With Extreme Prejudice part 5
by Lee Hulme
The man in the fleece jacket shoved his way through the crowd and grasped the older man’s shoulder, spinning him around. As the older man staggered slightly, the man in the fleece jacket snapped the heel of his hand upwards into the other man’s nasal bone, sending it splintering into his brain. The older man jerked once, twice, then dropped.
There was a moment of silence from the crowd, long enough for the man in the fleece jacket to check for signs of life in the older man. Seemingly happy with what he discovered – or didn’t – he stood and turned back to Viscura as the crowd erupted with indistinguishable cries.
Blood served, a nudge from Bonitas made the mob break quickly into a run, back to the safety, and sanity of their homes. Soon, only Lily remained, staring in a bewilderment that sat strangely on her face.
As Bonitas moved to intercept the man in the fleece jacket, the air shimmered and the dusty road vanished. Bonitas and Viscura found themselves atop a rocky grey hill, the air and sky around them covered completely in bruised purple clouds. As they looked around, panicked, a figure appeared to one side, chuckling at them.
“Over here, guys,” the figure said after a moment, and Viscura and Bonitas spun to face her.
“Oh!” exclaimed Bonitas, memory clicking into place. This was a place she had been taken once before, the place her powers had been given; only the figure speaking to her then was luminescent and hovered on shimmering wings. This new figure looked almost human. Almost.
Viscura took a sideways step, taking in the figure that smiled at zir. It came only up to zir chest, but that wasn’t unusual in humans. It’s hair curled down around its shoulders, caramel brown except for a flash of bright blue at the front. Its eyes were grey-green, and beneath the smile radiated gentleness as it waited patiently for one of them to speak.
Bonitas found her voice first, “You’re not like the others.”
The figure nodded, “We don’t all get to be fairy godmothers. I live, mostly, in your world, and I’m
supposed to blend and watch and not get in the way.”
“Not get in the way?” Bonitas asked with a smile.
The figure smiled back, “I was never any good at that part.”
“You helped us,” Vicura said hesitantly.
The figure nodded, “And I’m about to catch hell for it, but it seemed like the best way to stop anyone else getting hurt.”
Viscura hung zir head silently.
“Hey, none of that. What you did, ok not great, but it’s ok. There are other forces working, ones which arranged things exactly as they did. They pushed you into snapping, and the person you killed was one of their agents.”
“I still did it though,” Viscura murmured.
“Yes you did, and that can’t be undone, but you didn’t kill an innocent, and you are not irredeemable. Look,” the figure glanced behind her, “I don’t have any more time, I can only move you back exactly were you were, to exactly the same moment. Vis, you have another choice to make, you know?”
“The guy in the fleece,” Viscura nodded.
“Listen to me. People are assholes. They get taught to be assholes and then get rewarded for it. It’s shitty and it sucks and your job is to find a place above them, where your choices aren’t made from anger but compassion. We chose Bonitas for hers, and we chose you for what you carry, whether you believe it or not. You might always need to fight your darkness, Vis, but you don’t have to give in to it – do that, and they’ll make you theirs.”
As Skryylix finished speaking, two burly figures had emerged from the clouds behind it, and now grasped its arms.
“Hi boys, you took your time,” Skryyllix grinned and winked at Viscura as they began to manhandle her away.
“Never forget, you – both of you – and your friends – you are Super Important!” Skryyllix shouted as the scene once again shimmered and changed.
Bonitas and Viscura were back where they had been, on the road outside the town, the man in the fleece jacket facing down Viscura as Lily stared in shock.
Viscur grasped the lapels of the fleece jacket and lifted the man until their eyes were level. “Whoever you are. I know what you want. I won’t give it to you.” Ze placed a carefully calculated blow to the man’s temple and dropped him to the ground.
“I believe this man is a killer, Sherff,” Bonitas gently brought Lily’s attention back to the matter at hand, gently nudging her towards the idea she needed to plant, “Given the circumstances, I think it’s possible he’s also the real killer of the other gentleman, and he just manipulated a vulnerable person into taking the blame for him.”
Lily looked at Bonitas and at the crumpled man in the fleece jacket and nodded obediently. “I. Um. I’ll…”
“You’ll use your radio to call your deputies to collect him…” Bonitas prompted.
“Right, right, get him into a cell and off to trial,” Lily nodded.
“And my friend?” Bonitas asked gently.
“Your-oh,” Lily turned to Viscura, “Yes You-you can go, it’s ok, I’m sorry for everything.”
“No ma’am, Viscura shook her head sadly “I’m sorry.”
“Right, right,” Lily nodded slowly.
“Quickly,” Bonitas murmured to Viscura, “She’s dazed for now but I don’t know how long it’ll hold. We need to move.”
Viscura nodded but stayed still, “Did it really happen?”
Bonitas nodded, “It really did.”
“I’m not sure how I feel about that,” Viscura sighed.
“Plenty of time to figure it out away from here,” Bonitas suggested, glancing at Lily, who was starting to look around in confusion.”
Viscura nodded, “Right, right, ok. Let’s go. Far, far from here.”
They both set off at a trot, losing sight of the crossroad in moments – the symbolism not lost on either – each lost in thought, wondering what in the world to expect next.