Kayla lovingly stroked her stainless steel Smith & Wesson, as she studied the strange couple she’d just captured.
The big baby faced kid dressed like a militia, had his wrists bound with zip ties. She hadn’t even bothered with the other one, he wasn’t going anywhere, just cowering like a scared, privileged white boy. He’s never had to fight a single day in his privileged life, she thought, eyeing him with scorn.
They really must be scraping the bottom of the barrel to send these two, she thought, glancing down at the tell-tale Glock with a silencer the kid had been holding. The last two assassins had been packing the same kind of gun. Nobody else would roam around in a war zone with a fucking silencer.
She pictured playing Russian roulette with the kid, he reminded Kayla of her pervert hillbilly stepfather. Not that the kid resembled him much, it was more the uniform, the whole patriot thing. A fucking deplorable! Still, were it not for the pervert’s paranoia, or his insistence in making Kayla’s life revolve around guns, she wouldn’t have survived these last couple of months.
Deep in thought, she absentmindedly spun the chamber on her Dirty Harry revolver, while her two captives watched her, wide-eyed, anxiously.
Deep in thought, she absentmindedly spun the chamber on her Dirty Harry revolver, while her two captives watched her, wide-eyed, anxiously. These two looked nothing like the goons they’d previously sent after her. Men without a soul. Dead eyed creeps void of any personality
Kayla had found the first Goon standing over the body of her partner, Billie. The only person on this earth she’d really loved. Poor sweet Billie, lying limp and naked a hole in her forehead and her lifeless eyes reflecting the last moments of terror. The 44 magnum took most of the Goon’s head off. A technicolor explosion, like some weird artist had thrown a paint bomb all over her bedroom.
It was a confusing experience, despair, rage and the ecstasy all in a matter of seconds.
Then she’d just cradled Billie in the sticky mess then cried until she had no tears left to shed. The grief had passed, but the bloodlust had remained, encircling her heart like a great cobra, poised to strike, wanting more. She fed the giant snake when the second Goon approached her, stalking her on a dark sidewalk, as a werwolf moon slunk behind the clouds. The Smith & Wesson carved a gaping hole in his chest, spraying Kayla with chunks of heart and bone at close range. After that, even with the war erupting, she had not fed the snake. She couldn’t understand why she was so hesitant now with these two.
Something’s just not right, she thought, studying her captives again. Why don’t I just blow holes in them? It was this damn innocence in their eyes. This annoying, trigger-finger freezing innocence that really got under her skin.
She sighed, lowering the gun and wondered how she’d ever fallen for the Cartel bullshit in the first place.
She’d been swept away with her love of writing, her only escape from a totally fucked up childhood. She should have had her guard up like her step daddy had trained her. She should have smelt CIA conspiracy on those creeps. I mean, imagine a white dude in a suit, packing – and he’s looking for a woman of color to help give the social justice movement a boost! Kayla had just wanted to believe so badly, she’d dumped her bundle of paranoia and jumped at the chance, high on the euphoria of people power. The feeling of being a part of something huge, meaningful. The promise of helping to give the movement some direction. Kayla, the “skinny little black bitch” they’d called her, with the comatose mother, permanently attached to a gin bottle and the white-trash, survivalist, pedophile step-daddy. It was as if a divine hand had just picking her up to reward her for all the pain and suffering of her childhood. The universe finally setting things right.
But it wasn’t right. The smell just kept getting worse. The inspired suggestions she’d eagerly thrown at them were politely pushed aside, while she was tasked with fleshing out the weird story outlines they gave her. Always the promise of her input being acted on, the promise of her actually meeting the leaders of the revolution, but nothing ever coming to fruition.
Then it got really spooky. All these predictions about police shootings, that would drive the protestors wild. All this talk of “motivation.” They always had to find new motivation. Wasn’t the shitty lot her people had been forced to put up with, motivation enough?
Then she’d approached her editor. “Doesn’t this seem creepy to you?” She asked him, “I mean this is like this conspiracy theory shit, like the JFK assassination.”
“I can understand you feeling that way,” he said, feigning sympathy like a call centre support jockey reading his script. “Look, I’m just relaying what the Director tells me.” He smiled uneasily. “I guess, they are just estimating it based on statistics.”
“But it’s a lot of planning to do, just on the off chance something will happen.”
“Trust me, Kayla. It will happen.”
