[Junk XIII] Back Home (K 8-1)

edited December 2013 in Junkworld XIII

After some bitter cold rides south, you finally reached Salt tonight. You've all got thick coats on now, thanks to Svenja. What do you think she did in Trench to get them anyways? What did you find in the pockets of your new coat?

The twin moons-light is your only illumination, you can just barely make out the soft sounds of the last song of Junk Radio playing as the station is signing off for the night. You can see your breath tonight as you step off the bike to walk into Jemma's shack. The ground crunches under your feet as you follow your Ma. She pulls a key out of her jeans pocket and opens it up, "Venger, can you start up the generator for us?" She steps inside and points to the small half-room where Jemma stored her gas-powered generator.

Moving quick through the dark room, Zero walks from memory rather than what she can see, and comes up to the wood-burning stove, starts working on getting the stove lit. The place smells dusty, untouched. You can tell being here is already rough on Zero, but she's keeping herself busy.

What do you do?


  • I think Svenja's been sleeping with Trojan, 'cause she unloaded a bunch of glitter at Ched's place... I don't think it was Candy business, 'cause she turned right around and spent most of it on supplies for the road — I don't wanna judge... If Svenja wants to hook up with Tro, I guess that's her business. Ched paid her in abandoned coats and some spare jingle, which makes me feel a little better about keeping what's in the pockets.

    I mean, Let's be honest: if you found this in your pocket, I think you'd be pretty happy too. It vibrates when you push the button, and it has a remote! How can you not like something like that?

    So I've been having a pretty giggly day — unrelated to my find, of course — Ma's been in a better mood, it seems... At least until she realized we were going to have to stop at Salt. The walk up to Gramma's place is harder than I thought it would be... The place is going to be empty. It's never been empty in all the years I've come here. I follow Ma' and Svenja into the little hut, and flip my flashlight over to the spot where Svenja's gotta start up the generator, and hand her the flashlight so she can see what she's doing.

    Then, in as familiar a motion as Ma' did, I walk over to the wood stove, and start handing her some wood for the fire. I know that if Ma' wants to talk, she'll say something — so for now I just help out as best I can to make sure the place gets some power and heat.
  • Your Ma doesn't speak for a while, just continues to get the stove up and working. She notices you are there, even pauses for a moment when you hand her the first piece of wood. Then back to work she goes until she's done.

    The embers catch fire after a minute of effort, then Svenja finally gets the generator going, and closes the door to the little closet to cut down the noise. Lights slowly come on, the fire starts to warm the sitting room, and it feels like it should a bit more.

    Still emptier, but still home.

    The three of you take seats on the long couch with its ugly embroidered cover, but gods is it soft and comfy. Your Ma gave a whuff of air when she sat down, like the last of her energy was spent. It's been a long day of riding and she didn't share your giggly mood.

    Svenja keeps quiet, like she realizes this is a special place, maybe even a kind of memorial, or a tomb. Finally, Zero says, "Only got the one bed. Its small, but we can prolly fit on there, Kiddo. You can take the couch, Venger." She starts to get up, but its an effort. Svenja starts to get up to help her.

    What do you do?
  • It's weird being here, and seeing Ma' like this... I don't really have a place I "grew up" in, like she does. I guess the place on top of the Garage back in Boomtown is as close as it gets for me — but it's not like it was difficult for me to up and leave the place. I spent the better part of my childhood leaving it with Ma'... That may be because I've already come home to an empty house though. I guess I just see the place in Boomtown as theirs, and it's not like I thought they were never coming back...

    Come to think of it, I spent most of my childhood even before that bouncing around places... Pip's, Auntie Carefree's, Reese's, the commune, Gramma's... It's kinda hard to fall in love with a place when you're not sure how long you're gunna be staying there.

    I watch Ma' struggle to get up, and give her a bit of a push to get her going... Vee does that for me too sometimes when I get particularly comfortable on the couches in the lounge. I nod back to Ma' when she suggests we take the bed, and I point Svenja over to the dresser in the corner of the room, "Blankets and pillows are in there, sweetie."

