Chas, Dexi, and Ward awoke from their drugged and malnourished exhaustion to the horrible wailing child sounds. It was sometime after three in the afternoon.
Chas growled in belligerent irritation. “Somebody needs to kill that kid.”
“Someone’s hurting her, Chas, that’s not cool,” she replied back with her own irritation, more towards Chas than the child.
“What’s not cool is listening to that ‘waahhh, waahhh’ all the goddamned time.” Only seconds awake and Chas was off, ripe already. “Ain’t we dealing with enough, without that racket?”
“Chas, do you mind?”
“Shouldn’t that goddamned super flu-fungus have taken her ass out by now?” He was reveling in her becoming upset.
Ward, most always calm and level headed, intervened. “Look, there’s no reason to get upset or worry about what we can’t control, right?” He could feel Dexi glaring at him. “I’m going to put on some music. How about a little Lydia Lunch for breakfast, to start the day, huh?”
“Orphans” began to jangle out its jittery vibe of sex-tensed caterwauling. They sat for a moment, taking in the music, indulging in the late day's first serving of nicotine.
“We need to make a run.” Dexi’s tone was dire.
“No, YOU need to make a run. I’m gonna hold down the fort here,” Chas retorted with confrontation.
“She’s right, Chas. We need to make a run. We’ll check with Angel and Chelsea, see if they need supplies as well, and see who we can get to go with us. Maybe on one of the lower levels we can make some trades. I mean, there is still a signal, so...I have laptops, batteries...all kinds of stuff. Just not drugs or food.” Ward had always tried to be rational. “Hopefully we won’t have to go down too far. The other floors can be rough, and I’d really rather not go outside. Either way, we have guns and gas masks, but those aren’t for trade.”
Last time they made a run they did go outside. It was before things got too hectic, and they had made the run on a hunch. It was a free for all of overzealous self-preservation. Every kind of person running in every which direction, looting, robbing, trampling, killing, and even raping. Hordes of people covered their faces with hankies and surgeon's masks, slathered their limbs in antibacterial sanitizer (thinking it would actually do something), and went for their manifest destiny of necessity. They tripped over budling vine roots and tripped over each other, just stepped on bodies, crushing the helpless beneath. Eventually armed riot guards showed up with shields and guns and gas grenades and sound weapons, unwarrantedly taking out anyone who was not wearing black riot-squad attire.
They were lucky to get what they needed while they could.
“Can’t we just sell Dexi’s ass?”
“Kiss off, Chas!” Her reaction was not unwarranted. Prostitution had become big business on the lower floors, or so they had heard. A piece of punk ass like Dexi could rake in big trade.
Before all of this madness started, Chas already had an ill repute for pimping out naive and addicted punk girlies. He subjected those poor, strung-out and easily malleable young women to the most grotesque of sexual acts with the sickest of clients. He would start by dating them, and wait until they were good and hooked. It would all go down so fast that the lost-soul punkettes had no idea what the hell had even happened. Their emotions and personalities would go haywire; they would get physically sick. He would laugh, mimic, mock, and refuse them a fix. Eventually, he would have them working for hits.
Ward continued to try and ease some of the tension between Dexi and Chas. “I was already online. Nothing new, and it seems like more sites are down. Hell, the internet is barely connecting now...there we go. Just more of the usual, really. More riots, more rats. A children’s shelter was overrun with those rodent bastards. Twenty-two children were eaten alive. Sixty more had supposedly contracted the N.E.C.R.O. from the rats, and were subsequently euthanized. More suicides, more vines, and more worms clogging the sewers.”
They sat in silence but for the sounds of Lydia Lunch and the wailing child down the hall. Strangely enough, the two sounds almost complemented each other. And every one of those pained cries (of the child, not Lydia Lunch) tore into Dexi’s gut like an internal claw hammer.
Chas changed the subject. “I don’t feel good...anyone got a bag?”
“You’re out already...dammit,” Ward was agitated, “sparingly, man.”
“I been sick! Whattaya want from me, huh? Miracles?”
Ward did not feel like dealing with it. He tossed Chas two bags. “That’s it. We can get through tonight, but tomorrow we’ll need to scavenge. And you, Chas. Make it last, huh?”
Come back Monday as they KILL THE POOR