The pile of dishes left unwashed and stacked to the cupboard above. The empty food bowl labeled ‘Max’ flipped upside down. The coffee table littered with prescription pill bottles either standing or fallen. The door left slightly propped open, for all too see.
“There’s two sides to every coin. A head and tails. Winning and losing. Flipping a coin is everything. Every path, every choice, every decision is a coin flip. Those who avoid flipping, waste away. That’s why I admire you. Never afraid to take a risk.” He laughs spewing spit. “Yet, this is what got you in this position. You flipped to many tails. Too many tails. Some people flip heads and some flip tails. Trouble was going to find you, reaping what you owe.” His face falling, and the other. The other was laughing. The laugh echoes around your drums, traveling, never escaping. “Bang.”
He stood over, bat in hand, dripping. The man contemplates another swing. Looks over his pray one more time, and smashes, shattering me into little pieces.
The sky is clear blue, a dozen Spearow flew above. Tall pine, home to a wild Caterpie, thick wide trunks with a center hole. A child swing attached to a wide out reached branch from the pine. Franklin Walsh sat on the porch looking at the swing. He loved swinging, just new interest overcame. Now Franklin wants to begin his Pokemon adventure. Franklin just turned twelve and Red, his idle, was almost eleven when he started his adventure. It was time. Franklin clutched a white sphere with a red lining across the center and around the button. Franklin’s mother said she would give him his first Pokemon, yet, she’s not around much.
“She’ll be here. No worries. She said it will be the coolest Pokemon.” That conversation happened a long time ago. It just dad and me. He doesn’t like Pokemon so much, just the little ones and the Caterpie that has taken shelter in the family tree. Franklin’s mom was a Pokemon trainer, a good one from the little he knows of her, and is always on an adventure.
Franklin didn’t want to wait. He recites the stories he’s heard of Red. Battling the rain storm, traveling to the distant lands, competing against the Elite Four. That’s my dream. I heard he was even in the Orange Island for a while. He was here and I missed him. The empty ball tightens around Franklin’s hands. He would never know. Franklin runs. The high grass isn’t far from his house. Or maybe to the docks for a water Pokemon. The tall grass near rustled. A Pokemon! Without a second though, Franklin hurls the Premier Ball towards the grass. The ball pops into the air and bright red light emits and absorbs into the ball. The Premiere ball button glowed red. The ball shakes once. Please. The ball shake twice. Please please. A third. Franklin holds his breath, watching. The red fades from the button and the ball ceases. Franklin, still as a Snorlax, watched the ball in awe. I did it.
“I did it,” Franklin said rushing to meet his new lifelong partner. Franklin’s father, erupts from the house and rushed to his side, fearing the worst.
“You used the Priemer ball? I thought you were saving that?” Franklin’s dad notices the red light eminating from the ball, “What did you catch son?” Franklin couldn’t respond and just held the ball. Finally, pushing the center button, the red beam of light returned and his friend emerged.
The Pokemon a short tail of berry red waves. Curls on the Pokemon’s head with strands reaching almost to her black nose. A skin color of brick-red and mud colored paws. Pointy outstretched ears, also mud colored, and a white fur underbelly. Her crocodile green eyes staring right back at Franklin. I’ve never seen a Pokemon so so beautiful.
“What is it dad?”
“That’s a rare Pokemon here on the island son. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one here. That’s a Vulpix.”
Mark stands quietly over the argument. The warehouse the Exiles are sheltered in is run down and safe, for now. Tirsten and Luke don’t like this deal, yet Daisy and David are persistent.
“We can’t waste our time at the grocery store. That has trap written all over it,” Tristen said.
“The rewards out way the risk. If we can do this trade you will be kissing my ass,” Daisy said with a devilishly sly smirk.
“And if we don’t? Whose going to sacrifice their life?” David stands behind his sister and crosses his arm. Lauren sitting on a crate holding Ramon waves her bare right hand.
“Guess I have some volunteers.”
“How do you know we can trust this guy? What makes you think he’ll be there and not Outlaws? Or even Spoils, Luke said now concerned that Lauren is involved.
“He’s my guy. I’ve known him before the world went to shit. I can trust him. We can trust him.”
Marks heard enough, “We can send Daisy and David and Lauren, if she really wants to, for the trade. This is your deal and I won’t risk my guys.” Daisy nods and walks off with David. Lauren shrugs to Luke and walks behind the siblings.
