Animus Nocendi



Also featuring:

—Bolivar wishes he knew.

Scene Title Animus Nocendi
Synopsis Bolivar makes a mistake.
Date March 25, 2009

The Bronx

The Bronx is the northernmost borough of Greater New York, and even before the explosion, this area was diverse. Though known infamously throughout the world to be a low-income area, it was not without its finer points, as well as home to the Yankee Stadium. It was dense with life, for better or for worse.

For now, it is the the south-west areas of the Bronx that are unrecognisable. Clean up has not gone steadily, and buildings still lie in ruination. It is now hard to tell what this place is even for. During the day, construction teams work to clear more and more roads of South Bronx, although people seem to take liberties by driving over the burnt out rubble if they have the means. There are make-shift trailer camps and soup kitchens for those that don't have a place to go. One feature of South Bronx is the Yankee Stadium, so far untouched. There is irreparable damage done to the building itself, and no game has played there since the tragedy. Graffiti tags the areas available, and people often congregate illegally upon the wrecked grounds. The field itself is overgrown with weeds between fallen debris.

Heading away from Manhattan, the Bronx takes on more function and hope. This borough, once a place of Jewish immigrants, then Latin-Americans and African Americans, is now a diverse mix of all races, any and all New Yorkers taking up residence on the other side of the wreckage. There is even a semblance of a transport system, the electricity back on and functioning, but crime rates are higher than ever.

First of all, these lazy fucking asshats need to get some fucking jobs to have to go to bed and wake up for. Secondly, Jason Bolivar Rodriguez-Smith is pretty fucking sure that burning three dozen stuffed pandas and a tambourine store is, at the very beast, an idiotically circuitous and poorly-phrased opinion on the capacity of the government to protect this nation's children from terrorist threats and lemming-style self-destruction. Thirdly, it's fucking cold. Hurts him, deep in his bones, and he doesn't know why he's sweating. No one else seems to feel it. The cold, he means. Not the fear.

There's nothing to be fucking scared of out here. It's eleven o' clock PM, past curfew. Some twat with a theatrical hate-on for portable-dimensioned percussion instruments and sexually retarded ursines figured out that fire burns and plateglass breaks. Good fucking job.

Two stores burn bright in the night. There are only like forty people out here in the street, shouting at the officers moving to herd them in. Squad cars have blocked off the street, their stobes spinning, flaring, juddering rhythmic, silent and deceptively patriotic red-blue-white-red-blue— light breaking the liquid depth of the rain-slashed darkness. Officer Johnson has his megaphone and his indoors voice, which is kind of a weird juxtaposition of things to be having at the same time, except it works out to approximately soothing, despite the blare and twitter of electronics. "Please return to your homes. Curfew is still in effect. The fire department has been called." Do you stupid fucks want to be flogged by a high-pressure hose? Can you read the fucking time? Fuck digital; those analog arrows are going straight up your—

His small hands tighten on the rifle-load of useless projectile rubber. His heart is beating too fast, and he knows it's beating too fast. The Jefferson Thomas trailer farm hadn't gotten to him this bad and there was a Goddamn chopper falling out of the sky then. It's probably the dark — too much of it, that is; he outgrew monsters when he was nine. Thought he did. He has good eyes, and he's used to having those. You have to be able to see better than an ordinary man in order to hit a target correct to two inches from the distance of two hundred yards. It's just harder to see in the dark, there's just — too much of it out here. The strobes make the shadows deeper, blacker, the negative space of concealing paint instead of empty canvas. Someone had taken two street lamps out with a fishtailing cab.

He wishes he'd brought Nina with him.

And now there's some asshole waving crackling silver lightning in his hands. Black man in a wifebeater, in oblivious defiance to the driving rain. That is enough, finally, to make Jason pay attention to the verbal volley throbbing through the inclemency of weather. The rioter gets up on top of a crate. "For the children!"

Okay, what? Instantly, Jason regrets turning his attention toward that: waste of hearing. What the fuck do people ever fight for anymore?

The lightning's going off like static. The order goes out across the megaphone: weapons up. SCOUT is being called in. Fucking Evolved. Always comes back to the fucking Evolved, doesn't it? One hundred children are blown up at a high school, a supervirus almost obliterates human civilization, lettuce is overenthusiastically removed from a truck by people who are cheap, FRONTLINE goes up for Senate review, another thirty five teenagers drink poison because they were ignorant and apparently the only thing the American family ever taught them was how to break one, and for some reason it is all about the fucking Evolved. What the Hell! Somebody outs the genetically gifted, and suddenly the whole Goddamn planet is one big mutant parade float.

