Cluster F Part IV

It wasn’t that easy.

Cluster F'ed Talon

Cluster F’ed Talon

No matter what he did he couldn’t seem to ditch these freaks. He hid in drainpipes and raced through yards. Once when he tried a dumpster. They almost had him surrounded, when he wisely chose to flee before he became trapped.

 

Rippers

Rippers

He had been moving more or less at random, just trying to stay alive. After over an hour of this, he found himself near Marty’s house. Marty was the coolest of the cooks he worked with. He hated to endanger him, but if he could just make sure he lost these street scum before he got to Marty’s place, then Talon could probably just lay low there for the rest of the night. Hell, if he kept his cool, Marty wouldn’t even have to know.

bloodmouth_460x356
Putting the last of his energy into a frantic sprint, he raced into the complex that housed his friend.
When his banging was finally answered, he rushed into Marty’s room. “Geez Talon, nice to see you too,” the cook said. Marty was about seven years older than Talon’s twenty-five. Ruffled strings of dyed black hair, set off the ghostly pallor of his white face. Marty was a bit of a Goth, but Talon tried not to hold it against him. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

 

The Baron
Forcing a smile, Talon said, “hey there Marty. I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I would drop by and say hello.”

 

Carnival of Blood
“More likely, you ran out of beer. It’s still four days till we get paid. You need to learn how to budget. Take me for instance, I-“
A loud bang rattled Marty’s front door. It was a mighty attack, like someone was trying to kick the door in with one blow.
“What the hell was that?” It only took Marty a few extra seconds to catch on. “Oh crap, you’re in trouble, aren’t you?”

 

Face Biter
“Let us in you wormy little bastard.” The angry shout was only slightly muffled by the door.

Dark Hair
“Is there another way out?” Talon asked.
“Damn Talon. What have you gotten me into? I’m going to kick your ass-“
Another loud bang sounded on the door. “Marty?”
“Arrr,” he growled. “This way, but if those losers trash my cube, I’m taking it out on you.”

 

Learn more about Talon and New Cluster Here!!!

 

??????????????????????

 

 

Advertisements

Cluster F Part III

Wincing as he grabbed his beer, Talon cursed the Banger that had cut him. It was his last beer, which meant he was going to have to go out if he wanted to get any more. Despite the pain, he was still debating his options, since he only had four universals to his name.
Something went flying through one of his windows. The scattered glass seemed to freeze in mid air and he already sent himself into motion. His jacket was in his hand, before the shards hit the floor. He was moving to the door when something big slammed into it from the other side. It was a security door, but he knew that it wouldn’t last long.

 

Patchwork man
The bat he had stolen from Mucci leaned against the wall near the door. Fingers closed around it just as the door crashed open. Some God of blind luck and fools was watching over him, for the door slammed back concealing him, as the Bangers raced into his apartment.
He stayed where he was, as one of them called out, “We know who you are Talon and we’re not going to let some dysfunc PR to dice us.”
“Come on Ax, he must be in back.”

Rippers

Rippers

Most of them sounded like they were heading into his little bedroom. It wouldn’t take them long to discover that he wasn’t there. Quickly bracing his boot on the side of the door he kicked it closed as hard as he could. As he had hoped, a loud grunt was heard from the other side. Keeping a tight grip on his bat he flung the door back open. Before him one Banger sat on his ass in the hallway clutching his face while blood spilled out over his fingers. The other was the Banger he had fought earlier; complete with the black eye he had given him.

My brain

For a moment their eyes locked and neither moved, but then the others could be heard moving behind him. The bat lashed out and took the Banger in the temple and he cried in pain. Talon’s elbow smacked him, bowling him over as he moved. The Banger tripped over his stunned ally and went down. Talon hit the stairs. He knew the building better than all of them combined and disappeared like a paycheck.

 

Learn more about New Cluster here!

 

New Cluster

New Cluster

Cluster F Part II

A second band played, whipping the crowd into a vicious frenzy. Usually Talon didn’t mind mixing it up in the pit, but not at this show. The Bangers were using it for a practice ground and bloodied bodies were already being dragged to the sides of the stage. Damn, he hated how the Bangers always tried to ruin the shows.
Then at last he spotted a few PRs he knew. He threw them a wave as he rushed over. They took Talon in with a smile. Before him, were some of the only people he knew well enough to actually call friends. Two of them, Billy and O.Z., might have been having a contest to see who could continue to grow sideways. In these lean times where Talon went hungry every other week, he could never understand how these two were able to retain their massive bulks.

