fell face-first into the sand. My eyes widened in shock as three teenagers, two girls and a guy, armed with colorful guns and dressed somewhat like us leapt out of their Trans-Am and started running towards us, shooting the Dracs at the same time.

I looked on in amazement as the guy, in a biker jacket, dark jeans with chains hooked to the pockets and two guns, jumped onto the Drac’s back – the one that had Butterflies down – and snapped its neck with ease before moving to help the girls. The girls, wearing similar colored jackets with jeans and army boots, and the guy took down the others without breaking sweat.

I stumbled towards the others and snatched my bat from off the ground, waving it in front of me in defense as the guy and girls stalked towards. Butterflies got up off the ground and spat out dirt.

Stepping in front of me, the guy eyed me with dark brown eyes. “What are you defending yourselves with?”

I was confused, but Butterflies spat again. “Art is the weapon.” Before anyone could go on, everyone heard her mutter, “Fuck, you’re heavy.”

Immediately the dark, defensive faces disappeared, and one of the girls with a high ponytail (the other had short, chin-length wavy hair) held out her hand and smiled, giggling slightly at Butterflies’ passing comment. “Hi! My name’s Atomic Static, my sworn sister Blood Runner and our friend Toxic Murderer. Any injuries? And you are…?” She looked expectantly at the four of us. “Who are you guys and what are you doing here in the middle of the desert?”

Eying her and the others suspiciously I hesitantly extended my hand and shook hers, “I’m Cyanide Killer, these are my friends Blood Butterflies, Bleeding Abyss and Venom Draconis.” They waved hi respectively.

“I don’t think we’re hurt… Minor scratches, that’s all. Better Living Industries has taken over our town.” I continued.

Butterflies took up the story, picking her weapons up off the ground. “They killed her parents.” She jerked her thumb at me, getting the horrible news out as if she were telling the world it was time for dinner. And with a little help, after a while of explaining and re-explaining, they finally got it.

Their faces darkened in anger and Murderer growled, “Not another one.”

Butterflies’ raised her eyebrows in confusion. “What do you mean ‘another one’? Other towns have been taken over?” she queried.

Runner nodded gravely, explaining, “We think that there’s been a plan to take over the world. World domination… To have everyone under their mind-control and work for them as slaves.”

Draconis hissed like an agitated snake and Abyss’ fists began to clench tightly till her veins popped up a bit. Butterflies growled like a hungry tiger and crunched her boots on the desert asphalt. Out of the corner of my eye I saw them twisting and I new she was about to blow up in anger, and was barely keeping it in check. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried not to lose my cool. Breathe… breathe. World domination is a huge dream. They can’t possibly achieve it… can they? My mind ran wild with the thought and I counted my parents lucky they didn’t have to go through the apocalypse.

“We’ll tell you all more about BL/I. Where do you guys stay?” asked Murderer. I looked at the guys as a blush creeped up our necks. Draconis and Abyss looked at the sky, while Butterflies looked off to the bike. I sighed, heavily, before lowering my gaze at the sandy ground and kicked the sand around a bit. “Well… Uh… Our Trans-Am is fucked and we, uh, don’t exactly have a place to stay. So, um, I was wondering if um… we could put up at yours…” I shifted uncomfortably, my cheeks on fire. My gaze went from foot to foot, not looking up at them.

I hated asking people for stuff.

Static started giggling, “Of course you can! Why not?” Runner and Murderer nodded and gave us reassuring smiles.

“What are we waiting for, then? The heat’s getting unbearable!” Runner said, grinning and walked towards their Trans-Am and put her gun back into her case. Grabbing our weapons, Abyss and I followed her and clambered in while Butterflies and Draconis got back to the bike. It was just about mid-afternoon and the sun shone hot on our backs. For the first time since the pills, hope seemed to shine upon prayer, and all dark thoughts were faraway, like the shifting sands of the desert dunes.

