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Hunters: Junk of the Heart (Original Kevin Duval Edit)

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Apr. 14th, 2008 | 12:29 am

The sixth story, but oddly enough, not mine. I had asked Kevin to write me a story, and he did. This is how Kat became a Hunter. When I do the reedit, some of the elements will be used but not everything. I intend in the new edit that Kat gradually figures out she has powers and that the guys have been using her to learn how to fight, and will join them on her own (much like she does in the next story).

Lunchtime at Brookland-Cayce High. The punks and preps were huddled in their cliques around the blacktop. The band members and acid trippers occupied the breezeways. The rednecks were standing around the vending machines and picnic tables, hurling insults at each other across the black tar road. It was here that we found our two heroes, stocking up on their Dr. Peppers.
“Thank God for these damn pockets,” the shorter one said, stuffing another bottle into his trench coat. “I’m thirsty as a damn bitch!”
“Get out the way, man!” the taller exclaimed as he stepped up to the drink machine and dropped in three quarters. As his finger reached for the button to vend the Dr. Pepper, a long, low tone sounded over the PA system and the drink machine fell silent. “The fuck?” He pushed the button again, with still no response. He pressed it several times in rapid succession. “Goddammit!” he shouted, kicking the metal caging around the machines. He swung out his arms in anger; three long metal claw-like blades shot out of one of his arms.
“Dude!” his friend shrieked, grabbing his arm and moving it out of view of those still around them. “Ace, what the fuck?!”
“It’s all right, K. I’m all right.” The blades retracted.
“Here.” K pulled out a Dr. Pepper from one of his trench coat pockets. “I’ll spot you one, okay?” K patted his friend’s back as Ace accepted the beverage.
Ace opened and took a deep gulp from his beverage, then thanked his friend. Suddenly an approaching figure caught both of their eyes. She was tall and slender, with long, wavy black hair, wearing a red tank top and black jeans. She smiled and winked at the two young men as she came near them.
“Hi, boys!” she greeted them in a cheery tone. “What’s up?”
“Kat,” Ace chimed as he took her hand and kissed it, “how wonderful to see you again!”
K shot a look at his friend before turning to the young woman. “Hey, Kat.”
“Hi, Kevin!” she returned, with a warm hug.
“Oh, I see!” Ace fumed. “So K gets a hug, but I don’t?!”
Kevin ignored his friend and took Katlin’s hand. “Hey, Kat, can I… ask you something?”
“Well sure, K,” she answered, throwing a glance at Ace, “what is it?”
“Well, actually, I was hoping we could talk… alone?” Kevin looked at his friend, who once again got an offended look on his face.
“Oh!” Ace yelled. “So that’s how you want to be? Well, screw you guys! I’m going to class!” He turned and left his friends. {Pussy!} he sent as he reached the door to the vocational wing.
{Suck me!} Kevin returned with a cold look.
“So,” Kat brushed a strand of hair behind her ear with her free hand, “what did you want to talk to me about?”
“Well, I—” Kevin stopped as his attention turned to the flower that Katlin had in her hair, just above her ear. “Say, Kat, where’d you get that flower?”
“What?” Kevin pointed to it with a nod from his head. “Oh, this?” She indicated the flower with her hand and chuckled. “The new guy gave it to me.”
“New guy?” Kevin tried to hide the tone of suspicion from his voice.
“Yeah. His name’s Ryan. He is such a sweetie!”
“Did someone call?” The sudden voice startled both Kevin and Kat. Kat turned around to see a young man standing about 5’11”, with short jet-black hair and cool blue eyes. He was wearing a black t-shirt and black jeans.
“Ryan!” Kat exclaimed upon sight, inadvertently dropping Kevin’s hand. “Hey!”
“Katlin! Light of my life!” Ryan took hold of both her hands and kissed her on the cheek. “How are you?”
“Fine.” She blushed.
“And who’s your little friend here?”
