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Breaking Point

This is a work of fiction set in the Dystopia Rising world. This information should be considered OOG unless you have a character mentioned.

Breaking Point
Written by Veronica Lacquement
A Dystopia Rising Fan Fiction

The junk crested another large wave and went sliding down into the alley between the previous and oncoming one. Lightning flashed in the sky and the rain that fell burned slightly on any exposed flesh. Everyone on deck wore their lifelines and clung grimly to their post, straining to hear orders over the roar of wind and the crashing of the waves. Only essential personnel were allowed on deck as the storm did its best to sink the Black Rose.

Despite the sting of the acidic rain lashing at his face Kuei clung to the main mast with a grip of iron, straining to catch a glimpse of the coast and perhaps a safe place to wait out the storm. The waves kept getting in the way and his eyes were red from the rain water in his eyes. No matter how tight he pulled his hood the wind always whipped it back with a fresh dose of acidic raindrops. He was about to give up the lookout for a lost cause in the dark and storm when a glimmer in the distance caught his eye. The tears and rain made it blurry and he scrubbed quickly with the back of his hand and strained to see if the glimmer was lightning or hope.

Lady Luck was with them for it was both. A bolt lit the sky for several seconds and outlined the coast where a wall rose above the tide line, lanterns lighting the top at regular intervals. No sign of life, beyond those dim lights, but it was enough to guide them away from the damned forty foot waves that kept trying to sucker punch the ship. The urgency and excitement of the find had Kuei scurrying down the rigging just as the ship started another desperate slide into a wave alley. As the wind and boat shifted drastically beneath him, and water made his grip slip, he flew free. His yell of surprise, and horror, wasn’t quite lost in the wind. And though he banged his side good against the hull of the ship, hands began to haul on his lifeline and lift him over the edge within minutes.

“Better have been good to carelessly scamper down like the sea was calm and the sun shining bright,” The man standing over him wasn’t much taller than Kuei himself, but he had the bulk of a fighter where the first mate was slim and spry like the runner he was. The bash with the hull had knocked wind, and likely some sense, from the first mate for his first attempt at speech was weak and gibberish.

“Wall lightning…sand…fires,” Is what he got out the second time along with pointing in the rough direction the lightning had illuminated the stretch of beach and civilization. The Captain pursed his lips and nodded, then turned and bellowed into the storm. Hands and bodies moved; Johnnie and Suture put their backs into getting the ship turning towards land, fighting the sea herself to accomplish the act. Others worked the rigging and turned the sales to catch a cross-wind in an attempt to keep the forty foot waves from crashing down on top of the junk. The crew managed to avoid being smashed to bits and find a sheltered bay not too far from the wall Kuei had spotted.

As the noise of the angry seas and storm cut down, thanks to the nearby conifer forest and small land mass which created the mini-bay, a different noise could be heard. It was the sound of screaming of several different varieties, one of them belonging to a terrified baby. A nod from Captain Han was all Johnnie needed to bolt for below, followed by the limping Kuei and Fawn, the later looking ready to fight whatever might have crept into the ship to cause such a commotion.

Away from the sounds on deck, the sound of the screaming intensified as well as the sound of flesh being struck repeatedly and the hiccuping wail of Pink, a sound rarely heard despite her being a baby. The galley was the center of attention, the doorway crowded with the two guests who booked passage and a sleepy eyed Shot trying to see who was getting the crap beaten out of them. “Move,” Kuei croaked as he shoved weakly at Shot. The guests quickly stepped back and hurried down the hall to where the sleeping quarters were. Shot moved out of the way and non-nonchalantly followed the passengers down the hall.

There was blood on the one table that was folded down for use. Its source was the Lascarian passenger, his lips bloody as if he had taken a bite of something very fresh who lay on the floor with his eyes slowly glazing over. A huge chunk of his shoulder and neck were hanging on by a bare scrap of flesh and other wounds pumped blood onto the galley floor. The sound of flesh striking flesh, however, came from Bonnie striking Opal repeatedly. The slave was curled into a ball, choking on sobs, and a large gash in her head staining her pearly blue hair a dark red. On the table, covered in blood, Pink lay screaming her precious heart out.

Only Johnnie didn't hesitate in the door, shoving past Kuei to scoop up his daughter and start wiping blood off her little face. “Bonnie!” He said sternly as another kick landed with a crunch into Opal’s ribs. The blue haired girl gave a sharp cry and fell all the way over, clutching her side instead of her knees now.

“BONNIE!” Kuei and Johnnie bellowed in unison even as the mother pulled back to strike again. The look on her face was nowhere near sane as her head snapped up. Blood spattered her face and what looked like nail marks tore furrows across her face. The bloody machete in her hand began to rise defensively towards the three in the doorway, eyes focused on Fawn who had her bow drawn and aimed at Bonnie.

