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Pussy Reaper’s Rage (story 2)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


Catarina Consuelo, teen vigilante, slays the stage in another action-packed thriller she may never survive.

Submitted: July 09, 2018

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Submitted: July 09, 2018

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Rats watch me. Ten rats. Maybe twenty rats, green tinted under my night goggles, they

gnash their boneish rat-fangs, mimicking Dylan Thomas’ words: Broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads.

A fitting analogy given the four beheaded bodies I saunter past. Their glossy brains, oozing around me, pool into a puddle of muddy water where the rats bathe and the last sex-trafficker whimpers. Let him snivel beside his rotting buddies. That should straighten out his lying tongue. He slithers toward a ladder. A few yards away, it judders when above a train zooshes, shaking the tunnel so vigorously I wonder when the ceiling’s gonna finally crack. Cave in. Crush every bit of me besides my dust peppered dreadlocks and my blood speckled stilettos. A scene straight from the Wizard of Oz.

Except I’m no Dorothy. I’m home. Determined to claim my throne by confronting these rats.

I throw myself at them. They stray left, scurrying into a cracked pipe. Spanning the length of the rock walls, the pipe belches steam atop a tiny puff-ball rat. Deserted and nearly drowning in that dirty puddle, it trembles under my wavering hand. Betcha anything I’m more terrified of it. Of the flesh-gnawing memories replaying like those yellow-brick-bleeping Munchkins. Label me post-traumatic if you must. My heart slams into overdrive once I grasp that rat. Take my advice. Plug your nose before touching a rodent. Its stale-urine stench rivals the shit-stinking air. Bring me a bottle of Febreeze. Lemon scented preferably. A zest of fresh will do me good. As will a meditative breath.

I rise, emitting an “Ommmm.” A yoga moment for the books. Hilarious? Haunting? Heck yeah. With that rat wriggling in my clutch and that trafficker slugging around a trail of carnage, I spread my limbs in my signature warrior pose. Don’t judge. My amped up adrenaline combined with that caffeine-junky espresso I recently downed has finally defeated my rat-phobia.

Nice! Fist-pump me for ditching my, this rat can’t hurt me, mantra. Today, I grow my courageous-samurai-self.

“Listen here, rat-baby.” I lift the rodent to my chin. It attempts to bite my tanned cheek. I snap my teeth at its whiskery snout. “Either get used to me or get lost.”

The rat appears to smirk as if saying, “Give it up, Chica. My ancestors were born down here.”

True. It’s spent its entire existence surrounded by zillions of other claw-clicking rats all carrying contagious diseases. Perhaps even Polio; the virus that left FDR paralyzed and led him to build these legendary NYC passageways beneath Grand Central Station incessantly eeking in tandem with this rat.

“Calm it.” I say, stamping across more puddles. “Won’t hurt you if you don’t hurt me.”

It hisses.

“Fine. Have it your way.”

I draw my katana from my obi hip sash. Studying the eight-headed orochi serpent carved in my blade, I mumble “Yasuraka ni nemuru,” in honor of Master Hyroshi blooming to mind like the Japanese orchids he gifted me before his demise. Before I rose from the brinks of despair and became a Chica-Ninja. I storm for that bald trafficker ready to bust out my bad-ass brand of booty-bashing.

Adiós fear. I dangle the rat by its tail. It squirms. Squeaks. Swishes like a pendulum ticking over the trafficker.

He worms nearer that steaming pipe. “Thought you said you wouldn’t hurt me.”

“Promised the rat that. Not you.” I bring the rat into my hand and stroke its bumpy spine with my thumb. With its furry nostrils, it sniffs my pinky then clacks its fangs in the trafficker’s direction.

He scoots against the ladder. “I’ll never tell.”

“Never is now.” I plop the rat on the trafficker, crossing my toes it won’t scram like the others.

Go! I widen my stance in front of the trafficker as I eye the rat. It poops on the trafficker’s chin then chomps his nose.

I snicker.

“Little fricker.” The trafficker flounders for the rat.

It dodges his clumsy hand and hops onto my outstretched arm.

“Sick move.” I pet the rat’s tuft of hair, soft between its twitching ears. It sniffs my pinky once more. “Mooj. Boldest Munchkin in the land. That’s what I dub ya.” I narrow my glare on the trafficker. “As for you. Spill it.” I stab my booted stiletto into his palm.

