"Where the fuck is it?" The heavy shelf crashed to the ground as she shoved it with just one push, just to get behind it. Its contents spilt all over the floor, some things even being smashed beyond repair but it seemed to be the least of her concerns. Getting down on her hands and knees she ran her fingers through the dust and dirt that had been revealed, searching for something. She smashed her fist into the steel wall, the sound echoing all around her but she ignored it despite that the punch had made her wrist practically crumble from the blow. She was covered in dirt and grime from head to toe and the room behind her looked like the scene of a crime with how she'd destroyed it. She'd been searching all night long and didn't plan on giving it up at this point even though it was well into the morning. She pulled off her jacket and dug through her pockets again just to double check that the missing item wasn't in there. When had she last had it? She couldn't quite remember.
"Think, think Frenzy
Where is it? Where's the fucking lighter? What did you do with it?" It, once again, wasn't in her pockets which she had checked at least fourteen times in the last two hours alone. She'd had it in the bar, she had remembered that. If she hadn't had it when she had talked to those guys who were talking a big game she would've likely killed them with her bare hands then maimed herself. The lighter kept her calm. It was like a security blanket in a way. It kept her together and somehow she'd misplaced it. The most important thing she ever received in her life and now she'd lost it somewhere. She'd go crazy without it. She sat down on dirty floor and cursed under her breath, almost positive it couldn't be in this bunker.
"Where the fuck is it?" She furrowed her brow with worry and got up again after a moment, digging once again through the drawers and drawers of scrap metal and supplies. "Mother fucker!" She pulled her arm closed to her chest instinctively as she sliced her hand against something. It stung uncontrollably and she took a deep breath to keep from cursing again. She peered into the drawer more closely and saw the loose rusted scrap metal she'd sliced her hand on, now stained with her blood. It was bewitching for a moment, the way that the blood and the rust looked so similar in color. How much time would pass before it'd dry and change colors? She watched it drip down the side of it for a moment. It'd gotten her pretty good judging by the amount of blood. There was something about it that calmed her. She'd heard once that people cut themselves on purpose to release endorphins that would help deal with the stress of life. She much preferred flicking her lighter but this worked for the moment.
"Shit." She looked down at her bloody hand after a moment. She pulled away the fish net gloves on her palm and peered at the nasty wound. It stung as she touched it but that didn't matter much to her. Pain was just signals sent by nerve endings to her brain and as long as she thought about it like that, it wouldn't hurt nearly as badly. She pulled at the edges of the wound so she could see how deep the cut was better, ignoring the pain that came with it. The wound wasn't deep enough to need stitches, but it sure hurt like a bitch. She let it go and leaned her head back, trying to think still about her lighter and where it could be. "I need it back."
"Why can't I just let it go?" She was alone so often that she found it a comfort to talk to herself to keep from completely losing her mind. She had gotten so used to talking like this that she often did it in public, which frightened off the people around her, who were not used to such things. Of course she didn't mind that much since she had come to realize that most of the people who backed away from her weren't worth getting to know in the first place.
"Because I can't let it go." She closed her eyes, making a fist and feeling the way the wound stung from the dirt and sweat on her palms. "Let it go Frenzy
That night was especially cold in Battery City despite being surrounded by the desert. Her hands were covered in blood and her clothing was torn. She stared up at the man who dwarfed her at the time. He'd saved her life. He knelt down and held out a lighter to her. She didn't know what to say, it was all still frightening to her. He urged her hands around the lighter.
"Keep warm." It had taken her more than a few times to get the lighter to actually work since she'd only ever seen it in practice. Once it was lit though it was like a beacon in the night calling to her, to keep her safe and warm.
"Wake up Frenzy. Spend too long with your eyes closed and you'll be locked inside." She opened her eyes and looked around. She wouldn't let it go. She couldn't let it go. She pulled off the destroyed fishnet glove and discarded it. "If I'm going to find it, I need to calm down." She got up and started to clean things up. She couldn't live like this, in a mess even if it was created by her own chaos. In all of her panic she hadn't even noticed how bad the mess was in the room now. She spent a good few hours putting it all back together.
