'Game Over Man'
Helicopter blades span slowly: giant, straight blender blades whipping up the thin air, making it as thick as eggs and cream, and allowing the helicopter to climb. The large ex-military chopper lumbered into flight. The chandelier inside added another metric tonne, ensuring a luxurious but unhurried flight.
Laura sat in the co-pilot’s seat, securely fastened in and wearing a headset, for full effect. She smiled at Carpenter who leaned over her seat, the gun on the headrest pointing sideways at Nigel. The aging pilot seemed to be attempting an escape by sea, gradually filling the cockpit with his sweat.
Carpenter gave a toothy grin, feeling like a pirate, an air pirate, riding into the wind, to freedom or death. What’s the difference, he thought as he squeezed the headrest and rapped his fingers across the handle of the gun. He felt a dramatic swell of emotion, as if he were hearing ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ and just over the those snow-capped mountains might be a Viet Cong rice paddy just waiting for a lick of fresh napalm.
A monitor glowed in a dark room. The image panned back on a small-town gun store with a mosaic of blood and bones out the front. A tapestry of offal and brain matter had spread over a ten-foot area.
“Well, at least he paid in advance,” Murray said with a wry laugh, choked off entirely by a stern, searching glance from Evergreen.
“Indeed,” Evergreen sighed.
“Well, you know he signed a contract? What are we gonna tell his helicopter pilot?” Murray quickly tapped away at his personal monitor’s keyboard. “That reminds me, the team guarding it haven’t reported in, err, going on fifteen minutes now. Should I send another?”.
Evergreen gave a small, breathy laugh and sucked the inside of his cheek. “Hnh, no. I’ll go. I need the exercise.” With that, he opened the mobile command centre’s door and stepped out into the bright noonday sun, allowing it to penetrate the perfect dark of the little mobile man cave.
Murray called after him, his voice trailing off as he sat alone in the half-dark. “HEY, YOU MIND closing the do- ass!”
“TJ-TJ-TJ….TJ!” A girl’s voice phased in and out, accompanied by an annoying ringing noise.
“I can hear you,” TJ said as he clicked his jaw and held his head. It felt like a balloon full of cracked drywall and every word sent sharp shards of pain throughout his skull. “Shit, did something explode?”
“Err, I don’t think so, you just hit your head,” Sunday said. Her face blurred, then became focussed then blurred again. TJ gave up and looked at the pavement, trying to stop his head from spinning.
“I think I’m gonna throw up,” he said as his breathing became long and laboured.
“At least you’re not dead,” she said with a wry corner-mouth smile.
“I feel like that would be an upgrade,” he said, wincing as he put his hand on the pavement to lever the weight of his mighty girth.
“Big baby,” Sunday said, punctuating the words with a breathy, bitter guffaw.
TJ lifted himself up onto two shaky feet and looked down at Sunday. She stretched out on a large broken ‘no entry’ sign on the sidewalk, as if it were a beach towel.
He turned towards her and blinked a couple of times. Her hair was still that messy shock of toxic green: a little more matted and dirtied with dry blood and good old-fashioned dirt.
“M’lady,” TJ said, tipping an invisible fedora in Sunday’s general direction.
Sunday batted his chubby hand away, like a playful kitten leaving its claws out.
“I think I’m good,” she said as she rose, dusting herself off, completely unaware how like a Saturday morning cartoon character she looked. “What?”
“It’s gonna be dark soon. This town is gonna be swarming with mercs.”
“Sweep and clear. They’re gonna burn the whole town to the fucking ground. Round up the remaining survivors.”
“And make them ‘un-survivors’.”
“There can’t be any witnesses.”
“But you said it was streaming live.”
“On the deep web.” Sunday paused, tapping her heels together, thinking ‘no place like home.’
“Hah?” TJ scratched his head.
“Didn’t we go over this already? The deep web. It’s like, err, you know…”
“It’s like the dark side of the internet that can’t be reached with a regular search engine: child porn, hitmen, drugs, slavery, live murder, and now this shit.”
“So only a select group of sick fucks can see this: sick, rich pricks, dumb kids with more time than smarts, regular perverts, criminals, gangsters, you know? Not the fucking PTA.”
“Err, I don’t get it.”
“The point is, they’re not the kind of people that would testify in court. Who would believe them anyway? ’Err, excuse me, Mr. Policeman, err, there’s a reality TV show on the deep web that fills a town with zombies and films it for bitcoins,” Sunday said in a mocking imitation of TJ’s voice, holding up her fingers in a faux-telephone shape with a patronizing smirk. “No one gets out alive.”
