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5. Rebuilding Foundation

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My name is Havok. I’m 21 years old and I quit gangs long ago. As an only child with no family, quitting left me with only myself to depend on. I clung to my connections and they got me through. I run odd jobs, mostly illegal, to keep myself stable. Galat’s saved me from myself more times than I can recall. And I’m the good one. I’m the rational one. I quit because I had nothing to lose, yet I had everything.

            And now I’m back. It’s an old game but the rules never change. They remain constant, always and forever. Street justice will never die; if it ever does, I want to go with it.

            The beginning of a cycle, a never-ending cycle where one falls and is replaced. A war was on its’ way, I say let’s saddle the horses. Morgan’s death took the wrench out from between the gears, we’re back and fully operational, maybe slightly improved. There would be a funeral to attend of course, out of respect. Control killed her, poor kid, she was something else. I’m not sure what she was, but she was damn good at it. She was my age – I’d known her for years. Reality check. Cellus went in there with no intention of killing Dev, she was right in front of him. He wanted innocent blood; he was proving a point. He achieved his purpose.

Plan of action – retaliate. Why? This act of circumstance was becoming personal. I quit being a street demon once upon a time; I guess there really is no rest for the wicked. No such thing as retirement for guys like me. Only two ways out – the cage or the grave. Sometimes you could marry out of it. Sometimes. That required respect, honor, loyalty – Love. The opportunity did more than pass me by, it ran me over a few times first. That’s life. Back to constructive thought, or, in this case, destructive. To Toryn we go.

I knocked on the door as firmly as I could, trying for those good solid knocks that sound determined. I might be putting too much thought into something theoretically simple. She opened the door while I was still debating whether my knock was right.

“Can I help you?”

“Um, hi Toryn.”

“Blow something up downstairs? Galat on fire? C’mon, what’s wrong?”

“Oh, yeah, can I come in?”

She looked surprised but stood aside anyway to let me pass. I don’t remember if I’d ever been here before, it seemed new and different anyway. I think this’ my first trip inside. I wandered around recklessly. Toryn gestured haphazardly and I sat.

“Now, what’s the catastrophe? Should I be sitting for this one?”

“Morgan’s dead.”

“Ah hell, I’m sorry Dean.”

“Havok.”

“Excuse me?”

“My name is Havok. Marcellus killed her. I was there.” I’d managed to answer all of her  questions before she could ask them. She jumped out of her chair and started pacing. I jumped up with her to hide the fact that her sudden movement unnerved me.

“Dean, no, hell no, it’s done.”

“Havok.”

“Havok is dead!”

“Since when?”

“Since we left, we agreed, remember? It was done, all of it.”

Somehow I found myself facing her, standing close enough to see the truth in her eyes. She grabbed hold of my shoulders and shook me.

“No! Havok is dead!”

And I had no reply. She was beyond frustration, I could slightly understand why. But Havok never really died, he was just…put to rest temporarily. I’d changed and destroyed my former self for my own protection. For everyone’s own protection. I screwed up once upon a time but I straightened out. But it was too late. Attention span – zip.

I hurt Toryn once upon a time and from it we both changed. She got stronger as I got softer. Law of conservation of matter – cannot be created or destroyed. I lost, she gained, or vice versa. Havok was just another forgotten legend. Another name, another time and place. He didn’t belong. I’m not a schizo, it’s just easier to explain my past if I give it a name and a personality. Makes sense to me…sometimes.

Back to reality. Toryn collapsed back into the chair.

“Why?” She whispered to me, staring at the ground.

No response.

“For who? Her? Dev? The Endless? Yourself?”

Silence.

She jumped up, fists raised, “God damn it, answer me! Dean!”

I was tired of standing, hence – I sat. She gave up and sat with me.

“I could really use your support here.” No eye contact.

“Support with what?”

“Rebuilding the gang.” No eye contact.

“Are you insane?”

“Probably.” No eye contact.

“Don’t you remember last time?”

“We need your help.” Eye contact. “Toryn, please, I need you.”

“We? Who else?”

“Whoever else is foolish enough to do it again.”

“So we have no recruits yet?”

“Um, maybe?”

