Author's Note This is purely a work of fiction, based on two characters that we've all come to know and love--perhaps--from that which brought us here: We're Alive. I had the idea in the wee hours of this morning, roughly 6:10 A.M. By 9:00 A.M. I had the work you are about to read. Let me preface further by saying that I've been taking medication for the last four weeks and hadn't slept in 28 hours, prior to the writing of the following short. The inspiration for it stems from watching the movie Clue, way back in the day. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the film, Clue was based on the board game of the same name, a murder/mystery/whodunnit from the 80's. What does a murder/mystery/whodunnit board game turned movie have to do with We're Alive? Good question.
At the end of the film, before the credits rolled, there were three separate 'alternate endings'. It was my first experience with seeing an alternate ending, and it's something that has always stuck with me. So, when the tragic events of the last chapter [29.3] transpired, I was left with no real 'what if' scenario to delude myself into thinking that there was still a chance. My only salvation seemed to be looking back... way back. Long, boring story short, I present to you, dear reader, my alternate beginning. My 'what if' scenario involving two of my favourite characters and one of my favourite speculations from the series: How did Scratch recognize Angel?
This is my answer. Sorry for butchering your characters and the history you've built for them, Kc. Just know that I do it because I love them both. Also, sorry to the residents of the area. I don't live there, and all my knowledge comes second hand from friends. I apologize for any inaccuracies regarding locations.
I hope you enjoy it.
One Night, In Santa Monica
A short story
The ’94 was handling like a wet rag. Redlined engine, and stereo pumping loud enough that the speakers were clipping, badly. Angel didn’t care. It wasn’t his car.
“Woo!” Angel’s enthusiastic whooping rivalled the song on the radio. It was The Real Slim Shady by Eminem. It wasn’t his first choice, but he didn’t care. It wasn’t his car. The girl in the passenger seat squealing her approval of Angel’s driving, she seemed like a lot of fun. She had long, dark hair—jet black, with a sheen that you could read a book by—long, dark eye lashes, and legs that seemed to stretch forever, her hand swimming against the air rushing past her open window, feet up on the dash. He didn’t care. It wasn’t his car. She seemed fun, in spite of the faces she made at the music.
She had noticed him climbing into the silver, Honda Accord, outside of the Aero Theater, as she was walking towards the bus stop with what he assumed to be her friends. She slowed down, making sure to catch his eye, and hitting him with a smile that seemed to take in her entire face.
“Nice car.” she said.
“Thanks.” Angel said, grinning the sort of grin that will get the back of your hands whacked twenty or so times with a ruler by Sister Margret. The sort of shit-eating grin that you expect from the guy your mother warned you about.
“Looks like it can go pretty quick, huh.” her voice reminded Angel of one the sparklers he would run around with as a kid on the 4^th of July—fuzzy, but somehow, sharp.
“Yeah,” he said, sitting in the driver’s seat, touching a pair of wires together, getting a spark as the engine fired up, “I suppose she can go pretty quick when she has to.” He coughed as he broke the ignition lock, then slipped a worn key in. He’d been in the process of stealing it when he’d noticed the group of kids walking his way. Angel stood, and stretched, his lanky frame towered above the young girl’s petite figure. He flashed that grin once more.
“Wanna go for a ride?”
“Oh, I should tell my brother.” she said, turning to the three other teenagers that had continued to walk on without her. The girl’s scream was piercing. Jarring. Strangely, exciting.
“Hey, John!” one of the boys—a spiky haired one—turned and glared at her, “I’ll see you at home!” John shrugged, gave her the finger, and kept walking.
“Big brother?” Angel asked.
“Big pain in my ass.” she replied.
_____________ Angel’s driving skills were remarkable for someone his age, almost as if he’d been doing it for years longer than he should have been. Truth be told, he had. Angel was quite good at stealing cars.
“We should go back to my place!” The girl was yelling at the top of her lungs, and he could barely hear what she was saying. Turning down the stereo, he shook his head at her,
“We should go back to my place.” she said again. Her voice was hoarse. They had been screaming—literally screaming—up and down the PCH with the stereo blasting for the last hour. Angel’s own voice was a little rough.
“Sure,” he said, “just tell me where we’re going.”
“I’m not even sure where we are.”
Angel laughed, “On the PCH,” he pointed up ahead at a set of lights, “see? There’s Sunset Boulevard, and just up ah—” Angel’s face blanched under the yellow light from the street lamps. The girl barely registered the red and blue lights that were coming down Sunset on an intercept course.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.”
“What’s wrong?” the girl asked, “You’re just gonna get a speeding ticket, don’t sweat it.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Angel said, powering into fifth gear, “I don’t have a license.” Tires shrieked in protest as the patrol car fishtailed through the intersection, falling in behind the silver coupe.
The girl, gripping the edges of her seat, eyes wide, mouthed a few words to herself before clearing her throat, “You know... they just give you a ticket for that nowadays... it’s not really worth a high speed chase... is it?”
“And...” he let the word hang in the air.
“And?” she turned to regard him fully, “And what?” Her voice much sharper than before.
“And I stole the car, too.” Angel said, cutting her words off with a forcefulness that felt strange coming out of his mouth.
“Oh,” she said, watching the flashing lights in the side view for a moment, before she started to giggle, “well, we’d better lose them then, hm?”
_____________ The patrol gaining on them, Angel pushed the Accord hard, shooting nervous glances upward, searching the night sky for the tell-tale lights of a police helicopter. The girl was laughing, hard and sharp. It wasn’t funny, but she didn’t stop when he told her, she only laughed harder.
“You’re not losing them, Blonde boy.” she said between spasms of laughter. Angel let out a frustrated roar of contempt.
“It’s kind of hard when it’s a straight fuc—” Angel snapped his fingers—an idea popped into his head. He started to slow down, seeing his opportunity coming up on the right. A flickering blue neon sign that read: REEL INN.
“Hold on.” he said, looking in the rear view. He had one shot. “I think we can get this to work.”
“Get what to work?” Her laughter interrupted by a yelp of surprise as Angel cranked hard on the wheel, sending the silver Honda careening into a parking lot. His hands and feet worked, smoothly together, pulling hard on the parking brake, spinning the wheel hard, clutch, dropping the brake down and accelerating back toward the road. Sirens and lights screeched heavily into the parking lot, oblivious to Angel’s slick maneuver. Two faces, mouths agape, watched the little Honda shoot out of the parking lot, narrowly missing the ass end of the patrol car as it shot back out onto the PCH, heading back the way it had come.
The girl’s laughter was infectious and by the time Angel hit third gear they were both laughing. A moment passed before Angel saw the flashing lights reappear in the rear view.
“I bet they thought they had us, too.” he said, focusing his attention back on the road. “I’ve got an idea.”
A few moments later, Angel let the ass end slide out a little as he took a left onto Sunset, then a hard left onto Castellammare Drive, where they had agreed to split up. Angel, swung to the curb, bringing the car to a halt. The girl swung the door open, slipping out quickly.
“Wait!” Angel leaned over the passenger seat, looking up at her, framed against the night sky, her black hair seemed to fill the world around her, “I didn’t get your name!”
The girl’s lips curled into a broad, toothy smile. She laughed again. She let the door fall closed under its own weight, turning she strolled casually back down toward Sunset.
“I didn’t give it.” she called over her shoulder. Angel could hear her laughter, bleeding into the shrill siren of the fast approaching cop car. He shook his head and chuckled, leaving a strip of black on the pavement as he shot away from the curb, speeding off into the night.