Part 2

You know I heard someone say once that writing a story is a little like making pottery. The rough draft is the clay you construct it from and only in the editing and rewriting process does the thing truly take shape.
Part Two (March Short Story)
Rated 16+
It wasn’t much, just a bit of field covered in grash. Abandoned buildings created the perimeter on both the right and the left, terrible barely differentiating structures that were to be either demolished or rehabilitated around the time this Site was to be built up.
                The four were silent as they drove out into it a ways. Trask hastily parked the Tram near one of the windowless erections of cold cinderblock.
                “Yeeeah!” he said, his voice not as booming as it usually was, but pretty close.
                “Reid, get the jackets from the back,” Maura commanded, her tilted eyes retaining a cold superiority.
                Slowly Reid released the seatbelt from its catch and stumbled out into a clump of grash. They all followed reluctantly from the Tram’s doors as he punched in the code that opened the hatch on the vehicle’s right side.
                The air was both cold and gritty, it scraped against their cheeks as it slid by.
                “Hurry up bitch,” said Trask, rubbing his hands together in a desperate attempt for friction, “It’s cold.”
                Without even a glance at him, Reid tossed the first heater jacket in his direction. Trask’s hands fumbled blindly trying to cover himself with it.
                He tossed the remaining jackets to Pammy and Maura who scrambled with them as fast as Trask had. Not Reid. He waited a while before donning the heater jacket despite the fact that his skin was reacting violently to the edge of hypothermia in the wind. He fingered the zipper as he looked into the distance beyond the two adjacent buildings. His eyes roved over the dense overcast sky and distant skyline beyond the crisscrosses of roads and gas checkpoints.
                By the time he had finally slipped both of his arms into his jacket, the other three had completely warmed, Reid was enveloped in painful goosebumps.
                It was Maura who was digging through the bag at her side for the Victory. Pammy and Trask were already seated on the floor of the Tram, their legs hanging out the doors and resting on the frozen ground.
                Reid looked back into the hatch and noticed the long metal cylinder that contained the Waste from their house’s main energy source, Quardent. The man-made resource that would power a home, but leave behind a toxic epilogue.
                His muscles straining from the weight of the thing, Reid quickly hoisted it out of the hatch and into the open air. The heat had returned to his body, making the cylinder easier to grip.
                “Where did you get that?!” Trask interjected, standing up with a square cut of Victory between his thumb and pointer finger.
                “Mom gave it to me,” Reid said, still not looking in Trask’s direction but instead twisting the top of the metal tube with a steady hand.
                “To dump?”
                “To dump.” The cap came off with a loud, popping sound.
                “So she knew? She knew we were taking the Tram out here, and she just let us do it?! She sent you with an errand?!”
                Reid sighed and tossed the cap back into the hatch, “Yes.”
                “That bitch.”
                Reid tipped the cylinder upside down and let gravity take it from there. The black, goopy liquid slowly began to emerge and careen into a caked down bunch of grash, turning the brownish green into the color of midnight.
                “Damn, that shit smells disgusting,” complained Maura as she proceeded to light up her cut of Victory with her handheld lighter before moving to Pammy’s.
                Reid shook the thing to get the last drops of Quardent into the grash before he closed it up and tossed it back into the hatch.
                Maura tossed the lighter to Trask and inhaled on the kazoo-like slab. Her eyes became even darker and more animalistic as the drug started to roam her insides.
                “Victory?” Trask offered Reid the last of the slabs in a gruff, noncommittal voice.
                Reid nodded and took it after Trask had singed the end.
                It was only minutes before Pammy’s high-pitched voice distracted them from their burning Victory.
                “What’s that?” she asked, pointing to a strange figure in the distance.
                Trask whipped his head around and squinted in the direction of Pammy’s finger.
                “It’s a… guy. Some guy,” he said.
                “Is he, is he coming toward us?” asked Pammy, her finger’s clutching the Victory quivered ever so slightly.
                “Shit, what if it’s an officer!” whispered Trask.
                “It’s not,” said Maura with definite certainty. No one asked how she knew, they simply accepted her authority.
                He was a little ways off but rapidly approaching, after about thrity seconds of watching, Maura turned away and took a lungful of Victory.
                When he was one hundred yards away, they could see him more clearly, his heater jacket was a hue like deep maroon, the only color worth looking at they’d seen in a long while. Their eyes feasted on that jacket’s color, even stone cold Maura couldn’t keep her eyes off it as the stranger advanced.
