Roll of the Die

Dice vs. Orion

She hunted. She stalked through the night like she owned it. As if she was part of it… a shadow.

She threw open a door in an alley, and strode down the steps. The building was old and falling apart; a place for thieves to live like rats. Graffiti smothered the walls and alcohol polluted the air.

She sauntered off the stairs making for a doorway to her far left.

"Hey! I wan' ID!" yelled a guy leaning against the wall.

Dyshika 'Dice' Skando stopped and sneered at the bald thug who was leering at her.

"ID," he growled, rumbling like a bear. He shoved out a hand for the card.

Dice put her head to the side. She leant forward and put her foot against the wall. "You want ID?" she asked.

His forehead wrinkled. Was this a trick question?

Quick as a striking snake Dice removed one of her sheathed knives and found it a new it a new home. The thug's hand was pinned to the wall.

He roared as blood flowed down his arm.

"Cause I didn't think I needed ID," she stated. The back of Dice's neck prickled. She spun around grinning.

A man stood in the doorway she had been headed for. He was old, but power rolled off him in waves. He wore a suit and was flanked by two goons in black formal wear.

He nodded to Dice. "Dyshika Skando…I had people search for you," he remarked.

She wrinkled her nose. "Your guys must be skill-less losers." She paused. "Not only did they not find me, Dyshika Skando is a mouthful, and impossible to say when you're drunk. It's Dice."

The thug on the wall stared at the knife in his hand and tried to pull it out. All he managed was a greater flow of blood.

The boss raised an eyebrow "No," he said in a thoughtful voice, "It's 'what the hell are you doing here! I thought I made it clear I'd kill you if I saw you again."

His goons were looking edgy and had their hands resting on their gun holsters. This didn't seem like a friendly encountering to them.

Dice put on a look of hard thought. "Beatings are an imprecise language," she came up with. She began stalking forwards. Her face twisted into a clear message; 'you are my prey'.

The thin man was quick to react to this. "Kill her," he ordered his minions.

The thugs were relieved to have orders on what to do. They raised their weapons with dumb confidence, convinced of their intimidation.

Dice snorted with contempt for all the dumb people in the world. Her face went stony and she kicked into action. She sprang forward and kicked goon-on-the-right's gun out of his hand.

She turned in the air and placed a foot on the old guy's chest, propelling him backward.

Dice landed in front of the other goon, wasting no time she sent his gun flying with a hard block and punched him in the nose. Still going at hyper speed she kicked him in the groin, and as he crumpled to the ground she helped him into unconsciousness with an elbow to the temple.

Spinning around she saw goon #1 scrambling on the floor for his gun. She leapt, cat-like, on his back and swiftly slammed his head into the concrete floor.

He was knocked out with another crimson paint job.

She jumped back on her feet, just in time to see the thin, old man pull his hand away from a button on his left wrist.

He noticed her gaze and a curious look passed over his face.

Dice frowned. She knew what that button did. She'd be getting some company.

Two men raced through corridors, they weren't dumb thugs but professionals, holding their large SMG's with practised ease. Coming to a door they kicked in down and stood back.

Dice stared at the old man with hatred, this real emotion scaring him far more than her killings. She crouched over him and whispered harshly in his ear, "You taught me to kill, I will, kill you. But not now, first you will suffer for what you did to us. Orion," Dice grated his name out like an accusation.

The machine gun fire cut through the air above them. Dice breathed in his face and her eyes glinted as he flinched. She smirked at him.

Then in Dice's eyes the world slowed. Bullets were obvious, cutting through the air. She stood, crossing her arms over her chest and pulling two knives out of her shoulder holsters. She threw them simultaneously.

The air was thick with bullets. Even with her skill she could not avoid them all. She twisted and twirled to avoid them, but she was hit. Blood pumped out of her wounds and oozed down her body.

She raced up the stair case, ignoring the pain, before reinforcements could arrive and cut off her exit.

Behind her, the men slumped to the ground, eyes glazed, knives embedded in the dead centre of their throats. Orion panted, his chest heaving, eyes wide. The heavily armed reinforcements arrived; one of them threw something up the stairs. There was flash of light, a resounding boom and the building shook.

