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Chlorine Kiss and Morphine Skies

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Morning, July 2nd

“Look alive, sunshine. 109 in the sky but the pigs won’t quit. You’re here with me: Dr. Death Defying, I’ll be your surgeon, your proctor, your helicopter, pumpin’ out the slaughtermatic sounds to keep you live. A system failure for the masses. Anti-matter for the master plan. Louder than God’s revolver and twice as shiny. This one’s for you fuck-and-rollers, all you crash-queens and motorbabies. Listen up. The future is bulletproof. The aftermath is secondary. It’s time to do it now and do it loud. KILLJOYS, make some noise!”

“Louis.”

The boy opens his eyelids to reveal blank blue beautiful eyes. Something isn’t right. It’s giving him the shivers. He doesn’t turn to the side to consult his bedside clock. He knows it’s eight in the morning. He also doesn’t need to look at the girl in his doorway. It’s his sister Lottie, always ready to give him the first morning scowls. She isn’t happy, in general, that he’s here. In truth, he’s not happy either in that house. And her frowns are fucking getting under his nerves. One of these days, he swears to God…

“Louis. You promised today you’ll find a job.”

Right on point, yeah? My dear sis…hirsute-legged you were in our childhood, you are getting hairy, stuck in my throat now.

“Why don’t you… get a move on, will you? You’ve been doing nothing for the past months. Please, Louis. Please. Sober up…”

Louis didn’t answer. But he raised one knee up, hoping that in doing so Lottie will think he’s about to get and will then leave him alone. Goddamn bitch. Always with that please, please, please, Louis. Do you see what she’s doing? She’s making me the bad guys, always acting as if she’s in my mercy. One of these days you goody-two-shoes fuck.

Lottie waits for him to make more moves and that snaps something in Louis. He sits up in a flash.

“There! See, I’m getting up! If you pleasego away? Thanks a-fucking bunch.”

She flinches. He fixes her with a hard stare. She makes a teary-eyed face. Awww, how cute. Is the baby going to cry again?

“What’s happening to you?! Why are you doing to us? It’s not our fault you got kicked out of Uni!” she exclaims instead, which irks Louis some more because who the fuck wants dramatics in the morning? “It’s your own doing; don’t… just help us on this one, Lou. We were rooting for you but goddamn you… be responsible for once!” she is catching her breath from that impromptu speech and looks at him again with that annoying desperate eyes. Louis is not impressed.

He gave her a contemptuous look. “You’re so dramatic,” he seethed. “Go cry me an ocean and leave me be.”

She storms off.

There is a split second of regret but it is quickly ignored. He hears her cry to their other sisters and he is irritated again. They are going to team up on me. Mother, why’d you have to leave me to these pigs? He tears up himself and thinks of his helpless misery.

Patrick, the strawberry blonde hair boy who serves as the defender of his faith, the one who tells him to always be patient with his sisters and whatever happened in college wasn’t his fault and everything’s going to be okay, is missing for a few days now. No trace, no clue. He said he’s just off to deliver a package. Louis doesn’t care about the suitcase, he just wants his friend back. He is alone and the presence of a fox outside his window and a little boy in a bicycle rounding the streets at night are not helping his anxiety.

He gets up from his bed after his short bout of tears. If Patrick is here, he will tell him to do what Lottie requested. The bills keep piling up and her job in Seven Cloverfields is not nearly enough to make ends meet. As the big brother, he must provide for his sisters. He must be the big man. He must apologize to what he made Lottie feel. He takes a shower then chooses appropriate attire for job hunting. He dismisses the comic pages he’d been drafting last night, the inspirations he drew before waking up long forgotten. He goes down to find that Lottie has gone to her work and the rest of the girls to school. He is unpleased by this so he rushes back to his room and shoves the latest updates of Danger Days in his shoulder bag.

2

Louis immediately hates the man reviewing his transcripts. He hates the way he glances at him from time to time. He’s been sitting in this old chair for 30 minutes; God, give him rejection already! It’s just a cleaning job to this stinking bar, for fuck’s sake; why the hell is this man taking too long? He’s ready to face more rejections and judgments today. Twenty is his quota before he calls it quits and be in the most desired solitude.