Just as it had begun to rise the machete was dropped to the floor and Bonnie sank to her knees in the puddle of red she had made. Opal whimpered at the sound, her sobbing quieter and pained, and slowly uncurled and moved away. “What. The. Fuck. Bonnie?” Kuei asked as his eyes took in the violent scene.

“The FUCK?!?” Johnnie declared as Bonnie’s mouth opened and closed, trying to find words. The expletive was not directed at Bonnie, however, but a more generalized question and irritation. Pink let out a sudden and piercing wail at nearly the same time, Johnnie’s search of their baby having found something he obviously didn’t care for.

“Okay, I need to sit down now. Bonnie, don’t move from that spot. Opal, come sit here. Johnnie…what is it?” Kuei slumped onto the wooden bench next to the deceased Lascarian, rubbing at the side of his head and peering at the father daughter pair.

Johnnie took a deep breath and calmed himself, though when he spoke it was with a growl, “Pink has a bite taken out of her arm.” That statement made Kuei’s headache recede into the background and bring Fawn’s eyes to the infant and away from Bonnie.

“WHAT?!” They both asked in near unison as Bonnie began to sob quietly into her bloody hands. Johnnie, his lips a thin line beneath his mustache, pulls back the cloth he had pressed to the wound. Everyone knew what a bite wound looked like. Any encounter with a shambler could lead to numerous bite wounds and worse. To see such on the small baby, who was still crying but in pain rather than terror, was gruesome even for the hardened first mate and veteran fighter Fawn. “Go get Suture, now,” Kuei said to Fawn, not looking away from Johnnie and child.

“H-h-he d-d-d-did it,” Opal’s soft and shaken voice spoke from Kueis feet. He looked down at the slave with a frown, noting the black eye, split lip, and other obvious signs of the beating she had received from Bonnie. Opal gestured to the glass-eyed corpse nearby, whose blood had stopped flowing with every beat of his faltering heart. “Bonnie…she…she was trying to sleep…I think. She hasn’t been able to sleep…I don’t know why,” Opal’s words faltered and she looked between Johnnie and Kuei, her eyes filled with the fear of someone who thinks they had overstepped some boundary. Johnnie sighed and nodded, gesturing for the slave girl to continue. “The…the passenger…he came asking for something to eat. I had Pink in her sling on my back. I’m so sorry…I didn’t think anything of it when he asked if he could see her. I was trying to keep things from falling and make him a bite,” Here she stops and actually gags a bit, wiping at her mouth and smearing blood across the sleeve. “Then she screamed. Screamed like nothing I’ve ever heard. I had a knife in my hand and bread in the other and all I could do was stare as he…he-“

“That’s enough, Opal,” Kuei said looking a bit green as his mind filled in the scene. “You can…skip that bit. But if Bonnie was napping, how did she come to be in here and beating the shit out of you?”

Opal hung her head, blue and red streaked hair falling to cover her beaten face. “I think she was coming back because she couldn’t sleep. Because I started to scream and she burst through the door. I don’t honestly remember it well…I think he tried threatened to break Pink’s neck if Bonnie didn’t put her machete down. He had a pretty good grip on the baby,” Opal paused to take in a sharp breath of pain, clutching at her side.

“Okay, what’s up? I’m here,” Suture said as he walked through the doorway, Faun behind him. The scene caused him to raise a brow, his head drawing back in surprise, but the ships medic didn’t hesitate to move to Johnnie and the baby. “Oh dear…umm,” He glanced at Bonnie, who had slipped from sobbing into a fugue-like state, staring at her hands and then to Johnnie. “This is best handled away from mama bear, don’t ya think?” Johnnie gave a short nod and followed Suture out, cradling the baby who had worn herself out of tears.

As they left Kuei’s attention shifted to Faun, “Keep her in check in case whatever Suture does makes Pink scream again.” Faun snorted and said, “I’ll do my best.” The machete was retrieved without any resistance from Bonnie, and set on the table next to Kuei. Faun squatted a few feet from the ships top scavenger, speaking quietly, but the words seemed to fall on deaf ears. Despite that road block, Faun kept at it while Kuei returned his own attention to Opal and the rest of the story.