“What about you?”
“It’s different with me. They kept me and a few others alive because this is a show, and shows need ‘characters’. It needs some kind of a plot, a story, drama. It can’t just be a bunch of people running around doing ‘stuff’. It has to have some progression, someone to root for, someone to watch die. It’s like any other TV show.” Sunday sucked her bottom lip after using air quotes twice in a single rant.
“But it kinda was just a bunch of stuff happening.”
“If people are watching us and enough give us likes or clicks or votes or whatever, they let us go on into the next stage.”
“This is so fucked!”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed.”
“Shit.” TJ looked down, squeezing his double chin.
“Who wants to watch some fat kid kill zombies badly and shit his pants? My YouTube career wasn’t exactly soaring. People just tuned in to laugh at me.” TJ pointed at his chin and sighed. “I got more death and rape threats than Anita Sarkeesian.”
“Don’t give me that shit! What are you, fishing for compliments like some Instagram camwhore? That could save you. There might be a huge demographic of people who want to keep you alive just to watch you do a Mellissa McCarthy impression, split your pants and shit. You could even have a goofy catchphrase like, ‘That’s gonna leave a mark!’”
“Yeah, she sucks and people love her.”
“Her one joke is just falling over while being fat; that could be you.”
“Yeah, you’re right,” TJ mused before shaking his head in a mini truffle shuffle. “No, fuck that, we’re gonna get out of here. You’ll see - there’s a way out, I know there is!”.
“There’s no way they could know about them. That guy kept them super lowkey. They’re not on any map or blueprint. He built it all using his own guys. He was crazy paranoid, didn’t want anyone to know they existed. Only me and a few other kids knew.”
“Yeah, you already told me. So why don’t we get the fuck out of here before some roided up merc puts a black leather size nine up our asses?” Sunday yawned, picking up a parking meter and tossing it over her shoulder.
“Err, yes, sir, we’re wrapping now. We do have a winner, sir. Yep, just dealing with him now,” said an unusually chipper Evergreen.
A pair of white dress pants paced back and forth in the breakroom of an office building across town. Behind them, slumped against a beaten up, camel leather couch, was a figure clad in blood-speckled black leather. A trickle of blood dripped onto the name tag that read ‘Bernie’.
Evergreen paced back and forth having a one-way conversation with a person nattering like Charlie Brown’s teacher. The phone was cradled between the side of his face and his shoulder as he dabbed at his bare arm with a tissue and started to roll his sleeve down. “Yes, sir. Just a couple of loose ends to clear up and we’ll be heading back. The footage? Of course, sir, we got a lot of good stuff. The buyers should love it. Yeah, I’m heading to the roof now. Yeah. Good talking to you, sir. Ah, buh-bye now.” Evergreen tucked the disposable phone in Bernie’s waistcoat pocket. Bernie had looked better. He was relatively untouched but for a six-inch hole in his head about the size of a fist. Evergreen picked up a long black case that was resting upright beside the couch.
He exited the room through a side door, which led to a fire escape. Calmly, he ascended and it shook from his thin, yet rigid, frame. He finally reached the roof. He set the case down against the raised lip.
Evergreen took out a small set of binoculars from the inside pocket of his suit jacket and began to survey the area. He let out a sigh and pulled his sleeve back, revealing a rather exquisite watch, form and function meeting in elegant chrome and polished wood. “Ten, nine, eight, seven… “His counting continued, under his breath, as he knelt and unlatched the case. He lifted the lid carefully and took out the device inside with one hand.
He shouldered the javelin missile launcher. “Three, two- “An ominous whipping sound grew louder. As the day had gone on, the sun had waned. Cloud cover had turned the town grey and dark, like the filter in a ‘Twilight’ movie. The fires and the screams died. Sage Valley was ready to give its final death rattle as it entered the history books next to Roanoke and the Titanic. “One,” Evergreen whispered as he flipped on the digital reticule on the side of the javelin prototype, pressing it to his eye like an eighties camcorder.
He fired almost instantaneously after receiving a beeping sound from the reticule. The missile glided and dipped languidly before its rocket propulsion pushed it off the ground like a stone bouncing on the surface of a lake. It roared, spinning and twisting and churning the air, a vile plume of smoke trailing behind it. The little kamikaze pilot tore through the dense cloud cover and the sound barrier to give a quick kiss to a helicopter’s rear rotor blade.
