Un chien andelou
A fat hand grabbed for a seafoam green office phone in the back of the shoe store. TJ took the phone out of the cradle and put it to his ear.
“Is that any way to greet me? ‘What’. I’m only looking out for your best interests and that’s the tone you take with me.”
“What do you want?”
“Ok well obviously there’s too much sand in your vagina for us to have a productive discussion. I’ll call back later when there aren’t zombie furfags crawling up your ass.”
“Wwwait, ok ok, cut me some slack here.”
“Ok ok, now that’s better, you know I’m really digging how this turned out. You two put on a great show, fat samurai on ice. That was really surprising. Like some real weeb shit. The drama, I laughed, I cried, some of it I’m not gonna lie, got me a little hard. That heartfelt moment you had a little while ago, truly boner-inspiring.”
“Can we move this along?”
TJ grit his teeth and said “Nothing”.
“Ok because I thought you were being crabby again, I mean I did reunite you with the fap of your life here.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“Oh come on, anyway, let’s get back on track here. Final goal or quest or whatever, this one’s an easy one.”
“let’s hear it”
“Cool your heels hotshot, I just need you to get up into the control centre of the mall. There’s a radio up there, just turn it on and I should be able to pick your signal, so it’ll be like you’re calling me for a change.”
“And then we’ll get you out of this mess, no problem.”
Evergreen made it to the roof through the service elevator. The chopper was already prepped, ready to take off. An aid came to his side with another jacket and he swapped it out for the torn one. The aid then took the old one away and handed him a cellphone. He took in his other hand as he got on the chopper with Rigby bundling in beside him sliding the door of the chopper shut.
“Out” Evergreen said cupping the phone.
“You what?” Rigby said as he just got comfortable.
“Loose ends” Evergreen said.
Rigby unbuckled his seatbelt in an indignant way and slid the door open muttering to himself. “Bloody zombie game show, absolute shite”. He got out and slid it shut behind him.
“It seems our towel headed friend made a move”
“You got under his skin it seems.”
“Hahaha, that’s what I do, I had no idea how much until now, caught me by surprise, I didn’t think he’d play his hand so soon.” A thoughtful breath. “After this he’ll have no choice but to act, that Lysander pussy included. No more games in the shadows, no more backroom bullshit or spying. They’ll have to face me in the light on my terms.”
“I hope you’re right” Evergreen said.
The call ended and he banged on the window for the pilot to start and the helicopter ascended and Evergreen dipped into the minibar.
It was relatively quiet in the mall now. Only the intermittent sound of it’s super structure crumbling and creaking. A few fires crackling, most of everything was dead or double dead. The mercs had pulled out about the same time as Evergreen had so it was almost as still as when they arrived. But that stillness is what set TJ’s teeth on edge. He tore out of the shoe store to look around.
“Sunday?! Sunday?!” He called.
“Yeah” A little voice said to left.
There she was, just like before. Standing in front of him dressed a little like she was trying to be little red riding hood or going to a toga party commando.
“Oh” He said, sounding a little deflated “What happened to that crazy girl?”
“She had to split- I guess?” She said raising an eyebrow as if she was asking a question to herself. “I guess she split, I can’t really think of anything better than that, it’s not like I get a script, fuck. Can we go now?”
“Er yeah.” TJ stammered.
Wings flapping, the sound of snow and grass crunching under foot, brush separating. An ice cold breeze and a strange a-tonal beeping noise.
A haggard figure looked back over the their shoulder down from their incline on the town slowly burning town. Muted gun shots and explosions, winding down into irrelevance.
He looked down at the strange device in his hand beeping and kept going up the hill following the sound of the beeps.
“What is that?” A little girl’s voice asked.
“Our way out” Carpenter croaked. He stumbled up the hill, holding onto the leaking hole in his shoulder. His back was soaked in blood and getting colder and colder by the minute.
“Is that it? It’s so weird” Laura said running into a clearing on the peak of the hill. “It’s like a pod, or an alien space ship.” She squealed touching the odd egg shaped pod with a windowed front, a parachute drapped behind it.
“Must have come down in this, might be a way to get back up, something coming to pick it up.” His breathing was shallow and laboured and visible in the cold. His limbs getting heavier and heavier. He smirked and said “All this trouble for little old me” He coughed and shook and grimaced at the pain in his shoulder.
