It had been a couple of weeks, maybe longer since my back was burnt by Felon. The smell had not gone away, neither had the pain. Never was kind enough to clean and find some bandages for the wounds, but the real scar would be mental. I would relive that moment over and over. As one week turns into two weeks and I’m able to move without ripping open the giant scab on my back, I slowly begin putting myself back into shape.
My first day in Prison City nearly killed me. If they were the first to block my path, I can only imagine it gets worse from here.
Two more weeks later, I am finally ready to move on. My strength has returned and so has my desire for vengeance. Everyday from where we hide, I can see the top of the Grand Hotel and imagine him looking out over all of this and wonder if he really believes it’s his kingdom. Does he know that I’m coming for him?
High atop the Grand Hotel, indeed, Joykill is out on his balcony overlooking Prison City. From where he gazes, he can actually see out into the city beyond. The way it looks clean and crisp, and then Prison City filled with dust and decay.
There’s desperate pounding on the door and with a sign, Lince sets down the newspaper and goes to answer it.
“The rooks have been defeated. Killed. By the woman. Rumor says she has a grudge against the king and is coming for him.”
It’s almost a laugh that comes from Killjoy as he turns and looks at the messenger. “Interesting. It’s very interesting,” he murmurs under his breath. “I wonder how far she will get.”
“The knight has already been warned that she is coming,” but Killjoy just waves off the messenger as Lince just shuts the door on him.
“Do I look worried?”
“Nah, but even if she gets by the knight, the bishop will be ready and not one person has gone further than the queen, so I doubt you’ll even get a look at her.”
“That,” he says as he continues to watch outward, “That would be a pity…”
Back on the street, Cam and Never are ready to head out. “How far is the knight?”
“Just a few blocks. Are you sure you’re ready?”
“I’m ready.” The determination was back in her voice as she picked up her backpack and her wooden sword and they head out into the daylight.
As they hit the street, something seems familiar to Cam as she recalls back to her days in high school.
“Check this out?” Tee nudges her, “Just go along with me.”
With a nod, Cam and Tee approach a couple of boys who are fooling around with their skateboards. Doing a few tricks, nothing fancy or all that entertaining but they probably thought they were cool.
“Mind if we try?” asks Tee, reaching up to tuck some blonde hair behind her ear.
“You skated before?” one of the boys asks skeptically.
“All the time! We just didn’t bring our boards with us,” says Cam as they move closer.
The two boys exchange looks and probably thinking they might get lucky, they offer their skateboards to the girls.
Cam and Tee take the boards and set them on the pavement and place a foot on them, “We’re gonna get a feel for them and then do a few tricks that will blow your mind,” Tee says as she looks back.
Then both of the girls push off and begin to ride down the alleyway.
The boys grin at each other and high five, but those grins slowly evaporate when they realize the girls aren’t turning around. In fact, they have made it to the end of the alley and turned the corner and disappeared.
“Fuck!” The boys run after the two but as they get to the end of the alley and look, the girls and their skateboards are nowhere to be found.
GUEST STARRING: MELINDA RHODES
“We going?” asks Never. “I mean, it’s okay if you wanna change your mind after all you’ve gone through so far.”
The voice shakes Cam from her daydream as she turns to Never, shaking her head, “No. Let’s go.”
The two head out into the street and begin to walk. “What do you know about the knight?”
“That’s his name? Scream?”
“That’s her name. She used to be in the band Autopilots, moderately famous.”
Cam nods, “I remember them. They just disappeared one day.”
“Because of Scream. She couldn’t handle the loss of fame and went on a robbing spree to finance the recording of a new record for the band. When the money didn’t come fast enough, she upped the ante and tried to rob a bank. Caught the first time and they threw her in here.”
“How do you know all this about everyone?” Cam asks as the two walk the street.
“I listen. I have a knack for staying hidden.”
“I guess your knack ran out.”
Never smiles faintly, “I just was careless.”
“So it seems.” The talking ceased as they came to a fork in the road. “Which way?”
