Author: The Fish
Kage and Banditt were side by side in a cart stuffed full of passengers, the police still investigating the other carts. Kage sat with his back straight against the wall and his legs stretched out in front of him, hands limp in his lap. His friend was leaning bonelessly against his right side, resting her head on his shoulder with her legs tucked up close to her body. Other people sat around them; a few people alone, parents trying to quiet screaming children, teenagers texting or talking excitedly on cell phones, people trying to read or listen to music, and the occasional old lady pestering their husbands or other people... All the typical stereotypes sitting in one cart and creating a dull roar. Outside, the rain pelted against the windows as the train streamed through the wide ocean.
“Wish they’d hurry up,” Banditt muttered. It had already been an hour, which meant she had been bored for 59 minutes. Thankfully, for Kage anyway, her fidgeting and twitching had died down withing the first half hour.
He smiled absently, “They won’t find anything, so the investigation should end pretty soon. Just be patient.”
“I hate waiting.”
She sighed dramatically, snuggling up close to his side and pouting. “They all look so stupid prancing around in their silver uniforms too.”
“Yeah, that shit. Honestly, even if they protect them from bullets, they look fucking stupid.”
“I wonder if they actually work.”
“Bet they wouldn’t against my gun,” she boasted.
“Let’s not go shouting that one too loud,” he muttered, chuckling. “Besides, your gun is the most powerful firearm in the East, but not necessarily the West.”
“Can I shoot one so we can see?” Banditt whispered, danger and excitement glinting in her violet eyes.
He shook his head. “Don’t. The last thing we need is for your ‘fancy’ of trouble-making stopping the train in the middle of the ocean.”
She shrugged and let it drop, contending herself with watching other people in the cart. There was a mother across from her, keeping a baby quiet while two other small children lay curled up in her skirts. The men next to them looked to be a strict business-type, complete with a briefcase he was clutching in his lap. He didn’t look connected to the woman with the children at all, making Banditt wonder if she was a widow? a whore? or just very easy, perhaps? She seemed to genuinely care for her children though, so maybe the first one.
On the right wall, there was an elderly lady asleep, then a priest right next to her. At his side sat a blonde boy, who had his hands clasped in front of him and his eyes closed in prayer. Next to him was a worried man with glasses and little hair sitting beside an annoyed-looking woman, who was bouncing a small child in her lap. Then there were two giggly teenage girls that kept glancing at Kage; easily the most attractive male on the cart.
Banditt allowed herself a private smirk at the envious looks she getting from the two girls. Everyone always thought her and Kage were either related or dating because they were so close, but they had just been best friends for years and years. Besides, her heart belonged to another.
“That boy,” her friend suddenly murmured above her.
Violet eyes quickly took in two small toddlers, a baby, the praying boy, one rolling a basketball between his outstretched legs, then a pimply teenage boy playing a game on his calculator fixedly.
“Which one?” she asked. Before he even answered, she found her eyes drawn to the boy with dusky blonde hair.
“The one praying.”
Bingo, she smirked. “Yeah?”
“He’s the one.”
“There’s a rosary in his hands.”
“I won’t do anything.” Yet, she mentally added to herself. “I don’t like the priest.”
Kage shrugged, jostling her a little. “Then kill him if you want; he’s not important to us.” He knew how much she hated men of the bible.
“You know I can’t,” she frowned. “Not unless he does something.”
“If you don’t want me to harm the priest then you could just say so. I hate goddamned subtext.”
A small chuckle escaped him. “I would prefer you leave him alone.”
The door to their cart hissed open, startling a few people as the silver-clad police walked in. “The train is secure,” one announced as silence settled over the cart. “We are led to believe that the attacker and victim both fled through the broken window, as we have been unable to find a gun on the train. Please return to your rooms at this time.” With that, they walked to the other cart to deliver the news again.
Banditt and Kage stood up as well, joining the bustle of people all trying to move at once. Banditt slipped away from her friend and bumped against the boy who had been praying, then quickly apologized as she steadied him with a hand on his back. The blonde glanced over his shoulder at the strange female before turning and catching up with the priest, lest he get left behind.
