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Ashes to Ashes

Dodge Davis hadn’t shaved in at least a week, reeked of liquor, and smelled a hell of a lot like the petting zoo. His extracurricular activities were obvious. He seemed pretty agitated at the moment. Had he ever known a mood other than this? I couldn’t be sure, but I was sure that soon he’d never be in any kind of mood again. He dove at me and I hopped back out into the hallway. I brought some fun toys along and supposed that the time had come to use them. First up: pepper spray! Tsssss! I sprayed it right into his eyes and his hands sprung up to cover his agonized face.

“I don’t play fair.” I took a stun gun out of my pocket with my other hand. “Zap!” The stun gun and I cheered at the same time. It hit him right between his neck and shoulder, sending him stumbling backward. He fell flat on his ass just inside of his room.

“Fucking psychopath!” Scéléra ran toward me. Veia had taken a shotgun from Davis’ gun rack. The gun wasn’t loaded, but that didn’t matter. Smack! She bludgeoned him in the back of the head with the gun, knocking him nearly unconscious. Then she ran toward the hallway.

“Woo! Cat fight!” She screamed ad ran through the doorway to meet Scéléra in the hall. It was kind of funny. Scéléra didn’t stand a chance. “Time to play, baby!” This was a dream come true, literally. The only other place I had ever seen them fighting was in a few of my best dreams.

“Okay, let’s play.” Scéléra turned and ran in the opposite direction, back down the hallway and toward the staircase. Veia could easily beat her in a fight, but Scéléra was faster. With the number of armed hillbillies on the floor underneath us, this was a very unfortunate thing indeed. They would soon be alerted.

As Scéléra neared the staircase Veia threw the unloaded shotgun as hard as she could into the back of her head. Thunk! It did the job well. Scéléra’s now unconscious body fell face first all the way down the stairs…this wasn’t good at all. Everyone below was about to see their boss’ bottom bitch roll down the steps. Veia sprinted back into the room where Davis and I still were.

“Shut and lock the door.” Right before she closed it shut, the unusually heavily armed super-guard came into view at the top of the staircase. He was sure to be followed by others.

“Okay,” she began. “Do we kill him now or use him as a hostage?”

“Maybe we’ll do both. Take the blanket off his bed and wrap him up like a mummy.” I grabbed an unloaded rifle from his gun rack and tossed it over to her. “Hit him with this when he complains.” Now how would I proceed with the almost late Mr. Davis?

I walked over to the small dresser next to his bed and opened the top drawer. It was as easy to find as I hoped it would be. A foot long bowie knife rested peacefully in a leather sheath right in the middle. Splendiferous. I picked it up and removed the cover. The thing was sharp, perfect for killing and skinning the animals after he was finished with them in the petting zoo. That must’ve been its former function. It would come in handy.

“You think I would fuck you?” Veia asked once she made him into a confederate mummy. “Sure, I’ll fuck you, Mister Man. It just won’t be in a sexual sense.” Hmm, where had I heard that before? I knew that I had. I heard it in a church somewhere…

“More death is on the way that you anticipate. Be ready to face it.” Shadowshade’s news didn’t sound very good to me.

“Some people are just silly, Veia.” I walked back over to the two of them with the knife in hand. “They believe so very many things that just make no sense at all. I suppose they can’t be blamed. They just don’t have the mental ability to exist outside of an immobile false reality.” Konk. Konk. Konk. Oh dear! The guard was at the door now.

“Come out now or we’ll bust the god dang door down, ya hear? We got ten of us! You only got two of y’all. We’ll bust the damn door apart and blow ya right the fuck away unless ya get yer asses out here right quick-like.” Really? No…he was mistaken. It wasn’t going to happen quite like that.

“Mr. Davis is my hostage, you see. That means that if you knock on this door again, I’ll shove the knife in my hand as far as it will go into his neck. I’ll start right at the Adam’s apple. Do you want to see Dodge Davis dead?” There was no reply. Maybe I had bought a few minutes.

“Alright sir,” I said quietly enough so that the people outside couldn’t hear me. “You’ve done a bit of damage to my life and the lives of my friends. Hell, you even killed some of them. You’re going to have to learn the hard way that you just can’t do that to me. I’m unstable, just ask my old psychologist. Now you get to see what happens when you fuck with me. Don’t worry, I won’t murder you. I’ll just kill you. It isn’t really murder when you deserve it. I’m just helping karma along.”

