Disclaimer: Darkminds was created by Pat Lee and owned by Dreamwave Productions. No money is being made from this story and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Notes: Missing scene for Darkminds: Volume 2, Issue 6.

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Rituals
By Gen X

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Twenty minutes.

I'm four and a half blocks from my apartment and the world has plunged into chaos. Well, at least that's how it feels to me. Life was never this exciting. Life actually kinda sucked and was boring. It's been starting to get better lately but now it's a nonstop ride with a few thousand never ending variables.

Nineteen minutes left.

I might have set the time limit, but I don't have the power. I have an illusion of power. The assholes hiding in my uncle's restaurant are trying to force our hand. It's an unfair situation which is obvious to everyone. They want a deal so they can double cross us so they can kill us. Hell no, I don't think so. If I'm going down, I'm going to take everyone of those fuckers with me.

This isn't martyrdom. It's fucking personal. The breakdown in front of Nagawa is not what I wanted but I'm too angry to care. Nagawa's a cop. He knows the score. He should know reality when he sees it. And the reality is that now Uncle Nunz...

...

There are too many ways to complete that sentence.

... all I have.

... as good as dead.

... trapped by those fucking coward rat fucking bastards who couldn't fucking find us so they take it out on innocent fucking people because they're fucking scum.

Everything's I do is about being innocent.

It should be more about being alive.

Sixteen minutes left.

I'm home. Key in the lock, crack open the door, look around cautiously. No ambush. They don't need an ambush 'cause they've already got a set up, but the extra caution doesn't hurt. They won't have the advantage for long. Not for long.

There's no time to shower. After slopping through all the sewer shit of Macropolis I need one. I want one, but even if I had the time I wouldn't. I wouldn't do that while Uncle's got a gun to his head. If he's still alive now.

I kneel on the ground beside my bed and slowly draw out the heavy, silver case. I'm determined not to run out of clips this time. I'm pulling out the big guns quite literally. The case is only for those special occasions, if you know what I mean. It bounces slightly on the mattress a testament to the weight inside. How many guys will be there? How many guns? How many would have stormed into the restaurant and taken over the fucking place? How many just sitting there eating free Italian waiting for us to come in?

Ten? Twenty? More or less? I know the place like the back of my hand. Where would they be? The front or the kitchen? Are they being arrogant and standing in front of the huge glass windows or being discreet? Is there a chance I can sneak in or should I just drive my car through the front door?

Open the latches on the lid and reveal my little arsenal. The cool slick black metal looks inviting, like it's been aching to be used. Bullets carefully placed clips. They're just waiting for a chance to give everyone what they deserve.

Fifteen minutes left. It only takes three to get there.

I need to change clothes. This part is necessary. Strip off the shoulder holster, shirt, and pants. They all need to be replaced. First, a black tank top, dark so it won't show blood. Over that, I jam a bullet proof vest that'll do nothing to protect my arms or legs. The finishing touch: a blue turtleneck sweater to hide it all. Pull up heavy cargo pants. Lots of room. Lots of pockets. Gonna need all that space and fill it with stuff to fuck them over.

Slip my feet into white socks then jam those into high hiking boots. Take a moment to stuff the cuffs of the pants in too. Tie the boots, laces as tight as I can. Over, under, around and through. Double knot them so they won't come loose.

Eleven minutes to go.

Time to accessorize. Semi-automatics are a girl's best friend. Slid a utility belt in the pants slots. Grab a different shoulder holster, this one with compartments. Around my legs are cinch belts for extra ammo. Upper thigh. Lower thigh. Left and right. Everything's just aching for firepower. Trigger fingers especially.

In the case, there's this long silver bladed knife. It goes into a leather sheath that snaps and locks onto the back of the belt. I take a moment, in a flash I draw it out and in front of me. The blade catches on the light and I know it can be deadly at a moments notice. The hilt that is cold to the touch is warming to my hand. A practice draw was it all it was. I carefully put it back. Just practice. Just to make sure. Snap on that sucker and I'm feeling good.

On the cinch belts: tons of clips. Many clips holding many bullets making me a walking powder keg. In the shoulder holster goes my favorite gun. I'll wait 'til I need to for that one. That's the one that goes to the very end with me. In the pockets: smoke bombs, tear bombs, grenades, every fucking thing. I might need to be discreet, in which case I'll need cover. I might be trapped, in which case I'll need to blow shit up.

Eject two clips from the two identical automatics that I pick up from the bed. They're locked and loaded. Toss them back down, they can stay there for a moment more. I'm just starting to look good now. I move to the closet. The ritual's almost done. Soon I'll have to go out there. I draw out a black coat. Heavy. Thick. Long. Compared to what I'm packing, it's relatively light.

I put it on. It's gonna be like a Western, man. Gonna have Main Street, the good guys getting called out and the bad guys who are going to be dead at high noon. I flex my arms and stretch. Feels as good as ever. I smooth the jacket down around me to make sure it doesn't catch on clips or gun. The two guns from the bed get jammed into the jacket pockets. The bullets are ready to go and they'll probably find their way in and out of chests and limbs.

Eight minutes.

I look in the mirror. Almost done. I open top drawer of the dresser silently. Inside are two gloves, leather, smooth. Soft and silky. Underneath them is the picture. The one of me, dad, and uncle a copy of the one hanging on the restaurant wall. My eyes stay riveted to the photo as I carefully put on the gloves.

Will the on the restaurant wall survive the fire fight? Will dad and uncle still be smiling without a care? I jam the drawer close, tear my gaze away, and whirl around. The ritual's over. The careful planning now gives way to the uncertainty of action. No time left to think about it. The coat swirls around me, the weight of it making me feel comfortable and secure. I look at my room like I won't be coming back. I look at the bed like I won't get to rest there anymore. I think about the pictures that will never smile at me again.

Six minutes. I'm out the door.

Head to the car. Today will most likely be followed by newsreels, hospitals, film at eleven, funerals at noon. I've got to say something: it's been a hell of a run. Deep breath.

Smile for me dad cause you're baby girl ain't leaving without a fight. She's gonna give as good as she gets and then some. I'm gonna go get everyone of those motherfuckers I can before they get me. Just before I get in the car and slam the door and I can't help thinking that it's a lovely day. Far, far too nice for shit like this.

Nagawa, I hope you and Reiko stay safe. I'm doing this for you too.

Turn the key, put it into gear, rubber squeals on asphalt.

Four minutes.

It's Mai Murasaki versus every fucked up motherfucker out there.

I'm coming Uncle Nunz, just be alive.

One minute. I park on the corner. There's the restaurant.

Wish me luck Dad and keep smiling.

I'll be seeing you real soon.

The clock just hit zero and your baby girl knows that it's time to go.

fin