Obnoxious Authour's Note:

Widerstand isn't my idea. It's Lex's. My dun-robed muse is too conservative and grey to come up with something that's this fun.

WIDERSTAND


Original concept, characters and locations by Vanessa Adams.
Except Coching, which is real, but is a secret to everyone.
Masturbated into a sort-of story by Nadia E.E. Oxford, 2002


Mother chants her litany of boredom and frustration
But we know all her suicides are fake.

-- Synronicity II

The Coke can was old. It wasn't dented, but its distinctive red plumage was faded pink and white. Some months ago, someone yanked it off a shelf, ripped it open, drained it of its life, and tossed its carcass on the side of the road. Nicked by legions of flapping feet and rolling cars, it rattled its way down sidewalks and gutters, survived torrents of rain and snow. Now it was catching its breath on the Millers' trampled, brown lawn.

Simon picked the hero up, set it upright, and smashed it flat with one expert stomp. He disappeared into the garage to get his hockey stick.

No 15 year old boy in Coching, not even the spawn of evil, viewed a Coke can as mere trash.

Simon batted the can a bit with his stick. The wind was chilly, and coming north-east off the lake, bringing the black smell of the pulp mills with it. The sun wanted nothing to do with the sky that day, which was thick with overcast.

Simon's green and white Roots jacket breathed slowly in the lakebreeze and exhaled sharply when the boy turned abruptly to send a slapshot flying at his garage. The noise was grand, and another paint chip was born.

The dreary weather was to be expected. Canadian law required that summer call it quits after the Labour Day weekend, and it was now the 23rd of October.

Simon knew the date all too well. It lay in his stomach and squirmed like a live thing whenever he thought about it.

Like now.

His tin puck misfired and bashed the neighbour's screen door. A leathery old man in an undershirt instantly ripped the door open and started screaming at Simon in Chinese. Simon pounded up to the porch, retrieved his puck from where it lay between the lizard's slippers, and threw it back on the asphalt. As he started to volley it with his stick again, his neighbour ran out of fuel and slammed the door. A puff of stale air whoosed out of his lair and the smell of old fried chicken killed the reek of the pulp mills for a few seconds.

The weather was getting moody, but Simon wanted to soak in as much hockey as possible while he was still in Coching. He made the mistake of playing hockey in Hinterland once. The viper bites took several weeks to heal.

A huge drop of rain splashed Simon on the arm, followed by another, and another, until an army was drumming on his leather coat sleeves. He decided then to call it quits. Not that he was bothered by the rain. At least in Coching, you had the unspoken guarantee that whatever came down from above would be water, or something close enough to it. Simon opened the garage and threw his stick into the dark maw. He wondered what kind of sky juice was pouring down on Hinterland right now. Sulphuric acid was a good guess, but unlikely; if Simon's mother were that predictable, Widerstand would've knocked the ol' bitch over and jumped up and down on her corpse ages ago.


Inside the house, Mr. Miller dozed in front of CBC. The sound was off, and Suhanna mouthed silently to herself. Simon crept up to his room, which was an unspectacular grey box; a few faded hockey posters, leftover from his dad's collection, were tacked onto the wall. A nondescript bed with plain sheets was shoved in one corner, and beside that was a pressboard desk. A throwrug offered an island in the middle of the hardwood floor; and curled up on that rug, quite new to the room, was a Siberian ghost tiger.

The pale predator lifted its head when Simon entered, and watched the boy with its ancestors' eyes. Simon gave it no more notice than he'd given the rain earlier. Some houses had roaches. Some had ant problems in the summertime. Simon's friend, Morgan, had a nest of mice living under her kitchen sink. The Millers' house often had earwigs in damp weather. Much more troublesome, however, were the pockets of leftover evil from Mrs. Miller's residence. They had a nasty tendancy to birth things with voracious appetites. After the divorce, Mrs. Miller had taken the collection of vinyl records, but she'd been more than happy to leave behind her Satanic musk and the creatures that frolocked in it.

But the tiger wasn't interested in making any fuss. At any rate, it was much more tangible than last week's 7 foot black mollusk. Simon stepped over his feral houseguest, who watched with far too much intrest as the boy got undressed for bed. Simon turned off the light and picked his way in the dark to his mattress. The tiger's eyes pierced the dark minute, and then faded as if someone reached into the cat's soul, turned a knob and dimmed its spirit.


When Simon woke up, the tiger was gone and nothing seemed out of the ordinary for once. It was Thursday, the 24th of October. This realization pecked at Simon's brain with a fiery beak. Woe.

