July 15, 2012
Safe Haven - Meet Brittany
[...Posted by Ted H]
This part was a little fun to write, despite all evidence to the contrary...
[Safe Haven - Meet Brittany]
“You really think you’re ready?” Brad asked as Kyle checked his weapons and placed them onto a table. He had been regulated to bed rest for the past week, but all he wanted to do was get back on his feet and do something, anything besides sit around. Brad, Nick and Korrgan had visited him as frequently as they could, but that was all. Citizens weren’t allowed in the Hub and there was someone Kyle wanted to visit this whole time who wasn’t a ResE.
“Just day duty,” Kyle said as he left the guns on the table and walked over to a mirror. “I can still afford to sit out curfew, but I need to do something besides sit around and get high all day,” he said as he removed the bandages and observed the wound. He then turned around to see the bruise on his back from the other gunshot that his vest had stopped. He noted at how much of a mess he looked. “You mocking my lifestyle?” Brad said as he pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
“That’s later though,” Kyle said as he pulled out an old t-shirt and threw it on “Wanna come? You know where I’m going.” Brad shrugged as he stood up and picked up Kyle’s old vest. The light blue shade on the vest was half stained with blood and the ragged hole on the side made it no longer approved for field use. Kyle’s replacement vest was over by the table with his guns, blood stains of its own from its previous owner. “You should throw this out,” Brad said as he held the old vest up.
“Nah,” Kyle said as he walked over and picked up a handgun “Helps me remember.” He made for the door and he put the gun behind him under his belt. “Why would you want to remember?” Brad asked. Kyle didn’t answer as he looked over to Nick, who was snoring on the couch. “Leave Sleeping Beauty alone,” Brad said and the two men walked out of the room.
After the riot, the ResEs extended their full coverage during the nights to all the way until the end of curfew, not just for a few hours. The idea was that with all the seized weapons, the Rogues would attempt to move more weapons into the city. Nothing had been reported since, so the idea was that the coverage was working, meaning that The General was inclined to make full curfew coverage the rule and no longer an exception. Doing so already stretched the short staffed Enforcers even more than they already were, and the decision was passed down to take in new recruits. Doing so meant some ResEs had to stop doing routine night patrols in order to train the new Enforcers, leaving even fewer men to handle things on the streets.
It was a peculiar practice, but some injured ResEs like Kyle were slowly working their way back into the field. By the time all the new ResEs were ready, the full night coverage would be easier, but until then everyone suffered. Nick was paired up with another solo ResE until Kyle could return, which to him was the worst situation out of everything happening. He had hoped for a vacation of sorts instead, saying he needed time off for what happened to him in the whore house. They gave him one night off before forcing him back into the streets with a different partner.
Being on the street without any gear on for the first time in a long time felt different to Kyle. The fact that everyone he saw could be concealing a weapon to use on him at any time wasn’t a comforting thought, but he did his best to avoid the paranoia. He had Brad with him though, who while not a regular ResE, still had Nick’s radio and a gun of his own.
“This is Backlash,” Brad said into the radio “I’m in the streets with Rotting Cure, just so you know where I am if you need me.”
“Who?” Janky said in the radio.
“You know who I am.”
“Gotta say, RC, you picked a better partner this time around. Guess it wasn‘t that hard to top Mean though.”
“Man, Mean was right, you are a little bitch, Janky.”
“I take it back.”
Kyle shook his head as he pulled the earpiece from his head. He wasn’t on duty, so he didn’t need to care about what everyone else was doing at the moment. They made their way south towards the main gate of the city. Along the way, Kyle decided to troll a couple ResEs by letting them see his gun and having them think he was a regular citizen. The joke didn’t go over all that well.”
“And here we are,” Brad said as Kyle stood outside of what was once a bakery. The floor above it was a small loft apartment and he knew the people that lived inside. “Hey Korrgan, you around?” Brad asked into his radio as Kyle opened the door to the stairwell. The stairs creaked as he ascended, announcing to anyone inside that someone was coming. Most civilians would kill for that kind of security, usually from unwelcome ResEs, but the people here didn’t ever need to worry about such threats.
“Guess she’s not around,” Brad said as he hustled up the stairs after Kyle. He hesitated for a moment before knocking on the wooden door which swung open mid-knock. A woman with short, dirty blond hair stood behind the door, looking up and down at Kyle. “You look good for someone who bled out.” she said as she let Kyle and Brad inside. “I wish you guys could’ve visited,” Kyle said “It was boring as hell when these guys were all busy.”
“I bet,” the girl said as she walked to the kitchen. Her name was Christine, and she lived with a friend, Brittany, in the building within sight of the main gate of the city. Kyle, Nick, Brad, Korrgan, Brittany and Christine had all entered Safe Haven together, but Brittany and Christine didn’t like the idea of being ResEs, so they set up shop as far away from the Hub as possible.
“Tea?” Christine asked as she pulled cups from a cupboard. “You have hot water?” Brad asked as Christine smile. “Cold tea,” she said as she poured herself a cup “I’m not going to waste a match just to heat up water.” Brad sat down and pulled out his lighter and placed it on the table. “Here you go,” he said.
“We don’t need a handout,” Christine said as she poured two more cups.
“You know how many of these we wind up with regularly?”
“They’re not illegal.”
“Yeah, but when ResEs seize shit, they usually take the lighters too. Brad has several boxes full of them.”
