Smoking in the girls room

It’s a night of celebration in the land of Liberation as the Museum Gala kicks off!
Light surrounds the Capitol burning the skyline and creating artificial halos for all the arriving angels. The Tiffany District is empty tonight.
Everyone who is anyone is here and anyone who is part of everyone is watching. Whether at home, or clapping in the crowd, the bodies parade for your amusement. Always abiding.
Beyond the carpet and all the exploding flashes the elite wait, the most voyeuristic of all, observing the celebrities’ arrival in luxurious comfort. They sit in the main hall, tables adorned with delicate pastries and, of course, this year’s wine. Compliments of the Nation’s artisans. As with everything at any of the years events-the Nation provides.
We arrive with the bluest of the red bloods, the creme de la creme if you will, our blond bombshell: Victoria. Though tonight she has no name. Her limousine is a generic black car, and her arrival goes wholly unnoticed and woefully unappreciated. She can see the stars touring the carpet from where she stands. She can even see the backs of all their fans-how quaint. She smirks, thinking of the fun. Pearl pink lips twitch she’s loving the feel of tonight. Her outfit a tribute to a more entertaining kind of worship and a more entertaining sounding time. She revels in it. Her blue eyes filled with the glamour of it all, her body tightly wrapped in white lace from the neck down, her fingers gloved as well. A true vision of grace with gold locks framed by a chapel veil, everything fitting to theme.
The night’s events are in full swing when she enters. The drinks are flowing and the music is intoxicating. Everything is adorned to please the eye and invoke the feeling of Dark Age worship. It’s beautifully gaudy with a hint of Peregrinus decadence.
The well bred District folk are all adorned in wearable fashions mimicking the appearance of the faithful throughout time: many in veils-like our girl, holding rosary beads, crosses, stars, and the like. Patterns, textures, and colors vary wildly creating candy for the eye and too much sugar for the mind. Though, the most gilded in room are those dressed by the designers themselves. Visions of angels and paintings, even a sculpture of old. Dead. Lost images brought back to life in their gowns and tuxedos. The Gala centers on watching these individuals as they display themselves, everyone smiling, drinking, laughing and applauding.
Moving through the celebration she recognizes so many faces, so many people, some you could even call family, but they don’t see her-why should they?
Keeping a glass close to her chest she sips red wine, searching. Adjusting designer eyewear she waits. She is here for something, someone, specific. Her gloved fingers move down the flute as a gaggle of actresses walk past her, giggling and pointing. Each likened to a cherub though the silk reveals no purity, their gowns more for accent than anything else.
“Hm?” curious eyes follow their lead to a well heeled young lady in the midst of composing herself, cheeks flush ever so slightly, eyes wet, but head high. She’s made up as a lost world queen. Her dress: the kind that exaggerates the hips and bust with all the wrong colors, but that’s not why they’re laughing. Victoria smiles faintly poor thi-
“HA!”
The outburst of laughter is stifled by bare hands covering delighted mouth. The group of actresses stop moving, each hushing one another while trying to stifle their own laughter. Tables of guests turn their attention on them, but they don’t notice. Of course not. They can’t feel the stares or maybe, maybe they like them. It really doesn’t matter they don’t see them anyways.
The original offender breathes deep, “Oh! Ha-”
Another burst of laughter is stifled before they continue towards the restrooms, with the mass slowly returning to center. Judgements are past, but rarely seen as just displayed-some things never change.
The subject of their amusement keeps her chin high as they make their exit. Her breathing is steady though her lower lip whimpers-just so. A picture of well bred naivety, and very effective socialization. Victoria sighs sparing the girl another set of prying eyes, instead following the gaggle.
Her heels nearly glide on the plush red flooring. She sets her drink down on an end table in a fluid stride. Our angel baby’s got that predator smile as gloved fingers play at her sides, the corners of her mouth twitch as she reaches the restroom door.
