1x1 Ignorance and Apathy: Redux

Red Thunder

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”Fuck you!”

Captain Johnson’s expression grew dark at the outburst, and he pressed an outstretched finger into the papers that littered his desk.

“Now.” The captain’s reply suddenly gaining an edge to match his stabbing gaze. Unmoveable and unyielding.

From the front side of the desk, Patrick stood resolutely, glowering. His jaw was set, and his face was red. Slowly he raised his hands to his left breast, to the Millennium City Police Department badge that was pinned there. Carefully he unclasped it before tossing it onto the captain’s desk without so much as a second glance at the bronze shield he’d worn proudly for several years. Turning on his heel, the Irishman stomped out of the office and down the hall, out into the streets, and into oblivion.


A cold sweat drenched his brow as Patrick twitched awake, his stomach twisted in an angry knot. A plastic cup sat beside the chair in which he lounged, its bottom still ringed with the vestigages of his night cap. Damn nightmares. Whenever he thought they were gone, they rushed back, crushing him in the weight of his failure with the MCPD.

Snorting, he threw back the last bit of alcohol before passing out again, falling as still as the utilitarian apartment about him. It was dreary, frankly: age and a persistent infestation of some benign mold had left the walls showing only the barest remnants of paper that had once covered them; the ceiling above him showed dark water stains covering most of the area, so that the ceiling was more stain than wasn’t; and the floor was a brittle wooden puzzle, its gray plank pieces splintered and warped. In the back corner, farthest away from the door, a careful observer might see a small section of wood that fit a bit too well, its edges a bit too worn. A rifle rested on it, its dull but carefully cleaned surface the only thing within the single room for which the sleeping man showed any care.

That, and a picture he kept carefully hidden beneath even the treasures secreted beneath the floorboard. A picture of what might have been a younger self, arm around the shoulders of a young woman bearing shock blue hair, and both beamed.

CloudyBlueDay CloudyBlueDay
 
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CloudyBlueDay

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She had her own nightmares. They always bled into one another; blood, twisted limbs. Lost memories. Sometimes she couldn’t remember a person’s smile, and their blank face would linger in her dreams. When she couldn’t injure an illusion of their memory anymore, it was like truly losing them all over again.

That’s why she got up every morning to do what she did. To chase the people who had taken them away, taken away their faces. Their honor. Her family. Her only family. No one else remembered those people. The world had cast them aside and if she didn’t remember them… no one else would.

And there was someone she had forgotten that was going to come back into her life. Or rather, someone she had tried to forget.

Today her quest took her into the slums, which she was sadly familiar with. She’d been picking off the lower level scientists of the SPME, anyone she could find. One by one. And yeah, Sapphire liked to make it hurt. Nothing she would do could ever match what they had done to her.

When she knocked on the door right besides the one that held an old friend, her eyes glowed teal matching her choppy vibrant hair. Her powers came into effect as a shady looking man opened the door, and to him, Sapphire was invisible. She slid past him and into his crappy room. Must be hiding from something to stay here; she knew damn well how well the scientists did on the payroll.

Sapphire sauntered over to the kitchen and pulled out the biggest of his knives, letting it slide noisily from the block. The man jumped in surprise, rushing to the kitchen where she twiddled the knife between her fingers, now fully visible.

“Good afternoon,” Sapphire hummed. “Mind if I ask you a couple questions?” To him, shackles rose from the floor, encasing his legs and ankles. A gag appeared over his mouth, but not before he wailed in fear. Pathetic, they always were. The weak minded idiot couldn’t even tell it was all an illusion.

She’d be sure to make him scream a little first.
 

Red Thunder

A Warrior in a Garden
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He couldn’t tell, at first, whether the voices were a part of the nightmare or reality. The lounging chair groaned and squeaked as Patrick shifted, sifting through that endless haze between Sleep and Awake as he tried to will his mind to embrace one or the other. He wanted the blank forgetfulness of unconsciousness, even considering the awful memories that at times returned to his unguarded mind. To wake was to face once more the drear fact of his existence, and to accept that nothing he might do would change it.

Instinct and training fought the cry of sleep, and he was standing before his mind caught up with the actions of his body. No, the rueful thought came, the scream was very real. Involuntarily he reached for the long gun. In the slums, vocalized terror wasn’t so unusual; but it was the proximity that worried him. Rifle sling across his shoulder, weapon at the ready, he flicked off the safety and stepped to his door. Slowly he opened it, lifting it by the handle to prevent the hinges from enacting their customary grind. Pushing his head through the frame just enough to look down the street in the direction from which the sound of trauma had come, Patrick rounded the corner, rifle coming to bear as he searched methodically for signs of trouble.

The next door was open. And from within, he heard a female voice, harsh and demanding.

Maybe it was some spat between the bastard neighbor and his whore; he probably didn’t pay her enough, and she had some power that he hadn’t anticipated.

Brad, yah shite-head. Pay tha bitch what yah promised next tyme.

Spitting on the broken concrete near the open doorway, Patrick turned. This was no business of his, and his mind still craved sleep.
 
