Fast Friends and Dead Men
Slightly more excess than usual, please be forewarned.
Fast Friends and Dead Men
“Is this your friend?” Jane asked. By friend she meant ex-girlfriend, because she’d thought he only gave that particular dead-eyed look to her, and was very aware of the Beretta tucked into the back of her jeans.
She’d entered that moldy condemned apartment building a few minutes before with her boyfriend by her side. They were on business so he wore the veil over his face.
They’d been creeping along the filthy halls of that building, carrying on a whispered conversation, arguing over whether the Sex Pistols thought they were really that hardcore, or whether it was all pastiche. Jane had always assumed they were sufficiently deluded, preferring DC punk, but her boyfriend thought it was an act, pointing to lyrical choices he said suggested higher intelligence than their act implied. Though he didn’t seem to care for punk as a genre.
Jane had been enjoying their talk. It was hard to get him to speak if it wasn’t about work or philosophy. Then they had company, not the filth they were hunting, but a woman.
She had greasy brown hair and a look on her face that was almost as dead as his. She wore a white gown, and looked like she’d been wearing it for a week. The sweat stains were yellow under her arms, and the blood had dried brown in speckles and splotches down the front. Her dress was slightly lighter than her pale skin that was oddly gray-green.
“Hi,” he said, his dead face shifting slightly.
“Is this your friend?” Jane asked. He wouldn’t forgive her if she killed this woman without proof, but those blood splatters might be enough.
“This is Becka,” he said, and Jane noticed the scars running down Becka’s arms, a thousand needle marks.
Jane had seen a lot of terrible things in the months since she’d met her boyfriend, but this woman made her think of old movies. Bridesmaid of the Living Dead came to mind, and Jane chuckled.
“Hello,” Becka said, her head shifting slowly on her neck as if it were filled with air.
“She was Jack’s friend,” he said, and they started walking down the hall again, Becka joining them.
“Is she coming with us?” Jane asked.
“Seems that way,” he said.
“…And why are we here?” She knew they were there on business, to kill somebody, but she didn’t know who.
“A dojo master-”
“like a karate guy?”
“Judo, but yeah,” he said. “He was touching the kids in his private lessons.”
They found the stairs, and he held her hand as they walked up the brown tile steps. It looked like someone had used the stairwell as a restroom.
“He’s a pedophile?” Jane asked. They hadn’t killed one of those before.
“Yeah. Papers said a judo-mom walked in on a toddler orgy.”
“The papers said that?”
“That’s what they intimated,” he said.
“And why’s she here?” Jane asked, looking over at the undead girl walking beside them, and noticing what looked like a chainsaw blade, hanging down from her hand like a bike chain.
Becka looked over at her as they reached the third floor, shiny dead eyes staring into her. She held up the hand with the chain. “Holding back the flood,” she said.
“…Was that supposed to be an answer?” Jane asked, turning to her boyfriend, because looking at Becka was starting to make her skin crawl.
“She’s probably here for the same asshole-” he said.
“And you’re okay with that?”
“I made a deal with Jack,” he said, as they stopped in front of apartment 306. “Same goes for Becka.”
He seemed distracted, and Jane noticed Becka mumbling, staring off down the hall. “Jack says, he’s glad you found someone,” Becka said, “and Mel says hello.”
“…Thanks, and hi,” he said.
His face was always expressionless. Jane had thought he looked like a cowboy, or just above caring. Now, his face was still blank, but he looked sad, and he seemed to be talking to ghosts.
“Let me get the door for you,” he said, stepping back, and delivering a straight kick next to the handle.
The door slammed open and a man inside rolled out of bed, hitting the floor before jumping up to his feet. He was naked below a sleeveless T-shirt, with one of the worst hair-metal cuts Jane had witnessed.
“Who the fuck are you?” he yelled as Becka ran at him.
She dove across the bed, swinging her chain like a short sword. He raised his hands, and from his stance he did seem to know judo, but her first swing took off three of his fingers, and she didn’t stop as he scrabbled away whimpering.
Jane had killed people, and she’d watched as her boyfriend killed dozens, but this was more like torture than murder.
“Does she always use that?” Jane asked.
“That chain? Doubt it. Jack always used different weapons…. I think he liked knives best. Covering MO, probably.”
“Is something wrong?” she asked, because he looked upset.
“I was really looking forward to killing that guy,” he said.
Becka had finished flaying the dojo-master. He lay on the floor, looking a bit like a bloody human shaped sea sponge. He was inching forward slowly, staring off into the apartment with the one eye he had left.
Jane leaned in through the door, and saw the katana he was inching towards. He squealed, and Jane turned back.
Becka held her chain with both hands, looped around his neck. She started to saw, dragging her chain back and forth, and Jane turned away but still heard the gurgling.
There was finally silence, and Jane’s boyfriend tugged on the sleeve of her shirt. “Look,” he said, pointing into the apartment.
The judo guy’s head was on the floor, but that wasn’t where he was pointing. Becka was rummaging around, dumping out drawers, and emptying trash bins. She flipped the bed, and smiled, dropping her chain like it was out of ammo.
There was a cigar box under the mattress, and, inside it, a small brown bottle and a soiled rag.
“They always find a something,” he whispered. He must have meant Becka, and Jack before her. It was a way keep things interesting at least.
Becka bounced over to them, the creepy smile on her face growing slightly more human. “I’m hungry,” she said.
Jane wondered if they were expected to feed her.
“The Big Noodle’s got their lunch special,” he said. Apparently they were going to feed her.
“Great,” she said, skipping down the hall. “Jack likes it there.”