Through a combination of terror, lack of sleep or maybe dust Pixie faints, taking us all by complete surprise. Larry is now pointing his gun at an empty space, and somehow mine is in my hand pointing straight at Larry, who seemingly calm and collected throughout drops his gun and calmly sits down next to Pixie “well Fallen seems like you hold the gun know, although I am slightly concerned by the way its shaking” he says. “you appear to have two options; kill me now or let me go”
“and if I let you go?” I ask. “I on my part promise not to kill you” Larry tells me all matter of fact “truth is with no guide I don’t think you will last long in no mans land. Chances are I may be able to retrieve the package once that happens”
”our guide?” I ask “currently hidden around the corner, a rather large hole where their head used to be” he replies. “your not exactly convincing me not to kill you” I tell Larry and with some relief notice my hand is shaking less.
Larry smiles and nods “I am a man of my word if nothing else, let me live, I don’t think killing is truly in your nature” he states looking as ever self assured and composed. “very true” I reply “however I have thought of another option” and with that I pull the trigger. A rather large piece of Larry’s leg vanishes in a trail of blood and bone. His face white and teeth gritted he can only nod in agreement.
I grab his gun and drag Pixie who appears to be stirring, the sound of a gun will have that effect, and go looking for our guide. I don’t have far to look and Larry’s description is visibly accurate. Whilst Pixie groans in a corner I search his pockets for something anything that could help us. I find a small bag of dust, for a moment I consider throwing it away, but think about my barely touched bottle of vodka I hang onto it through guilt.
Pixie is almost back to her usual self “fucking hell Fallen, I told you we are in the shit” she waves off any further help and stands up using a wall for support. “give me his gun “she demands and I hand it other. “ether been to no mans land?” I ask but she just shakes her head. “looks like we have no choice but to see if we can get some help inside” and with that we move off to the entrance.
No mans land, what can I say, its in between the complete chaos of the dead zone and the relative safety of the slums. I have never been but know a few who have. Its mainly run by two gangs who naturally spend a lot of time killing each other, the guides and the lost. Not much difference between them in reality and never like outsiders, although they have to be more lenient then they would like due to business.
Getting through with no help would be practically suicide. We had Patric’s money which would either buy help or get us killed. Shit time would tell and if Larry knew about the package, he or his employers probably weren’t alone. Getting in was easy enough we paid a toll and with men and dogs snarling at us entered. “why not ask them about help getting through?” Pixie asked “we need to give the impression we know what we are doing, getting help is gonna be hard, any sign of weakness and we are fucked” I reply.
People had mentioned to me one person, not affiliated with any gang but left alone. A kind of spiritual guru to some, to others one of the main dealers in dust. Maybe they would be a good place to start. No mans land’s main street was bustling, but at least it meant we did not get lost. We both kept our guns in our hands and tried not to look at anyone. Most others were doing the same, occasionally a group would shout abuse at us but we just kept our heads down and walked.
After a while we came across a crowd queuing up outside a small house with boarded windows and a metal door. Two well armed guards stood to either side and let people in one by one. I grabbed Pixie and joined the queue. “what the fuck are we doing” she hissed at me under her breath. I just shrugged my shoulders as I was not sure myself.
The two people in front of me started talking and I moved as close as I dared to listen.
“why the fuck you wanna see the King for?” one asked “what the fucks it gotta do with you” was the brief reply. “because I am in a fucking hurry to ask him a favour, and if you not got shit to really deal with, fuck out the way and let the people who have go in!” this resulted in a brief burst of violence leading to one man losing several fingers, and both being kicked out of the queue by the guards.
Pixie was less then impressed “lets just go” she pleaded “no way Pixie, look we ask this “King” a favour, help a guide to get across to the dead zone” I replied.
Part Nine For A to the G Happy Birthday mate
I took her silence as a yes, so we stayed in the queue. Shortly we arrived at the large door and its guards. They looked Pixie up and down in a way I did not like, me they just sneered at, my hand tightened on my gun, inside I felt sick as I realised how quickly I had accepted it as part of my life again.
We stepped past the guards and into a darkened room. Inside I heard a dry laugh and a voice boomed out “welcome people, please take a seat I shall be with you shortly” Pixie and I managed to find a couple of chairs in the gloom and sat. I nervously lit a cigarette. A light turned on illuminating the room and showing us a man already seated not far in front of us. “Hello my friends” spoke the man “And welcome to my humble home, I am known around here as the king, my name is Tbaoo you may call me what you wish” I was at a lost for words, and Pixie was her usual silent self. “come now friends” spoke the king “what can I offer you today?” I finally found my voice “A guide, through to the dead zone, that’s all we need um king” was my less then eloquent reply.
“is that all? From an old friend?” asked the king. “An old friend?” I asked, although some form of recognition was slowly creeping into my mind. The king laughed “Don’t you recognise me officer?”
Then it dawned on me “shit” I moaned. “Shit indeed” replied king “oh how the mighty have fallen” with this he stood up and pulled back his long hair. “Recognition at last, but in time?” he questioned. Heart racing I slowly withdrew my gun “As you may have noticed that was in a previous life, seems like forever ago Tbaoo. You seem to have fallen a long way yourself” Anger flashed in his eyes “whose fault is that” he spat at me “You and Patric, set me up, brought me down until this is where I finally ended up! King indeed but my kingdom is a shit hole” He snarled fists clenched “you” he pointed at me “are mine” with this the two guards stepped into the room their guns aimed at us.
“listen” I pleaded “that was a different time a different me. I did not know half of what Patric did! I did not know he had set you up” I desperately explained. King looked thoughtful and hope briefly flared in my heart. “maybe so” he said “that don’t excuse shit to me” he turns to the guards “take em upstairs, I will be up there soon”
We stood up, what choice did we have? I led the way with Pixie behind me as we slowly walked up the stairs, the guards behind us guns aimed at our backs. “see you very soon” said king to us “very soon”.
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