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Chapter XIX

11/10/10

Chapter XIX

 

            Killzone picked up a large piece of rubble and threw it at the rundown apartment building two blocks away.  The misshapen brick embedded itself into the side of the building.  He could hear some faint cussing from the apartment window.  Soon afterwards, a body leaned out the window and surveyed the ground below looking for the culprit.  Eventually the gaze turned to the area beside the window and at the fist size piece of red brick the protruded from the outer wall. 

            Killzone wasted no time in scooping up another piece of debris and chucking it into the air; this time at the tenant.  Luckily for the apartment dweller, Killzone’s aim wasn’t as good as he’d like to believe, and he hit the upper part of the wall above the window.  The tenant rapidly ducked back inside.  All the lights in the apartment went out a few seconds later. 

            Killzone let out a monstrous laugh into the cool night air.  Negative Death peeked out from behind a wall about ten feet away. 

            The two of them stood in the remains of an old corner store.  It was one of many that the Hell Spawns had wrecked and ransacked to the point that the owner gave up and let them have it.  There wasn’t much to have in Yesterday Town, and very little that was worth fighting for.  Even less worth dying for. 

            “What are you doing?” Negative Death asked. 

            “Just showing the people around here who runs Yesterday Town.” Killzone replied. 

            “You hear that, you pieces of garbage?!” Killzone screamed into the night sky.  “We run Yesterday Town!  This place and everyone in it belongs to the Hell Spawns!  You’re nothing but society’s leftovers!” 

            “Heh.” Negative Death guffed.  “Our town.” 

            Negative Death finished his business behind the wall and stepped out in the moonlight. 

            “Yeah.”  Killzone said in agreement.  “But not for long.  If the Big Man keeps his word, we’ll be moving up to the high life.  Future City.  Look out, ‘cause here we come.”    

            “Future City.” repeated Negative Death.  He could practically taste the blood and mayhem.  “I’m ready ‘Zone.” 

            “Nah. Nah. Nah.  Death.  We’ve got business here first.  We’ve been running this place for too long.  People have forgotten who we are and what we’re about.  We gotta remind them of what the Hell Spawns are capable of.  That’s what the Big Man’s all about.  Power.  We have to show them that we have the power.” 

            “And we do that by killing the Aggressor?”  

            “That’s just the first step.”  Killzone bit his lip at the idea of getting his chance to take a on a real hero.  It was something that the Hell Spawns had talked about on many occasions, while sitting around and drinking or getting high.  What it would feel like to kill a hero.  There was power in a hero’s death.  People knew who you were, and they feared you.  Even the other heroes feared the person who took down one of their own. 

            “Just the first step.” He said again.  “I’ve got big plans for us and this city.  Plans that’ll put the Hell Spawns on the map, and show the Big Man that we deserve to work for him.” 

            Negative Death kicked around the demolished store.  He kicked at the broken wall, knocking away a few more pieces of brick.  The building trembled slightly.  Killzone had torn threw the side wall while wrestling with Devlish one afternoon.  The majority of the left side of the store was knocked open.  The racks and shelves were either strewn across the street, or forced through the remaining walls.  Another playful fight from the group would bring the rest of the two story building down. 

            Negative Death pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and looked at the time. 

            “’Zone, he’s not coming, man.” Negative Death said. 

            “He’s coming, just give him some time.” 

            “What make you so sure?” 

            “Cause he’s seen who we are.” Killzone answered.  “He’s seen how we run things around here.  He’s seen the power we have here, and he wants some of it.” 

            Killzone picked up another piece of broken wall and crushed the brick in his hand.  He smiled as he let the crumbles and red dust fall from his hands. 

            “I’ve been where he is.  Guru’s telling him that true power comes from holding back.  But that’s not what he feels inside.  That’s not what he sees when he looks at us.  We let loose with our abilities whenever we want.  We do whatever we want, and nobody messes with us.  They’re all afraid.  That’s what he wants.  He wants people to be afraid of him.” 

            “We don’t need him, ‘Zone.  We can do all this without him.”  Negative Death replied. 

            “Yeah, but we can do more with him.  I want to leave our mark on Yesterday Town, and he’s gonna help us.” 

            In the distance, the hurried scuffling of worn sneakers could be heard moving towards the two Hell Spawns.  Negative Death threw himself into the shadows, and waited to see if he needed to shift into his ebon form.  Killzone planted his feet into the tiled floor and stuck his chest out. 

            From his position, Negative Death could see Black Sunshine running down the street.  The young teenager was huffing and puffing the whole way.  It was clear that he had run all the way there. 

            “It’s him.” Negative Death said. 

            “Told you he’d show.” Killzone answered arrogantly. 

