Thursday, July 5, 2012

Speechles: Sound, Mind, and Body Part 2

Plastic Seaweed

Nine times, I avoided death out of sheer cowardice. And disgust. The thought of drowning in a river of high pressure sewage is just foul enough to prevent one from self-murder. Thankfully, there were plenty of "clean" rooms along the path I took. The thought of being in a steely tomb surrounded by other people's filth isn't much above drowning in it...

But it is above.

Every time the sludge would subside, I'd slip back out. Rabid would be waiting and would expect a progress report. Not that I would give him much of one. I owed that Sleeper nothing and desired from him even less.

Desire. That word's the problem. If it were only what we desire.

At Junction 305, directly beneath the corners of Blackstone and Moss, he was waiting.

"What took you?"

I gave him the finger and dug into my pocket for a piece of chalk. His rat tail splashed noisily in the muck as he tapped a paw impatiently.

"C'mon c'mon. Spit it out already."

I scrawled "BLOW ME" in big white letters on the wall and sneered at him.

"If you want to be combative, so be it. But you won't get any treats that way. Cooperation is the name of the game."

I sighed miserably and started writing again.

"Fourty two dead. Half Jury killed via car bomb. Three more full Juries killed at 32964 Heep Avenue safehouse. Four in hand to hand, thirty-two via bomb. Safehouse detonated"

Rabid picked at the refuse between his front teeth.

"You've been busy, I'll grant you that. Decent kills but the loss of a safehouse? What were you thinking?"

I resisted the urge to use creative hand gestures and shook my head. I pointed to my eye then to the word "safehouse."

"Watching it? Fuck."

I backhanded the ragged rat. He barely winced.

"Right right. No F's. But that'll cost you a grenade."

I shrugged.

"Fine. Here's the deal. Go north two safehouses. You'll meet up with a team of my folks. No, I don't expect you to work with them much, but get them any information they need. You're sneakier than they are, what with being the wimpy, silent type and all."

I raised my fingers. Three, five, three, four.

"Three, three, two, two. You cost us a safehouse, even if it was being watched."

Three, two, two, one. Pause. Fist.

"Are you out of your mind? Why in the hell would I hand one over to you. I don't care how good you are with it."

I crossed my arms.

"Fine. Take your damn sniper rifle and the rest of your treats. Don't screw this up Rascal."

I scooped up a block of C6, two smoke grenades, two frag grenades, and three bundles of detonator cord. Rabid coughed impatiently and began scratching at himself through the holes in his ragged jeans.

Without further comment, I turned and set off down the tunnel. Rabid scurried back down his tunnel and up a ladder to an access hatch leading out oif the sewer. Where he went I never knew. Never cared. As long as he gave me more weapons to kill what he wanted. Community service suicide.

Now that's the ticket.

Three hours walk. Two clean rooms with half hour waits. Only about four hours total. Not long. Not long at all.

The manhole leading up into the safe house was already open when I got there. A barracuda faced Judge stood with his back to the house, smoking a weedy looking cigarette, blowing the smoke out his gills. I slipped out of the hole and drove my knife into the side of his neck. I pushed the knife forward, severing its jugular. It fell noiselessly and I crept forward.

Another safehouse made. This one raided even. Not good at all.

I pushed open the basement door and surveyed the mess. Blood. Human blood from the look of it. It was too thick to be the Judge's slimy blood.

Nobody. No bodies.

Wait. Heartbeat. A floor up.

I darted up the steps and followed my ears. There. A fairly frail blonde lay in a pool of sticky blood.

Her eyes opened and she smiled slightly. A gaping wound smiled the same way in her side.

"So they didn't catch you. They claimed they had. No one catches Rascal Jack. They took the others. Said they had plans for a public display. It doesn't sound like a normal head-taking ceremony."

I mouthed a word.


"Nagumo. Magistrate Nagumo. He lead this raid himself. He's coming for you. I think..."

She smiled with blood-stained teeth, fighting back the cough rasping around in her lungs.

"I think I was only here to bait you to pursue them."

I nodded and knelt down next to her. I unfastened a pouch from my belt and dipped my fingers into it.

"Are you... Are you going to put me out of my misery Jack?"

I shook my head. She seemed depressed.

"You won't end this pain?"

I raised a finger and touched it to her lips so she could feel the vibrations in me.

"This is a trap for me, and I don't mind. But leaving maimed bait is in poor form. Now relax and I'm going to patch you up."

The fingers searching through the pouch surfaced with a needle and a spool of wax thread. It was going to be crude but she'd live. She didn't realize, but the blood in her mouth was from a bitten cheek. Her lungs were pulsing just fine. A stiched up side and some disinfectants, and she'd be useful yet.

As I started sewing, my mind wandered.

Magistrate Nagumo.

Maybe suicide could wait. Just a little longer.

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