Chapter 48: Brownie's New Pet
It’s a nice feeling waking up to a freshly laundered leotard and, I think it’s a joke, but there are some pain killers and water on the bedside table. Very funny beasts indeed. However, it still truthfully makes me smile. I ignore the drugs and just take the water. Then, after I shower and put on my leotard I head up the lift. It’s the hours of the early morning by now and I am both refreshed and curious to see what my Brownie Squad have been plotting with our prisoner; Daniel. Aka, Inertia.
When the lift hits level 1, HB, I expect to hear heavy interrogation from either STRIKE or my girls or even perhaps silence if everyone had gone to bed. Instead, I hear feminine laughter and a kid swearing. That kid being Casey. As I walk up to his open bedroom door, I stick my head in to see him playing a video game with Viola by his side, her fist is in the air and clenched high in anticipation as he battles a boss to the end in some form of shooting game.
“Absolute BS!” Casey snarls out and throws his controller behind him, when I see his character onscreen, lose as the screen flashes red. Viola gasps and my hand rises up in quick defence to stop the controller colliding with my head. It hits one of my nails and a crack appears on the controller as it bounces off my hand and crashes to the ground.
“Uh...” I take a step back and watch Casey swivel in his chair to witness me and then his broken controller.
He gasps as Viola gasps again. Then he jumps to his feet in a rage.
“A-Alyssa!” he growls through gritted teeth, a vein popping in his head as he holds back from obviously a bad need to swear.
“My bad, I can make you pancakes?” I ask, “...and you did throw it at my head, regardless, you could have broken it that way-”
“I know, okay?” Casey waves his hands through the air dramatically, “Everyone always tells me to be careful and not to break things. I’m very careful. Very damn careful.”
“You broke STRIKE, the car,” I murmur, rubbing it in but only because his rage was cute.
Viola has an electronic digital wrist band that lights up with a message, before holding it up so I can see ‘Anger Issues’ and an arrow pointed to Casey as she continues to sit beside him on a stool.
“Let’s talk about pancakes, Alyssa. We have fresh brownies too, by the way,” Casey calms himself and holds out a hand to V.
Viola rolls her eyes and stands up, heading towards me with her arms outstretched. I give her a careful hug and pass an utterly offended Casey a wink as he continues to gape after V’s rejection. He then blushes as she spins and clicks her fingers at him, to hurry him up.
“Don’t-” Casey can’t finish as V slips around me and heads for the kitchen.
“The promise of pancakes and fresh brownies will win every time with girls, Casey,” I pass Casey an apologetic tight lipped smile and he grabs a black robe off his chair, pulling it around his PJs.
“To the kitchen,” Casey then copies V and clicks his fingers at me to tell me to get going. I just stand back and wait for him to pass by. When he approaches, he glances up at my glare and he smiles sheepishly, “Soz, mum,” he murmurs and runs off while I now look after him, confused again.
My heart beats a bit faster in happiness and adrenaline. I was quickly becoming a maternal figure to that boy, a real leader and role model. That type of responsibility was both exciting and very heavy to have on one’s shoulders. Especially in this environment.
I follow Casey and Viola into the kitchen where I find Strawberry and Raven playing cards and Blue talking to Daniel... who is unrestrained. They are all seated at the huge dining table.
And STRIKE is no where to be seen.
“What’s going on here?” I ask, confused from the open door way.
Everyone falls silent and looks over their shoulders as I enter. Casey slips into a seat beside Strawberry and faces Daniel with narrowed eyes while V grabs pancake mixture from the cupboard, while still wearing her ninja outfit.
“Boss,” Raven waves at me and then all my girls grin guiltily while Daniel swiftly tries to comb through his stylish mullet with his fingers.
“Why is a Five Red’s member... Inertia... unrestrained?” I ask, slowly.
“We made an agreement,” Strawberry pikes up, “Daniel was more than happy to... uh...”
“To submit to us,” Raven hits her fist on the table while I glance to Blue who is holding a... what the fuck? A BDSM collar in her hands. A leather choker with a silver ring.
“In return for?” I ask, slowly raising a brow.
“Life,” Daniel answers for me, “Ah, I hope you don’t mind.”
“What do you want Daniel?” I ask, taking a few steps forward, I narrow my eyes and Blue stands up, looking at me guiltily.
“Please, Alyssa,” Blue purses her lips and looks determined, “Let me do this first, to prove he is safely our pet.”