He banshee screeches shriller than the next vooshing train. “Bitch. They find me. You pay.”

“Wow, douche. Work on your threats.” I prop Mooj on my shoulder. He nips one of my dreadlocks while I pull out my iPhone and depress the home button.

“What can I help you with?” Siri states in monotone.

“Search for death-threats.”

“Okay.” Siri drones. “I'll skin you with a cheese grater and sharpie your name on your organs.”

“There. Say that instead.” I take the trafficker’s picture. “Just wait til your fans repost your grumpy pout. Tinder’s gonna blow up your profile.”

“What’s wrong with you?” The trafficker cringes as I dig my heel deeper. “You’re crazy.”

“Crazy’s got its perks.” I thrust my katana to his throat. “Perks to make ya talk. Tell me where my girls are.”

“Forget about your shelter skanks.” He strains against my sword, his Adam’s apple bobbing. “No one cares what happens to trash like that.”

“Do it. Call my friends trash again.” I furl my upper lip, my muscles still hardened by Marta’s frantic expression when she Skyped with the news last night. “Speak the hell up!”

He chokes out a giggle. “Run away, kitty. There’s milk in the kitchen.”

“Name’s Pussy Reaper.” I say in my best Exorcist voice. “Let’s test out my kitchen skills.”

I cut him jugular to navel.

His faces flinches, his blood mixing with the others’. He slumps.

Mooj chatters.

“Quit guilt-tripping me. Men like that don’t change.” I boot the trafficker in the rib, catching my toe in his pant pocket. Something shiny slips out. I bend for a closer inspection and my toes curl not so much at the quarter I see but what’s engraved on it. What I’m pretty sure Edison should inspect.

I lift my phone and tap it.

“Yo, yo, homeslice.” Edison chirps on the other side. Gurgling erupts after. Probably from his Frappuccino machine, the one he fashioned from plastic and scrap metal. “Dish up ‘da details.” His voice crackles in and out. No wonder since he tinkered with that ancient flip-phone, hardwiring it to hack the nearest cell towers.

“Skip the pleasantries.” I nab the coin rolling it back to front multiple times, my skin prickling at what’s etched on George Washington’s neck— Two turkey vultures feast on a human skeleton above an orochi serpent. A familiar picture. A horrible picture. A picture I still haven’t erased from my mind. “Round up some Moles. Start a search party.”

I flick my phone. Prodding it and the coin in my pleather bra, I return my katana to my sash and stalk through the tunnel. Mooj glued to my sternum like a thorny necklace, I follow the pipes until they peter off. Until FDR’s train appears; the exact area I slayed Squealer six months ago. A lot’s changed since then; mainly my daily surveillance of these tunnels and my entrance into NYU’s AP Poli-Sci program for high-school seniors.

I climb the few rusty stairs onto the train. Nudging the door open, it squeals along with Mooj.

“No worries tiny Buddha.” I unwrap the half eaten granola bar stuffed inside my back zipper pocket and hold it out to Mooj.

He nibbles off oatmealy-bits while I continue inside Edison’s newly constructed lab — the tech tavern as I’ve termed it due to the fab coffee concoctions I often drink in front of his five security surfaces. I flip my night goggles off, adjusting to the dim light from the three electronic lanterns positioned around the one-room engine.

“Check it.” Edison gestures to the middle tab-pad — the one he revamped from a junked iPad. Man, he’s so talented. An inventor to the max. Cute too. Even if his mohawk is rather shaggy at the moment, drooping around his moon-shaped ears and his flame-tattooed temples, I have the sudden impulse to scoop up his stray hairs. Slick them into place then brush a kiss over his large inviting lips.

Ugh. Quit obsessing. Feelings and guys never end well.

“Cat!”

“Huh?”

“Look.”

I trail his ebony finger to the image. Crystal clear on the touch screen, the image shows the Waldorf Astoria hotel ladder in the South tunnel. Nothing abnormal about it. “So what’s the deal?”

“Didn’t notice it either til I started fidgetin’.” He zooms in on the image a laser stylus pen identical to the one he created to display holographic maps. “Dat’s da deal.”

