Greys 10-Vignette


You Didn’t Even Have Fun

Two and a half years ago, or thereabouts

In an alley somewhere between Chinatown and Gastown, night painted the brick and concrete walls purple and black and turned dumpsters into hunks of looming darkness. Lissette DuPont knew already that she wouldn't find any escape route out of there--every window and doorway would be barred or gated, locked tight. Vancouver was for the most part a safe city, but even a safe city has its darker corners.

"And this entire neighborhood has turned into one, eh?"

Talking to herself was probably a not-so-bright idea. Lis hurriedly pressed herself and the weapons duffle she carried against the side of a dumpster. The overwhelming stink of garbage underscored with urine tried to convince her to move along, but she made herself sit tight and listen.

Lis heard nothing. That was good. This particular dark corner could turn out to be a safe haven, then. She poked her head out and looked side to side to check the length of the alley. Her new sniper helm featured a drop-down visor that was not only highly damage resistant but also sported built-in night vision. It was also sleek and black and shiny and oh so pretty. The rest of her armor might still be a work in progress, but the helm made up for it. When people heard the name Ricochet, they were going to think of that helm. It was perfect.

In the meantime, the night vision visor was as good for making sure she was in the clear as it was for helping her get a bead on the bad guys to begin with. The alley was empty. She hoped it would stay that way, at least long enough for her to regroup.

Lis dropped the weapons duffle by her feet, flipped up the night vision visor, and took a second to give the Barrett a quick once-over. She could make excellent use of any weapon anyone handed to her, but the sniper rifle was far and away her favorite--a beautiful weapon and one she intended to keep that way.

When Lis looked up again, two figures blocked her way. Lis's hand flew to the pistol on her hip, and in less than a heartbeat she had it trained on them. Where the heck had they come from? They hadn't made a sound.

With the night vision visor flipped up she couldn't make out any details, but neither of them looked quite… right. They were man-shaped, but with bulges and bristles in wrong places. Their faces gave the impression of too much of… something. Hair? Possibly teeth? Also weird--judging by their silhouettes, both were wearing big, fancy hats. Lis wished desperately for her visor so she could get a better look at the two, but with the rifle still in one hand and the pistol in the other, she'd need a third hand if she wanted the visor down.

The figures raised their hands, and Lis's sense of something not quite right increased. Gloves with blades on the fingertips, maybe? If the malformed hands were part of paranormal powers, then they both had them, and that just didn't seem right.

"Hy tink dere misunderstanding." The voice was like a handful of gravel flung against a cement wall. It did not come from the two figures in front of Lis, though. It came from the shadows to Lis's left. "Hyu don't really vant to hurt de teammates. Dey best vun's me got."

So, three of them. Brutal odds. Lis risked a quick glance to her left. The third man no more clearly visible than the others, but he seemed to be of similar height and weird build. This one was also wearing a hat--a ratty-looking beanie, judging by its shape.

"Ve only vuns hyu got." The responder spoke in the same rough voice and guttural accent.

"Shtill! De important point iz, ve de good guyz."

Lis shifted her stance so she could keep a better eye on all three of them at once. She took a few seconds to sift through their heavy accents--definitely not Canadian--and translate what they were saying.

"Good guys. Really. Why should I believe hyu--I mean, you?"

"Becuz ve iz totally trustvorthy?" One of the original two answered.

As Lis tried to decide if he was smarting off or just stupid, she caught a movement at the periphery of her vision. She edged to her right and swung the pistol toward the third figure. The third figure froze where he stood. Lis was pretty sure she'd just busted him in the act of reaching for the weapons duffle at her feet.

"I think hyu need to go stand vit your friends," Lis said. "You. Stand WITH your friends."

"Ve eez just lookin' for de fight!" Again, one of the first two spoke. The third shuffled his feet, but didn't actually move any closer to the other two.

"Not de reassurance I was… THE reassurance I was looking for. I said move over vit de other two!"

"Not fightin' hyu! Ve hearink all de lovely fight zounds. Come to help hyu kick dey azzez!"

Lis found she had little trouble understanding, despite the accent. The words and cadence were almost mesmerizing.

Was that what they were up to? Their powers had something to do with mesmerism?

"Dat kerfuffle was--Dem it! I mean, damn it! That kerfuffle was too big for me to handle. You tink you can do better, den you… I said back off!" Lis waved her pistol at the third figure as it again edged toward her. "Go und schtand over dere! Argh! Go and stand over there!"

"Zounds like our kind ov fight. Hyu show us?"

"I ain't going nowhere vit the lot of you." Lis's voice rose, wavering, as she struggled to regain control of the runaway accent.

The weight of the duffle against her leg shifted. Lis swung the pistol toward the third figure, finger tightening on the trigger.

The duffle's fabric flew up into her face. The clatter of a dozen weapons hitting pavement rang in her ears. Lis fired the pistol, taking a blind shot, but heard no cry of pain.

"Ho, yez! Letz go, boyz!"

To the soundtrack of cackling laughter and running feet, Lis clawed at the fabric covering her face. By the time she got it off, the alley was once again as empty as it was dark.

"Dem it. I mean, damn it!"

On the bright side, when she scowled at the mess of weaponry at her feet and did a quick inventory, she discovered nothing was missing. Not a single knife, not even an arrow. Lis scratched at her head.

"What de heck? What THE heck." Augh, she didn't even sound Canadian anymore. Stupid empathetic accent. Or mesmerism. Or whatever that had been. She reached up to lower her visor, so she could recount weaponry as she reloaded the duffle.

The visor wasn't there. Lis slapped her hands onto the top of her head, but her fingers found rough fabric instead of sleek helm. She dragged the fabric off her head and looked at the ratty beanie in her hands.

The helm. That's what they'd been after all along. Lis sighed.

“At least de accent vill fade.”

-----

April Fools! 

The sadly non-canon interlude you’ve just read is part of the Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap, 2016 Edition. This particular gag post you’ve just read was written by L.E.Erickson, who normally writes the story Graves, found here.

knifleman, who normally writes this story, today has created their own piece of tomfoolery for Emma Mohr’s Sin Eater, found here.

For a full list of all April Fool’s Swappers and their stories, as well as dozens of other serial novels that will tickle your fancy, check out WebFictionGuide.

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