“Your what?” I watch as Blue opens the collar and steps behind Daniel, who looks from a disgusted Casey to my shocked expression.
Daniel blushes a bright red.
“Argh... y-yeah so, I’ve always had a weakness for pretty girls,” Daniel shrugs as Blue clasps the collar into place and lifts out his hair. Then she pats him on the head.
“See?” Blue looks at me for approval, “He’s safely ours to do as we bid.”
“You can’t just put a collar on people and a-and... wait... where did you get that?” I ask, confused, before I’m interrupted by a loud cough from the kitchen and Viola holds up the mixture hoping I come over to help. I head over to her while wearily watching Daniel.
“Just in some... cupboard,” Blue shrugs while I stop next to Daniel and he looks up at me, sweating.
“You try anything funny and I’ll slit your throat,” I murmur as I pat Daniel on the head and walk by, and he laughs nervously while too scared to retort.
"Good boy,” Casey laughs and teases Daniel, “So, dude, you were brainwashed, huh?”
“Um, kid, no, I just like to live dangerously, always have,” Daniel winks and looks at Blue suspiciously as she tests throwing things at him, just to see them fall. Like the salt and pepper on the table. She sprinkles it into her hand and throws it at him just to see how it halts midair unnaturally right before it touches him, to then fall, “So, am I in on these pancakes or am I being seasoned for some? Is cannibalism a thing with Sparkers and Igniters or what?” Daniel laughs nervously again as Blue throws more salt and pepper on other parts of him while I open the ready made pancake mixture from Viola, who waits eagerly for me to start cooking.
“V, turn on the stove... Blue, stop, seriously...” I scold her and she rolls her eyes and puts the salt and pepper shaker back on the table. Daniel glances at me like Casey does, both their gazes confused.
“Why do they do shit like that?” Casey asks me, now pointing to Strawberry and Raven as one has scattered the cards in frustration after losing the battle of speed, “Acting like children? I am way more mature than them.”
“Stealing a car and throwing your controller... sure, Casey. Also,” I just realise what Casey did by walking in here when he was meant to be hidden from sight, “Hey, kid, um... you know you just...” I point at Daniel and then whisper to Casey, “You know what that means, kiddo. You just sent him to death’s door.”
“What?” Daniel stands up and Blue shocks him and points back to the chair, glaring.
“No sudden moves,” Blue snaps.
“Okay, okay,” Daniel sits back down and Casey laughs at his face.
“Whipped,” Casey winks at Daniel, “I’d never let a girl make me that jumpy-”
I think Viola lip reads him, because she clicks her fingers and pouts as she curls her fingers for him to come to her.
“What’s wrong, V?” Casey jumps to his feet and forgets what he was just saying, running to up to her, eyes bright. He does some sign language and she replies in turn, which has him stepping back and blushing bright red when he realises he was gullible and fell for the trap.
“Cute kid,” Daniel shuffles in his seat away from a calculating gaze from Blue, as she now waltzes around the room looking for things to throw at him.
“Seriously?” Casey points at what Blue is trying to do and I poor water into the mixture and I start shaking it up.
“My girls have just started learning these last few weeks,” I growl, continuing to shake the mixture, “Give them a break.”
“I’m glad I didn’t grow up in a lab,” Casey walks back to his kitchen seat and Daniel points to Casey’s hair.
“Hey, you’ve got that hair style, the uh... you’re like an anime character-”
“Yes!” Casey’s eyes light right up, “I’ve been watching some old stuff, Yu-Gi-Oh. I like his hair so I spiked it up and... this is the result.”
“That’s cool, bro,” Daniel’s compliment has Casey beaming with happiness, “I’ve watched that old show too, it’s ancient.”
“Where’s the... uh... where’s the boys?” I ask slyly while pouring the ready made mixture into the hot pan over the stove.
“You mean the men?” Casey and Daniel say at the same time, and then they point at each other, grinning and laughing and suddenly becoming quick friends.
“Saving the children,” Raven perks up, “From Desmond King’s evil labs.”
“Labs?” I ask.
“Children that were used like us,” Strawberry looks at me as she shuffles the cards with perfect precision, “We wanted to help but we had to stay and train Daniel.”
“Wait, did STIRKE make a joke about you making Inertia a pet... and you took it seriously, didn’t you?” I work it out and as I gaze at all of my girls, they pause and their eyes widen.