            Black Sunshine slowed as he reached the intersection of Madison and Franklin.  He was out of breath and his lungs burned.  He had never run for so long or so fast.   He wrapped his arms around his aching chest, trying hard to draw and hold a breath.  He wandered slowly over to the old corner store, looking for a sign to tell him he was in the right place. 

            “Over here.” Called a voice from the darkness inside the store’s remains. 

            Black Sunshine couldn’t see who had spoken to him.  The voice sounded like Killzone, but he was hesitant to step inside the darkened building. 

            Black Sunshine fought against his fear and walked inside the demolished store.  He tried not to let his shaking hands and legs show, but couldn’t stop them.  He figured if anyone said anything he’d blame it on the running. 

            “Killzone?” Black Sunshine called as he crossed the threshold of the store. 

            “In here, Sunshine.” Killzone said, mocking the young boy’s name. 

            “I’m sorry I’m late.  I had to wait until everyone was asleep and didn’t see me sneaking out.” 

            “No worries.  One of the best things about being a Hell Spawn is being able to do your own thing.  We don’t answer to no one.  We go where we want.  We do what we want.”  Killzone said, pouring on the soft sell. 

            “I mean, that’s what you want, right?” Killzone asked. 

            “Of course he does.” Negative Death said, stepping back out of the shadows.  “That’s why you came here tonight, right?” 

              “Yeah.” Black Sunshine said in a quick breath.  “I mean, if you’re saying I can join.” 

            “That all depends on you, boy.” Killzone said matter of factly.  “It depends on how much you want it.  You gotta prove yourself to us.  We aren’t like those little wusses you been livin’ with over at the Factory.  This is big time.” 

            Killzone walked around the young teenager as he talked, circling him like a vulture.   

            “You know who we are.  You know what we’re about.  You know what it takes to be one of us.”

            “I…”  Black Sunshine almost choked on the words.  “I have to kill someone.” 

            “No.” corrected Killzone.  “Not someone.  Your crew.  All those little nothings down at the Factory.  You wanna hang with the big boys?  You wanna prove you can be top dog?  Then you gotta show us you deserve it.” 

            “I don’t think I can.”  Black Sunshine said weakly.  He started thinking of excuses, anything he could say to make them change their minds, or at least let him leave the place alive. 

            “There’s too many people there.  I couldn’t do that by myself.” 

            Killzone smiled.  He stopped circling Black Sunshine and stood behind him, talking over his shoulder like a little devil. 

            “This is one time you wouldn’t have to.  Lucky for you, I got an old score to settle.  You get us in, and we’ll help you take them out.” 

            “I don’t know.”  Black Sunshine’s voice quivered in fear.  He knew the rules for joining the Hell Spawns, but thought that was strictly reserved for rival gangs.  The others at the Factory weren’t a gang.  They were just kids looking for a place to belong.  Someone to understand them. 

            “Hey.  It’s your choice.”  Killzone walked from behind Black Sunshine. 

            “Death told me you had some real power.  He saw you blast that stuff back at the old apartments.  That kinda power could be useful to us, but not if you’re gonna hold back.” 

            “You should’a seen him, ‘Zone.  Kid had real talent.” Negative Death spoke up. 

            Black Sunshine stood, his knees shaking.  He wasn’t sure what to do or say. 

            “Tell you what.” Killzone said.  “Show me what you got.  I wanna see if this was a complete waste of my time.” 

            Killzone stepped forward.  He walked over to the hole in the wall and looked outside.  An old refrigeration unit lay on its side in the middle of the street. 

            “You think you can blast that?”  Killzone asked.  He pointed at the old refrigerator. 

            Black Sunshine balled up his hands.  Blacklight energy crackled around his fists.  Black Sunshine raised his fist and shot a low level energy blast at the old appliance.  The blast hit the old unit, caving the side in.  The refrigerator slid several feet across the street, colliding with the wall of the building across from them. 

            “Really?” Killzone said unimpressed.  “That’s it?” 

            “Sorry.” Negative Death said in mock apology.  “It seemed like it was more powerful when I saw it.  Then again, I was high that day.” 

            “Alright, I’m done here.  Run along home, Factory baby.” Killzone said, dismissing the teenager. 

            Black Sunshine clenched his jaw in anger.  He had held back.  Just like Guru had taught him.  Black Sunshine started to breath in short heavy breaths.  He wasn’t a “baby.”  He was just a strong as they were.  He was tired of being picked on and told what to do.  He was tired of holding back.  He was tired of being a nobody.

            “Aaahhhhh!” Black Sunshine screamed.  He fired another blast at the refrigerator.  This blast was much stronger than the first one.  The blacklight energy slammed into the old unit, tearing it in half.  The two pieces scattered in opposite directions.  The upper half skittered along the wall of the building, while the lower half was launched into the air, and came to rest on the adjacent street. 