The two sighed as they entered their own room once again. Kage immediately went over to his black bag, which was sitting on the shelf hanging from the ceiling, and unzipped it. A low cheeping noise edged into the room from his backpack, a small lizard-like head poking out of it.
Kage smiled apologetically to his pet. “Sorry to leave you alone like that for so long, Fite. We’ll be in Kikimaru soon and I’ll let you fly around as much as you like, okay?”
The strange animal cheeped in response before withdrawing again.
Banditt slid two new rounds of bullets into the special holster around her thigh, the rectangular boxes clicking into place. “It sucks poor Fite can’t be free around here.”
“I know, but the trains specifically forbid pets,” he sighed, zipping the bag mostly shut again. “At least he gets to take long naps.”
“Yeah,” she muttered absently, snapping a new round into her gun as well. Her weapon was one-of-a-kind, manufactured by a close friend in the depths of the Underground back East. It was barely twice the length of a regular gun, but half the size around. It held a ten-round of tiny bullets that lay in a rectangular holder, and loaded like a shotgun. Despite the length, she wielded it with expert grace and could conceal it easily.
“How many bullets are you taking?” Kage asked, raising a silver eyebrow.
She shrugged. “Can’t be too careful.”
He eyed her smirk. “We already had one incident with your gun. Let’s not have another.”
“Yes ma’am,” Banditt muttered snidely, sliding the black gun back into the holster. The door opened as she stepped up to it. “Be back before you know it. Cheerio!” she winked, then was gone.
Kage sighed and shook his head, sitting down on the plush bench and taking out his headphones again.
He lowered his head in defeat, but thanked her anyway. The lady smiled apologetically before the door hissed shut. Flicking dusky blonde hair out of his odd sea-green eyes, the boy pressed on.
Deas couldn’t believe he’d lost his rosary. It was the only thing his mother had given to him before she left him on the steps of St.Michael’s Church when he was barely a year old; he had to find it!
I must’ve lost it when the passengers were all going back to their rooms, he thought to himself. Surely somebody picked it up. He had to get back to his own room before too long, since Priest Joseph was waiting for him. He didn’t want to make his foster father angry.
Sea-green eyes roamed the doors. When a room on the train was occupied, the letters on the doors showed up white; a symbol that a key card had been used recently. After passing by two rooms whose numbers were a dull grey, he came up the door at the end of the cart that opened to reveal a rather large dining room. The floors were swathed in a deep red while the large windows on both sides allowed Deas to see the rainy world outside. Lining the walls under the windows were booths that four to six people could comfortably sit in. Along the middle of the cart ran a buffet of a long line of delicious food, cooked up in the coaches. Scattered along the rest of the floor were round tables that could sit two or three. Each chair was dark wood with a red seat, and every table was covered in a clean white tablecloth.
Since it was getting late, the variety of foods waiting in the buffet line was minimal; about enough for a midnight snack. The cart itself was also almost empty. Just one woman sat at a round table by herself, smoking a black cigarette.
Deas was naturally wary of strangers, but for some reason he wasn’t afraid of the one in front of him. Maybe his desperation to find his rosary was overriding his fear? He didn’t know.
While he was nicely-dressed in a pristine white button-up and black slacks, the lady was a paradox to his style with her enormous black boots, striped leggings, and short skirt. It wasn’t a style or look he saw very often, if at all. Her hair was dyed a strange color too, and was styled in a way Deas had never seen before. It was so white it almost hurt to look at, but her black shirt helped to balance the colors. The locks were all one length, down to the small of her back, except for a layer of hair that reached her chin, but was delicately flipped out to the sides of her head.
As he stepped forward, the lady turned and smiled at him, smoke pouring from her slightly-parted lips. “Hello there,” she greeted pleasantly in an accent he couldn’t place. Deas was immediately confused. Despite her odd manner of dress, she seemed nice enough. But her eyes, which were violet surrounded by thick white lashes, held something inexplicably dangerous to them. This feeling was only furthered by the odd tattoo she wore on her face, which looked like the solid black shadow of a butterfly.
“Hi,” he managed after a moment. He could feel his cheeks heating under her stare. “Um, I’m looking for my rosary... Have you seen it?”
After taking another drag, she casually turned and extinguished the cigarette in the glass ashtray that say on the table. She turned back to him and smiled. When she spoke, grey smoke poured from her lips. “You have very interesting eyes,” she murmured.