The whole world is teaming up on him, he knows it. Not only are they so generous to a fault in giving him rejections, they are as well assholes for making him wait for it, beg for it.

But the Man is surely taking his time. No real conversation has been done between them except for the occasional ‘Princeton?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Manic Street?’ ‘Yes, sir.’ ‘Nineteen?’ ‘Yes.’

Louis takes him in. Long face with an equally long hair. Asian. White cotton shirt with green stripes. Khaki pants. One of those people who treats their workplace as their first real home, it seems like. Also one of those who cheery folks who thinks he can crack a joke: whether he’d be a friendly buffoon or a hoity-toity douchebag, it is yet to be decided depending if Louis gets this job or on what century will he get the Man’s decision.

Come on, old man! What are you waiting for? Say “No” already. I’m dying here! Don’t fix me with that ‘compassionate’ gaze. I can see right through it. I know it’s fake!

Finally, finally, thank Jesus, the Man closes his papers. “This says you attended Princeton.”

“I got kicked out.” Out in the open. What the hell. It will come up eventually. Tell me I’m a bad man and kick me like a stray, see if I care.

The Man frowns. “Why?”

Louis squirms in his seat but doesn’t answer. Should I be that open? Now that’s a thought. “It’s… kinda personal, sir.”

“It’s not due to drugs, is it? Abuse of Benzedrine?”

Louis lets out a short surprise laugh. “No, sir.”Does he know?

“Good enough for me.” The Man pats his folder. “Do you plan to attend college again?”

Louis gives a wry smile. “I think I’d like to think about it first… get my life sorted out first.” No way.

“I will hire you. You look like a good kid. And you look like you need help. You can start tomorrow at say… nine. 9pm to 5am, that’s your shift. Capisce? Come, I’ll show you around.” He shows Louis the staff area and the places he would be working; mainly a filthy bathroom. Louis views them all with great discomfort. An employee passes by them when The Man is giving Louis last-minute instructions by the backdoor. The Man greets her and asks what she’s doing so early in the bar.

“Are you serious? Harry and I have swapped shifts since two days ago, Steve. No, don’t give me that I-wasn’t-told-about-this bullcrap – I texted you. I need to look over my kids at night and Harry… well… he’s Harry.”

“Why are you so feisty in the morning, Courtney? It’s not like you were exiled from your house. I know you like the early morning beauty routine but what can I say? I wasn’t told about this.” The Man laughs much to The Employee’s contempt and Louis’ chagrin. “Oh by the way, this is Louis. He’ll be part of our family starting tomorrow night.”

“He looks so young.”

“He’s out of college.”

“Graduated?”

“Kicked out.”

Louis smiles at her but doesn’t try to shake hands. The Employee doesn’t look seem she’s looking for one anyway.

“Looks like you’ll work with our Harry, Louis,” The Man tells him. “You’ll like him, I swear. He dropped out of college last summer.”

Is that really a standard to like someone? Louis doesn’t ask out loud. He gives The Man one of his rare genuine smiles. “Thank you, Mr. Aoki –”

“Call me Steve. I prefer it better.”

“Thank you, S-Steve. I… I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life right now.”

“Does any of us?” The Man laughs while The Employee rolls her eyes then continues inside.

Louis’ smile drops just as soon as he turns his back to them and starts walking away. I got a job, sis. The farthest type of job I got in my mind when I started college. This is how low I am now. Dear Gravity, you held me down so low. Do you want to kill me?

He quickens his pace when he notices the people in the street hobbling in groups while giving him weird looks and talking about him.

3

Danielle Peazer is a bitch. A cock sucking bitch who probably likes it rough in bed. Louis hates prima donnas such as her. Don’t get him wrong, though. He’s seen Liam’s cock one too many times. The guy is well-hung. Louis is sure he isn’t that big when they were growing up together. Magic of puberty, then. He won’t even complain if Liam asks him to suck his dick (overwhelmed, maybe). He might even ask the guy to fuck him in his hole after he fucks his throat, for experience of course, but – where is he? Oh.