“I have one more question,” she said studying him for his reaction. He braced himself and she knew she was pushing him, perhaps too far, but she had to ask.
“Why do you want them to just smash and burn the small businesses in these areas?”
He sighed and rolled his eyes. She actually stood up and took a hold of his shoulders, giving it one last chance. “This movement could be so fucking powerful. You know, we really could make a difference.” She pleaded, looking into his eyes. He didn’t respond, but she didn’t care. “We can’t burn businesses that black people own. Small businesses. We have to go after the big corporations. The banks, the ones who have really exploited us. Not these small people. Can I write that?”
He relented on the condition that she first follow their outline. “Then you can write your own version, and I’ll take both of them to the Director.”
Of course nothing happened, and as the weeks went by, she forced herself to face reality. Kayla was not working to advance social justice at all, but was involved in some really creepy shit. It was the same feeling as that night her step-daddy had slammed the rifle but into her stomach. She’d been betrayed, used like a piece of meat to be tossed aside when they tired of her.
“We can’t burn businesses that black people own. Small businesses. We have to go after the big corporations. The banks, the ones who have really exploited us. Not these small people. Can I write that?”
That was when she finally found her paranoia and she knew beyond any doubt that her life was in danger.
But she’d underestimated their sheer brutality, their callousness. She never imagined in her wildest dreams that they’d target Billie. Why? She looked back at the miserable pair sitting across from her.
“I’m just a writer.” White Privilege. was saying.
She looked him up and down. He certainly wasn’t an assassin’s asshole. Could it be? She looked from one man to the other, “So why didn’t Babyface kill you?”
“He’s not one of them.” Squeaked White Privilege.
“Let him speak for himself,” said Kayla. “Did they send you to kill him? Or to kill me?”
“No,” said Babyface. Staring up at her with those innocent. It really got under her skin. She clipped him on the head with the 6” gun barrel. He flinched, but didn’t make a sound. He’s too tough to be that innocent, she thought.
“He saved me,” White Privilege was pleading with her now.
Kayla screwed her nose up in disbelief. “He saved you from what? He’s carrying the Glock with the silencer. He’s one of them.”
“He killed the Goon they sent after me. That’s where he got the gun.”
“That’s the gun Dirty Harry used,” said Baby Face, looking at the barrel that had just struck him.
She stared at him inquisitively.
“Dirty Harry, the movie. He had a gun like yours.”
“So you know all about guns…” She said, sarcastically.
Baby Face nodded. “My Daddy taught me.” He said innocently.
“What’s your name, Boy?”
“As in Noah’s Ark?” The boy nodded.
“So your Mommy and Daddy are God fearing, Nigger hating rednecks, Noah?”
“Yes, Ah No.”
“Yes or No?” She snapped
“Yes they’re God Fearing.” He looked at her, confusion in those innocent blue eyes.
“And you’re all a bunch of racists, aren’t they!” She said accusingly, staring at him, “Is that why you came up to the Capital? to shoot some Niggers?”
Noah shook his head vigorously, “No Ma’am. We came here to stop the Communists. To defend our rights.”
“Rights? What rights?” She asked with a snort of defiance. Do you even know what it’s like to have no rights? she thought
“Because they were taking kids away, they’re sending people to prison camps.”
Kayla looked puzzled, “why would they take kids away?”
“I don’t know, it was happening everywhere.”
He’s right,” White Privilege spoke up. “That was part of the script. We class them as terrorists, then take their children from them for their protection.”
Kayla was silent for a moment. She looked back at Noah,“Where did you come from, Noah?”
“Jackson, Tennessee, Ma’am.”
“Jackson, Tennessee, huh? Sounds like Ku Klux Klan country to me. You have any black people with you, Noah? Fighting alongside you, for their rights?”
Noah nodded his head. A tear formed in his right eye, and rolled down his cheek, followed by another on the left.
“My best friend,” said Noah, his voice quivering, his lip trembling. “Johny.”
“So where is black Johny?” Kayla asked, her voice taking on a mocking tone.
“He’s D-d-dead,” said Noah, unable to control the tears now, “T-t-t-the army shot him.” He wept openly, turning his face from her, trying to hide it. She glanced over at the writer, who was also watching Noah, concern all over his face.
With an exasperated sigh, she stood up and walked away from the men, suddenly feeling like a bigoted asshole, just like her step daddy had been. How could she have grown so much like the man she despised most in the world? She steeled herself, then gathered her thoughts, turning to the writer.