As she flipped the last shelf back into its place she slammed her fist against the steel wall of the bunker. "Son of a bitch, he took it." She whispered in realization. The man in the bar that she'd stolen the pills from had to have taken it. She thought he was just groping her on the dance floor but instead he had been digging into her pockets while she had been digging into his. "I'll fucking kill him. I will burn him alive." She snarled under her breath, her lips quivering with rage. She grabbed the open pill bottle on her design desk and dumped a handful out. She threw the bottles into the open file cabinet next to her and shoved the pills in her pocket. She swallowed two tablets dry and cracked her neck. She didn't know this fucker's name she only knew that he was a dealer, maybe once an addict. She had to find him and when she did, he'd regret ever touching her. Once she had her lighter back, revenge would be easy.
"Where to start
" She paced and then decided that staying in her bunker wouldn't do any good. It certainly wouldn't help her find this guy. She needed to go back to the party, or ask about him around the zones. If he were an addict he'd be easy to find but dealers were harder to locate since they actually had their wits about them. She felt a chilling sensation down her back from the medicine she'd taken. Closing her eyes she adjusted to the numbness it brought her and after a few moments she was able to regain her senses.
"Harvey will know. I'll ask him." She left the bunker and got on her motorcycle then headed back to the bar she'd caused a scene at before the party. It was called Turn Back, an appropriate name for the last bar in the zones before things got really dangerous. Most establishments would frown upon the fact that she had blown up two cars in the parking lot but Harvey didn't seem to mind so much. As long as she didn't burn down his bar or kill anyone inside the main room he didn't kick her out. He said it was okay if she killed them in the back room as long as they deserved it and she cleaned up after herself. It didn't take long to get there since she'd been there thousands of times and she focused on getting her lighter back the whole time so it'd been a good distraction. Without it in her pocket her hands shook. She imagined it was worse losing this than it would be to break the habit of the pills she'd been hooked on for the last four years but she didn't want to have to experience either.
She didn't bother parking off to the side and left the motorcycle in front of the door. She headed into the old bar and saw Harvey restocking the shelves. He didn't have many customers during the morning hours so the place was empty and would be likely until sunset.
"Frenzy, everything okay?" He stopped stocking the shelves and looked up at her. He could instantly see she was in some sort of distress.
"I can't find it, Harvey."
"What can't you find?" He got up from where he was kneeling behind the bar. He stepped around the boxes next to her and approached her cautiously. She looked pale and sick, well paler and sicker than she usually did. She was always sort of off color. He saw the blood crusted and dried on her hand and widened his eyes. "Frenzy what the hell did you do now?"
"He took it, the bastard took my lighter!" She pulled her hand back defensively as he tried to grab it to take a look at it.
"What? Who did? What bastard? What happened to your hand?"
"The drug dealer at the party! I stole his drugs, he stole my lighter. Will you fucking stop it?" She pulled her hand back again and then relented as he gave her a look that was insistent upon checking at the wound on her hand. She knew she had to give in or he wouldn't talk to her anymore.
"You stole drugs from a dealer? That's stupid, even for you."
"Where else am I supposed to steal them from? Addicts need them more than I do so dealers always have them."
"You are an addict, you realize that right?"
"And you're an enabler so will you help me or should I go just start killing every dealer I find until I get my goddamn lighter back?" She snarled in frustration. Her heart was racing and her head was pounding. Nothing made sense to her anymore. She felt lost without the lighter, she kept flicking the fingers of her left hand to try and start the fire she was so used to having with her all the time.
"Calm down Frenzy, I'll help you. Don't I always help you?"
"I need my lighter Harvey, you don't understand." She let him pour the alcohol on her hand and for a few seconds was able to keep a straight face before curling her lips in discomfort. Harvey couldn't help but smile just a little bit.
"See, you are human." He smiled a little bit at her. "What you need is a tetanus shot. There's rust all over your hand, you could die from this."
"I'll worry about that when I have my lighter. Now will you help me?" He could tell she wasn't going to budge from her viewpoint so he cleaned up her hand and started to wrap it with some gauze. He'd become almost like a parent to her in the past couple of years. He'd take care of her when she got into a scrape and give her advice even if she didn't want it, which she usually didn't. "He had green eyes at the time, but they looked brown by the end of it. Hazel I suppose
Is that the word for it?"
