Bad Company

three friends. one in a straitjacket. one in a cage. one stunned into a catatonic state. it's just a matter of time before they wake up fully, and when they do...well....


6. the long game


Two weeks later, a young man stands at an intersection. In the darkness, he looks up and can see the faint, grainy silhouette of a young girl crouching next to a dim white light. The outline of a long gun barrel is visible, a long with the faint glint of dangling earrings. The intersection is empty and the traffic lights are working intermittently, allowing sparse traffic to pass him. 

Black jeans, dark hair and nothing else. He is invisible in the darkness. Two intersections away, a large SUV and two sedans slide by. Inside, Kara Scudson peers intently at the screen displaying three red dots, she is dressed in a jacket and jeans. It is functional wear, neat and meant to make her job easier without infernal trims and stitches. Above, a helicopter hammers past shining a sick, vibrant light lighting up a section of Old Manhattan Quarter vividly. The skeleton of a former law chambers juts into the night sky and rubbish swirls gently. 

"Target sighted..." the filtered voice of a man slinks through speakers in one of the large SUVs. Kara grins with faintly concealed glee. 

"Who? Where?" she is frantically breathing. Pause for the pilot to consult his infrared display. The helicopter thud-thuds sideways and lowers itself ponderously to the skeletal skyline. 

"Oscar Proust, definitely-what the?!" the pilot grabs a control and yanks it upwards. The gunshot is loud and unmistakably close. Terrifyingly so. The chopper jerks sideways and lights beep suddenly. 

Seven hours later, the news is splashed onto newspapers: HORROR CHOPPER CRASH! It screams at the readers and people gingerly take the paper as if it will bite them. 

The mangled pictures of a downed helicopter nestled into a glassy structure that looks like a stunted tree beams into homes. Kara Scudson peers at her hand intently with the bandage and curses her way down the hallway of her police office. 

"A young woman possibly aged in her early to mid twenties was seen in the vicinity of the crash, along with a young man...." the police chief looks dim and grim and grey. Shadows nestle in his face and the bags under his eyes are now bruises. A photo of a dark haired young man flashes on screen, a comma of dark hair juts upwards into the night. The picture is grainy, as is the picture of the smiling girl gripping his arm. Her face is lifted up in pleasure. The neon glow of a nightclub bears down on them both. She has oblique shadows and planes curved and made taut by a collection of piercings and tattoos. "...we're investigating the involvement of Oscar Proust and Tiff Southern, both former Stamford students." 

The press shoots questions at the harrassed police chief like a rat a tat of bullets and he weaves through the barrage of poisoned minds and devious, word-playing souls of eager journalists ready to feed on scraps and carrion of news that has been sanitized but is still raw. 


Tiff Southern and Oscar Proust exit the police cruiser, a large, big and clunky Dodge Charger with bull bars and a bar of red and blue lights, it is all quiet and futuristic like a medical terminal. Oscar smoothes down the comma of hair and grins shamefully. 

Tiff removes a sticker and her skin is suddenly clear and void of tattoos. She smiles too. 

"Gosh! What a hard day...."she complains and seems to have an issue with the night sky. She is notorious with arguments, she can yell at the sky and make it stop but today she doesn't bother. Her part in the play is still very much active. 

Be like a criminal, they said. Go so deep into your deception that you'll risk actually becoming what you're not. 

Oscar cocked the police issue Glock 20 and Tiff selected an easily workable AK47. The swanky bar glowed and the slam of the magazine clipping into place was harsh as Tiff's palm rammed it in.  

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