I’ve always been a night owl. I am at my busiest and most energetic when the moon hangs high in the sky and the rest of the world slumbers under its soporific gaze. When I learned that my time with Saïd and Nassir would be spent in the back of a jeep prior to jumping onto the ladder of a moving train cowboy-robber style in the middle of the night, I relaxed somewhat internally.
I had become accustomed to violence, weapons, and fists at this point. The very first time I cut someone open – a former someone, to be precise – with my training blade out in the streets of Kingsmouth, I think I vomited. (I say “I think” because I also blacked out briefly while doing so. I faint easily.) This had the strange effect of attracting more zombies, so I learned not to do it again, or at least find a suitable place to let loose the contents of my stomach where it wouldn’t attract the shambling dead.
Beneath the spreading moonlit sky, I alternated between running atop trains and skulking through their cabins, all the while fighting, slashing, and shooting. Now that I’m writing about it I might as well call myself Egypt’s own Sam Krieg – shoot, drink, write, shoot, shoot, write, drink – minus the drinking part. My mother tried some of my father’s whisky once – her face turned bright red and she told me she felt like her lips were on fire. That was enough to keep me away from the stuff permanently. My father, on the other hand, enjoyed generous amounts of the encouraging spirits on a regular basis until he got tired of my mother dumping out his private stash (not so private, I guess) and smashing the bottles on the front sidewalk where he could see them when he got home from work. My mother did have mercy, though: she allowed him to continue to smoke cigarettes unmolested.
There would be no mercy and certainly no cigarettes for the inhabitants of this train who were reportedly shipping components for a second filth nuke like the one that had been used in Tokyo. The Atenists were of the belief that this filth substance was a global catalyst that had the capacity to potentiate the second coming of the Sun God, Aten. The Dragon had done the research and had concluded that the most likely hypothesis is that we are near the end of the Fourth Age, the previous three Ages having come to a rather nasty conclusion when humans got too smart for their own good and wiped themselves out. Well, this catalyst made Bong Cha’s model all nice and shiny by taking out the beard-leader of the local sect of Atenists, a man named Abdel Daoud with rocket-propelled visions of grandeur. I turned the shipment over to Amparo Osorio, agent-at-arms of the Council of Venice, who bears a nicely-kept head of hair that looks better than anything I’ve ever done with mine. Mine just kind of hangs there.
Vanity isn’t really my style.