Dark Poetry 2/?

Dark Poetry
Chapter Two
by Julian Maxwell

All rights reserved, copyright 2017

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Max



Chapter Two


He scratched at his palm, at this one spot that had itched since he’d woken up in the hospital. The rough edges of the now calloused little spot was almost comforting.

So there are those ideas that seem amazing when you’re standing in the bathroom naked with three days of beard on your face. Sitting down to the computer, to try to share that idea with someone else it gets a little harder.

It wasn’t like he could time travel back to that night when Oak had kissed him.  A kiss by a boy in the middle of a war that was likely to kill them and everyone they’d ever known was hardly solid intel for the state of that boy’s mind fifteen years later. Maybe Oak had grown up, gotten married, had five kids and a circus job. Maybe he was dead.

Kyo scratched at the calloused crater on his palm, tongue rubbing against the front of his teeth. He couldn't be dead. Someone would have invited him to the funeral. It would have made headlines.

Though the blast that had taken off Kyo’s legs and nearly killed him hadn’t made headlines.  Imagining Oak at his funeral was a little like having exploding sugar candy going off in the brain.  The scene played out vividly in his mind of all his work colleagues in dignifie black. It would be closed casket because why repair something if it’s not getting back up and then Oak would stride in like blue lightening, completely outside everything that was normal.  The cathedral would pause, breaths held, conventions withering under the confusion of having to accept one of the most revered war heroes in the most sacred of spaces wearing jeans and a hoodie, blue hair, and being forty minutes late to the party.

Kyo leaned back in his chair, lips tight, mind lost in his day dream, as Oak paused in front of his great black coffin. There wouldn’t be a sound in the place, not even ambient sound from the city outside. The officiant would stare. Oak’s fist would hang over the black lacquered wood for a moment, then knock, a sound that would echo through the huge stone building the way sounds were supposed to echo in buildings designed to make ancient priests sound like they had real authority.

Sound would sputter like backing vocals, with people muttering, whispering, gasping. Kyo realized that that had been the whole world for him when he’d been in Oak’s presence. The rest of the world had always just been background noise. The agent training that had ruled his world as a child, terrified and carved him, lost its power and he was just a firefly seeking Oak’s light. So in his daydream, Oak leaned closer to his coffin and snapped, “You’re not dead. Get yer ass up, Kyo!”

He heard that voice so vividly, as if Oak had whispered it right in his ear and suddenly he was crying again, heels of his hands pressed against his eyes. These eyes were defective, broken! They were eyes designed for a musician, not a soldier, and he didn’t want to own the emotion pushing water down his face. The line between life and death is more of a tide, a breath, than an open/closed circuit.

So he took a deep, firm breath, ignored the tightness in his chest because soldiers do not have anxiety while sitting safely in their own rooms. That his nose tried to leak just because his eyes were was further proof that his whole body wanted to betray him.  He smeared the tears around his eyes, blew his nose, and stared at his screen.

If he’d been the man he imagined he’d wanted to be, he’d have sent a thousand emails over the last decade. He’d have written the answer to Oak’s question about if they could be boyfriends a thousand times over.  People who are only soldiers don’t have boyfriends. They follow orders. They resolve missions. They don’t get forced into medical retirement. His own life made no more sense to him than if Oak had kicked over his coffin and just dragged him down the hall.

Then he found himself smirking. A twist of his lips that made faint light sparkle in his brain. It made his cheek hurt and he found himself staring at the floor, eyes shifting to not stay in the same place because he was on the verge of laughing as Oak dragged his dead body down the aisle of Capital City’s grand cathedral. That was how they’d get married. The government was finally done with him and Oak would claim the debris.  

So his fingers sat on the keys of his keyboard. He’d written a million emails in his lifetime. This one shouldn’t be hard.

Finding out things about Oak shouldn’t have been hard. Despite being retired, he had access to the best databases in the human realm. Anything that was available to be known, he could know, but it felt like... taking what wasn’t his.