He fought his way out of his covers and pulled on his clothes from yesterday. He tugged on his socks as he hobbled over to the winow. Rain swept off the lake in a grey sheet and chattered on the chilled pane. For some reason that had nothing to do with the rain, Simon absently recalled his last visit to Hinterland, during which a smattering of members from Widerstand had been treed by a Chevy Lumina in rut. Doris, on a low branch and armed with a large stick, had gently rubbed the irate car's hood, a practice that sometimes tamed the smaller, less tempermental models. Indeed, the car became very agreeable until Doris' arm slipped and he put out the Chevy's left headlight in a geyser of red oil. That set it into a frenzy of beeping and temper until Schroeder had enough and jumped from his perch like a kamikaze parrot. As the vehicle reared and opened its slathering hood to take a bite from Widerstand's leader, Schro drove his trusty garden hoe into the car's exposed, tender innards, severing its alternator belt. The Lumina beeeeeeeped in agony as it lurched away. Widerstand cheered Schroeder's victory until he punched Doris in the gut with the blunt side of his hoe and caused the other boy a lot of bowel trouble for a month.


Mr. Miller, a stout brown-haired man dressed in a conservative white shirt and plain red tie, was buttering his toast with his usual aura of bewildered seriousness. Being the former husband of a she-devil, humour had a tendancy to evaporate on his pale skin. Communication between the father and son was limited, but the two loved each other dearly. Not that one would ever actually say so to the other.

" 'Morning," Mr. Miller said, scaling another pat of butter off the brick. "Any trouble last night?"

"Just the tiger."

"Oh, that's okay. He's pretty quiet."

"Mhm." Simon turned his Frosted Flakes into sugary mush.

"Tommorow's Friday," Mr. Miller told Simon as if he needed to be reminded.

"I know." Simon stirred the sweet swamp in his bowl.

"Think you'll be okay?"

Simon shrugged. "I always manage."

Mr. Miller took a sip from his black coffee. "Just be careful."

"Nah.


The storm continued. Simon stopped trying to keep dry two blocks ago, but he still ran to school. Squish, squish, squish, his saturated shoes reported as they slapped against the pavement. Somewhere along his journey, Simon aquired a mate who ran in silence beside him, keeping his stride with little effort, making puddles bleed with every step. Simon didn't acknowledge the dark horse until they were safe in the damp foyer of the school building.

"Hey Morgan."

Simon's 15 year old friend wrung out her dark ponytail before responding. "Ecch. Hi, Simon." She snapped her wrist and a handful of water spattered the floor. "Stupid weather. No wonder I'm catching a cold. What's up?"

"Not much, really," Simon said. The floor of the foyer was slick with sopping students shedding water. "Don't bother drying off. We're going to be late for English."

"Watch how fast I go," Morgan grunted, but she matched Simon's quick step as they filed into a nearby classroom.

Teenagers had a peculiar smell of their own when wet. The combined scent of perfumed cotton, backpacks, and mummified hair-gel re-animated by the rain was overpowering. Loud conversation rattled through the classroom until the school's intercom came to life.

"Good morning!" commanded a stern male voice on the other end. In one fluid motion that would have thrilled Pavlov, the students all stood up and the conversation started to cool off.

"Please stand for the playing of our National Anthem."

The intercom cleared its throat and began an ancient recording of "O Canada." It coughed, choked, and called it quits about ten seconds into the song. A bout of silence followed, and finally, a scatter of giggles from the class. A few kids continued the song with an exaggerated warble.

"Have you recieved all the attention you were looking for?" Morgan said when they stopped for breath.

The intercom switched on again. "There'll be no National Anthem today," Oz said solemnly. "You may be seated. There are no announcements. Have a good day."

Tiny Mrs. Michaels trotted into the classroom with quick, short steps like an ewe on hot coals. Her hands were in fists close to her neck, and a black handbag that was too large for her swung on her elbow.

"Oh ... okay people, Okay," she repeated, slapping the bag down on her desk. "Okay ... please ... take out your Othello books, okay?"

Simon opened the book on his desk and pretended to follow along. Morgan didn't even go that far. She put the book on her desk, but didn't open it. Instead, she leaned on her palm and attacked the book's cover, blacking out Desdemona's eyes with her pen.

Mrs. Michaels trip-trapped for an hour about Iago, answering her own questions when she couldn't coax any out of the sluggish class ("Didn't any of you read the chapter?"). She patted her burning red bush of hair the whole time, reassuring herself. Simon stole a glance at Morgan, who'd inked Othello's front teeth in addition to Desdemona's blank optics, and was now amusing herself with some formulas from her Gifted math class.