He looked helplessly at the zip tie, “I can’t.”
She pulled the Bowie knife out from the pouch on her belt and threw it so it stuck in the floor inches from his foot. He kept back in terror, giving Kayla a little comic relief. She stifled a laugh as the writer picked up the knife and nervously cut the zip ties from Noah’s hands. Kayla walked back and took the knife he eagerly offered.
“So what’s your name, Mr. Writer?” She asked
“Bowie,” he replied meekly.
Kayla snorted in amusement. “Bowie? As in Bowie knife?” She asked, holding the knife up. He nodded, a shy smile creasing his face.
“Actually, David Bowie, my parents were…”
“Hippies? In California?”
Bowie shrugged, then nodded.
“We’re like the Three Stooges, said Kayla. Noah, Bo and Kay.”
“Kayla.” She sat down again, grabbing a couple of bottles of water from the backpack beside her. She threw one to each of the men, who caught them and drank greedily.
Kayla picked up Noah’s AR-15 and inspected it. “That’s a mean looking Bayonet you got here, Noah.”
“Johny set it up for me,”
“Just like a black man,” murmured Kayla, with a chuckle, then examining it closely, she asked, “Is this someone’s flesh stuck all over this?”
“That’s from the Goon who was chasing me.” Said Bowie. “Noah killed him.”
“You rammed the bayonet through him?” Asked Kayla, incredulously. She studied Noah again, trying to see the vicious killer in him. She turned to Bowie, “They only sent one after you?”
“So far,” he said. “I’ve been expecting to see more.”
“I killed two,” She said, picking up her Smith & Wesson, again and looking at her reflection in the stainless steel finish, warped and hungry. The men watched in silence. Kayla was a small, wiry girl, her hair tied up and covered with a bandana, dressed entirely in black. Her eyes burned with an intensity that made the two men quiver. She knew she was deceptive, in that her presence always made her seem much larger than she really was. This in turn, made the Dirty Harry Revolver look huge in her hand. She slipped out the chamber again and spun it. She loved the precise mechanical whir. The snake loved it too.
“What did you write?” She finally asked Bowie.
Bowie shrugged, “lots of stuff. The virus, the lockdowns, the election, the riots.”
“I wrote the riots,” she cut in. “The social justice riots. That’s why they hired me, they said they wanted a woman of color to help the social justice movement.” She gritted her teeth, jamming the chamber of the revolver back in place with a loud metallic snap. “Lying bastards.”
“I wrote the other riots.” Said Bowie, defensively. “The white supremacist riots.”
“You wrote those?” She asked incredulously, “They didn’t just…”
Bowie shrugged, “I just wrote in the motivation they needed…”
“Dead people voting?” Asked Kayla. Bowie nodded. She looked puzzled, “I thought that was all bullshit.”
“Then once they rioted,” said Kayla thoughtfully, “they could be branded terrorists and then…”
“They came to take our guns, the kids, then put us in camps for reeducation.” said Noah.
“We’ve all been played,” said Kayla, “Big time.” She looked at Bowie, accusingly. “You wrote this shit?”
“I just followed their outline,”
“Didn’t it occur to you that they’d fight back?”
“I, well, they…”
“You pushed them too far. Like a hunted animal, you push it into a corner and it will come out fighting. Shit, Bowie, that’s common sense.”
Bowie looked down, ashamed. “They just thought it was best to get it done quickly, while they had the chance.”
“Get what done?” Asked Noah
“Yeah, get what done, Bowie?” Asked Kayla, standing, her hands on her hips, staring down the defensive writer. Before he could answer, shattering glass interrupted them as a Molotov cocktail smashed just five feet away. As flames leaped up, both Noah and Bowie sprang to their feet.
“Get down,” shouted Kayla, diving away from the flames, landing catlike on the floor. The others followed. Almost on cue, a burst of automatic fire exploded into the room, bullets slamming into the walls around them, showering them with fragments of concrete. Kayla started to crawl towards the hallway, when she noticed Noah was not following. He was grappling for his guns as the flames spread. Looking up, Kayla could see the menacing Black Shapes of the Anti Fascists behind the flames, moving towards them, like Jackals, craving human flesh.
“Noah,” she called out. Another burst of gunfire, this time lower stopped her in her tracks. Her heart pounded in her chest as she raised the 44 magnum. This was insane. Kayla tasted fear for the first time since her childhood. Her hand faulted, she froze.