And silence. Yet again…maybe. It is always silent, that’s all anything and everything is reduced to. I could be mistaken, which I usually tend to be. Toryn was zoning, I was somewhere else also. I’m very seldom where I’m supposed to be. Assuming that there’s a “supposed to be;” there might be, sometimes. I sometimes feel like I’m living more than one life at the same time. Not a schizophrenic type of existence, just that when I zone out, I go somewhere continuous. Maybe I’m just slightly delusional. Only slightly.

“We need a proper plan.”

“Oh, yeah, plans…we need people first, right?”

“Have you put this past Galat yet?”

“Waiting.”

“What for?”

“Good question…”

“Well, I sure as hell thought so at the time.”

“That’s funny.”

“Dean?”

“Maybe it’s not that funny.”

“Dean…”

“Or maybe it’s not funny at all.”

“Havok!”

“Yes?”

“Shut up.”

“Oh, sure.”

“Now, let’s get started.”

“So you’re in?”

“Let you go wandering around looking for trouble alone? You’ll need someone to hold your hand to get you across the street.”

Sigh. “Thanks Toryn.” She really knew how to wound a guy. She merely smiled.

“No problem kid.”

“Kid?”

“Act your age and we’ll use a proper name to summon you.”

“Oh, I’m sorry…”

“What for?”

“Not remembering.”

“It’s not your fault. We gave you a lot of reasons to forget.”

“We?”

“I.”

“Oh.”

Silence. Just think, all of my conversations are like that. Zero attention span, everything comes out quick, pointed and precise. Usually, I feel like I have to explain what’s on my mind in as many small words as possible as quickly as possible or else…poof, look at the pretty colors. It’s like being stoned 24/7 uncontrollably and completely at random. Maybe it can’t be explained in words.

We got up after talking senselessly for a bit and relocated downstairs. Galat was reading peacefully, Dev stood smoking at the window. This might be rough. I moved to the table and sat across from Galat. He looked over the book at me, back down, up again at Toryn, back to the book.

“Hey Toryn.” He muttered her name, careful to pay no mind to me.

“Can I talk to you?” I questioned delicately. Galat glanced at me, at the two girls, and he put the book down and rose slightly, leaning over to me.

“Talk about what? The wake’s tomorrow and the next day.”

Click; we have a glitch in the system. Please stand by…

“We’re rebuilding the gang.”

His eyes narrowed, he stood straight, shoulders leveled. “We? What gang?”

“Yes, we. Toryn and I for start. We’re rebuilding Dev’s gang with our strength.”

That got Dev’s attention, she wandered over and stood with Toryn on the sidelines.

“Any way you guys could run these things by me before we start throwing my name around? I’d be highly appreciative. Thanks fellas.” Dev’s voice shattered the silence suddenly. Galat turned to glare at her. She just squared off and glared back.

“Why? Dean, think about your actions.”

“Havok.”

“God damn it, no!” Galat’s tone turned to desperation. He moved person to person, looking for something, anyone to support him. Toryn shook her head to acknowledge that she understood his frustration but was ultimately powerless. Dev just stood there, stone solid, dead to emotion. He’d thrown his fists down on the table; he moved to the chair and sat.

“Don’t you remember?”

“Are you in?” I whispered.

“You know I’d follow you to Hell and back just so you won’t be alone.”

“So will you? Follow me to Hell?”

“Any plans for a return trip?”

“One thing at a time.”

“Figures,” he sighed to himself.

“So boys, what next?” Toryn clapped her hands together to get our attention – we looked at her calmly. We’d need more muscle; we were stereo-typically too old for this game, hence why it might just work. We had experience on our side. We’d build up our defenses and set the war off early. Dev still had resources, we decided to go find Ashe.

Back to the bar. All this in one day. Missing – to the Dragon. We’d ask Dyre where he was. Toryn and I did this, we left Dev with Galat, he’d keep watch over her until we got back. Hopefully.

The Black Dragon – center of all things bizarre, it was the sun; all stories revolved around it. Dyre would be in the back, as per usual. He was the kind of artist available by request only and even then, your request had to be worth his time. Very selective, but with the skill he possessed, he had every right to be. He was curled up in the back, smoking quietly – if I didn’t know better, I’d say that he was asleep. We questioned Ashe’s location. He looked at us carefully, top to bottom, then back to the smoke. He couldn’t be bothered with knowing where his fool of a brother was. Nevertheless, we kept pushing. Dyre was a master of his art, he kept in step with us perfectly. Years of practice. Then Toryn decided to take charge.