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CloudyBlueDay

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Sapphire’s eyes narrowed. She thought she could hear someone outside, but if there was anyone, they were smart enough to leave it the hell alone. That was the only good thing about the slums. No one else cared.

“I’ll ungag you if you if you promise not to scream.” She murmured, and the man’s head violently shook up and down. There was nothing he could do, not when she was trapping him in his own mind. Sapphire flicked her wrist, and the gag “fell” to the ground.

“I want locations.” She snapped. “On.. wh-wha-“ “You know damn well what. The labs. I want locations, and then I want names. Names of the people you’ve kidnapped, and names of your SPME friends.” She inched closer, bringing the knife point to his chest. The knife was real, unlike everything else. She wanted it to hurt.

“Who are you?” Brad babbled, trying to inch away from the sharp point in his unwilling restraints. Sapphire tutted. “That’s not the answer I was looking for. If you don’t want to talk, I’d much rather hear you scream.”
 

Red Thunder

A Warrior in a Garden
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Two steps, he’d taken. Two steps away from that idiot and his problems. Two steps toward returning to his own life of thoughtless continuance, of self-care and the forgetfulness of all else. The forgetfulness of his past, of the things he’d done and the things that had been done two him.

Two steps.

Patrick’s lead foot impacting the ground, and he spun, rifle raising once more to the ready and feet carrying him back. To fucking Brad. SPME, the woman had said. An acronym that he’d hoped to never hear again. But here it was again, falling from this broad’s mouth life poison to again ruin his life.

He approached the door even as Brad blubbered a response, and Patrick began clearing the room just within, keeping distance and cover. Deliberate and quick, seeing, analyzing, and discarding each object in turn, seeking a threat. He saw Brad first, standing stock still as if petrified in fear; he was no threat to anyone. Paddy continued scanning.

Then he saw the woman. Then he saw her hair and the glow of her eyes.

“Shite.” He didn’t lower the rifle. “Sapphire?”
 
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CloudyBlueDay

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As Brad whimpered pitifully, Sapphire’s head shot up as she could hear footsteps. “You got a friend, Brad?” Sapphire hissed. She’d make him hurt too.

But the face that walked into the kitchen stunned her more than she could have planned for, the glow of her eyes dimming the moment she registered who it was. The knife fell limp in her hand.

“Pat… you really gonna point a damn rifle at me?” She murmured, awestruck, only then realizing that Brad no longer wore his mental shackles, and in one swift step he’d risen and turned the knife around, grabbing her hands to redirect at her own stomach.

It was too late when she’d already reconjured the illusion, the kitchen knife poking out of her side. Sapphire stared at it with a blank look of horror, hands going up to touch the steady stream of blood as Brad returned to his terrified stillness, this time enjoying the thought of being lowered into a pit of lava.

“Shit.” Sapphire whispered.
 
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Red Thunder

A Warrior in a Garden
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Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
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A Few Posts a Week, One Post a Week, Slow As Molasses
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Brad wasn’t given the luxury of enjoying his spa day for very long. A moment after the illusion took his mind, a bullet erased it, tearing through his gray matter even as the muffled crack of surpressed riflefire cut through the close air. He fell, his own blood mixing with that of Sapphire’s.

Releasing the rifle and letting it swing from the sling, Patrick rushed forward. Awkwardly, for the rifle sling, he yanked off his shirt, exposing ghostly white scars, the remnants of knife and bullet wound. It was perhaps not the cleanest thing he could staunch her blood with, but stab wounds, especially when deep, didn’t given their victims long to regret the sequence of events leading to them. Without speaking, he wrapped the dirty cloth around the knife; it turned a deep red immediately. Carefully, putting slight pressure on the knife so as to press the dull side of the blade against her flesh and the sharp side away from it, he slid the knife out. It clattered as it hit the floor, and Patrick pressed the cloth further into the injury.

“‘Ere; hold it tight.”

There was an edge to the otherwise calm command, and panic was in his eyes as he gave a quick cursory glance over Sapphire to ensure she hadn’t sustained any other injuries. Temporarily satisfied, he pressed her into on arm and scooped up her legs in the other, stopping in the freeze of fear. There was a shout from outside, and the racking of a rifle; his shot had been heard, and they couldn’t stay. He closed his eyes tightly. From between the lids, a golden light pressed its way out. Suddenly they opened again, and he glanced at a spot in the air. A golden oval flashed into existence, floating vertically half an inch off ground ground; it’s surface gave off a light that seemed to illuminate nothing at all. Giving the open doorway another glance, he stepped through the oval and disappeared, and the Gate vanished.

Patrick and Sapphire reappeared within the Irishman’s shabby apartment, and he didn’t slow a moment. What was probably once a dining table sat near a small kitchenette; Patrick placed his burden gently on it before turning away again to turn on his hot water tap. As quickly as he could, he began gathering shirts and fabric patching equipment, returning to dump them beside her. A needle sat in the box, loose but already threaded off a spool of silver polyester, and he ran both needle and hands beneath the stream of moderately warm water to clean them as best he might. He paused.

“Tis gonna hurt like uh bitch.”