Blood or Chocolate?
Chapter 5: Larry Luna Tasted Like Licorice
The drive to the convenience store wasn’t long, probably ten minutes tops. The drive was what I needed though. The cool air flying through my windows and the lack of sun always made me feel better. I wish I could understand it. When night fell, I always felt more comfortable.
My ‘center’ was immediately destroyed when I pulled up. I recognized the rusty-colored hunk of junk that Alex used as his car. Well, shit! I was half-tempted to drive around the block until he left, and half-tempted to go inside and start something. But this store belonged to a good friend of my uncle, and I wasn’t going to act a fool just because I was in a pissy mood. That wasn’t going to be a choice, most likely. Alex and I crossing paths always led to a nasty situation, no matter who was around.
“Hey Luna!” I heard Alex’s shout, then the crash of something break. Sounded like glass. His voice didn’t sound too steady either. I got out of the car. Something felt wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. “Where the hell are ya? Come out, come out, or I’m not paying for this beer!”
I had taken two steps when Alex stumbled out of the store. His uniform was disheveled, his skin was clammy and sweaty, and he had a death grip on an eighteen pack of Coors. He turned beet red when he saw me standing there. It became obvious he was drunk and was about to steal the beer. He was also aware he was doing wrong. Most of all, he was not happy that I saw him. “Maxwell. Fuckin’ Duo Maxwell. Great, jus’ great,” he slurred slightly to the sky. “To what do I owe the pleasure, hmmm?”
“Come on, Alex,” I said roughly. “I’ll drive you home.”
“You ain’t drivin’ me anywhere, cunt.”
“Fuck you, you deer-raping bastard. I’m doing this so no one else gets hurt by your irresponsibility. I could give a shit about you.”
“Ooooh,” he said, pretending to be scared. “Such anger. I didn’t know I could get such a rise out of you.”
“Yes, you can. You can also get a lot of vomit out of me too. Come on,” I said, opening my car door. “Get in.”
“No way you son of a whore. I won’t get into any enclosed space with you.” He frowned. “You’ll kill me just like you killed my brother.”
I let out a slow breath. This time it was going to be about that. “Believe it or not Alex, but you’re not worth going to jail over. Besides,” my voice lowered, “your brother was an accident. And you god damn know that.”
“No, he wasn’t. You murdered him. You murdered him!” he shouted, spraying spit into the air. In an attempt to take a menacing step towards me, he tripped over his feet and fell face first. Wow. He was a lot drunker than I had realized. But now that he had pissed me off, I was going to make sure he made the journey home by foot.
As he laid there cussing at the dirt, I reached into my glove compartment and pulled out my Swiss army knife. I walked swiftly to his car and opened the door. Huh, the stupid son of a bitch still had the keys in the ignition. Cool. So I took his keys and walked to the other side of the road. Using my pitching arm, I threw his keys as hard as I could. They shone silver in the moonlight before they vanished, and I wasn’t sure if I heard them land with a thud. Alex saw what I did. As I walked back he continued to lay on the ground but he was kicking his feet, screaming obscenities, and pounding his fists on the ground. He was behaving like a four-year-old girl whose mother wasn’t buying her a Barbie doll.
That was the best thing I had seen all day.
Just to be on the safe side (and because he royally pissed me off), I took my knife and slashed all four of his tires. Hey, I didn’t want to take the chance that he finds his keys and tries to drive. Yeah, that sounded like a good excuse. After that, I slipped my knife back into the glove compartment, stepped over him as he continued to have his temper tantrum and went into the store. It was built just like every other convenience store in this country. The counter was to the left of me, the rest of the store and the freezers to my right. And I could see from my position in the first row the reason I was born: Shiner Bock.
I gently laid my head against the glass door, rubbing it tenderly and murmuring sweet nothings to the best beer in the whole wide world. Cautiously, so as not to frighten it, I eased the glass door open. I coaxed it out of its chilled crib, and cradled it close to my chest, trying to shelter it with warmth and love. I continued to talk lovingly to the case as I walked to the counter. I passed the door, and saw that Alex had passed out from his tantrum. Instead of letting him walk home, I should probably use Luna’s phone to call Septem. Knowing the condition I found his nephew in, he would have a shit-fest. That was something else I would love to see.