O.Z.

O.Z.

Billy had grown a small mohawk, which he died blue while, like always, O.Z. kept his head shaved and polished. They each had their stretched shirts covered with worn jackets despite the heat. O.Z. stood for Opinion Zero, while Billy’s last name was Bloodhammer.
The men next to them were as skinny as they were obese and contrasted them comically. The taller one was Bone. He attempted to at least keep himself clean and dressed a bit more upscale than the others. From what Talon had heard, he did it mostly for the ladies, for Bone had the reputations for being quite the skirt chaser. His buddy Trash with his graffiti covered torn shirt, also liked women, but tended to have more luck with the homeless variety. Talon certainly had no problem with Trash. The fact that he had once beaten up Rick-the-dick was enough to make Talon like him forever. There were a few other PRs hanging around, but Talon didn’t know them well enough to put names to faces.
After the usual rounds of greetings, Billy said, “What do you think about all these Bangers screwing up our shows?”
Before he could answer, O.Z. quickly said, “Yeah, soon they’re going to start making us listen to their shitty metal core or even worse that techno-rap crap.”
“It isn’t the music that worries me. The Bangers live for violence and always seem to pollute everything they touch. They act like the rest of us who are stuck in the gutters with them are the enemy.”
“Damn, Talon, when did you get so profound?” Billy laughed.
“I’ve had an interesting month,” he said without even thinking. “I also just came from the pit. Things are already getting bloody in there.”
“And it is only going to get worse,” Bone mumbled.
Bloodhammer took the stage again. “This is why we are thinking about doing something about it. We punks are being isolated and taken advantage of.”

Trash spoke up. “Yeah, my friend Lyle was beat up when some Bangers tried to take his girl. They kicked his ass and then took her anyway. He hasn’t seen her since.”
Billy nodded. “Punks don’t like gangs. We are anarchists, each of us is an individual, but we’re getting screwed here. We can’t even put on our own shows. That is why we are thinking about starting up a group of our own. It isn’t a gang as much as a league.”
O.Z. was smiling. “Yeah the Anti-Nowhere League. A.N.L. for short.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“Do you want to join?” Billy asked.
“How many do you have so far?”
“With you…five.”
“Terrific,” he said, not bothering to hide the sarcasm. “What about these guys?” He said while motioning to the eight PRs milling around behind them.
“We asked you first. We just had the idea a few minutes ago,” Billy said.
“I thought up the name,“ O.Z. said. Talon didn’t bother to correct the man and point out that it was a band from the distance past, one of the few who had been involved with starting punk rock.
“So what do I get if I join?”
“That means we have your back,” Billy said.
Thinking about all that had happened to him recently, led to a quick choice. “Okay, I join.” There were handshaking, drinking, and congrats. Soon however, Talon had finished the last beer that he figured he should bum. When the Armpit Salesmen started to play, he headed back to the front, which like the front at a war had become a battle zone.
Flailing punks crashed against Bangers. Beneath them, a mud churned, fueled by spilled beer, sweat, and blood. Major fights broke out. It sickened his stomach. For a while he watched and became almost hypnotized by the swirling arcs of colors. Contorted faces appeared and were quickly lost, moving through a sea of undulating flesh.
His older buddy Awl came by. During a break in the songs, he said, “This sucks. Shows aren’t supposed to be like this. Pits are for dancing, not violence.” He finished with, “I’m going to have a beer,” and then walked away.
The violence grew worse, even when the band begged them to stop.
They threw down their mics. “The show is over. We are done. Enough of this BS. We came here to play.”
Things were heading towards riot stage. When the Public Enforcers sirens blared in the distance, he figured that it was time to go. Moving through the chaos was no easy feat. Alone in a confused tide of humanity, he breathed in the sweaty stench and moved on. He was elbowed in the arm and another man smeared dirty sweat across his back. He was out of beer, but now wanted water more than anything else.