Oak was the least private person he’d ever known and yet also the best infiltration operative too. It was as if his soul colored everything he did and people naturally loved and trusted him - so he could just go anywhere with that smile.  Kyo’s core crumbled and he didn’t think he was good enough to go anywhere near his blue haired friend. There was no more space between his fingertips and the keys, but it felt as if they’d moved a planet away.

Then a new email popped up in his inbox.

He scowled, eyes narrow, every bit as harsh as if they had been his natural brown ones.

There had been four of them in the war that eventually brought down the regime. Oak had been the will and voice. Kyo had been the muscle and the sword. Bo had been the power of righteousness, the tradition and fury of the past. Kasir had been new money, the future, the ability to supply their needs.

Over the years, he’d met Kasir from time-to-time, as he nearly ran much of the economic activity of the colonies and Earth. The man was wealthy in a way that Kyo did not begin to understand. Bo also had power that was beyond the imagination of a soldier.  As the leader of the Imperial Chinese sector of space, Bo was a power equal to Kasir and didn’t bother with emailing foot soldiers.

As Kyo thought about it, all of them had been the best of what they were.  Oak was the heart, Kasir the power, and Bo the order of the old world that they used to find the new, and he was nothing. He was a weapon. He wished he could just pull the lid of the coffin down and close his eyes and be no more. No pain, no worry, no leg that didn’t work, no fire in his mind over blue haired men that might not even remember him - just peace.

It was duty that drew his cursor to the email and made it open.  He followed orders. That was his super power.

The email read:

“Raines,

Oak would want to see you.  Transport will arrive in three hours. Be ready.

And it is I, the Imperial Emperor, who writes to you personally. If you decline my summons, I will be offended, Raines.

Bo Chang,”


Kyo sat up a little straighter, those new blue eyes wide. Part of him, the bigger part of him, was overjoyed to have a mission to comply with. The more vividly new part of him didn’t want to be told what to do.

Now his fingers itched to write.

“Chang,

I am aware of your status. Why didn’t Oak invite me? Are you and he... married?”

He paused, scowled, re-wrote.

“Your Imperial Highness,

I am honored to by your summons.

Your Devoted Servant,

Kyo Raines”

Feeling pleased with himself, he got up, grabbed his cane and made it to what passed for his kitchen. Fortified with a cup of nice black tea and another protein biscuit, he came back to his computer, looking for Chang’s reply.

“Oh shit! You are sick! Are you sick, Kyo?”

Kyo rolled his eyes and checked if the messenger service would work with his Imperial Highness.

“What do you mean am I sick? I have been forced into medical retirement because one of my replacement legs is rejecting. I’m suicidally depressed and I think that’s justified.”

Bo went from text messaging straight to video and Kyo accepted, feeling a rush of youth at seeing his old friend, feeling suddenly less alone which made start crying again. “And my eyes are defective,” he said, voice breaking.

Bo Chang, a designed person, who was the embodiment of Imperial Chinese beauty and strength, with dark eyes and a perfect, crazy elaborate bun of a hair style, tipped his head and paused. “I am not good at talking,” he finally said, “but you are important to me. Please commit to arriving at my colony. I require a promise.”

Kyo wrinkled his nose, one eyebrow arching. “I’m retired. I’ll do what I want.”

“Of course,” Bo said, leaning forward, “Maybe you’d like to help me save Oak though.  Can you commit to that?”

“Yes,” Kyo said, breathless, heart doing something he’d never had it do before. “What’s wrong?”

“I am neither a doctor nor a psychiatrist, Kyo. Aside from spouting stilted Mandarin poetry when I am required, the only thing I’ve ever been good at is destroying shit. The best doctors in the human realm can’t tell me what’s wrong with him.” Bo leaned forward, looking more like an angry warrior than anything imperial. “Maybe now that you’ve graciously retired from being busy every fucking minute of your life, you’d like to come try yourself?”

“Yeah,” Kyo nodded, “I’ll come.”

“Good. President Helena will be sending a snow weasel with you. Kindly pick it up before my people get you, if you would be so kind.”

“Yeah,” Kyo said.

Bo closed the call and Kyo sat there staring at the black closed screen wondering what in the hell was a snow weasel?

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