After a lifetime, the bell rang. Morgan slapped her hands together in prayer, turned her eyes upward and mouthed something like, "Thank you God." She swept her book into her knapsack and waited for Simon.

"Tommorow's Friday," she said.

"I know."

"Gonna come to school?"

Simon shrugged. "I might not. I think I'll go over there a bit earlier and try to evade her. Not that it'll work."

"Want me to go with you?" Morgan had recited those words to Simon on every third Thursday since she'd met him.

"How can you?" was the scripted response. "Once you're in, you can't come out. I could, but you can't."

"Well--"

"Thanks anyway. I'll be fine."

That probably wasn't a lie.


Simon's clock radio glowed 11:44 p.m. He sat on the edge of his bed and bounced a red rubber ball with a steady heartbeat, thinking about everything and nothing. He stopped when a large diamondback rattlesnake weaved from under his desk, curled beside his foot, and became rigid with sleep. Simon very slowly drew his leg back up on the bedspread and continued to wait. It was now 11:51.

Simon strongly disliked the third Friday of every month. Kids with divorced parents often boasted about having two of everything. Simon had two of everything as well. In Coching, he had his home, his hockey, his room, his school. In Hinterland, he had carbon copies of all those things. Except they were tainted by evil and often tried to kill him.

And that's where the custody battle dictated Simon would go every third Friday. Into the arms of his mother, the venomous Emperess of Hinterland. The real problem with the world, Simon decided some time ago, was that Children's Aid workers weren't really big on stories involving abusive mothers in alternate realities. Not that he'd ever try to report his mother. What was the point? Even if an adult could find Hinterland to talk to Mrs. Miller, she'd just change the unfortunate worker into a bear and whistle for a pack of hounds to tear him up. It'd be the greatest show since Artemis and Ursus. So Simon kept quiet about his tribulations.

12 a.m. arrived. Friday, October 25th.

She'd be coming for him in a handful of hours. She'd march straight up to the door and instead of knocking, she'd scratch on it like a hellcat calling for its sacrifice. And, like any beast of black magic, her summons did not exist to be ignored. She'd likely set Mr. Miller on fire when he came to answer the door, and then she'd hunt down her son. When he was a tyke, Simon used to squeeze under his bed and tremble like a rabbit in a snare whenever his mother arrived. Hiding never worked, and if anything made Simon uneasy in his later years, it was the sight of his mother's feet. Those propellers of evil, swathed in knee-high boots made from some unidentifiable and foul smelling animal, were always the first thing he saw coming towards him when the Fox figured out her quarry was shivering under his bed. And oh, how quickly those boots could eat distance.

"So, what did you do this week?" Mrs. Miller would ask of her little son, her ageless Snow-Queen hand enveloping both of Simon's sticky paws as she dragged her boy down the street. "Did you blow anything up? What? No? Didn't I tell you to make your teacher throw up her intestines? And you couldn't even do that?" Mrs. Miller would stop and furrow her brow, an savage line appearing between her eyes. Simon once saw the same line between the eyes of a furiously hungry wolverene on a field trip to the zoo.

"No ... I don't believe that. You must have some sort of power, and jeers to your hockey-gobbling father for watering it down. You're going to make your teacher explode next week, you hear me? ... I don't care what bloody book she read to you yesterday! You're seven now, and about time you grew up. Now let's get going. The more time you spend in Hinterland, the better. Nothing like evil air to bring out the demon seed."

As he grew older, Simon simply surrendered himsef to Hinterland when custody time reared to consume him. It was easier than waiting for his mother to collect him like a sack of potential. Today, he was going to get a bit of an early start. Maybe he could outsmart his mother and evade her notice for at least a little while.

Simon was likely the only person in recorded history to curse God for making weekends.


The rain had stopped some hours ago, but the air was still musty. The slick sidewalk was marred with blotches of reflected moonlight. The bare bones of trees bowed to the sharp wind. The whole world looked sickly to Simon, who strolled down the sidewalk at no particular speed and made sure to disturb every puddle in his path. He could hear the waves pounding a temper tantrum on the lakeshore, still upset by that day's bad weather and not ready to settle down.

Simon could never tell exactly when he entered Hinterland. For him, it was as simple as walking down the street and noticing gradual changes as he went. It was no problem; in his mind, reality and fantasy were chums. He could suspend belief as easily as a dog fetched a stick.