Dyshika Skando fell off her motor-bike and onto the floor of the garage. Around her were sports cars and cars that looked like tanks.

She pushed herself up and staggered to her feet, leaving blood marks all over the floor. She smiled grimly, at a well accomplished mission.

Her vision swam and her brain felt like it was in a washing machine. Dice attempted a step forward but lost her balance, collapsing on the floor for a second time.

It was a wonder she'd managed to ride home in her condition. Her adrenalin and determination had let her to hang in there with two gaping holes, and a battered body.

Her adrenalin trickled away now she was in a safe-zone.

Her jaw muscles stood out on her face. She had them clenched tightly to avoid crying out. She would rather die than appear weak.

She couldn't move. She lay still on the floor as her blood pooled around her.

"Dice! What did they do to you?" A small girl rushed beside Dice and examined her.

"Galle," Dice grated.

Galle put a small hand on Dice's forehead and she sank into oblivion.

Dice awoke to a pair of cloudy blue eyes. She was in an infirmary. All sorts of medical equipment were stationed around the room, but there were no staff. Dice was lying on a white bed in white silk pyjamas. Under her left shoulder and on her stomach were two bandages covering the gunshot wounds.

The blonde girl, Galle, sat next to the bed. Concern changed to anger when she realised Dice was awake. "What happened to you Dice?" Galle demanded.

Dice screwed both eyes shut. Then cautiously opened one.

Galle was still there with a growing annoyance. "You weren't delivering a message, were you?" she asked softly.

Dice opened both eyes and sat up running her hand through her black hair.

"I was. My message just didn't come on a piece of paper," Dice stated flatly.

Galle's eyes widened.

"People like Orion don't fear you unless you're ruthless and immoral. I did what I had to," Dice grimaced. "Unfortunately he seemed to have upgraded his security since I last saw him. I wasn't quite ready for the machine guns, or the grenade for that matter."

Galle looked pained. She could imagine what it had taken Dice to get out of there. "God, Dice. You killed people… why do you do that?" Galle appealed, as if Dice would suddenly change her ways.

Dice's face grew cold and calculating. The hardness which had melted in Galle's company grew back over Dice's face. "You know why."

Galle did know.

It was dusk. The sinking sun's light shone on a mess of buildings and roads. On the streets of Asper people were scurrying to get home before night fell. The city was of large size, in North Queensland, Australia. That meant it had gangs, and gangs love the night.

A small, blue-eyed blonde paused in her rush, she could hear gasps like someone was hurt, and could smell the coppery scent of blood tainting the air.

Galle was nine and had been living on the streets for roughly five months. Unlike another might have done in her place, she went to see what was wrong. As she turned the corner the sight met her eyes; a black and red pool on the floor.

It was a girl, roughly ten, her black hair excessively long and ratty, she was covered in blood and beneath that; bruises. She was curled into a foetal position. Her body jerked as fresh spasms of pain hit her.

Others might have turned and walked away, or cautiously inspected the girl for valuables. Galle did neither.

With a concerned look on her face the blonde crept over to the pained mass on the ground and knelt by her head.

"Are you all–" Galle's soft voice was cut off by a growl from the floor.

The wild looking girl uncurled, attacked and pinned Galle's neck to the ground with one hand.

The wild girl bared her teeth. Growls slid out between them unconsciously. She was a fearsome sight, but weakened in reality by blood-loss, bruises and weariness. She had all the strength of a kitten.

A car rushed passed, at a speed double the limit.

The wild girl flinched.

Galle saw through the other girl's act. The nine year old smiled sweetly at the other girl, and gently pried her fingers off Galle's throat.

The wild girl frowned and tensed suspiciously.

Galle kept her movements slow and unthreatening.

The wild girl relaxed.

Galle shoved the other girl in the shoulder lightly and she let Galle up.

The black haired girl gave Galle a look like a lost puppy. The wild girl was worn out and leaning on her instincts. They told her the blonde meant no harm, and the wild girl desperately needed someone to tell her what to do. She was too battered to make the decisions herself.

