One Hundred and Twelve: The Coming Storm
Dark storm clouds rolled over Pleasantville, grumbling with the weight of the rain that was about to spill over the city. In the Begly household, the Masters were over for a roast dinner and to watch the latest reality television drama. In Sunnys house, Sunny was plotting revenge on Sammy while Patrick and Melody wondered if they should be worried. At Tammys apartment, Sammy was plotting revenge on Sunny, while Tammy and Rose wondered if he needed professional help. TJ and Petunia were home with a pumpkin soup (and an irate phone call from TJ's father). The Death Valley Mobsters were having a group therapy session at the Misneach Manor, the Jones family were out at the movies, the Crusaders were fixing up their hideout to keep out the rain (even though the rain wasn't forecast to hit Fallsville), and the Haunted Maze Troupe were in the process of developing more new and addictive substances.
It seemed like everyone had a place to be and people to be with. All except Daniel, the ex-Sir Lionheart, who felt cold and alone as he stood on Pleasant Dam. The wind blew hard at his back as he looked over the city. How had one little split-second decision turned everything upside down? One act of rage, frustration and exhaustion. How different things would have been if he had just kept his scythe down instead of killing the Inspector of the Pleasantville Police!
“You're STILL sulking. You're a mess, kid.”
Daniel groaned and turned around as the wind began to pick up. “Hey Judy.” He greeted Judith Jofrey weakly. “Why aren't you inside where it's warm?”
“Are you kidding? Revolvers got the entire Mob talking about their feelings and hugging it out. It's disgusting.” Judith stood beside her boyfriend, looking out over the city.
“How's Marion taking it?” Daniel asked.
“She's just sitting there sipping her wine.” Judith sighed. “She used to be so focused, so strong and determined. I kinda hate your buddy Charlie for taking her sword from her, twice, and just destroying everything she was.”
“You sure it was just Chuckles?” Daniel asked. “I mean, Revolver and yourself have to take some of the blame.”
“Well geez, thanks.” Judith snapped. Daniel flinched. “Don't stand there looking like a scolded puppy either, you had no right to accuse me of being responsible for my sisters mental breakdown.”
“It's true though! You and Marion have been fighting since the Crusaders came back to Pleasantville.” Daniel sulked.
Judith bit her lip. “We've been fighting a lot longer than that.” She pulled out the necklace that her sister had given her from under her shirt. “Ever since we were told that we were being separated. I hated my father for that. He took my best friend away.”
She clutched the necklace tighter. “He took her best friend away. He started all of this!”
“But then, he probably had his best friend taken away too.” Daniel pointed out.
Judith gave him a wry smile. “A vicious circle, just so we could build and keep power.”
“It worked, didn't it?” Daniel asked.
“And where did all that power get us? Absolutely no where. It's driven my sister crazy and left me exhausted, and for what? Just to get turfed out after a few years in power.” Judith grumbled. “This whole “share our feelings” afternoon is a last-ditch effort to keep the Death Valley Gangsters and the Mobsters of Misneach together, because if the Gangsters leave the alliance, they're taking all our people. No one can stand Marion anymore.”
Judith straightened up. “Anyway, nice deflection. We're here to talk about you.”
“Don't you groan at me. You need to talk to someone. You haven't been right since the Riots.” Judith snapped. “I get it, you're on a mission and the mission keeps on failing again and again and again, mostly because of things out of your control. Like Wallace dying.”
“Will people just shut up about that already?!” Daniel snapped.
“And there it is, you feel responsible for his death even though it wasn't your fault.” Judith tried to comfort him, but he pulled away.
“Just stop trying to psycho-analyse me, because you're getting it way off the mark.” Daniel snapped, livid. “Why can't you all just let me do things my way?!”
“Well, because in eight months you won't be able to do it your way!” Judith fired as the thunder started.
“Huh?” Daniel asked.
“I'm pregnant you ass. I only got the doctors call this afternoon to confirm it.” Judith grinned.
“You're…we're…I'm…?” Daniel couldn't believe it. Judith was pregnant? With HIS baby?!
“Looks like the Knights of the Last Order and the Mobsters of Misneach are going to be linked forever. That has to be a bonus, doesn't it?” Judith asked.