Deas quickly cast his gaze down and fingered a few dusky blonde strands over his eyes, which weren’t normal. The priest had given him a pair of slightly-tinted glasses to hide them. But he didn’t need glasses, so often forgot to wear them.
“What’s your natural color?” she asked, not seeming to notice his discomfort.
He was confused. “For my eyes?” Did she think he was wearing contacts?
Deas stared at her openly. He had just re-dyed it; nobody should be able to tell what his true hair color was.
“Tell you what,” the lady started, shifting and moving to cross her legs the other way. “My hair isn’t dyed, nor am I wearing contacts.”
He furrowed his brow. “How...?”
Instead of replying, she suddenly opened her fist and let a rosary with deep blue beads tumble out of her hand, stopped only because it was looped around her first finger.
“My rosary!” Deas exclaimed in disbelief.
She twirled it idly around her finger. “Is this blue your natural color? It’s a bit odd.”
“Please give it back to me,” he asked, cheeks heating further. He didn’t like the discomfort growing in the pit of his stomach.
“I... I don’t know.”
“I’ll bet you don’t,” she chuckled. Abruptly, she snatched it out of the air, leaving Deas to stare at the loop of beads hanging from her fist. “My name is Banditt, with two t’s. And yours,” she leveled intense violet eyes with sea-green ones, “is Deapths.”
He was so surprised he jumped backwards, goosebumps rolling over his limbs in waves. “What? How did you know that? Who are you?” he demanded shakily.
“I told you, boy. My name is Banditt.”
He flushed darker. “I’m not a boy! I’m seventeen already!”
She laughed throatily. “You’re right! You’re not a boy; you’re a wee baby,” she smirked.
Deas felt like his face was so hot it was making the rest of his body tremble. Who was this strange woman? She barely looked older than twenty herself! And how did she know so much about him? He glanced at the loop of beads dangling from her fist, suddenly remembering his original purpose. “May I please have my rosary back?” he asked slowly, steadying his voice.
She looked frigidly contemplative a moment before she finally shook her head and dropped her fist into her lap, it and the rosary hiding behind the gentle folds of her skirt. “Nope.”
“Why not?” he demanded, frowning. “It’s not yours; you took it from me!”
“Finders keepers,” she taunted.
“But you didn’t find it; you took it from me when you bumped into me earlier,” Deas accused, remembering suddenly that he’d seen her before. “When we were all stuck together in the third cart after they heard the gunshots. You bumped into me when we were allowed to leave.”
Her smile widened even though she shrugged. “Doesn’t mean I took it.”
He spoke slowly, mind sliding the pieces of the puzzle together. “No- you took it when you bumped into me and put your hand on my shoulder. I keep my rosary in my breast pocket; it’d have been easy enough for you to grab it at the time.”
“Clever lad,” Banditt smirked. He couldn’t tell if she was mocking him or not. “But really, what will the truth serve you?”
“I’ll report you.”
“I’d hide your precious necklace. Tell me something,” she said suddenly, expression going from teasing to serious in an instant. “What is that priest to you?”
“Huh?” he responded intelligently, taken aback by the sudden change of topic. “The priest? He took me in when I was abandoned. Why?”
“Has he ever done anything weird to you?”
Banditt shifted then. It was very subtle; little more than adjusting her legs and moving back a little, but he got the distinct impression that she was uncomfortable and was trying to put space between herself and him. “I don’t like or trust priests,” she muttered. “Does this one treat you right?”
Sea-green eyes stared at the strange woman. Why did she sound like she cared all of the sudden? “Yeah, he’s good to me. Strict and cold, but at least I know he cares at least a little about my well-being.” Something suddenly flickered through his mind then, accompanied by the memory of a strange sound. Deas blink, but as he tried to recall it the though only slipped further away.
“That’s good,” she sighed, sounding more assured and relaxed. Deas was utterly confused by the sudden urge to step up and hug the woman, as if she were a lost child. She cleared her throat, cool suddenly retained again. “My full name is Banditt Mulin. Yours is Deapths Aderkane.”
“How do you know all that?” he interrupted, rapidly feeling uncomfortable again. “And my name is Deas Michaels, after the church.”
