6: Crown of Worms

It’s strange what they do to their leaders. What I mean is what they do to their ex-leaders. The fall of a leader outside of death in battle, or a duel for power, is considered to be a shameful thing. Extremely shameful.

And the gangs make a show of it, this shame.

The aftermath of my first glorious tapping into the true power of adrenaline was this. Natasha arrested all of those who survived the combat and actually fought. They assaulted an officer, that’s what she charged them with. Oh, and she’s not a guard any more, she’s the temporary leader of the Solune Agents.

Well, my mother and about sixty percent of the gang got off. There was nothing that could be done. The funny thing is that, as second in command, my mother, Hail, is set to take over from the other leader, the one she captured during the fight.

She’s beaten me to my goal, and she did it while being entirely insane. Natasha offered to get her checked out, but she already has been. There isn’t much we can do. She’s schizophrenic, they think I might develop it too. Whatever. If I do, I wouldn’t mind, mom seems to think it’s a lot of fun. She laughs a lot, right?

That’s not important though.

I watched my mother perform the shaming ceremony, pulling the old leader from the top, from north status to the bottom, west. They’re presented a symbolic crown of worms. I heard originally it was real worms, but right now they mostly use dirt. The leader was sitting on that throne, the same one she was on when I hit her. I watched as my mother, suppressing frantic giggles, strode up to the woman. Hail is a short woman, although average for a Riley.

She put the dirty wooden crown on the old leader’s head. Then, finally, she laughed her lovely laugh, and went on with the speech.

“You know, I didn’t even want to be the leader, but one thing’s for sure,” Hail giggled, “I won’t be as cowardly as you!”

There was some soft cheers from the few people that Hail had managed to befriend.

“Look at that, I’ve become a gang leader just like my older sister! Oh my, the fun we’ll have!”

Hail laughed again, for an absurd amount of time. After a while she ran out of breath, and the laugh became a mixture of inhales, coughs, and more laughter.

I was watching from the back of the room with Natasha, who had stayed to try and catch someone off guard, and to check the legality of this “crown of worms ceremony.” So far my mother hadn’t done anything specifically illegal. Just really rude.

“Does she laugh like she’s mentally ill all the time?” Natasha asked.

“No, but more often than not,” I told her. “At least her laugh is kind on the ears.”

Natasha nodded, “It is quite beautiful. I can understand how she got together with your father.”

“My father…”

Natasha’s gaze snapped to mine. “Who killed your father?”

I stopped. How did she know? I asked her, “How do you know about my father?”

“I’m a studying poet. That’s why I left the guard, to change laws. Your father’s case is still open, he was-”

“I know what happened to him! I know who did it too,” I snarled, “But I won’t be telling you any time soon!”

Natasha, her expressions every glassy, looked only slightly taken aback.

She gazed at my face, studying. She probably figured everything out from my expression using some cop trick or something. Whatever.

“You want to protect whoever killed your father. It must be someone close to you. Perhaps Diesel? Or maybe it was the monster, Alice.”

I felt a ping of rage. Alice was my friend, Natasha was fishing for an answer from me. I gave her nothing. In front of us the crowd roared with laughter. It seemed that Hail had stuck the old leader’s fingers up his own nose. I couldn’t tell you why.

“Listen Alexandre Dirge, I can’t promise anything right now, but once I’m a poet the law will be fair. At least, as fair as I can make it. When that day comes, will you please tell me? Knowing that you have nothing to fear?”

I shook my head, but said, “I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Can you tell me who’s torture room that was downstairs?” Natasha mercifully changed the subject.

At that moment, someone else rushed in. It was a really posh looking guy, shoulder-length blonde hair that curled with high-class pride. He wore the same black uniform that Natasha and Mariça did.

He said, “Mariça has detained all of the prisoners.”

“Horith?” Natasha seemed surprised to see him.


“Are you an Agent?”

“I am now,” He said, “I’m actually your second. I’m training to become the next leader, in three or four years.”

“Wow,” Natasha’s face held genuine shock, “Who’s running the night watch?”

“My old Vice-Captain. His name was… Vines? Vormes? I don’t know, something with a V. Good chap, really committed to the task. I likely could have never showed up to work and he would have kept things running smoothly.” Horith said.

Natasha nodded, “I know him. I’m actually the one that made him your Vice-Captain. Seems very reliable.”

“Yeah, well.” Horith shrugged. “So, about this lot?”

He motioned to the crowd. Everyone was laughing along with Hail, but I couldn’t tell why.

“They haven’t done anything.” Natasha said.

“Okay, so we’re okay here?” Horith said.

“No, I want to talk to Alexandre and her mother.”

“Her mother?”

Natasha pointed to my mother.

“Hail Dirge. I’m curious as to what she’s intending to do with her new power. And maybe I can get information on Diesel Dirge.”

Daniel Triumph.

This is the final entry for Broken Teeth. For those who weren’t interest, which according to my stats was most of you, rejoice! I’ll be working on something else in its place. Those who did like it, fear not! I will be redoing this narrative. From the plans I have right now, it seems like a lot will be different, but many of the characters will remain the same.


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