He swipes the image expanding it til a metal object displays near the bottom of the ladder. Not a metal object. A box. A dangerous looking box.

I bolt out of the train, calling after, “Send Moles my way.”

Chances are it’s nothing but garbage someone cast down here. Weird tho. Didn’t spot it earlier when I patrolled that area where I found those traffickers and trailed them to the Grand Central Station entrance. No doubt. I might’ve spared their lives if they’d divulged the names of whoever took my seven rescue girls from Marta’s Covenant House. Possibly the same pricks who captured me years ago. Other than dead Grundy and Squealer, I never met anyone else. Let alone saw anything else besides Grundy’s tattoo and that picture imprinted on my cage, the same one in this quarter — two turkey vultures eating a human skeleton above an orochi serpent.

Go fig. That picture returned to haunt me. I hasten my pace, my stress pulsing to the top of my head where Mooj snuggles, likely sleeping sweet rat dreams. Wish I could say the same. Or at least had something stronger than caffeine to settle my nerves practically splitting apart when another train whooshes.

Ahead, something clicks.

I pause. Totally in ninja stealth mode, I sidestep along the rock wall, flipping my night goggles back on. I slide out my katana.

Past the domed archway, marking the end of Grand Central, I spy the Waldorf Astoria ladder and that metal box below. I prowl in it’s direction.

Seriously. Talk about migraine-inducing. Somebody shut whatever is clicking inside it.

 Click. Click. Click...

I near the ladder and crouch at the foot of it, examining that same vulture picture engraved on the outside of the steel box that’s the size of a car battery. I strain to lift it and nearly drop it when I return it to the ground.

Click. Click. Click... The clicking quickens.

I gulp. With my blade, I pry the box apart, my jaw stiff at the sight. At the liquid filled tube positioned inside and the timer ticking down.

Nineteen-forty-six. Forty-five. Forty-four. Forty-three...

Oh my God! I grasp my phone and tap it.

“Yo. Yo. News?”

“Clear out! Everyone!”

“Halt.” Someone yells.

I stand. Slowly, I turn to a gun. Aimed at me, a cop grips it, his vest pocket reading, Lieutenant Windald.

“Catarina Consuelo. You’re under arrest for the murders of my detectives.”

Detectives? What detectives? And how’s he know my real name? “You picked an awful place. Arrest me anywhere else.” I gotta get Edison and the Moles to safety. Gotta alert Grand Central Station and the hotel also. “See?” I tilt to the side so the box is in the officer’s view. “It’s a bomb.”

“Fancy little thing. Ain’t it?”

What’s that supposed to mean?

Windald scrutinizes the katana in my fist. “Lower your weapon.”

And what if I say no? What if I kill him? Might be better that way. Can’t trust the law anyways. They never once assisted in finding my sweet Selah. Explains why I went rogue. And I’m not about to change my tune for this cop. Something ‘bout him seems off. His fancy little thing phrase and his crooked nose bent toward his worm-like mustache smacks of complete skeeze material.

I glimpse from the cop aiming his gun at me to the descending timer. Eighteen twenty-seven. “Quit wasting time. Innocent people are at stake.”

“Innocent? That’s debatable.”

Debatable? Strange thing for a cop to say.

Windald mashes the barrel to my brow. “Lower your weapon!”

Mooj wakes atop my head. He skitters to my shoulder then plops on Windald’s wrist, biting it.

“Nasty bugger.” He smacks Mooj.

“Jerk.” I catch Mooj in my palm. “Pick on someone your own size.”

“Someone like you?” Windald smirks as Mooj returns to my dreadlocks. “This is your last chance, girl. Lower your weapon or I shoot.”

“Puh-lease.” This prick ain’t gotta clue what I can inflict. I hold him in my cold-stare. “All you cops have use the same threats. Bet if I skin you alive you can muster a creepier threat.”

“Funny.”

Someone skirts my back.

I peek over my shoulder.

Treen? Edison’s sister? Shit! What’s she doing here? Windald pulls the trigger. Treen shrieks. I grab her slender torso and duck.

She crawls in the opposite direction as I spring into the air. As I swing my katana, Windald dunks beneath my blade. Lucky move. He shoots again. A bullet nicks my thigh; a minor flesh wound I ignore. I spear his shoulder, my focus averted by another cop. A few feet away from us, he snatches Treen.