She motioned to her friend. “Ryan, this is Kevin. Kevin, this is Ryan.”
Ryan loosed Katlin’s hands to exchange a handshake with Kevin. “A pleasure to meet you.”
Kevin smirked. “The pleasure’s all yours, I’m sure.”
Ryan laughed heartily. “Well, I’m on my way to class.” He looked at Katlin. “Care to join me, my love?”
Katlin put a hand over her lips as she chuckled. She nearly gave in, and then she remembered her friend. “Actually, Ryan, I think I’ll just meet you there.”
“Oh.” There was an obvious tone of disappointment in his voice. “Well, I…” he faltered, “I guess I’ll see you there, then.” He nodded to her and K and then left.
“Wait, so you have a class with that creep?”
“Yeah.” Katlin smiled, apparently missing the last word in her friend’s question. She watched Ryan walk away and disappear into the south wing entrance. “So,” she said abruptly, as though she had just awoken from a trance, “what did you want to ask me?”
“Well… I was just wondering, you know… if maybe… well… Do you have any plans for tonight?”
Kevin nodded. “Well, would you like to..?”
“Sure! What’d you have in mind?”
“I don’t know… maybe… catch a movie or something?”
“Sounds great!”
“Yeah! So is Ace coming along?”
“Well…” Kevin hesitated, “actually I was thinking maybe just you and me could go.” He scratched his neck and looked into her smiling face. “Well I mean, if you wanted Ace to go, then—”
“No,” Kat interrupted. “Actually, I think that would be kind of nice, just you and me.”
“Great!” Kevin smiled. “So, what movie would you like to see? I was thinking you would like to see a more down-to-earth movie, like that new one with Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan…”
Kat threw her friend a quizzing look. “What?!”
“Well, what did you have in mind?”
“What about that new Kevin Kyme movie?”
“Kevin Kyme?” he echoed. “You mean Ronek’s Revenge?”
“Yeah! That’s the one! God he is so awesome! Especially in his first flick—what was it?”
“Yeah! So, um, what time is it playing?”
“I think there’s one at seven thirty.”
“That’d be great! So, I’ll see you around seven, then?”
“Actually, how does six sound?”
“Six?” Kat looked confused. “Why so early?”
“Well, it is opening night,” K explained. “And besides, I thought I’d treat you to dinner.”
“Oh? How sweet!”

“So,” the cashier read the receipt, “that’s a number four, twelve-count, and a number one, both with Dr. Pepper?”
Kevin glanced at Katlin, who was looking anxiously around the mall. “Is that right, Kat?”
“Huh? Oh. Yeah. That’s right.” The money was exchanged, the food was promptly brought forth, and Kevin and Kat began looking for a place to sit. “‘I thought I’d treat you to dinner,’” Kat echoed her friend’s words as Kevin helped her into her chair. “I never would’ve guessed he considered this treating a girl to dinner.”
“What’s the matter, Kat?” Kevin sat down and pulled out his food. “Don’t you like Chick-fil-a?”
She sighed and glanced at her watch and then looked around herself. “So when does this movie start?”
“We’ve got plenty of time,” Kevin assured her, stuffing a nugget in his mouth. He chewed it up and washed it down with a sip from his soft drink before motioning toward Katlin’s dinner, which was still untouched. “Come on,” he encouraged, “that chicken sandwich isn’t going to eat itself, you know.”
“Sorry, Kevin.” Her attention returned to the table. “I’ve just got this weird feeling that I’m being watched.”
“What?” Kevin grabbed a handful of waffle fries and put them in his mouth.
“Oh, nothing.”
Kevin continued eating as Kat took a couple of small smites from her sandwich. His mind was too cluttered with thoughts of Katlin and the date for him to take notice of the young man at the entrance of the movie theatre, dressed in all black, and wearing a black trench coat. His cold blue eyes focused intently on the couple as they talked and ate. He watched in silence for a few minutes and then left for the theatre.