“Oh,” they all say at once, and Blue puts down a vase she had been ‘inspecting’.
“You know, even if things drop before they touch me,” Daniel adds, “If shit breaks, I can get cut, doll. Slow things can touch me,” he speaks to Blue and she gives in and sits down on the ground, slowly lying down and closing her eyes.
“Nap time,” Blue murmurs before yawning, which has Casey and Daniel looking at me again.
“There... just, you’ll get used to it. Every day they improve,” I add, while V tries not to laugh.
“So, can we all discuss how I’m at death’s door?” Daniel asks, “And thanks for calling me Inertia, babe, I appreciate it,” Daniel smiles widely at me and I relax back against the counter, just as shadows appear in the door way and I look up to see STRIKE, silently returned and all watching Daniel with absolute disgust after he just endeared me.
“Oh, shit,” now Casey, Daniel and I all speak in unison, while Raven and Strawberry continue playing speed, and V purses her lips, waiting for some drama to occur.
“No death is needed,” I quickly step forward and leave V in charge of the pancakes as I walk up behind Daniel and pat his head, accidentally curling my nails a bit too much so he jerks away from a small incision I make into his scalp.
“Ow, fuck,” Daniel swears while STRIKE all take another step into the room, after I’ve pat Daniel on the head.
“Seriously,” I speak up, “No death.”
“He’s seen you know who,” Dale growls, “And you’re -”
“Shut up,” I hold up my hand and I see Dale tilt his head, dangerously, well... fuck... but, I needed to say my part first, to stop them before they killed Daniel.
After all, I was determined to try and help STRIKE see that death wasn’t always necessary. I admit, thinking of Desmond King and his end, still haunted me a bit. No matter how evil he was... the way STRIKE took his life without blinking... it was a little unsettling, especially when I knew they had the potential for different choices, especially when other choices were available
I mean sure, I killed James the Brains and Kyle the Child... but self defence was a little different, or maybe I was just being a hypocrite, but now I was thinking too much and taking too long to reply.
“Inertia,” I start, before Dale decides he doesn’t want to hear me, “Is going to help, us, aren’t you, Daniel?” I pat him on the head again, a bit more gently while he slowly catches onto the fact that he needs to have a good reason to stay alive, if he wanted to continue breathing in the potentially short and positively uncertain future.
“No one who sees Casey, lives,” Dale adds this, already reaching for his gun, even as Casey jumps to his feet and literally jumps in front of Dale.
“Dad, no,” Casey growls, “I need friends and we get along, please, I miss-”
“Serge,” Dale snaps at his right hand man, who happily reaches over and grabs Casey’s shoulder, leading him from the room while glaring at me with a warning.
Casey struggles but only for a bit.
“Move,” Serge takes him out of the kitchen quickly.
“You don’t have to remove him from the room, nothing is going to happen,” I snarl protectively of Casey and Dale instantly notices the new fire in my eyes and my tone.
“Watch yourself, kitten,” Dale drawls, while Blue, Strawberry and Raven all slowly rise to stand and walk towards me instinctively. Blue yawns while glaring at Dale, Ace and a stony eyed Jose.
“Listen up. No one will hurt our pet,” Blue says.
“He is ours, we made a deal,” Strawberry adds.
“Daniel will do as we bid,” Raven reassures, “No need to get involved.”
“...they actually... took what I said seriously...” Ace murmurs, slowly grinning, “This is fucking fantastic! Come on boss, you got to admit, this is hilarious. He’s their pet.”
“Anyone who sees my kid has a death wish,” Dale takes out his gun and watches in great irritation as the girls stand in front of Daniel.
“All I know is I saw a lot of people die around me where I was all my life,” Strawberry adds to Dale, “I don’t ever want to see needless killing, Lord.”
“Did you tell them to call you Lord?” I snap at Dale.
“Okay, enough,” Dale snarls, a vein popping in his temple as he pockets his gun and takes a step forward, “What’s the deal and what does he have to offer... I’m listening.”
“I - I’m, ah,” Daniel jumps to his feet and puts his hands around the shoulders of Strawberry and Blue, who shiver away in disgust from his touch. He drops his hands to his sides and licks his lips, “All good, all good, I won’t do that again, my bad. I’m ah, you see... I joined the Five Reds today,” Daniel explains, looking to me for reassurance, I nod in his direction, then he looks back to Dale, Ace, Jose and Serge, as he also walks back into the room.
