I’m not sure what the ruling on human-on-human violence is, if this opening flashback crosses the line then I’ll move the story to Controversial but otherwise I’ll keep it here with a warning.
The bedroom door creaked open, the light from the hallway hit across the face of Fitzgerald Mongola, waking him from his deep slumber. As he craned his neck to see what had opened his door, he saw a blurry figure standing in the doorframe, its face shrouded in darkness.
Then the figure raised its arms and everything exploded.
Beside him, Fitzgerald saw his wife Vivienne’s head burst open, her skin shredded, her skull cracked open from the force, she never even heard what killed her. With fear taking control, Fitzgerald’s fight or flight reactions kicked in and flight won out easily, his eyes quickly looked at the side-door, if he could reach that then he could double-back through the guest rooms and make it to the staircase.
Fitz took one step out of the bed, only for a second explosion to burst out and slam into his chest, the large, bulky Fitz felt his neck and his lungs get torn to pieces by a hundred pieces of shrapnel, instantly he felt his breath turn to blood and he crashed into the wall, sliding down to the floor as his muscular frame only weighed him down now.
As he clutched a hand to his neck, doing nothing to stop the cascade of blood from his wounds, Fitz looked up at the figure who he so viciously attacked him and his wife in their own home. When he saw the face of his eldest son Jonathan, he wasn’t sure if he was surprised or disappointed.
Calmly, almost to an infuriating degree given what he’d just done, Jonathan placed the shotgun onto the bed and crouched down in front of his father. His face was smiling but his eyes showed dismay, frustrated and upset that things had come to this moment. Pausing to take a deep breath, Jonathan met his father’s eyes.
Fitz could only gargle, his throat too choked with blood to speak coherently. Jonathan looked down, seeing his father’s chest frantically shaking as he tried and failed to find his breath again, by now the entire right half of his body was drenched in blood, he didn’t have the energy to even lift his right arm, let alone pull himself up to stand on his own two feet, but through what seemed like pure hatred alone, he wasn’t dead yet.
“You know this could’ve been avoided Fitz. If you hadn’t been so fucking toxic, and abusive, and so goddamn self-righteous with your racist fucking bullshit, I might have been able to have a normal life with a normal family. But my family is dead, and your idea of helping your own son grieve was to call my wife a nigger and my son a half-cast mongrel, to fucking laugh at their deaths and insult their memories. Father of the fucking year you are.”
Fitz seethed, spittle and blood fired out of his mouth as he tried to strain his final words at his son.
“You still really think that don’t you, that I’m just an ungrateful little cunt, mooching off of the family name, that none of this is your fault because how can the great Fitzgerald Elias Mongola be wrong in how he raised his sons? Trust me when I tell you I actually debated giving you a slower death because God help me you fucking deserve it. But I guess seeing you like this is worth something.”
Feeling his head starting to get heavy and his neck drooping down, Fitz let go of his wounded neck and lunged at Jonathan, but his hulking body too heavy and his blood-loss rendering him too weak to do more than collapsed face first onto the ground, landing in front of Jonathan in a pathetic display, now too weak to even life his head off the ground.
Jonathan waited, watching his father draw his final breaths, laying helplessly on the cold wooden floor of his own bedroom, bleeding out like a stuck-pig. A fittingly dismal end for a worthless excuse for a man.
Eventually Fitz’s body stopped moving and everything about him relaxed, his ragged breathing replaced by the small trickle of blood leaking from his neck. Jonathan stared at his father’s corpse for several minutes, as though expecting the bastard to have a final trick up his sleeve. Satisfied that Fitz was indeed dead, Jonathan stood up and went to find a phone to call the police.
Back in the present day, Jonathan woke from the back seat of the car, he could hear voices and it took him a moment to realise that Scarlett had turned on the radio.
“…heating up in the race for mayor, Frederick Peterson, former CEO and owner of Frederick’s Family Fluffy Farm, has officially put his name in for the mayoral race, citing the ‘draconian’ measures that challenger Ricardo Guerra wants to put in place against Flufies as his primary reason for putting his name for forward. The previously unopposed Guerra has not yet commented on these recent developments but both men will face each other in a televised debate this Saturday at…”
Jonathan reached over and turned the radio off, to his left, Scarlett huffed.