Kevin finished off his waffle fries and dropped the container in the bag, then looked at his friend on the other side of the table. She had only half-eaten her chicken sandwich, and her fries were untouched. She sipped from her styrofoam cup and continued to look nervously around the mall. Kevin stood and slowly made his way to her. He stooped down next to her and placed a hand on her shoulder.
“You okay, baby?”
She nodded and looked into his eyes. “Yeah. Sorry. I’m just…” Her voice trailed into silence.
“It’s okay, sweetie,” Kevin tried to comfort her with an embrace. “Do we need to leave?”
“No.” She stood and placed her food in the small white bag. “Let’s just get to the movie.”
“Katlin,” Kevin asked once they were in line for the movie tickets, “could you please tell me what’s wrong?” He looked deep into her eyes. “If I’ve done anything wrong—”
“No,” she interrupted. “No, you’re fine. It’s just… You know when you get that feeling that someone is just staring at you so intently that it’s almost like they’re burning holes in your back with their eyes?”
“Yeah,” Kevin said, “I know what you mean.” He smiled. “But a damn sexy fox like yourself should be used to guys staring at you! Especially with those hot-ass pants you’ve got on!”
She ventured a smile. “No, it’s not like that. It’s more like someone is following me, stalking me.”
“Kat!” A sudden voice sounded from behind Kat as a hand fell on her shoulder.
She screamed and turned, delivering a palm strike to the intruder’s chest. She clasped her hands around her mouth and gasped as she watched Ace fall on his back.
“Oh my god!” she shrieked as Kevin helped his friend to his feet. “Ace, I am so sorry!”
{Damn!} Ace sent Kevin as he got up. {I told you, man! She’ll be perfect! She’s got that fighter instinct!}
{The fuck are you doing here, Shitface?}
“Actually,” Ace said aloud, dusting himself off, “I just got back from watching that new Kevin Kyme movie.” He turned to Kevin. “Actually, I was thinking about inviting you along, Pussy, but your folks said you were ‘busy.’”
Kevin put his arm around Katlin’s waist. “They were right. We are busy.”
Just as Ace was about to speak, Katlin put a hand on Ace’s face. “Are you all right, baby?”
Ace threw a look at his friend and then smiled at Katlin. “I’m fine sweetie.” He took her hand in his. “I would rather you have punched me than anyone else.”
{Hey! Back off, Shitface!} Kevin warned.
{Pussy,} Ace returned.
“Next?” the ticked vendor called. She looked impatiently at Kevin and Kat. “That means you two love birds.”
“Well,” Ace said, hitting fists with Kevin, “I’ll catch you two ‘love birds’ later.” He saluted Katlin, who returned a smile and a wink, and left.
“Yeah, see ya’ round, Shitface,” Kevin called after him as he made his way to the ticket vendor.
“Pussy!” Ace returned.
{Pussy. Oh and by the way,} Ace added, {be sure and save the movie for after the sex, okay?}
{You dumb shit—don’t you mean “save the sex for after the movie”?}
{Whatever. Pussy.}

The theatre was packed by the time Kevin and Kat arrived, and so they had to sit on the floor seats. Kat grabbed the bucket of popcorn and placed it in her lap while Kevin set the super-sized Dr. Pepper cup between his legs. Kat put some popcorn in her mouth and finished it off with some ice-cold Dr. Pepper, which she drank by leaning over and sucking from the straw. Kevin smiled and was about to make a smart-aleck comment when his thought train was interrupted by the presence of a tall figure, dressed in all black, standing over the couple.
“Ryan!” Katlin greeted him with a smile.
“Hello, my dear,” he greeted, reaching for her hand.
Kevin intercepted the hand and seized it in a handshake. “Why hello, Ryan!” he said with feigned friendliness. He suddenly pulled Ryan down so that his ear was near Kevin’s mouth. “Ryan, honey,” he said in a mocking tone, “I told you not to call me ‘dear’ in public!”