Finally thinning as he approached the edge, the throng murmured like a sleeping monster. Just as he could breath in something besides stench, he saw movement to his right. “Talon, Talon buddy. They’re after us!”
It was Belter again. This time he was sprinting towards him. Before he even knew what was happening they had collided. If Belter hadn’t grabbed onto his jacket, he could have toppled over. “Help me buddy. The deal went ass-up. They are coming after us.”
Before his crazed words had even sunk it, a group of Rips burst through the crowd. Their weapons were bared and they weren’t afraid to use them in their attempt to clear the path. Already the blades of their knives matched their blood red jackets. “Get them,” a tall lanky freak bellowed.
Like a wave of red, they swarmed at them. Talon knew it was useless to protest. He was screwed. The Bangers were in a berserk rage.

He ran.
Dodging people and garbage, he hurried as fast as the milling bodies would allow. He slammed into two huge guys. With a growl one moved forward to take a swing. He leapt to his left and he heard a crack and figured somebody got hit. He was on his hands and knees, trying to scramble to his feet, when the first R.I.P. reached him.
The man had a mohawk not unlike his, but Talon sure didn’t share his taunt drug pinched face. The painfully thin man had a long dagger and he swung it sideways. Talon ducked under it, sliding forward on some trash. His hand found a beer bottle and he beaned it off the Banger’s head. Not waiting to see if this slowed him down, he got his boots under him and kept going.
More voices could be heard, but he didn’t even bother to look, but he could tell they were gaining on him. People were more likely to move out of the way of armed Bangers than for some young PR.
“You better stop punk or we’ll scalp that mohawk right off your head,” one of them shouted, sounding dangerously close.

 

PRs

PRs

There was movement behind him, and then a lancing pain as a knife tore through his jacket. He cried out and sprinted forward. They were right on his heels. He could hear them closing in. One of them was starting to laugh.
There was a big blur beside him, followed by a mighty clang. He slowed down enough to see that it was Billy Bloodhammer and he had just thrown a keg into the ranks of the Rips. O.Z. was right behind him and threw a case of empties into another one’s chest. Trash and Bone led up another dozen or so PRs.

Turning with a smile already plastered across his face, Talon gave the meanest right hook of his life into the man directly behind him. Blood splattered across his mangy goatee. The Rip stumbled back a pace, but Talon wasn’t done. His boot lashed out and kicked the man in the hand. Just as he had hoped his stained dagger went flying. All around them punks were attacking Bangers as their fighting had lit the fuse setting off the powder keg.
The fighting wasn’t just around them; the whole place had gone berserk. Punk fought Banger, while both went after any Enforcer that got in their way. One of the PEs must have been hurt, for shots started to explode into the night. That changed the riot into a stampede and soon the only thought on his mind was trying to stick close to his new pals the Anti-Nowhere League.
In the end, this became impossible as the wave of ragged humanity swept him along. They hit a road and people scattered, their fights forgotten. The raging mob dodged cars and emergency vehicles. Their mangled colors spilled into the night.
Talon hit a stygian alley with another half dozen youth. They sprinted away from the PE covered street. They were almost to the next street when a squad car pulled before them. The attempt to box them in was ignored by many, but Talon took to one of the lower fences and hopped into a residential yard. He continued to yard hop, until he was well away from the foul mess.

 

Learn more about New Cluster Here!

 

Rippers

Rippers

Cluster F

Two skins brushed roughly past him and Talon growled when they spilled three sips of cheap beer on his boots. Worse yet, it was his own. Despite his true desires, he let it go. No need to go down in history as being the first one to start a fight at the Meg-O-Show.
For once, Talon’s seven inch red mohawk didn’t leave him feeling out of place, for the Meg-O-Show was about punks playing for punks. It wasn’t being held in some stuffy auditorium, it was out in a weed filled City Park. Surrounding him were the biggest group of PRs he had ever seen. Tattoos, brandings, and multiple piercing were mainstream here. Compared to the hardcore action going on around him, Talon was feeling tame.

Punk Show
A tall man, with a goatee and full sleeves, strutted his stuff with a smile while leading a young girl on a dog chain behind him. A gang of PR Bangers pushed their way through the crowd violently, and he was just able to move out of their way in time to save his beer.
This encounter left him feeling a little on edge. These events were supposed to be fun, but it was also like entering a war zone. Times in New Cluster were tough. The people were fighting for scraps and living like dregs, when everyone wanted to be a star.
Talon didn’t need to be famous to be happy, but he couldn’t have told you what he really wanted. Living in New Cluster left one’s feelings blunted. Everything was din, dirt, and grime. His life was a maze of square buildings connected by gravel and debris. The only place he could see real plants were inside the Posh stores and government offices. It weighted on him knowing that it was a five hundred mile train ride to the nearest natural tree.
Sometimes he thought that he might be happy and could have settled for a young woman in his bed and a kitchen full of food, but there were times where he felt he didn’t even want that.