“It’s my business to know,” she answered smoothly, pushing it aside. “Do you know what you are?”
Something inside of him froze over, memories of a lonely childhood surging forward. How the kids wouldn’t play with him because of his strange hair and eyes, how the other priests in the church whispered that evil haunted his steps, how he’d sit for hours on his bed and wonder what he was- if he was even human.
“I’m... I’m human,” he managed. He had to be. What else was he if not a human being? Darkness edged around his vision and he felt slightly ill.
“What do you think you are?” Banditt asked in a hushed voice, the faint words screaming in his ears.
“I’m human; I am! I have to be!” He hated the way his voice cracked under stress. His eyes felt like they were burning.
“Are you so sure?”
“Yes!” he screamed, backing away and bringing his hands up to cover his ears, as if it could stave off the ringing there. There was a pressure, a darkness. It was slithering through his mind to delve into his most private thoughts and hidden fears, bringing them all to the surface with a noise that rivaled the laughter of the devil himself. It felt like his brain was simply going to collapse under the pain. There was a roaring sound that felt familiar, but with the black surrounding and choking him he was afraid to reach for it, much less move.
There were heavy footsteps on the ground. They sounded like boots on glass, even though the red beneath him was soft carpet. “What are you?” Even though the words were whispered, Deas felt like they had been scorched right through his ears and into his mind. He was human, he was human, he was human!
A rough hand fisted dusky blonde hair at his scalp, yanking his face upward. When had he fallen to the floor on his hands and knees? The pressure increased, and with a splash he felt water stir the sea in his eyes to life, vivid with tears as his eyelids were somehow forced open. He found himself staring at the end of a thin, long black gun and violet eyes that screamed of something he couldn’t begin to understand. The barrel of the gun tapped against his forehead, its cold, biting touch searing through his flesh and making his mouth hand open in a silent scream. He felt blood trickle from the agonizing wound to dance with the tears coursing down his cheeks. His voice wouldn’t work, why wouldn’t it work?
The roar was back again; loud but not painful. It wrapped itself around his shaking body and gently squeezed, giving him a ray of hope that not all was pain. What was this noise though?
“Deapths.” The voice was back. Blood and smoke flickered inside the deep violet of a pair of eyes he didn’t recognize. Oh, but the voice hurt him so much. “You know what you are.”
It was water.
With a force that required more strength than he thought he possessed, Deapths leapt forward and plunged into the roaring that was his only comfort. It was cold, but warm. Soft, yet hard. Painful, but beautiful, and so achingly lonely he felt like he could die. It engulfed his soul completely, freeing him from the shackles of his pain-filled world.
When he opened his eyes, he was laying face-down on the red carpet of the dining cart on the Riyuvi Express; the train he’d been on for hours. As he tried to regain his senses, one thing became very clear to him.
It was raining.
A small noise escaped his throat as Deas pushed himself up to his hands and knees. His mind felt so clear is was disturbing. The air felt better, the carpet beneath him softer. Everything was so vivid; he felt like he was looking through someone else’s eyes.
Sea-green glanced up to see Banditt laying on the floor a few feet away from him on her back. Wondering what on earth had happened, Deas staggered to his feet and over to the girl, surprised to see her completely drenched. Her legs were bent at the knees while her arms were angled so her hands were by her head, as if she’d been blocking something before she had fallen. Her long hair was splayed around her in sodden tendrils, a few locks curled on her grey shirt. The mask on her face that looked like a black butterfly seemed to glow through the sheen of water, actually making her look rather... beautiful.
Deas kneeled beside and shook her shoulder. “Banditt? Hey! What happened?”
“She won’t wake up.”
He almost jumped out of his skin at the new voice, turning quickly to find a tall guy with spiky silver hair leaning against the wall a few feet away. He was wearing black and had a lot of piercing, making Deas instantly wonder if the other was a bad person or not based on his appearance. But as the guy stepped closer, he saw a deep sadness in his azure eyes that took his breath away.
“My name is Kage,” he introduced, holding out his hand.
Cage? What was with all these weird names? “Deas,” he muttered numbly, entranced by the blue of the other’s eyes. His own sea-green ones dropped down to Kage’s hand as he reached out to shake it, only to stop halfway.