Never pointed to the left as the two continued onward. They entered an alleyway and about halfway down a voice was heard.
“Nuh huh huh. I’m afraid this is as far as you go, ladies. Welcome to the jungle…” Sitting on the fire escape, a woman sits with her guitar. There are really only a couple usable strings on the guitar as the others have broken. She rises to her feet and hops over the railing and lands on the ground. “I’d advise you both to turn around to go back to where you came from. You must have defeated the rooks in order to get here, so how about you save us both the trouble and go back to where you rule. I really don’t feel like fighting today.”
As Never slips behind Cam, the avenger shakes her head. “I’ve gotta go through here, I’m afraid. Whatever it takes. I have business with Killjoy.”
The cackling laughter of the musician fills the alley, “No one has business with the king, dearie. No one. He might fuck ya and then toss you off the top of the hotel, but other than that I assure you he has no use for the likes of you.”
“It’s not about what he wants. It’s about what I want and I am going to kill him,” Cam says matter of factly. “The question is will you allow me to pass or will I have to take your spot as well.”
The grin disappears from the face of Scream as she sniffs the air, “I smell.. Confidence. The stench of defeat, to be honest. The air of one who has no idea of which she asks, so I will save you the trouble of making the journey to your death by defeating you here and now and sending you back to the minor leagues, lady.”
Cam removes her pack and tosses it to Never, who moves off the side. “I’m not trying to cause a problem. I just want Killjoy. You could let me pass and be done with it.”
As the two circle each other, Scream laughs at the suggestion, “If I let you pass, folks around here would think I got beat. I’ve been the knight for a very long time. I’m not planning on going anywhere any time soon.”
Leaping before thinking is what got Cam in the trouble she ended up in the last time, so this time she played it fairly safe. Unfortunately, she underestimated the speed of Scream who with one quick shot, hit Cam right in the nose causing it to explode as blood poured down her chin.
It was also unfortunate, because it caused her eyes to blur and obstructed her vision, so she missed when Scream came at her, lifted her up and slammed her down onto the pavement.
“Little girl. You’re messing with a woman who would more than likely kill you than let you pass by me. You could save yourself a whole fuck ton of hurt if you just get up and go back to where you came.”
Cam tried to ignore the pain in her back, the skin was still tender from the burns she received at the hands of the rooks, but she pulled herself to her feet and brought the back of her hand up to check her nose. Her eyes turn to Scream who is grinning cockily. “Turning back now?”
Cam charges in quickly, but Scream is ready for her as she stops her with a fist to the chest and then an uppercut and lifts Cam up off her feet as she lands on the pavement with a thud.
“Amateur,” mutters Scream under her breathe. “Just get the fuck away from me.” She turns and starts to walk away when Cam utters, “Wait.. I’m not done.”
She pushes herself up, blood still running down her face and chin, “You won’t stop me so easily,” she says as she staggers towards her.
Unamused, Scream just shakes her head, “You’re a tough bitch, I’ll say that, but I’m going to end this once and for all. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”
She charges in and pulls her fist back and as she unleashes it, Cam brings her hand up and stops the fist much to the surprise of Scream. There’s a struggle as Scream tries to push forward, then tries to pull back but Cam just grins at her, “I’m not as much of a pushover as you thought, bitch.”
Cam takes the arm and gives it a twist, causing it to snap as Scream flips over onto her back. Scream clutches at her shoulder as she rolls over and scoots back against the brick wall and sits up.
“I guess we’re done here,” Cam says as she spits out some blood and starts to turn away.
“You ain’t going nowhere, bitch.” Cam turns around as Scream is attempting to get to her feet, but Cam just rushes at her and knees her right in the face, sending the back of her head against the wall, leaving a blood splatter behind her.
Never rushes over to offer assistance to Cam, who just waves her off. “I’m okay.” The two start to walk off when the sound of chuckling is heard behind them, followed by hysterical laughter. “Going already?”
Using her feet, Scream pushes herself up the wall, she takes a couple steps forward, then slams her arm into the wall hard, a loud crack is heard as the woman shrieks seemingly putting her shoulder back into its socket.