If I hadn’t been there, I wouldn’t have believed that it really happened. She sauntered over to him slowly, walking her careful diagonal steps, glaring at Dyre, whom sat before her. She stopped right in front of him.

“Where is he? Dyre, I know that you know. Stop wasting our time.”

“I don’t help street demons.”

“Aw, now dear Dyre, do I look like a street demon?” Toryn put on her most innocent smile and kind of turned. Receiving no response, she sat herself in Dyre’s lap, I think the word would be “straddling.” You’d have to be there. The look of surprise on his face was priceless. A few soft words and general discomfort later and we had a place. With a quick kiss on the cheek, Toryn jumped up and left the shop without another word. Dyre was bright red.

So we went where the wind would carry us. Toryn carefully leading the way. I knew better than to ask foolish questions, especially after our little scene in the Dragon. It’s funny how girls can get away with things like that. For a guy, it’s sexual harassment to do something like that. When a girl does it, it’s entertainment. The world is a very sick place sometimes. Fuck sometimes, all the time, dysfunctional 24/7. Insane, in-fucking-sane. And we’re better now, that was my pointless rant of the week. Maybe, we’ll have to see how the week goes. Can never be too sure, no such thing as a fair bet or a definite chance. Oh well.

Finding a gang member is a pain in the ass, you’re looking for a needle that doesn’t want to be found, lost in one of the biggest haystacks in the world. A few hours later, we had Ashe. He was more than cooperative by the time we were finished with him, practically falling all over himself to help us. A little motivation  never hurt anybody…too much. He’d survive; he had as much of a chance as any of us. All anybody ever had was chance. We had the beginnings of a structure, we walked home with Ashe in tow.

Back to the Dragon, Dyre stood waiting outside. Smoking, as per usual, I don’t recall ever seeing him without the usual cloud of smoke. Regardless, he seemed to be waiting. Dyre was dead to the world at most times, maybe he’d been sleeping for years. That’s silly, then again, most true things in life are. Back to Reality with a pit stop in Delirium to refuel. Dyre stepped out to get our attention; assuming that he wanted Ashe, Toryn and I kept moving. He reached out and grabbed my arm.

“What’s going on?”

“Nothing, how are you?”

“Don’t give me a story, I want the truth!”

“What truth?”

You could feel the tension in the air, the frustration present on his face. He was still holding tight to my arm. His eyes narrowed.

“This’ a happy little reunion of misfits. What’s the occasion?”

“Dyre, be rational.”

Thud. Blink and you would have missed it. The ground was an unpleasant surprise; I got to my hands and knees slowly. My blood shone up at me from the pavement. That son of a bitch hit me! It might be contagious. I think the bruises are working against me. Maybe. I got up nonetheless to face him.

And again, the hard surface of the ground. I don’t think I’m learning fast enough for him. Dyre knelt down to meet my eye level as I tried groggily to get to my feet. I was spitting blood out to try to speak.

“Now, let’s try this one more time. You know something, I want to know what the gangs are up to. The truth Dean, now.”

“Havok.”

“Wrong answer.” And I find myself on my back. This was the third hit I’d taken so far. Dyre got on the ground and put his knee to my throat, I can’t move, breathe; think. Toryn was floating around somewhere aimlessly, she stepped in now to try and stop Dyre. Three hits later and she wakes up. Dyre shook her off anyway; I began to black out. I heard Ashe’s voice. And Dyre let go. Oxygen came back slowly, things made more sense. It took awhile, but I managed to get to my feet. Ashe and Dyre were talking hurriedly. Toryn helped steady me out. Dyre swung a punch at Ashe, connected, and faced us. Ashe straightened up and they both came over, Dyre’s hand placed firmly on his brother’s shoulder.

“This is all I’ve got left. I’d die for him. I tried to break him of this bad habit but his loyalty remains. You want him, I’m coming along.”

Toryn spoke for us and we had two recruits instead of one volunteer. Well, accidents happen. We decided to go back home. Home. That’s a funny concept. Maybe just to me…but think about it. Nowhere is secure anymore, nothing is safe from corruption. People especially; darkness lurks around every bend. I might be thinking too much, I do that sometimes when there’s nothing better to do. Planning our next move would probably be a more meaningful use of my time. Perhaps.