Cluster F'ed Talon

Cluster F’ed Taon

Lost in his own thoughts, he kicked a pile of discarded bottles. They clattered loudly over the rocky soil. A few faces turned to look at him and he wondered why he couldn’t find someone he knew. Talon was a loner by nature, but at a show like this it wasn’t safe to be alone. Sure people would keep cooled for a while, the bands were barely starting, but once darkness set… it would be another story. Talon was no poseur. He came for the music. Still, he didn’t kid himself; he had just enough to have something someone would want to steal.
Girls wearing less than face cloths, mixed with geared up Bangers. He watched the freaks, taking them in. So far the rival gangs had ignored each other, but he knew that wouldn’t be lasting much longer.
“Talon, Talon,” turning without recognizing the voice, he saw the face, which he unfortunately did recognize.
Moving through the crowd in an attempt to reach him was Belter. Belter had a head of patchy brown hair and a taunt sunken face with a repetitive tick that jerked the right side of his lips back. He favored darker colored clothes mixed with grays.
Belter was a burner and had been for a long while now. Talon had been avoiding Belter since the drugs took ownership of his soul. The man had once worked as a line cook at the Posh restaurant where Talon still slung dishes. From what Talon had heard, Belter had tried the synth powder called Cain and that was all it took. The poor guy had tried to hold it together and keep his job, but when he was busted stealing top shelf bottles of booze, he was tossed out onto the street. Talon hadn’t seen him much since then and the few times he had, he wished he hadn’t.
“Hey Talon, Hey old buddy.”
“Hey Belter,” he answered, with much less enthusiasm. They shook hands. Belter’s were clammy and slick.

Belter

Belter

“What’s going on?” He was talking quickly. Belter’s mouth jerked and moved while he spoke. It was easy to tell he was really high. Since he didn’t look too good, Talon couldn’t help but wonder where the guy had found enough money to be floating so well. He sighed. Junkies had their ways.
“I’m just here to enjoy the bands.” Looking around at the others present, “Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one.”
“Oh yeah,” his head flew in every direction, but towards Talon as he spoke. “Have you seen any of the Rips around?” Talon knew the Rips well… they were one of the biggest gangs in the area and certainly one of the most dangerous.
“What the hell do you want to talk to them for?”

“Oh just a business deal. You know I’m always out to make a fews smacks.” Facing Talon at last, he asked a in a softer voice, “Speaking of which, are you looking for anything?”
“Not what you’re selling.”
“Have you ever even tried Cain? I could give you-“
“Goodbye Belter,” Talon said, already turning away. Belter called a few words after him, but Talon continued on his way.

 

 

Dive into more of Talon’s Adventures and learn about New Cluster Here!!

 

Ripper

Ripper

 

 

The Climax of Saving Money

We won’t go hungry, no not tonight,”

“Flesh is so tender you don’t need a knife.”

“Eating yer buddies.”

 

Eating Your Buddies

Eating Your Buddies

The group sung as one, except for Pitch, who led them quickly through the night. Talon had dropped back as far as Mucci would let him. He had given Pitch the basic instructions and the man knew the way.

The night came alive around him as the cannibals continued their eerie chant. Shadows clung to the refuse that lined the road, looking like fields of dead bodies. The taste of the meat bubbled up into his throat, staining his lips, bringing back what he had done. He could feel it. It clung against the side of his stomach like a solid lump putrefying his insides. He knew he was tainted, but he couldn’t worry about that now, he had to see this through.

They were nearing the bridge. In the distance, the lights of the other side of the city shined like the stars the smog denied.

Bridge

“Keep an eye on him,” Pitch hissed back to Mucci, and then began to jog under the bridge. A light could now be seen on the far side. ”Rick, is that you?” He called out.

Talon knew he had to act fast. “Hey look out,” he said to Mucci, grabbing his arm.”

“What the hell?”

“The guy I pushed over the ledge, I saw him. The fall didn’t take him out.” Without waiting for a reply, Talon took off back the way they had come. Mucci, uncertain at first, followed. As soon as they had reached thicker shadows, Talon spun around and punched Mucci in the nose. The young man wasn’t expecting such a sudden turn, and the fist broke Mucci’s nose in an explosion of blood.

