Preface: This is Chapter 1 in a full-length novel. If you are interested in reading the full book, please feel free to email at the address at the bottom of the home page. Also, be advised that this is the third book in the series. If you have not read Black & White or Cyan & Blue, I would encourage you to enjoy those novels first.
Friday’s first breath of air outside the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago was sweet. They had clicked the metal cuffs off his wrists almost half an hour ago, before he changed back into the street clothes they had taken when he first came, but the words of the prison guard didn’t really sink in until he heard the noise of the street in front of him. “Free to go.” Eight years he had waited to hear that phrase.
Eight years for “terroristic threats”. Six months’ trial and Friday still didn’t know what it meant. Not that he was the last bit uintelligent – he had scored second best on the IQ test when the entire organization had taken one. It had been a game between them at that time, but it was information Friday cherished now. No, it wasn’t that he didn’t get a definition of the phrase – it was that he had gotten too many, and that they were all vastly different. Whatever it meant, the public defender they had assigned to him could only stand dumbfounded as the prosecutor talked circles around him. Lawyer speak. Friday huffed at the thought.
Friday noticed, as he stood out on the street, that his clothes were tighter than he remembered. The shoulders were especially so, but, now that he thought about it, the change made sense. He had spent much of his time on the inside at the gym, when not building connections and plotting his revenge. He had also gotten the chance to practice some of what Monday had taught him before they were arrested. Outside that hateful building, the techniques were self-defense. Inside, though, they had become power. Power to stand up to those who would seek to control him, and power to control them instead. Friday had refined many of the techniques through his use on live opponents. He had focused his influence on those who had been released before him, and would leverage as many of them as he could now. He wished he could have Monday with him now. They would be a powerful pair. But would he help him kill his brother? Friday didn’t know. And Black had to die. That man had been the true reason Friday had been in jail in the first place, turning on the organization as he did.
The organization. Just the thought boiled his blood. Had they left Monday to rot in jail, as they had Friday? He assumed nothing else. All that talk of loyalty, but when the blood of Wednesday and Thursday had spilled, they scattered like roaches in the light. Friday breathed with intention at the memory of Wednesday. He had loved her, but she never knew it. Friday had been moments away from finally having the courage to tell her when the raid on headquarters had occurred. She was the first casualty in the gunfight. Friday wished, even now, with all his might that he had been second. Instead, he had whispered, then screamed the words at her corpse. Her blood on his hands was the last thing he saw before they were forced and cuffed behind his back. Even as they hauled him out of the room, he had screamed the words.
Saturday was the one really to blame for it all. Not only had he been their leader, trusted to protect them all, but he was the one who had let Black into the organization. They would both pay the same price Wednesday had. And anyone else who stood in Friday’s way.
First, though, he had to find them. They had surely abandoned their previous headquarters by now. Probably even left Chicago. There was no way Sunday would have left his church, though. That ancient man had been a pastor and founder of the church he led, or was eight years ago. With any luck, he might still be there now, though probably retired. Sunday had been the moral center of the organization, but he had always been a little too preachy for Friday’s taste. The water bottle they had given him wrinkled loudly as Friday’s fist clenched at the thought. He had no love for anyone left in the organization, as they had apparently none for him.
Stepping forward, off the final step that led to the correctional center and onto the sidewalk, Friday hailed a taxi. To Sunday, then.
Today was Thursday – that meant the kids would come for AWANA tonight. Sunday had to take the steps down to the basement a little slower these days, but he had time yet. The prayer group that had met there yesterday always made an effort to leave the area clean. Sunday appreciated the gesture, but the kids tonight would need the crayons, and he would put them on the tables and make sure that each plastic tub would have the same number of each color.
He had been down in the basement about half an hour when he had heard the word. He spun as quickly as his old bones allowed him to see the source of the sound. The word had been spoken boldly, as if in answer to a long-forgotten question.
Only when he recognized the one who had spoken did he realize that the word was in fact a name. “Friday!” He held his arms out, welcoming an embrace. “You’ve not called me that in an age.”
Friday only hesitated a moment before coming and returning the hug. “It’s been too long, old friend.” Friday must not realize how strong he was now, for he nearly crushed Sunday’s frail bones with the embrace.
Sunday laughed. “Old is right! Come, sit with me.” Friday obliged him, occupying a plastic green chair across from him as Sunday got back to sorting crayons. “How have you been?” Sunday had heard about Friday’s fate after the raid, of course. He hadn’t been that out of the loop. “Jail? Must have been awful. You look good, though.” Sunday had kept the man in his prayers, but thought better than to say the fact out loud. Friday had always shunned that.
