I'll probably change bits and pieces but this is it. I hope I've done enough to explain the previous adventure/novel without giving too much away.
‘I’m so gonna’ kill my brother!’
From anyone else this pronouncement would have been a little startling. However, given that it was only Sad-case neither of his two listeners paid much attention since he was always threatening to slaughter someone. Even his peculiar nickname was an indication of his nature. This was due to his utter loathing of his real forename and his subsequent refusal to answer to it even to the strictest teacher in school; and certainly not his parents. Thus where anyone else might threaten to beat someone up, or have a flaming row, Sad-case would always threaten to massacre them.
However the mention of his brother was enough for both of his friends – actually, his only friends, to understand both the fury and the threat. Sad-case’s newly blackened eye glared defiantly at them. Just the left one this time, David noted with interest while Derrick looked on with undisguised admiration. Few people on earth were either brave or stupid enough to raise a fist against their large and unnaturally muscled friend. One that was, and had, was his brother. Sad’s previous bruises had almost gone, now just a faint purple glow to remind them of a recent encounter with his mutant sibling: Bob The slob.
‘It’s not even this that bugs me so much.’ he growled, thrusting a grimy finger upwards to emphasise the point and almost poking his wounded eyeball out just to finish the job.
‘The ratbag tore my hoodie. Look!’ He gazed sorrowfully down to the scene of said heinous crime. Neither David nor Derrick could see what he was talking about. His hoodie was made of Yak skin or something equally exotic and seemed, as usual, as if it had been dipped into a bucket of sick. Whilst coating the front, several unidentifiable stains had coalesced into one great puky blob that looked distinctly toxic. While all agreeing that there could be no more suitable a recipient for gratuitous pain and injury there was also an appreciable element of danger in the concept. And probably quite a lot of trouble from the police if he pulled it off. His mum and dad might not be overly impressed either.
‘He’ll kill you first.’ Derrick said patiently, carefully smoothing his own Ketchup-stained hoodie in a gesture of solidarity. Sad case was a real pillock at times. But a big pillock and he’d learned the hard way that it was always wise to voice his opinions in a suitably humble manner.
‘I don’t care.’ Sad-case snorted, at the same time interrupting Derrick’s mental observations of his friend’s destruction. ‘If he kills me then I’ll really get him back the, the...’ Having already used up his quite impressive stock of swear words on the subject of his brother, he was being forced to invent a few more.
David attempted to sway him from certain annihilation while carefully admiring the new Top-Gun badge he’d sown onto his own hoodie the night before. That made about twenty now and had to be a world record. However there were more important things to consider. Sad-case’s brother was a towering monster who, in reality, might not even be human at all and they were in a good position to judge. But their united experience of his skill and passion for dealing pain was an indelible memory.
‘Don’t you think that actually killing him’s a bit drastic? Couldn’t you just kick him in the nerds?’
‘Snot-brain.’ Sad-case smiled triumphantly, dredging up a previously unused term of endearment for his brother. ‘I mean, I’m not actually going to kill him. Although I bet I’d get a medal. No, I’m just going to scare the slime-gob to death.’ He leaned against the clammy side of the old water pipe which had become their new headquarters in the disused scrap yard. The thought of getting one over on El Slobbo was something to savour.
‘It’ll end in tears.’ Derrick promised, carefully eyeing his own hoodie and its attendant stains that often made it difficult to remember what colour it had once been.
David went back to his magazine, squinting under the meagre glow from the lantern Sad-case had “borrowed” from the Boy Scout hut at the school. The photo seemed impossible even for a modern weapon. They must have done something to it with a computer. He turned it upside down to see if a change of perspective would make the picture seem more likely. He’d only had it a couple of days but on hearing of its existence half the sixth formers had already offered to tear out his lungs if he didn’t hand it over to them; just as they had most of their predecessors.
