~Back to Masky’s POV :’D~
It’s been three days since my little incident, when I woke up at Jeff’s apartment. That’s also the place I spend most of my time now. I’ve no clue why really, since he’s usually a sarcastic dick most of the time, or not even home. And he comes back drenched in blood half the time. I’m thinking of tailing him tonight, to see what his deal is. It’s not so hard to believe that he’s part of some gang, or maybe even some weirdo from one of the mobs that work around here.
However... The whole ‘Other world’ kind of nonsense has me curious. It’s not something I’d usually even consider a possibility, but Jeff also doesn’t seem like a liar. I’m confused, but...
I push the thoughts away, knocking back the last bit of brandy in my glass. The alcohol feels warmer than usual as it rushes down my throat, but I’m so used to it, I don’t even make a face at the sour taste. Instead, I rise from my spot in the bar I was at, nod a brief farewell to the bar tender, who I knew quite well, then turn and head for the door. The bells on the doorway chime drearily as I pass through, the door slamming shut behind me, due to the hinges being over used over the years.
The city air is moist, like it’s been raining, the cement’s dappled with puddles here and there, and the roof tops of all the buildings are hidden in thick clouds of mist.
Unlike my usual I actually have plans for the evening. I’m out of cash. Which is a first, in a long while, but the Jam I was at, the night I nearly ODed, took a lot of my money, and I hadn’t had time to steal anymore, since I’d been at Jeff’s house, sleeping, or the bar.
Once I’m out into the damp night air, I slip on the mask I’d had since... God only knows when....
Oh... Yeah. It was after my mom and dad died. Most of the time, I tried to forget I ever even had parents. It’s easier that way, just pretending something never happened. But the mask, it was in with my fathers old stuff, along with a bunch of other weird stuff.
Well, I needed something to hide my face when I started robbing stores. And since then, it’s just become my signature. Although no one else really knows it’s me. I don’t have friends. I only have allies.
Mask on, hood over my head, I turn away from the entrance to the main road, and instead turn my feet to the path that would take me deeper into the heart of the city. My steps are silent, and even as I’m walking I don’t let my thoughts wander. That could be a terrible blunder when you’re on the streets. Although, I’ve lived on them long enough to know exactly what I’m doing.
Usually I’m aware of any presence that comes even remotely close to me, even if its just a bird or a squirrel.
The path I’m taking, I’ve walked it enough to know where it goes, without keeping my eyes open. So instead, I just listen to everything around me. The whispers of the city are carried so easily in the still night air. Cars honk at each other, people talking in loud voices in the apartments above, or a TV blaring obnoxiously. It’s almost like the entire city is breathing. Or perhaps it’s all the drugs I’ve done in the past, that even gives me those thoughts.
It doesn’t surprise me when I pick up the small skritching sound of rubber soles against wet cement. I don’t turn around, although I can tell there’s some one tailing me. Instead, I keep a regular pace, but duck into the nearest door way, disappearing from anyone’s view. That is, until a familiar voice calls out to me.
“Relax sunshine, it’s me.”
Letting out a ragged sigh, I step out of the shelter of my hiding spot and back into the misty streets. I give Jeff a narrow glare, although my mask kind of makes it redundant.
“Ugh, what the fuck do you want?”
“What’s with the mask??” Jeff completely ignores my question, quirking an eyebrow and looking at me strangely. It’s kind of ironic since he’s the one with the scarred mouth and bleached skin. Not to mention the black around his eyes.
“What’s with your stupid fucking smile scar?” I retort irritably.
“I’m beautiful.” Jeff replies smartly, as he suddenly trots past me, shoes scratching against the soaking concrete below. The bottom of his pants were dyed darker from being dragged through the water as he walked. He took the lead, and I followed, since he was basically just heading in the direction I’d been.
Rolling my eyes at his comment, but deciding to answer anyway, I pull my hood down further, and fall in step behind him. “I’ve had it for awhile, kinda like a signature.”
“Yeah I figured, something like that. You’re good though, I mean noticing I was here and all.” Jeff said absently, looking around at all the buildings and stuff as we passed by them. He didn’t really seem all that interested in our conversation, but that was him for you. For the past few days I’ve known him, he hasn’t seemed interested in anything really.
“Dude, you’re louder than a rhino.”
“... I break into houses and kill people, and don’t get detected till the last second. How am I noisy?” Although it was a question, he doesn’t give me any time to reply, and instead carries on. “I’m not. You’re just really good.”
I don’t argue, because I don’t really know what to say.
For the next few minutes its nothing but silence between us. That, and the sounds of Jeff’s footsteps and thunder that rolled in the distance. Maybe it would start raining again. As we neared the end of the street, I finally spoke up. “Where are you going?”
“Where ever you’re going.”
“Oh.” Was all I said. I didn’t need the extra help, but it would be nice to have some company, although I’d never say that out loud.
And so, we continued on our way.
The video store was quiet. Of course Jeff and I were the only ones in at this hour. It was only a quarter after one. The night was still young. Only one worker sat behind the counter. He was a chubby, middle aged man, and he seemed to want nothing to do with us.