            “Not bad.”  Killzone said.  He looked around for something else for Black Sunshine to shoot.  He settled on a streetlight to their left. 

            “Blast that.” Killzone ordered. 

            Black Sunshine drew back his fist and punched at the streetlight.  The beam of energy shot forth from his hand and ripped into the streetlight.  The blast was stronger than the previous one that had torn the appliance in two.  The middle section of the streetlight was nearly obliterated upon impact.  What remained wasn’t enough to keep the light upright, and the two story light fell over in their direction.  The three boys ducked back inside the shop to avoid being hit. 

            Negative Death was laughing in delight.  Even Killzone seemed to be impressed with Black Sunhsine’s ability. 

            “Ok.  One more time.”  Again, Killzone looked around for a new target. 

            “Blast that wall.” He said.  He pointed to the area across from them.  It was the same wall Negative Death had been messing behind before Black Sunshine had arrived. 

            “Give it all you’ve got.” Killzone urged him on.  “Don’t hold back.” 

            Black Sunshine smiled.  He held up both arms and began charging his blast.  The moonlight that poured in through the holes in the walls illuminated the shimmering energy that radiated from his hands. 

            Black Sunshine cut loose with his strongest blast yet.  Probably the strongest blast he had ever released.  The brick wall disappeared against the onslaught of energy.  The pieces of brick had been reduced to dust and pebbles.  The hole was twice the size of the one Killzone had made in the other wall.  It looked as if a tank had been driven through it. 

            Black Sunshine could barely see the destruction through all the dust in the air.  Killzone could see just fine.  What he saw made him sneer. 

            “Damn, boy.  You made quite a mess back there.”  Killzone said as he walked towards the destruction.  “You should see this.”

            Black Sunshine moved forward into the dust.  He waved at the air, trying to make a clear spot to see and breath.   The blast had ripped apart the first wall, and made a door sized hole in the one behind it.  Light flooded into through the hole, showing Black Sunshine exactly what he’d done. 

            Amidst the destruction was the body of a middle-aged man.  The man’s eyes were fixed into a dead stare that looked nowhere, yet everywhere.  Black Sunshine felt as if they were solely fixed on him.  Blood was splattered over all the debris.  The blood glistened in the late night.  Black Sunshine couldn’t see anything but the man’s face.  Even if he could avert his gaze, there wasn’t much to look at.  Most of the man had gone the same way as the main wall.  What piece were left were fairly unrecognizable.  The largest piece being the man’s upper chest, with only the head and left arm still attached. 

            Black Sunshine couldn’t see any of that.  Not even the remains of a piece of rope that was still tied around the man’s left wrist. 

            “Wonder what he was doing back there?  Probably spying on us, huh Death?”  Killzone questioned, knowing full well how and why the poor man was behind the wall.

            “Yeah.  He shouldn’t’ve been hiding back there.  His dumb luck.”  Negative Death said. 

            Black Sunshine couldn’t speak.  Killzone spoke for him. 

            “You okay?  Of course you are.”  Killzone grabbed the teenage boy and spun him around.  He walked him out of the store and into the street. 

            “It ain’t no thang.  Listen.  You hear any sirens?  Look up in the air.  You see any capes?  No cops.  No heroes.  Not even a bolt of lightning from the all mighty.  Nothing.  You just killed a man, and nothing happened.  It ain’t like the movies.  When you kill someone in real life, the world doesn’t come to an end.  No one magically pops up to arrest you.  Everything keeps on moving, just as it always does.” 

            Killzone moved the boy around in a circle.  The night was quiet again. 

            “How about you?” Killzone asked.  “Anything changed?  Yeah, it has.  Everything’s changed.  Now you know what you’re capable of.  You know what you can do.  And you know why there aren’t any cops or capes?  It’s cause all these people around you now know it, too.  Now they know who you are. They know, and they’re afraid.  What you did was brutal.” 

            “Brutal.” Repeated Negative Death. 

            Black Sunshine hadn’t said anything.  He was numb. 

            “Yeah.  That’d be a nice name for you.  Brutal.  What do you think, Death?” 

            “Brutal.  I like it.  It sounds like a Hell Spawn name.  Brutal.” 

            “I think there might be a place for you in the Hell Spawns.  Death?” 

            “Definitely.”   

            Killzone walked the young boy across the street and in the direction of the Factory. 

            “Go on back before they notice you’re gone.  You did good tonight, Brutal.  We’ll see you tomorrow at the old water ways.” 

            Killzone and Negative death watched the young boy slink home.

            Black Sunshine took his time getting back to the Factory.  He was in no rush.  He had a lot on his mind and need the time to think.  The entire walk home, all he could think about was what a mistake he had made.  What he couldn’t determine was when he had made it.

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