The heavily pimped military chopper limped in the sky, lumbering, coughing and beeping. Thick black smoke and orange fire leaked out of its rear end as it span out of control.
It wasn’t that far off the ground. It skimmed the town, trying to stay below the heavy cloud while aiming for the mountains to take it out of state. It landed in a heap, falling through the roof of a furniture store called ‘Beds and Stuff’.
Evergreen, satisfied with the desolation he’d dispatched, allowed the reticule to slip from his eye, giving a flash of his teeth. “Better luck next time, ragandboneman.”
He gave a brief, constipated laugh, and placed the missile launcher back in its case. He closed it up and descended the stairs.
“Are we there yet?” Sunday said, hunching under the heavy parking meter she carried across her shoulders.
TJ narrowed his gaze.
Sunday gave him a laboured shrug, shifting the parking meter’s weight a few inches. She continued to trudge through the undergrowth of the sparsely wooded area.
TJ delicately parted branches and watched his footing. Sunday clomped behind him with about as much grace as an overheated Indian elephant. They’d only been walking for about twenty minutes, but the ants in her pants found lots of things for her to do. Most of them involved hitting things with a parking meter: trees, offensive-looking bushes. And of course, a hornets’ nest that, although she’d hit it quite far, made the couple deathly wary of the slightest buzzing sound. Hornet bites on top of zombies seemed like the oft-mentioned insult upon injury.
TJ stopped and made a face, like he’d found a pip in his lemonade the hard way, and said, “This isn’t a field trip.”
“Isn’t it?” Sunday said, yawning and scratching her ear with her pinkie.
“This really is a game to you, isn’t it?” As soon as he said it he felt a cold lump hit his stomach. Before she could even formulate an answer, he knew he was right: “You don’t think we’re getting out?”
She walked past him and sighed, rolling her eyes.
“You just don’t get it.”
TJ quick marched to her side, his hands raised in some theatrical way she didn’t care to observe.
“What? What’s wrong with you??”
She stuck her tongue hard into her cheek and gave an uncharitable chortle before walking further ahead.
“This isn’t a slumber party. These aren’t terrorists. There’s no cavalry coming over the hill to save us and there’s nothing but despair waiting for us at the end of your tunnel.”
“I guess you’re a half-empty kind of person,” TJ said, gritting his teeth as if that would make him feel better. Exactly whose spirits was he trying to lighten?
“These people are connected, and well-funded. If they’re not government themselves they’re tied to them somehow. You don’t get mercs and tech like that off Craigslist. This is serious, evil, Bruce Wayne shit.”
“What? You think there’s, like, an evil Batman infecting people with a zombie virus?”
She sighed and actually face-palmed.
“Not literally Batman, for fuck’s sake. I mean this could be military or, at least, someone with enough money to rival them.”
“Oh, my fucking god, come on! The ‘evil military experiment’ trope is so old and hackneyed, man. Oh, an ‘evil corporation’ or something. That’s totally lame and it never happens.” TJ threw his head back and laughed. “I mean, seriously dude, take the tinfoil hat off. “He started to sweat nervously as his laugh trailed off into the weeds. “I mean, you’d hear about that. There’s too many people involved. Someone would say something. There’s no way something like this could stay secret.”
“You never hear about it because that’s the point, and maybe you do hear about it, but it’s not always ‘zombies’. Maybe it’s an oil rig explosion, or a power plant goes critical or a pipeline bursts or an earthquake swallows a whole town ‘and there were no survivors.’”
“What about you? You’re alive. I’m alive.”
“I don’t exist. I died in Arkham. I’m sure there’s some nice plaque somewhere with my name on it and it’ll be the same with you; we’re dead. The sooner you understand that the better. Nothing we do matters now; it’s kind of liberating.”
“Then why did you bother coming? Why did you drag me along? Why didn’t you just let me die?”
“Because… “Sunday turned to him, the parking meter resting on one pixie shoulder. Her waify frame made her look like a video game character, especially lugging that big thing around. She paused for effect. A child-like, ‘I’m about to pick the wings off this fly’ look took her face in a strange new direction. It was a cute malevolence TJ hadn’t seen before: a dark faerie, an angel from hell or a demon from paradise. “Because I want to see your face, the face you make when you realise how futile it all was. Because then I’ll know what I looked like at that exact same moment.”
