Sleepy
Katherine Hana Li spin_kick_snap
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The Apartment Above Lukes to Baltimore, Late Thursday Night
The teen feinted left, then dove right. Kathy followed, changing direction in mid-air, tackling him again. She latched on to his backpack and tried to bite through the canvas. Crying but unaware of it, the boy unsnapped the straps, letting bag and ex fall. Inside, Kathy could hear cans tumbling around, food, supplies. But she wasn't interested in those, even though she was hungry. Starving. All she could think about was eating. And her target, her focus was this boy, this teen, struggling to get away from her. He was hungry, too. She could tell from the thinness of his cheeks, the way his clothes hung on his frame. But he was willing to lose all the cans of food in the bag in an attempt to escape her.

She hit the ground, discarding the bag of food and bounced back up to her feet. The teen had run a few hundred yards the first time she jumped at him. This time, he barely got fifty before she was on him again. "No," he begged. "You don't understand. I have a little sister, she needs me..."

He was right. Kathy didn't understand. All she understood was hunger. She craned her head and bit into Eli's neck, pulling away a mouthful of skin and flesh and blood. He screamed, a high-pitched sound like a rabbit in a snare, but she didn't care. She only cared about the hunger. Another bite, fresh blood forming new stains on the white gi. The bites came faster as the scream gurgled to an abrupt stop and Kathy hunkered over the body, holding it fast even after its struggles ceased...




Kathy flung herself upright in bed, gasping for breath, shaking her head in hopes of dislodging the last images of the dream. No, memory. It was too real, to vividly detailed to be a dream. She was starting to learn the distinctions between the two. Like how memories were always worse.

Glancing at her clock, she saw that it was almost one, but the adrenaline threading through her veins wouldn't let her get back to sleep anytime soon. She thought about doing a couple of laps around the island to try to tire herself out and get a few more hours of rest but honestly? It rarely ever seemed to work. Neither did vegging out in front of the TV until dawn, or soaking in a hot bath with a book. The problem was, none of those activities were good at giving her what she was looking for: a chance to get out of her own head, to forget those things her brain was forcing her to remember. Maybe she should call Anders? He'd said to call if she needed to talk--but no. It was late, he'd possibly be in bed, and she didn't want to talk, she wanted to do.

The lights over the water from Baltimore caught her eye through the window and she shoved her blankets out of the way. Maybe that was what she needed, a trip into the city. Boston hadn't done much for her state of mind, but she'd managed to sleep every night. The bars would be closing soon, but she knew of a couple of after-hour clubs she could get into. With the pounding beat, music loud enough to deafen, and a crowd of bodies to get lost in, Kathy might finally find a way to drown out her thoughts even if she couldn't shut them up.

[Warning for zombie-typical violence to a teen under the cut.]

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:30 am (UTC) (Link)

From her spot on the sidewalk, Jewels could see the front doors of not one but two bars. In a half hour, they'd close and people would come streaming out, drunk and stupid and fairly adventurous. Maybe a little turned on after a night of flirting or unhappy at the prospect of going home alone. Any of those scenarios were just fine by Jewels. She was a working girl and drunks were by far the easiest clients she had. Some of them just ended up rambling for an hour or so and paid her for that, so long as she pretended to listen and offer a few words of comfort and sympathy about how their wives didn't understand them/work didn't appreciate them/kids didn't respect them.

The unexpected warmth of the day had her relaxing just a little bit. Her torn fishnets and plether mini were practically a uniform, telling even the drunkest john what she was which was good for business, but no so much for keeping warm. The cold kept her sharp; her attention drawn by even the least movement in case it meant a potential customer and a chance to get off the street. Tonight, however Jewels let herself drop her guard a bit and appreciate the unseasonable warmth.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:35 am (UTC) (Link)

Which was all the opening the mugger needed, really. Darting out from between the buildings, he grabbed onto Jewel's gaudy blue alligator-skin purse, yanking it off her arm and firmly into his grasp.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:36 am (UTC) (Link)

"Hey!" Jewels yelped, trying to grab for the strap and missing. Most of her money was stashed into her calf-length boots, but there was still enough in there (not to mention her stash of condoms and lube), that she didn't want to lose it. "Motherfucker, give me back my purse!"

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:40 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, he wasn't about to lose a fight over a purse with a hooker. The guy clocked her upside the head with the heel of his hand, causing an explosion of pain in her cheek, and then took off down the street with his prize. The hooker started caterwauling up a storm, calling for help, for someone to stop him. He shot a quick look over his shoulder to make sure that no drunk idiot was going to take her up on it.

Edited at 2017-02-24 07:44 am (UTC)

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)

No, no drunken idiots were giving chase. But that glance backwards was enough to send him stumbling into a still-very sober young woman. One who could sometimes be in idiot, especially about things like this.

Kathy managed to eel out of way at the last second, pulling an almost Dante-esque maneuver as she narrowly avoided the collision.

"Slow the fuck down," she snapped at him. "You nearly fucking ran me over!"

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)

"Bitch!" He didn't have time to argue, going to shove her further out of his way so he could keep running.

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 07:52 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, Kathy didn't take well to his language. Or his tone. Or that he'd attempted to push her. And even though she was most definitely not a hero anymore, there was a woman shrieking about her purse being stolen--and somehow she doubted that fake blue alligator skin was this guy's style.

"You have no idea," she agreed, grabbing onto his wrist and using his momentum to shove him into the brick wall of the building he'd just tried to shove her into.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 07:55 am (UTC) (Link)

The mugger hit the wall with enough momentum to bounce right back off it, forehead knocking against the masonry. He was more surprised then hurt though, staring down at the skinny Asian girl with incredulity. "You some kind of fucking crazy?" he asked, looking down at her.

