The Dark Streets Below (Part 2)

Part 2 of a disjointed and eclectic series. You can find more from Dale & Steve here.

I am the weapon. I am the blade held at the throat of the barbarians. I need to live this fact, this simple truth, I need to shear away everything beyond it and reduce myself to that final role. If the man named ‘Dale’ lives on it can only be as a mask, a smiling veneer to cover the creature beneath, to cover the tool of justice beneath.

“Are you sure that’s safe mate?”

Steve has sidled over to me, nervous, as always. He doesn’t understand, he shouldn’t understand that the times have defined who I must be and what I must do.

“Only my cousin, Tony, you remember him? Big lad, was a wedding DJ until that fell through, after that he became a welder and he did a course on it too. It can be dangerous, that’s all I’m saying, you should at least be wearing goggles or something.”

The cracks are spreading on Steve’s pretty picture of the world, a spiderweb of fears fracturing his perfect peace and that makes him worry. I try to offer him a smile, or as close to one as the liar’s face of Dale can get. It’s hard to do, when all I see is darkness, but he needs comforting and I’m the only one here to offer it. I have a job to do though, a task for the day – if I’m a weapon then I need to live as one, layer the blades around me.

“That’s fair enough, I’m not saying don’t do it, honest, I’m not but just be careful eh? Besides, I don’t know how you’ll ever drive that thing, I mean you’ve stuck big knives all over it now, parking’ll be a bastard. You can forget re-sale value too, not that there’s much of a market these days anyway, but spray painting that big skull on the front must have knocked at least fifty quid off the price.”

I ignore him and get back to my welding. His worries are nothing but dull noise now, the concerns of civilized man in an age gone to savagery. Besides, the skull looks awesome and what price does a 15 year old Nissan Micra fetch anyway?

“Fair point mate, fair point. Just to let you know though, I think you’ve misspelt ‘Avenger’ too, there’s only one ‘A’.”

Shit. Does it matter? ‘I am the weapon’, I repeat that to myself, trying to shed the oppressive rule of Steve’s saccharine world. My car, my machine, will be the last thing the unrighteous see before they go off to answer for their sins. Does the spelling really matter? I can’t look at him now, the concern on his face is a knife stabbing into the armour that I must surround myself with to survive this world. And my eyes hurt, really hurt, the blue flair of the welding torch has scoured itself into my skull. But the weapon feels no pain, the weapon only delivers it.

“Alright Dale, why don’t you just take a bit of a break eh? I’m first aid trained you know, I got a certificate. Get some water on those eyes and you’ll feel good as new and then you can get back to it. And I bet we can change that ‘a’ to an ‘e’, no problem. Who knows, might even add a few quid to the value? I mean it’s a feature, right?”

I steel my jaw for a moment before killing the flame of my welding torch. Isn’t it strength to know when you need to stop? Even the blade needs sharpening from time to time…

“That’s right, just need a minute to, er, sharpen yourself. Got to say though, all those blades on the wheels won’t do anything for your insurance premiums…”

I am the weapon… fighting against the all consuming mass of human squalor, defending the innocent against dark men of cruel intent… do I still need insurance?

Like this? Try one of my novels, like Crashed America – available in all good realities.

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