TJ stopped dead and knelt in the grass. He could feel the worms and the ants squirming under him. His head had become an echoey place where he could hear his own heartbeat and the birds chirping: little Neros circling his head, fiddling gleefully while Rome burned. He felt the warmth of the noonday sun on his skin through the trees, the sounds of woodpeckers, the smell of smoke and pine trees. A light breeze wafted through his neckbeard. He closed his eyes and the world was just noise and smells and touch and darkness. “Hey, faggot! Is this it?” Sunday yelled as she tossed the parking meter into a patch of long grass. She started pulling a couple of years’ worth of vine growth off an old, rusty shack. “TJ!”
He opened his eyes just a slit.
A camera panned out from a grainy bird’s eye view of the top of a trashed furniture store. A swarm of angry black ants circled the building, ants with automatic weapons, seeping into the building where the Sikh billionaire’s luxury helicopter had crashed. The camera panned further and further back until finally the little black dots had all disappeared into the dilapidated, boxy building.
The glow from the screen in the dark room reflected off Murray’s glasses, making it appear as if his eyes had been replaced by two distinct monitors. It made him look like some sort of cyborg fly.
“Huh, I guess that’s it. I really thought he was gonna make it that time. Ah well, maybe next time.”
The door behind him opened, letting in unwelcome light. A black-clad head poked in and, in a completely level tone, delivered a line, like a cuckoo clock. “We’re moving out in ten, sir.”
Murray turned around in his swivel chair, yawned and tried in vain to crick his neck, then yawned again. “Err, y-yeah sure. I’ll get packed up. Just gimme a minute.”
“Yes, sir,” the struck match said before it popped its head back out and shut the door.
Murray yawned again and swivelled his chair back around. He checked his digital watch and frowned.
“Nah, we’ve got a little longer. I guess I’ll see what else is on.” He clicked the monitor over as if it were an old-fashioned TV. He flitted between the different drone feeds, fifteen in all, over the crowded skies of Sage Valley. “Huh, what happened to that fat kid? Did he get eaten all ready? Wasn’t he with that green-haired chick? Hmm, that sucks. I kinda liked that kid. Oh, here we go - flier tagged them going into the woods.” He sucked his lips and smiled covetously. “Hmm, smart. All the mercs going into the town. The woods are pretty much empty, but where do you think you can go on foot? And you’re heading the wrong way. You should be going away from the mountain, not towards it.” He licked his bottom lip and then touched his tongue to the base of his nose. “Unless you know something I don’t,” he said and started typing furiously on the keyboard below the monitor.
A deafening ringing noise. Searing pain from an unknown source. A dull pain throbbing in his head as his eyes tried to focus. Carpenter’s head felt like it was in fish bowl full of lye. Darkness and thick, unbreathable air filled his lungs as the crippling dark engulfed him. He was struggling with the simplest of tasks, like opening his eyes.
The ringing noise moved in and out of his head in waves, and he tried to move but couldn’t get any of his limbs to co-operate. The ringing noise started to fade and he could open his eyes a sliver, but even so, all he could see was orange. And the only noises he could hear were a bubbling, crackling sound, men shouting and heavy boots on a linoleum shop floor.
The noxious smell of burning mattress forced its way into his lungs. An intense heat washed over him.
He tried to move again, but this only resulted in another shockwave of searing pain. Despite that, he made no sound. He opened his mouth and croaked out a silent scream but couldn’t hear his own voice, just a dry, tight scratching. And as he became more aware, he realised the pain radiated up from his lower body. Looking down, he could see why. His legs were pinned under a flipped-over hot tub.
He looked at the hot tub for a minute, trying to place it, and then remembered the helicopter and the crash. He sat up. The voices got louder. He tried to move the hot tub, but it wouldn’t budge an inch. Could it really be made of marble, on a fucking helicopter?
He flailed around, looking for something he could use to pry it off him or, at least, relieve the pressure cutting off his circulation. A cold sensation, a realisation, splashed into the pit of his rising stomach acid.
He looked for her, called out without a voice. A dry, scratchy croak came out.
Then he saw it: a little hand protruding from the heavy door of the military chopper. The door had become dislodged in the crash and now made a perfect hiding spot for the cold, lifeless body of a little girl.
He couldn’t reach her, but he knew she was dead. There was nothing he could do. That was the only way either of them were getting out. Her little hand was so pale. He felt cold. The rising flames and the smoke had glazed him in a thick, sooty sweat, but a cold spread out from his stomach as he lay back down on what he now realized was a kid’s mattress.
He rested his head and closed his eyes and smiled a wicked, anguished smile. He squeezed a seething tear out of one eye and let the sounds of marching feet and flames whisk him away into dreamland.