Christine handed the others tea. Kyle didn’t touch his while Brad attempted to drink his. “Tastes…good?” he said as Christine smiled. “You don’t have to pretend,” she said as she sipped her cup. “Where’s Brittany?” Kyle asked as he looked about. “Aw, you’re not here for me?” Christine asked. “Honestly?” Kyle said “No.”
“She’s out,” Christine said “She should be back soon though. Don’t you have somewhere to be later though?” Kyle leaned back in his seat to wait. “He’s got nothing to do for a while,” Brad said “Technically he shouldn’t even be up with his injuries.” Christine drank again and put her cup down. “Well then,” she said with a faux seductive tone as she arched her eyebrow “Feel free to stick around.”
The three waited and killed the next couple of hours talking about the riot and Kyle’s injuries. Christine was more amazed that Nick proved himself useful in the situation, though everyone disputed how alleged kill count in the riot. There was also much laughing at how a couple hookers got the drop on them. While Kyle was explaining how Nick inadvertently used him as a body shield, Brittany walked up the stairs and came in through the door.
“What is…” she said as she saw Brad and Kyle “…Going on?” Brad smirked and walked towards the door as Brittany entered the kitchen. “I should probably get back,” he said. Christine shifted her gaze between Kyle and Brittany before getting up to follow. “Hey Brad, I have a favor to ask,” she said as she followed Brad, who held the door for her as they exited, leaving Kyle and Brittany alone.
“Glad you’re ok,” Brittany said after a moment of awkward silence “Though Nick made it sound a lot worse when he told us last week.” Kyle lifted his shirt to reveal his bandages. “It was pretty bad, I’m just being a stubborn ass about my recovery. Legit, I could’ve died though.” Brittany shrugged. “I figured Nick was just inflating his role in everything to sound like a hero.”
Kyle smiled. “Nah, he had my back the whole time, killing all those whores like a boss. Lot of people hate him, but he’s one of the few I actually trust to have my back in times like that. I’ll never go back to that whore house, that’s for sure.”
“Was that your first time in one?”
“Second actually. Let’s not talk about the first time.”
“Nick already did. Something about you and a naked man.”
“Oh, he’ll pay for that.”
“I know you’ve probably heard this, but death by whores? That would’ve been weak.”
“Oh well, add them on to the growing list of things that haven’t killed me yet.”
“Must be a big list at this point.”
“Yup. Highlights include: prison, Rogues, zombies, Resevil and now whores.”
“You lived a unique life.”
“So…How worried were you when Nick told you about me getting shot?”
“Not worried at all.”
“Whatever helps you sleep at night.”
“Me dying would’ve had no effect on you?”
“I wouldn’t even notice.”
“Maybe I just knew you’d survive.”
“Then that makes one of us.”
“You really though you were gonna die?”
“I don’t remember much of anything. All I know is that the bullet was tougher than the vest. Then I figured that it really would have sucked if I died at this point in time, having accomplished nothing meaningful.”
“What are you hoping to accomplish? Surviving seems pretty big at this point in time for any of us.”
“I die, and that’s it. I made no meaningful contribution to the survival of the human race.”
“Does killing zombies not count?”
“I was thinking more along the lines of a lineage.”
Kyle hesitated for a moment. He would gladly take getting shot again over this conversation, but seeing as how he insisted on being the one to talk about it, he continued. “A…child,” he said. Brittany’s face turned somber as she scrunched her mouth to one side. “So go make a baby,” she said as she folded her arms.
“That’s not exactly what I meant,” Kyle said, all the pleasantness of his visit draining away by the second. He eyed the untouched cup of tea that Christine poured him more favorable, wanting to drink it if only to provide a momentary distraction. “Look,” he finally said “I know how things got…complicated the last time. What I’m trying to say is I want to try again with you.”
“I don’t want to,” Brittany said flatly, diverting her eyes to the ground.
“Look, what happened last time can’t happen again.”
“Which part? The part where I lose it? Or the part where you up and walk away.”
“You don’t think that hurt me?”
“Well it hurt me. And when I needed Kyle, all I could find was Mr. Rotting Cure, running off with his friends to fulfill his juvenile cop fantasies.”
“That’s not fair.”
“And when I confronted you about it, you ignored me. You said you didn’t even know if it was yours anyway.”
“I’ve changed. You know this.”
“Changed how? You’re standing before me right now, days removed from getting shot at a whore house!”
“You know why I was in there!”
“To kill someone, right? You talk about how you want to make some sort of impact on humanity all while you knock people off left and right as if they don’t count. You’re doing as much damage as the fucking zombies are!”
“And what the fuck have you done lately?”
“Oh, this is about me now? If I haven’t done enough for humanity in your eyes, am I not good enough to fuck now? Are you going to try and kill me now cuz I’m not saying exactly what you want to hear?”
“I’m done with this conversation,” Kyle said as he walked towards the door. “Yeah, walk away again!” Brittany shouted as she stormed off. Kyle bit his tongue as he threw open the door to see Christine at the bottom of the stairs. “Don’t act like you didn’t hear,” he said as he went down the steps noting that the stairs were creaking seconds earlier.
Christine watched him until he got to the street before finally speaking. “For what it’s worth,” she said “She did cry when Nick told us. She waited until Nick left of coarse.” Kyle turned to see Christine disappear back up the stairs before he could get a word out. All he wanted to do was get geared up and go on patrol with Nick and shoot someone, which only reminded him of what Brittany said, all causing him inconsolable frustration, a worse pain than his gunshot wound.