Crimson adjusted the goggles on her sand-blasted face, supplying her eyes with fresh air for a few sightless moments. She breathed in heavily through the thick, grey scarf and exhaled a deep sigh. Perched on the old church like a living Gargoyle the sand whipped at her weathered face like a thousand tiny insects biting her in extremely rapid succession.
The church was laughing now, mocking her for being outside facing the elements instead of being sheltered by the dilapidated church, though soon Crimson would be bathing in the warm colours of which she shared her name.
“Viscitti?” Asked a gnarled stump of a man; His worn, withering branches reaching up to the unusually fair and handsome pony-tailed figure, his hands – in dire contrast to the stump - were pale, gloved and fair and as one majestic hand struck the gnarled stump in disgust, Crimson couldn’t help but feel a spark of worry for his hand rather than for the pain and discomfort of the lowly stump, “How dare your unholy filth touch me!” He barked in disbelief, brushing his elbow with a fine handkerchief and advancing toward the heap of branch-like limbs lying crippled on the floor.
Viscitti let out a miniature gasp mixed with a groan; Hitting the floor with a delicate “thump” and the small crowd of underlings gathering round him like scavengers to a dying antelope, “Boss?” Asked the stump nervously after an almost endless amount of time had passed in the dilapidated church, “Boss?” He asked again, louder this time with a hesitant nudge to from the wooden foot to his regal, profound shoulder. Suddenly, a dulled thud sounded against the floorboards. The crowd turned. Another body - Fiery haired and a heavy scarf fastened tightly across her alluringly pale face – lay on the floor and the crowd quickly hustled over to her hungrily: Women were a rare treat in the desert.
“Hello?” She called weakly,
“’ello, darlin’” Replied a hunched man, towering above the rest of the henchmen like a tower, licking his lips and rows of jagged shark-teeth widening into a grim grin,
“Where am I?” She groaned quietly, looking around as if her vision was somewhat impaired, “It don’ matter darlin’.” He smiled sinisterly, flexing his large paws and bending down on one knee, cupping her soft chin in one of his large paws and shivering as the feel of her warmth spread throughout his body, “Well... aren’t you a looker?” He jeered, looking around at the rest of the henchmen and summoning a wave of nervous laughter.
Something brushed against the front of his trousers, “Well someone’s kee...” The lumbering beast’s words slowed as a cold circular metal pressed hard against his manhood, “What is tha’...?” It felt familiar; like a close friend that he met everyday.
The crowd jostled around him, trying to get a decent view of whatever it was between his thighs, “Come on darlin’.” He smiled, lifting her head delicately with his hand. She replied sharply with her eyes and he frowned, his brow arched inwards and a manner of wrinkles burrowed into his forehead, “I’ll just have to lo...” A shot resonated through the tiny chapel and the bear keeled forward onto the space the injured woman had taken up. The small crowd tripped over each other for cover as another shot rang out, a burst of super-heated plasma bore through the skull of an eye-patched man with deep five ‘o’ clock shadow.
The gnarled stump sat quietly in the middle of the red dancefloor, peering through the gaps in his twig-like fingers and whimpering quietly to himself. A warm, smoking metal placed itself against the forehead of his gnarled face, his whimpers turned into desperate wails as she began pulling on the trigger, the sound of super-charged particles accelerating around the energy chamber and a beam of pure energy preparing to charge itself through his brain, melting tissue and rearranging atoms.
Crimson slung the messenger back over her bare shoulder, the tight, black tank top clinging to her slender, surprisingly womanly form as she slung a leg over the lightly rusted beast and turning the foreign metal device to start the gentle purr of its frankly ancient guts.
Ancient tech was a rare pleasure in the desert: A wondrous, impossible pearl on a dead bed of once shimmering coral; usually found deep in the ruins of Old York or within the mind-melting catacombs of Tok-Yo City, or just as easily by chance; drowning under seas of dust in an rusted metal box or hiding behind strong metal curtains with the aged remains of humans cowering in corners and hiding in the back seats of the ancient vehicles.
Crimson smiled as her flaming hair came alight; wild and alive as the wind raced through it, the red tint of the goggles greeted her like an old friend; banishing the darkness for a more agreeable blood red colour. In the distance a large dark cloud scarred itself with flashes of green lightning as it tore through the shadowy darkness and left a foul polluted air of destruction in the once serene stretch of suburbs and cityscapes. Crimson’s chest burst with adrenaline as the groans of twisted, burning metal rung out faintly from the direction of the storm and the ancient, two-wheeled vehicle seemed to purr back in excitement and she smiled, violently turning the two-wheel off-road and across the dry, grey, cracked earth towards the shadow of a once pristine city and quite literally: - The eye of the storm.