The entrance is a deep blue no accents or highlights, just a deep blue door, with dark grey smoke escaping it’s bottom-how quaint. She grins that wild grin, cheeks framed by blonde locks and veil-time for the fun. Her pearl pink lips curl as she enters the room. Removing the eggshell chapel veil she breathes deep the second hand cheap.
“Hello ladies!” All teeth. The room goes silent. “Oh, come now, you’re all going to be so-so-so… lame?”
Everyone takes a drag of their cigarette, dead eyes on our pious princess.
“Yeah, yeah you are,” she sighs as three women, two of which are dressed in Halloween grade angel gear, make for the exit. She’s about to open her lips, to say something clever, then Victoria sees her. Her eyes go black.
“Everyone who wants to live follow their lead,” gloved finger points toward the exit, nobody moves. Shaking her head, eyes fixed on the prize. She’s not up to repeating herself. Cracking her neck, her eyebrow twitches, she’s hungry.
“Get out weirdo,” some shrill model demands. She’s in a tight dress completely unthemed her voice would normally induce violence, but Victoria’s hearing has ceased.
“Did you-What the fuck-Are you-” the girl dares to continue almost grabbing the blonde, but a frighten bystander grabs her before she can do anymore harm.
Victoria reaches her mark: another tall, beautiful, blond. Though, this one comes from a bottle. She’s dressed similarly to Victoria, though this bitch is in black, and the plunge in the front is inherently bland. Our girl’s wanted this one for a very long time she’s always hated orange tickets-especially her type.
“So, you think you’re strong?” Victoria’s voice is soft but throaty. Her eyes narrow as the room shifts uncomfortable with the new energy.
“Get the fuck out of my face,” the mark replies. Her green eyes shaking. She’s terrified, almost like she knows, “Seriously, get the fuck out. Someone call for security.”
Everyone’s listening, but no one moves. They can’t, they’re all frozen, and no one is sure why. It’s like they all know, and they just don’t want the fight.
The green eyed vixen waves her hand in front of Victoria’s face shifting to a more dominant stance. She doesn’t even know she’s made a mistake. No, this body thinks she can act and edge is her number one seller. Or, so she thought.
Our sweet vision in white grins wider, her eyes going round with delight as the mark brings her cigarette back to red colored lips.
Too quick to notice our girl lunges forward.
“Let’s see,” with one hand she pinches the green eyed girl’s nose shut and with the other Victoria covers the victims mouth. Cigarette and all-locked in tight.
“Let’s see how strong you are.”
Green eyes are wide, she’s struggling, grabbing at Victoria’s wrist, as her soon to be killer laughs. In that instant the room empties, everybody in hysterics. She doesn’t know she’s made a mistake.
“You don’t seem very strong. You should know how to get free, there’s a way, a few. It’s all quite easy,” Victoria snickers. Barely working at holding the orange ticket to the wall. “No? Hmm? Guess not. Pathetic, really,” tears well, deepening the green of her victims eyes, “It’s really, really pathetic. You don’t even seem to want to live.”
The actress is choking. She would really like to breathe now, but if she could do that she’d be screaming, “I do! I do want to live!”
Her throats on fire, but this isn’t over yet.
“You know, you’ll never be more than a clown. A puppet on stage for everyone to laugh at. You think, you actually believe you’re human, but you aren’t. None of you are,” Our girl laughs, the hyena peaking out, “You exist to dance for my amusement,” Victoria’s gloved hand lifts ever so slightly introducing a taste of oxygen to the mix. She screams, eating the flames as they form.
“So dance.”
The green eyed girl struggles, weakly at best. Victoria
takes a slow breath, watching her life fade, almost bored. The body goes limp and our girl lets it fall to the floor. The restroom’s plush purple carpet now gaudily adorned.
Victoria takes a moment to replace the veil, straightening it just so, before she exits.
Her entrance back into the Gala goes wholly unnoticed and woefully unappreciated. As security rushes the restroom the once frozen gaggle is now fully mobile, crying, and recounting their harrowing survival.

