|Goodbye, Blue Sky
Author: Deserthawk PM
"Did you ever wonder?" I spin around and come face to face with a mask. "Did you ever wonder why we have to run for shelter?" A fox, with an enigmatic smile. "With the promise of a brave new world unfurled under a bright blue sky?"Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 83 - Words: 149,464 - Reviews: 201 - Favs: 20 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 05-03-13 - Published: 05-27-12 - id: 3026408
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Coughing. I sit up, but there's only smoke around us.
(Did they miss?)
Someone curled up into a ball beside me.
May. I shake her.
(Don't be an idiot.)
(How could they miss?)
She seems frozen, but responds finally at my touch. "Andrei?"
(Shit. Let's get outta here.)
We stand up shakily. There's noises around us, like the whole world's falling apart.
(Where could we go?)
I guess they're right.
Another rumble, and someone steps through the smoke. They all drop down; but he's spotted us.
"Hey," he waves, "I've got some over here!"
The world didn't end for this.
"There's only one," someone hisses, "we can take him!"
"No, no, no." The figure fumbles with his mask. "Fuck, can't even breathe – "
They watch him warily. But he's not wearing a uniform, I can tell.
"I'm not a – not – Real – " He gives up. "Damn it, you've got to come with me."
He holds out his hand.
Silence. One of the others backs away.
"You're one of them, aren't you?"
"I said – "
"One of those devils."
"I'm not – "
"Be gone!" One of them makes a strange gesture. "Leave this place!"
"Fuck," the man lets his arm drop. " I'm not gonna argue with you."
The blast goes off far too nearby, gunfire.
He doesn't even flinch. "You wanna stay here? You wanna go with them?"
"Better body than soul." One of them sneers.
"What other choice have you got?"
"There's always a choice."
"Speak for yourself."
That's it. I recognize the voice.
"Orel?" I step forward.
"Hey, kid." He doesn't even seem surprised to see me. "It's about damn time."
But my movement only causes the rest to flee.
Everybody except May.
Orel watches them despondently.
"Let's go, then."
She follows without hesitation.
Hours later. We sit hunched down, in the cold of a waste tunnel. Just us three – still waiting.
"How many?" She suddenly asks. "How many people in that crowd?"
"Dunno." Orel leans back. "Lost count."
Never was keeping count.
"What's a few, more or less?"
It doesn't do. To get cynical of life like that.
She becomes completely still.
"To be fair, we've been planning this for a long time. It's just – we knew this idiot would turn up, eventually." Orel waves at me.
"So you've been watching? This entire time?"
He doesn't answer her.
"Just watching?" She shakes my hand off her shoulder. "This entire time?"
Orel continues to ignore her. He's peering into the darkness, small blinks of light that come off and on ahead.
"Okay, whatever." He flicks his flashlight in response and stands.
Lion hasn't moved from the spot.
Why this feeling?
Despite the unnatural heat, the glow in the distance.
As if I've sold my soul.
He turns to Spiral.
"Don't worry about it." He doesn't even look up from his laptop.
Don't worry about that? Lion hasn't been able to stop looking, since that fireball bloomed on the horizon.
"Ras just doesn't know restraint, is all."
Lion glares at him.
"Don't flatter yourself." Spiral looks back steadily. "It wasn't all for you."
His tone lightens as he looks back to his screen.
"But you keep your side of the deal – and I'll keep mine."
Yeah. Lion leans over the railing.
Didn't we promise?
The inside of the church seems empty somehow. Almost as if something's missing.
"Hey, kid." Ras nods as we enter. "Long time no see."
Orel walks past him, down with his head bent.
It's too quiet, that's it. I look around. The only others are lying in the pews, either wounded or resting.
Ras shrugs. "They'll trickle in." He spots May. "And who's this?"
Her eyes narrow.
"What the cat dragged in."
"Ras. Should've known."
"Nice to see you too, princess."
She pushes past me without a glance, like she only wants to get away.
"What? He's here?" Z.'s voice carries, as she comes up from below. She walks up and stands there staring at me, like she can't believe her eyes.
She snaps out of it.
"You fucking idiot."
She storms away.
"Wow." Ras laughs. "Really got a way with the ladies, don't you?"