“Bonnie told him if he did that he was worse than dead meat, because then nothing would stop her from ripping his belly open and slowly letting Suture and Buffett eat them like noodles,” Opal shuddered as the stark image of such a scene ran through her brain but continued, “That is when he spit the chunk he bit off, or a piece, or something bloody at Bonnie and set Pink on the table. He put his hands up and demanded to see the Captain. It was about then the ship lurched and everything, especially Pink, went sliding. Bonnie lurched to keep her from falling off the table. He went to bash her upside the head, I think. I still…I couldn’t do anything but stand there and stare. I was so scared and I didn’t know what to do…I couldn’t think,” Opal slowly shook her head and scrubbed at her face with both hands. “Bonnie grabbed Pink and held her under one arm, like a ball, and with the other carved slices off of him. As soon as he struck the floor she hacked at his neck and if I hadn’t thrown up…probably would still be. Instead she turned on me and started screaming things…all of them true. I…I shouldn’t be trusted with a child. I am a waste of flesh. Too stupid to know how to take care of myself let alone anyone else.”

Kuei tried not to make the sigh sound too annoyed even as he rolled his eyes. “Opal, that is enough.”

All it took was a sharp command and she straightened up, her eyes clearing of tears as she stared intently at Kuei. “Go…get cleaned up by Suture. Then clean up this mess…” He waved a hand at the gore-strewn galley with a wrinkled nose. “Faun, let’s take Bonnie to the Captain.”

*****

The story was relayed two times to Captain Han. Once by Kuei and then by Opal while serving the Captain his dinner. He frowned at the blackened eye and other obvious cuts, pulled the chemise up to look at her bandaged ribs. “That’s enough work for tonight, Opal. You should go rest, I will find out from Suture how long till you are recovered enough to take on your duties,” He said and turned his attention to the three people who sat at his table. Opal hesitated, biting her lower lip, but nodded and moved to lie down in her hammock. “Eh, get in the bed Opal. The hammock will only make your ribs worse.” The red blush that crossed Opals face was only visible to Han, and he covered the smile behind his cup of tea.

Kuei leaned back in his chair, looking disinterested in the discussion while eating a cold meal of smoked meat, bread, and cheese. Johnnie was far more alert as he held Pink, who now slept, his eyes moving from Bonnie to Han and back again. “So…why did this happen?” Han asked as he set down his tea cup, a hand gesturing at Bonnie whose hands were bound and eyes distant in a drugged stupor. Johnnie frowned and Kuei glanced up from checking his cheese for mold.

“Guy bites baby. Mommy goes nuts. Seems pretty simple, Captain,” Kuei replies with a shrug of his shoulder. “Maybe with a bit of the old ultra-violence, but…” He trails off and stuffs a bite of cheese in his mouth to prevent finishing the sentence.

“Having known Bonnie for a few years, I can say I’ve never seen her loose it like that. Even when the Ramens came to escort her home right after the baby was born. I am really hoping you can enlighten us, Johnnie. She destroyed ship property,” Han’s eyes glanced at his bed where Opal was already asleep, “And, while within her right, killed a paying passenger of the ship. At the moment I would be within my right to leave her on shore for the destruction of valuable property alone. So…convince me why I shouldn’t.”

The two men talked well into the night. Kuei excused himself after the seventh sarcastic remark that earned him a glower from Han. Bonnie said nothing and eventually fell into a deep sleep, her chin resting on her chest. Only when Pink awoke, fussing hungrily, did Bonnie stir and to snatch the babe and cradle her closely at that. It was the last piece of the puzzle to the uncharacteristic behavior of the normally outgoing and helpful retrograde.

“I’ve seen it before…You see a lot of things travelling from port to port. I’ve heard it called a variety of things, but it all boils down to the mother’s head goes crazy. They can get delusional, erratic, and almost always violent. Sometimes they cling to the baby, sometimes they believe they have to…kill them and any other young children they may have.” Han’s voice was grave as he spoke and watched Bonnie tune out the rest of the world, stroking Pink’s cheek as the babe nursed. “She’s certainly not fit for ship duty, but I can’t exactly spare you too Johnnie. I know the Rose took some damage from that storm and we’re going to need to find scrap to fix her up. I think Rose may know a brew to keep her calm until we get back to the Rend. Till then…she’s going to have to be in the brig for everyone’s safety, including hers.”

Johnnie put his arm around Bonnie and pulled her close, watching as she mumbled under her breath to Pink. “I don’t have much choice do I?” Johnnie said after a momentary pause.

“No, you don’t. We could leave her on the beach, or leave her in the brig, until we can get her some more advanced help. And even then I don’t see it being good for her to take on ship duties again. The stress is obviously too much for her,” Han said as he leaned forward, hands clasped on the table. A trace of concern entered his voice as he said, “I may have to provide some other form of punishment, but that can wait till she is capable of comprehending what happened better. For now why don’t you go make her cell as comfortable as possible? We all will need some sleep before first light.”

Johnnie stood and guided Bonnie to standing; her arms and feet still manacled together, and turned her towards the door. As they left the indecipherable murmur from her began the clear notes and words, “97 Bonnie and Clyde…me and my daughter…”