The small blonde looked the wild girl in the eye. She was almost twice Galle's size and judging by muscles, in normal condition could have ripped her in half.

Complete, unnerving trust was there.

Galle took the wild girl by the hand and led her to shelter.

A rap on what passed for the door, made the wild girl shiver and turn over in sleep.

Galle raised her head to look at the door. She hesitantly picked up a knife and went to see who was there. Galle looked up into the face of tall man who didn't look as if he belonged on the street.

The early morning sunlight streamed in behind him, outlining his suit and clear cut looks. He smiled disarmingly, letting her know he didn't mean any harm. He pulled out a blue sheet of paper with a picture on it. He pointed to the picture. "This is a wild and dangerous animal!" he warned.

Galle examined the picture. It was the girl who was sleeping inside.

"Doesn't look like an animal to me," Galle replied.

The man smirked. "Don't let her appearance fool you. She has no morals, doesn't think or act human. She'd kill you in a heartbeat. She needs to be put down." He paused for a second. "She escaped from our mental institution last night. Have you seen her?"

Galle knew he was lying. Mental patients weren't beaten. Some of the bruises the girl had were days old. Galle pretended to scared by what the guy was saying. "I haven't. You'll catch her right?"

The man stood taller. "Sure. Don't worry kid; we'll have her in no time. You see her; tell Brash, he'll get it to me."

Brash was a tough guy who ran a small gang nearby. He didn't seem to fit with the persona the man in front of Galle was projecting. The man winked at her and walked off.

Galle walked back inside and shook the girl to wake her up.

The wild girl's eyelids slammed open. She pinned Galle to the ground.

The blood in the girl's dark hair had set in clumps. She was covered in rags Galle had used to bind the girls injuries. She seemed stronger after her rest. Galle would have trouble if she tried overpowering the wild girl.

Recognition flashed in her eyes. She got to her feet and helped Galle up. "Shouldn't a tried t' wake me," the wild girl stated. She didn't sound sorry.

"There was a guy at the door looking for you," Galle explained.

The wild girl froze, before regaining her cool mask.

"What are you running from?" Galle asked curiously.

Normally street kids didn't ask that question, everyone was running from something and it was polite courtesy not to ask. However this girl's troubles seemed to be on the scale of a need-to-know basis.

The injured girl put up an expression like a wall, and thought behind it quickly.

Galle was harmless. This was obvious from her every word and action. The wild girl did not know why, but she understood, liked and trusted Galle.

They locked eyes and the wild girl searched through the emotions Galle had not learned to hide.

Concern, and a tint of bewilderment.

Then the wild girl looked away and sat down. Galle sat down opposite the girl, who nodded at Galle and answered the question.

"Y' heard a Orion?"

Galle looked puzzled.

"He heads a mob. They do dealing, gun running, 'ssasinations, and so on. I was in the 'ssasin section. They got kids off of the street, young. Can teach 'em anything when they're young. Only thing we didn't learn was morals. There was a bunch of us my age… t' start with.

"We got killed off, til there were two of us left. Me 'n' Krandel. I thought he cared, he was always tellin' us he was our father. Then Orion killed her in fron' a me. Krandie failed to kill some important guy 'n' he was unhappy. She was me friend, only other one left. I snapped, got up 'n' beat the hell outta him. He didn't care 'bout us." The girl smiled ruefully. "His thugs then beat the hell outta me, left me for dead. That's when you found me."

Galle's eyebrows wrinkled, then shook head and smiled. "You wanna be my friend?" This was the important question. "Oh wait, what's your name?"

The other girl smiled at Galle's hopeless naivety. "Dyshika Skando," she replied.

"Diethwicka what?" Galle pulled a face. "I can't pronounce that, pick a different one," she complained.

The girl thought for a second. "How 'bout Dice?"

Galle smiled.

Dice did too. She had never been around a person like Galle before.

"Friends Dice?" She held out a hand.

Dice took it. "Sure. Friends."