The Kid lays face down on the Distillery counter, hand clasped lightly around a half empty bottle of Werewhiskey. A cough and a wheeze later he shakes out of a fitful sleep, groggy.
The ground rises up to meet each step halfway down. Could be that’s just the nature of the Bastion, could be the hangover. Takes the Kid near five minutes to stumble out the door, or long enough it don’t matter anyway.
The sun’s beatin’ down hot now, but the Kid hardly notices through his sickly sweat and pounding head. Life’s always been hard for the Kid, but morning’s always been the hardest.
The Kid catches sight of The Stranger Rucks, gives him a scowl. Walks right over and gives him a shove too. The Kid’s breath reeks up close, side effect of havin’ a black tonic for breakfast every morning.
The Kid makes a clumsy grab for his Fang Repeater, slung low over his hip. He’s too slow this time, only one bolt loaded up and his vision’s swimming. It thuds harmlessly into the distant ground. Makes a guy feel unwelcome, being shot at.
Cursing, the Kid spits and turns on his heel. Makes a bee-line for the Arsenal. Strays mighty close to the edge of the Bastion on his way, but he’s as cool as ice. Ain’t never one to fear heights, the Kid.
Inside the lights are mostly broken or burnt down. The Kid’s not much for housekeeping. The Kid spies a makeshift bed made up behind some barrels, tries to remember if it’s one of his. Throws a glance over his shoulder, sees ol’ Rucks, and makes a gesture sure to make any mother cringe.
The Kid kicks at the pile of threadbare blankets and gets a surprise when his foot makes contact with a heavy body. A chain wrapped forearm slides its way out of the mess and pulls up a bulky, tattooed character the Kid recognizes.
Kratos gives the Kid a knowing grimace, the closest to a smile he can manage. The two met long before the Calamity, took a real shining to one another. He gives Rucks a real grimace.
He motions for the Kid to lean down, whispers something into the dust-filled space between them. The Kid nods, pats his War Machete, and helps Kratos to his feet. He moves like a man who’s been on the run, sleeping in alleys, and keeping a low profile.
Other shadows stir in the murky edges of the Arsenal. The Kid makes out an orange jumpsuit in the gloom that could only belong to Chell. Jumps when she sees she has company, but the Kid and Kratos talk her down. She takes to them soon enough, but moves warily away from ol’ Rucks, keeping the large white portal gun slid over her arm.
The three exchange quick glances, and the truth comes out real quick. They’ve all got their problems, but right now their biggest one is being hounded by narrators. The Kid makes the first move, whips his Machete at ol’ Rucks, Chell’s portals do some real damage, and Kratos has some fancy footwork. Not much an old man can do.
Kratos and the Kid loom over ol’ Rucks out back behind the Arsenal. The Kid picks up a handful of the tangled remnants of some old machine. Seems there’s a flicker of life in those parts. Just the reflected glow of Chell’s gear though.
A piece gets kicked and scuttles over to ol’ Rucks. “GLaDOS” it reads, real small on the side. Kratos motions towards a makeshift tombstone. “Gaia” scrawled real rough into a wooden plank. His own personal narrator. The Kid smiles unkindly, his introduction to the narrator graveyard.
The Kid hands ol’ Rucks a rusty spade and the meaning’s clear enough: “There’s a shallow grave needs diggin’, and you best get started.”
When Cameron isn’t making videogames, he’s playing them. When he isn’t playing them, he’s reading about them, and when he isn’t reading about them, he’s writing about them! Twitter: @Neganti
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