Kevin released his arm and Ryan stood upright. “So,” he tried to maintain his composure while giving Kevin a dirty look, “what brings you two here?”
“We’re here to see Ronek’s Revenge,” Katlin chimed.
“Yeah! Is that what you’re here to see?”
“Well actually, I was just on my way out from seeing that new Hanks/Ryan movie when I saw you come in here.”
“…and so you decided to theatre-hop to get one last look at Katlin’s fine-ass physique so that you could have a mental picture to masturbate to in your bed tonight,” Kevin finished for him.
Ryan pretended to ignore Kevin’s comment, then took a step back. “Well, I guess I should be going now.” He nodded to Kat and left.
{Yeah that’s right, you little whore,} Kevin sent to him. {Just run home crying, like the little bitch that you are.}
Ryan paused and gave Kevin a cold glare. Kevin turned to meet this glare with a half-smile and a nod before Ryan left the theatre. Kevin turned back to see Katlin giving him a scolding look.
“Kevin, what has gotten into you?!”
Kevin sighed and put his arm around her shoulder. “I’m sorry, babe. I just thought that…” His voice faded as he looked into her eyes. He couldn’t say it. As much and as long as he had loved her, he still couldn’t bring himself to say it. I’m afraid, he practiced the phrase in his mind. I’m afraid I’m losing you. But he could not bring himself to say it, or even to send it to her.
The lights fell, and the movie began.

The ending credits started rolling, and the house lights rose. Katlin slowly awoke and lifted her head from Kevin’s shoulder. She looked wordlessly into his eyes for a minute, then smiled. Kevin returned the smile and then rose and helped her out of her seat. As she got to her feet, she slipped on a slick spot on the floor and fell into Kevin’s arms. They laughed and embraced, and then walked out of the room, hand in hand.
However, as they walked out the door to the theatre, someone was there waiting for them. He grabbed Katlin’s hand and tried to pull her from Kevin. He looked deep into her eyes with his cold blue eyes and said in a low, gruff voice, “Katlin, we need to talk.”
“Ryan!” Katlin gasped in surprise. She threw a hesitant look at Kevin.
“No!” Ryan pulled her arm, loosening her hand from Kevin’s grip. He clutched her hand tightly and looked fiercely into her eyes. “We need to talk!” he said slowly and deliberately.
“Ryan, stop!” Katlin struggled under the weight of his grip. “You’re hurting me!”
Kevin took a step toward Ryan, but Ryan backed away, pulling Katlin towards him. He put one arm around her waist and put a pistol to her throat with the other. Everyone in the theatre, upon seeing the weapon, yelled and dove for cover.
“Don’t move!” he threatened. “I swear, you take one fucking step towards us, and I’ll kill her!”
“Ryan,” Kevin raised his hands defensively, “you don’t want to do this!”
“You’re right!” he bellowed. “I don’t want to do this!” Suddenly his eyes found a security guard reaching for his gun. “You!” He pointed the gun at the officer. “Slide the piece over here!”
The officer hesitated. “Do it!” Kevin told him, and he obeyed. Kevin turned his attention back to Ryan, who once again had the barrel of the gun at Katlin’s throat. “Now Ryan,” Kevin attempted to talk him down, “please understand, I know why you’re doing this.”
“Oh, do you?!” His voice was rife with anger and sarcasm.
“Yes,” Kevin continued. “I know all about the Company, about the Gen Project.”
“They’re making you do this, aren’t they? It’s me they want, isn’t it?”
“The fuck are you talking about?!”
“Or is it her they want? Shit! They can’t know about her?!”
“Shut up!” Ryan screamed, firing a shot into the air. Several screams sounded in the theatre, and then all was dead quiet. “I don’t know anything about no fucking company, or any fucking gene project!”