She shrieks again. Wrestling in his squeeze, his sleazy hands fondle her thighs.

“Spankalicious here would make one fine addition.”

“F-U!” I try to remove my katana from Windald. It’s stuck in bone.

He forces me toward him til my blade goes through his other side. Til we’re chest to chest, his fish breath reeking in my face.

“Buy a toothbrush.”

“Enjoy my cod-liver-oil. Huh?” He tackles me to the ground.

“Eat your cod and die.” I knee his nuts.

He grunts. My sword still impaling him, I yank it up, severing shoulder from collar bone. He wails, his gun loosening. It drops.

I kick it. Heaving him off me, he rolls to his belly while I whirl toward the other cop, my katana pointed at him.

“Hand her over!”

The cop raises his gun. “She’s mine.”

“She’s no one’s!” I jab my blade to his jugular, an engine revving behind.

Edison’s low baritone voice sounds after. “Get your grubby paws off her.” He throws his ax.

Treen tilts right, Edison’s ax hurtling over me. It thwacks the cop’s skull. The cop flops.

And another prick bites dust.

I spit on him then head for the timer that’s closing in on twelve minutes. “Hurry.

 

 Edison skids his motorbike to halt. At my side, he dismounts and motions me to the opposite wall. “Give ‘er space.”

Her? Oh Treen.

She dashes for the box.

“Her bomb skills be why I sent her your way.”

Bomb skills? That’s neat. Useful too. Especially now.

She crouches beside the bomb, expertly dismantling it. Stunning! Within seconds she rewires it, ending the clock.

“Not the first bomb we’se found down here.” Treen re-examines her handiwork then stands. “Be back with troops.”

“Good.” Edison crouches with me in front of the box. “Cops hate how we live rent free in dees tunnels. Can’t imagine dem detonating midtown tho.”

“Unless these were dirty cops.” I squint at the two fallen officers on either side of us. “Guess more’ll be coming now.”

“One prob at a time.” Edison studies the picture of the vultures on the box then gestures to my phone. “Camera. Here.” He points at the picture.

I tap a snapshot of it then pass him my phone.

“Dis ain’t any ol’ picture.” He uploads it to photo editor and alters its hue and saturation, revealing in the top right corner a bunch of jumbled letters.

Whoa! Leave it to Edison to find some message hidden in this picture that’s literally bugged me for years. Course I’ve no idea what QWNpZCBjYWZl means.

“Got this.” Edison launches safari and swipes a link, entering the message into a data-box. “Yep. Base sixty-four cipher.”

“English?”

“A programming code. Unoriginal at that. Whoever encrypted dis is fairly dumb.” He translates the message. “Acid Cafe.”

“That underground club ‘neath Times Square? Dude. I’ve been plannin’ on raiding it.”

“Here’s your chance.”

 Rumor has it the nastiest pricks prowl there. And yet, it all seems too easy. Probably a trap. One I’d gladly face even if all I get are more clues to my girls’ location. “Let’s do this.”

Edison pockets his ax in his belt loop then mounts his newly refurbished motorbike. Red and black, its yellow decals match the flame tattoos on his temples. A huge improvement over his old rusted moped despite his claims that Shereece two-point-o lacks character. Character my bum. This one’s wickedly awesome. Not to mention functional. I straddle the seat behind him, bracing myself on his biceps. We speed off, my skin warming to his body temp as if he lit a lantern inside me.

Seriously? Emotions, Cat! Ditch ‘em.

Honking reverberates. I peer at the rear of us, spotting headlights from the Moles’ pick-up truck. A fair distance behind, it careens over puddles.

“Acid Cafe.” Edison shouts back at them.

We accelerate. Mooj clinging to my dreadlocks, he bounds on Edison’s shoulder.

“Frik!” Edison nearly doubles over. The front-tire fishtailing, he swats at Mooj.

“Don’t. You’ll hurt him.”

Mooj skitters into my hair.

“Since when do you care about rats?”

“Mooj is special.”

“Great. It’s gotta a name.”