The shack was a flimsy construction of rusted sheet metal, possibly recycled shipping containers. Nature bled into every gap.
It was pretty bare. Just a moth-bitten mattress, empty cans, evidence of homeless domestic abuse: dried blood, Band-Aids, soiled porno mags and a dog-eared and suspiciously smelly copy of the bible with pages missing. The shack smelled like the inside of an ant farm and didn’t resemble the military installation TJ had sold to Sunday.
“Err, was it bigger when you were a kid?”
“This is just the entrance.” TJ was excited and spoke with a bouncy, childish tone of voice, as if transported to yesterday. With a bounding step towards the bed, which shook the creaky, moulding floor boards, he nudged the old motheaten bed frame aside with a teeth-grinding screech, revealing a series of previous scratches in the wood from when the bed had been moved in the past.
When he was finished, the bed was over to one side, rotting away happily. TJ, in his excitement, was now soaked to the skin with sweat. He breathed heavily. Despite the meagre physical exertion his heart was racing. His childhood was making some sense now. It felt like a dream, like his own private hideaway, like Dexter’s lab or something: a secret place, just for you to be you, a place to hide all your dreams and secrets and lock them away for no one else to see.
He lifted up a threadbare, seventies-style circular rug with some kind of faux-Peruvian pattern and little tassels around the edges. Underneath the rug was a sewer grate. He lifted it with the same child-like exuberance, feeling as if he was the only one in the room. Sunday had faded back into the post-apocalyptic décor of the rusty shack as she watched in reluctant awe.
The hatch opened with a rusty, hermetic popping sound. A sudden rush of gases was released, and a dank smell wafted up from the pits of hippie hell.
Sunday was trying to lean cross-armed against the wall of the shack, but it felt damp and oddly slick so she took her weight off it. She turned her elbow over to see what kind of gunk she had just leaned in.
TJ was already shoving half his ass into the hatch.
“Hey, wait! Are you sure there’s nobody down there?”
“It was abandoned when I was kid. The guy couldn’t get planning permission and it was just sealed up,” TJ said, giving a semi-confident smirk as he continued down.
He hopped off the bottom of the ladder into the dark tunnel, bouncing on his heels in the thin cylinder of light. Sunday climbed down slowly and stood behind him in the darkness as he savoured the dank air.
“Now what?” she said. She could barely see an inch in front of her.
TJ fumbled in the dark for a few seconds. “Err, it was here somewhere. I hope it still works.” After an awkward silence, a rapid of succession of clicking sounds rattled in the limitless dark. “Shit! Err, oh, yeah.” Another laboured clicking noise. A light flickered. An ancient bulb burst into life and then popped with a bright flash. “Shit!” Then another glowed dimly. Soon a cascade of old, industrial halogen lamps beamed into existence and there was light, an unstoppable avalanche of sickly, bright, white light filling an endless tunnel of grey concrete.
“Shit!” Sunday said. This place might have been conjured into existence by David Copperfield himself. She felt like she’d been beamed up into an alien spacecraft, one which had been decked out to look like the inside of a Turkish prison or some industrial torture-porn movie.
“I know right. I don’t know why I never came back here after I was a kid. Maybe I was afraid of asbestos or something.” TJ looked around and felt oddly safe, as if he didn’t need to flee. “We’ve gotta go. Err.” He paused, realising he’d already become dazed in the dark and had forgotten which way was which.
“That way,” Sunday said, pointing to her right without even looking up from the handy mini-map on the wall, which stated definitively that they were indeed ‘HERE’.
“Oh, yeah, forgot about that. I guess we better move.” TJ chuckled. Questions span around his head, like a baby mobile made of tinfoil and shit. What would he do when he got to his destination? Change his name? Work in a gas station? Where would Sunday go? Would she stay? Would they be friends? More? His head started getting light.
“Are you coming or what?” Sunday called, shaking him out of his mini-freak out.
He skipped after her dizzily.
They walked for a good twenty minutes, following maps through endless repeats of the same corridor. A heavy, metal door they came across was welded shut and would not yield to morbid curiosity no matter how hard it was tugged.
They walked for another couple of minutes without exchanging a word, then out of nowhere, a sharp ringing noise reverberated through the tight corridors, followed by crackling static, a low hum and then a rasping, breathing sound.
“One, two, three… testing,” a monotone voice said.
“What the fuck!?” Sunday screeched.
“I dunno. I thought it was empty.”