"You expect me to know him by
his eye color?"
"Shut up and let me finish describing him." She tugged her hand back but Harvey didn't let go. He finished wrapping up her hand and then let go of it finally. "He had red hair
looks like he never bathed. Flirting mercilessly and thought he was good at it too. You could tell it was all a front though
patch on it
a horse maybe? Khaki colored jeans
" Frenzy scrunched up her face as she tried to remember the man who had come onto her the night before.
"Oh, that's Party Poison." Harvey snapped his fingers in realization, cleaning up the mess he'd made cleaning up her hand. "He comes in here sometimes with Kobra Kid. They're usually trouble so I kick them out when I see them."
"Kobra Kid?" Fire Frenzy smirked, knowing exactly who that was. She knew exactly how to find this man now. "Thanks Harvey." She didn't wave or say another word even though Harvey looked like he wanted to say more. She'd done work for Kobra Kid before. She was going to hit Party Poison hard, he'd never see her coming.
He flicked the lighter in his hand, watching the flame glow, lighting up his dark room. He had been just staring at it for hours since Disco left. He knew eventually it would run out of the fuel inside of it but he was fascinated with it and couldn't stop flicking. Clearly the woman had been in love with this lighter. It was covered in etchings, initials, drawings. It had been painted and repainted and had been opened and refilled many times, he could tell by the scratches from her nails on the end of it. He wondered what kind of a woman she was as he hummed to himself. He picked up the yellowed notebook he had lying next to him and scribbled down a few words, muttering them as he did.
"Everybody hit the pyro cue
" He muttered it over and over until it had a flow to it and smiled to himself. He flicked the lighter again and burnt the edge of the paper before blowing it out, the ashes scattering onto his pants.
"Writing again?" Kobra Kid said as he opened the door to his brother's home and closed the door behind him so that the bright sun wouldn't blind his brother who had likely been up all night. His home wasn't much, just a one room building with all the amenities in it plus a shower in the back behind a private curtain. Party Poison didn't spend much time here other than to sleep unless he didn't want to be found in that case he hid here since it was the last place anyone would look for him. This was definitely one of those times. He fumbled with the lighter and shoved it in his pocket even though it'd become obvious he was trying to hide it. Kobra just stared at him for a moment in confusion. It had been obvious what he was hiding from him but he chose not to bring it up immediately and to just wait for a response to his question.
what?" Party Poison cleared his throat, and desperately tried to wipe the ash off of his legs and the paper. He didn't know why he was so obsessed with this girl, perhaps because she'd gotten the best of him. That had to be it, if nothing else he had to find her to get revenge. He didn't like when people got the best of him and those who did had a short lifespan.
"I asked if you were writing again." Kobra pulled a chair from the table and sat down next to his brother, propping his black boots up on the table. Party Poison still stared at him like he were some kind of alien, obviously having no idea what he was talking about. "Music, you were writing a song right? In your notebook? The one your lap
" Kobra's voice took on a more condescending tone.
"Oh! Oh yeah
Yeah I was writing
" He reached into his pocket and fumbled with the top of the lighter. He could feel the small fire symbols engraved into the top. He'd memorized the entire thing ever since he'd gotten back to his home. "Got some new inspiration and figured while we wait for Disco to get back with news of what happened
Hey why not do some writing for a new song for the band?"
"Yeah, makes sense." The two sat in silence for a few moments. Party Poison was tapping his left foot nervously and trying not to make it obvious that he was playing with his lighter in his pocket, but he knew his brother was suspicious of him. He picked up the yellow notebook again and started to scribble out a few more lyrics, but all he really wanted to think about was the woman at the party and how he was going to find her.
"So, what were you really doing
when I walked in and you freaked out like I'd caught you with your hand in your pants?" Kobra slipped his feet off the table and leaned his elbows on his knees, looking at his brother, confused.
" Poison made a face but he was really just trying to distract from the conversation. He knew his brother was going to get irritated about him being obsessed with some girl and her lighter while they had such important things going on elsewhere.
"Come on, you know what I'm talking about."
"Yeah okay, I do
" Party Poison sighed and flipped the lighter onto the table for his brother to see. He watched it spin and shook his head in dismay. "I took it from the girl at the party last night."