Luke’s big blues eyes are full of sadness and concern. Taller than most of the group, stands shoulder to shoulder with Mark. Dirty messy golden hair covered his ears. Wears the clothes from Daisy and David successful raid from the Penny. An unbuttoned dark grey thermal and lose tan cargo pants and black all-stars. His neck was covered by a dark green scarf. Luke’s a young child only fifteen, like Lauren, unfortunate they were born in this era. Poor kid cares about her.
“Did you have to let her go,” Luke said.
“It wasn’t my call. It was hers.” Luke didn’t like the answer and stormed off.
Tristen is older than Luke, yet, not as tall. Just below Mark’s shoulder Tristen’s crew cut started. Short black hair trimmed neat and often. Dark eyes with unforgiving bags. An old grey hoodie covers the beer belly, Tristen, use to feed often wearing black pants and black combat boots. Tristen still seems uneasy about the decision that was made.
“Your sure about this Mark?”
“No. We need to make a move on the Walgreens. We’re out of antibiotics and Lauren said she hasn’t seen any Outlaws or Spoils. Should make a move with Luke and Brittany before they find it.” Tristen nods and walks off dragging his boots. The over head light flickers. Tiny beams of sunlight sneak through the plaster and boards.
Your gonna get them all killed. Your wrong. I can lead them. Sending Lauren is a mistake. Your wrong to trust Daisy and David. Their spies and you know it. Have to trust people. If not we are no better than Spoils or Outlaws. Fucking idiot.
“You okay Marky?” Mark shook his head, didn’t even hear her.
“Yeah Lauren, I’m fine. Do me a favor and brief Brittany on the Walgreens for a raid. Going to send them while the trade goes down.”
“Hey! That’s the job I was scoping out. Ramon and I have dibs.”
“Unless you can be in two places at once.”
“Fine fine. I’ll brief em. Will be back before you know it Marky.” Lauren skipped off with a frozen bag.
You’ll never see them again. Their fighters, of course we will.
Lauren’s hand straight and steady. Daisy has been in there a long time. This rifle, Ramon, over this lengthy twenty-four hour patrol shift has begun to gain weight. Lauren rests on an ice chest waiting to be relieved. Daisy was supposed to be quick. David pacing on the KFC rooftop kicking a rock into the ice chest. Focus unbroken, Lauren’s eyes locked on to the Stater Bros. Nobody has left or entered since Daisy, yet, she’s been in there for an hour. Something’s wrong.
David is beyond restless waiting for his sister. David has been apart of the this pack for only a month and he’s been an excellent ally. He has messy light brown hair and dark brown eyes. His snow coat is torn in several places and the same with his jeans. The black combat boots and his p-shooter were the only appeal he up kept.
“Something’s wrong. I’m going in after her,” David said heading towards the latter.
“She said to let her handle this.”
“Daisy could be in trouble.”
Lauren exhales, “I’ll cover you.” David rushes down the ladder p-shooter strapped to his back. David has never lacked courage, and cliché of course, he’s not the brightest tool in the shed. He would do anything for his sister and that might make him dangerous.
The parking lot was idle. Only a pair of Honda’s unoccupied existed in the waste land. David took to the lot cautiously. He looked like a car in an empty freeway. A horn rang from the east side of the lot followed b a pair of jeeps and shooting. Time to go to work Ramon. Lauren rested Ramon on the ground and opened the ice chest. An icy pack of bears was selected. Loading Ramon with a bear, a green one with an arm missing, rested him on the ice chest. A bear for Ramon and a bear for me. Sight steadying focusing on the jeep.
Five outlaws exited the jeeps and were shouting at David. It’s impossible to make out the words from here but they weren’t shooting and just talking. David did have his p-shooter in hand and the outlaws all carried citrus blasters. I’ve never seen outlaws talk for so long. Through the scope, one of the outlaws was shaved bald and wore a letter man jacket. Two of them wore identical blue stripped shirt and brown combat boots. Another had a mo-hawk and a tattoo of a dragon on his right shoulder. The last and definitely the leader was talking to David and sported a yellow tank and shutter shades. David began shouting at the leader and the leader didn’t seem happy. Make a move Lauren. The cross-hairs rested on the tip of the mo-hawk and fired. The freed gummy floated and sank into the skull of the outlaw dropping him to the ground. Ten points.