He crunched the fresh sheet of snow in the clearing. The beeping intensified and when he was within a foot of the pod it shook it’s snow covering off like fresh icing sugar. It popped open like the door of a delorian.
He looked at it in a stunned silence for a moment. Freezing like a cornered animal and then after a moment moving closer. He touched the door with his free hand and traced it’s edges. Then slowly and painfully ducked underneath it and sat in the low slung chair laced with straps in the pod.
The door closed almost the instant he sat down and the inside of the pod lit up with an red glow. “Shit!” He whispered as a bad feeling was closing in. He tried the door but it was sealed shut with a crisper noise. He started pressing all the buttons and turning the knobs trying to force the door open.
He shook a little frustrated, shaking the pod back and forth and making a noise like a caged gorilla. He started to feel trapped and claustrophobic, breathing raspily.
He was distracted for a moment and there was an alien movement over his head. A small tablet size screen popped open in front of his face like an airplane tray table.
The screen was dark and then an image appeared. It was an elderly Asian man wearing a turban. He was sitting in an elaborate wheelchair in a glass backed office overlooking a sprawling urban center.
“Jean Tueur de leon Cecilli.” The old man spoke with a Pakistani accent with an odd mechanical ring to it and a the rasping noise of an iron lung punctuating each pause. “I’d like to thank you for your service.” He paused “You’ve been a great asset to me in the past and I’ve always been satisfied with the service you’ve provided and I appreciate your help now in this most delicate of matters.”. He took in a reluctant sigh looked down and continued. “Unfortunately, this situation is a lot more complicated than you could possibly imagine.” He cleared his throat and then let out a series of hoarse coughs and said. “It’s due to these ‘complications’ that are beyond my control, that I must terminate your contract.” His voice dipped and then raised again. “I can’t risk leaks of my involvement in this ‘project’ at this early stage. There’s too much at risk. Although I feel indebted to you and it pains me to do this. All I can say is that this is the culmination of thirty years of work. You know very little of this game aside from it’s rules but the man behind it was once very close to me. His father, when he was active, one of my closest friends and partners. Together we worked to make a brighter future for all humanity.” He leant forward in his wheelchair and said “But the ‘injury’ he dealt me must be answered for. My son and the perversion of his father’s life’s work, this gaudy internet gameshow.” He leaned back in his chair and continued. “Needless to say he has been a disappointment to me. He will be neutralized in time but for now, all evidence of my interference must be erased. I regret to inform you, that that means you.” He sighed again and said. “Your recovery pod has been fitted with microwave emitters. As soon as this pre-recorded message ends you and all evidence of my involvement will be vapourized.” He cleared his throat and said “We toyed with the idea of putting an explosive cap in your neck but we thought better of it. I assure you, your family will never want for anything ever again, thanks to you. Take some comfort in the future happiness and security of your family. I bid you farwell and may god keep you.”
The video feed became an inky black reflection of Carpenters ghostly face. The red light getting brighter and hotter. “Shit”.
“Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit!” It started to get really hot and his vision started to blur and shift, sweat dripping into his eyes. His breathing laboured and hot and burning in his lungs. The lights getting brighter and hotter and making his skin crawl. He could almost feel the liquids in his stomach bubbling and getting hotter.
He put his hand on the window making a squeaking noise. He coughed into his hand, it was wet and hot, he looked down to see the blood. “Shitshitshit!” He slurred.
He hit the window with his balled fist and then again and again. He remembered the small folding knife in his pocket. He reached for it and pulled it out but it white hot and he couldn’t hold, it fell on the floor and started to spark. “Shit!”
He tried banging on the window again to get it loose but the space inside the pod was too tight. He couldn’t get any leverage to deliver anything but a muted fumbling.
He was sweating a lot and his limbs felt useless. He lay back in the seat, defeated, his eyes rolling around his skull with no head movement.
He looked over at the window and she was looking at him through the glass, her lips were moving. She was saying something but he couldn’t hear anything but a ringing noise that was probably his ear drums melting.
A stirring in his chest as he saw her face, she looked sad. Something lifted him from his core and slammed his head into the window of the pod as hard as he could. And again and again and again until his head was split and bleeding. The blood dripping down his head and into his eyes and mouth so he could taste it, getting hot and boiling on his skin.
The window didn’t budge and he felt hollow and beaten and tired. He fell back in his seat, his breath getting shallower and shallower. His skin vibrating like it was covered in ants. His body still and limp only his eyes open looking out the window like a stuffed animal grimly looking at nothing.
