(I own nothing...)
Part One in a perhaps comedy series.
Five pairs of eyes glanced at each other with hostility that could melt crystal. None of them wanted to be here.
The lights of the Christmas tree in the corner of the room blinked, emphasizing the horrible "cheeriness" of the whole season, that none of the five felt.
It was Christmas Eve night.
Every single year they had to go through this horrible charade.
And every year it felt like it got longer and longer.
Carolers were singing out in the snow, but inside the apartment it was deadly silent.
Midnight tomorrow. That's 28 hours. Only 28 hours. Every one of them had reminded themselves more than once during the last five minutes.
"Cookies?" the woman offered, picking up the plate of red and green frosted sugar cookies. She was sitting on the beaten up couch, next to the tree in her cramped living room.
The three of them answered almost at the exact same time.
The woman glanced at her "husband", whose eyes were glued to the television. When he remained nonresponsive, she sighed, putting the plate down on the coffee table.
Her three "sons" were seated in the same stiff manner on the old sofa opposite her, and their "father" was reclined in the leather armchair, next to the sofa, but turned at an angle.
"So…what have you three been up to lately?" the woman asked when she couldn't think of anything better to say.
All three of them were dressed exactly the same. They all wore the same dark, glossy sunglasses, the same neatly pressed suits, the same shining dress shoes, the same earpieces and the same bored expression. At least they'd left their Desert Eagles in the Audi before coming into her apartment. They didn't want a repeat of last year…it'd taken hours to clean all the remains of those cat programs off her carpet and walls.
"I though you knew everything," the middle one challenged slowly, in a steady tone, but he smiled in a pinched way, answering, "But if you really want to know, just yesterday we killed four parasites trying to free another parasite from the Matrix."
"The day before that, we found an orphan girl in the street," the second joined in.
"So we ran her over," the third added. "She was all over the pavement."
"It was disgustingly decadent," the first finished.
The woman glared at their plastic smiles. "I happen to like those parasites," the woman reminded them, her lips pursed, her eyes mere slits.
"Yes, I know." The middle one was their ringleader. He always started everything. "I can smell it. This room stinks of human."
"Well?" She turned her head to the man, dressed in his usual perfectly white suit. "Aren't you going to do something about them?"
The man's eyes didn't shift from the screen. "L-listen to your mother," he ordered absent-mindedly.
"You know what? I need a cigarette…or two…or three…or four packs." The woman stood from her seat, as a timer beeped. "Oh, there's dinner." The woman smiled with some effort, relieved that at least there would be some change to this torturous holiday.
Her three sons sneered, but stood in unison, coming to the dining room and taking their seats in the rehearsed-looking way they always did.
The man in the chair didn't move, until his "wife" unplugged the television and gave him a death-glare.
They gathered around the table, as the woman brought the gravy bowl, setting it close to the only empty place of the table, which was the center, ready for the main dish, aware all four were grimacing. She was about to go get the turkey, when she heard the sound of feet coming through the doorway.
Oh please no more, the woman thought. She couldn't handle anymore of her "kids".
A small boy in a white toga, with a bald head, clutching a spoon, appeared in front of the doorway, one who'd apparently missed the memo to not come to the Oracle's house while the evil Agents and Architect are there.
"May I've some food?" the boy asked quietly, ignoring the men, and looking at the woman.
The woman, eyes wide with fear for the boy's life, shook her head, but her "husband" cut her off. "Hunger. Another trait that makes humans…weak."
"Do I have to spend time around a stinking parasite while I ingest their disgusting food?" the middle son asked bitterly, glancing at the bald Buddha boy.
The woman glanced at the three, and smiled. "Yes. Yes you do."
"You aren't eating meat are you?" the little boy asked, clutching his spoon, his only worldly possession other than his toga, to his bony chest.
"Honey, it was just a program," the Oracle assured him, turning to try and get the turkey from the oven.
"But it had a mummy. It had a mummy and a daddy and they loved it. Why would you want to eat something that had a mummy?" the little boy asked innocently.