Talon Fights Back

Talon Fights Back

While Mucci stumbled back, Talon’s left hand grabbed the bat and his right hand punched him again. Grunting, Mucci released the bat. The blow caused him to trip over a rock and he went crashing down onto his back. Talon choked up the bat, like he was going to head in to finish the job, but that was when a helicopter floodlight began to illuminate under the bridge. A garbled voice started shouting orders and then moments later gunfire rang out.

“Good luck dumb ass,” he yelled back at the battered punk and began to sprint out of there. “And thank you, Brian Whitney; sorry about the hassle they’ll be putting you through after all this.” That guy must have been loaded, Talon thought to himself. If the reported kidnapping brought out Helicopter support, Talon must have picked the right guy to call in a false report with. The cops wouldn’t find Brian there, but they had found enough to make sure the trip wasn’t a waste and even if any of Pitch’s crew survived the encounter, he doubted he would be seeing them for a while.

He had almost made it back to one of the main roads, when a large figure blocked his path.

At first Talon thought it was some random dreg or maybe a cop who had moved around to cut them off, but then he saw the glint of the helicopter lights shining off glasses. It was Rick-the-dick. The man could barely stand without swaying and blood dripped from the middle finger of his disfigured left arm, slowly creating a muddy black pool where it mixed with the sand below.

Rik The Dik

Rik The Dik

“You narcing bastard. Can you comprehend what you have done?”

“Rid the world of a bunch of freaks is what I’m thinking.”

With a roar, Rick rushed forward swinging his nun-chucks. Talon still had the bat and used it to block the attack. Moving faster, his back swing took Rick in the temple with a loud crack.

Talon brought the bat behind his shoulder, like he was waiting for a pitch. Rick came in and he swung the bat. It connected with the chucks and sent them flying into the dead bushes.

Rick called out, “I’ll kill you for ruining everything,” and leapt forward. His long lanky arms got past the bat and he began to clutch and pull at him. Before Talon knew what was happening, long teeth had buried themselves into the flesh of his shoulder. His cried out in pain as the jagged teeth quickly tore through his tie shirt.

Dropping the bat, his hand began to fumble into his back pocket. Pulling out the steak knife, he stabbed it between two of Rick’s ribs. The man gasped out and stumbled away, taking the knife with him. “Try to eat me will you,” Talon spat at him while clutching his bleeding shoulder. “You are the one who is going to get carved like a steak.”

After yanking out the knife, Rick came at him again, but Talon snatched up the bat and swung into him before Rick could use the small blade. There was a resounding crack as the tip of the bat broke Rick jaw. He tumbled off of the path with a wet grown.

Talon was going to make sure he finished what he started this time. Leaving a vengeful Rick-the-dick alive wouldn’t be wise. Then a sound stopped him.

Mutt Hounds

Mutt Hounds

A low growling could be heard coming from the dry bushes. Another quickly followed it, then a third. Thin shadows created finger wide tiger strips on the circling pack. Rez-dogs, loose packs that preyed on the unlucky and alone. They scented blood and were more than willing to prey on the wounded.

“He’s all yours boys.” Talon muttered, as he slowly retreated holding the bat in front of him.

Rick reached out a pleading hand and moaned.

“Sorry, I guess it is your turn to fed the hungry mouths. Only I think this meal won’t be over as quickly.” The sounds on Rick’s hopeless cries would haunt him for months. Nearly as long as it would take for him to get the taste of human flesh from returning to him when it was least needed. A thousand beers couldn’t drown it. Over time it faded, but his friends always wondered why a big guy like him would suddenly become a vegetarian and they would never know.

Talon

Talon

Learn more about the chaos in New Cluster here!

New Cluster

New Cluster

Saving Money (Part III)

“Hey Talon, what are you doing here?” Marty was one of the cooler guys he worked with. He didn’t talk down to Talon, just because he was a lowly dishwasher and Marty was a chief. “I thought you had tonight off?”

“Oh, I think I left my Personal here,” he lied. Talon didn’t even have enough money to own a personal, which these days meant his dating pool was pretty narrow.

“Well, the lost and found is near the register.” That was what he was hoping Marty would say.