“Can we get some video games and stuff while we’re here?” Jeff asks, now it’s his turn to trail behind me, as I quickly scan through the aisles. For a brief second he reminds me of a kid, excited at being n a video game/movie store. Then something else strikes me. It’s not like Jeff couldn’t walk around like that in public, but with how his face was and stuff, I’m surprised the man behind the counter isn’t gawking at us like we just escaped the zoo.
Of course I’ve got my mask off my face and slipped around the back of my neck. But Jeff doesn’t have that luxury....
“Tim?” Jeff echoes.
“Huh? Oh yeah, sure, whatever man.”
“Sweeeet.” The pale teen hisses, before disappearing from my line of sight. I walk by a shelf, and slip an interesting looking movie into one of the inner pockets lining the side of my leather jacket. I continue to collect a few more, carefully avoiding the glance of a camera. I won’t use my mask until later, when I go for the cash. Right now, I’m just enjoying myself.
After I practically rattled with every step, I stopped putting things in my jacket and looked around for Jeff. Who was promptly sitting on the counter. I didn’t even try to hide the look of shock that crossed my face. The store worked didn’t even seem to notice Jeff’s existence. He just sat there behind the desk, nose buried in a book, while
As usual, relevant material never seemed to surface in my mind, till it was nearly too late, or till I nearly had the answer myself anyway, but I was suddenly brought back to the day, when I woke up in Jeff’s apartment. He’d said...
‘But the fact that you can see me, means you were close enough to death as it is.’
I decided not to stupidly test any of the theories that suddenly bubbled in my mind, and instead I quickly reached inside my hood, and pulled my mask up over my face, and looking up enough so that my hood didn’t have to cover my expression any longer.
Jeff leapt off the counter as I walked over to it, the slow relaxed saunter in my step was gone, replaced by an aggressive hurry. “Sir, you’re going to have to give me all the money in your till.”
The man looked up at me, his lazy expression suddenly shifting to rather startled one. He didn’t move, and just froze looking at me, as if wondering what to do. After all, it wasn’t like I was pointing a gun at him... Although I could be, if I wanted to.
“Hurry up!” I snap, a hint of a snarl in my voice.
“Ou, tough guy.” Jeff’s scratchy voice chuckles beside me, but I know better than to take my gaze off the enemy, even for a split second.
At my tone the man rises from his chair, but instead of heading towards the cash register, or even glancing at it for that matter, he reaches under the counter and retrieves a rather large wooden stick. It had a metal poker at the top of it, which I assumed was used for hanging up videos on high shelves.
I sigh figuring this wouldn’t have been that easy, but it’s always polite to give people a chance.
The man doesn’t say a word, but lunges at me with the stick, swinging it violently, like a blindfolded kid after a piñata. To me, it’s nearly like he’s moving in slow motion, and I can almost sense what move he’ll make before he actually does it. I lean to the side, avoiding a sharp jab from the wooden instrument. Turning on my heels, I reach out with on hand, grab the man’s weapon and jump up, my feet leaving the floor.
Shoving the stick back, it strikes the worker in the chest and sends him staggering backwards, while I make it up onto the counter. I’ve only killed someone once. And it was an accident. Usually I just knock people out, or beat them till they decide not to move. So instead of reaching from a weapon of my own, I simply jump down into the inner side of the counter and lash out with a barrage of punches.
Each one landing exactly where I planned.
One to the man’s face, one to his stomach, and one to his throat. He collapses backwards, knocking over his chair, and it clatters noisily against the hard tile floor. The man escapes into the corner, probably on the verge of loosing consciousness, after how hard I hit him.
So I turn my attention on the cash register. I try the till, but it’s locked, not to my surprise. Just before I can start looking around for the key, Jeff suddenly brushes past me and arrives at my side.
“Here.” He says, and I glance at him just in time for him to press a key into the palm of my hand.
“Thanks.” I breathe quickly, taking it and jabbing it into the key hole. The till pops open with a chiming sound. I quickly begin harvesting the money, and to my relief Jeff helps me.
By the time we’re heading to the door, the two of us, had collected all the money in the cash register, taken a few games and videos, and even escaped with a box of microwavable popcorn and a bag of gummy bears and other assorted candies.
The adrenaline coursing through my veins is setting my nerves wild, and I can barely hold back the laughter threatening to spill out my throat, unlike Jeff who was already howling in amusement as the two of us crash through the front door and escape into the misty night air.
I pick up the pace till I’m practically flying down the street, I keep my hands in my pockets so the bunch of bills don’t escape in our epic dash. I only look back once, just to make sure Jeff’s still following behind me, and he grins back as our eyes lock.
“Nice job, Masky!”
“Masky?” I chuckle breathlessly, casting the other boy a questioning gaze.
“Oh, that just... I guess that’s your new nickname or something.” Jeff shrugs carelessly.
“Whatever.” I roll my eyes, although the idea isn’t unappealing to me. I haven’t had a nickname... since grade school. Some how it feels nostalgic. I try not to dwell on the thought though, I turn back to the path in front of me, because I think I hear sirens in the distance.