"It was a mess of code, I promise. It didn't love anyone, and no one loved it." She tried to leave again.
"But I did! How do you know it was never loved? Maybe, just like Pinocchio, it had a maker! A kindly old man with a white beard and a loving smile," the little boy grinned, looking up into the light, lost in his daydreams of fairy tales, "maybe it really did become a real turkey after years of struggling!"
There was total silence in the room for 2.376 seconds, before all three sons burst into loud, mocking laughter that could have made a baby cry.
"Maybe the turkey's maker was a wood carpenter, and really cared about what he made!" the little boy yelled angrily over the Agent's laughter. "Think about it! He would have a wonderful white beard, white hair, maybe blue eyes, glasses perhaps, he would have made many wonderful things!"
The Architect lowered the newspaper he was reading to avoid having to speak to his "family", to give the boy a look.
The woman, who people constantly came to asking about the future, sighed, and disappeared into the kitchen to get the turkey.
The sons silenced their laughter all at the same time, and silence ensued once again.
The sons, two on one side, one on the other next to the bald boy, raised their arms and gazed at their matching watches at the same time with that same rehearsed looking pose. The son seated next to the empty spot at the end of the table, where the Oracle's seat was opposite the Architect's, rolled his eyes under his glasses. He sat next to the bald child, and had to breathe in his sent. For twenty-four hours they were not permitted to kill anyone, and that took a terrible strain on Smith.
Smith looked over the table, full of horrible human foods they were going to have to cram down their throats, messing up their organ programs and giving them indigestion, at his brothers Jones and Brown, who sat up straight with their hands properly in their laps, looking bored.
Smith glanced behind him, to the beads that separated the dining room from the kitchen, at the Oracle, who was checking the temperature of the butchered large piece of poultry the humans had named "turkey". Whether the name was an insult to the country, or the country was an insult to the bird, Smith didn't know.
Casually, Smith reached into his sports jacket, where he and the others had put their Desert Eagles, since their "mother" couldn't stand the sight of them "during the holidays". Holidays should die with the humans who made them up, Smith's thoughts were bitter.
Jones and Brown watched Smith cock the gun with boredom, but the bald boy was fascinated and horrified at the same time. The Architect, however, had snuck his ultra thin and sleek laptop to the table, and was busy typing on its slim keyboard.
Holding his gun in his hand like it was precious, Smith placed his hand on the table, on the right side of the relatively cheap china plate, and began shooting at his hand, moving his fingers out of the way. Humans usually used knives, but that was just because they weren't as good as Agents.
The Oracle came back into the dining room with the turkey, a few strands of her hair falling into her face, and a smile of victory on her face. "Didn't burn it this year."
"Burnt turkeys are an illusion," the boy spoke up in his annoyingly high voice.
"You were just going on about its mother," Jones reminded.
The little boy thought about it. "Everything but the turkeys' love for each other is an illusion."
The Oracle rolled her eyes, setting the turkey down in the center, and pushing the hairs away from her eyes with her oven mitted hand. "Oy vey," she muttered. "Smith!" she barked, snapping at her most troublesome "child". "Not at the table, if you please."
Smith rolled his eyes again, but stopped firing, accidentally breaking off the part of the table he'd shot at, now peppered with bullet holes.
"I swear, you and your brothers are just like your f—" The Oracle's eyes drifted across the table, to wear the Architect had spaced-out completely in front of his screen. "Never mind. I prefer you to him any day," she muttered quietly.
"What?!" the Architect barked furiously, looking right at her. "How dare you! I put them in this world, I can take them out."
The Oracle rubbed her throbbed temples. She hadn't had a headache so huge since…the year before. At least Brown hadn't burned down her new apartment building…yet.
Smith put his gun back, until the Oracle turned her head, when he took it out, and pretended to shoot himself in the head, causing Jones and Brown to snicker, until the Oracle whipped her head up to scrutinize them.
"Can we all pretend to be a nice, normal, happy—what are you doing?" the Oracle groaned, watching her "husband".
