Outrun Stories #51

PALE BLOOD - Part 2 of 10

Outrun Stories #51

“A kind smile,” I say as I light another cigarette.

“What do you mean, Cutty?” the interviewer asks, padding the sweat on his brow away with a dirty piece of cloth.

“That’s what she said to me, first time we met,” I look up and eye the son of a bitch.

“What do you mean that’s what she said to you?”

“Kinda hard to believe for some asshole like you, but you know, some people do occasionally warm to me. That’s what she fucking said to me, the first time I met her, that I had a kind smile.”

A distorted voice comes through the speakers in the small interview room. “Cut the bullshit, Lieutenant. We’re on a limited timeframe here, can we get going please?”

I look at the guy opposite me, balding with a paunch, a white shirt sticking to him with sweat and filth from this place, and a .44 magnum in his shoulder holster. Who carries a big fucking hand canon like that anymore? Fucking agency people that’s who. These assholes.

I lower my head and huff. “One of those things, isn’t it?” I ask to silence, not really expecting an answer. “Yeah, you know, all the shit you get taught about the world when you’re growing up, well, at least what we got taught, back before this shit storm started. You know, all those old tales our moms taught us, that there aren’t really monsters, not really. Back before the incidents, back before the mutations, fucking way back when and if you concentrate, and think about it hard enough, you can just about remember a brighter time. Can’t you? I can, some days at least. A smile here, a sunny day there, a cool breeze on a hot day, a warm blanket on a cold one. People milling in the streets, cops doing their jobs, people not afraid to leave their homes and always, fucking always, the good guy won. Well, it’s not like that anymore, is it?”

The tired and sweaty interviewer shrugs his shoulders. “You tell me, Cutty. Some people out there would say you’re the boogie man too, you know?”

“Just who’s side are you supposed to be on?!” I scream at him before muttering, “Fucking asshole,” under my breath.

The speaker voice crackles through again, “Cutty, let’s proceed,”

“Yeah, that poor kid, Carla Burrows. Sixteen years old now and born three months before Incident Number 4, right here in San Rio. She never had a chance. There really are monsters now, right? Not like your regular homicidal maniac, or serial rapist, or mad man drug dealer. I’m talking mutants for fucks sake. These big grizzly things that have been granted rights under that bullshit legislation they passed to protect them poor bastards in the fallout areas like here. Well, how the hell do you think that worked out for everyone? Badly, that’s how. They’re out there, they’re taking over our streets and we, the police, are supposed to do something about it.” I pause for a long time. “It’s like no one gives a fuck. Well, I did. I still do.”

“Yeah? Why’s that, Cutty?” the interviewer asks.

“I had a friend once, her name was Carla Burrows. She’d had the shit kicked out of her, her entire life by her piece of shit step dad, and I helped her and she said I had a kind smile. But that’s not what you want to know about is it?”

“Cutty, you gotta start trusting us,” the interviewer asks with a wheezing breath as he lights another cigarette. “We’re here to help.”

“You’re not here to fucking help anyone other than yourselves. You just want to know about the gangs, the mutants that took her in. Well, you ready? This is where it starts to get messy…”

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Outrun Stories

Short sci-fi stories in 500 words or less deriving from the Outrun, tech-noir and NewWave aesthetic.

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