David jumped behind the closest Honda and began firing at the outlaw. Feeding hungry, Ramon ate bear, taking aim at one of the stripped twins and fired. The second bear landed in the back of the head. The force knocked him into the ground face first into the asphalt. Twenty points. David tagged the other twin three times with the p-shooter and he fell. The leader charged David discharging oranges into the windshield shattering the glass and another into the door leaving a dent the size of a giants fist. The third orange crushed the barrel of David’s p-shooter and turned it into a forsaken hose. Going for thirds, Lauren takes sight on the leader’s yellow tank and fires. The sprinting leather man intercepted this one rushing to finish David and take the glory. That’s at least five points. David rushes the leader to no effect. Out sized and out gunned the leader pushes David aside. With quickness David reaches for leather man jackets citrus blaster and puts a crater into the breast of the leader.
David sets aside the citrus blaster and rushes into Stater Bros. Slight exhale, Lauren takes her first breath since the disagreement. Ramon you fatty, eating all the bears! Stretching out her legs and the lids of her eyes began to sink. The horn blows from the south. Round two.
Aisle five was under assault. Spuds the size of alarm clocks crashing into cereal boxes, sprinkling Apple Jacks across the beige quartz flooring. Eggo’s are flying overhead the aisles like bullets. The spud firing pauses. David decides this is his time. Clutching the box of Milk Bones heading towards the exit. Aisle six and seven have collapsed towards produce. Aaron and Kristen should still be around aisle nine near produce for waffles and potatoes. They never stray to far from their ammo. David looks towards the checkout aisles. Cashiers have abandoned their post and left the checkout light on. I need to get Daisy. David steps carefully around the cereal to stay silent and sliding into the deli section. Daisy, was out cold next to a bruised spud. Daisy’s breathing is light and nearly absent, her eyes closed and uninviting, and the flash key clutched in her right fist. David takes the flash key and put its in his jean pocket. Tequila and a lighter lay next to her, well she had a last wish.
Kristen tiptoed passed the aisle six, disk shooter in hand and waffles loaded. Kristen’s brown hair rested on her shoulders. Ripped green hoodie across her right shoulder revealing a bare shoulder-blade. Loose jeans tied at the ankle with the laces of her brown boots. Kristen continues making pace towards aisle five. They think I had the key. Sweat spawned on the brow of Kristen, moving ever slowly. No sight of Aaron. The spud barrage has continued to cease. Kristen greets aisle five slowly and cautiously. David waits for her to be out of sight and tip toes to aisle eight.
“Kris! Did we get that fucker,” Aaron shouted from the produce section.
“He’s not here. His girlfriend neither.”
“She’s behind the meat counter. Finish her and ill look for the other bastard. Were dead if we don’t get that key ya hear.”
Kristen dropped the caution and walked boldly towards the counter. David removed a large bone from the box, waiting. Kristen jumped the counter and ate a Milk Bone to her upper lip. Kristen pulls the trigger in shock. The waffle slices through the air and David’s cheek bone. Blood burst from the gash and falling backwards over Daisy’s unconscious body.
The noise alerts Aaron since potato’s started sailing into the deli department. Kristen stretches for the disk shooter desperately. Finger tips away before David recovers and kicks the shooter away. Spuds crash into the glass containers spreading shards across the floor. David crawls on fours to get to Daisy, she is uncovered and unprotected, and get her to safety. Kristen repeat dives to her disk shooter the second she saw David retreat. Spuds continuosly exploding when they make contact with wall. Kristen crouch walks, disk shooter in hand, hunting Daisy and David. David hides Daisy under a table when Daisy presses the disk gun to the back of David’s head.
“The key. Now.”
“Whatever you say,” David says elbowing the disk shooter into the bottom lip of Kristen, standing her up and launching a waffle right into the ceiling. Blood spews from the head of Kristen, but not from her lips. Kristen falls face first into the cold glass filled tiles revealing the crushed vegetable.
“Kristen. Hey Kristen. Are you okay? Kristen,” Aaron says sprinting from the cashier side to the deli side. Aaron has a gash over his nose that muffles his voice. Aaron has a shaved head while wearing black on black and matching boots with Kristen. David wields the foreign weapon, peers over the counter and catches an unsuspecting Aaron with a waffle in between the brow. Aaron joins Kristen and falls face first into the Apple Jacks. David throws Daisy over his shoulder and head towards the exit.