Galat and Dev were sitting at the table waiting for us to return. We’d still need weapons. We needed Hadrien. After the events in the bar, whether we were welcome back or not, I’m not sure. For vengeance, he’d probably join. To match his sister’s blood with that of her killer…he’d probably sign up. Probably, as in – maybe. As in – not a definite answer. Then again, nothing’s definite. Everyone sat down, smoked, whatever. Tension; this was a misguided alliance, blood boiled silently yet nothing got out. Pride went on the top shelf, all the way to the left. Now, stay.

“Plan?” Galat’s voice was naturally sarcastic; his point prevailed regardless. We needed organization; our haphazard little crew was full of misdirection. And a mistake big enough could be fatal. We sat there for days, conspiring. Then, hope knocked on our door – Hadrien came to us.

“What’re you idiots up to?” His voice was stern, demanding, like a father who just walked in on his children lighting up for the first time. Coincidentally, smoke was everywhere. Hadrien might have been the oldest, between him and Dyre – it was close. In gangs, most of everything is close. He let himself in, sitting down at the head of the table.

“Well now, you all don’t think you’d throw a party without me, do you?”

“Course not, Gramps,” I muttered. His attention turned to me.

“So is it really true? Has Havok returned? Tell me boy, what you’ve unleashed.”

“Yes, Havok has returned.” You could hear Toryn and Galat shift uncomfortably.

“Well then, I imagine I want to play. But trust me,” he paused and turned to face Toryn, “If he steps out of place, I’ll send Havok back to wherever he came from. Just like before.”

And we had an agreement, we had a mutual understanding. Now we needed a plan of action, I kept my attention locked on Dev.

“I say we kill the spineless son of a bitch,” Hadrien announced. Dev got up and walked away early on in the conversation. I could understand. We were plotting how to kill her brother. We would take away the only connection she had left. Then again, he had torn her gang apart from underneath. He’d tried to kill her. Isn’t family grand? There were conflicting interests at heart here. Whoever had the stronger will would succeed. So, who would it be? I’m really not the gambling type.

“We need organization,” Dev whispered.

“No? Really? Damn, where would we be without you?” Hadrien snapped back.

Planning commenced. Hadrien would provide weapons and we would provide bodies. This was merely the prologue to something much bigger. Every end must begin somewhere. This was preparation, loading the bullet to answer the first shot. Deciding where to deal the retaliating blow. Unleashing madness; there would be a war and the gods would cry as they felt our misery. They would bend and adhere to our demands. And we would be kings. We would take charge and streets would be as they were meant to be. One gang per area. We would continue the tradition of honor and improve on its’ faults. We’d cover the cracks and glory would be ours. Why? Because this is how legends are made.

One drop of blood at a time.

We would go to associates of Cellus and tear them to pieces. Slowly moving inward until we got to family. Then the real fun would begin. Once you get on the inside, you slowly work your way out. We needed someone on the inside. Someone nobody knew. Someone they wouldn’t suspect. All eyes turned to Dyre. He protested, naturally. Think about it.

Dev was out for obvious reasons. Ashe was part of her gang, common knowledge. I was known to have her; hence Galat and Toryn were risky as well. Dyre was known to hate gangs; his sudden change of heart might seem suspicious, but he’s talented enough to play it off just right. He had the right amount of “Fuck you,” in his voice and general character. No fear. He could do it, we only had Hadrien left, and he obviously didn’t qualify. He would be the man behind the curtain. And the rest of us were merely pawns, puppets, actors – shadows of reality. This should be a scream.

I am the world’s bastard child.

Then again, aren’t we all?

Plans set into motion, we all began to take our places. Dyre would be behind enemy lines, he would take the hits. And somehow, it would work.

Sleep is part of the agenda, we all slept scattered around the apartment. Bad times do good things sometimes, this was not one of those times. We were good people once upon a time, just waiting around to grow old and die.

Instead we’d live young and die trying. Things move too quick to be taken for granted.

Welcome to madness. Welcome to mayhem. We might be taking a trip to the past along the way, so keep your bags packed.

Locked and loaded. Remember kids –

My name is Havok.

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