Emerald City

“Sam?” Graphic asks as Wicked says.
“Friendly mutations?”
Somehow FREAKS sounds less offensive. She finally dusts the rubble from her hat and coat as she stands getting her chance to really examine their new discovery. There is life beyond the wall, not just on the coast, not just beyond the ocean-you can fucking breathe out here!
He’s tall, blonde and lanky. Wearing a peculiar leather jumpsuit, faded blue with a faded yellow sun on the right breast.
“Yeah, I mean… sorry…uh what-”
“Back home they call us FREAKS,” Graphic laughs popping to her feet, “Where you from?” she’s moving on, she doesn’t care and never really has-just labels right?
“uh-oh um well I’m headed to-”
Wicked interrupts, “Come from, where’d you come from?“ she doesn’t like new people. Sometimes, they end up being Graphic.
He takes offense even though he should understand he’s been in The Barren long enough.
“Is that really important? The past and al-”
“Past is who we are, so-who are you?”
As the exchange is made Graphic looks from one to the other her expression round and happy. She loves meeting new people, especially with Wicked.
He sighs and shakes his head this particular encounter doesn’t seem worth it, but looking at the girls
“California,” the sound is dry. He’s waiting for the reaction thinking-here it comes.
“What’s California?” the girls both say in unison Graphics head tilted, Wickeds brow furrowed.
His jaw drops. Californians think they’re so special.
“What do you mean-What’s California?-It’s California: sunny, our door is always open.California:the globe’s one time longest running super power-California,” his shoulders shrug and face scrunches, he’s frustrated, this isn’t the first time he’s had this discussion.
They look at each other before Wicked’s eyes light up.
“Oh do you mean the Nation of the Western Coast?”
He sighs again, another stupid name.
“Seriously, Nation of the Western Coast? That’s worse than Lost Kingdom of Angles, but yeah I think we’re thinking of the same pla-”
“Why’d you leave? Exile or something cri-”
“Technically it’s a crime to leave but,” he mumbles quietly and quickly, “Where are you two from? Always lived in The Barrens?”
Wicked has lost all interest. He’s alive, in The Dead Zone, and that’s about as much use she can see him being worth. Unfortunately, her doe eyed companion has other thoughts.
“No, we’re new here,” all smiles, like a puppy, “Where’d you say you were headed?”
The pair begin talking he says something about The Enclave, but that’s as much as Wicked overhears. She’s at a window now looking out into The Dead Zone, a place they were taught could not sustain life any longer. A dead, empty place. Our Liberated FREAK looks out in awe of the natural moon, painting the landscape the oddest blue. She breathes deep. The air still burns, but she likes it.
“Wicked!” Graphic squeals “We’re going to The Incline!”
“Enclave,” he corrects dryly watching her jump up and down.
“Enclave!”

They drew first blood

The sun glares down on the Marina District.
Something must be wrong with the HARP-Cass thinks as we join her on the journey home. She’s a mess, but no one seems to notice. Her hair under cap, her eyes forward, Frank always said hide in plain sight. So that’s what she’ll do. She walks, boots hitting the pavement in furious rhythm, not knowing what she’ll find. She tries not to race, but it’s difficult.
Turning the corner she sees it: her childhood home. Dad’s fossil truck still sitting in the driveway waiting for her. She stops. Everything’s suddenly cold though the sun burns her pale skin. The house. The truck. Swallowing hard she continues. The door knob freezes in her hand-it’s open. Jaw clenches as she walks in. The air is stale, the walls tremble.
“Mom? Dad?” if something’s waiting for her the last thing she needs is a jump scare. No answer.

Living room-clear.

Kitchen-clear.

Den-clear.

She heads upstairs, bypassing all safety checks, nearly running to their room.
“Mom? Da-” she gasps, covering her mouth.
Her parents lay in each others arms unmoving, their chest don’t rise, and their lips are blue. Tears don’t build. No, our girl has cried them all. The truth is she knew. She’d hoped not coming here immediately would save them, she knew better. Crossing herself, she doesn’t bother to question what if. Cassi simply closes her eyes and says goodbye.
Breathing in stale air she opens her eyes finally noticing the paper in her dad’s hand. It’s a newspaper, The Liberation Times, a paper he stopped reading years ago. The headline reads: Mother Mary Lives! mother and wife murders husband and infant daughter. Their family picture as the image.
“Frank…” she pauses running a black nail across his visage, “you bastard, you Goddamn bastard.”
Throwing the paper down a broken picture frame catches her eye. Her baby photo has been ripped, the corner pulled out just slightly. Instinctually she tears it open turning the photo around revealing her mother’s scribbled handwriting-They’re coming Cassidy. Know we love you. We know the truth. Let the world think you’re dead.
The Grey can read between the lines, see the men enter her parents home, and the struggle. Her father gave her mother time.
“Sorry Mom. Dad,” she knows they meant well, “I just can’t do that,” but some girls just don’t learn.
Sirens sound.
It’s time to leave, but not without a little departing gift. Our girl is like Santa Clause pulling coal right from her sack.
These boys in blue won’t know what hit’em.
Or,
well,
blew them up.