Just people in general. I spot Orel in the distance talking to somebody, more and more people looking toward us. At me.
"No, don't let it get to you." Ras shakes his head. "You belong here, kid. You're like – our mascot, or something."
Night. The church is filled – but not as full as I remember it. People are more subdued too, although it could be the weather. So cold outside, and we've only got fires in here.
"Hey!" The voice shakes me out of my drowse. "Everybody!"
What the –
"Shut the fuck up, you worms."
Wearing a shoddy Reaper uniform, he's standing behind the altar.
"All of you, shut up. Yeah – I'm talking to you."
Even May looks up.
"What. What. What're you looking at? You wanted to go to the show?"
"Holy shit," somebody laughs.
My mind finally registers.
"Gave me a fright there."
"Are you listening, people? Is anyone out there? Hello? Is anybody home? I'm talking. Look at me, everyone, I'm talking!"
"Cut the shit, Ras."
"I've got some bad news for you, Sunshine." He leans on the podium. "Ras isn't well. He stayed back – at the hotel. They sent me along, instead. To find out where you worms really stand."
He's got that barking tone down.
"Are there any freaks in the theater tonight?" He jumps down. "Get them up against the wall!"
"Here's one!" Somebody calls.
"Get him up against the wall!"
Ras jumps down.
"There's one in the spotlight." Shining his flashlight in my face. "He don't look right to me. Get him up against the wall!"
"And that one. And you. And you. Especially you." Ras paces among us. "Man, what a bunch of – look at him. There's one in the corner, and one in the spot – " He climbs back up on the podium.
"If I had my way – I'd have all of you shot!"
Everybody's laughing now.
"All of you. Without exception! Yeah you, I'm talking to you. And you – you right there, with the book. I'm talking to you. I'm talking to you!"
Except for May.
"Hello? Is anybody listening? Is anybody home?"
"Stop it!" She stands up.
"What's wrong, princess?" Ras grins. "Come on, take the mic."
She storms up to him. "It's not funny!"
"Too soon? For you maybe."
"It's not funny for me. Not for anyone living in this city." Getting in his face. "Not for any of our people!"
Her voice carries; but the laughter doesn't die.
"If this isn't funny – then what is?"
She glares at him a moment more; then stomps off.
Down the aisle, past me.
"Wait – May – "
Outside. I don't know how, but I lose sight of her, find myself wandering among the gravestones. For hours, it seems. Until I can't even feel any more.
"Andrei. Over here."
I almost trip. But she's right there, sitting at the foot of one of them.
"I've been watching you."
I settle down next to her.
"You passed me like a dozen times."
"Well –" You try seeing in the dark. "– well it's not like I'm a goddamn cat."
She smiles a bit. "That you're not."
It's tough to see her face; but still I try.
"Are you –"
"Why do you keep asking that?"
"Are you okay?"
"I – " I shrug. "Maybe."
"What an answer."
She reaches out and touches the gravestone in front of us.
"Did you know him?"
How could I? I watch her fingers.
"I knew him." She traces over the letters, defaced. Whispers softly. "I knew them well."
We settle into silence naturally. It's like she doesn't feel the cold either.
Did you want me to forget what I am? That you never told me?
I guess you wouldn't understand. It's hard to explain. I didn't mind at all – until recently. Don't know what happened, don't know what changed.
It's just a few words, words someone can say to you.
Oh well. I'm just digging myself deeper, I guess.
He sits beside her, oblivious to it all.
I know there's things you haven't told me. Some things never change.
In between them the silence does the talking.
But I think you're still in there, Sunshine. You must be. Somewhere.
She rummages around in her pockets.
I guess after all, I was only a messenger.
"You're going to stay with them."
She stands up.
"But – " As usual, I know. "Where will you go?"
My words will never change anything.
"Wherever life takes me."
Looking into the sunrise, there's an almost dreamy look on her face.
She crouches down and puts something into my hand.
"Do you recognize it?"
A little red case with a white cross.
I look up at her.
"It's from Alex. He said to give it to you." She closes my fingers around it. "He said you'd know what it means."
Our hands stay together a moment. Hers so warm.
But then she drops it.
"See you later, then."
Stands, turns and goes.