New Cluster

New Cluster

Hurrying through the busy kitchen, he dodged plates and conversations. He saw a stray steak knife and tucked it into his back pocket. It wasn’t too big, but it could come in handy.

Making it to the front, he dropped behind the counter. Sassy was working, which he couldn’t decide was lucky or not. He had a hard enough time talking to her normally, but tonight, he was already feeling like his pulse rate had doubled.

The thought that he had eaten a steak of human flesh splattered across his mind. Did it somehow make him different? Could it scar you? He tried to push such feelings away. There would be plenty of time to ruminate on that horror later. Right now, he just had to make sure he had a later.

Attempting to push his tangled thoughts aside, he moved in behind her, waiting. There were worse places to be. Wearing the skintight Chinese dress did what it was supposed to do and graced her thin figure exquisitely. The scarlet dress matched her heels as well as her lips. She had a short blonde gloss cut, which belled out just over her hairline. Luminescent light blue eyes finished the look.

Sassy selected from the cream of the available undercrusties, and sometimes men who weren’t so available. She was way out of his league, even though they were of an age. This didn’t keep her from being decent to him and they joked around as much as he could manage.

Turning to face him, she smiled, “hi there Talon, just can’t stay away from the fun?”

“You got me pegged, I can’t hang here next to you while I’m not the clock, so I have to come in off shift for the privilege.“

He might have almost brought some color to her cheeks, and she eyed him slyly, but then quickly said, “Why are you really here?”

“I think I might have left my Personal here?”

“Really, I didn’t know you had one.” throwing her hip out slightly, she eyed him strongly.

“Why do you want my number?”

Sassy

Sassy

“Maybe,” she pointed a scarlet fingernail towards a haggard yellow box that sat under the counter. “There is the lost and found. If you see a pair of amber earrings let me know.”

Talon was trying to kill time. He had to stay behind the counter as long as possible. Minutes dragged until he had spent enough of them to search the box three times.

“You know that if you lost it here, some scratch would swipe it anyway,” she said from behind him.

Holding up some thick red winter gloves, “here, how about these? They match your dress?”

“Hilarious. If I didn’t now better, I’d say you were lingering down there to check out my legs.”

“Man, I should have thought of that.” He was trying to joke, but things were wearing thin. Just then, what he had been waiting for happened. One of the waitresses came up with a man’s Digi-cred on a plate. Sassy quickly scanned the number. The number was only on the blue screen for a few seconds, but Talon jotted down the info on the back of his hand with a pen. Thank you Brian Whitney, he thought to himself with a secret smile. The digits disappeared before he could double check that he had gotten the right number. He had better hope that he had, the entire plan rested on this data.

After a brief attempt to part nicely with Sassy, he was on this way. Dashing out into the stagnant night, heading back to the last place in the world where he wanted to go.

*      *      *

“Yeah, he sent me back to get everyone. There are three people that we got.” Gesturing with his hands. “We need help, getting them all back.”

Pitch glared at him through squinted eyes. “Why three? Rick knows that we are only supposed to do one at a time.”

“No see that’s the thing. This is way more than what you guys got before. These three were smugglers. They had all sorts of stolen electronics. Valuable stuff. We can bury the bodies if we have to. Who cares?”

Pitch had drawn a black bladed dagger and was now playing with it while they talked. Talon tried not to stare at it. “How did you PRs take out three guys from the majors?”

“Mostly because Rick is a freak,” he answered. “The guy went sickness. The whole thing happened under a bridge over the canal. He got two of em’ and I waxed the third by pushing him over the railing.”

“You waxed a guy?” Pitch didn’t struggle to hide his disbelief.

Pitch

Pitch

“Unless he can survive a thirty-foot drop.”

“Come on Pitch,” Stain was saying, while tugging at his arm. “I’ve always wanted a Ipod. It would be cool to have a Television here too and make some real money. RTD is…sick like Talon says. I could see him wasting these guys.”

“I’m still not sure.” Pointing his dagger straight at Talon’s face, there was now only a foot of space separating the tip from his eye. “It seems a bit on the, to good to be true side, for my tastes.” A pause, “why didn’t Rick come back?”

“Someone had to guard the gear. He’ll be able to scare any dregs off.” The others were getting excited and soon Pitch didn’t have much choice.

“Alright you pudwacks, we’ll check this out and we are all going.” Pointing the dagger at him still, “and you, we will be keeping a close eye on you.”