“Hey Luna. Luna!” I called, waiting at the counter. “Are you taking a shit or what?” I started walking to where the bathrooms were, thinking that maybe he was in there. I saw then that there was broken glass on the floor. It was a Snapple. And from the way the pink fluid was sprayed across the wall and floor, it could only have been thrown, not knocked over. “Luna, Alex has been acting an ass. He’s got glass all over the place. Where’s your broom?” I still didn’t hear an answer. “Luna?”
Just then that feeling of wrongness I felt earlier came back with a vengeance. I was so scared I was about to throw up just because of the anxiety. I closed my eyes and stood still, focusing completely on my breathing. Freaking out wasn’t going to help, I told myself. Stay calm. Stay calm. He might need your help. He’s old, he could’ve had a heart attack carrying a box or something. Go check on him.
Much calmer, I stepped over the glass to get to the bathroom door. Some of it still crunched underneath my shoes. I knocked on the door, just to be polite. In this store, there was only one bathroom for men and women to use. When he didn’t answer, I put my hand on the knob and twisted it. “Okay, I’m coming in,” I said. “Better cover up anything you don’t want me to see.” I opened the door the rest of the way. “Luna, what’s--ahhhhhhhh!”
I screamed for all I was worth like a little girl. Sounded pretty damn close to it too. But I Did Not Care, with capital letters. I recognized Luna by his eyes. That was it. His skin was... gone. It looked like it had been licked clean off his bones. I saw every bit of what the human anatomy looked like without skin, and I was very sorry I did. It was summed up in one word: horrifying. That image was burned into my eyes.
I slammed the door closed and ran. I forgot about the glass (of course, who could blame me) and stumbled. I dropped to my hands and knees, and threw up my sister’s lovingly made chicken and potatoes. Gagging, I got up and ran out the door, still screaming like a sissy. I forgot about Alex’s stupid ass (again, who could blame me) and I tripped on his body, landing face first in the dirt. My brain being rattled in my skull managed to calm my ass down, and I was able to take stock of my surroundings. I wasn’t alone.
I looked up and saw that there were three men standing in front of a black Pontiac GTO. I recognized it immediately because it was Hilde’s favorite car. It was sporty, but practical. I had a good feeling who the owner was. It just seemed to match him.
All three men were tall, but two of them were just fuckin’ huge. The smaller of the two was maybe six-foot-three, with strong angular features. He had his brown hair combed over even though he wasn’t bald. He had a matching beard and mustache. The other man was more than likely close to six-eight, nine maybe, with hair sticking up like two horns. He looked like he shit turds bigger than me. And the third man was him.
Tonight must’ve been casual night for him. He had on very loose black jeans, a lightweight black jacket, and some sort of white shirt underneath. The other two were dressed kind of weird: one like he was a politician and the other like he just came from the desert. The three of them looked at me like I was a rabbit trying to hump a dog. I could only imagine what I looked like right now, covered in dirt, vomit, and other things I didn’t want to think about...
“...oh god,” I said in a tiny voice, and felt like I was going to puke all over again.
“What is it?” the black-haired man said softly, and crouched down in front of me. I didn’t say anything. Hell, I couldn’t say anything. He then gently gripped my shoulders and helped me to stand. I looked into those eyes of his, and felt a weird surge of... something. Also, his eyes were kind of bright. More than they should have been. I glanced at the other two without moving my head, and noticed that their eyes were really brown. I’d say they were glowing like Heero’s, Quatre’s, and Trowa’s, now that I thought about it...
It was him. He knew my name. “He’s dead,” I said without explanation.
He didn’t waste any time. “Rashid, Darlian.” That was all he said.
The giant started forward immediately, but the other one held back. “But Pack-”
I couldn’t believe what I heard. It was a growl, but it sounded so... animal, that I couldn’t believe it came from the Chinese man. The other man yelped, threw me a look so full of hatred I jumped, and moved quickly to catch up with the giant. Both of them stepped over Alex as if he wasn’t even there. That asshole. I couldn’t believe he was sleeping through this.
“Are you hurt?”
I turned back to that smooth but commanding voice, and shook my head.
“Was there anyone else in there with you?”
I shook my head again.
“Did you see anything strange?”
I gave him a pathetic chuckle. Strange didn’t even begin to describe it.
“Can you stand on your own?”