“No, Ryan, you don’t understand,” Kevin offered. “We can help you! They’re using your parents to get to you, aren’t they?”
“My parents are dead!” he returned. “I’m living in a goddamn foster home!”
“Oh.” Kevin fell speechless, suddenly realizing his mistake. “So you’re not a Gen4?”
“What the fuck is a Gen4?”
“Never mind. So why the fuck are you doing this, then?”
Ryan’s arm started to drop. “I’ve spent my entire life enduring one rejection after another. I’ve never been truly loved by anyone. In fact, I had just about given up on love. And then I came here, and I saw her.” He looked at his hostage, and suddenly his voice lost its gruffness. “She took my heart with just one look.” He choked back a tear. “And from the first moment I saw her, I decided if I couldn’t have her, no one would.” At this point, the arm holding the gun dropped limply to Ryan’s side. Kevin saw his opportunity to act. He took a couple of steps towards Ryan, but paused when he saw Ryan’s arm lift and point in his direction. “Especially you,” he finished. There was a bright flash of light. Kevin was suddenly pushed back a few steps. Another bright flash followed, knocking Kevin back a few more steps. Then another. Then another. At length, Kevin fell to the ground, bearing four holes in his chest.
Katlin screamed Kevin’s name as she broke free of Ryan’s hold and ran to him. She placed a hand on the side of his face as tears streamed down her cheek. “Oh my God!” she whispered. “Kevin, I’m so sorry!”
“Darling,” a nearby voice beckoned. Katlin looked up to see Ryan standing directly behind her, pointing the pistol at her head. “This is your last chance. Now, your boyfriend had to die; that was pretty much a given fact. However, you have a chance to live.” He motioned for her to stand, and she hesitantly followed. He steadied the barrel of the gun between her eyes. “All you have do is say those three little words.”
Katlin looked down at her friend, her face stricken with grief. She then looked once more to Ryan. Her face suddenly hardened. She gritted her teeth and growled those three little words: “Drop dead, asshole!” A swift kick to the chin sent Ryan reeling back. He fired a shot into the wall. Katlin delivered a kick to Ryan’s hand, dropping the gun to the floor.
From his place on the floor, Kevin could see a faint blue glow around the young woman. Holy shit! Kevin thought to himself. She’s doing it! She’s fucking doing it!
Katlin continued with a series of punches and kicks that sent the young man stumbling backward down the corridor. She could feel her rage growing with every strike. Also, every strike seemed more natural than the one before, as though she were carrying on some routine action, like brushing her hair or walking. It felt as though she had been born for this one moment, for this one reason. At length, they reached the end of the hall. Katlin dealt Ryan one last kick that sent him flying through the glass doors behind him. Katlin watched Ryan’s figure as he lay motionless on the ground. A noise from behind seized her attention.
Kevin was pulling himself off the floor. He appeared to be in pretty good condition considering he had just taken four shots to the chest. He was calling her name. She rushed over to help him to his feet. He looked into her eyes; they bore a look of confusion and fear. A smile came across Kevin’s face, evoking a relieved sigh from Katlin as they embraced. Their lips touched for a moment before the couple realized what they were doing. Kat pulled back and her gaze dropped to the floor.
“Kevin, I…” she struggled to get the words out “I’m sorry.”
Kevin ran a hand across her face. “Sorry for what? Baby, you saved my life.”
“No, I… I guess I should just be able to control myself better. Then none of this would have happened.”
“No, no.” Kevin ran his fingers through her hair. “None of this is your fault.” He pressed her head against his shoulder and held her close for a minute. He then let her go and buttoned up his trench to cover the holes in his shirt. “Let’s get out of here.”

“So, Kevin,” Katlin asked once they were on the road, “what was all that stuff you were saying about the Company and the Gen Project?”
“What?” Kevin was taken a little off-guard by the question. He suddenly regained his composure. “Oh. That.” He laughed. “Well, I was just, you know, messing with his mind.”