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 07:59 am (UTC) (Link)

"Quite possibly," Kathy answered, because she was pretty sure anyone with a head full of zombie memories didn't exactly qualify for sane. "But this isn't about that. I just don't like muggers."

Her fist lashed out and landed hard in his solar plexus; the mugger folded neatly in half and started gasping, trying to force air back into his lungs.

"Except as entertainment," she added.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Hands on his knees, he let the purse drop to the ground. His first priority was remembering hot to breathe. His second priority was to teach this crazy bitch a lesson. A pop upside the head like he'd given the hooker, maybe, or a backhand across the mouth. Something.

His chest finally unlocking a bit, he pushed himself upright and drew back a fist. "You're gonna...wish you didn't..."

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)

"I'm just gonna stop you right there," Kathy told him, and lashed out with a fist again. There was a crunching noise as it connected with his nose and blood immediately began to pour down his face. "Save the monologue for someone who cares."

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)

Of the few and mostly unsavory skills he possessed, the one he was most proud of was his ability to take a hit. Though this tiny girl packed a surprisingly mean punch, he wasn't about to punk out after a few punches. So, with one hand still tight around his aching nose, he took a swing of his own.

Only to have her practically dance out of the way of it, her high heels clattering out a staccato rhythm on the concrete. But her dodge didn't give him the time to breathe he'd hoped for; a second after his fist sailed through the air where her face used to be, she was back up in his space, aiming a sharp kick to his hip.

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)

He should just be glad Kathy wasn't feeling particularly spiteful. Arching her foot, she hit him with the sole of her shoe and not the heel. If she'd gotten him with that, there was every possibility that it would have pierced his skin and sunk in a few inches.

Okay, maybe it was less that she wasn't feeling spiteful and more that she just really liked these shoes. They were cute as hell.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:18 am (UTC) (Link)

Yeah, he wasn't exactly feeling philosophical about how much worse it could have been. He howled in pain, feeling like someone had set off a fire cracker in his left hip.

The next name he called her was even worse as he took yanked his hand away from his nose and flung a palmful of blood directly in her face.

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:25 am (UTC) (Link)

"Did your mama teach you--" Kathy was not prepared for the guy to use his own blood as a projectile weapon, no. As he'd intended, the spatter hit her directly in her face, forcing her eyes closed. Worse, though, was that some caught in her open mouth, landing directly on her tongue.

Immediately memories blossomed and Kathy was horrified at how her mouth instantly watered. She spat several times on the sidewalk, more worried about the blood in her mouth than the blood in her eyes. A hundred scenes exploded in her mind's eye; dozens of snapshots of biting into warm flesh and letting the blood flow...

The follow-up punch to the face was almost a relief, snapping her out of the mental haze of the past and back into the present. The second blow to the face was unnecessary and she managed to open her eyes just in time to see the third on its way, red smeared across the knuckles.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Yo, it creeped him out to see her writhe her way out of the range of his fist. She'd just moved too fast, body too flexible as she bent over backwards to avoid the hit. There was something kinda horror-movie about it, like she was gonna start skittering away like a giant spider next.

Which was why he didn't immediately go for the fourth punch. In retrospect, that proved to be a tactical error.

Edited at 2017-02-24 08:42 am (UTC)

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Kathy sprang back up to her feet and lunged for him, ducking past his arms to get right into his face. She ignored the instincts that were telling her to bite and relied on her fists, elbows, and knees instead. He got in one or two more blows--maybe more, she hardly felt them--and then went down in a loose sprawl next to the purse that had been forgotten by both of them.

"Who's crazy now?" Kathy demanded, glaring down at his prone form.

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)

"Pretty sure it's you, honey," Jewels said from a few feet away. She'd headed over as soon as they'd started fighting, though her self-preservation instincts has her holding back while punches were being thrown. Now, though, she could move forward, collect her purse, rifle through that asshole's pockets for loose cash or anything else of interest. "Pretty sure most girls don't fight off muggers in a pretty party--Banzai?"

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:53 am (UTC) (Link)

Fuck. Of all the things Kathy hadn't expected tonight, running into someone she knew, being recognized wasn't one of them. She didn't want it. Not like this. Not right now.

"Sorry," she said flatly. "You must be thinking of somebody else."

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 08:56 am (UTC) (Link)

"Nah, nah," Jewels said, her Midwestern twang growing stronger. "You can't fool me, sweetheart. You might not be in a rainbow getup or have your mask, but I saw you! You're fast!"

Jewels hadn't thought much about it at the time, most of their moves were concealed by shadows and hard to make out. She should have, though. Should have realized. Who else would start a fight with a mugger over a hooker's purse.

"I thought you were dead."

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 08:59 am (UTC) (Link)

"I don't know what you're talking about." Kathy kicked the purse over to Jewels and turned to leave. "You got your purse back. Think about that instead."

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 09:01 am (UTC) (Link)

"Banzai, please," Jewels pleaded, eyes filling with tears. "Honey, you don't even know. I was so worried about you. And then Dante came and told me that you'd died in some stupid superhero bullshit and--"

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 09:05 am (UTC) (Link)

"I'm not Banzai!" Kathy shouted. "Listen to your fucking friend, okay? Banzai's dead. Get over it."

hollywoodex_tra

2017-02-24 09:06 am (UTC) (Link)

"You think I don't know your voice?" Jewels asked, quietly. "I might never have seen your face, Kathy, but that doesn't mean I can't recognize you."

spin_kick_snap

2017-02-24 09:10 am (UTC) (Link)

This was all too much. Just too damn much. She spun on her heel and stalked off. "Hate to break it to you," she said over her shoulder, "but I'm not the person you're hoping I am. Sorry."

And then she walked away, leaving Jewels behind to forlornly pick up the battered purse and hug it tightly to her chest.