“Hey. No haters allowed.” Like me Mooj was scared and abandoned. I gave him a home. After all, I am queen of rescuing strays. Strays like my girls. Just thinking about the torture they’re undoubtedly facing makes me wanna barf. A yoga moment would be a real reliever right ‘bout now. I’d bend in a downward facing dog if I wasn’t drag-racing through a dark tunnel while every second minute a train zooshes overhead. We pass the Grand Central Station ladder, nearing the corpses of the cops I killed. The cops I’m still certain must’ve lied about my girl’s whereabouts.

Big nasty liars. I narrow my gaze, tense the entire six miles it takes us to reach the deserted platform. Located far below Time’s Square, it’s the exact place the bunker once stood. That bunker that somehow vanished six months ago. It’s bothered me every day since. Every time I’ve searched this area I’ve wondered where it went. Wondered how it could’ve been replaced by this platform vacant other than two thousand pieces of junk strewn on the wall pipes where some straggling rats crawl. Out they scurry, for the river. On our right, the river streams down a low trench while on our left a broken escalator ascends to a second platform above which techno music booms. A thudding beat. It rattles the cement I step on and the slimed pillar Edison parks near.

I climb the escalator, the stationary stairs littered with cans and bottles. Tons of condoms, half dried and stuck to the railing, smell of splooge, fueling images of my shackled wrists. My restrained legs. Men drugging me and violating me in horrid ways I can’t purge from my brain.

I wheeze. My head pounding harder than the music, I think it might burst. Think I might barf. Might decline into that same catatonic stupor I suffered after I escaped those sleazy sex-traffickers. I dry heave in my palms, almost falling to my knees.

Edison catches me. “Cat. Cat!” He drags me out of my daze, holding me up, his arms folded round my abs, his mouth sweeps the nape of my neck. I exhale stiffly. Pivoting, I peer past his night goggles to his tender chestnut eyes.

“Ain’t no one harming you on my watch.” He whispers in my ear. I shiver. His words spoken with such compassion. Such authenticity. Genuine as he is; a guy I’m falling for too fast. Too hard.

“Stay with me, homeslice.” He skates his hand across my cheek, his breath like fire on my flesh. “Fight for me. For this. For us.”

Beauty beyond belief dims our dark dirty surroundings, transporting us to this imaginary ballroom meant for only us. Only in this moment. Under this diamond chandelier, I sway with him on a golden carpet, his gaze hotter than the flames blazing in my belly, I melt in his embrace. In the wonder of these feelings blossoming within me. He locks his lips on mine.

“Looky here.”

I freeze. As if the grave has opened beneath me, a ghoulish voice cackles. All too familiar. It can’t be him. Just can’t.

“The infamous couple.”

Edison’s embrace tightens.

I peer around his bicep and nearly faint. Squealer? Alive? How?

He skulks on the platform yards from the rushing river, ten brutish police officers at his sides.

“You’re not the only one with nine-lives.” Viktor, Marta’s ex-boy toy, aka Squealer wags the hook connected to his prosthetic arm. “Thanks for the souvenir.” He repeats the phrase I said after I chopped his limb off. “Next time check your corpses before your Moles burn ‘em.”

“You mean us?” Treen yells from the incoming truck.

It rumbles across the platform, braking beside Edison’s bike. Seven Moles, Treen included, hurry straight for the officers.

“Men.” Squealer nods their way.

The cops raise their semi-automatic-tasers. Or whatever they are; maybe a new gun-themed invention, matching the same taser-guns from the bunker. Haven’t seen those killer weapons in six months. How’d these cops get them?

The Moles slow their pace.

Squealer snarls. “On my command.”

“Stop!” I roar.

Squealer pauses his men. His mustard-stained sneer spreads my way. “Appears you cracked my message, Cat.”

“Acid Café. So that’s where you’re hiding them?”

“Them? You mean seven slutty someone’s? That’s that billion dollar question. Ain’t it. Ask your shelter skanks. They sure fit my bill.”

“Take your bill and grind it in a blender.”

“Ouch.” Squealer says. “Watch your sass.”

“Keep your orders to yourself.” I grit my teeth, pushing past Edison.

He seizes my hand. “Don’t. Let me.”

“My battle.” I flip myself in a forward somersault. Mooj cinching my hair, I land on all fours at the bottom of the escalator.