Second chances and explosives

We find ourselves in silence Cassandra holding her breath-they’re everywhere. Closing her eyes she can hear him don’t move, stay down, and click the button. He had that stupid grin on his face the one he wore when he thought he was being clever. Without opening her eyes she clicks the button and exhales. Slowly opening her eyes she waits-don’t move be patient.
Her lips twitch she has all the time in the world. You just gotta remember people are people-especially at work. These guys, they won’t see you. It’s not like a movie. They’re trained, but bored.
Off in the distance she sees the chaos, the smoke black as night filling the air, and sirens, sirens everywhere! Her heart is pounding a bush and they won’t see a thing-hide in plain sight. Don’t complicate things-that’s how you live, how you survive, how you-
Footsteps get closer-two men. Probably Impact she thinks-a very good assumption. If they look closer, they’ll see her-they won’t.
“All clear over here.”
They don’t.
He’s behind her a few steps to her right almost parallel to her feet. She slows her breathing counting between each breath, fighting the urge.
“Yup.That bitch probably burned in the crash,” another agent responds, he’s parallel to her head. One long stride he’d step right on her face.
“Let’s keep at it. I don’t want to get mixed up in that,” he’s gesturing to the smoke, but she can’t see, “They sent out the big guns.”
“I hear you let’s go back to the wall, catch the end of the games” his partner interrupts, they’re already moving.
She keeps still. She’s got time. She’s got plans. Listening to them radio in the all clear before fading into the distance she sighs, but does not move. Lips painted black grow wide across her cheeks, she’s thinking retribution, she’s thinking vigilante justice. Vision of red paint her eyes over the smoky horizon.
“They’ll pay-they’ll all pay,” her words form breaths, making no sound.
Earlier today Bloody Mary thought she’d meet her maker. Turns out a lady with guns is much harder to kill. Black lips twitching she revels in second chances. She’s seething for vindication and thanks to Frank-The Widow Castillo is prepared to punish them all.