(2349 words)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Chapter 1

Cyanide Killer’s POV
I smirked and held my breath, leaning against the wall next to Blood Butterflies.  Wait for it, wait for it… “AHHHHHH!” a shrill shriek sounded from down the hall and reverberated across the empty hallways. We peeked around the corner towards the scream and there she was, our best friend Venom Draconis in action, mid-jump out of the school slut’s locker. The bitch was on the floor, face white as a sheet, breathing dramatically as she clasped her hand to her heart, covering something that had always been revealed through her slightly unbuttoned blouse. One of her perfectly manicured nails was broken and her books were all over the floor. She shot Draconis a venomous glare. We started giggling but soon we were laughing so hard tears started springing to my eyes and Butterflies, even, stumbled against the wall. Draconis swept off dust from her clothes and sneered at the bitch, throwing an empty condom wrapper – which she had found in the locker while waiting – at her before marching towards us. She got up hastily, dusting off her microscopic skirt before running off in the direction of the discipline master’s office in fake tears, which smudged her all-too-overdone mascara.
“Oh my god! Butterflies, you genius! Draconis, you were awesome!” I gasped out in between bouts of laughter and winked at Draconis.
Draconis smiled proudly and tucked her long hair behind her ear. “Her face was priceless!” she laughed.
“Where’s Abyss? I can’t believe she missed this!” growled Butterflies, blowing her wild, multicoloured hair out of her face, all laughter gone, annoyed.
“I’m here! I’m here!” squealed Bleeding Abyss as she bounced towards us excitedly. She wrapped Butterflies in a hug. “What did I miss?” she grinned.
Draconis pouted slightly and fake whined, “Everything! I jumped out of the bitch’s locker and you missed her epic face!”
Abyss’ eyes widened as she shrieked, “WHAT? I FUCKING MISSED THAT? NO, NOT AGAIN!” Abyss crumpled against the whitewashed wall in mock agony. Butterflies’ mouth lifted slightly in a smile as she patted Abyss’ back while she “drowned” in misery.
Well, a brief description of us. The four of us are best friends and we are the pranksters or troublemakers for Battery City High School. Mostly Butterflies, Draconis and I though. Butterflies and I plan the crazy jokes and Draconis would be the actual one to do it.
 Abyss was the violent one: always on about guns. She had black hair with purple streaks, wore ripped tights with leather skirts. Draconis was the badass and the joker: Rainbow colored, streaked blonde hair, black shirt and leather jacket, dark denim shorts with aquamarine fishnet tights and red high-cut converse.  Butterflies was the quiet rebel: doesn’t talk much but if you get her mad… let’s just say she’s a whole different story. She usually wears black shirt with black jacket, navy blue jeans and grey studded leather boots. She was orphaned when her mother died in the fires of 2012 and her father left. She remembers nothing of them, she was too young then. And I, Cyanide, was the slightly insane leader. Usually quiet but actually crazy, black hair with blonde streaks and blood red tips, red tank top and black leather jacket, ripped black skinny jeans, Batman belt and combat boots.
Soon enough, we heard the angry roar of the stupid discipline master Mr Blad, or what we call him, Baldy. “YOU FOUR!”
The school slut stuck her tongue out at us, smudging her lipstick slightly as she walked past us smugly, fake tears all gone. No doubt she was on her way to the toilet to re-cake her face in makeup and fake, carrot-coloured tan. We all looked at each other and rolled our eyes in unison as we bolted down the hallway, hoping to get the lecture done and over with as soon as possible.
* * *
“The fuck? That was totally stupid. At least we got detention together,” I muttered as we walked to assembly.
“I agree,” Butterflies said, her rage quietly bubbling behind her voice. “She can fuck every other guy in the school and as long as she isn’t caught, or it isn’t obvious, they don’t mind. But a simple prank to teach her a lesson, and we get motherfucking detention.” She switched topics all of a sudden. “Have you heard about what we’re going to be briefed on today? Apparently some people from this organization called Better Living Industries were coming to give us a talk or something. Oh well, anything is better than classes.” Striding into the auditorium, we plopped onto the seats and studied the people who were talking. “Looks like we didn’t miss much.”
“Good morning everyone. I see a few latecomers. May I know your names?” His beady eyes bore into my head as he walked over, his shoes clicking against the linoleum floor, and I started to squirm, slightly uncomfortable. When I kept silent, he turned to Butterflies, who sat next to me. She kept her eyes trained on his, glaring. “My, my, no manners. And look at your attire!” He played around slightly with Butterflies’ meticulously dyed hair, his long, slender fingers standing out against the dark background of her hair, the frills in his clothing tangling it up, his face wearing an expression of disgust.
Butterflies held her breath, clenching her teeth and her fists so tight they nearly punctured her skin. I could tell this man was getting on her nerves already. The man held her gaze, particularly interested in her and she flicked his hand away, flinging herself up from her seat so violently the chair tipped over. “My name is none of your business, you—” she cut herself off. Cursing was something to be punished by detention.
The man smiled, keeping his cool, bending away from us and walking back to the podium. “You see that, students? That is what we are here for. She is angry. She needs to have peace. Inner peace.” Draconis righted her chair as I pulled Butterflies back down into her seat and she sat down. “Many of us today are plagued by the constant challenges life brings – studies, for example, is what all of you should be very, very familiar with. The workload is barely bearable at times! Not that it is your fault, teachers. We understand you are doing your own jobs.” His voice took on a purring quality, persuading, convincing.
“Many of us have turned to anger to solve these problems. Which significant story that made the history books did not involve some sort of turmoil?” There was a murmur of agreement across the entire auditorium. “What is modern society, without its boring, dreadful trials and tribulations, that we can all do without!” he cried, sounding truly convinced of his cause. Everybody started to chatter around us about the topic he was discussing. I snatched up parts of conversations: “What if—”, “No homework!”, “This is going to be—“, “What is he on about?”.