His hand was laced with a maze of black designs that started at his wrist and swirled up around his hand and fingers. They looked like spiked ripples that tipped off at his fingernails, and upon further inspection, Deas discovered his other hand was exactly the same. He looked up at Kage in confusion and disbelief, only to find himself staring into a mirror.
“Dear God,” he whispered, brining his fingertips up to brush at the thin black ripple that trailed across his face, over the bridge of his nose and under his eyes to curl around behind his ears, then trail off down the sides of his neck and disappeared under the collar of his shirt. Not only that, but his hair was blue. As blue as a deep lake, the shaggy locks hanging around his shoulders and in his face. He also noticed that the wound Banditt had inflicted on him earlier was no longer there; there wasn’t even a mark on his forehead. Had he just imagined it all?
Deas abruptly realized he was shaking and felt cold all over. His heart felt like it was beating too fast, too slow. His throat was constricting and his ears were ringing dully. Kage dropped the small mirror and put it on the table, looking at him carefully.
Sea-green eyes stared back at him, one thought running through his numbed mind. “What did you do to me?” His voice came out as an unfamiliar, high-pitched whine. Black was edging around his eyes and his stomach was rising up to this throat. “He’s going to hurt me.”
Then he was falling.
“It is not.”
“It so is!”
“You’re such a liar.”
“Oh bite me. I know I’m right.”
“We’ve never been to Kikimaru before; how would you know?”
“You’re hardly female, ‘Butterfly’.”
“Whatever! What do you call these?!”
“Breasts. Fat men have them too; it doesn’t make you female.”
“You want me to show you what makes me a woman?”
“I know your desire to flash me is strong, but try to resist so you don’t embarrass yourself.”
Deas came fully awake at the almost-inhuman snarl Banditt let out and a chuckle the escaped Kage as he hit the ground. The boy sat up quickly and found himself on one of the train benches in a room he didn’t recognize. Confused, he glanced down to see Kage and Banditt fighting, the latter who was trying to strangle her friend.
“He’s awake,” Kage smiled from his place on the ground.
Banditt turned her head in surprise, pure white hair pulled back into a low ponytail. Even though her eyes looked relieved, she scowled. “You wuss; why’d you faint like that?”
Deas blinked, starting at her as his brain tried to catch up. “I didn’t faint.”
She frowned and stood, now clad in a black beater and a pair of baggy jeans. “Kage said you did. He said you saw your new look in a mirror, lost all your color, and passed the hell out.”
Deas squinted. He didn’t remember the passing-out part. “I guess it’s possible,” he conceded. “I faint pretty easily.”
Kage was standing now and looking at him oddly. Suddenly, he said, “‘He’s going to hurt me.’”
Sea-green eyes blinked. He was only getting more confused by the second. “Who is?”
Banditt glanced at her friend, but it went ignored. “You tell me,” he said.
Deas frowned. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
This time the two friends met eye contact and held it. Deas could tell that within the brief moment they stared into each other’s eyes they had an entire conversation; complete with grief, comfort, then laughter.
Banditt was the one to break the gaze, and after that Kage shook his head and muttered, “Never mind.”
Baffled, Deas let it drop without a fuss. He glanced down and saw his hands, interlaced with solid shadows, and his confusion only grew. He looked back up at Banditt, frowning. “What did you do to me?” Inwardly, he wondered why he felt so calm. He didn’t feel panicked or anything; just lost.
She smiled with a hint of smugness and put her hands on her hips. “I released you.”
“Your human shackles.”
He suddenly remembered talking to her earlier, arguing that he was human, then... what? He couldn’t recall. He found himself staring at his hands.
“You seem much calmer than earlier,” Kage commented quietly.
A bitter smile made its way up to his lips. “Some part of me always knew I wasn’t human.” He drew his knees up and loosely hugged them to his chest. “I just never wanted to admit it.”
“You were freaking out earlier,” Banditt remarked, raising her eyebrow.
He flushed faintly. “Sorry. I don’t handle surprises very well; I never have.”
“We’ll make sure never to throw you a surprise party then,” she smirked.
“I’m so confused,” Deas sighed, frowning. “Who are you? What are you? And what do you want with me?”