Sharp dressed man

Butch is putting on her shades after fixing up her tie-looking sharp.
Baby will be pleased.
Stoic face flashes a grin firing finger pistols at the mirror with a-heh heh. She exits the bathroom quickly maneuvering through the narrow hallways of her family’s apartment holding her breath. Butch doesn’t want to be seen-can’t take a conversation. Mei is in the closet, she won’t be back until sometime tomorrow. Besides-Polly’s waiting.
Reaching the front door she exhales, catching the soft sound of Jade’s singing in the kitchen, and the scent of dumplings. Butch’s stomach rumbles as she turns the knob slipping away without a sound.
Once to the sidewalk Polly squeals.
“Butchy!” flinging arms and legs around shoulders and waist she takes in her scent, “You ready?” her voice is like candy, the kind that pops on your tongue. Little Miss Pocket is down for some fun as her feet hit the cement once again.
“Always,“ Butch grabs her lady by the hip and the two begin walking down the quiet street.
They haven’t discussed what they’re doing, but both figured the night would have it’s way-It always does.
What a sight our ladies are tonight! One three piece suit, one hot pink dream. Butch looking like a bluesy brother and Polly in a velvet number that would make a grown man squeal. The grin on Butch’s face let’s you know she’s savoring every moment, pulling her Pocket closer she pretends reality melts away.
The wind blows more than a breeze-the girls are in the first boulevard where apartments become houses and those houses are rather large. Another soft gust and something’s caught Polly’s attention, her nose twitches, her eyes follow the scent.
“Butch baby, do you see what I see?“ her freckled cheeks rise as her smile reaches ear to ear.
Following her eye line Butch sees a house, a house in the middle of the street. A pretty place all closed up for the night, a pretty place without a porch light.
With a smirk, “That I do my pretty, that I do.”
They begin walking their footsteps silent, and as they reach the driveway they separate. Polly heading forward, Butch taking the back-as usual. Tucking her shades into her chest pocket she spots the back gate. Every neighborhoods the same: reach over, pull up, the locks gives-no fuss. Once in she closes it silently behind her-this girl’s practiced.
The backyard is nice. One of those sweet promises fulfilled: a pool, garden, patio, and all. She breathes slowly reaching the backdoor-two bills it’s open-and so it is. She slips in.
Her ears twitch immediately. Polly’s in already heading up the staircase. Smiling she takes in the scene, no real need to rush. She’s in the kitchen, it’s modern day, fully stocked-good pick. With a grin and a flash she pulls her piece striking a cop pose before,heh heh,clearing the area. She’s moving with purpose, weapon at the ready, but she’s alone.
No bedrooms, she frowns. The house is beautiful, five rooms downstairs, but no sign of life. Silently she moves towards the stairs. There’s a thud Polly’s found a breather thump our suited heroine is on the move!
Reaching the top she meets a robed woman before she can scream Butch covers her mouth. Pushing the woman to the floor, her piece to the woman’s temple-once, twice, three times for safety. The silence helps, but she drags the body along anyway. Finding Polly in the midst of pulling a gagged man’s eyes from his face-still breathing.
Her strawberry cutie turns to her all smiles, “Clear,” then turns back to her toy pulling the remains from his sockets.
Taking in the upstairs Butch spots what looks like a kids room. She doesn’t go in. She simply walks to the door and closes it. With an easy breath she shrugs-Polly woulda done them first.
Our b&e babes clean out the joint, pulling plan: Arson Investigator Gone Wrong, and setting the place a blaze.

Blessed are the mourning

Her eyes wide as green paints her vision everything in the rearview is green!
“Frank baby! I’m not coming yet!” her mouth waters, twitches, as hysterics break. “I’m gonna get them-I’m gonna burn every motherfucker down!”
Sirens escape the toxic cloud, the red and blue lights prompting swift action with a bellowing cackle she hits the kill switch. Like a symphony the full complement sores across the sky taking out everything in every direction unfortunate enough to be on path. It’s not enough. She barrels through the streets crashing over cars leaving a wave of chaos in her wake.
First responders don’t know what to do, The Impact crew is in hot pursuit, and The Force seems to enter out of nowhere!
“Chase me motherfuckers! Chase me!” like a banshee she wails, her vision red.
Cassi wants them all. Our mourning mother is gonna blow the whole damn Nation up as her war truck reaches the district border. Letting out another cackle she hits the front artillery and the wall comes crashing down.
There’s a cost this time as several tires blow setting the truck to swerve. Keeping one hand on the wheel she grabs her pack.
“Let the games begin-let the fucking games begin!“
The truck veers off road barreling into the safe woodlands of the Harbor district. She locks the gas, grabbing the rosary off her rearview mirror before opening the door. In the distance ever closer she sees the next wall-it’s time.
Our girl pushes out of the cab as the timer finally pings her lips twitch into another hysterical fit-it worked-it all worked! Balling up before she hits the ground, rolling down the hillside, she escapes the final crescendo. The skies a beautiful display of fire like the Dark Ages 4th of July.
Mother Mary laughs continuing her descent, tumbling down, down, down.

