Jarrey & Juliet
We had just moved to this dreadful place, my family, that is. We were an undersized family now that my siblings had all moved out. My dad left when I was a child, and my mom died giving birth to me, making me the hated one in the family. They say I’m the one that broke up my step mom and my dad, the reason they were always fighting. I was left with her, she raised me as her own and I treated her with the same respect. I was still a kid, but I was a smart one and I knew how she felt about me. I called her “mom” at home and around family, but with anyone else she was just Juliet, since she wasn’t my real mother.
The house we moved to was different, dark, and damp. I would expect it though; my step mom wasn’t a chipper person. The walls were painted a deep blue, inside and out, they matched the carpet of course. It was like walking around in emptiness. Juliet loved it though; she said it was a new start. I thought of it more as the end of everything we used to have.
I sat out in our back yard. The whole place was shaded by foliage, making the small box of a house look even more depressing. I sighed, leaning my back against a fence that kept out predators; I would have felt safer on the outside. Branches draped over me like extended arms, the leaves being the fingers. In front of me sat a lonesome stick. I reached out for it but pulled back, it might have been a trap sent by the Dolphin Warriors. My nose twitched as a butterfly made it’s landing on it; maybe thinking I was a flower. A gentle breeze whipped by and the handsome bug took off. The wings of it gleamed and danced as light flickered through the trees and touched it. I watched the creature float away, like a lost soul going where life took it.
As the day grew darker, I moved into the grass, lying while green hands comforted under me. I looked up, using my mind to keep myself busy. I saw spaceships and glowing disks shooting wildly at each other. Bright sparkles hid from the on-going war, leaving the sky in a gloomy gray color.
“Captain, we’ve been hit!” I shouted as a ship fell, crashing down to the earth next to me.
“Man down! Get the medics! Stop the blood!” I sat up, pointing over at my cat. He yawned and gave me a baffled look. His tail tweaked as it always did when I yelled near him.
“Ah well Mister Mittens… seems like the war is over now. We lost four of our best men. What a shame…” I drifted out and slung my head down as the tom walked off into the house.
The air cooled down, the hair on my neck slowly raised. I felt the creeps crawling under me. I jumped up and ran inside next to my cat.
“You fool! Don’t you get it yet? You slimy worms of hatred, a waste of life,” I said, chuckling maniacally.
I peeked out the window, looking around with shifty eyes. Armies of soldiers invaded the back yard. They wore all black, with helmets to match. Wide grins spread across their faces, showing decaying teeth. Stumpy legs carried them across the lawn. I cringed as they shouted unpleasant noises. I brought my hands up over my ears as the breathing wall marched closer. Foam poured from their mouths, reminding me of when I blew bubbles in my milk. Only that made me laugh, and right now I wanted to cry. With immense, meaty fists they pounded the door in front of me. I backed away, hitting the kitchen table with my back. A long, painful shriek escaped me.
“Mommy, I… I swear it wasn’t me this time. They were the bad people, they brought in the mud.” The words stumbled out, like one of my wind-up cars after I used them too much.
The door shattered into pieces as one final hit was made. It was them, the Dolphin Warriors. They had come to get everyone.
“S-stupid, ugly, stubborn trolls,” I said low under my breath. I ran upstairs to my room, opening up my toy chest, tossing the toys out as quickly as I could. They scattered in a mess around my room. I climbed in, closing the top of it as I curled up. I could hear noises, screams, and things breaking over and over. Fear shuddered down my spine. I couldn’t see anything, though I could smell fire and blood. It was like iron being burnt inside my nose. Nothing about it was pleasing.
Warm tears rolled down my cheeks, leaving a briny taste upon my lips. I heard pure terror echo through my head, death was outside my bedroom, I was sure of it. I held my knees close to my chest, comforting myself into a shady sleep.