I hesitated, but nodded.
“Okay.” He stepped back and slowly released me. I felt as if all my body heat left with him, and I shivered from the cold. I turned my back to him to allow me some privacy. I was seriously shaken up, and it was so obvious it was embarrassing. At least Alex wasn’t awake to see me. That was some comfort.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Chang Wufei.”
I turned slightly towards him. He could probably only see my profile, and that’s all I wanted him to see. “Chang is your last name, right?” Hey, I wasn’t completely stupid about other cultures.
“Yes, it is.” He didn’t smile, but he was very pleased. “And you’re Duo.”
“Yes, Duo Maxwell,” I said. I was shocked speechless when he raised his hand to shake mine. Hey, he knew our customs as well, unlike the people he lived with. “Pleasure to meet you,” I mumbled.
“But it would’ve been better under different circumstances,” he said empathetically, completely understanding my moodiness. Oddly enough, that pleased me.
Rashid and Darlian came out with varying expressions on their faces. They stepped over Alex’s still-sleeping body. The brown-haired man looked generally upset, but the giant had a more focused worry. He glanced at me as he walked to Wufei, and I caught a flash of his thoughts. It was a name. Mooney. I heard him! Hot dog! Excited, I tried to focus, but I was sabotaged by my own excitement. It turned out to be a lucky break for me. Instead of running into the brick wall like I had with the others, I was able to stop myself just in time. The sting was sharp, but not as bad as it could have been. It was enough though, to prevent me from trying again.
I just heard him, now I couldn’t. How weird.
“Rashid,” Wufei called. The giant promptly stepped forward and dropped to one knee at Wufei’s feet. Rashid then started whispering. I looked to who I now knew was Darlian, and was surprised at the glare he was leveling me. He was a barely contained body of anger, but I couldn’t find a source or a purpose for it. Or why he was aiming it at me. Mad, I gave him the finger. He gasped, shocked. Well, I guess he knew what that meant, didn’t he? Tee hee.
I felt a change in the mood, and turned to Wufei and Rashid. Wufei was also a body of contained anger, and I couldn’t think why the death of a man he probably never met upset him so much. Rashid was looking at him gravely. Then Wufei turned to me, and I couldn’t help but feel a vibration of worry with a scent of fear? Without even thinking about it (which was stupid of me I realized later), I closed my eyes and focused totally on Wufei. I took a deep breath, held it, then took the plunge.
I dropped to the ground in a seizure. I’ve never had one before, but I knew that’s exactly what it was. My body was jerking uncontrollably, and my muscles weren’t obeying any commands I gave it. I felt like I was trapped inside of a body that wasn’t even mine, trying to break out and free myself from bonds I couldn’t see or touch.
All of a sudden, something like a large iron door slammed closed to me in my mind. Just a second later, the seizure stopped. I felt Wufei gather me in his arms, and he was speaking to me in a language I didn’t understand. I turned my head to look him in the eye. He tsked, and said something to Rashid in that same language. I heard something rip, and a cloth the same color as Rashid’s shirt was given to Wufei. He gently started to wipe my nose, and I could see the blood staining the cloth. Christ, not again.
Where Heero, Trowa and Quatre’s minds were brick walls, Wufei’s was an F5 tornado. He was nothing but raging winds and strength, destroying my pity little mind without any conscious effort. He was power contained by bones and skin.
In all honesty, I didn’t know why I was still alive.
“Darlian has already called the police, and he has now just called an ambulance,” Wufei told me. He started to caress my face. “Rashid has called Heero to get your sister and uncle. I’ll have them meet you at the hospital.”
Well, sounded like he had everything under control.
“Go to sleep,” he said to me. “You’ve had a very eventful couple of days.” He looked up, but I didn’t bother following his gaze. I could hear Alex rousing from his alcohol-induced sleep. Wufei frowned, then returned his attention to me. “Especially today.”
I didn’t know how that brought it together for me, but it did. I swear, my mind sounded with an audible ‘click’ as the pieces came together, all at once. Howard was wrong. They weren’t superhuman. They were something else entirely.
“You’re not human,” I whispered as I felt myself slipping away. “None of you are.”
“No, we’re not,” I heard him say with a slight sigh. “But neither are you.”
I passed out.
To see Wufei's car, click here.