The van fell silent once more. During this silence, Kevin started thinking. He couldn’t lie to her forever. There was so much he needed to tell her, so much he wanted to share with her. But this was not the time to do it; not with another person around to hear it. And especially not his father.
The van pulled to a halt in Katlin’s driveway. Kevin and Katlin stepped out of the sliding door and started towards the house. They stopped at the base of the porch stairs. Katlin laughed.
“What is it?” Kevin inquired.
“It’s funny,” she said, “when you look at it in retrospect. This whole thing with Ryan.” To Kevin’s confused look she replied, “It was all just a big misunderstanding. I mean, he freaked out and nearly killed you, and me, simply because he thought you were in love with me!” Katlin laughed, and Kevin half-heartedly joined in.
“Actually, Katlin,” Kevin took both of her hands and looked deep into her eyes, “there’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you.” Her eyes searched his face, trying to read what it could be. “I…” he hesitated, trying to think of the best way to say what he felt needed to be said. “I am in love with you. Deeply. I just haven’t found the nerve to tell you so until… well, until now.”
Katlin’s mouth fell ajar. She fought to say something, but there were no words to be said. A surge of emotions flowed through her body as she stood there at a loss for words. Suddenly she leaped into Kevin’s arms. As they embraced, a single tear rolled down her cheek, and she whispered, “I’m in love with you, too!”
After a moment that could have lasted forever, they released from their embrace and took hold of each other’s hands. “Kevin, sweetie,” Katlin looked into Kevin’s eyes, “Do you think you could stay over with me tonight?”
“Uh…” Kevin faltered. “Sure. Sure! Why not?”
Katlin looked at the green Lumina APV idling in the driveway. “Well aren’t you going to check it out with your dad?”
Kevin chuckled. “Oh yeah. I guess that would be a good idea.”
The couple made their way, hand in hand, to the driver-side window of the minivan. Mr. Duval rolled down the window. “Yeah?” he greeted the two.
“Mr. Duval,” Katlin offered, “do you think it would be all right if Kevin stayed the night here?”
Mr. Duval hesitated to answer.
“They have a couch,” Kevin assured him. “Two, actually.”
“Well,” Mr. Duval answered, “sure, I guess. Do you need me to bring you a change of clothes for tomorrow or something to sleep in?”
“Nah,” Kevin responded. “I’ll just put these clothes back on in the morning—uh, I mean… I’ll just keep these on tonight. And Kat can bring me back home tomorrow.”
Mr. Duval nodded. “Fair enough. Got your keys?”
“Well, you two take care. Good night.”
“Goodnight, Mr. Duval.”
“Goodnight, Dad.”
As the van pulled out and drove off into the night, the couple made their way to the porch. Kevin held the screen door open for Katlin while she unlocked and opened the front door, and then the couple made their way inside. They made a great effort to remain quiet as they walked down the hall to Katlin’s bedroom, since Katlin’s parents were sleeping. Once inside, Katlin closed the door as Kevin unbuttoned and took off his trench. Katlin gasped as she looked at Kevin’s chest. The bullet holes were still in Kevin’s shirt, but the blood on the shirt had dried (and it was hard to see on the black shirt), and the wounds were gone, without even a scar. She walked over to Kevin and removed his shirt. He was completely healed; she moved her hand across his chest just to make sure.
She looked into Kevin’s eyes. “But how..?”
Kevin took hold of her hand and looked back into her eyes. “Katlin, do you remember all that stuff I said to Ryan, back at the theatre? About the Gen Project?”
“Just supposing,” Kevin began. “What if I were to tell you that all that was true? Just supposing.”
“Well then,” she said with a laugh, “in that case, you would have a lot of explaining to do.”
Kevin smiled, but a sudden sting of conscience erased the smile. “Katlin.” He took hold of both her hands and held them gently as he gazed solemnly into her eyes. “We need to talk.”

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