“Impressive. Too bad you’re on my naughty list. I do enjoy your spunk.” Squealer lifts what mirrors a remote control. Music fades above the escalator. Shrill screams follow.

“Listen to them.” Squealer strokes a red button on the remote. “Let this be a lesson to you. To obey your elders. Think of the partnership we coulda had.”

“Disgusto. Go bathe your filthy shitter. You reek.” I jerk out my katana, stalking forward.

Edison hustles down the escalator after me while the Moles elevate their shovels and the officers thumb their triggers.

Squealer stares me down. “Such a disappointment you’ve become. Ignoring the truth. It’s been right in front of you. And you had to ruin it.”

The screams from above louden. Edison flanks my side.

Squealer snarls. “Touch my men and your scaredy tramps die.”

Maybe he’s bluffing. Maybe he’s not. Maybe they’ve wired my girls with bombs. My spine crawls at that last maybe. Last time he lied. This time might be different.

Come on, Cat. Be smart. Screw his dictatorship.

I tread onward. “Release my girls and I won’t rip your guts from your butt ugly carcass.”

“There. That’s the spirit.” Squealer struts closer, way too proud of himself, his strange flat smile mirroring one of those Chucky dolls. “Tell you what. I’ll be nice. Offer you a second warning. Give yourself to me and I’ll free your girls.”

“Frik no.” Edison grabs my shoulder.

I shrug him off. Regardless that I want him. Want his mouth. His kisses can carry us to a new eternity. An eternity I must relinquish. Must detach myself from the hope he holds. It’s the only way to protect them all. Simple as that. I can defend myself. My girls can’t.

I release my katana. It clatters to the cement.

Mooj leaps, his jaws wide open. He chomps Squealer’s jugular.

Squealer bleeds out, the remote releasing from his grip. I seize my katana. While Mooj scurries back into my dreadlocks, I mutter, “Thanks tiny Buddha.”

I charge for Squealer, slashing my blade in a sideways motion. “Prepare for your booty-bashing.” I hack off his head, spear it, then pitch it like a tampon. It splashes in the river where a spiky-finned fish or maybe some water-lizard pops up. It swallows the head whole.

Thank the stars. Squealer’s finally done for! I sprint back into action when the cops fire. Volts of electricity whizz by almost striking me. I launch myself atop two cops and slit their throats.

Edison hurls his ax after. Hitting an officer in the skull, he dashes to claim his weapon as I stab another and the Moles elevate their shovels.

Guns blast. Moles stoop. Nearly flat on the ground, they shield themselves. In one long line they shuffle for the officers, growling, “Hut. Hut. Hut.” Their chanting competes with the continuous trains zooming overhead and the screams reverberating above the escalator.

I retrace my steps to the stairs.

“Hold up.” Edison climbs beside me to the top step. A door sits in the wall. Closed and locked, it’s stamped with an orochi serpent identical to the one carved on my katana. Odder than odd; the sameness between my sword and this door. It rattles when the screams reach whistle decibels. When I attempt to turn the nautical wheel securing it, it doesn’t budge.

“Here.” Edison wrestles with the wheel. Straining with all his might, he twists it one inch.

“Hands up.” Someone yells letting off a fishy odor behind us. It swarms to my nostrils.  As I spin on my heels, I gawk at Windald, the cop I thought I killed. Sheesh peeps. Stay dead.

Windald staggers in our direction. His left shoulder hanging from his chest, he holds Squealer’s remote, the one probably connected to multiple explosives.

“Consider this payback.” He lowers his finger to that red button. “Go to hell bitch.”

“You first.” I thwack my blade down his middle.

He splits in half, both sides of him plummeting to the ground. The remote slips. I lunge for it. So does Edison. Too late. The button slams that nautical wheel.

FriKQWe high-tail it. With Edison at my rear, we bend low. His arms wrapping round me, a fireball blasts through the door. The impact shoves us forward. Edison leaps sideways. I follow. Cement chunks hurtle at me, pounding my torso. Others crack my hips. I tumble under heaps of asphalt. The ceiling caving in, the end of a train crashes through. I gasp for oxygen. For a reprieve from this sudden wind whipping acrross the devastated tunnel and chilling my skin. My ears ring, dulling the wails of people buried beneath bent steel and charred rubble. Edison crawls toward me, his face shattered on one side, his mouth moving in slow motion. Words I can’t comprehend. Can’t tell if I’m shell-shocking or if I’m croaking.