As Simon splish-splashed, the full moon gradually became smaller, as an opaque blanket of cloud corroded its flanks. The light didn't fade, but Simon noticed the puddles of silver darken to blood. He looked up. The moon was now a shallow crescent, like the slit of a demon's eye. And it was quite red. His surroundings were much the same as they were in Coching -- lines of houses with cars parked obediently in front of them. Except the houses looked a little less like friendly small town dwellings and more like hollow, jagged teeth set in a bed of bloody, wet gums. The cars -- a pack of Nissan Ultimas -- were largely silent. They slept at night. But here or there, one would grunt in its slumber or slam its hood in the midst of a passionate dream.

When troubled, Simon's father would play hockey. When troubled, Simon's mother created hazardous alternate worlds. Hinterland was her proudest birth, produced shortly after her nasty divorce with Mr. Miller.

With mounting discomfort, Simon watched as the moon bulged in its black nest and started to swivel as if in a socket. It straightened itself until it looked like a vertical gash on a panther's pelt. It was staring directly at him.

Simon exhaled tiredly. Evil bitches were much more fond of all-night watches than they were of sleep. He kept forgetting that. So much for being subtle. He stood still, listened to the ceaseless wheezing of Hinterland's lake and waited for him to approach. No sense in hiding now.

The wait wasn't long. A terrified bray from one of the Nissans ripped through the rapidly cooling air. The car hadn't been quite asleep, and apparently it caught scent of him. Its tires squealed as it tried to get traction on the wet road, and once it found its tires, it took flight down the street. The other members of the pack were awakened and seemed greatly disturbed as well. They followed their cousin in his mad dash. None of them took any notice of Simon, who stood up when he heard the keen of an engine that was much more buck than the Nissans'.

He came into view very quickly, a firetruck-red 1997 Jeep Cherokee Country. Its gleaming tires made the pavement scream and its hood was wide open, gulping down dregs of the black Hinterland night. Its headlights glared hell's fires at anyone its way. The monster was spinning and thumping furiously, but Simon was already familiar with the beast and knew that it's license plate spoke volumes for its temperment. The Jeep, after all, was Mrs. Millers own personal steed and the tag on its front and back bumpers shouted the warning: "LIL BNDT"

LIL BNDT decided he was entitled to some senseless killing. He turned his ire one of the slower, rustier Nissans from the fleeing pack. This particular cripple had a flat tire, and very soon it had several more afflictions as the merciless Jeep opened its hood wider and ripped into the smaller car's tired back bumper. Making sure the car was in massive pain, LIL BNDT then pounced on another gimp, but his rider -- barely noticable on the back of Satan's pet -- slapped the vehicle's cracked driver's window while still holding on for dear life to the frame.

"That's enough! I know you can kill like a maniac. Do you have to keep proving it to me?"

Amazingly, the truck stopped its bloody hunt and rolled to a slow stop in front of Simon, tame as a taxi cab.

LIL BNDT's rider was an older gentleman. He was dressed in the traditional attire of Mrs. Miller's henchmen ... a double-breasted purple overcoat accompanied by a too-large helmut. Unlike Hinterland's soldiers, the rider looked positively human in his getup. His face was laconic as he fixed his eyes on Simon, who stood at LIL BNDT's flank.

"Hello." His tone spoke a monologue.

"My mom's not coming to get me, Cyril?" Simon didn't try to disguise his relief.

"Don't fret too much." Mrs. Miller's faithful right hand man stroked his trim black whiskers, his thoughts elsewhere. "She's busy with other matters, so she sent me and LIL BNDT to pick you up. And Madame Miller has custody over you this weekend, so don't even think about running off and raising a ruckus with those damnable yard apes in Widerstand."

"I won't," Simon grumbled, plishing a puddle in front of him with one of his sneakers.

"Sensible boy. Now get on. Madame's waiting." Cyril extended a gloved hand. Simon reluctantly grasped the lambskin and allowed himself to be hauled onto LIL BNDT's roof. No one would risk riding inside the Jeep, who revved sharply and shuddered with murderous anticipation when he detected the extra weight. Cyril thumped him and expelled a bark or two until he sullenly complied and started west at an amiable roll. Simon had nothing more to say to Cyril. He merely sat as he was whisked past the warped landscape. The boy caught sight of a black Sanyo television set sprawled out on a tree branch, its deadly power cord dangling and twiching as it regarded Simon with a fleeting urge to nosh. It was a passing fancy, and the set soon dimmed its screen as its fast-moving prey became too much of a hassle to think about.

Simon had entered Hinterland, and not for the last time.