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Chapter XX

11/24/10

Chapter XX

 

            Black Sunshine’s thoughts were as dark as his name.  He tried to put the things that Killzone had said out of his mind, but couldn’t.  He was right about so much.  The sky wasn’t falling.  There was no one looking for him.  No cops or capes.  Nothing had changed.  Nothing, except him. 

            Black Sunshine was torn.  The old man was dead because of him.  He hadn’t killed him on purpose, but the man was dead nonetheless.  Now, Black Sunshine had to deal with how he felt about that.  On the surface, he felt horrible.  He had taken a life.  All the teenager could think about was the man’s grieving family.  The children who would miss him and wonder where their father was and what had happened to him.  The man’s friends who would miss their fishing buddy and longtime companion. 

            All of this made the teen boy think about his own family and what they must be going through.  The lonely nights wondering and worrying about where he was.  Not knowing if he was alive or dead.  Hoping that they would see him again, but realistically thinking that he was probably dead.  He had been gone for over eight months now.  Most fourteen year olds living on the streets would either be dead, drug addicted, or worse. 

            That was how Black Sunshine felt on the surface.  Inside was a different story.  Inside him something dark blossomed.  He had killed a man.  Someone had died by his hand.  He knew that he had the power to do it, but never thought that he was capable of killing someone.  There was no more question about it now.  Now he knew that he could do it.  Black Sunshine knew that he was capable of killing someone. 

            What tugged at his mind was the absence of apathy.  He didn’t feel bad inside about what he had done.  Instead, he felt powerful.  That one man’s death had changed his entire self opinion.  He no longer felt like a weakling.  He now felt like he was on top of the world.  He had an ability; a power that made him stronger than everyone else.  Not just stronger, better. 

            No long did he see the need to kowtow to others.  All this time he had been working on trying to control his abilities so that he wouldn’t hurt other people.  Control himself so that he could be a part of society again.  His power made him better than the rest of the people in the world.  Instead of him being afraid of hurting innocent people, they should be afraid of being hurt by him.  He had the power, he should be making the rules.  Like the Hell Spawns. 

            The Hell Spawns ran Yesterday Town.  The people did what they wanted out of fear.  The citizens of Yesterday Town were afraid of being killed.  Afraid of winding up like the old man back at the demolished store. 

            Black Sunshine couldn’t believe all the time he had wasted listening to Guru, and doing what he said.  Being bossed around by Diamond Dog and forced to play by the rules.  The Hell Spawns didn’t play by the rules.  They made their own set of rules, and kept them or broke them as they saw fit.  He should be making his own rules, too. 

            The Factory was dark and quiet when Black Sunshine returned that morning.  Everyone was still asleep.  He would simply slip back inside the building and into his room, and no one would ever know he was gone.  Even with his new sense of self worthy and empowerment, Black Sunshine had reservations about the final task that was needed to become a Hell Spawn. 

            Black Sunshine opened the backdoor quietly and walked up the rusted metal staircase to the second floor.  The back entrance to the Factory still lived up to its name and looked very industrial.  The old metal creaked, and bits of paint flecked off the grated steps with each step he took. 

            The young teen moved even slower as he climbed the steps.  Could he really kill the other kids at the Factory?  They were just afraid and misguided like he once was.  There was no way the Hell Spawns would let them all join, and they wouldn’t want to, but kill them?  The old man was one thing.  Hell, that had been an accident.  An accident, but it still happened and by his hand.  The old man had been a stranger, the kids at the Factory were his friends; for the most part.  There were some people there he could do without, but he didn’t want them dead.  Not even Diamond Dog. 

            What bothered him about Diamond Dog?  Black Sunshine couldn’t pinpoint it.  Guru was a father figure for most of the kids there, but didn’t act like it.  He was more of an absentee father figure, than a true parent.  Diamond Dog was the one that went around telling everyone what to do.  Always trying to solve everyone’s problem, acting like he knew more than everyone else.  Acting like he was the one in charge. 

            Black Sunshine was tired of dealing with him.  Just because he was the oldest among them, he didn’t know everything.  They all looked to him like he was something special.  Black Sunshine was just as smart and capable as Diamond Dog.  They never asked him for help with anything, just Diamond Dog.  Even still, as much as it bothered Black Sunshine to have to obey him, he didn’t want him dead. 

