Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Pallbearer: Sittin' Up With The Dead Part 1

Tuck Me In

She too was a Pisces. Another goddamn fish. Just what I needed.

Not that I minded much, or that I really believed in the stars telling my future. I just hate the fact that Pisces always get me into trouble.

Never fails.

She was a New Yorker too. Well, as much as anyone was anything but human these days. That was a fine enough line itself.

An army punk, stationed in Crysalis to help oversee the wall being finished. Obsolete by most standards, but what the hell, it was more symbolic than anything. Never hurts to have a shitload of tanks guarding something to spook away the locals that might get over-curious.

Loved it in the Entertainment District. Was something of a poet, her and her sister. Were sitting in some coffee cafe when the Second Salvo fell. Her shift was over permanently.

Her armored unit was decimated, not a single tank left. Her sister's bookstore was annihiliated as well. Dust, rubble, and a shitload of pretty toilet paper.

Beast and Company were Corp tanks sent out to provide support in case of assault. 3 hours before Morelli decided to wall everything off and make it a graveyard.

The voices, it seems, weren't the original crews. The original crews were dirt now. Shit shortly before that. They didn't last the first Sleeper assault. Torn, screaming, from their tanks by wolves and bats and boars and eagles. That's all the Sleepers were. Animals. Whatever humans they had hollowed out were gone.

It was Vaudville that saved her from the riots afterwards. Any Evol that even remotely looked animal was bein' lynched from the nearest lightpost.

Vaudville took her in, saved her and her sister from the mob. Mayor's nephew. Nobody would touch him.

And so he took care of 'em.

And raped 'em.

And butchered her sister.


Kibbles and bits and bits and bits.

And I was sad. Visibly so. If I'd have known...

I suggest you take your hands off the lady

I'd have made it a fuck of alot more painful for him.

He put her on a leash and had her star in his circus. The Wild Beast of Bor-nay-oh. Made sure she tore apart at least one audience member before the rest of circus turned lethal.

I was cold. I was sad. I was angry. I didn't care.

What did you do to my Brute? What happened to me? Why did you take me out of it in the first fucking place?

"Fixed it. Most of the way. Still had issues with the processor for the nervous system link. That's what I was screaming at you. One good jolt and you'd fuse with your damn Brute."

Smirk. That twisted up shit-eating "I told you so" smirk that makes you regret swearing you'd never hit a woman.

"I pulled you out... well... because I didn't figure you'd live."

Scavenger. Excellent. Not a cat or a fish. Vulture.

"I had the boys guard you. Nikolas drug your Brute back to the garage. When we realized you'd live, he went back for you."

Tell me about the boys. Please oh please. I'm most curious as to why I was arguing with a talking tank.

"They're... complicated."

No shit? They're talking tanks. I thought it was pretty common these days.

It was complicated. Not complicated like "I'm fucking my best friend's wife" kind of complicated. More like "I'm fucking my best friend's wife and put up bleacher seats so I could sell tickets" sort of complicated.

The tanks were Beast. Beast is Nikolas. Nikolas, therefore, is all the tanks.

Confused yet? Fuck knows I am.

Nikolas was in the act with Vaudville too. The "Live Wire!" performing incredible feats of mechanical projection nightly!

Another straight-jacket, jumping from circuit to circuit. Vaudville liked to make him use corpses unless it was show night. Said that rot looked good on him.

Apparently they decided the rot looked better on her "trainer."

Important note: Electricity can pass through spit. Never kiss a straight-jacket. Right.

The tanks were an afterthought. They stumbled onto them like mowing your lawn and finding a car. They fell through a road and found sixteen tanks. Only seven were salvageable.

Some people go this way, some go that way, some go both ways. Apparently, Nikolas goes seven ways.

A personality for every tank, for every tank, a personality.

She repaired the mechanicals, he fixed the electricals.

Vengeance, for some odd reason, was on their mind. So they painted up the tanks, and crashed a musuem. Got her a uniform and a tommy. And set out after Vaudeville again.

7 tanks, 7 heads. 1 beast.

A hair apocalyptic at best.

Eyes, sparkling with torn up photographs, muzzle flashes, and crushed mirrors.

Madness. It's just a word until you see it. Lead on your tongue, ash in your nose, whispers in your ear, sun in your eyes, and a thousand insects marching across the battlefield of your skin. And it's still just a word.

The whore of Babylon and her seven-headed beast, come with signs of the apocalypse for Vaudeville.

I love the movies. Revenge won't help. You'll be just as bad as they are. You'll be hollow. Is that what you want? To die? To be like them?

Yes. That's exactly what I want. To die. To die five minutes after they do. To smile at them as they bleed out from a thousand pinpricks, seasoned with salt and lime. To stick a hose in their mouth while they're drowning and stand on their head. To light them on fire and watch them burn like old newspapers and bald tires.

I liked her. Cassie wouldn't have.

I stood up and put my hand through the flap dangling where my shirt pocket used to be. No. I put my hand into my pants pocket and come up with three stones, a rock, two nails, and a golden ring.

Which day of Christmas is that again?

I wedged it onto my pinky and walked wordlessly to my Brute.

"You going to help me dig out Nikolas?"

"Nah. He's a prick. A prick that wanted to kill me. Call us even."

"Where are you gonna go?"

"Maybe try and make it to Takt District. Cassie's waiting for me."

"You'll never make it past the wall."

"Vaudeville almost did."

"He had an army and West Worthington's permission."

I walked.

"What happens after you get out, if you get out? Where are you going to go? What if you can't make it out? Gonna throw your life away? Gonna be a hero? Some sort of fucking martyr?"

Gonna play the hero Neil?

"Hero? There are no heroes in this fucking city. Just animals in a zoo. Sure, we're free. Free to stay inside these walls and die. Die from the Corps, from Mayor Morelli, from the Sleepers, the Judges, any of the S.I.G.s... We're already dead. Hero? No, I'm no hero. I'm just a Pallbearer, looking to make sure that when the dirt's tossed on our grave, we can rest with a little fucking dignity. You got a piss poor taste of vengeance and are already hollowed out, trying to turn on some lights. There are no lights. They're gone. Put out with a sledgehammer."

"Then what do you suggest?"

Madness. It's always just a word. Never anything else after you've seen it in a mirror.

"I attend the coffin. I help tuck you in. When you end, I begin. I'm a Pallbearer, and there's alot of people that need to put in the ground yet. St. George'll say their prayers, and I'll dig their grave."

She was quiet as I climbed into my Brute. I curled into a ball and stared at my ring with bleary eyes. Second eyes observed a city. And a wall. And a bigger city. And a bigger wall.

I started walking.

Her name was Erin.

I liked Cassandra better.

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