Reactionary choices

“This is an awful idea,” Wicked groans as Graphic skips by her side.
The sounds of cars rushing by keeping her nice and tense. Our green lady tugs at her hat pulling the wide brim down with a sigh, was she glowing? Our girl is fearing pitch forks while Graphic just wants some fries.
Sticking her tongue out Graphic laughs.
“No, it’s a great idea-I don’t know why we don’t do this all of the time,” her stomach growls, “See? My stomach agrees.”
Wicked just shakes her head, watching her feet as two men in suits pass opposite them.
“I don’t know why I agreed to this-we’re supposed to be laying low,” she pulls up her gloves fidgeting all over, “Someone is going to notice” she growls, her green lips thinning as she bares teeth.
“You’ve got the money,” her companion says simply.
Her face immediately drops to a pout as Wicked stops short, gloved hands now balled fists, her green glowing eyes shining just under that wide brim.
“What!? You said it yourself it’s a waste to spend it down there,” she whispers the last words.
Wicked says nothing just continues forward, not wanting to admit, she’s just as guilty. The pair resume their walk just as before getting only a few steps before-boom.
The girls turn instinctively just in time to witness the short flight of what could only be an old militarily transport. Their eyes wide as the vehicle falls. Both backing up slowly hoping not to fall down with impact. Catching breath they can’t look away as tires fall on unsuspecting victims the red splatter almost art.
Everything slows then rapidly begins again as the truck barrels through the streets bulldozing everything in its path. The girls stand silent Wicked holding her hat down with one hand breathing steady. As they turn to begin their walk again, planes rise from underneath the now fallen building, cars-unmarked and police units alike fill the streets.
“Shit-shit-shit!” Wicked screams though in the roar of chaos her words melt away.
Units begin to race towards them, panic fills the space between them-they were supposed to be laying low. Without a second thought our Wicked witch throws her gloves off, hands glowing toxic, she flings all her panic at the cars. Green fumes permeate her flesh as the force released explodes knocking the planes out of the sky. Graphic grabs her underneath the arms propelling them into the air.
“Keep them off-I’ll get us out!” she’s laughing, but can see the fire. Our nameless little drifter knows the score-FREAKS burn.
She doesn’t respond as her glowing eyes keep focus on the streets below, the yellow man has taught her well, but is it enough?
Graphic flies above the city looking for a place to drop,but it doesn’t come. She can feel her friend grow limp, she can hear the stealth units on either side of her, and then her stomach growls.
“We’re fucked! Aren’t we?” Wicked laughs weakly. She’s falling asleep her green eyes no longer glowing.
Her stomach growls again. If they die Graphic doesn’t get fed-that’s unacceptable. With added gusto she pushes forward, eyes catching the dead zone.
“Maybe! But it won’t be here!”
The witch has already passed out practically snoring in her arms, but that’s probably for the best.
The stealth units halt as the pair fly passed the border walls, over the barbed wire, the red lights and the unmanned watchtowers.
Graphic’s smiling looking over her shoulder knowing they got away, not recognizing they were also falling out of the sky.