    I follow Ma' over to the bed, and let her get comfortable before joining her. I know this is hard for her, so I lie down facing her, smiling lightly, and offering her my hand. "You OK?" I whisper softly.
  • Zero swats at you when you push her up, like she's embarrassed of her own weakness. But it was half-hearted, really. Svenja helps you up, too, if you need it. She nods a quiet thanks when you point out where the blankets and pillows are, and gets to work making herself a bed.

    Your Ma looks at you for a long time before answering. In the dim light leaking into the bedroom from the wood stove and the single lamp that Svenja left on, you can just barely see the light bouncing off your mother's eyes, the contours of her face.

    Her face is a little sad, wistful. But there's a look she gives you that maybe you never seen on her face. You recognize it only from the looks you've seen on your father's face when he looks at you. But never from Zero, never from your Ma.

    She takes your hand, and slides it around her neck, and leans in to kiss your cheek. She's lying on her side, and she puts her one free hand on your side, saying softly, "Kiddo, I want you to know. She made the right choice. Same as I would. You are a light in the world, just like Jemma was. But you burn brighter. You make everything and everyone around you better. You've got my fire, and my good looks. An you've got your dad's inner light. You're so much better than the two of us who made you. I'm so lucky to call you my daughter." She mists up, a tear slowly fighting its way free from the corner of her eye, then lazily dancing down her cheek.
  • Who is this woman?

    My nostrils flair, lip quivers, and nose prickles as I feel myself blushing, and misting up. I swallow hard, trying to get some moisture into my mouth so I can say something — but that kind of assumes I've got words to say... I don't. Instead, I smile shakily and pull her into a short hug. I may have sniffled a few times fighting back tears, but I don't actually cry... Well, no more than a tear or two.

    By the time I pull back, I'm a little more composed. I huff a tense half-laugh, half-sigh, and smile back at her. "I love you Ma'."
  • Evidently the hug wasn't long enough because she leans in to give you another. Of course, on a full-size bed with two pregnant women, its a bit of a comedy of errors getting both of you into a hug, but Zero doesn't seem to much care.

    After a little forever of her holding you and holding onto you, she pulls back, and there are no words now. Just the comfortable closeness of your mother. In her home. That's when it becomes pretty clear that she belongs here. She won't say it, she won't pull Ollie away from you, or Hump for that matter, but she's not meant to live on the Ascendant. So many bad memories there for her, things she'll never forget or outlive. But here, this is where she's from. A place to ride and be free, a community that knows her and had known her, a little danger outside, too.

    "S'funny," she says with a little laugh, "Your little brother and your own daughter, growing up together. Never thought I'd have another one. What do you... what would you think if I named him Ollie?"
  • It's weird... I feel so tense at first — 'cause I'm just not used to hugging my Ma' like this — but eventually I get comfortable, and relax. Ma' does belong in places like this... I do to, really — I like our home on the Ascendant, but I can't see myself living there forever. I'm still holding out for the jingle I need to get that big barn somewhere. Something like the commune used to be, but more for family and friends.

    I know Ma' doesn't want to take Dad from me; but the truth is, he needs her more than I need him. I've got my own family now, and I think Hump may wanna be with Topps more than being cooped up with us. Maybe they need to move here, away from that cold, lifeless place, and raise their new baby here...

    I smirk when she asks what I think about naming my little brother Oliver. I think she's gunna have one hell of a confused kid when she starts screaming Dad's name out during sex — oh, it'll happen. I can't say that though... What I really think is that speaks volumes about what Ma' thinks of Dad... That she loves him enough to make sure his name lives on. I don't think there's another man Ma' could say that about in the entire world... It's really touching. "I think Dad'll probably call him Junior — 'cause you know he can never take credit for anything — but I know Dad would love that."

    I rub my tummy to soothe baby girl as she tries to get comfortable, and whisper, "Ollie and Leah..." which I guess is the first time I've named baby girl to anyone other than Vee and Rinso. "It has a nice ring to it. Two little trouble-makers."
  • "Yeah, Kiddo." she says back, softly. "Our kids, they'll be close. I'll teach 'em to ride and shoot. Ols will teach em to play an sing. An you, Vee an Rinnie'll teach em the rest."

