Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Pallbearer: Fevers In Berlin Part 4

Declaration Of Intent

Cassie always hated red roses. She preferred the fake ones, painted neon blue or lemon yellow. Never thirteen. Always one at a time.

A rose every Sunday and Wednesday, her worst days. The day before the work week and the never-ending halfway day.

I tore the rod out of The Conductor's leg and tried to stand. He grabbed me by the collarbone and squeezed, bones cracking, pain on intravenous drip through my veins.

I drove the steel rod into The Conductor's stomach about an inch before he caught the rod and flung me over his shoulder.

She loved children. Far more than Holly ever had. Said she wanted three children. A boy. A girl. And a surprise.

I landed face first and broke my nose as I skidded back down the tracks, in-between the electrified rails. I bled and it dribbled down my face.

I raised up with my Brute and headbutted Grendel. It's skull cracked and nose bled. I headbutted him again before I noticed The Conductor lunging through the air at my real body, brandishing the steel rod.

I rolled onto my back, just quick enough to avoid the rod as he drove it into the ground between rails.

I'd wake up later than she did and my coffee would be ready, my clothes laid out. She'd be gone, already prepping my Brute for the day ahead.

I slammed my heels down onto The Conductor's shoulders as he landed and impaled him on the rod. He laughed through a mouthful of orange fluid.

"That supposed to hurt? All you've done is damage the train control."


He wrenched the rod from his chest and held it over me.

"I am the control car you twit. I am the Black Dragon Express."

She cried all night the day her parakeet died. She executed thirteen escaping prisoners but sobbed over her parakeet. The one I bought her.

The Conductor drove the rod down at me. I spun to the side, dodging the rails, and kicked the rod aside. The steel rod connected with one of the rails. Sparks erupted as the juice coursing through them welded the rod to the rails, and melted The Conductor's hand to the rod.

"No no nononononoooonono. This not no. This. Move this. Schedule. On time. On time. ON TIME!"

The last shout was a sizzling scream as one of his silicone eyes burst. The train was moving.

She chose her handle to compliment Pallbearer. Everybody else followed suit after that.

Grendel raked a claw across my Brute's chest and I gritted my teeth. I grabbed Grendel arms with my Brute's robotic ones and rolled him over, pushing him towards the tracks. The train shoved the first gutted car aside and continued forward.

"If you're really Grendel, this shouldn't come as a shock."

My Brute flipped Grendel once more, and let go, tossing him directly into the path of the train.

Every time she kissed me, she'd bite my lower lip and giggle before a little whispered "Yours" slipped out of her mouth in a sweet cloud.

Grendel started to smoke, his arm landing on one of the rails. He was saved by the train as it pushed past him, the wheels severing his arm at the shoulder.

The Conductor was still twitching, polymer skin melting, dripping off of him. He giggled now.

"Seven down in the ninth, three minutes left. Three? Three? No more than two my good man. Man the oars! Overboard! Who's bored? I'm not a board but I'm about to be a stiff!"

His remaining eye caught my gaze.

"Gonna gonna gonnnnnnna play the heeeero Neil?"

In bed. Last night we slept together before Vaudville. Her head on my chest. "Don't let me go you burly Brute. Don't you ever let me go."

I stopped watching before the train hit him. It squealed to a stop with its living control box gone, ground under its wheels.


Cassie's chaingun stopped firing.

I turned and saw Natalie rise up and drive her scythe arms through Cassie's miniguns. She ripped one arm free and swung it down at Cassie's head.

My suit caught Natalie in its left hand and pulled her away, holding her as high into the air as it could.

"Neil!? Neil what the hell are you doing?"

I walked slowly to Cassie's Sanitation Suit. It was toothless now with its miniguns. And with St. George in my Brute's right.

"Hello Cassie."

"What are you going to do now Neil? Kill me? The big bad fucking Pallbearer."

I punched the front of her suit and my knuckles bled, but the armor peeled apart where Natalie had made contact. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a size six white gold band with C.A. engraved on the inside.

"This is for you. Never got the chance to ask you before. But there it is. You know the question. And I know your answer right now. Get out of here. Take Grendel, he's bleeding pretty bad and still in shock, and go."

"I'll kill you next time I see you. I won't stop."

"That's because you're Mortician not Cassandra Emily Nilsson. If that changes, remember that ring. We burly brute's remember."

I walked back to my suit and didn't watch her go. Not with my wet eyes. I watched her with my Brute's eyes as she helped up Grendel and they hobbled to the east. When they were gone, I lowered Natalie back to the ground.

"We should get that antivirus from the train. It should still be intact. People are gonna need it."

She was screaming as she withdrew back into her human body, skin blossoming over chitin, wrapping her up.

"Why? Why Neil? She betrayed you. She wanted you dead. Why didn't you let me kill her? Or kill her yourself?"

My eyes met hers and she backed away.

"The day I go into the ground, it will be with her or because of her. There will be no surrender. That wasn't my Cassie. That was someone else. I don't know who. I don't know why. But it wasn't her. What I want right now is a working suit and a bath."

"You need a doctor more than either of those."

I held up a finger.

"Want over need. Want over need. Now help me find that cure."

She smiled with soft eyes and said "I love you" before falling asleep on my arm.

Never let you go. Never.

No comments:

Post a Comment