“But wait!” The man said, silencing everyone and commanding their attention. “We have solutions. We have solutions to chase away the bad monsters of society, solutions, to help you smile.” A series of logos flashed on the projector behind him. It read, “Keep smiling, Better Living Industries.” “Everything is perfect. Better Living Industries.” “Building a better you. BL/i.” “We can fix you. Better Living Industries.” “Love is a pill. BL/i.” “We can handle it from here. BL/i.”
“My name is Korse and these are my assistants,” He smiled, exposing pearly white teeth and gestured to the men standing behind him with weird masks on, “from Better Living Industries. We are here to promote our new medicine that will make you ten times more at peace with yourself than you already are. Ten times! Imagine, no more stress about examinations because this medication tells you what you need to study and when to study it! And we’re giving you a free sample to you. Tailored, just for you.” Said the bald guy, holding out a tiny white coloured pills in his hand, so, so white it nearly disappeared into his pale skin. “You too, teachers. Imagine no more stress about marking. No more late-night preparation of homework and lessons!” I glanced around me and saw everybody nodding and smiling. True, the sound of not needing to stay up late to revise was tempting. The gang and I shared a glance, however: if it were so “magical”, why would they give it out for free? Is the school subsidizing us?
I narrowed my eyes and whispered, “Guys. Don’t eat the pill. I don’t trust these people.” They nodded in response but everyone else was taking the pill offered, some even taking more than one. Butterflies muttered something about idiots before one of the men came and handed us each a pill and a small glass of water. I pretended to pop the pill into my mouth but slipped it down my shirt instead, accepting a free drink. The others did the same.
Suddenly, everyone stopped moving. Then came the horrific change.
Everyone’s eyes glazed over and a small smile formed on all their faces. They were handed uniforms, identical to that of the “assistants” and changed right there and then. They were passed masks, similar to that of the “assistants”, and put them on there and then. I heard Korse’s voice, now losing its soft, persuasive edge, modulated into a harsh growl, similar to that Butterflies makes when she’s angry. “You will now be known as Draculoids, servants of Better Living Industry.” They all nodded, obeying him like dogs obey their master. “Get in the vans.” A simple order, but firm enough.
I muffled my squeak and tugged everyone and we snuck inconspicuously towards the exit. Korse, now like an army commander, monitored the scene from where he stood on the podium. Suddenly, the auditorium wasn’t full of students and teachers. Suddenly, the auditorium was full of mindless drones. I pulled Abyss, Butterflies and Draconis out of the auditorium and we ran. Not caring about predictions made by the weather caster about high radiation, our feet pounded on the hot cement.
We ran towards my home, our usual gathering place because it was nearest to the school. I got there first, breathing hard. But pushing the door open, I nearly jumped ten feet in the air, only held down by Abyss, who let out a strangled shriek. In my living room was a Draculoid. He stood over two dead bodies, two I recognized… Blood had spilled over the carpet, and I saw my mother’s blank, dark brown eyes staring at me, unblinking. No. no, this can’t be happening. My parents? I may have hated them but… Fuck. They went down fighting. My heart clenched as realization struck me like a bag of bricks. They’ve done it. They’ve taken over Battery City. It was quick, silent, and ruthless.
I pushed the gang back and backed away from the house and headed towards the window to my room. “Holy fuck, guys. Better Living has taken over the whole town. Pack up. We’re outta here,” I breathed and started to climb up the tree by my window. Everyone grabbed a rucksack and began dumping stuff hurriedly into the bag as quietly as possible. I took a few baseball bats and tennis rackets along. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Butterflies stuff two daggers – she always kept that kind of thing lying around – into her bag, Draconis push a leather belt into hers, and Abyss shove a wooden toy rifle into hers (that thing whacked me once, it hurts). I handed them each a walkie-talkie. We started to make our way quietly to the window when Draconis tripped over a drawer I left open.
“Flying fucks,” Butterflies did know some creative cursing. We heard all activity downstairs cease, causing the house to be as quiet as death. Then, heavy boots started stomping up the stairs. I counted. One, two, three, four… Four Draculoids, after four kids. They must have known.
“Get out. Now.” I ordered, and we jumped out of the window, landing softly, and ran towards my parents’ two-seater Trans Am, while Butterflies and Draconis took the motorcycle my parents had promised me if I had gotten my driver’s license, Draconis riding pillion. “Follow us,” I shouted to them as they put on their helmets, and Butterflies nodded okay.
Abyss took the wheel and turned to me. “Where do we go, Cyanide?” she whispered, fear flickering in her eyes.
“To the desert. We’ll be… safer there,” I replied hesitantly as I threw both her bags and mine in the backseat.
Slamming her foot onto the accelerator, we sped off towards the desert. Dust billowed up behind us as the Draculoids ran out, trying to stop us but not daring to shoot. They hadn’t brought their vehicles with them, so they mustn’t have counted on meeting a bunch of kids who took illegal driving lessons with each other. Abyss’ and my walkie-talkie crackled to life and we heard Draconis’ voice. “No plan, no food, no supplies, nothing. We’re fucked, aren’t we?”
There was so much fear in her voice, and I could literally imagine her hand trembling. I picked my walkie-talkie up and talked to her. “We’ll be alright. We’ll figure something out.”
Butterflies came online, and through the rear view mirror I saw Draconis holding it for her. “One thing’s for certain, then,” she shouted over the roar of the motorbike. “We’re turning our backs on the town that we grew up in, turning our backs on the town now overtaken by Better Living. This is war.”
(2281 words)