Daniel was about to say yes, when he remembered.
“I'm not a Knight anymore. They kicked me out.” He said miserably.
“That lot? Kick YOU out?” Judith raised an eye-brow. “They wouldn't. They love you too much. They're probably trying to give you some space to sort yourself out and you're sulking.”
“I'M NOT SULKING!” Another thunder-clap and a flash of lightening punctuated Daniels yell. The rain began to fall on the two, a few drops suddenly turning into a heavy downpour.
Both of them stood silent for a moment, letting the rain drench them.
“You shouldn't be out in the rain, it's bad for the baby.” Daniel finally said.
Judith felt her lips tug upwards. She then let out a loud laugh, unable to stop herself. That set Daniel off, and the pair of them roared with laughter while the rest of Pleasantville remained dry in their houses.
Marion rolled her wine glass between her fingers, watching the pale yellow liquid inside. A fine white wine from a vineyard in the Great Nations, apparently, although Marion had started caring less and less about that.
She had overheard her sister talking to someone on the phone before running off into the rainy night. It seems Judith had succeeded where Marion was failing – she had managed to get pregnant and was on the way to producing an heir.
Just another way I've failed. Marion sighed to herself. She uncrossed her long legs and got up off the couch where she had been luxuriating. She walked over to a nearby mirror and looked at herself.
Beautiful. Not a hair out of place, her blue silk dress draped perfectly over her body. Make-up was perfect, blue eye-shadow against bright red lips. Sparkly blue high-heeled shoes, and a white fur shrug around her shoulders. Everything looked perfect.
Except her eyes. The ice-blue eyes were windows to a soul that was breaking apart, falling to pieces, unable to deal with the pressure of having to keep up the pretence of everything being fine. Nothing was fine. After ruling Pleasantville for years with Demon, the Mob was cast aside in favour of the Haunted Maze Troupe after failure after failure after failure against those two monsters and their petty little Knight friends.
Everything would have been fine if Chuckles and Giggles hadn't shown up. If Chuckles hadn't stolen her sword. If she hadn't been forced into a flimsy alliance with Revolver, a man who had never had any intentions of helping her provide her people with the heir she was supposed to produce.
It was her own fault really. She should never have been so ambitious as to think that he could just pop out a kid and have that kid rule Pleasantville as the true ruler of the Death Valley Mob. Ambition had killed her father after all, as it had killed his father before him.
“Am I going to die of ambition?” Marion asked the reflection in the mirror. “Probably, but I guess it's not my problem after that.” She answered her own question.
“Are you okay Madame?” One of the butlers asked her.
“Why, should I be?” Marion asked lazily. The butler stammered for a second, before walking away, wondering if Madame had completely lost her mind.
“I can never really enjoy the rain. Not after the flood.” Belle looked out of Charlies bedroom window. The rain was pelting down quite heavily now, and the thunder and lightening had driven most of Pleasantville to unplug most of their electronics, fearing a power outage.
“The flood was nearly seven years ago Belle.” Charlie pointed out, lying on his bed.
“What, you don't flinch slightly when you see clouds in the distance?” Belle asked.
Charlie sighed. “Yeah, I guess I do a little. That was such a messed up summer.”
“It just goes to show how easily people forget about things. Everything was cleaned up by the time school was back in, and no one has really mentioned it since.” Belle sighed. “People have even started to forget about the DVM, since they only really showed up during the riots, and haven't been heard from since.”
“I think we've established that people aren't particularly smart.” Charlie said.
“I think it's more they don't want to know. Out of sight, out of mind, it can't hurt me anymore.” Belle pointed out.
“Which doesn't bode well if the DVM decide to make a comeback like the Crusaders and the Troupe did.” Charlie sat up.
“I wish we had Dan around still. We could talk to him about having Judith keep an eye on them for us.” Belle sighed again. “I just wish Dan was okay.”
“I know. But I also know he'll come back to us one day.” Charlie said. Why did it feel like a lie to say it? Daniel WASN'T a killer. There was no way.
“You sure? He seemed pretty upset.” Belle asked.
“I'm certain.” Charlie told her.
And that was definitely a lie.