1 (edited by RShehay Saturday, December 27, 2008 2:47 am)

Topic: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

Inspired by both the Anne Sexton poem and a Peter Gabriel song of the same name, I wrote this short story. Please enjoy

                                                                                Mercy Street

     Ã¢Â€ÂœIt’s like a dream isn’t it Fett?” I asked as we made our way down through the winding stairways of Coruscant. He didn’t answer, he never did, but I felt like saying things to him all the same. I looked out from beneath a steel awning into the foggy sky and could see the colossus steel buildings stretch endlessly upwards, even though we were barely half way down. He didn’t look up either, didn’t look below him to the darkness or to the hundreds of different species or dizzying bright flashing advertisements of the metropolitan culture. He just seemed to look nowhere. “It’s like halos…or angels…or stars or somethin’.” I said as I continued to look up at the many lights peeking out of the dismal weather. They were parts of the buildings or lights to guide traffic or the traffic itself but from here they seemed to have no source at all but floated about. Some were orange, white, blue, yellow…and pulsed like a slow beating heart. For a moment, all sound seemed to ebb away and it was only those lights and I. “Watch where you’re going!” Came an angry voice as I was slammed against the wall of the narrow alley we walked. I was still disoriented as the very large creature pushed past me and up the stairs, grumbling as he went. I collected myself and straightened my hair in time to see Fett stopped and standing impatiently next to me.

“Do you want to die on your first job because you were day dreaming?” Fett barked and whatever voice alteration he had installed in his helmet made it more convincing to snap into place.

“No, sir.” I said humbly. We continued our journey downwards and I never looked back up at the sky again.

