DEFEAT. 015 – Blood and Ink

[DEFEAT. is Rendar Frankenstein’s truest attempt at fiction.   Presented in weekly episodes, the novella tells the tale of Daryl Millar – a hero who dies at the intersection of pop culture, science-fiction, war epic, and fantasy]

The day had been going especially well for 8-Bit. He had aced his physics exam. Daryl had returned his copy of The Dark Knight Falls without a single crease or blemish to be found. And the evening held the prospect of a trip to the circus. So, it was with an understandable enthusiasm that the teen entered the bathroom to wash his hands before lunch. The pre-lunch routine was adhered to daily, if only for a comforting sense of continuity.

Unfortunately, Brady Moore also knew of this routine. Hiding in a stall, Brady waited for 8-Bit to be about halfway through his hand-scrubbing before making a move. Although not really a consideration anyways, the fully lathered hands would prevent any attempted resistance; yes, he was a prick of an inexcusable magnitude, but Captain Moore’s strategy was commendable in its own way.

Kicking open the stall door, Brady terrified his prey. With a bewildered eye turned over his shoulder, 8-Bit knew that nothing good was on the horizon. Brady spun the gamer around. Grabbed him by the collar. lLifted him off the ground. Shoved him against the wall.

“Listen here, you fucking dork — I don’t like you.”

“Well, I’m sorry you feel that way,” offered 8-Bit with an elevated shrug of the shoulders. “I guess the unfortunate reality is that everyone won’t always get along as well as one would hope.”

Taken aback by the deprecating candor, Brady pulled his victim’s face towards his own. “Shut. The. Fuck. Up.”

He could kind of comprehend Riff’s insubordination during the previous day — but getting lip from 8-Bit? Unthinkable. “You are a waste of life. You will amount to nothing. No woman will ever grant you access to her poontang.   Other than that disgusting excuse for a guitarist, no one cares that you exist.”

Smiling, 8-Bit reminded him that, “Riff and Daryl Millar care. And in case you forgot, Daryl’s one of the most respected guys in this school.”

This sent Brady Moore into a frenzy. Roid rage. He slammed 8-Bit into the wall. Had this shoving taken place in a cartoon, 8-Bit would have actually smashed into the wall, peeled out forwardly and left a full-body impression. But this was reality, so the teen’s back, shoulders, and head simply absorbed the blow. Stumbling forward, 8-Bit painfully exhaled. “Ow, fuck, don’t you meatheads have some rule about unnecessary roughness?

A right hook sent 8-Bit to the floor and put a quick end to his rebuttals. “You can thank Riff for that — and let him know that he’s next.” Satisfied with his craftsmanship, Brady made his exit, leaving his opponent on the bathroom floor

The heat of burst capillaries in his left cheek. A steady stream of blood pouring out of his nose. 8-Bit felt justified in giving himself a few moments to embrace the floor’s cold tiles. Wanting to clean himself up but unwilling to leave his makeshift cold-compress, 8-Bit rummaged for something with which to wipe away blood from his face-down position. Grabbing what he believed to be a large wad of that stiff brown bathroom paper, the face was blindly swabbed.

But when 8-Bit tried to assess how much blood he had lost, he was in for a surprise. Expecting to see a mess of bloodied tissue, 8-Bit instead saw that he was holding a now crumpled-up, blood-stained copy of his once pristine The Dark Knight Falls.

“God fucking damn it.”