I grabbed the blanket and cut out a hole for his head with the knife. He didn’t seem to be doing very well, but he was moving again very slowly. I placed the cool silvery metal tip of the knife against his Adam’s apple just like I had promised. I wouldn’t end him yet, we’d have a little foreplay first. I stabbed the knife about half of an inch into his neck. It was just like cutting butter, only there was blood.

“Fuck!” He screamed. Thwack. Veia smashed him in the nose with the butt of her rifle.

“You’re being too loud. It’s annoying me!” I agreed, it really was pretty annoying. Once again, he was only slightly coherent. I liked him better that way. Bang. Bang. Bang. The killer hillbillies were trying to break down the door.

“What the hell are you doing to him, you stupid shit?” A guard yelled. He had chosen his words poorly.

“‘Stupid shit’…how many times have you heard that, hmm? There seems to be some unanimity among most of those you often find yourself around. Just some food for thought.” Shadowshade spoke what I was thinking.

“You have violated the terms of our agreement!” I called back to him. “The rule was that you would not beat on the door. I suppose some agreements are meant to be broken, so I shall reciprocate!” I was sure the men outside had no idea what I meant by ‘reciprocate’, but they were about to find out. When I shoved the knife into Dodge’s neck this time, it went in about five and a half inches deeper than before. This had a much nastier effect. He began to choke to death on his own blood and I knocked him over onto the floor so he could die.

“You wanted this, Dodge. You wanted a challenge. You wanted people to fight you so you could prove that you’re unstoppable. You’re an arrogant machismo prick. Everyone can be stopped if the odds shift against them, even me. It seems that you got too sure of yourself, Mr. Davis. Sleep tight.” Thonk. Thonk. Thonk. The door wasn’t going to last much longer. They were coming in. Davis would be dead in only a few seconds, but what would we do now? How would we make it out alive?

“Should we try to jump out of a window?” Veia walked over to the window against the back wall, but a guard was standing on the ground outside. We were completely surrounded. Bleow! He fired a gun at her, but she had already ducked back inside.

“We’re screwed,” we said at the same time. There wasn’t a way out of this one. At least we had succeeded in killing the bastard. Peow! Peow! Blam! Blam! What the hell was going on? The man on the ground was still shooting at something, much faster than he had been before. The blasts continued to grow louder and more frequent. He had to be shooting at someone on the ground, but who was it?

I ran over to the window and peered down at the scene below. The guard was dead. Then it happened…a barrage of gunfire began both in the hallway outside the door and on the floor underneath us. I hoped it wasn’t the police. That wouldn’t make our situation better at all. It continued for at least ten minutes before slowly dying down. There was still the occasional ‘Crack!’ of gunfire but it seemed that whatever happened had come to an end.

“Let’s go see what there is to see.” I opened the nearly destroyed door. It came off of its hinges completely and crashed into the hallway ahead of us. The tarnished cream colored hallway walls were now soaked in blood. What the fuck had happened here? Five or six of the hillbillies were lying dead on the hallway floor. A few others lay dead alongside of them. Wait…I knew these other people. They were Heffalump’s guys. “Shit!” I rushed to the end of the hallway. “Shit! Shit!” There was the great Heffalump Woozle, just as dead as his rival in the other room.

“Oh my god.” Veia came up behind me. Bleoow! Another shot went off downstairs.

“Come on.” I quickly ran down the stairs to become a part of the commotion. The super-guard was back at his post at the bottom of the stairs, but his back was turned toward me. Kaboom! He seriously did have a grenade launcher. It blew apart most, if not all of the petting zoo along with the animals therein. I managed to catch a glimpse of a Guinea pig as it flew, in many separate pieces, landing somewhere behind the bar. Some kind of animal part also splattered all over the front door. What a mess! PETA would’ve shat themselves if they had been there.

Someone was standing amidst the rubble of the petting zoo too. It was a girl with snow white hair…Vera! How was she still standing after having been blasted with all that shrapnel? She took something shiny out of her pocket and flung it with tremendous force toward the grenadier. Thunk. It caught him right in the forehead, just like David and Goliath.

