Standard Wars and Repetoires (Gray Mood)
"You think God be in yo' corner?"
"You think the hate go 'way when you weep?"

"You think the Lord is my shepperd and he be my saviour,
And he gon' listen 'fore you goto sleep?"

"You think denial be a weapon mos' perfect?
"You think the danger ain't wrapped up for keeps?"

"You think this shit is too crazy to listen to,
So you go duck your head down in the deep?"

"I got news for you son,
Don't think I'm even reach for my gun,
You ain't got no time left,
No righteous, superiority when I'm done
This is mah anthem, my warcry,
My mic check army counting to One!"

~Zachary 'Red Letter' Demount, Brujah, MC~

Mob deep.
Sirens in the distance.
Someone was crying nearby, lost in the emotion of the moment, survival chewed down to nothing but a desperate cry for empathy. They were broken, gnawed on and suffering and no few of them were used to that. This was different though. Separate. Red rimmed it all and the hate made a slithering motion it hadn't before.

The Bloodstains had taken a week to clean and still showed through in bright light. He installed lower watt bulbs in all the fixtures and pawn-shop lamps that cast 70s illumination. The rugs had been thrown out, impossible to do anything with and new ones taken from nearby neighbourhoods that threw the slightly frayed, slightly used or just plain replaced mats out onto the corner for anyone to pick up on a garbage day.

He sent some boys around to scuff, scrap and hammer out some of the worst on the walls. Gouge marks, scraping claws and violence had made some hallways a noticeable battleground. After they were done, it just looked like another shit slum, cheap on the renovations.

He promised repairs to the worst, for those who stayed around. Said the money and the labour would roll in soon.

He put the boiler in the basement onto full blast for three days straight, cooking bodies and bones to a fine and brittle black that was easily crushed under a heel and a hammer.

He helped those who wanted to move, had no choice and too many memories on the wrong side of 'Grief' to be able to stay. Packed their things in u-hauls or shitty trucks and watched each head out onto the road, for a sister or an uncle's house where they could rethink life.

He paid a visit to each child that didn't have the words, the thoughts or anything resembling comforts to process what was going on or what had happened and reassured them with a stare. Told them that no bogeyman was scarier than he was and that each and every one of them was a deadman that just forgot they were dead.

He'd be the reminder from then on.

He put a family into his Mother's old apartment, because their's had burned and wasn't fit for anything living anymore. He moved what few things he owned into that crisped and charred hovel and called it a brand new home.

He made a map. Taken from a gas station, of the surrounding landscapes and staked out lines in crayon. Marked 'X's for the places of threat, and 'O's for recent events and 'Y's for locations he needed to keep in mind. He was making a lot of 'X's.

...And he was sitting in his chair a lot, with a bucket off to one side. A soup spoon in the other, big enough to hold an apple. He was scooping things out of a skull, wiping them clean with garbage bag mittens and sloping the remains in the buckets.

He was bathing them in a mixture of vinegar and water, dunking and scrubbing with steel wool pads and dirty rags for hours. Particle by particle cleaning. Meticulous.

He was laying them out next to the others, broken jawed and polished clean, flecks of red still caught between fracture points. Five on the window sill, the pane replaced by cardboard to blot the outside from view.

He was lost inside his little room of charred walls, plastic and burned civilization stink. Cleaning up the trophies of those who'd thought royalty didn't feel as good as that fresh, first wake-up into a second life. Digging out the brains they didn't deserve in the first place and mounting them on the window sill where they could stare for a while at what they'd done.

He put the last one next to the others, the teeth broken and shattered, all save for bits and pieces of the wisdom teeth at the back. It looked at him with a crooked brow, as if the bone had shaped itself around a permanent scowl or grimace.

He flicked it between the eyes.

"....Fuckin' Shovelheads."
"There's a shape to pay back. It's not exactly symmetrical but it does follow lines. Those lines are painted in the methods and madness, that comes with single-minded courage. Earnest, forthright, brutal and truly truly dedicated, you know the shape, burned into your memory. It's the ambiguous flare of a deformed star, when your eyes close right after you stare into the sun, or a photograph is taken or a gunshot goes off"

~Bernadette Willis, Ventrue Ghoul~

He had been approaching this all wrong. 
He had been busy.

Two sides of a coin, that summed up to 'I'm waiting...'

Waiting for the Throne to get back to him about a war.
Waiting for the soldiers who existed in the trenches to pick up their burners and rally the warcry.
Waiting for hate to give way to action.
All that waiting of course, had brought nothing but a year's worth of shrinking.

The block was terrified. Half his Herd had moved on for brighter pastures, where shitty concrete walls and cheap slum rent, didn't mean monstrosities and 'PCP Terrorists' haunting the block every other month. It didn't mean dead family members torn up and gobbled down the throats of eager little minions looking to make a name for themselves in an organization he had yet to know much about beyond their skinhead comforts and bravado. They wanted a little more peace than the corner could provide and some had gone looking for it upsate or out of city, picking up another job and a few hours less sleep where necessary just to stay alive.