She moves her arm around, grinning, “Much better. You might have beaten her, but you can’t beat me. Now, where were we?”
Turning to Never, Cam tells her, “Get out of the way.” She reaches up and wipes the blood away from her nose as she turns around and faces Scream.
When we return, Scream and Cam are having a face off. Both look worse for wear, bloody and beaten as the two circle each other in the alley. “Can’t let you by,” softly sings Scream as she grins evilly at Cam.
“I’m going through even if I have to go through you,” responds Cam as she charges in. Scream lifts a foot and just boots Cam right in the chest, sending her down to the ground.
Scream charges in with a kick to the head, but Cam trips her, sending her right onto her back on the harsh pavement. “Fuck,” Scream can be heard muttering as she rolls over and staggers back to her feet.
“Just let me pass,” Cam asks, as she stands there looking at the crazed Scream.
As Scream’s laughter gets louder and louder, she pauses only long enough to say, “Not on your life.” She charges in and begins to hit Cam with her fists, one to one side of the face and the other to the other side. Cam is knocked to the ground as she crawls backwards.
Scream picks up a brick, “I told you to turn back, you stupid bitch.” She raises the brick high as Never turns around, when suddenly Scream stops as her eyes go wide.
She takes a couple of steps backwards, dropping the brick from her hand and then takes a couple more steps back as we finally see that Cam’s kendo stick has impaled the woman, as blood flows down the front of her body.
Scream wraps her hands around the sword and slowly pulls it out of her body as blood begins to flow more freely, pooling underneath her. “Fuck…” she mutters as she falls backwards onto the pavement.
Never rushes over and helps Cam to her feet, “Are you okay?” It seems this will be a common question that will be asked as Cam just nods her head. She limps over and reaches down to pick up her kendo stick and then starts to walk down the alleyway towards the next street.
Never picks up the backpack and hurries to catch up with Cam. The sound of a helicopter is heard overhead as they begin to step into the street, but suddenly Never tackles Cam as they both sprawl back into the alley as a giant pallet of water bottles crash onto the street, creating an explosion of water.
“Thank you,” mutters Cam as she lies on the street. The street is starting to gain attention as there is some shouting. “Go grab some, fill the backpack. Hurry.”
Never rushes over and tries to find some intact water bottles and shoves them into Cam’s backpack as Cam struggles to her feet and leans against the wall. As others begin to make their way towards the pallet, Cam and Never slip away in another direction to find shelter.
Later that night, Cam and Never have found a parking structure to shelter them as a storm has decided to hit. They have built a small fire from some broken pallets they found.
Cam has cleaned up a bit, though her nose was swollen and her eyes puffy and blue from having her nose broken.
“Are you okay?” Never asks as the fire lights up her face in the darkness.
“I just need a few days to get my strength back, then onto the next.”
“The bishop. Supposedly a man of God.”
“Then why is he here?”
“No one knows, but he goes around preaching about the end of days.”
“Ain’t going to be my end of days,” Cam utters under her breath.
Looking out of the balcony above, Killjoy can see the flickering of the fire that was built when the door opens behind him.
“Scream is gone.” Silence “She beat Scream.” Lince reports.
“I heard you the first time.” The eyes behind the mask almost show concern as he continues to stare out into the distance, “It’s personal. No one is this determined unless it’s personal.”
“Who’d you piss off?”
A small chuckle from underneath the mask, “That is the question, now isn’t it?”
“I guess we see she if she gets past the preacher,” Lince settles herself down into a chair, “Perhaps God will be on his side and he’ll take care of the bitch once and for all.”
“If you think God has a place in this living hell, I assure you that he doesn’t. The preacher will be on his own when she comes,” says Killjoy as the scene once again turns towards the small fire in the parking structure where Cam and Never are as the scene fades to credits.
TO BE CONTINUED
CAM Jazmin Davis
NEVER Sativah Nevaeh
KILLJOY Gabriel Ohio
LINCE Mai Blackman
TEE Anaquin Adams
SCREAM Melinda Rhodes