It was a throwing star that immediately began to emit neon multicolored fumes. He and Vera fell to the ground at the same time. God damn it. As I ran toward the bestiality room, someone jumped up from behind the bar. Thankfully I knew him. He was in the Woozle Crew, which I guessed would now have to be called something else.

“That was just chloroform. He isn’t all the way dead,” the guy said to me. A chloroform throwing star? She must have gotten it online. Blang! Blang! Bang! Blamn! Shots echoed over and over behind us. What now? I jumped behind the bar to take cover. Lying next to me was Mal. He wasn’t breathing. Everyone I knew was going away. My life was being torn completely apart. They were all gone. How could this be happening? How?

“He’s dead now!” Veia was standing over the dead super-guard’s body, which she had just unloaded all of the rounds left in Heffalump’s pistol into. I was really turned on, in spite of all my friends lying dead on the floor. The ordeal was finally over, hopefully. The three of us rushed into the petting zoo and found Vera. She was doing no better than Mal. Her white hair was stained blood red in many places like a wig that might be seen on Halloween, only the blood stains were real.

“Mal…” She exhaled for the last time. I was distraught, broken, but I knew she wouldn’t have wanted to live without Mal anyway.

“It’s okay to be upset, Tristan.” Veia hugged me as tightly as she could, in a room that was now filled with corpses.

“They were my only real family. It’s all gone now, all of it…”

“You still have me. I like you even more than I did that day at the school. You’re Ivan now. I’ve gotten addicted to Ivan the Terrible.” I was glad that someone wanted me. I didn’t like Ivan very much at the moment. I stared off into space, beginning to dissociate, shutting down.

“You must experience this, friend. It will be the fire that you need to endure what lies ahead.” Shadowshade seemed to have found some silver lining.

“Come on, Your Foppiness. Let’s go outside.” Veia brought me back. “There’s no reason to keep looking at all of this and we definitely can’t be hanging out here when the polices arrive.” She was right.

The last surviving member of the Heffalump Crew decided to stay behind, probably to loot some of the bodies. We went through the hole where the front door used to be and ventured out into Trippytree Forest. I named it so because of all of the zany shapes of its ethereal trees. As we walked through the forest, I paused for a moment to look back at the massacre. I was not prepared for what I saw. Not even close.

Scéléra…I had assumed that she ran away, but she had not. She was hanging by a rope tied around her neck, from one of the small second-story windows. Just like that, all of the people who I had spent the entirety of my adult life with were gone…all on the same night. Veia turned around. She could see her too.

“Oh, god…you know, don’t you?” All she had to do was look in my eyes to know the answer to that.

“Yes. She and the other two inside, Mal and Vera, all of us were roommates for quite a while. They helped Scéléra and I run away from home. They’re all gone now.” I couldn’t blame her though. I wanted to be hanging from the window alongside her.

“We should go,” Veia suggested.

“Where will we go? I have an apartment, but I’ll probably lose it in about two months now that Heffalump is gone.”

“Well I don’t have a place to live at all. I’m a gypsy. Let’s go to the apartment while we still can. Do you mind if I stay?” Of course I didn’t mind. I wanted her to stay. I desperately needed her to stay. If she left right now I would implode entirely.

“Of course I don’t mind. If you left right now I would implode entirely.”

“Oh? Well it feels good to know that I keep you from caving in. You’ve been doing the same for me. I haven’t been on a suicidal bender in days. That’s a great accomplishment for me. We’ll have to sleep in the same bed. I always wanted to do that…we never had a chance.”

“We’ve lost everything but each other, but we can still make it…I think. Come with me and we shall try.” As we neared the road I noticed that my car was blocked in by the ones that arrived after us.

“I found the keys to this car. Let’s take it.” Veia walked over to the black Crown Vic.

“I agree. I like this car much more than mine.” I opened the doors and we climbed inside.

“I’ll drive there,” she asserted. “You’re still in shock. It’ll be okay, this thing has GPS.” It did. I already knew this. Did she know that I had ridden in this car before? This was the very same car that carried Scéléra and I away from Normalville. No matter. I was sitting in the passenger’s seat and would eventually be driving. I had always sat in the back before. I was moving up in the world. The Crown Vic left the Tonky-Honk and the purple Chrysler 300 and drove off into the night as it had so many nights before. Tomorrow would be a new day… a new life altogether.

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