KUMIR, Chapter 26: Exeunt Ridens

Jane walked out of the compound into the flashing red lights of the ambulances and police car. Law enforcement had finally shown up and was dealing with the last of the wounded and unconscious Incubikers left by Patrick and Jason’s assault. She paused to take in the sight of wrecked bikes, unconscious and wounded bikers, and turned to Jason. In his military gear he blended in perfectly with the police and EMS personnel. He looked nothing like the calm barista she’d first met in a flannel shirt and apron. His face held the grim satisfaction of a veteran and he wore his military webbing and gear as if born to them.

“You guys did good,” she said, softly. “But it looks like we won the battle but lost the war. Level not achieved…”

Jason shrugged. “The Gods work in mysterious ways,” he said. “At least these guys are gone. And Tony and Kitten.” He looked across the street at the empty steel facade of Kitten’s Toy Shoppe. “As long as neither of them have the kumir, that’s at least some measure of security.” He paused, cleared his throat, and looked sideways at her. “Look – about what I said before. You need to keep your secrets, that’s fine. I think – I think it’s possible to be friends even if you don’t understand each other.” Jane just looked at him. “And besides…you’re good in a fight. We could use your help, maybe…” Jane’s stare finally unnerved him enough that he simply trailed off.

She held it for a second longer, then relaxed into a laughing smile. “Maybe what, Jason? Forge an alliance of sexual rebels, fighting against the evil empire of the repressed and nonconsensual?” She punched him in the shoulder, not hard but enough to shift him. “I don’t know about you, qadishi, but my people aren’t anywhere near that organized. Hell, that’s why they had to send me out here, and I didn’t even accomplish the goddamn mission.” She looked down the alley, and saw that her motorcycle still leaned, unobtrusively, against the wall of the café. “Eh. I fucking hate long goodbyes, Jason. I’m glad Patrick’s gone already.” She gave Patrick a hug suddenly, pressing her full body against him. “As for you, this is all your gonna get from me, so better enjoy it.”

Jason squeezed her back, hard, and for just that interval they were both back in the healing room, sharing the eternal now of the white orgasmic light

Then it was over. She felt a tear rolling down his cheek and into her hair. She ignored it and gave him a pat on his body armor as she pulled back.

courtesy My Lush Life via Flickr CCTurning, she caught a glimpse down the street of Theo’s boots laying dirty and scuffed on pristine white sheets, bound tight to the gurney as Jonesy shut the door to the ambulance. The speed-freak driver saw her and waved, happily. Jane started towards him, calling over her shoulder to Jason. “I’ll be over to the Café in a bit to get my things. I need to say goodbye to Jonesy.” Jason nodded, wiping his eyes unselfconsciously, but she was already halfway down the street. He watched her a moment longer, and turned towards the warm glow spilling from the shattered windows of the café.

Walking over to the ambulance, Jane smiled wearily at Jonesy. “I wouldn’t go too far,” she said, waving behind her towards the other injured Incubikers. “I suspect you’re going to be coming back here pretty soon.”

The ambulance driver ran a hand through the greasy locks on his head, pushing them out of his eyes for just a moment and Jane saw they were a brilliant blue. “S’ok,” he said merrily. “I like takin’ care of people.” He nodded towards the back of the ambulance. “That guy, he’s gonna be ok. Not gonna look so pretty, but his face still works. Mostly.” He shrugged. “Maybe Doc Jonesy’ll make it work better. Maybe.”

Jane looked sadly at the closed doors. “Well. That’ll be somethin’, then.”

Jonesy nodded. “Yeah. It’s better than poor Padre Innocente, that’s for sure. Nuthin‘ to do for him. He wasn’t even mostly dead.”

Jane couldn’t help but smile. “Nuthin’ to do but go through his pockets for spare change, then?”

He nodded happily and walked towards the front of the ambulance. Hand on the door handle, he looked at Jane, a crafty look trying to conquer the blissed-out expression he normally wore. “Can I tell you a secret?” he asked her in a dramatic stage whisper.

Jane smiled and played along. “Sure!” she whispered back. “I promise, I won’t tell no one.”

Jonesy looked exaggeratedly to each side, checking for eavesdroppers, then leaned in. “The Padre?” He waited until Jane nodded, and then continued even more gravely. “He didn’t have no spare change.” His eyes were heavy with the solemnity of this revelation.

Jane nodded back, her expression grave. “I believe you, Jonesy.” She waited, but he didn’t seem to have anything else to add, so she squeezed his shoulder and turned away. “Take care,” she called over her shoulder, heading towards the café.

“Nope, no spare change at all. Just that pretty necklace.” Jonesy slammed the door of the ambulance, and Jane froze, just barely hearing his next words. “Sure does look pretty here on my mirror, though.”

Jane’s mouth opened, but whatever she said was drowned as the siren whooped to life and the ambulance drove off down St. Antoine’s, leaving her laughing in the chaotic flashing red of the night.


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