My entire body shrieks. A bone grinding sensation, spanning from my pelvis to my shoulder, intensifies once I straighten my leg. Once I finally inhale, my ribs twinge worse than if a rhino trampled me. Worse my vision blurs Edison along with this excessively tall albino man looming inches behind him.

Run! I try to yell. My guttural groan drowns under loud hissing erupting from that… Snake? A blue tongue darts from the man’s blood-colored lips. He stretches his pale claw-like fingers seizing Edison by the ankles.

“Cat!”

Edison. No. Don’t take him!

“Save them.” He grapples at loose stones, his eyes creased with sheer terror as that beastly man, in a pin-stripped suit, drags him across blood-soaked rocks. They vanish in a plume of smoke. Billowing from that blown in door, the smoke invades my lungs.

I choke, wincing as I cough repeatedly.

Please. Bring him back! I squeeze out a tear, surrendering to my cries. To the years of  agony unearthing itself beneath my gouged chest. They replay over and over. Every moment a like sick nightmare, they torture me and taunt me with all I’ve suffered alone. Without a mom. A dad. A sibling. And now even Edison is gone. I sob into the haze swelling around me. My heart sinking in my stomach, my throat stinging, my agony travels down my esophagus, scraping the walls of my heart. I wanna die. Right here. Right now.

A shard of sunshine spills on my arm. Beaming out of a small hole in the ceiling, the rays hit the rocks, fusing them together along with my bones. So strange. A magical feeling, growing within me, twirls me out of the tunnel. Above the sun-streaked skyscrapers, I soar higher than an eagle. The Empire State Building, rising beneath me like a giant Jenga tower, it reconstructs itself. Before my eyes, Mooj whirls upward his tiny paws branching out. They transform into human arms. Into long willowy legs. Into my gorgeous sister.

Selah! Her raven hair flows over her bronze shoulders that sprout wings. White and majestic, she flaps them as she glides my way. She slides her hand over my dreadlocks, her voice a whisper welling in my soul. “Find them in the depths of Izumo.”

Izumo? What’s that? “You mean my girls? Edison?”

“He shall be cloaked in the bones of our mothers.”

“Need a lot more help than that.” I grasp her perfectly smooth palm and press a kiss to it. “Show me the way.”

“This is your journey.” She disappears, exiting Mooj’s tiny rat-body that wiggles in a cloud of colors

Oranges and yellows gleam from him. From me. I descend, floating back to the tunnel. The walls and ceiling rebuild around me, the river streaming and the escalator unmoving. The tunnel remains as it was including Windald’s mangled corpse and the condom littered walls and the Moles. Below on that platform, they swish their shovels slaying those last prickish officers. Perishing under the hands of my adoptive kin, the cops slump while a train departs above, shaking the tunnel along with me.

With my quivering hands, I reach for the wall, touching the brick that no longer bears that door with that orochi serpent and that nautical wheel. Another door stands in it is place. Made of wood and etched with nothing, the door vibrates as techno music blares out, drifting to the stairs where Edison kissed me. Where he promised no harm would come to me. It should’ve been the other way around. Been me who promised. Now all that’s left of him are dreams of what we could’ve been. What we could’ve offered each other.

Memories of him lay silent as my sorrow, shuddering within me. They slaughtered my sister. They sold my body. They will not steal the guy I love.

I spring to my toes, snatching my katana between the halves of Windald.

Rats watch me. Ten rats. Maybe twenty rats all scampering from the pipes, they encircle me. Mooj in the middle. Atop my blade, he and other rats gather. Standing on their hind legs like those yellow-brick bleeping Munchkins they slant their beady eyes, mimicking Dylan Thomas’ words: Broken ghosts with glow-worms in their heads.

A fitting analogy given the behead corpses scattered on the platform. Below hundreds of Moles congregate, their angry expressions mirroring my rage flaring through my flinching muscles. I shake my sword at the ceiling, a war cry erupting from my lips. Whatever beast took Edison better cover its ass.

Pussy Reaper’s coming to play.


© Copyright 2018 Joy Shaw. All rights reserved.

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