Another Day in Paradise

     Another Day in Paradise


     “Hand me the popcorn,” Keening tells Pandemic, as the two of them and Hellbound sit on the large sofa watching television in the living room of the apartment the five feral demigods share.

     “Ssshhh!” Pandemic replies, holding a rigid finger to her lips and gazing into the TV.

     “Hand me the fucking popcorn!” Keening demands, not bothering to sit up and grab the bowl that’s easily within her reach.

     “Hush!” Pandemic replies. “This is my favorite part!”

     “It’s a car commercial!” Hellbound says with a baffled smirk.

     “It doesn’t matter,” Pandemic tells her, fixated on the screen and leaning forward to rest her elbows on her knees. “It’s like a tiny movie.”

     “You’re right,” Hellbound agrees, giving Pandemic a commiserating hug. “I remember a few Kodak commercials that used to make me all weepy.”

     “If you two are going to start spooning, hand me the freaking popcorn!” Keening insists.

     “Get it yourself!” Hellbound replies, continuing to snuggle with Pandemic while watching the screen.

     “Just great!” Pandemic says, lurching back into the couch and glaring at Keening. “You made me miss it!”

     “Good! Now hand me the FUCKING popcorn!” Keening yells.

     “Here!” Pandemic shouts, kicking the bowl and sending the popped kernels skyward to rain down around the living room like heavy snow.

     “You bitch!” Keening blurts, jumping to her feet and brushing the salty snacks covering her to the floor, causing Hellbound to burst out laughing. “You did that on purpose!” Keening accuses.

     “No, she didn’t,” Hellbound says, eating a piece of popcorn she’s plucked off the couch.

     “Yes I did,” Pandemic says quietly as she crosses her arms over her chest with a satisfied smile.

     “God damn it, Keening!” Desolation bellows, stalking out of her bedroom wearing only jeans and a bra. Her ample bosom jiggles as she marches into the room and straight for Keening.

     “I didn’t do it!” Keening shouts, assuming Desolation is referring to the snack time mess on the floor and furniture.

     “Bullshit! I know you have it!” Desolation replies.

     “Have what?” Keening asks, picking a piece of popcorn from her hair.

     “Don’t play fucking stupid!” Desolation growls. “I want my tee shirt! I’ve seen you looking at it every time I do laundry. Now give it back!”

     “What fucking tee shirt?” Keening asks, ignoring the remaining kernels in her hair and starting to fume over the accusation.

     “My Whitesnake tee shirt!” Desolation answers. “Don’t act like you don’t know. Now give it back to me.”

     “You have like, seven of them,” Hellbound says. “Which one did she steal?”

     “Shut up, Hellbound!” Keening snaps. “I didn’t steal shit!”

     “You should probably search her room,” Pandemic says, lightly elbowing Hellbound.

     “Pandemic’s right,” Hellbound agrees, adding to the instigation. “She’s probably hiding it.”

     “You’re not searching shit!” Keening says, placing herself in front of her bedroom door.

     “Fight. Fight. Fight,” Hellbound begins to chant.

     “Get out of my way,” Desolation snarls, advancing toward Keening on her right. “I want my fucking shirt!”

     “You’re not searching my room,” Keening hisses moving to block her from the door. “And I don’t have your stupid shirt.”

     “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Pandemic and Hellbound chant, starting to bounce on the couch in time with the words.

     “Shut the fuck up!” Keening shouts at the enthusiastic duo.

     “Get out of my way!” Desolation tells Keening, moving in closer and circling to the left.

     “Fight! Fight! Fight!” the two continue, rising in volume.

     “You’re not searching my room, bitch!” Keening yells, breaking the standoff as Desolation leaps at her, quickly getting behind, trapping her and catching Keening in a headlock.  “Get the fuck off of me!” Keening yells, repeatedly throwing her elbow into Desolation’s ribs.

     “Give. Me. My. Fucking. Shirt!” Desolation puffs out with each blow, but refusing to release her hold.

     “Fight! Fight! Fight!” Pandemic and Hellbound continue to chant, now on their feet and jumping up and down like cheerleaders.

     “Let go of me!” Keening growls, raking her extended nails down Desolation’s arm and causing crimson trenches to form.

     “Fucking bitch!” Desolation bellows, her canines beginning to elongate. “Give me my shirt or I’ll tear your head off!”

     “I don’t have your fucking shirt!” Keening howls, as Desolation sinks her teeth into the meaty part of her shoulder. Slipping her hand between her neck and Desolation’s arm, Keening shoves it through, breaking the hold and tearing strips of bloody meat from her shoulder. “Let’s fucking go!” she screams, kicking over the heavy dining table and snapping off the closest leg like a dry twig. Taking a swing at Desolation like a professional ball player, the end of the club catches her in the chin, dislocating her jaw.

     Desolation howls in rage as she shakes her head violently from side to side, forcing the mandible back into place. “I want, my fucking, shirt!” she says, spitting out a mouthful of their mingled blood onto the stained carpet as she begins to circle Keening once more.

     “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!” the other two cheer.

     “When we find it in the bottom of your hamper, I’ll make sure you’re buried in it,” Keening taunts, the blood flow already beginning to slow from the vicious shoulder wound.

     “We’ll see who buries who,” Desolation hisses, the previous gouges in her arm slowly turning to pink scars. In a few more minutes, they’ll be completely vanished.

     The front door swings open into the apartment, causing everyone to stop and turn to face the door. “What’s all the noise about?” Eradication asks, not paying attention to the scene in the room. Framed in the doorway, the setting sun shines behind her like an angry red aura. She’s dressed in baggy shorts and flip-flops. In one hand, she’s holding a crumpled and greasy Taco Bell bag and in the other a half-eaten burrito. Before anyone can answer, she steps over the threshold and turns to kick the door closed with her foot.  Circling back to face them, Eradication stuffs the remainder of the half-eaten almost-Mexican food into her mouth. A large glop of grease, dark red hot sauce and fake cheese drips from her chin and runs down the front of the vintage Whitesnake tee shirt she’s wearing. “What’d I miss?” she asks, mumbling around the mouthful of food.





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