Spoken in a whisper.
Whistling through the sorrow stained alleyways of my memories on the wings of drunken white doves.
The holographic digits on the skeleton clock glowed in all their glory, illuminating the teeth of the clockwork guts inside. A big fat stogie burned in a metal clam shell ashtray. The smoke wafted over the clock. The lighting was subdued, misty, and she lay next to me in her suite at the Paradiso. The sky was as temptestuous as the city below us, and the whole scene was utterly chiaroscuro. Old Lurk was raging on into the morning as the Stink-Fiends leering toothless faces mouthed the obscene language of Babel, the Def-Con rocketmen flexed tiny mushroom clouds from their pecs and the frigid Geisha faces of the Ga-Ga Clowns threw shapes down Mistletoe Lane. The whole ungodly mixed bag made their wicked way to whatever troughs of desire were available.
Old Lurk. The city all cities dream of. The nowhere town.
Think of shiny steel dreams pointing skyward, and grime and rivets gutter low. It was the nightmare of empire, where cronyism and cartels owned the streets by day and by night, too engorged on itself to see the fall coming. It was my home and God have mercy on my soul, but I loved it then.
Yet, despite all the depravity ejaculating and quivering all about us, we rested on silk sheets at Cloud Nine. Holed up in the heavenly mists above creation. The cherry of my cigar and her soft golden luminiscence steaming off her exquisite body and golden hair were the only sources of light casting a shadow.
It was somehow cinematic.
Her scent wafted from her pale glowing skin, skin that shone even in the soft darkness that covered the rest of the room like a layer of thick soot. Skin that felt like electric marshmallows. That smelt like cherry blossoms. Pine. Fresh mint. That tasted of ambrosia bonbons, glowing all china white and inner atomic.
To penetrate a being of light, to ride some living lightning and fuck cosmically amongst the nebulas and red dwarves that pulsed as we came together, and clutched each other on the journey back down to Old Lurk.
Gott In Himmel!, as old Adolf used to say.
We’d known each other a good long while. Ever since working together on the incident with that godforsaken khaki Meowist-uniformed Limbomerchant. We had flirted a little even then. While those void-shots whistled death a hair’s length from our ears at that mad bastard’s Unergy Reactor, and extinction seemed inevitable, we had grinned at our doom. Her golden eyes had promised more intimate relations than a born again Baptist filled with the Holy Spirit. Let’s just say that it put a little bit more physical lead in my metaphysical pencil. Finally, I caught up with Mr In-Between with his gas-masked troops torn and scattered, severed hands still clasping semi-automatic blunderbusses. I threw that tentacle-headed bastard, kicking and screaming, over the Big Jaws Dam. As he screamed his last utterance that disappeared in the torrent of Martini red water below, we ran into each other’s arms as the Reactor loomed over us like some radioactive god of ice-cream.
Ahhhh … All the times we’d ridden the wild night since then.
“I gots a job to do”
My black sun ring reminds me that there is darkness inside light. I fasten my cufflinks, straighten my eye-patch and get down to work.
For longer than she would have ever admitted to, Angelina had been siphoning information to the Tenebris. Even angels get greedy, I suppose. She had gotten a couple of good men’s souls separated from their bodies for her work. Black Jack. Mickey Stormdog. The odd brain blown out. A throat cut here and there. Good men. These incidents wouldn’t have been my business. The Coldest of all Wars continues eternally and who knows which side you’ll be on tomorrow.
The walls do indeed have ears and the Lux were on to her by now.
I needed to get to her before they did; I told her we could protect her.
Easing myself out of the bed, I went over to where my white suit had been flung over the arm of an armchair in holy passion and I searched for and found the two instruments I needed. Kneeling next to her, I gazed down upon her seraphic loveliness, looking at her golden hair that shimmered and snaked as if itself was aware, her long lashes and her perfect sleep smile and I gently kissed her unlined forehead, feeling the little shocks and sparks play on my lips. The goddess in bed stirred for a moment, then thankfully went back to her reveries. I stood up, screwed that custom silencer into my old Luger, aimed and pulled the trigger three times.
It spat into her chest.
She rose, eyes wide with recognition, reaching out to me then falling back onto the bed. Her perfect body contorted in the death-spasm. A light went out.
Angelina had broken the rules and that was that.
She knew it.
It was nothing to do with sides.
It was when she had really begun to believe in the Tenebris that the powers above my head had begun to take real notice. In a lab surrounded by crucified cyborg rats and cats with radar-dishes spliced on to their heads, a mad scientist had, by means of splicing nano-tech to microbes, stumbled upon the means for one side to win this damned war. He had created a Pan-Dimensional data virus. A potential Pan-Dim pandemic. Unleashing this upon the Lux or the Tenebris and the multiverse would have created an equilibrium. It would have destroyed everything. That’s what balance is. Death. That’s what both sides want in this War.
To win = Death.
Angelina had seduced him with sweet fire spice and brought him on his hands and knees in front of the Tenebris. The dreadful recipe sucked out of his head by cerebral extraction. Poor bastard never knew what hit him when he woke up.
All for some damned ideology.
I had to enter into Infernoville and execute the dribbling shell of the fumbling scientist and destroy all information on the Pan-Dim.
Infernoville, the city of the Tenebris. Hell, by any other name. A city of fire, brimstone, terror and chaos.
Imagine a Hieronymus Bosch wankfest built into town planning: Skyscrapers built of rock melting into faces, egg shells, genitalia and rampant cryptozoology. A bonafide Jungian Apocalypse. Military tanks with dog’s legs prowl the streets, as its denizens scuttled back and forth, heads down in a fallen police state.
I killed the pathetic genius. Killed him good.
So, last night Angelina got to wherever angels go when they die. I got to her before the Lux did. Saved her some pain. It was the least I could do. For old time’s sake.
My name is Vincent Blake and that is what I do.
As I stared out into the beautiful morning sky of Old Lurk over the habitual plumes of smoke that wafted like seasonal birds over the city as Highrisers and Lowlifers looked for shadows to melt into, I saw a new bright light bringing morning star and a single tear carved its way down into my cheek.
Jason Michel is The Dictator of PULP METAL MAGAZINE