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Running Scared

This Page written by: Evil Sponge

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A Merry Interlude

Grimes stood awkwardly in his ill-fitting tux, as if his gargantuan form was about to make a cloth-ripping break for freedom. His expression was, as ever, blank. Joseph looked him up and down, barely concealing a smirk as he straightened his neat black bowtie.

"Christ, they didn't make that shit with you in mind, did they?"

Grimes grunted in reply.

"Ah, you'll do. It's not like anyone's gonna give a fuck anyway."

Joseph flicked a mood cig into the corner of his mouth and deftly lit it with an ornate metal Zippo. Grimes' dead eyes followed his hands' smooth movements, but he declined to speak.

"You know the score by now; I know I don't need to tell you to keep your mouth shut and your eyes open. That demented ape Rodin's gonna be there, and some chink bastard who I don't know, so anything could happen. You got everything you need?"

Grimes patted his breast pocket and nodded slowly.


Joseph took a long drag, and grinned from ear to ear.

"Alright, let's roll, baby."

* * * * *

Grimes landed the spinner on the roof of a nondescript abandoned warehouse, maybe a block away from the Green Lantern, an exclusive Chinese restaurant that enjoyed the custom of the city's most rich and infamous. Joseph had been before, although mostly for pleasure. This evening would be anything but pleasant. He stepped out of the spinner's roiling exhaust cloud and into a crisp LA night, toying with the various combinations and permutations of the forthcoming conversation as he did so. It was about time he took steps to avoid having to attend these faux-social gatherings, but at present it was necessary. Joseph never knew when he might need the services of one of his acquaintances.

"Jesus it's cold. What the fuck are you doing, Grimes?"

"I was waiting for you."

"Well let's not wait any longer, or I'm gonna lose my goddamn fingers."

Joseph rubbed his hands together as made his way down the rusting spiral staircase that would take them to street level, and Grimes followed wordlessly. The Green Lantern was in a derelict quarter of town, away from prying eyes. The squalid road was sandwiched between cracked filth-strewn sidewalks and the leering gutted behemoths of various ancient industrial shithouses. It was like stepping into the innards of the bastard child of a graveyard and a bombsite, thought Joseph. Even the sound of the omnipresent spinners overhead seemed distant, and the most prominent noise was the forlorn barking of a stray dog. It couldn't be a real one, of course, although Joseph thought it strange that even an animoid had lasted out here on it's own without someone snatching it up and trading it on. It was testament to the sheer absence of humanity in the place. Joseph shuddered, and not just with the biting cold; he was eager to get to the relatively comforting oasis of the Green Lantern, even if it did mean sharing a table with an uncouth mob kingpin and a Triad killer. Time for another mood cig.

They must have been halfway there when a shadowy figure slunk out of darkened alleyway in front of them. Joseph could make out a shock of hair, some torn clothes and various hanging ornamental chains. A glowing brazier further down the street silhouetted these details. Two more figures, one of whom was female, quickly joined the first. The chain-wearer eased a butterfly knife from somewhere, flicked it open in one casual well-practiced movement, and began to shout something at Joseph in Cityspeak.

Joseph sighed, took a long drag on his mood cig and blew smoke into the direction of the accosting trio.

"I don't know what the fuck you just said," answered Joseph, looking at the apparent ringleader, "but I can assure you that you picked the wrong guys to screw with. Now, if you'll all just run along, we can forget any of this ever happened."

"He say you faggots empty yo' focking pockets, meester," retorted the second street punk. "He say we fuck you up big." Seemingly as an afterthought, he added, "And we'll be taking those nice clothes, too, cocksucker." He laughed at his own joke, and Joseph noticed for the first time that coiled around his hand was some kind of makeshift junked-together morning star. The knife-wielding punk simply stared menacingly at Joseph, tossing his weapon from hand to hand, while the girl hung back slightly, her bland and heavily made-up face sullen and uncommunicative. Joseph smirked.

"OK," he said, in a tone of mocking thoughtfulness. "How about we do a swap? I could give you a pack of cigs, and in return… uh… let's see… mmm… your dog-ugly whore can blow me here and now? How's that sound?"

"That is fucking it, you cock-jockey!" screeched the incensed second punk, lunging towards Joseph with his homemade weapon flailing. He came no closer than two paces when Grimes stepped forwards and caught his right arm. Joseph winced at the sound of splintering bone, but stood his ground. The punk issued forth a howl of agony, which was quickly silenced by Grimes' massive fist. The hulking Tyrell employee released his hold and the incapacitated assailant fell like a sack of shit. Before Grimes had time to finish him, the knife-wielder was upon him, thrusting towards his midriff with the wicked 8-inch blade. Grimes blocked the attack effortlessly, and then reached into his breast pocket; when his fist emerged, it was grasping a foul spiked knuckleduster. The punk had turned to run, but Grimes caught him by one of his chains. His clothes ripped in his desperation to escape, but it was in vain; the big man flung his prey against the wall, then followed up with the knuckleduster. Joseph watched as the hapless urchin's mangled face was crushed under Grimes' repeated blows.

Grimes' first victim was beginning to regain consciousness, and whimpered as he writhed on the floor, clutching his ruined arm. Joseph knelt on his chest as Grimes continued to mutilate the corpse of the other punk with a fury of bone shattering attacks.

"What's your name, little man?" asked Joseph, as he withdrew a sleek black Ruger from inside his overcoat. The would-be thief could only stare wild-eyed at Joseph and jabber in cityspeak. His words were muffled as the gun was inserted into his mouth; Joseph held his head in place as his thrashing became more pronounced. He had intended to pull the trigger and silence him straight away, but he soon found his hand pulling the mood cig from his mouth and jamming it into the eye of his captive. Even Grimes turned to look, albeit expressionlessly, when the cacophonous screaming ensued. Joseph soon tired of the game, however, and emptied a couple of chambers into the tortured man's head. It was only then that he remembered the girl, who hadn't moved throughout the ordeal, but was now reduced to a sobbing and trembling wreck, her back pressed against the wall, standing in a pool of her own urine. Joseph shot her twice in the chest, and it pleased him to see the look of pure terror on her face dissolve into a slack-jawed grimace of death.

"Alright, shall we continue? We're going to be late for dinner."

Grimes wiped his hands on his trouser legs and followed Joseph down the street.



Option 1 - The Green Lantern

Option 2 - Something Else

Pages in white continue the story. Pages in yellow are yet to be written. Note that the unwritten options are just suggestions for how the story might continue - you can add something completely different if you like.

Each page in the story ends in a five letter code. If you want to return to this page in the future, make a note of the page code and you will then be able to change your URL to take you straight back to that page.

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Date: 2002-10-28 12:20