"You mean the one who stole your drugs right, while you were too distracted by her ass?"
"Don't remind me." Party Poison grumbled, even though he hadn't stopped thinking about the exchange all night and into the morning. He was going to have to be more careful in situations like that. He was so fixated on fulfilling a primal desire that he hadn't noticed her reaching into his pocket and pulling out those pill bottles. He would have to learn to keep his eyes on the women he tried to seduce. It was just so rare that any of them had any brains that he had to keep an eye out for. Poison picked the lighter back up and flipped the top open one more time.
"Wait, let me see that
" Kobra reached to take the lighter from his hands and sighed in frustration as Party Poison pulled it out of his reach. He made a face at his brother as if to say that touching it were out of the question. "Put the eyebrows down and give me the damn lighter so I can take a look!" Kobra couldn't help but laugh a little bit at the startled expression that Party Poison was giving him.
Poison looked at his brother for a long moment, contemplating whether or not to hand over the lighter. He could take it and not give it back, or he could even break it and then he'd never solve the mysteries that it held. He trusted his brother though and slowly extended his hand, holding out the lighter to him. Kobra had to pry open his fingers to get it out and pulled it away. "You're ridiculous, you know." He turned so his back was to his brother and looked over the markings on the lighter.
Party Poison stood up and peered over Kobra's shoulder so he could see what his brother was doing to it. He trusted him but he was also incredibly curious of what he wanted with it in the first place.
"Oh you are a dumb fuck Poison." Kobra shook his head, realizing why he'd recognized the lighter. "She's going to hunt you down and kill you for taking this thing. I can't believe how fucking stupid you are right now."
"You know her then?" Party Poison looked at his brother in disbelief. He snatched the lighter back up from his hands and sat down in his chair once more. He let his fingers brush over the carvings on the lighter once again. To him they were precious.
"Yeah, Fire Frenzy. She's a pretty well known arsonist actually
and a weapons dealer. A damn good one at that." Kobra sighed and shook his head. "She's extremely hard to find
but worth the effort. I heard she's a nutcase though and that's her lighter. You took an arsonist's lighter Poison. She's not going to think that's funny."
"I think it's kinda funny
" Party Poison shrugged and gave his brother a half of a smirk. The situation was comical, surely he'd have to agree with that. "Where can I find her? I mean
you obviously know who she is so we must have used her before. Where did you find her last time?"
"Listen Poison I think you're getting in over your head
I think you should bring the lighter to a contact of hers with an apology note and hope she doesn't kill you for taking it."
"I'll consider that." Poison shrugged it off easily, playing with the lighter again, flicking it, watching it spark. He merely said that to amuse his brother but he would never consider it.
"No, you won't. You're going to go after her just like I told you not to. We have more important things to worry about. You remember
the fact that Tiger Beatdown is killing our men in the west? And the fact that we have to take him down to save our organization? That sounds like it's more important than some girl who got the best of you and wouldn't let you in her pants." Kobra Kid hoped his words would get through to his brother, but he knew well enough from experience that it's likely they wouldn't.
"Listen Kobra." Poison stood up and put the lighter back in his pocket. He slipped his blue jacket back on and adjusted the collar. "I know what I'm doing. I've been able to run this faction of the Killjoys for years without you breathing down my neck. You get to talk to me like this out of courtesy because you're my brother
but you keep questioning my authority and my motives and that courtesy will be taken away. I'll treat you like any other grunt around here. I know what's going on in the west is serious but there's not much I can do about it until I hear back from Disco. So unless you'd rather me sit here and wring my hands nervously I suggest you back off about this woman
Fire Frenzy you called her? That's appropriate actually." He couldn't help but smile a bit as he thought about the carvings on the lighter. He turned and leaned against the wall near the door. He rarely talked to his brother in such a tone but all this talk of rebellion amongst the Killjoys made him more nervous than he was willing to admit. "Have you heard from Disco by the way? It's been long enough for her to get the job done."
" Kobra Kid sighed, turning to look at his brother once more. He was worried that his brother's rash decisions were going to get him killed. "I only say these things to protect you. You should know that by now. I don't want people to think your needs are put above that of the Killjoys. You're a great leader Poison, but sometimes you get distracted by stupid shit."