Danielle Peazer is a bitch. A cock-sucking bitch too high on her horse. What does she have to say for herself? Just because she’s still in college and Louis isn’t anymore does not allow her to suddenly treat Louis like an illiterate mongoloid. Fucking cunt. They only had one semester without him. What gave her the idea?

Louis’ suicide blonde whispers to his ear. “Lou, stop glaring at Dan. You’re too obvious.”

Louis’ dick stirs hard by Niall’s proximity. How’s long has it been since Niall and him are this close? How long since he’s smelled his cologne, his bleached-blonde hair? How long? A month? Two? He can’t help it. He wants him. He closes his eyes and moans softly at just the feeling of the hairs of their skin ghosting at each other. No one on the table with their fugitive talks hears him do this, only Niall. Niall laughs, again to his ear. Is he planning on killing me?

His suicide blonde feels adventurous today. Louis shots his eyes open when a hand begins palming him under the table. “Ni…” he begs softly.

Niall winks at him before looking up ahead to their other friends. The hand continues cupping and palming Louis’ clothed dick.

“So, Louis,” Zayn asks. “How’s life? You’re going back to Uni or what?”

“Ugh. I plan to, not yet at least. I should work first, I think, put in money for the family.” Louis praises himself for that composed answer when all his brain is tormenting him about sex and sex with Niall.

Danielle rolls her eyes. Louis wants to dismember her.

“Any progress?” Gigi asks.

Gigi, Louis can tolerate. Gigi is cool. She praised his drawings once and little things like that, in Louis’ opinion, should be treasured for life.

Louis collects his cool and presses his thighs close with Niall’s hand trapped in between. “I got a job as a bagger in Saki’s. Then as a janitor in Aoki’s. ”

“This too shall pass, my man,” Zayn says. “This too shall pass.”

“Two jobs. God, you must really be experiencing hard times,” Danielle patronizes. “At least you’re already out in the real world, Louis. Look at us, still stuck in books and academic lies. You, you’re about to gain experience.”

Blah, blah, blah. Keep talking out of your condescending ass, stupid bitch.What the hell is her point? It’s fucking insulting, is what it is. A college undergraduate like him reduced to servicing smug fucks like her for an indefinite period of time? He wants to die. She’s just one of the pigs, is what she is. She—

He hisses when Niall makes a particularly hard squeeze to his balls. Niall drinks on his coffee with his other hand and is uninterested in the ongoing conversation.

“You’re not making Louis feel any better, Danielle.” Nick winks at him. “Insensitive, you are really.” Danielle merely scoffs.

Squirming and sweating, Louis smiles warmly at the guy. “You got me.” He hates owing something to Nick fucking-look-at-me-I’m-rich Grimshaw. He knows deep inside Nick is also glad of his misery.

Oh God. He’s about to come.

They are discussing about the latest in politics now but Louis cannot focus on anything they’re saying. He’s about to shoot cum restricted in his pants, in this table where all their friends sit, in this crowded restaurant, under the skillful hands of a cunning blonde. He clenches and unclenches his fist. He tries to take a deep breath. He mutters a low, “Niall.”

Niall he has a smug look on his face and kneads his groin faster. Liam is looking at them strangely now.

Louis comes in his pants shortly after Nick makes his propositions. When Niall feels the wetness, he withdraws his hand and uses it to stir his half-empty cup of coffee. There is a dreamy expression on his face. Liam does not look amused. His bitch of a girlfriend does not notice his uncomfortable silence, however.

Louis’ knees feel like jelly and he badly wants to lie down. He has nothing to do with his ‘friends’ anymore. But still he manages a weak smile and contributes something to the discussion. “Yeah. I don’t think the new bill will be approved, either. Here’s why.”