Glasses

“As long as I get my share.”

“Oh, we believe in sharing everything.” As he spoke these last words the glowing eyes of the rest of them all focused on Talon. Trying not to shiver, he could only met their gaze for a moment, before he turned and led them out the door. Many of them paused to gather up weapons. Not to be outdone, Talon went to grab a baseball bat. Pitch was faster. He snatched it up and tossed it to Mucci. The dark skinned youth caught it easily. “No weapons for you yet. Mucci keep an eye on this PR. If anything goes less then perfect, keep hitting him until he stops moaning.”

Mucci pushed him forward and the group faded into the streets of New Cluster.

Learn more about New Cluster here!

Streets f New Cluster

Streets f New Cluster

Saving Money (Part II)

Moving through the stygian night, he followed the lanky form of Rick-the-dick. They were passing through the slums of southern New Cluster, which were some of the worse parts of the city and of course where they all lived

Streetlights, that hadn’t worked for a decade, stabbed the earth like black daggers. Overhead, the smog obfuscated any hint of the stars he knew lurked above. Leaving the major streets, Rick weaved through the alleys. These grimy streets had gone from being thoroughfares to hard-bitten squats for all manner of dregs.

Normally, Talon would be put off entering these suspect areas, but the tall imposing figure of Rick-the-dick kept the others at bay. Gazing left and right, he saw gangs of dregs. Many eyed them as potential prey, but they had chosen to keep their distance so far.

“These places are too crowded,” Rick hissed back at him. Talon also thought that these folk probably did something with their dead, other than let PRs drag them away, but he kept his opinions to himself.

The pair moved away from the throbbing seas of dregs and headed for the canals. These canals were dryer than a bucket of sand left in the desert and were now just crumbling monuments to a time when rivers still moved across this part of the city, unless you counted the garbage-choked flashfloods that ripped through New Custer in the spring. These were long gone now, and the canal loomed before them like a dark scar cut into the Earth.

People still malingered here and there, for it was rare to find any sort of isolation within the city limits. They moved closer to the canal. A walkway ran along it, which had once been part of a recreation program, but due to the smog, long gone were the days when one could exercise outside. Such things now belonged only to those rich enough to afford the indoor gyms, or people like him that worked off any nutrition he received through drudgery.

A bridge formed a black arch, which blocked half of the northern city’s lights and created a wide shadow across the trail. Rick headed for it. Talon hesitated at the lip of darkness. “Come on you wuss,” Rick ordered. Normally Talon wouldn’t have gone anywhere near places like this, but supposed that they were the predators now.

To his right, only a thin railing kept path traffic from tumbling into the canal bed far below. To his left, the darkness thickened where the bridge continued into a narrow space between the road and the dirt below. Rick had some sort of light and was shining it into these recesses. Talon hurried closer to the light. Looking back at him, the grim form of Rick nodded, the light reflecting off his archaic glasses. He motioned with his head and Talon saw a tangled sleeping form. The man was so filthy, he nearly camouflaged himself into the dirt below.

Rik The Dik

Rik The Dik

“Is he dead?” Talon whispered.

Rick’s response was to kick the man in the shin while he removed a pair of nun-chucks. The man groaned, but made no move to retaliate or even awaken.

“He’s still alive, Rick.”

“That’s a situation which can be easily rectified.” Then with a snarl, Rick tore the old man from his bedding and violently dragged him to the edge of the dirt.

Screaming began and ended quickly, when Rick laid the nun-chucks into the old dreg. Talon couldn’t move as the sick crunches filled the air. Rick beat on him again and again, until there was no doubt that the old man was dead. Then crouching over his victim, Rick began to search the man in the faint hope that he might possess something valuable.

They were right next to the rail that separated them from the long drop into the rocky canal. Without really planning to, Talon rushed forward and gave Rick-the-dick a mighty shove. Rick’s eyes grew wide, more with anger than fear, and he clutched at Talon as his body balanced precariously on the railing. Fingers tore strips of hair from Talon’s mohawk, but with a grunt, Talon grabbed the base of Rick’s boots and upended him backwards over the railing. Rick didn’t even bother to scream when his body plummeted into the debris-choked canal.

Another person might have just fled back to is home and hoped for the best, but Talon knew what sort of end that choice would led him to eventually. He had different ideas.

Learn more about New Cluster and its Heroes here!!!