A throat clearing noise followed, then a breathy sigh.
“You really thought you could escape?”
Sunday gave a smug scowl.
“Oh, it’s just him.”
“Correct. Now I must insist you desist in this wasteful endeavour.”
“Err...” said TJ.
“Stay right where you are. This doesn’t have to end badly. Your approval ratings have been -” He paused for effect - “surprising.”
TJ choked and couldn’t think of anything witty to say, so instead made a dry, croaking sound and bolted past Sunday, grabbing her hand and dragging her down the hall.
“Wait! Didn’t you hear him? We’re done!” Sunday shouted at TJ. Water was gathering at the corners of his eyes.
“Fuck that! He’s bluffing. There’s no way he can get someone down here in time to stop us. You’ve seen this place; it’s like a maze. If we keep moving, we can make it.”
“But then what?”
“I dunno!” TJ smiled, wiping his eyes.
Sunday smiled back. She pulled her hand away and took the lead.
“You never give up, do you?” she yelled back as she sprinted ahead.
“What?” he shouted.
“Never mind,” she said.
She ran like a gazelle, her long, slim limbs slicing through the dank air of the silo. Every step had a renewed sense of vigour, so much so that TJ struggled to keep up, his rolls of fat, like a tide, rolling back and forth, pulling him off balance. He was forced to carry his moobs in each hand to keep them from rubbing. Maybe a sports bra for his next zombie apocalypse. His breath became ragged and his throat burned. His breathing started to sound like two dry planks rubbing together.
A sudden second wind carried him forward and he felt light. The feeling made him want to laugh and forget and be happy, to take every minute of freedom as it came.
They passed a series of sealed doors and came to a sudden fork in the path. With no time to check the maps, whichever direction Sunday chose in that split second would have to be the way. He watched her supple frame dart left out of sight. Although, for a moment, he considered splitting up to improve their chances, at the last minute, he bottled it and threw his fat ass after her around the left bend.
Without warning his legs became bolted to the floor. His mind awash with dread and the loathing of a dream crashing and burning, he realised the stark atmosphere of the tunnel had shifted. It was dark and oppressive. The lights here didn’t s work and the air was heavy and laden with foreboding. His eyes darted back and forth, focusing on individual points of darkness, catching glimpses of a non-Euclidian form taking shape in the murk.
Whatever it was, it was both still and twitching spasmodically. It didn’t make a sound. In fact, to TJ, it felt like the whole corridor was in a vacuum. He was in a car that had just gone over an embankment and was gradually sinking into a lake of shit.
Emergency lighting began to crackle into life, filling the corridor with a dull orange glow and revealing, to TJ, what appeared to be a large sculpture, right in the middle of the corridor. His eyes focussed and unfocussed as he attempted to absorb this strange image. His mind was pushed to the brink of sanity trying to just take it all in. A freight train of information collided with his senses, careening through the pink balloon in his head to lie in a steaming mess, smack dab in the intersection of his mind.
Sunday felt so cold. She could barely keep her eyes open, but she wanted to; she wanted to look deeper into those eyes, those strange eyes, one blue, one green. As she looked down at them she felt light, like she was floating. The eyes looked up at her with the playful, callous gaze of a cat toying with a mouse.
TJ gawped, his knees clattering. His bladder had already emptied. Finally, the sensory information he was reticent to process began cascading through the pachinko machine in his head.
Sunday was not OK.
Sunday was pretty far from OK. Her feet weren’t even on the ground, she was so far from OK. Before TJ, a demon knight, clad in a futuristic armour, held Sunday suspended from a silvery, phallic object. It had Impaled her, had pierced through her lower abdomen, just above her belly button. The long, thin, cylindrical spike protruded from somewhere between her first and second rib.
There was very little blood. A few spots dotted the Knight’s helm as Sunday coughed. Her whole body shook She reached out. The Knight was relatively small but showed inhuman strength in keeping a full-grown woman off the ground with only one hand and a large piece of metal. He held her aloft like a gargoyle holding up a fence post: an elaborate piece of garden art that Sunday had been unfortunate enough to fall upon.
TJ could do little more than gasp and hope her life was flashing before her eyes because he came up with nothing, not a word or a thought or an expression; no smart line or idea, or last ditch effort that would save them, just a big fat zero.
Out of nowhere, there came a rustling sound, and a squeak of rubber on a concrete floor. A jangling of metal shifted the air behind him. And as if by magic he turned his head just in time to see the stock of a customized rifle mainlining its way towards his soft, doughy face.