4

He comes four more times that afternoon. In a cheap hotel room, he fingers himself while sucking Niall’s dick (one). Niall scissors his insides with three fingers (two) then fists him (three). Before the last one he is in heaven while Niall pounds his cock into his tiny hole. Someone should’ve told them off for being too loud for comfort at three in the afternoon. Outsiders don’t need to know that his name is Niall and his name is Lou and Lou is Niall’s little slut and how rickety the beds of Evverblue Hotels are. Strangely enough, Niall and Louis are even more turned on by that fact. On the other hand, the two young men rely on the chance that the world, awake and working outside, has no idea what their lust are doing to them at this hour. But they couldn’t really care less. Niall shoots loads inside of him and he comes for the last time and completely blacks out.

Louis wakes up at six in the evening. Immediately his mind starts to wander at home. Lottie must be home. They must be looking at him. Or nah. He doesn’t feel welcome in that house for ages.

“G’morning, love,” Niall jokes and kisses his parched lips. He is sitting up in bed, reading Louis’ comics.

Louis looks below to his blanket-covered body and frowns. “I can’t feel my legs.”

The blonde lets out a startled laugh.

“No. Seriously, Ni.” He tries to move but nothing happens.

Now even Niall is worried. He drops the bundle of papers to the bedside table and aligns his body down with his boy, brushing the hair from his temple in a soothing motion. “Shit. I was too much… earlier. I’m sorry, Lou.”

“It’s fine. I should be fine later on… I think. Shit, I’ve got a job tomorrow. Stay here for the night?”

“Of course, of course. God, why shouldn’t we? I missed you.”

Niall gets up some time later to get Louis water to drink then they are back in the comforts of each other’s arms again. Louis has to admit that even with Patrick’s disappearance and the darker, filthier, more unacceptable change that goes along with it, Niall’s presence still soothes his being. It should. Niall is the only one out here in this world that doesn’t treat Louis like shit. Louis supposes he loves him. He feels sleepy again.

“I like where your story is going,” Niall says softly, kindred of sincere admiration, alluding to Louis’ Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys comics.

Louis shrugs in the soft contours of Niall’s elbow.

“Though I have to ask. Where are the Youngbloods? Aren’t they coming back? I thought they’re back from the dead?”

Louis hums. “No. They only got to come back to defeat the Ringleader then they had to return to Death Valley again to face the Prince of Darkness. They haven’t saved Battery City yet. It’s the Killjoys who will try this time.”

“I kinda like the old guys better. But I liked the concept that we had to wait 70 years – had to wait for the dystopia – before another group of heroes arise. I like it.” When Louis hums again in appreciation, he asks. “Where are you getting your ideas, Lou?”

A split-second decision to tell him or no. Why not? He is his boyfriend. Why? He wouldn’t believe him. “In a dream.”

Niall looks down at him incredulously. “Really? All of those came to you in a dream?”

“A few of them.”

“Explain.”

Louis knew it is a bad idea to be talking of this. Now it’s embarrassing him. “I dreamed… of dying. I was getting inside an elevator bound to heaven but then there’s this little boy who controls the lifts and he sends me to hell instead.” He doesn’t tell him that the boy in the dream looks exactly like the boy in the bicycle wheeling around Manic Street every night. “I was going down and down. When I reached my landing, all I saw was red and a cult of women dancing in the dark… to this music. I couldn’t describe it. The music is beautiful… eerily so. But the sound is evil. It has a dark spell in it casted by the Ringleader. It makes you violent. I looked up and saw in the balcony the Ringleader. There’s this logo behind her; the anti-music logo. She saw me. She smiled this sickening smile and commanded one of her girls below to open a door. A man with a fedora hat and a hook for a hand stepped out. I knew he was sent to kill me.” Would it affect Niall’s liking for the original four if he found out that Patrick’s whole persona is based on that Hook-liked character? “Then he was chasing after me while the Ringleader mocks me from the balcony. She’s crying, ‘Go boy! Go boy! Run for your life!’ I distinctly remember her catcalls… then I woke up. And I started Danger Days: Save Rock and Roll from there.”