“We’re vampires and we want your inhuman blood!” Banditt growled, baring her teeth.
The silver-haired man cuffed her upside the head. “Don’t confuse him even more,” he chided before turning to Deas and telling him seriously, “We’re dragons.”
His mouth hung open. “Dr-”
“Dragons,” Kage repeated. “You’re one too.”
“Every dragon is born with a distinctive mark, usually about their powers or something significant,” Banditt told him. “The mask on my face isn’t a tattoo; I was born with it.”
When Deas looked at Kage, the other male pulled up his right sleeve to show a three inch-wide section of a cage that wrapped around his wrist. Upon closer inspection, he saw that there were sharp icicles hanging from most of the dark links.
“Yours is on your face too,” the other went on, her violet eyes seeming ageless.
“But... what about my hands?” he asked, glancing down at them again.
Banditt frowned a little before stepping closer. She grabbed his chin lightly and turned his face to either side, as if she was just noticing that the black on his face trailed down the sides of his neck. She finally shrugged and let him go. “It must be a larger one that covers a lot of your body. It’s rare, but not unheard of.”
Kage glanced at her.
“So...” Deas said slowly, trying to wrap his mind around the enormity of it all. “Are other things real too? Like demons and griffins and phoenixes and all that?”
She nodded, crossing her arms. “If you’ve ever been told before that something didn’t exist, they were lying.”
“Faeries?” He received a nod. “Elves? Dwarves? Gnomes? Witches and wizards?”
“But... Where do you all hide?”
“Right where you’d least expect us to; on your own turf.”
“What?” Deas frowned in confusion.
This time Kage spoke up. “Most creatures have the ability to look more or less human; it’s something most of us were born with. Some have an easier time than others, and some aren’t allowed in the human world, but all have the ability.”
The boy reached up and rubbed his temples, his head pounding with the magnitude of information he was learning. He tried to remember how to breathe through all the questions tumbling around in his head. “Wait, then one of my parents was a dragon? Is that why I looked mostly human for... well, ever?”
“Both of your parents were,” Banditt corrected. “It’s all or nothing as far as dragons go; you either are or you’re not.”
“No hybrids in the dragon race,” the other added.
“Then how...?” Deas gestured to himself in hopeless confusion.
“My guess it that your mum or dad put a spell on you so you’d subconsciously stay human as you grew up,” Banditt told him. “Because you never tapped into, or were barely even aware, of your dragon powers, they lay dormant inside of you all this time. Now that I’ve Awakened them, you look more like one of us.”
“Then you... ‘Awakened’ them?”
She nodded. “I’m the only dragon that has my Power of Awakening completely developed.”
Deas couldn’t remember being Awakened. He just remembered talking to her, then finding her soaked on the ground. “What happened when you Awoke me?” he asked, frowning up at her.
Banditt stared at him, looking a little confused. “You don’t remember?”
He slowly shook his head. “No... I just remember talking to you, then finding you on the ground, completely saturated. Oh,” he said, suddenly remembering something else, “then Kage came in and I fainted.”
“Do you remember why you fainted?” Kage asked, brow furrowed slightly.
Deas looked away and bit his lower lip, willing himself to remember. “I saw the marks on my face...” he shrugged. “I don’t know. I don’t remember.”
The other two exchanged a glance again, but Banditt shrugged it off. “Alright. Never mind, then.”
Kage looked like he wanted to say something, but didn’t.
The boy ran his fingers through his deep blue hair, trying to collect his thought. The last thing on his mind now was a few missing pieces of memory. “So... what now?” They looked at him. “I mean, I can’t exactly go back home like...” he gestured vaguely to his face, “this.”
“We want you to come with us,” Banditt announced.
“Go with you? Where?”
“Home is complicated,” Kage spoke up. “It’s better if we don’t tell you about it, but rather let you see if for yourself.”
“Where is it? What is it?” Deas asked.
“It’s a place for immortals; people like us,” Banditt said, her smile growing.
“Then there are other dragons there?”
“Dragons, devils, fauns, witches, wizards, elves, creatures, hybrids, faeries and fairies...” Banditt ticked them off on her fingers. “You name any kind of freak out there people told you don’t exist, and we have them.”