    Finding lost kids wasn’t really what I was expecting for a first job, especially when the kid is in her late twenties like me—especially if it’s a rich daughter to a rich family—especially if she was the “it” girl within pop culture in her teen years and got herself into trouble because she was rich and bored. It’s like that with all rich kids…they’re board and rich and to alleviate that boredom they burn themselves out with parties, drugs, violence, alcohol and sex. But this girl, she had everything and only a few years back, the epitome of the free-spirited teenager, the girl that all girls wanted to be. And those young girls would saturate themselves with her visage with everything they owned: designer wear, posters, music, and their rooms—everything they could put her face on she was there. Miryam Periy. The girl next door, the “it” girl, the girl everyone wanted and wanted to be. It also means bitter fruit. I guess because of the weird way it rolled off the tongue she was just known by Miry to make her more iconic…I think it’s because it further removes your identity when you sell yourself to fame. She, like all those before her fell from their climb to popularity hard: one day she was the role model for young women, the next she was the cover of every tabloid journal on the market that exploited every teenage drug bust and unconscious alcoholic binge by the toilet bowl. Then, when that got redundant she was joked about in a few articles until she disappeared from the public eye completely and forgotten. Five years gone in the entertainment business is like eternity. I only knew so much about because my little sister was obsessed with her and when Miryam went off the deep end all the girls no longer wanted to be her…there was always someone there to take Miry’s place like she did to the girl before her. Every now and then I come across some tattered or faded poster of her stuffed underneath garbage or clutter.
    Walking into the Periy residence was like walking into a mausoleum. And here I was expecting lavish tapestries and furniture, wasted money and decadence to stare down at me. But it was just that that made it seem dead. And while I was expecting Boba Fett and I to be meeting some pretentious high-and-mighty Mister and Missus Periy I only saw a terrible façade of that disposition. They lived in a high-rise condo way above the dirty ground of Coruscant and had windows to overlook the entire city skyline but covered them up with thick velvety curtains and the walls that were stained from heavy smoking. All I could see at first were the narrow shafts of sunlight that came through the holes in the bulges of the curtains over the window and were thrust across the room like the swords of a magician probing a basket to demonstrate that his partner had disappeared. In between the shafts of light I could see framed paintings and shelves filled with ornate pieces of glass or animals carved from precious stoned covered in what looked like centuries of dust. 
Mr. Periy sat in his study drinking what I’m sure was alcohol from a large glass and Mrs. Periy standing despondently next to him, fidgeting her pearl necklace. What used to be muscle had now turned into huskiness and what may have been thick dark hair was now silver and thinning on the old man. Mr. Periy looked at us from watery blue eyes as he sipped his beverage and swirled the remaining bit that mixed with the melting ice.
    “I know this isn’t something you’re generally in the business of doing, Mr. Fett, but every other bounty hunter we’ve tried to hire has turned us down or has given up trying to find our Miryam.” Mr. Pery said with a strained and raspy voice. His skin was pink and deeply pocket-marked. “And I know that hiring you seems like an insult to your profession, but we want our girl back.” He took a deep gulp of his drink and hissed, slamming it down on the large wooden table that separated us.
    “How long has she been missing?” Fett asked.
    “Ahhhh….” He began through a large gulp of booze, “maybe a little over a year now.”
    “Why have you waited this long to do something about it? Why haven’t you had the police or local authority to investigate it? Why bring someone like Fett to do this?” I asked bitterly. “Fett…you can’t take something like this.”
    Boba snapped his helmeted head in my direction and I abruptly shut up. He slowly turned his head back to the Periy’s. “Sir, you are aware of the chances of finding your daughter alive are very small?” Fett asked to the father.
    “Or at all?”
    “And even if she is dead you are willing to invest in my rates to recover her?”
    “Mr. Fett,” Mrs. Periy interrupted, “we haven’t had the money to spend on anything lasting or important as you can see around you. We just want to know what happened to our little girl.” I could see deep lines etched on her face even though she tried to hide it behind layers of makeup and I could see the facets holding her steely countenance together beginning to falter.
    “Alright. Two hundred thousand credits.”
Mr. Periy blinked his eyes slowly and poured another drink.
    “I will recover her.”
    “I know…that’s why I hired you. I will pay you a quarter of it now and the rest upon recovery.” He replied after guzzling down another shot.
    “May I see Miryam’s room?” Fett asked after a long pause.
    “Why? There’s nothing there, everyone wants to see that room as if it would lead to some clue to her whereabouts—“ Mrs. Periy stammered.
    “Faye!” her husband yelled, his outburst caused his drink to spill out of the glass.
We all sat in silence for a while before anyone said or did anything. I watched as Mrs. Periy—Faye’s facets once again quivered under the mounting stress. “Follow me.” She said under her breath and we followed her to Miry’s room.
White walls glowed in the afternoon sun, a perfectly made bed, vacuumed carpets and meticulously organized structure. It looked more like a doll’s house than some doped up drama queen’s. In the open closet hung freshly pressed dresses, ready-made outfits and all matching shoes. Framed holo-images played looping recordings of Miry in concerts, signings and family portraits. The latter intrigued me most because of the tension that seemed to emanate from them. She stood away from her parents who seemed to either be enjoying the limelight that their daughter had following around her or smiling behind unloved faces…or unloving faces. I watched from the corner of my eye as Fett stood over Miry’s baby shoes propped beside a framed birth certificate and what may have been her first drawing. He seemed so dark and terrifying against the white pureness of this room. I watched as he lifted a gloved hand—dirty and grimy and menacing—and touched the powder pink slippers.
    “We try to keep it nice for her…you know, just in case she ever chooses to come back.” Said Faye rubbing her hands anxiously, eyes darting about wildly while trying to keep a cool composure.
    “So she ran away. Why would she want to if she has everything?” I asked, already knowing the answer and I knew Faye did too.
    Fett swiveled that menacing visage at me again. Faye blinked her eyes rapidly and her stony face quivered. I guess she saw that I was smiling. I looked down at the pristine carpet and looked at how revolting my boots were. When I looked back up I saw Faye slowly walking about the room and played with the stuffed animals or made an artificial endeavor to make Miry’s bed. For a moment she closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. I could almost see her reaching out for a little girl snuggled in bed that wasn’t there. Faye’s eyes suddenly opened and she emerged from her fantasy and shamefully collected herself. I could sense that Boba and I were thinking the same thing: this wasn’t a room from some fantasy it was a prison. Girls like Miryam…. It was often the same problem—an unreality so bland and smothering that the children tore loose and impaled themselves on the spikes any reality that offered. Or made their own unreality with drugs.   

Walking out of there left a sour taste in my mouth and I felt dirty. “Boba, could I ask you something?” I said as we were where we are now, sinking deeper into filth and waste with each elevator ride down and narrow alley crossing. He said nothing…like always.
“Why did you take this job? I mean, we could be hunting down some crime lord or assassinating someone for Darth Vader or something…ya’ know, more rewarding work?” As we entered into the next elevator he waited until he punched in the code, allowed the doors to close and waited a few moments riding downwards in silence before he answered.
    “Is that what bounty hunting is to you?”
    “Well, I mean…all the stories I hear about your adventures, all of the work you’ve done over the years…you know…this just seems outta character.” I tried to make it sound less condescending than it was and tried to laugh through it.
    “What you hear…it’s all lies, boy. This right here may be a lot of your work, riding down rusted elevators and inching your way down vermin infested streets. Working for the alcoholics and the tragic, the hopeless people.”
    “Then…why do you do it?” He waited to answer that, hearing the screech of metal on metal, the shuddering hulk of steel as it propelled us down farther.
    “Everyone’s got to pay the mortgage.”
For some reason I didn’t believe him, and I decided to stop asking as we rode down into the bowels of Coruscant.