“Wow,” Niall says. “Must’ve been a real nightmare.”

“Yeah.” A thought occurs to him. What if Patrick is back with the Cult Campers? What if the Ringleader kidnapped him again and that is the reason he’s missing? What if he’s wreaking havoc right now and there’s no one to stop him? Last time Louis checked, Joe is still in Death Valley, Pete is in Capitol Station and Andy is in Rome. Who then? What then?

“Louis?”

“Uh. What is it?”

“I asked if wouldn’t it be nice if someone else reads your work. I mean, it isgood. You’re on the second chronicle of Danger Days and I bet no one has the read the finished first one yet – besides me and Liam and Zayn, of course. No dissension between the three of us, your story is cool. There’s a comic-con for budding comic artists in Uni in September. Find a printer, Louis. We got your back, Lou. Try it. Heck, maybe it will even save you from handling two jobs. What do you say, Lou?”

“C-can I think about it first? My sisters are not really my greatest fans right now. They want me to find a job – preferably a real one – immediately.”

“Okay.” Niall beams. “But I tell you, Louis. Your story is the bomb. It will blow others away.”

Truth is, Louis wants to keep the world he created to himself. No one deserves to live there but him. And no one should dare to get it away from him.

5

Morning, July 3rd

He doesn’t expect Lottie to forgive him readily just because he’s found work. But he at least expects a little warmth, a little happiness for him. A little ‘Good job, bro!’. But maybe it’s too much for good old Charlotte Tomlinson, is it? The little goody-two-shoes didn’t even seem to register Louis’ great news. She’s angry – angry! – that Louis didn’t come home last night. No demand for explanations either. Just that, ‘Before you decide to abandon us for the night, next time care to call me first’ before going to her work.

It irritates Louis. It irks him, it frustrates him! Who does she think he is to make him feel that every move he’s making is wrong? What… what…

He hits the wall with a tightened fist repeatedly until he hears a soft crash. Good job. Now he won’t be able to draw for days? But that’s what Perfect Lottie wants, right?

He won’t be able to draw for days.

I won’t be able to draw for days.

“FUCK!!!” he screams at the top of his lungs. “Fuck you bitch! Fuck you all!” He runs to the kitchen and grabs the first aid kit at the top of the refrigerator. Quickly as he could, he dabs ethanol to the hurting knuckles. Then he bandages his right hand. After that rush of adrenaline, he looks down blankly to his piss-poor job. The hand is numb. The hand is still shaking. He sits back to the chair and laughs. Oh, how comical had it all been! Why the fuck did he punch the walls? Why couldn’t he just contain his anger? The next time he would bash Lottie’s head and that would be a pretty sorry sight and that is not good for all of them.

Still would be a funny scenario, though.

The doorbell rings once. Louis looks at the direction of the door and waits for more. Nothing. He makes his way to the door and opens it. No one outside. No one around in the neighborhood. There is a plastic bag hooked on the doorknob, though, and Louis is strangely dismayed upon the sight. Not only is his bandaged hand shaking but his whole body is as he inspects what is inside.

The wretched blue-eyed boy curses. Someone’s severed hand is what is in the white plastic bag. A left hand with a tattoo of a crown on the foreskin between the thumb and the forefinger. This is Patrick’s hand.

He looks across the street once more and now comes the bell of a bicycle. The boy is back. He stops in front of Louis and gives him a creepy smile. Louis is just too stunned to make a movement let alone utter a single word. Oh, God. What have they done to my friend?He wants to weep but couldn’t.

The boy looks behind him, to the corner where he came from. Louis follows his gaze and his horror adds up when he recognizes the car that’s rolling by to his house He remembers the black Volvo with white stripes and a nameplate of RATATAT. He knows that car. He knows this boy. He knows this hand. He knows because he drew them all based on a dream.

The Volvo stops behind the boy. Louis is still too shock to move but he knows he has to run. This all here is trouble and his life is in grave danger. The window rolls down. It stops halfway and a hand shoots up to wave the boy away. The kid bicycles away without sparing Louis another glance and saying any more word. The window resumes its journey downwards.