I awoke from my deep slumber, feeling cold and alone. My eyes were dry, sore, and felt like ice in my skull. I sat up, bumping my head on the top of the toy chest. I jumped with fright, opening it enough to see if it was just a dream. I got out slowly, looking around my room before doing anything that would make a sound. I started for my door, reaching out to my silver doorknob. I stopped and started to cry as I could see a shadow from under the door and a spatter of red crawling out on my floor. Wiping drops of confusion away from my eyes, I ran to the other side of my room and looked out the window.
It was a massacre of thoughts. Our yard was covered in mud with large, deranged footprints spread out and on top of each other. The trees had been set on fire, a few still burning to coal. The streets were filled with broken and crashed cars; I saw my neighbor’s car. It was in the ditch, I could see the windshield cracked, with blood filling the lines like red paint on a spider web. Quickly I looked down and unlocked the window in front of me, opening it for a breath of fresh air. It was cool, relaxing, and a pleasure to get out the taste of smoldering salt.
But soon I realized the air outside was worse – like ash, or rotten eggs. I covered up my nose with my shirt and jumped outside, landing in mud sodden flowers. I bit back my lip and walked away, hurriedly towards the road. I picked up a baseball bat from our yard and held it tightly at my side.
After a few minutes, my fingers started to ache. It was something to think about. I passed my new friend’s house, glancing as a crow landed on his dead sister. She looked young and insipid, like she was asleep. I told myself that’s exactly what she was doing and walked over, being sure not to scare the bird.
The crow’s head spilt in two as I hit it, sending the feathered body away from me. I brought my baseball bat back to my side, blood dripping at the end. I took my shirt off, setting it down. My mom always told me to get my clothes off if I ever got a stain on them. I knew it wouldn’t matter if I took it off or not, I just didn’t want to look like I had gotten ketchup on my shirt. I did that once and everyone laughed at me in my class.
I shrugged the thought off and continued.
That night I stayed in a house that was somewhat undisturbed. If anyone died, they took them along, or no one was home to start with. The couch I found was torn and damp; it reminded me of a basement. I wanted to sleep, but I just couldn’t. It was like when people tell you not to go to bed upset over something. I was scared, too. There were so many shadows and noises; my mind filled up with thoughts to match them all. I didn’t remember much after that.
Once again I woke up, thinking I was in a dream. I took a bottle of water from the kitchen and left the house, it left me ailing.
I came across other kids when I was walking, most of them younger then me though. They were alive and well, so I didn’t go near them. I guessed they’d be as afraid as I was and might try to hurt me. Some of them played on the streets with dead cats and mice. It was an appalling sight, yet it amused me more then I felt disgust.
One day a little boy came running up to me with a gun. He had a broken arm; I could see the bone sticking out. The boy said a snake had bitten him and asked me to kill him because dying from a snake seemed like a terrible story to tell people. It was a lame excuse. He was a wimp, just couldn’t stand the pain I bet. I told him to get lost, but after he walked away I chased him down. I grabbed the gun away from him, saying it was bad to carry one around. His eyes started to water and he turned away from me. I felt bad and told myself if I ever saw him again, "I’d let him kill me instead."
I kept the firearm, using it to shoot away crows. I got three in that week; I had a pretty good aim. It was kind of an ecstasy. Everything seemed to slow down when I took away its life. I felt powerful.
“An army of one,” I said, looking down at a child with a bullet in her face.
I decided to kill only those weaker then me, since they’d die soon anyways. The others I would have on my side, taking over this land of death as our own.
I found two kids together on my second week; they carried knives with them. I told the boy my plan, and he agreed. His little sister just kept behind him, humming a sweet song to herself. I called him Tim and the younger one Rin, ‘cause they told me they didn’t want anyone knowing their real names. It was fair enough, so I told them to call me Bunny. It was my favorite animal after all.
We came across an old abandon warehouse to stay in. We kept other kids we snatched up in the cellar, using our “toys” on them. Kind of like lab rats.
It was joyful to hear them screaming. It made me forget about everything and calm down. Their pain covered my own. I was painting over a cracked wall.
I sent Tim and his sister out to clean up the area, collecting any more kids to join us, or to torture, for that matter. Eventually we had enough of us to fill in one of my old classrooms. I had them all dress in black and the kids in the cellar to be in white. This way it showed how much better we were, and how less it was to stain our pride.