"I'm pretty sure everyone knows that I'm loyal to the cause by now. Now
no news from Disco? That's not like her. She should've checked in by now." Party Poison just wanted him to change the subject at this point. He needed his brother to cool down so he could weasel the location of where he'd last met Fire Frenzy out of him.
"I know. She usually checks in by now. I'm worried too. She stopped responding hours ago on the radio which means something's up. I was told she got her gun
I think she was terminated
either that or she turned on us." Kobra shrugged his shoulders, but the weight in the room was heavy.
"No way. Not Disco. She's incredibly loyal to me
not to mention she's a good person. You know what she's been through Kobra and you know I trust her. It's more likely she was exterminated than it would be for her turn on me." Party Poison looked serious. He trusted his people, especially the ones that he considered friends, and he'd defend their honor to the death.
"Things aren't the way they used to be five years ago Poison. You can't trust anyone in this world anymore."
"I'm going to pretend you didn't say that." Poison walked over to the table and picked up the old worn driving gloves he always wore when he went out. He grabbed his laser gun and stuck it in the holster on his hip. He firmly believed humanity was filled with kind and generous people who were just misguided and afraid. "Now where did you say you met with Fire Frenzy again?"
"Second Zone near the old warehouse on Washington
I didn't tell you where I met her
" Kobra stood up, knowing he couldn't stop Poison from going anywhere but he could at least leave him some things to think about. "You should leave this girl alone. You're going to get in over your head and either get killed or get someone else killed in the process. Would it be worth it? Just to satisfy your ego?"
"I know what I'm doing. Let me know if you hear from Disco." He went to leave.
"You're too trusting Poison. It's going to be your downfall." Poison stopped in the doorway and looked back at his brother over his shoulder.
"Once we stop trusting each other and fighting amongst ourselves
this whole cause is lost Kobra. Have some faith for once. I do." He walked off without another word.
He couldn't dwell on what his brother said or the things that were going on in the west. It was too much chaos and it was all beyond his control. Dwelling on it wouldn't help anyone and it'd just drive him mad, or worse, back to drinking and drugs. He could only concentrate on what he could control and right now that was finding this woman who had taken his pills. He wasn't sure why he wanted to find her other than he wanted to somehow have the last laugh in a situation where he'd been made a fool of.
She'd pulled the wool over his eyes and even though he had ended up with her lighter he hadn't gotten either of the things that he wanted that night. She had taken his pills that he'd intended to sell for a profit and she'd only feigned interest in him to get them out of his pocket for her own use. He walked outside and then walked over to the old beaten Trans Am that he'd spent the last few months fixing up. He'd painted a giant spider on the front of it for no reason in particular other than he felt it looked pretty killer. He always thought spiders looked intimidating and they never pretended to be anything they weren't. They didn't disguise themselves in beauty and peace when they were sincerely venomous. Though, he was probably one of the few people in the world that still found beauty in spiders.
He smirked at that thought as he drove with the music blasting loud. He kept the window rolled down, patting out a drum beat on the side of the door as he drove. Music was a huge influence on his lifestyle and he had his most sane thoughts while he was driving with the music turned up real loud. It was his way of releasing pent up frustration and escaping the harsh reality he lived. He wrote music and played it for the other Killjoys and anyone who could sneak into the show. He called his band Mad Gear and the Missile Kid, with no real particular reason why. When he played he preferred to wear a mask so that he wouldn't be recognized outside of the shows. He didn't want the attention, just the relief of the adrenaline rush it gave him.
He turned off the engine of the car as he reached the end of the third zone. He wanted to make sure that if anything happened, such as this woman actually attacking him, he would be able to make a run for it and get to his car without her realizing what he was doing. Plus if anyone from Better Living was walking around he would be recognized and attacked without any questions. It was always good to live cautiously when you were this close to Battery City.
He locked up the car and started into the second zone on foot. It was unusually quiet today. He'd walked through the old musty town in front of the run down warehouse that Kobra had told him was where he had met the woman, Fire Frenzy, the day prior. She was obviously nowhere in sight but perhaps he could ask around and talk to some people who might recognize her. He'd drawn up a little sketch of what he remembered of her from the night before: blue eyes, pale skin, messy black and red hair, chapped lips.