He had been waiting and people had been suffering in the meantime, no matter how often he put it right.

The Building was half empty. Those who remained behind were either too old, too stubborn or simply too dirt poor, to be able to pick up and go. He'd taken care of those he could and done his best to set their fears to rest. Of those number, only a few were youngins and of those youngins, only a few were ripe for the Bangers and the Crews that started them early. 

Solo had told him the other week 

"Gonna have to start diggin' into cribs soon, Gray."

The joke had been a broken one. Meant to convey hopelessness, rather than humour. A sense of beaten down, one too many times. A sense of question where before their was a hard ass line, dug in with fingernails, blood and bullets. He'd stared at the young man, cornrows and a heater in his pants, noting how the hardness had begun to show cracks. Circles under the eyes and an ever increasing psychological addiction to the mind numbing comforts of weed. How long before the soft stuff wasn't enough? How long before his corner went darker than he had ever wanted it to go?

He'd made a small crack den on the third floor, disappear overnight, the inhabitants a memory no one could recall. Still, the stains on the walls, that puke-sweat stench lingering in the corridors. It left behind this desperation all this waiting couldn't get rid of.

That's when he'd known he had been approaching it all wrong.
That's when he had pulled Solo and Perm, loyalists to the Corner in and told them they were done waiting. Done sitting on couches, with bloodstains for friends. 
That's when they got busy.

* * * * *

Construction sites. Colfax was full of them. Half finished attempts at 'Gentrification' that were left boarded up and abandoned by the city's efforts, after the funding got pulled for greener climates. Rebar stacks pulled for reinforced windows. Plywood pulled, for double layer boarding over broken walls and entrances. Chainlink fence snipped and dragged to alleys and lanes, bound and tied and twisted into place with handed down wire-cutters and pliers. 

A small assortment of 'cousins' paid in under the table 'donations' from the good citizens of Denver. A few car jackings, some muggings, the occasional B 'n E. Enough money for the labour with the spare parts taken from places that never saw eyes, or livings. Abandoned hovels around the hood, stripped over the course of a week or more. Rebar, cut into sections, rough welded over ground floor windows and doors. Metal security doors removed from the higher levels of the Tenement building and added to the ground floor halls

A bulwarks in the modern age.

Door-stop grooves in every occupied apartment, and several others. A carved divot in the ground infront of the front door, into which several bound rebar lengths could be fit and wedged against the door itself. Reinforced barricading. Every occupant taught what to do. Taught to listen for the gunshots. Taught to stay indoors and respect the 'screams' and put down their barricade. Safety in practical means.

Library runs for internet access. Jailbroken Iphones, taken from muggings. Sitting outside coffee shops, leeching off their wifi. 

Anarchist's cookbook downloaded for free. 
Bottled fire how-tos, handed out to the 'Boys'. 
Baseball bats, fitted with metal rings at the business ends handed out,  with batting practice in the basement every night for each of the grown as men, and several of the youngest in the building, girls and boys alike. ('Break a knee or a shin, no matter how strong that fucker be, he ain't walkin' right enough to catch you'). 
"Willy Sparks' the Winslow familiy's electrician, putting repairs to the fire alarm system, with two bells in the Tenement building fixed to proper standard. No fire truck would know, but the abandoned top floor of the building with it's open windows, would make sure the neighbourhood could hear it if/when they went off. Let everyone know that this?

Was not. A Drill.

The Korean store owner down the street got himself a new security door. Slide latch eye-hole, reinforced paneling and as many padlocks as he thought he needed. 
The abandoned lot across the road, got a small assortment of abandoned furniture from the various abandoned apartments, until it looked like an antiques graveyard. Before the week was out, kids had turned it into a kaleidescope of graffiti, tags and markings. 

Abandoned cars were siphoned with hoses, lungs and old tupperware containers, stored in cupboards alongside empty bottles of 40s and the new 'Recycling program' he setup in every hall of the tenement building. 
Took up the rags and torn up clothes no one could wear anymore and spent several hours, tearing down strips and tucking them into a cardboard box he left in the apartment next to his. 

They got busy.

And when all was said and done. When a week to a month's worth of effort, grit, elbow grease and 'family favours' were finished, he stared out from a roof top, at the barrel fires on the street. With the 'soldiers' around their rims, warming hands off furniture kindling taken from the Armoire Garden (Gran Winslow's idea). He looked at the lights on in the apartments of the Tenement, watching through windows, as family after family after elder after elder, fit their rebar barricade into place against the door and the divot before climbing into bed.

He watched and turned out toward the city, sniffing at the wind like some feral black beast.

Staring out across the city, toward the quiet little dark patch where Denver Maps said Union Station was. 

"...We gon' have some words, monkeys. Time you' know my name."

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)