‘I mean, how does one jet blow up a bridge, an underground air bunker, an ammo dump, and half a dozen tanks with the same rocket?’ Even for an F22 Raptor, the task seemed a little tricky. "Blood and guts – A man’s life." joined the small pile that had been spared the lust of the older lads. After what they’d seen and done in the last few weeks, nothing matched the awesomeness of the real thing – especially as the real thing had turned out to be a whole lot more scary than a touched up photograph.
The effort of trying to forget their recent encounter with the unknown had proven nigh impossible for the three since it consisted of first being abducted to an alien planet. That alone was a wonder of the first magnitude. And that was before they’d been chased by and bombarded with mutated lizoids. Then after miraculously escaping that place, only to land on an even more revolting planet, full of yet more ghastly creatures whose sole purpose for living seemed to be their deaths and the invasion of Earth. That they’d actually managed to break out of that hell had been the second miracle. Only to be confronted with the inevitable conclusion of their previous actions. And this had been the worst: a final, terrifying encounter within the pyrotechnic horror of a space wormhole. The nightmares would last a lifetime.
It wasn’t even as if they could actually tell anyone of what they’d seen and done and bask in hero-dom for a few years. Going on talk shows and getting medals from the president of every country in the world; being fawned on by adoring females till they were sick of it. They had discussed, and just as quickly realised that they could tell no one about what had happened. It wasn’t as if they could just turn up at school and say: “Hey, guess what we just did all last week? And by the way, we also came back the actual night before we left.”
Regaling all and sundry with the juicy details about saving two worlds from destruction probably wouldn’t garner the respect it really deserved amid all the scornful laughter even if one of those worlds just happened to be the Earth. And informing Old Droopy-face Smith, their science teacher, that a previously undiscovered planetary system lay within their own would probably earn them all a decade’s detention for sheer gobbiness. If not a visit from the men with the straight jackets and padded accommodation.
So they had decided with great reluctance to keep it all to themselves, relishing the memory and being just that bit smug. Even Derrick’s anonymous email to a web chat room promoting all kinds of weird conspiracies had met with universal hysterical laughter – albeit of the electronic kind. And a dead leg from Sad-case since they’d already agreed to keep their collective yap shut.
Yet even fighting alien hoards across an entire solar system and somehow surviving, was little in comparison to Sad’s imminent demise. Where his brother was concerned, extreme care was an absolute priority. He could teach any alien army a thing or two about destruction.
‘So what are you going to do, then?’ Derrick frowned while rubbing a wet patch on his bum. This pipe was narrow and uncomfortable. It was hardly tall enough to stand up in and smelled of cat pee. It’s one plus point, it being impossible to see from the outside seemed hardly worth the bother of being wet and cramped when they might just as easily be sitting in Sad’s garage where nobody ever went anyway.
Sad-case grinned. It was his best evil gleam of pure nastiness. It had an “I’ve-got-it-all-planned” look. He shuffled about more for a few annoying seconds to push home the malignant point. In fact he continued to wallow in self-satisfied smugness until David bounced an empty cola can off his head. ‘Tell us.’ he commanded as the remains of the mouldy liquid trickled satisfyingly down Sad-case’s face.
Sad-case wiped away the sticky and slightly mouldy fluid and frowned in the near darkness. Ever since David had started Kung Fu, over and above the dirty stuff his now dead father had taught him, the only one he could slap around was Derrick. But since he’d been so good at navigating them through the wormhole and effectively saving their lives and that of the entire planet, it wouldn’t be right. So now he was being forced to forage for his victims elsewhere.
It wasn’t even the same with the other kids at school. In fact, Sad-case knew deep down (not that he was going to let on) that his heart really wasn’t into being a full time tormentor of the weak. The fact that they didn’t have any ray guns like their most recent enemies just made the whole thing a bit boring.