It was folded up in his back pocket which he patted to make sure it still made that paper crinkling sound. Now he had to find someone to ask about her. That was odd. There was no one around at all. Not even a single pedestrian in the street. Usually when he came this far into the zones he'd find children running around and he'd have to give them something to get them to stop following him. But now, instead, when the people who lived here saw him they cowered back into their homes.
He stopped in the middle of a dusty street and looked around. It was like a scene from a bad western, the kind he used to love before his old television broke. "Grab your six-gun motherfucker
" He whispered under his breath as he looked around. Something wasn't right here. He scanned the area for possible hiding places and for people who seemed out of place. He ducked low as he heard the sound of a laser gun blast. In a panic he grabbed his gun and fired back in the direction he'd assumed it had come from. He had to take cover but he needed to see who was coming for him. If it were Dracs he had to hightail it but he had a feeling that it was nothing that Better Living Industries had caused.
"Raise your hands high! We've got you fucking surrounded!" He jumped out of the way just in time as another laser blast hit the spot where he'd been standing. His heart was racing. They were Killjoys. One he didn't recognize was the shooting at him, and he could hear more. If she said they had surrounded him then it was likely they really had. That was why everyone was hiding, they knew something violent was going to happen here today. He fired a few shots at the woman with the bright red hair in the green goggles but he missed on purpose. They were more like a warning.
"Who sent you? Tiger Beatdown?" He shouted but the woman just laughed at him.
"You'd like to know who sent us, wouldn't you? You asked for this Party Poison!"
"Shit!" Poison fell back as he stumbled out of the way of another blow. He braced himself and aimed his gun away as a man in red leather jumped at him, knocking him onto his ass. He managed to keep the grip on his gun but had to struggle to regain his vision as he received a punch right to his jaw. He flipped his gun in his hand and swung it like a bat right at the Killjoy's head. It'd been a long time since he pistol whipped anyone. "Get the fuck off of me!" He kicked him off and rolled out of the way at the sound of another blast. He could easily shoot them, get them to leave him alone but he couldn't do that to his own people. "Listen whatever Tiger is offering you it's not worth betraying the cause! We can work this out!"
"Betraying the cause?" The man he'd just bested was wiping his bloody lip as he got to his feet. He looked dazed. "You're the one who betrayed us!"
"The crimes against you are many, Party Poison! Now put down the laser and die with dignity!" They were staring him down and were clearly serious about their accusations. They were going to kill him because they seemed to think he'd betrayed them in some way. He knew there would be no talking sense into them at this point. They thought he was a traitor and anything he said would feed into their beliefs. There were two choices here. One: he could do what they asked and forfeit his life there and die a traitor in their eyes. Or two: he could show those fuckers who they were messing with and find out what the fuck was going on behind his back. He didn't recognize any of these Killjoys. Someone had to be lying to them because anyone who knew him would know he'd sooner die than help the Dracs.
The choice was easy. He fired a shot at the woman standing with her gun aimed at him. She ducked instinctively out of the way and he grabbed the neck of the man close and shoved him in the line of fire. They wouldn't shoot at their own people; at least that's what he was counting on. He kicked the back of the man's knees, knocking him to the ground and ran into the warehouse. Luckily the windows were boarded since the building was condemned and they wouldn't be able to break into them easily. He locked the door and then searched around for something to block it. He peeked quickly out the window to assess the situation. There were at least ten of them out there and he knew there was likely more still hiding. He knew that any good leader of an assault like this would send them around to find alternate entrances to the warehouse. He had a short window of opportunity to find his own way out.
"Come out now! You can't outrun us! You know that!"
"You'll never get me alive motherfuckers!" He yelled as he pushed an old broken useless stove in front of the door. It had been heavy but his will to survive was stronger than he'd expected it to be. He didn't look back out the windows before he ran through the old building, not being wary of the old creaky floor. He was lucky that nothing broke beneath his weight. He headed up the stairs toward the roof. He had to find a way out and soon. He kept his gun aimed low as he ran and listened for the sound of people coming into the building after him. So far he heard nothing but his own footsteps.
"What am I going to do?" He grabbed the lighter from his pocket and put it to his lips, kissing it, closing his eyes in thought. "Wish me luck."