“Scawwett was wistening tu dat.”
“You don’t even know what they’re talking about.”
“Nu, bu Scawwett wike heawing da voices on da tawkie box.”
“Well then I need to teach you to change the station because it’s too early for politics.”
Jonathan sat back and yawned, still waking up from his uncomfortable sleep he took a moment to peek out the windows, they had finally arrived at their destination, several days and hundreds of miles from Jonathan’s home city. It was an odd place, too small to be classed as a city, but far too large to be a simple town, it had been on the up following several grants from the government looking to capitalise on a growing population, but then the Fluffy outbreak occurred and all the money set aside for businesses and homes was spent on clean-up and repairs.
The town was one of the worst hit areas, most of the initial Fluffies made their home here which is why it took so long before the stragglers ventured further out until they finally reached Josef and Jonathan’s home. Even now, almost 20 years after the fact, the long-term effects were still being felt with most of the burgeoning population that were supposed to boost the town’s economy just never arriving, it wasn’t quite a ghost town, but given the size of it, there should’ve been a lot more people.
It was the perfect little piece of nowhere for a fugitive and a cannibal to hide out in.
Jonathan stepped out of the car, he had found a free parking spot during the night on the outskirts of town and parked up rather than risk a hotel room for the night. It was a wet and windy day, not stormy but enough to be unpleasant, from behind him, Jonathan could hear the waves crashing on the empty beach.
He could also hear the faint sound of Fluffies whimpering from somewhere nearby, he didn’t know or care where but it proved just how widespread of an issue they were for this place.
Working quickly to avoid the rain, Jonathan grabbed a suitcase from the boot then rushed over to the passenger door to speak to Scarlett.
“There’s a gym just over the road there, I’m gonna chance my luck and get a shower, then we’ll get started on finding the place. I’ll be a half hour at most.”
“Yu say dat wike Scawwett knyo what a haf-owwa is.”
“I won’t be too long, that’s all. I’d let you out but…”
Scarlett peeked round Jonathan, seeing the rain and wind across the grey landscape.
“Gud point, Scawwett stay in cah, can wisten tu wadio tiww Jon git bak.”
Satisfied that they had a short-term plan in place, Jonathan locked the car and rushed over to the gym, he had a towel and a change of clothes in the suitcase, not enough for a proper wash but enough to wash off the stink of three days driving and make a somewhat decent impression.
If he could make a passable first impression, that would be enough.
One shower and a fresh set of crumpled clothes later, Jonathan and Scarlett stood outside the front door of their new life, it was different that what Jonathan had expected, a small converted fire-station, complete with its own garage and – from what he could see through the windows – a fireman’s pole. Despite that though, once you were passed the novelty of a fire-station, the place looked very rundown, the green doors on the front and garage had cracks of the previously red breaking through, the weeds around the walls were overgrown and Jonathan could see at least one broken window on the top floor.
It was as far away from the upper-class bullshit he’d suffered through with his parents as he could get, which meant it was pretty much perfect.
Not wanting to wait any longer, Jonathan opened the door, a bell chime could be heard just over the creak, there was a receptionist desk across a worn wooden floor but no receptionist. Cautiously, Jonathan moved slowly inside, keeping Scarlett tight against his side.
“Hello? Anyone here?”
From upstairs there were the sounds of heavy footsteps, until eventually someone appeared. It was a man, a very large man with a heady of frizzy orange hair, he was a head taller than the already tall Jonathan and his stomach was engorged to an almost comic degree. Despite that though, Jonathan could see the muscles behind the fat, his neck was solid, his arms thick but sturdy, this was a man who could fight his own battles and handle them easily.
The man looked at Jonathan confused for a moment, before a smile grew on his wide chin.
“Yer the Mongola boy, ain’tcha?”
“Mr O’Hegarty I presume.”
“Ah away with that shite. Call me Bryan, if we’re gonna be working together then we don’t have time for that ‘Mister’ shite. Come on up, the others are away on a job at the moment, gives us a moment for some business talk.”
Jonathan nodded and followed Bryan up the stairs and into his office, the room felt cramped, especially for a man as large as Bryan, and the filing system was pretty much non-existent due to the random stacks of papers strewn about the room, but Bryan deftly weaved through them all like a dance he’d practised a thousand times before and sat down at his desk. He looked up and Jonathan and motioned to the chair on the other side.