‘Ratbag.’ He wiped his sticky hands on his jeans, reluctantly erasing the glittering memory of how it used to be. ‘When my dad finally turned his brain on,’ he grinned at the memory, ‘and left for good last week, I found something in the garage. He’d already nicked most of the stuff that was any good.’ His smile took on a malicious edge. ‘But he forgot a box in the corner under the old carpet, and it’s really cool. It’s got all this stuff what belonged to his dad, and his. And somewhere in there, ‘cos I saw it for a second before El Slobbo came in and whacked me, is a gun.’
‘The Luger?’ Derrick scowled, referring the ancient pistol Sad-case had found a few weeks before which belonged to his brother, who had reminded him with the two black eyes that were only now beginning to fade.
A gun? Of all the things none of them wanted to see again, a gun was probably top of the list. All except for Sad-case it seemed. David swallowed quickly, remembering what he’d done with the laser pistol, and how he’d nearly trashed a spaceship. And how Derrick had almost electrocuted them by firing at those electricity pylons. While Sad had nearly been flattened after killing that prehistoric monster the size of the Eiffel Tower. And that was while the plonker had actually been standing directly beneath it on that planet none of them ever wanted to think about.
‘Another gun? Are you a nutter?’ Derrick thrust away the nightmarish visions which matched David’s with uncanny similarity. Alright, he still felt pretty good about the way he’d sent those other ships crashing off into space, and in the process actually saved everyone’s lives? But as the others had said he couldn’t talk about it to anyone else, and as the other two knew all about it anyway, the novelty had worn a bit thin.
‘He’ll...’ the thoughts of what Sad-case’s brother would do to him were just too horrible to imagine. After all, even if Sad did shoot him it would only annoy him. It wouldn’t actually do him any harm or anything. The slob was a big as a bulldozer; a bulldozer who drank about twenty five pints of Guinness every night, and someone whom even the local police treated with extreme caution.
‘It’s not a real gun.’ Sad-case finally relented, seeing the horror in their faces, and understanding, if only silently. In truth he was still having luridly vivid nightmares about their too-recent adventure on … but he didn’t want to think about it. It bothered him almost every night so there was no way he was going to waste daylight dwelling on it.
‘It’s a kind of starting pistol or something. You know when him and his mates go into that old concrete shelter by the football ground for a bit of lip-locking with those girls? Where even if you cough in your rompers it echoes for days?’ The others nodded, knowing the place well and wishing they had some of the aforementioned girls to do the same thing with. ‘Well I’m gonna wait until they’re really into it then I’m going to shoot it in the air and frighten them to death. And...and,’ he struggled to overcome hysterical laughter, ‘he’ll probably cack himself and his friends will see it and know just what a wimpoid he really is. And the best part is he’ll never even know it’s us.’
‘What’s this, us?’ Derrick rammed his finger up in a gesture that would definitely not have impressed his mum. But despite the potentially catastrophic consequences of his plan, the others could see the elegance, or if not the elegance, then just the pure nastiness of it.
Lost for words, they let it all sink in. Admittedly, seeing, or just knowing that his brother would be made to look like a complete nancy in front of his friends would go a long way to alleviating the utter loathing they felt for him. It was just that, David told himself, if he ever found out who did it, he’d put Sad’s delicate bits in a vice. Him and every friend he’d ever had.
Even so, it might just be worth it.
‘When are you going to do it?’ David hated himself for asking. He didn’t want anything to do with this, but knew that he would, regardless.
‘We get a half-day tomorrow, right? The teachers are having a meeting about how to make our lessons even more boring than usual. Come home with me then. My mum’ll be at that soft college class she’s doing for growing carpets or knitting her own asparagus or something. We’ll go into the garage then and have a look for it. The gun.’ he reminded them.
Derrick peered through the gloom at David for confirmation. His nod was enough. After all, they’d fought alien lizoids on another planet; coming back the day before they’d left, then hiding to prevent an anti-matter explosion which might have trashed the entire universe. So what could be easier than scaring El Slobbo to death?