Her face was wet with tears and then the window was filled with smoke and there was a little boys face there for a second. He was plump with dark hair. “Who? looks familiar” He rasped.
Suddenly the face changed again. A muscular chiselled face with light blonde stubble. Accompanied by a large fist penetrating the glass and grabbing Carpenter by the collar.
The burly arm yanked Carpenter right through the hole in the glass and laid him out flat on the snow.
The pod crackled and burned and melted in on itself turning the snow around it into black mush.
Carpenter gasped at the air, lifting his face out of the snow. He was covered in blood and dirt and snow, he rolled over to see his rescuer towering over him.
“Loose ends.” Rigby said before lifting Carpenter by the collar and punching him in the face as hard as he could. He slung his unconscious body over his shoulder and walking down the hill. Crunching the crisp snow under his size nine boots.
“Hello, is there anybody there? Hello?” TJ’s voice came out muffled through the speakers of an alien ware computer. It was a proffessional set up with three monitors around a gaming keyboard. Which was decorated with copious empty and half full bottles of mountain dew and bags of doritos.
On the monitors were feeds from all over Whitefish in separate monitors. Sharing space with anime porn sites and pop-ups for erectile dysfunction and acne cures. The wall paper was a stretched Naruto poster spanning the three monitors.
The room was dark, lit only by the monitors and a kitch lava lamp on a bedside table. The room was a cornucopia of gaming and anime paraphanalia. Posters of Evangelion and The Walking Dead, on the walls and doors and closet. There was a crossbow hanging from a hook nailed into the wall next a signed picture of Buffy the vampire slayer. A waifu pillow on his bed next to a box of tissues and hand lotion. A glass case full of sailor moon figures in various poses and a large collage on a corkboard of printed screencaps of Sunday.
The room was a mess, clothes and socks and empty bottles of mountain dew. Although some were full but probably not with mountain dew.
“HENRY! HAVE YOU TAKEN OUT THE GARBAGE YET?” And old woman’s voice cried.
“I’M DOING IT NOW MOM, GEEZ!” A male voice coming from outside said. A slim figure could be seen outside the window in the a plaid shirt. Taking out a garbage bag and putting it in the can at the end of the driveway and then coming back up the drive. The sound of a door closing and locking and then the muffled sounds of excited steps coming up the stairs.
The figure burst into the bedroom and clattered the computer chair. He sat down and put the headset that was lying on the keyboard on his greasey shoulder length hair. He was maybe late teens early twenties. A greasy acned complexion and a black metal shirt with a logo that looked like a bundle of twigs underneath a red plaid shirt.
“Hey there bud I’m back, just had some business to take care of how’s it going?”
“Oh you know, fine, trying not to get humped to death by fucking zombie furries. Not have my face chewed off by cheesegrater monsters, the usual!”
“Woah woah woah guy, chill, it’s almost over, you just need to-.“ He paused as he heard a clattering noise downstairs and a cat hissing. “You just need to-“ He said distracted, looking over at his door, his heart racing a little. “Erm, yeah, can you just give me a minute here?”
“Oh yeah sure, take as long as you need.” TJ said as he dropped the microphone of the radio in the control room of the mall out of frustration. It was on a coiled wire and sprung away bouncing and hitting the counter like a do it yourself bungee jumper. Sunday was sitting on a swivel chair careless swivelling like an eight year old in her little red get up.
“What did he say?” She asked.
“Nothing just-“ He paused as he heard a fumbling sound over the radio, a scuffling cracking noise and a voice.
TJ frantically bobbed for the microphone which rocked back and forth and bounced away from his fat fumbling fingers. He finally got a hold of it and said “What is it?”
“I dunno man, I think I need you to call the cops or the army or the fbi or something” The weepy voice said.
“Are you crying?” He asked.
“Yeah man, I just, err, I just went downstairs and my mom, she was like, erm, dead man! Like fucking Columbian necktied and shit!”
“What the hell is a ‘columbian necktie’?” He asked Sunday squinting and turning away from the mic in a low whisper.
“You don’t wanna know” She said as she went for another spin.
“Are you fucking with us?” He asked into the mic.
“No man, oh shit!” The voice cried.
There was a noise over the radio, a fumbling. The sound of shouting and then the rattle of a tazer and the sound of zipties closing and heavy boots slamming.
“So?” Sunday asked.
TJ sighed and dropped the mic again and said “We’re fucked.”