He’ll see the woman again, Louis thinks. The Ringleader. But didn’t she die? Didn’t the Youngbloods finish her off? What does she want from me? My death?

But the face that is revealed is not the blonde woman he knew. It is no blonde and it is no woman either. It is a he. A young man Louis is sure he’s never seen, never created, never drawn. A specter outside the limitations of his imagination. An outsider invading his brain. Who is he? Where did he come from?

The young man has emerald green eyes, a nest of messy silky jet-black hair, a hauntingly beautiful face, and a smile promising menace. Woman or not, the figure in the car is the Ringleader (the new one), Louis is sure of it. The man motions a hand to his driver and suddenly music is heard. Louis remembers that eerie music. As the tempo picks up, he yelps in agony. He drops the bag. He tries to cover his ears but the enchanting pain of music has already attacked his brain, echoing and ricocheting, telling him to move his legs, go inside the car, sit with the Ringleader, and be with him for all of eternity.

Glass break from up above him, interrupting him from hearing more of the evil music. Louis looks up. His room window shatters outwards. Pieces of broken glass and Louis’ many paperworks rain on him and the car. In a trance, Louis watches his drawings of Danger Days dance and circle in the above wind. The music is drowned out. The sight is surreally beautiful.Louis sees in amazement a leg kick out from his room. A red leathered-jacket man was squatting on the window ledge, fixing his helmet. He jumps and lands in front of Louis. That’s when Louis sees the three other men who have been in front of Louis while he’s busy looking at his comic pages. All in multicolored leather and jeans. He recognizes them as well. Kobra Kid, the one who jumped from his window. Fun Ghoul, the short brunette one in yellow shirt and mossy green vest. Party Poison, the redhead one in blue jacket. And Jet-Star, the curly-haired one in a dark jacket. Their backs are on him but it is easy to figure out that Party Poison is chomping on his bubblegum (always how Louis makes him do during standoffs). They are all inching to draw out their guns but the Ringleader is not doing anything besides look at them with contempt.

The Ringleader scoffs after a long time and waves on his driver again. They leave the premises. It takes a while before Louis feels like breathing again. The Killjoys then turn to him gravely. Party is wearing his mask.

“I… I…” Louis does not know what to say. His body mandates all his strength to leave his body and his legs give in to the order but he does not fall to the ground as Kobra Kid catches him.

“Easy,” Kobra Kid says.

Louis turns to the other three. Now that the Ringleader is gone, his priorities come back in waves of uncontrolled emotion. “Patrick is missing! You’ve got to help him! Please! The Cult Campers, they’ve got him.”

Jet-Star raises a hand to ease him down. “We know, kid. We know.”

“How did you…”

“We received message from the owl. Pete told us of this new trouble,” Fun Ghoul replies.

“T-then, what are we going to do?”

The rest turns to Party Poison. He spits out his gum before speaking. “We’re sure that Patrick is not with the Cult right now. Yet. The case he is to deliver is, according to Pete, last detected on a train going to Gem City. Patrick must be staying there. It’s probable that he’s still got some control of his sanity and he is hiding from the rest of the world. We better get to him quick.”

“What’s in that stupid case he has, anyway?” Louis asks in spite.

“We don’t know, kid,” Jet-Star answers. “But it is important for the salvation of Battery City, that much we know.”

“What makes the Ringleader I’ve got the case?” he moans. “How did he find me? And what happened to The Head Bitch from before?”

The men exchanged an amused glance to each other. “The young man earlier,” Party Poison says. “Call him Mr. Sandman. He’s been the Ringleader for the past decade. He killed who preceded him to get the title. Maybe he knows Patrick’s your friend.”

At that Louis curses. Patrick. Patrick is in danger and Louis will be, too.

Fun Ghoul picks up the white plastic bag from the ground. He almost drops it upon seeing what the content is. He passes it to Party Poison while he goes behind the bushes to vomit.