Stores were a good source for anything: food, clothes, and drugs. Pretty much anything we wanted. We had a select amount of teenagers; the oldest was a boy named Drew. He was our main man. He would sit in his room all day, making explosives and gas bombs. He’d modify our weapons, making them ten times better. They helped plenty when the kids from the basement got out of control.
Throw a gas grenade down and smoke them to sleep. If they died, we replaced them with new kids.
After two months we, Drew and myself, decided to start a new game. Like hide and seek. We’d let a captive go, giving them an hour to run as far as they could. Then we would chase them down, cutting off a finger for every mile they ran. As long as they didn’t run more then ten miles, we were good. One kid found a bike and went 7 miles before Tim spotted him. We had a car, Drew being able to drive better then anyone else. We always got them though.
The four of us got along great, making a new family. Drew was the older brother that cared for us when we were sick or hurt. Tim kept us fed. He was a great cook, as long as you didn’t mind canned meat. Most of the food had gone rotten about a month ago. Rin was the quiet sister, keeping in her own business. She would take blank paper and color little comics over it, then give them to me. She cleaned a lot, too. As for myself, I kept us all together.
I went to bed early one night, being able to sleep peacefully for once. My dreams were full of the kiddies and me catching them. I’d drag them off by their hair into my own basement until all the blood rushed to their face. Then I’d take a razor to the throat, making a mighty fountain of red. It was like strawberry soda.
As I was away in my own world, I came out of it to the sound of a crash. It was outside and terribly distracting. I slipped into my boots and went outside. Rin was there. She stared blankly out in the dark.
“Rin, babe, go back inside and get Timmy, okay?” I told her, keeping my eyes on the black in front of me. She nodded and ran off, looking frightened.
It was them. I reached for my knife. I doubted it would help, but it gave me more comfort then nothing. There were thousands, and not just trolls, other beings, too. It was hard to see, being so dark, but you could tell.
Tim came out, creeping leisurely to my side. He had a backpack with him, full of things made by Drew. He came out next. They each had on a gas mask and gave one to me; I put it on over my face. Tim handed me a small bulb. It shined with the moonlight, sending sparks of light out in front of me.
I stood there, and they kept their feet placed down. I guessed they were curious as to what a bunch of kids were going to do. The crowd before us raised weapons towards Drew as he started clapping. It was a distraction. I threw the bulb out into the middle of the sea with a grin upon my face this time. A thick, blue gas filled the air quickly and exploded.
What a sight! There was purple everywhere... I figured so anyways. We stayed back until the gas cleared out. It was still dark, but the sun was trying to come up.
I laughed victoriously, rubbing my hands together. Tim joined me. I looked over at Drew; he had a frown across his lips and disappointment in his eyes.
“Drew, look at it all! Why, we must have gotten all of them, we can use the injured for food and pets. Why so glum?” I asked, kicking away a troll head.
“It was supposed to be a much better explosion. And I used green ink, not blue. I failed didn’t it?” He questioned me… and himself.
“No, you did a glorious job! I love it, I would have been proud to have died by it, even,” I replied, sounding as glad as possible. It wasn’t hard to do. He gave me a small smile and patted me on the back.
I wandered around, looking for any survivors. Mainly it was the smell of this newly burning flesh; it made my head feel dizzy. It was delightful. I came across something familiar, a golden watch. I leaned down and picked it up, wiping away blood with my shirt. I turned it over, trying to read the back. I had no luck.
I walked over to Tim and let him look it over. He stared for a while and then smiled, “To my love, Juliet,” He said, looking down at me.
I sat down quickly before I could fall over. Drew watched over my shoulder with concern. I figured he must have known what I was thinking, because he handed me his gun. I looked up at him with the same tears on my face from a year ago. I thanked him and he left me alone, taking Tim along. I looked at the watch for a long time before I put it in my pocket. I deserved this. For everything I’d done in the past year, this was my pay back.
The barrel was cold to my throat, but the taste blew my mind…