“But where are you all hiding?” Deas gaped.
Her smile hinted a darkness that reeked of danger. “In the Underground.”
“That exists too?” he asked in astonishment.
“Sure does,” she smiled proudly. The look on her face and her strange accent reminded Deas strongly of a child, for some reason.
“But why me?” he asked.
She blinked. “Why you what?”
“Why did you pick me?”
“It’s not like you’re special or anything,” Kage answered. “You just don’t belong here in the human world.”
“We’re up here to fetch the immortals that are here by accident,” Banditt added. “We travel around trying to find you guys, then take you home.”
“Are you alright with that? Leaving your foster father?” the other asked.
Deas blinked, then looked down, his gaze finding his hands again. It was true that the priest was like a father to him, but only legally. He had never particularly been caring or warm towards the boy, and was very strict. Deas was constantly stressed that he wasn’t doing the right things and would be locked in the dark confessional as punishment. He often wondered what it would be like outside the church, away from the priests that whispered about him and the judgmental children. He was grateful that Father Joseph took him in after he’d been abandoned, but the prospect of going to the Underground and meeting more people like him was terribly exciting. He had never fit in here; maybe their world would be a better place. He didn’t really know why, but he trusted Kage and Banditt.
“Yeah,” he finally replied, a thrilling smile tugging on his lips. “I want to go with you guys.” A sudden thought struck him.
His parents. Were they alive? Would he be able to see them?
“Good,” Banditt grinned. “Since you’ve agreed so nicely, I think I’ll skip off and drug dear priesty.” She turned and walked to her shelf.
“Drug?” Deas frowned.
“It’ll just knock him out for half a day,” she reassured him. “That way we can escape without a problem.” She reached up and took down a thin black case, setting it on the bench across from Deas and opening it. His sea-green eyes widened as they fell on the variety of guns in the case, most very small or in pieces.
“You have guns?”
She stopped and turned, staring at him in disbelief. Kage was looking at him oddly too, making the boy’s face heat up. “Are you joking?” she asked.
“No...” he replied slowly, confused.
“You’ve seen my gun!”
“I have? When?”
She reached behind her as she stepped toward him before suddenly pulling a black gun out of nowhere and resting its long barrel against his forehead.
Deas felt like a dark curtain was drawn around his eyes, his mind blanking out as terror and pain washed over his entire body. With a cry he drew back, trying to escape the gun, and banged his head on the wall behind him.
“Ow!” he yelped, bringing both hands back to clutch at his throbbing head. When he opened his eyes Banditt was supporting herself on a knee as laughter overcame her. Kage wasn’t looking too amused though. “That really hurt!” he scowled.
“S-sorry,” she tried to manage through her laughter. “You just reeled back so suddenly...” she started before dissolving into helpless giggling again.
“Banditt...” her friend drawled as Deas continued to rub his head and sulk.
“Why’d you draw your gun on my anyway?” Great, he had a headache too.
“To show you that you have seen it before!” she replied as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
“I told you I haven’t!”
She blinked, then held her gun out towards him so he could see it better. It was weird; Deas hadn’t seen many guns in his life, but he knew this one was too long and thin.
He shrugged. “I don’t remember ever seeing that.”
“Is your memory bad?” Kage asked suddenly.
Deas frowned, but shrugged again. “I don’t know. A little, I guess.” A sudden memory struck him. “There was this time when a kid would pick on me a lot... or so everyone says. I don’t ever remember it happening though. So I guess I do.” He didn’t think it was a big deal though.
“I see,” he nodded, then fell quiet.
Banditt glanced at her friend in confusion before shrugging it off and returning her unusual gun to her back pocket. Deas wondered if it had been there before. She grabbed a smaller gun from the case, checked the bullets- which were filled with a strange blue fluid, then shut it and stuck it in her front pocket.
“Won’t people hear the gunshot?” Deas asked curiously.
She shook her head. “It might look like a mini-version of a regular gun, but it’s as quiet as a sigh.” She grinned evilly, “Had a friend in the Underground create it ‘specially for me.”
“Good for you,” he chuckled nervously.
“Now,” Banditt started, turning to take a step just as the train screeched to a halt so suddenly the three in the cart were thrown into the wall she was near with several loud crashes.
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