“Patrick’s,” is all what Party Poison says after he peeks inside. “Kid,” he barks at Louis. “Whatever this means, this is not good.”

“You don’t say,” Louis says sarcastically but he’s afraid just the same.

They laugh amidst the tension. At length, Party Poison looks off the distance to the rising sun. “This is not good,” he repeats. “Kid, you can’t stay here any longer. You’ll be safer with us.”

6

Afternoon, July 3rd

“Look alive, sunshine. 109 in the sky but the pigs won’t quit. You’re here with me: Dr. Death Defying, I’ll be your surgeon, your proctor, your helicopter, pumpin’ out the slaughtermatic sounds to keep you live. A system failure for the masses. Anti-matter for the master plan. Louder than God’s revolver and twice as shiny. This one’s for you fuck-and-rollers, all you crash-queens and motorbabies. Listen up. The future is bulletproof. The aftermath is secondary. It’s time to do it now and do it loud. KILLJOYS, make some noise!”

“Louis.”

He opened his treacherous eyes slowly. Something isn’t right. Lottie is standing by his doorway, looking too negative at seven in the morning. It is her sole mission on earth, Louis is convinced now, is to share with him her misery anytime of the motherfucking day.

“Louis, I’m just checking up on you. I thought you said you found a job at Saki’s Grocery? Why aren’t you—”

“I won’t start until one,” he cuts her off. He thinks, is this how she monitors my ‘well-being’? It’s not very comforting, is it? It’s plain irritating. Getting on my nerves. I swear one of these days…

“Louis, it’s twelve,” Lottie begs.

One of these days.

He swings his legs upward and sits up on bed. He groans. “I’m up, see? Now leave me alone.”

Oh, now he knows what’s not right. There, on the wall across from him, is a hole where something was. What was it? What was in there?

Lottie doesn’t leave to let her poor brother solve the piece. “Louis, I…”

He looks at her over his shoulders with no real interest and completely forgets about the hole. He grunts in annoyance.

“Louis, I want you to know that I don’t hate you. Even if we ended up like this…”

Oh God. They know his weaknesses. They know he’s sensitive in topics like this. They are bringing the sweet five-year-old Lottie who adores Louis so much; she views as her hero without a cape.He can’t help it. He misses her. He growls like a wounded animal and tears immediately start blurring his vision.

“… I just… these past few days. I just miss you, okay? If you want to talk…” she walks off with a gasp, unable to finish her sentence because of tears.

He weeps in her absence.

But like any other day for the past few days now, he finishes it off quickly. Patrick is nowhere to comfort him. He and Killjoys are off to Gem City to save him now. He needs to leave this town quick.

This town is full of pigs. When he was younger, his family visits his grandparents in the farm a weekend once every month. He liked feeding the animals; the cows, the goats, but the pigs… oh, the pigs! Damn animal immediately gobbles up what you throw in front of it without second thoughts. Gobbling and gobbling up. He tosses food and its mouth is at the ready to eat them up; its snout making these horrible noises. The pig wants more. He gives more because he is kind and innocent and none the wiser. When Louis has nothing to throw anymore the pig wails. And it’s horrible, too! It’s loud and it won’t stop! It sounds like the music the Cult Campers are always playing. It won’t stop until you feel bad at yourself or until you go crazy with the sound it makes. That is the world. That is what the world is doing to him at this very moment. It won’t stop at nothing until Louis comes up with a way to give it nourishment. Louis has to come up with something, or else it will eat him. But maybe it has already decided to eat Louis anyway? It has gotten sneakier lately. It’s using her sister and his friends. And whatever else are those unnerving stares of the people at the street for?

They already got Patrick. But Patrick escaped – lucky bastard. But Patrick loves Louis. Maybe his friend wants him to follow him to his rented hideout in Gem City where they would be safe from the pigs that wants to eat Louis and the Cult Campers that wants to use Patrick again for their evil plans. The owl from Pete was sent to tell Louis this. And the Killjoys are sent to help him escape, too.

Now if only he can figure out what was in that hole across from him…