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We Ride In

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If you ask they’ll say they burnt like matches in a bottle of jack, blue pop crackle flames and exploding glass carving lines in the walls and flesh from faces. The laughter, they’ll tell you about that too. Jaws snapping back and teeth bared, noise like a jet engine swallowing a bird and coughing it back out in grizzly chunks. Thud of music in the club, the heave and sweat under strobe lighting, fingers sliding and tangling in hair. Hard yank back, teeth on the jugular. Warm, sharp nails dragging along a thigh, skin sticky and slick.

We ride in, they say, announce themselves. Challengers lie shattered and folded up by the sidelines, knife in the eye, claws in the back. You see us coming, we see you gone. We see you hiding. Fire licking at the walls, melting the plastic filters on the lights. Shadows writhe over the dance floor, and they move in time, hips rolling as the crowd surges. She says she likes the colourful ones, rounded up and twitching like tropical butterflies, showy and kaleidoscopic and ragged round the edges from quick fingers. They dance to the sound of alarms, heels crunching broken glass and grinding it into bone dust.

They climb over the wreckage at dawn, toes on fallen flesh and soot smeared hands entwined. Two tonnes of metal and a tank of gas to the border, moving so fast Vriska’s hair whips behind her like a dark banner. She bites Vriska’s lip at a stop light, leaning over and biting hard into it until she tastes blood. Vriska floors it, licking up the blood from her teeth. Bug-splatter blue lights speck the rear view. Terezi has her foot on the windshield, face pressed into their slipstream. The hot crunch of sand shudders along the tires, the acrid smell lighting up her vision as they jackknife off the verge. Hot fingers on her thigh as they slam forward. The crunch snap is her her own this time. Dry heat and blossoming pain like a match burn slicing through her throat. Nails dig into her cooling skin to the sound of sirens.

They’ll tell you about their scourge days. Tell you from the other side of sheet plastic and six feet of dirt. They’ll tell you, if you ask.