Something flies by his head so close by it brushes his scarred cheek and he nearly screams. There's a gurgle instead, a flinch backward. He hadn't even seen anybody coming. He doesn't know where that had come from, until a glance upward shows him some long-limbed freak spidering up the wall with a backpack full of — God knows what. Tambourines or panda bears. Johnson's yelling at him to get down. Some twenty-odd in the crowd are chanting the 35 now; the rest of the mob has turned against them in tendrils and wobbling, glistening parts, like you'd imagine a Portuguese Man o' War inverting on itself in order to navigate the same water that holds its structure, skins, ogans intact. Sodden by the storm, the fires have turned smokey. More cloying, acrid skeins of particle blindness than hot yellow light. Bottles smash. Vibrant color rakes the stencilled letters of storefronts. Tinkle tinkle.

Somebody screams. A girl in an NYU sweatshirt begins, steadily, to glow blue. Gunmetal clicks to his left, just up front: an actual riot officer steadying his trigger finger. Not yet, not yet.

Jesus fucking Christ. The rolling blackouts end, and everybody fucking celebrates by leaving their homes and piling into the streets to make light after the caveman fashion. What the fuck is wrong with

When Johnson gives the order, it's like outboard motor blades ripping through the jellyfish's delicately membraneous body. Jason pulls his mask down, though it is precautionary, really: he's far back enough. Teargas cans hit pavement like the rear-bumper coda to a newly married couple's orchestral march down the aisle, clok clok, rolling, roostertailing their gaseous contents out into the air, ash-colored puffs and plumes bruising the color of the night. Heedless or merely incensed by the warnings, rioters come tearing through it. They make grotesque silhouettes, their arms and shoulders out in hulking, zombie-shaped brace, the gait of their progress halted and jerky from the stinging influence of airborne chemistry. They aren't moving like human beings.

Lightning man in the lead. He goes down under the crush of an officer's riot shield into his body, though the dull plastic thump is punctuated by another shriek. Electrical discharge snaking up the cop's legs in jagged filaments of charged energy, white-hot, scorching eddies into the clear plastic of his equipment and skin alike. The baton windmills in the man's hand, helpless for a moment, fallen the next. The Evolved man is struck. Hauled upright. When he opens his mouth, Bolivar can see light incandescent down, down there, inside it.

Such fear.

It is pounding, roiling television-static, eating up his vision in great brutal black bites, a distended canvas, wormholing, a punched eye. He hears more gunmetal. His hands are shaking. He rights it out, and then drops it. Clatter.

Fuck this: these people are fucking crazy and he shouldn't fucking be out here, he's not in the shape, the right state, and he is getting so fucking tired of paying for everybody else's fucking stupidity in this Goddamn country. Not even God loves America. So much random, senseless violence and loss and chaos and deceit: tomorrow the papers will say the riot was an anti-government uprising, or an anti-terrorist protest, fucking deranged Evolved grieving for the subtraction of three dozen glorified miniatures from their rabbling numbers, or a call for tighter Evolved policies and no one will know he was here because of stupid fucking nothing and, fuck, he was so afraid in the d—

The little Mexican folds like paper.

Hits the ground, and the ground hurts his knees. His shin had already been aching on and off a month with a hairline fracture that won't close. The stacked force of gravity rocketing through the axis of his body mass feels like a knife rammed up his leg, splitting the gastrocnemius muscle from his shin bone. The rain beats the teargas into the pavement and hammers on his mask to get at his eyes. He jerks his mask free anyway, a wrenching grasp that tears stinging hairs out of his scalp. Fuck this shit. Fuck these people. Fuck all of them. Fuck's sake. Hate is more familiar and preferable. He pulls a pistol out from his calf holster and takes it off safety. He can not breathe for the taste of the air.

Underneath the whine of sirens and ecstatic screeching, Jason can hear feet coming at him. He loses track when the imploded taxi finally explodes against the second street lamp, color and sizzling gasoline everywhere. The nozzle of his gun twitches upward. Blunt, gunmetal black, damp-nosed, a beast's snout sniffing silently in search of a bite.

It finds one in the next face that comes roaring out of the light-streaks and reeking corpulence of smoke clouds. The face has two eyes socketed into its pits, eerily aglow, surreally bright as lightbulbs, seemingly lidless. There's malice in the fists swerving toward him, the flight of boot-shod feet.

Squeezing the trigger is a almost an afterthought. The first time, at least. The second and third are inexcusably deliberate. The kid is dead before he keels into the ground, and then he's a gory mess by the time the frictioned slide of pavement underneath his body slows him to a halt sloughed against Jason's knees, his head practically in his killer's lap. He couldn't have been more than twelve years old when. Jason doesn't have to pull him up by the hair to know that there is no more light lancing out of those genetically gifted eyes.

Jason lurches backward anyway. Falls on his ass. Gunshots everywhere, now. He's started something.


From The Wikipedia: "In jurisprudence, Animus nocendi (Latin animus, "mind" + gerund of noceo, "to harm") is the subjective state of mind of the author of a crime, with reference to the exact knowledge of illegal content of his behaviour, and of its possible consequences."

<date>: previous log
<date>: next log
Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License