“Is that salt and pepper on your shirt, buddy?” Ace interrupts, his keen eyes narrowing and seeing the mess on Daniel’s white T.
“Great, you’re all seasoned up for me,” Serge winks dangerously at Daniel and he laughs nervously once again.
“As I was s-saying,” Daniel shakes his shirt to get rid of the salt and pepper, “I was recruited into the Five Reds. I needed the money. I couldn’t get a job anywhere else and the gangs I was in were... well, they have a target on my head. Because I actually started to take things... further,” Daniel trails off and I’m curious.
“What gangs?” I ask.
“Vigilante gangs,” Daniel answers, “There are three in the city. Vipers, who have inspiration from STRIKE, they’re pretty shitty people though. The Silver Swans, which are talented mutants who like to train together and master their abilities. I started with them but most are too pussy to get involved in actual shit. And... then there is the one I started... Triple D. Dawn or Dusk Dwellers... the perfect time to save lives. It seems to be a prime time for crime,” Daniel realises Dale is losing his patience when his hand twitches, so he quickly blurts out the rest, “I ran when a few of my friends gave my name to Hacksaw. They didn’t like that I was taking control of the group when they wanted to lead. Classic rivalry. I left when Hacksaw started to hunt me down. I was homeless for a good bit... the Five Reds liked my interview and said they’d give me a place to sleep. Honestly, I’m good for any mission. I can be bait, if you want. I don’t die, nothing can really kill me. I’m just looking for a roof... you know... another chance?”
“Welcome, we’re like the ultimate vigilante squad,” I add, highly enthusiastically.
Now everyone looks at Dale, waiting for an answer.
The silence is tense as Dale becomes unreadable.
“Fine...welcome to the club,” Dale smiles, forcing it out, before motioning with his hand for Daniel to come closer, “Now let’s go to my lab, buddy... I’m putting an explosive in your brain so if you fuck up, you’re dead. I only have one rule - loyalty. Do you understand what that means, Inertia?"
“Well, after I get an explosive in my brain, I’m sure I will... boss,” Daniel shrugs and walks around me, still looking nervous.
“He’s not that scary,” Blue reassures him, while Dale chooses to glare at me for Blue’s outburst.
“Blue,” I scold her but internally I’m smiling, “Why a change of heart, boss?” I ask Dale.
“I got fifty orphan kids that need a home up in the club... so they’re going to need some parental guidance, security and good role models. And that’s none of us. Daniel might just come in handy after all,” at Dale’s words, Daniel lights up.
“A-awesome, I’ve always wanted to mentor or teach, honestly,” Daniel adds, enthusiastically.
“Alyssa, dolls, V,” Dale motions to all of us, “I need you to get upstairs and help these kids settle in. Most of them have no family, some do and I want you to help return each child to their home... with PRINCE33.”
“Princess?” Blue, Strawberry and Raven all ask, confused.
“Our lamborghini, I gave it a name,” I add, sheepishly.
“Poo,” Strawberry crosses her arms over her chest, “I wanted to name it ‘BPSQFC’ bedazzlement of precision and the speed queen of FC. I’ve been learning to read and write, and I think I have a pooet inside of me.”
“A poo... wait... a poet?” I ask.
“Oh, yeah, sorry, is that how you pronounce it?” Strawberry asks, “Yes... hmmm... but, I guess I like princess, too.”
“BPSQFC can be the official title,” I suggest.
“I like it,” Daniel calls out as STRIKE push him out, starting to lead him away, “You’re a great pooet, Strawberry!”
I laugh and Strawberry, Raven and Blue all frown.
Blue turns to me, confused like the rest of the dolls, “What’s so funny, boss?”
“Nothing,” I shrug and they all narrow their eyes.
“Clearly, it’s something,” Strawberry adds.
“I swear, it’s nothing,” I turn to V, who is preparing more pancakes, “Now let’s get these pancakes and the spare brownies ready to feed some of the kids before we go up there. Hopefully you can all provide some humour. These kids are traumatised. So please don’t say anything that might trigger them.”
“I will give them hugs,” Blue announces, “Hugs always make me feel better.”
“I will read some poo... poetry?” Strawberry suggests.
“When I break things, people laugh, maybe I should smash things?” Raven suggests.
“All great suggestions,” I try to remain positive while V bursts out laughing while making the pancakes.
My Brownie Squad were learning quickly... but they were still a damn handful sometimes.