            Black Sunshine had reached the second story door faster than he had expected.  Just like the walk home, he was so lost in his thoughts that he was at his destination sooner than he thought.  It would take a lot more time and thinking for him to figure out what he was going to do.  Would the Hell Spawns even take “No” for an answer?  Was it already a done deal?  It sounded like it.  They had given him a name, practically accepted him into the crew.  Could he even go back to them and refuse?  They’d more than likely kill him on sight.  Or, maybe they would just attack the Factory anyway and kill everyone, including him. 

            The teenager’s head started to hurt.  Black Sunshine started to think that maybe he had gotten in over his head.  Was there even a way out now?  He certainly couldn’t go to anyone for help.  The heroes wouldn’t help.  They’d pretty much turned their backs on Yesterday Town and everyone there.  Black Sunshine definitely couldn’t go to Guru for help.  And he wouldn’t go to Diamond Dog. 

            All those thoughts swirled and clashed in his head as he slowly and quietly turned the handle to the door and opened it.  The door gave a slight creak as it was inched open.  The teen was equally careful shutting it.  He moved with a slow, casual stride as he made his way to his bedroom. 

            Black Sunshine had just passed the opening to the kitchen when he heard the voice. 

            “Where have you been?” said the person secluded in the darkness of the kitchen. 

            Black Sunshine jumped and threw himself against the opposite wall. 

            “W-What?” questioned the startled boy. 

            “I said-“ started Diamond Dog, as he rose from the chair and walked towards Black Sunshine.  “Where have you been?” 

            Diamond Dog closed his eyes and flicked on the light switch in the kitchen. 

            “Aahh!” Black Sunshine yelped at the sudden onslaught of blinding light against his darkness adjusted eyes.  He blinked furiously at the assaulting 60 watt beams. 

            “What the hell, man?”  screamed Black Sunshine. 

            “That’s what I’m asking you.  Where are you going at two o’clock in the morning?” 

            “Nowhere.  I just took a walk around the yard.  Get some fresh air.  I couldn’t sleep.” 

            “Bull!  I was up when you left, I saw you leave the grounds.  Where did you go?” 

            “Are you spying on me?” Black Sunshine asked.  His eyes had now adjusted to the light.  He didn’t like being ambushed in the middle of the night and questioned about his actions, especially from Diamond Dog. 

            “Where the hell do you get off, Dog?  I don’t have to answer to you!  You’re not my father!”  Black Sunshine fired back at him. 

            “First off, don’t spit on my name.  And second, I’m not your father, but I’m the oldest one here, and it’s my job to make sure that everyone stays safe and doesn’t do anything stupid.” 

            “Who asked you to?” 

            “What’s your problem?  You’ve been nothing but a pain in the ass the past few weeks.”  

            “Get out of my way!”  Black Sunshine pushed past Diamond Dog and headed for his room.  The older stronger boy grabbed him by the arm and pulled him back. 

            “Get off me!”  Black Sunshine wretched his arm free and pushed DD in the chest.  His hands let out a low intensity burst that pushed the older teenager back against the wall. 

            Diamond Dog hit the wall hard.  His body instinctively started exuding his liquid quartz shell. 

            The doors to the nearby bedrooms started opening at the sounds of the argument and the hit to the wall. 

            “Boy, I know you just didn’t!” Diamond Dog said.  He let the quartz build to an inch thickness before stopping it. 

            “Now, I’m gonna ask you one more time where you went, and then you and I are gonna fight.” 

            “Bring it on, Dog.”  Black Sunshine powered up his hands.  The radiant black light energy ran up his arms and licked at his neck like a tribal flame tattoo.  Black Sunshine’s eyes also crackled with the same energy signature. 

            Diamond Dog drew back his right fist and swung with full force at the younger teen’s face. 

            A firm older hand caught the fist in mid air, holding it at bay, inches from the palm.  The other hand pushed with an unseen force at the chest of Black Sunshine, holding him back as well. 

            The two teenage boys realized that Guru had come between them.  Neither had noticed his presence or seen him before he interrupted their fight.  It was if he had appeared by magic.  Later, Diamond Dog would question how he had moved so fast, and wonder if there was more to Guru than what he seemed. 

