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.