On his side of the table, his wine glass had disappeared in a small falling pile of code, replacing itself with a champagne glass, full of the most expensive champagne money could buy. The same thing was happening to his chair, which was replacing itself with a white leather recliner, as he typed code at ridiculous speed, changing all of his food into chic things.
"Archy!" she spat, finally making him raise his head, though the rapid tick-tack of his typing didn't cease or diminish. "What are you doing?" she demanded.
Jones, seated closest to his father, glanced at her quickly, making sure she was focused on the Architect, giving him a constant stream of angry arguments over his dull, but bitter comebacks and bad excuses. Jones quickly replaced his own wine glass with the Architects, and taking an expensive cigar from the ivory box, until both of them stopped to glare at him.
"You," she pointed at Jones, intimidating him into letting go of his cigar (the only being in the universe ever able to intimidate an Agent, is their mother), "have been nothing but trouble since the moment you were programmed. You three are the bane of my existence!" she barked.
Brown scoffed. "That reminds me; remember when Smith took over Bane's body?" he laughed, very amused at himself. Jones laughed in a stiff, dry way, both of them as close to enjoying mocking their "older brother" as much as an Agent could enjoy anything.
Smith sneered, remembering very vividly how horrible it was.
"No! No more stories about killing people!" the Oracle yelled.
"That shouldn't be a problem for you then, Brown," Smith spat. "When was the last time you were able to kill anyone? Four years? Five? Six? Seven?"
"Coming from you? Mister 'million clones can't defeat one pathetic Neo'." Jones laughed.
Smith shot his fork through the air at lightning speed towards Jones, who hardly had enough time to dodge out of the way. Or mostly.
Jones glanced from his shoulder, where the fork was protruding, to glower at Smith.
"Boys!" the Oracle snapped, irate. "We aren't going to have a repeat of Thanksgiving, are we?" Her glare had improved tremendously since then and the Agents cowered away from her.
"Perhaps its your 'love' of the human vermin which has made you so emotionally, mentally, and chronologically unstable and seemingly less than perfectly sane?" Smith posed, cocking his head to the side less than half a degree.
"You shut up!" the Oracle yelled, stabing the carving knife into the table.
"He has a point, dear, you do get a little twitchy during these training exercises," the Architect droned.
"You shut up!" She snatched his computer away and tossed it out the window, shattering the glass, her hair falling out of place, and her eyes almost glowing with anger.
"Excuse me, miss Oracle?" the little boy squeaked in his innocent voice. "May I have some--"
"You shut up! I don't care how small you are you stupid little runt, all I wanted was a nice night alone and what do I get? I get these crack-job pyschotic blocks of murderous jerks--" she waved at the Agents angrily, her words coming out like acid.
Smith, Jones and Brown exchanged a shocked and offended look, "We're not all that--" Jones defended.
"For the love of bar-code, shut up!" the Oracle's voice became less feminine and more masochistic than any of them had ever heard. "While Captain Crunch sits on his fancy little chair switching around all the food I spent hours making because some of us don't have his magic little powers to make our lives easier!"
The Architect stuttered, trying to regain his composure to deny her accusations, and the Agents gave metallic chuckles.
"I told you three to shut up!" the Oracle bellowed, turning to the little boy, her face resembling less of a human now, and more of some kind of deformed possessed troll. "And YOU! I don't even LIKE you children! Do I get to lallygag around all day and bend spoons? Huh? HUH? NO! I never get to do what I want because I'm too busy trying to stop these four crack heads from destroying all life!"
Then she fell down onto her seat and began crying hysterically.
All five of them stared at her in stony silence with wide eyes.
The Architect glanced over his shoulder to wear the Oracle had thrown his computer through the window and sighed. "Do you happen to have another laptop? See, I was working on a new tracking system that might help us get the boys to any place the Rebels are appearing, killing them before they can even contact any--"
"It would increase my kills per month by incredible--" Smith added.
The Oracle raised her head, her eyes glowing red, and to all five of them yelled, "GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!"
To be continued...
Copyright Caffeine High 2009