High Octane

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Chapter 18- Fate

Hugo looked out towards the horizon which spanned before him. The sun was scorching- producing a quivering mirage across the hot, pink sky. It was setting slowly- descending into the depths. The Dead Zone’s sands blew furiously, like always, scattering clouds of dust and grit across the pink horizon- like little stars across a moonlit galaxy. The wind sung quietly in Hugo’s ears- nature’s attempt to quell his fears, regrets, and pains.

“How do I die, then?“, the boy asked with a pained voice. Ephemeral tears dripped upon the stone he knelt on, before being turned to wispy steam- like a burning soul gone in the wind. His defeated eyes were casted down to the floor. He had given up all hope. He had no choice but to face death.

“We’ll do it my way. By my culture.“, Mr Voodoo responded- pulling out a handle from his jacket pocket. With the push of a button, a katana blade extended from it with a sharp, piercing, echoing sound of its serrated edge rubbing against the handle. It shone in the light like a shooting star carving a path through the void of space. The edge had been sharpened upon the finest whetstone, to the point where it whistled as it sliced through the air- as if cutting through atoms. Krypto and Natasha turned their backs. They didn’t want to witness the death of a former family member.

Hugo spoke no words. The only thing on his mind was Lillian. The woman he loved. The only one he loved. More ephemeral tears rolled down his face and onto the rocks below. He had betrayed her for this. This was his punishment. Punishment for breaking a heart. Karma for betrayal.

The two souls, bound by fate, divided by one’s betrayal, now stood upon the mountain. The gentle breeze betraying the storms within their hearts.

Voodoo raised the blade. Edge glinting in the light. He looked upon Hugo for the final time. Voodoo braced himself. Tensing and closing tearful eyes beneath the helmet. He held the blade high. Hugo awaited his fate. Breathing heavily- as if meditating. For moments which seemed like agonizing hours. Days, even.

Voodoo’s grip began to loosen underneath the tension. His arms shook wildly. Muscles fiery and quivering madly.

Until he threw the blade into the valley below.

He fell to his knees. Hugo turned to look down at the defeated warrior before him. The one whose eyes were casted down. Hands grasping at the floor weakly.

“I... can’t...“, the man began with an incredibly shaky and faltered voice. “I can’t... kill you.“, he continued. He did not stop looking upon the dusty sheet of rock which he knelt upon. No blood had to be spilled upon them. They did not have to be tainted with Hugo’s blood. His innocent blood.

“Why not?“, Hugo asked quietly between heavy breaths of relief.

“You’re family, Hugo. I... can’t kill family. It’s... dishonourable. Besides, why should you die?“, Voodoo explained, “I’m... sorry. For even trying”. He appeared completely defeated and broken- as if his soul had gone with the breeze- burning up in a storm. Hugo had taught him a lot; the kid held a certain wisdom which ticked in Voodoo’s mind. Hugo held the good heart he didn’t have. Or the one he lost. Hugo’s heart was pure; Voodoo’s had been tainted. Tainted due to corruption, crime, and extorsion. All for what? Money, prestige, respect? The alluring promise of these things had cut Voodoo’s ties with what mattered most: helping others. And family. Doing good, with family.

The two stood up together. Little words were needed. Natasha and Krypto had turned back around. They simply admired the scene before them- as if it had been written by a wonderous playwright. The two smiled vastly. Tears welling up in their eyes.

“You’ve made me realise that your betrayal was because of a promise. A promise to your girl to be good. Why should you die over that, choom? You’ve done no harm to us.“, Voodoo explained with a smile from beneath the helmet.

“I kinda screwed up your job, though!“, Hugo responded with a wholesome chuckle. Voodoo paused for a moment- laughing, too.

“Okay, you owe us for that one! But that aside, you’ve made me realise my own... corruption, per say. I’ve realised the impact of my actions. How they... hurt others”, Voodoo began- deeply self-reflecting. Hugo looked at him with hopeful eyes. Voodoo placed a weak hand upon the boy’s shoulder. Hugo felt the man’s eyes deadlock with his.

“From this day on, the Ghosty Boys... are gonna cease all of our illegal shit. No more shady deals with big leaguers. No more chop shops. None of that”, Voodoo promised. “We’ll work to encourage legal street racing. Besides, we’ve got enough money! And the people will listen to us!“, Voodoo continued. Now, lemme tell you; that promise was whole-hearted, un-equivocated, and 100% genuine. No lies, no double-crossing, no bluffs. Just honest truth.

All that really mattered to everyone was that their family was whole again. The Ghosty Boys were back in full swing. Albeit a different kind of swing, I suppose.

United as one, behind one cause, behind one strong leader. With the troubled past behind them and forgotten.

Like a ghost gone in the wind.

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