            “What’s the problem here, boys?” Guru asked in his usual calm demeanor. 

            “Nothing except Dog needs to stay out of my business!”  Black Sunshine answered full of anger. 

            “I warned you, boy.” responded Diamond Dog to Black Sunshine disrespecting his name.   

            “Let’s try this again.” Guru said, maintaining his composure.  “DD, why are you in Black Sunshine’s business?” 

            “Wait!  Why does he get to go first?”  Black Sunshine questioned. 

            Diamond Dog backed down.  He withdrew his fist and stepped back. 

            “Sunshine,” DD started, spitting back at the younger teen. “Went out tonight.  He left the grounds and was gone for hours.  I just wanted to know where he went.” 

            “Is this true, Sunshine?” Guru asked the younger boy. 

            “I just went for a walk.” Black Sunshine lied.  “No big deal.  I get back and find out he’s been spying on me, and stuff.” 

            “Bullshit!  I saw him a few weeks back in Future City talking to a member of the Hell Spawns!”  DD blurted. 

            Guru turned to Black Sunshine.  The boy’s face was bright red.  He couldn’t believe Diamond Dog told on him.  How could he do that? 

            “Is this true?  Black Sunshine, I’ve told you to stay away from them.” Guru said.  His voice deepened, but his tone stayed even. 

            Black Sunshine smacked away Guru’s hand. 

            “That’s all you do, is tell everyone else what to do!  I’m tired of listening to you and doing what you tell me to!  I’m sick of you!  All of you!”  Black Sunshine screamed.  His body was engulfed with the iridescent crackling energy.  The energy flared as he punctuated each sentence.

            “I’m tired of being weak and holding back!  That’s all you do is teach us to be weak!  The Hell Spawns do what they want!  They aren’t afraid to use their powers, like you!”  Black Sunshine looked beyond Guru and at Diamond Dog.  His eyes filled with tears.  The younger teenager felt betrayed by his housemate. 

            “I can’t believe you told him.” 

            “Black Sunshine, wait.” Diamond Dog called out to him. 

            “Uh-uh.  Not Black Sunshine.  I got a new name now.  Brutal.  And you’re gonna find out exactly what that means.  All of you!” 

            Brutal shot out a blast of black light energy that hit Guru in the chest, knocking him backwards into Diamond Dog.  The energy burst wasn’t meant to hurt him, just push him away.  As angry as Brutal was, he didn’t want to hurt any of them, despite what he had said.  He turned quickly and fled back down the back staircase.  He hit the door with a powerful energy burst, blowing it off its hinges.  The kids at the Factory were too stunned to move.  They could only watch as the scene played out.  None of them knew what had happened or what was really going on. 

            Guru stood slowly.  He hadn’t been hit that hard in a long time.  The blast wasn’t very powerful, and had only the wind knocked out of him.  He held a hand out to Diamond Dog and helped him to his feet. 

            “Are you okay?” Guru asked the older boy. 

            “I don’t know.” DD answered. 

            “I understand.  Get some sleep.  We’ll talk about this in the morning.” 

            “What about…” Diamond Dog asked. 

            “I’ll keep watch tonight.  Just get some sleep.” Guru said. 

            Guru turned his attention to everyone watching.  “That goes for all of you!  Go back to bed!  We’ll talk about all of this tomorrow!”  It was the first time that night he had raised his voice. 

            No one really slept that night.  They were all on edge.  Diamond Dog went to his room, but didn’t get in the bed.  He sat at his window and watched the yard all night.  He eventually drifted off sometime before dawn, and slept till noon.  There was a new day rising for the members of the Factory.  A cold dark day that would change them all. 

*****

 

            Brutal ran from the Factory and never looked back.  Things had gotten out of hand before he knew what was going on.  He didn’t mean to hit Guru, and he didn’t want to hurt anyone.  All those thoughts would change by the time he made it to the Hell Spawns’ hangout. 

            The scene had played itself out in his head a million times in that short period, and each time had made him even angrier.  He now wanted them dead.  All of them.  Especially Diamond Dog.  He wanted to kill him with his bare hands. 

            Killzone and the others welcomed their new member with a smile.  Yesterday Town was about to become hell on earth.

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