    She reaches up to smooth your hair, smiling at you. "You know, we got our own little clan now." She stops, like maybe she was gonna say more, but that's all that comes out. She just smooths your hair gently, as soft as she's ever touched you.
  • edited December 2013
    I coo when she brushes my hair, and calls us a clan — then cock my head when she stops, and softly add with a smile, "What?"
  • "Kiddo... I don't wanna take over. Or tell you what to do and all. I just. Hell, I just back into your life. Maybe I never was too into your life..." she fades on that thought, the admission bringing back that sadness from earlier.
  • I frown, not so much frustrated or annoyed as perplexed. "Ma'... You and Ruthie taught me everything I know. How could you possibly be "never into my life"? And when's the last time I did something you told me to do that I didn't wanna do myself? You can talk to me." I smile, and wiggle a little closer to her, "tell me what's on your mind. I wanna know."
  • That brings her back. She smiles a bit. "Gods... Ruthie. I miss her, Kiddo. I loved her so much. I mean... she wasn't Ollie. She was, well, a different love." She smiles a smile on that memory, then says, "You know, it's probably her fault that you're in this threeway of yours. Other mothers would probably drek themselves, but I understand. I just hope Vee sticks by you like Ruth did me. And Rinnie takes care of you and waits for you like Ollie did for me. I really do."

    She's slowly brushing your hair with her fingers. It's something Ruthie used to do for you, wasn't it? Maybe your Ma taught her. "I could be soft with Ruthie, my cute little Baby Ruth. She kept me focused sometimes, kept bringing me back to you all, where I needed to be. I've felt so lost without her."

    She takes a deep breath, exhales softly, "But I needed to stand on my own. It took me till now to finally realize that. Not... not apart. From you or Hump or Ollie. That's not strong. It's frakking selfish. That's what I did, for all these years." She's quiet again, reflective, mournful a little.

    "I wanna be strong with you, Kiddo. With my whole bigass clan. But the Ascendant... it'll never be home."
  • Ruthie didn't have many motherly qualities... I remember when I was really little, she avoided me like the plague. She loved me and all that, like Ma' did, but she didn't know what to do with me. It was only when I started riding along with her, and growing up a little that Ruthie finally noticed who I was, and started taking some cues from Ma'. I am definitely the way I am now because of her — because of what she shared with both of my parents, and because of what we shared.

    I'm more relaxed now than I've been with my Ma' in a long time, and I listen to her attentively. It feels like she's finally getting comfortable in her own skin... I know it's weird to say, but I'm kinda proud of her. It takes a lot out of my Ma' to admit she needs people. I smile softly, and nod. "Well... I don't have to work out of the Ascendant... Not forever, anyway. I kinda wanna stick around until baby Leah's born, to make sure she's healthy, and we've got access to good healthcare... But after that, I can work my gigs from just about anywhere — heck I spend most of my time out on the road anyway..."

    I smile, and look around the little shack that was once Gramma Jemma's home... "We'll find a way to make this work, like we always have. I wanna be strong with you too, Ma'... We can be strong together."
  • She smiles, a soft genuine smile when you assure her. You can see the hope in her eyes. "Yeah, Kiddo. We can." She leans in to kiss your forehead, then pulls back to roll onto her back. Once she's comfy, she gently urges you to lie under her arm, at least for now.

    Of course, who knows how long Baby Leah will let it ride.

    "I bet we could make a go of another commune here in Salt. You know Ols was never as happy as those days when we had the place in the Valley."
  • I don't mind lying there. I'm just afraid baby Leah gets in a fist-fight with baby Oliver... She likes her space. "That would be nice," I whisper, "I remember helping you build that huge solar generator outside, and the parties Dad used to throw with Butter making food..."

    Mmmmmmmm... Butter...

    I giggle to myself, and add, "I'd like that. We should totally do that."
  • -- END SCENE--
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