“Thanks.” Friday picked up a pair of scissors and twirled them around as he spoke. Sunday’s instinct was to stop him, but Friday wasn’t the child they had been designed for. “Eight years. I was sentenced for twelve, but got out early on good behavior.” He smiled his winning grin at Sunday. “You’d be proud.”
They laughed together. “I wouldn’t have thought good behavior was in your repertoire.” There had always been good in him, Sunday knew, despite Friday’s insistence on the opposite.
“What about you?” Friday asked him, still twirling the scissors on one finger.
“Oh, same old, same old,” Sunday responded, stretching. His body might lock in the hunched over position if he stayed there too long.
“I – ” The man mumbled the rest of his sentence. Sunday looked up from his work to see Friday’s head down, as if in shame.
“Eh?” Sunday asked. “I didn’t quite catch that.”
Friday looked up now, locking eyes with Sunday. “I was wondering if you were with the organization still?”
“No, not really. My place is here. After -” Sunday couldn’t think of the raid as anything but a slaughter, but didn’t dare call it that to one who was once so close to Wednesday and Thursday – “after the last time I saw you, Saturday and Tuesday moved out west. There’s nothing left of the organization. Not on this side of the Rockies, at least.” Sunday eyed Friday, curious. Did he wish to join the old gang again? Sunday had kept in touch with them over the years, playing counselor and guide to them both, and now Monday, as they led their own organizations. He was glad to share his wisdom with whomever he could. “Why?” Sunday asked.
“But there are some left? Saturday?” Friday had been Saturday’s apprentice – the one he was grooming to lead the organization, should anything happen to him. Cyan had that honor now, though Sunday wasn’t sure he knew it. It seemed only natural that Friday should ask about Saturday, though.
“In California now. Would you like to send him a letter?”
“I’d like to pay him a visit.” The twirling scissors paused for a moment, then continued. “Oh, Sunday. I’m lost.” The words spilled out of him like a confession. “I don’t have a place in the world anymore. I don’t know what to do, not without -” Friday chocked on the name, but Sunday understood. Wednesday had been the one to keep him grounded.
Sunday’s heart and hands went out to the man. “You are precious, Friday, and not forgotten.” Though Sunday knew the Father above was the one he referred to, Friday would likely take him to mean Saturday. That was fine – let the man think what he will. Sunday left one hand on Friday’s and picked up a crayon to sketch out addresses on the children’s worksheet in front of him. “Here – this is Tuesday’s address in Phoenix. Saturday moves around a lot, but if you go to this town, he will find you –” Sunday was going to point out Monday’s headquarters next, but Friday snatched the paper from under the crayon before he could.
“Thank you!” the man breathed, standing and reading it over multiple times. Friday probably didn’t realize he still had the scissors in his other, left hand.
Sunday smiled, standing also, though more slowly. “Glad to be of help.” Friday clasped Sunday’s hand and shook it.
“Your skin is so thin,” Friday remarked, thumbing over the wrinkles after they shook.
Sunday smiled. “That’s the price of getting old. Travel well, my friend.” Sunday tugged to get his hand back, but Friday was apparently still fascinated by it. Instead, the younger – and far more fit – man tugged it toward himself, locking the elbow out.
Before Sunday could comprehend what was happening, Friday had exposed the inside of Sunday’s bicep and plunged the child’s scissors into it. What was he doing? Overwhelmed with shock at the sudden change in character, Sunday could only look up at Friday. The man was looking right back at him, and their locked eyes for a moment, then, without removing the scissors from under the skin, Sunday felt Friday stir them around for a moment. He dragged the child’s blades toward himself and down the inside of Sunday’s arm. That was when the pain kicked in. It was quickly followed by an absurd amount of blood. It gushed from his arm as Sunday crumpled to the ground.
Why? Sunday wanted to ask the question aloud, but he couldn’t find his own breath. Friday stood over him, scissors still in hand and blood on his shirt, though the look on his face was the most disturbing. It wasn’t quite happiness, the man read of… satisfaction. Friday then broke from his stare and wiped the handle of the scissors. It had to have been fifteen seconds or so before Friday knelt down beside Sunday once more. Was he coming to his senses? Was he going to help him?
Then the smile came as Friday plunged the scissors into Sunday once more, this time into his neck. Panicked, Sunday tried to clutch Friday’s shirt – to beg him to help, but his body was failing him now. Friday brushed him off easily and stood.
“You deserve this,” Friday said before turning his back on him.
Gasping for air was becoming increasingly difficult, and the corners of Sunday’s vision had turned to black. He wouldn’t survive this. Friday disappeared up the concrete stairs and out of sight as the darkness edged in. It would be an hour still before anyone was to come down here. Far too long. His eyes failed him entirely, and Sunday was partially glad it would be over soon. Please, God, he prayed, don’t let the children find me like this.