The basics

“Seriously boy, tell me, tell me what you thought was going to happen-you think it was gonna be all happiness and angel wings? That’s not how it works kid. Flesh and blood or not it never works out that way.”
Marty’s shaking his head wrapping his towel about his waste, the kids slow, but Marty knows he’s been through a lot. Still no bullshit.
“We don’t mix kid. For a reason. They’re up there for a reason-we’re there for a reason,” slapping the kids shoulder, he knows it stings, out of skin, everything hurts, “see the pattern?“
He sucks in air the slap burning through his body, but physical pain the kids made peace with
“Why-it was so good, she was, why her? I’m here why-”
Marty slaps him again old timers have no patience for feigned humanity.
“Kid, how was it gonna work? She’s a fucking angel, you’re a demon, come on-give me a break,” they enter the steam room, “you kids never listen and then this happens and you ask why me? Like you’re special-like you’re human. They pity us and we covet them. That’s how it works, but yeah you spend too many summers top side and suddenly-”
“You saying I didn’t love her? Is that what you’re saying?” the kids all fire, but a bleeding heart delusion is hard to let go of, “is that-”
“Sit down no need to waste a steam,” the kid sits. Marty has no patience, “That’s exactly what I’m saying, and she doesn’t love-”
Cupping head in hands he’s trying to contain himself, “Don’t say it, don’t you say it Marty!” he growls wondering why it hurts so much, pain dripping from his flesh.
“Alright kid, alright but it’s true-it can’t happen. We aren’t made for that, like I said we covet them, coveting isn’t love kid no matter how good it feels to hold. We ain’t human, you might drive fancy cars and sleep with mortal broads, hell you can fuck a fairy you ain’t ever going to meet the queen. You getting this? Any of it sinking in?“ he doesn’t want to be harsh, but he does, and it’s the truth so for Marty it’s a win win.
“It felt real, Marty, real. Everything else-”
“Wasn’t an angel. Wake up kid, angels, demons-why is this complicated?“ the beginnings of eternity is wrought with inflated self worth, “You kids, you always forget the basics. It’s nature, our nature to want what has been lost, a moment with an angel, it’s the closest a sorry sap like you will get to the gates. The Morning Star lost us grace, kiss of an angel.”
His eyes glaze over he’s still wearing his face, the look of pure desire, the human hunger not lust.
“Kid, how do you think fallen angels are made? You think it’s pretty? You got lucky. She went back to the fold, a little longer, one of you would’a changed. You think of that? That beautiful seraphim falling, falling all the way down, further than you know, further than I know, all that grace burning-in horrible fire, kid you got lucky,” he stops himself as the steam begins to paint the scene, torment always visible.
The kids shaking, he’s watching the show.
“Why? Why-”
“Don’t get worked up. It’s simple. They become corrupted, they turn their backs, hell sometimes they absolve us-that’s a real bitch. They basically damn themselves, never falling, but never rising again and the last thing they see of you? The embrace of the divine. That’s rare though, so much easier to fall.”
Marty looks to the kid, who’s still watching the steam it’s easy to see the more that he watches, the better it feels. The kids got contempt now.
“You’re gonna be fine, kid, you’re gonna be fine.”
Smiling the kid leans back hands behind his head.
“So what you’re telling me Marty, is that bitch could’ve stayed with me?”
The kid’s gonna be just fine.

Showfolk and FREAKS

Once again we’re with our wicked witch, she’s cackling. In a room full of green smoke, three girls sit before her screaming at one another.
Her eyes roll, “You’ve asked the questions-now pay for the answers” her voice is a deadly kiss, her glowing green eyes fixed on easy prey.
The middle of the trio throws bills on the table her face completely soured.
“Take it-just take it,” she stands abruptly pulling the other two with her their arms linked tightly.
Their chairs fall back: one, two, three, causing the middle to jump.
And the one to her right to scream, “I can’t fucking believe you!” her eyes fixed on the one far left.
“Me?! you-you’re never there for him!“ the victim of the glare wails her blue eyes bulging out of their sockets.
Wicked can take no more.
“You two! Money. Now.” She snarls pearly white teeth revealing themselves under her ever thinning patience.
Simultaneously the girls’ focus snaps to her direction. Glaring at our soothsayer, pausing a moment before shoving fists into pockets then, just like their friend, they throw crinkled bills on the table.
“Get out,” the witch demands with an on going cackle. One that accompanies the air as it cracks into a thunderous boom which forces the trio to flee in terror.
The door closes behind them with a slam leaving Wicked to count the bills, smiling-they overpaid.
Giggling, “That was good,” Fiona comes up from behind, her body sloshing as she reforms, “how’d you know that stu-”
Scoffing she interrupts, “I didn’t.”
She folds half the earnings, turning to the thunder and smoke with a smile, “It’s not my fault they’re awful people.”
Her companion takes her cut laughing in that odd aquatic way. The green lady sighs overheating in her shoes, skin greener than before, every trick adding another godawful shade. Not to mention the body heat.
Fiona shakes her head with a smile using her newly formed hand to shape more acceptable cheeks. She’s savoring the feeling of cash-beautiful currency! But she’s not convinced in her partners denial of skill.
“Okay, yes-no is that easy. The name, though? Like the girls dad?” she’s unusually hopeful, still giggling.
Breathing deep and smiling cheek to cheek.
“Let’s just say I surprised myself with that one.”
Both burst into laughter Fiona cursing as she hiccups, a bubble escaping her freshly minted lips. Popping the delicate sphere with a long sharp fingernail Wicked sighs contently.
“Seriously we gotta work together more often.”