“Sit, don’t worry about the mess, as soon as the IT guy gets here I can start digitising all these forms and clean the place up a bit.”
Jonathan carefully worked his way to the chair. “How long have you been waiting on IT?”
“About three years.” Bryan said with a chuckle. “Be honest with me, this isn’t what you expected, is it?”
“It’s a little more… worn in than I anticipated.”
“Well I won’t lie to you matey, place is a shitehole, not just here but the whole fucking town. The Fluffies mean we’re never out of business and I can pay you a fair wage; that is guaranteed. But there’s no-one else to handle the outside shit, I’ve got the money to refurbish this entire place and get us an intranet system that actually works, but I can only buy parts, not the labour.”
“Wha he meen?” Scarlett asked from Jonathan’s side.
“He means there’s no-one specialised to handle technical equipment, it’s not something you can do on your own since you run the risk of fucking over the entire business.”
Bryan looked down at Scarlett and chuckled. “I was told to expect you at some point, I wasn’t told you were bringing a friend, from what my cousin told me, you didn’t seem like the Fluffy type.”
“Scarlett’s a new addition, she’s the daughter of my brother’s Fluffy, I trust you know about Crimson.”
Bryan let out a soft chortle. “Oh yeah, I’ve heard about him. This is his kid huh?”
“One of them, so far the only one who mirrors his… unique qualities.”
“He meen Scawwett num udda Fwuffies.”
Jonathan looked over at Bryan. “That isn’t gonna be a problem, is it?”
Bryan shook his head. “Nah, we’ve hired Hunting Fluffies before when searching for a particular Fluffy, they’re fairly similar to cannibals so it might be good having our own in-house type to rely on. She’ll be your responsibility of course but I doubt the others will have issues.”
Bryan sat back in his chair, a serious look growing on his face. “I think it’s about time we address the caged elephant in the room, now my cousin told me everything I needed to know about you, including your recent prison escape. Now I don’t care about that, you wouldn’t be here if I did, but since I need to keep my books clean I can’t officially put you on the payroll, we’ll have to do cash-in-hand until we figure out something better.”
“That’s fine by me, I figured something like that would be the case; can’t exactly open my bank account without alerting someone that I’m here. So long as I can pay for groceries then I’ll be ok.”
“You got a place to stay?”
“I, uh… ‘borrowed’ my brothers car, I’ve been sleeping in the back seat for the last few days, I figured I can keep doing that and treat myself to a weekly hotel room to freshen up.”
Bryan immediately shook his head. “Nah, fuck that. We’ve got beds set up in the back room, a holdover from when this place belonged to the fire department, handy for a late shift or a hangover, you can sleep in there until I can work out a place for you.”
“Bryan, you don’t have to…”
“It’s nothing, just a little place I rent out every now and again, once it’s ready I can take a discounted rate out of your pay and you can stay there. Again, everything will be off the books but if we’re gonna be working together, I’m gonna need you to have a place I can reach you.”
Jonathan felt his chest tighten for a moment, too long facing the worst of humanity between his parents and several years in prison, he had forgotten what genuine kindness was.
“That’s… that’s too kind of you Bryan, but thank you, might do me good to set my roots down at last.”
“Hey I’m doing this for me as much as you, you’re gonna need at least two more showers to wash away that car stank.”
As the two men laughed in the newly found friendship, there came a mechanical whirring sound from outside, Bryan immediately stood up.
“That’ll be the others, now they know you’re a Mongola and the baggage that comes with, but they don’t know WHICH Mongola you are. If you wanna tell them everything then fee free but that’s on you.”
“I think I’ll play it by ear, get a read on them first.”
“That’s your choice, I’m not gonna tell them anything. You ready to meet them?”
Jonathan looked down at Scarlett. “What you say, wanna meet our co-workers?”
“Fuk it, wet’s du it.”
Chuckling at Scarlett’s enthusiasm, Jonathan stood up and followed Bryan towards the garage to meet the rest of The Crew.
Ricky Guerra belongs to @recreationalsadist, feel free to use Frederick’s mayoral competition for your own series, or just leave it as flavour text for this story, up to you.