                He came upon them quickly while their minds were occupied with the maroon and stopped just a few feet away from where they were seated on the Tram’s floor.
                Trask’s eyes became slits, “Who the hell are you?” he asked.
                They stranger smiled a cold, sadistic smile. He had a beard and a full head of course, unwashed hair. His eyes were hard, even when he smiled.
                “I am Jarles Hendricks,” he said, pulling a small, leather bag from where it was slung across his back.
                “Sorry, you can’t bum a Vic,” said Maura coldly, “We’re out.”
                Jarles’s face became hard as he pulled a stack of papers from his bag.
                “I don’t want none of that trash,” he said sternly.
                Like some sort of teacher, he began passing the folded up pieces of paper to each of the four.
                Trask wrinkled up his face as Jarles tossed a pamphlet into his lap. Smudged ink spelled out the words ‘Our World Is Dying’ across the top of the page.
                “Oh no,” Trask chuckled as he spoke, “Don’t tell me you’re a Missionary.”
                “This constant development is going to kill us all!” was Jarles’s answer.
                Trask rolled his eyes and wadded the pamphlet as Jarles continued to speak, “After the Green Movement died out one hundred years ago, it seems that the human race has set up their collective minds to treat the earth worse and worse! Like they want to self-destruct! The air itself is a deadly cocktail of pollutants changing us all into disgusting, broken human beings! The Earth is what keeps us alive and if we kill it, we kill ourselves!”
                As he spoke, all four of the kids had wadded up their pamphlets and threw them onto the ground.
                Jarles shrieked as they fell onto the ground, doubling over to pick them up, continuing with his spiel all the while, “Litter! This litter is choking the very core of this planet!” He scrambled around, waddling like a duck bent in half trying to scurry after papers caught by the wind.
                “All the grass is gone! Replaced by grash, the disgusting death of that beautiful, green grass of yore!”
                Trask was almost beside himself with laughter as Jarles scurried and desperately attempted to evangelize at the same time.
                “Look at this fucking homo,” he said, even though they were all already looking at him.
                “You’re not listening!” screamed Jarles in a frightening evangelist voice, his arms full of crumpled papers.
                Maura took another drag of Victory. He honed in on her.
                “Why are you smoking that?! Why? You are ruining yourself, you’re ruining your body!” he yelled.
                Maura didn’t react for a second, just slowly letting the hate and the superciliousness wash over her quietly, “At least I’ll be thin,” she said.
                Jarles became quiet, Trask started laughing again, Pammy along with him. Maura took a drag. Reid took a drag. The wind started to whistle. Pammy took a drag.
                Slowly, Jarles reached into his bag and pulled out a small circular object.
                In a fraction of a second he flipped it’s switch and hurled it at the Tram’s hood. It exploded within seconds. The four only had another fraction of a second to hurl themselves from the Tram and out into the scattered clumps of grash.
                “Holy shit!” screamed Trask.
                “The world would be better without fuck-ups like you!” snarled Jarles, his face contorting and reddening. He reached into his pack for another explosive.
                They took off running back to the gate, reaching desperately for the haven behind the crisscrossing iron. The ground exploded behind their heels as their lungs burned from the sudden exercise.
                Trask made it first, he clawed like an animal at his heater jacket, the gloved sleeves made it impossible for him to display his Stamp without removing the entire thing.
                The milliseconds were like hours as he tossed the jacket aside and shoved his arm up against the sensor.
                It denied his Stamp. The screen turning red after his attempt. “No!” he screamed, jamming his arm against the thing over and over. Pammy and Reid were beside him now and anticipating at every moment something so intrinsically awful that his mind exploded in paranoia as his skin broke and started bleeding from the force of his attempts at escape.
                The second he released a guttural and animalistic scream into the air was the second that the tiny, circular explosive landed at his feet and the entire world became fire.
                Maura stood with her arms wrapped around her torso as she watched her siblings go up in flames. She had run in the other direction. A column of cinderblocks obscured half of her face.
She watched the Missionary carefully smooth out the pamphlets and place them back into his bag. As she watched him walk back the way he came she wished for the candy-like taste of a Victory between her lips.

~ by Jade Elizabeth on March 20, 2011.

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