How teddy bears are made

Today we catch our darling STEM touring the halls of The Colony. Not hers of course, but one of five. This particular tour is her invitation. Sixteen and ready to choose-will it be genetics?
She follows a hive injector marveling at what the introduction of honey bee had done to her eyes. It wasn’t new-oh no she’s seen this before. Every Colony has them, secretaries, created right here.
Genetics.
Her eyes are wide-it’s beautiful!
“So, miss-”
“STEM” the young girl interrupts adjusting her glasses as she moves to the left of her guide, eyes fixed.
The injector knows what she’s looking at-they all look! Who wouldn’t?
“Ah, yes, STEM,” she smiles. Her eyes all a flutter as she nods politely ,“So. STEM,” extending her arm she beckons forward, “as you can see our facilities are up to date with all Colony upgrades coming to us prior to any other location. I’m sure you are aware that this location is responsible for all Adapted like myself.”
Delicate, almost impossibly thin hands touch her chest as she fully faces her guest. To her displeasure the child is still fixated on her eyes, like all Honey Bee Adapted her eyes had grown and split forming into compound structures, unlike other Adapted they retained their color. Blue. Soft, ice blue-now in compound! Everybody stares.
“STEM, if I could redirect your attention to the workstations behind us you may-”
Moving closer to the guides face, uncomfortably so, the curious teen pushes her round glasses up pointed nose, examining.
“No, I’m not interested in anything behind you,” her face is dangerously close to the Injector’s right eye, “You’ve got to tell me about this. I’m curious. Have-”
“Miss!” she stamps her sensibly heeled foot almost losing her manners, “You are here to examine the facilities-not my eyes! And I would kindly ask you to respect my personal space,” her voice has its usual ever present tremble, but her annoyance is clear.
STEM shrugs taking a step back, “Look we wouldn’t be having this discussion if you’d show me something good. I really don’t want to see the Ticket masters, or the Adapters-everyone has seen the footage. Show me the labs.”
Our fiery colonist sighs. STEM knows where she’ll end up and it has way more explosions. She’s only really here because they told her to visit at least three facilities.
The Honey Bee is displeased-this is her favorite part! But this is not her tour and customer service is a must.
“Very well, follow me.”

STEM follows her down deeper into The Colony the glass elevator doors revealing floors of animal enclosures which the Injector explains is for breeding and conservation. Some of the species: spectacular colors, others hidden in exotic plants-wonders rarely seen outside these walls. The only perk it’d seem of choosing this life.
“You wanted something good, correct? Well this is something magical.”
The doors split open revealing not an animal enclosure, but what looked like a storage room. Grey and almost industrial looking. STEM is not pleased and it’s noticeable in her frown.
“Well don’t just stand there looking sour, come out and see,” she extends her arms, smiles wide, “This is where teddy bears come from!” her giggle is a vibrating buzz.
Round lenses gleam, “Teddy bears, you say?“
Inside the room she finds the walls are lined with metal boxes, each square numbered with rectangular slits at the top.
“Yes, those cute, cuddly companions introduced to us long, long ago by a dead president-created right here! Just open that slot.”
She’s standing next to STEM now almost to her shoulder.
“Just grab the tab and turn it to the left. I suggest 253-she’s the cutest!”
Taking one step forward and then another she inhales, deeply, slender fingers taking hold of the tab. She exhales, something doesn’t feel right. Sliding the tab with a shh and locking it into place with a clank she sees it, the teddy bear.

It’s
-her-
nose wiggles sniffing the fresh air.

STEM inhales sharply slamming the slot shut. The action elicits a wave of pathetic adorable moans originating from center, but fillingp the room in an instant. She jumps back bumping into the bee.
“Cute, huh?” she’s smiling, but our little lady is just frustrated.
“That’s a live bear? Like from before? In a box? You put a bear in a box?” STEM can’t help herself.
“Me? Oh no, I’m just a worker. No, but the toy makers do-that’s what we call them internally. Selective breeders handle the bears and when these little guys are ready-well they are just the most loving creatures.”
Our girl hates pointlessness.
“I’m done here,” Throwing her hands up she heads towards the elevator mumbling, “goddamned bears in boxes.“