Chapter Twenty-Seven: …To Worse

Charlie sat in the tree, looking up through the dying branches at the sky. He was probably too old to be climbing trees. He WAS nearly nineteen after all. Yet the tree had always been a comfort to him, especially when he'd sat here with Belle so many times, talking.

But now she wasn't here. She was hunched over her desk studying her heart out. Another thing he'd lost. First his grand-father, then his best friend, and now the Lions Claw Blade.
Sunny had been nothing but sympathetic. She'd held him for a long time that night at the tip, as he complained about his loss. Belle hadn't said a word, choosing to stare at the sky. It was okay for HER. She still had the Lucky Seven Gun. She still had everything.
That's where he was wrong. Belle missed Charlie badly, but her wounded pride and broken heart kept him at arms length. Her only solace was her studying – at least she was good at that.
She sat back from her assignment. It was some of her best work, and she was proud of what she was able to do. She just wished she hadn't had to have lost so much to get it.
A tapping at the window brought her back to reality. Charlie was outside, looking like a little lost puppy. Belle smiled in spite of herself, that face always got to her.
“Hey goof-ball, what's up?” She opened the window.
“Nothing much. How's the assignment nerd-face?” Charlie replied, happy that they could at least still banter like they used to.
“Almost done. If I get it handed in on Friday then I can go for an extra-credit assignment, which will all but get me to Brisvegas.” Belle bragged.
“Aren't you overworking yourself?” Charlie asked.
“Nope.” Belle replied.
“You look pale.” Charlie pointed out.
Belle sighed.
“I really want to get to the University Dad went to. Then I can come back and help him make a difference here. People here simply don't care enough to try and change things.”
“We do!” Charlie said indignantly.
“Yeah, eight kids with a bit of optimism.” Belle said bitterly. “I reckon that's how Tate convinced the DVM to help her – keep the people under-educated so they won't fight back. I don't see Revolver or Marion thinking of something like that do you?”
“Not really.” Charlie sighed.
A loud creaking interrupted their chat.
“What's that noise?” Belle asked. Suddenly the tree lurched forward. Charlie got away just in time, the old tree finally snapping and falling.
“What happened?!” Thomas ran into Charlies room. He looked out of the window and saw his son hanging out of the opposite window, Belle holding him tightly. The tree lay between the two houses, having taken down the power lines as well.
“Well, that could have ended badly.” Peter walked over from the car, having just gotten home from another meeting. “Being old to begin with, the flood probably rotted the wood away.”
“It HAS ended badly!” Bill cried from inside. “The cricket was on TV and now we have no power!”
Peters wail of pain could be heard throughout the city.
Even though she had finally gotten her assignment done, Belle was having trouble sleeping (it probably didn't help that it was a pretty warm night and the power hadn't been restored to the air conditioning). Eventually she got tired of not sleeping and pulled on her Giggles attire.
Flying was a relief. Feeling the wind surrounding her, the Backpack lifting her up, the clouds around her, it made her forget for a while how her life was slowly going downhill.
She looked down. Master Revolver was standing atop a tall building. Giggles hovered in the air for a second, wondering what it was with people and tall buildings in Pleasantville. He wasn't really hurting anyone at that time, so she decided she'd leave him alone and head home.
The sound of a gunshot in her direction changed her mind however.
“Can't a girl go for a midnight flight without some moron firing his gun at her?!” Giggles fumed, hitting the face of her watch. After the scolding she'd received from her father over the whole Tate incident, she wasn't going to risk fighting anyone alone ever again!
“And waste the opportunity to finally get my gun back? Are you kidding me?” Master Revolver grinned. The bullet had just grazed Giggles helmet, leaving it with a “scar” very similar to the one that her father had earned across his cheek from the fight with Johannas so many years ago.
“Fine, you're on!” Giggles flew at him, dodging a few more shots that came her way. She shot at his feet with the Lucky Seven Gun, which forced him to retreat.
“Shooting my feet won't do much little girl, I'm on to your trick! You're too scared to kill me!” Master Revolver fired again, this time nicking her hand. “Marion has been impossible the last few days after getting back the Lions Claw Blade, it's about time I shut her up by getting the Lucky Seven Gun back!”
“Like hell you will.” Giggles glared at him. She swooped down at him, with a nasty punch into his guts. He tried to regain composure but she swooped again, kicking him over.
“That'll learn you to – OH NO!” Giggles cried as the Backpack gave out again and she fell down next to him, knocking all of the wind out of her lungs. “I am going to KILL Dad.” She muttered.
“That'll learn me what hmmm?” Master Revolver stood up and pointed his pistol at Giggles. “Give me the Lucky Seven Gun and I'll consider letting you live.”
Giggles froze. Where was everyone?!
“I'm not going to ask again, you either hand over the Lucky Seven Gun or you die.” Master Revolver growled. “You're defenceless and alone.”
Giggles gulped, and slowly extended the hand holding the Lucky Seven Gun out towards him. He grabbed it as fast as he could, before she could pull any of her tricks.
“It's mine again! It's mine! My family gun!” He cried in glee. He turned to Giggles and smiled.
“I don't know how you got a hold of this.” He said softly. “But now I'm going to make sure it never happens again. Good bye Giggles.”
Giggles heart stopped. She was going to die at the hands of this mad man. Her life was over.
Hold it Revolver.” Said a voice that Giggles thought she'd never hear again.
Master Revolver slowly looked around. The tip of one of the Arm Scythes was pointed directly at him. A small buzzing alerted Giggles that the Backpack had enough charge to fly a small distance. She used the distraction to get herself back up in the air and get the Desert Eagle in her hands.
We gotta get out of here Chuckles!” She called down to her best friend.
Right. See you at home Giggles.” Chuckles quickly backed off and ran from Master Revolver. Giggles flew backwards, keeping the Desert Eagle trained on Master Revolver until she was sure she was safe. Then she quickly landed and ran away to the tip.
Now she'd lost the Lucky Seven Gun, and she now knew exactly how poor Charlie felt.

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