    It was evening by the time we arrived below, but down here it was always evening. The smells of food, drugs, sweat, alcohol, species, people, sewers and speeders filled my senses. I could not only smell it but also could taste it and feel it pounding away through me. “Oh, wow.” I said gripping the side of my head.
“Let’s go.” Fett said irritated.
    “Where are we going? And why are you in such a damn hurry!” I yelled after him as he pushed his way through the throngs of people and alien creatures with ease. In what was like waves I was hit with bright flashing ads, sounds of sprawling urban life and angry rushing masses. I cursed and spat to get the putrid mixture of tastes in my mouth as I attempted to pull off the same suave attitude Fett seemed to have as he glided through unabated. How in the world were we supposed to find Miryam in all of this mess? We came to the edge of the red light district, where the crowds thinned…or at least the only kinds you would find here remained. I guess if you were going to find washed up talent, you would go where they could find their only thing they had left to offer.
    “Hello Rystal.” I heard Fett say and his demeanor suddenly changed.
    “Hey there.” Rystal said, propping up a leg against a doorframe. Her milky skin looked rose under the intense red lights.
    Fett chuckled and shook his head. “No, not today.” I began to inch away…what is he doing familiarizing himself with hookers.
    “Just thought I’d keep asking in hopes that you’d finally take the bite.” Rystal’s voice went from a slow melodious tone she used to greet him to a mousy, girly one. She walked from her perch towards us.
    “Who’s the kid? Does he want to come in for a nice talk?” she asked, raising a brow and smiling. I swear her teeth looked sharp. Her flame colored hair tingled. How in the world does hair tingle?
    “No, Rystal. We’re here looking for someone.” Fett said.
    “Oh…” she sighed and suddenly her pose went from elegant to slovenly and she crossed her arms across her breasts. “Listen, I gotta work the streets, honey.” She said, no longer in mouse dialect but as an aggravated woman. Fett pulled out a holo vid of Miryam and showed it to her. It was of her when she was young and full of life. Rystal watched as the image flickered and spun about like a blue flame.
    “Isn’t that someone famous?” Rystal asked. “She looks way too young to be down here.”
    “Her name is Miryam Periy, she was famous while she was a teenager and then burned out by the time she hit twenty. She left her parents about a year ago and I believe she’s down here.”
    “That’s Miryam Periy? Ha!” Rystal began to laugh loudly. “Honey, that ain’t her. At least I would never know lookin’ at her.” She continued to laugh.
    “Does she work here?” I asked
Rystal regained herself before answering. “She did, for some time. But she got into the spice…big time. I mean the real nasty crap too.” Rystal said. “And when that happened, she was g-o-o-o-o-o-ne!” Rystal pulled a long black cigarette from her cleavage and sparked it from her own violet nails. She blew dark blue smoke into our faces, said: “It got ugly, and then she disappeared when most of the sellers of death sticks and like left. This is a big city boys, why waste your finding that little skinny broad?” Her eyes sparkled like fire behind the veil of blue smoke.
“Because her parents are paying me to.”
Rystal laughed and waltzed off, disappearing into the glow of heat lamps once more.

    Over the next days we slept in nasty motels and went through bars, beat up tough guys and questioned whores and the homeless looking for her. But either no one had heard of her or it lead us to more dead-end alleyways with junkies and the deadbeat. There was no sense of daylight down here—only perpetual darkness, filled with the iridescent glow of shop and bar lights, steam and garbage. At one point it began to rain, a long cold painful rain that soaked through your clothing and skin and into your bones. But there was Boba as always and walking through it as if it wasn’t there…as if he wasn’t there and I couldn’t understand why. Maybe it suits his personality or maybe he was from somewhere like it…it would be most fitting, wouldn’t it? We crossed down an alley that lead us down deeper, to where people like us were born. Hotels and one-room shanties littered the ground and polluted the air with the people they housed piled up on one another. And for one brief moment I saw a poster that peered at us from under years of others. It was Miryam’s face, all bleached out from the abuse of time and wasting away, all the while smiling. And it was in that moment I felt like I was standing inside my own trash can, looking at my sister’s childhood at the bottom of it.
    Our search had lead us here, to the nesting grounds of the drug, spice and death stick dealers, and I’m sure their users were only a few pieces of corrugated metal over. After the Republic went through its reformation, the drug dealers vanished from the main city streets and wound up next to their toilets. This is where all the stink came from, it wasn’t steam rising from the sewers above it was the stink emanating from this place.

Our search finally ended with a death stick dealer named Buzz Kill, how original.
    “Why is the notorious Boba Fett looking for that piece of filth?” He scoffed through a heavy voice.
Suddenly Fett’s patience dimmed and he lashed out with a lightening fist and had him off his feet.
    “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Buzz yelled, knocking over shelves that held batches of spice and who knows what kind of hallucinogens all over the place. “Why the hell do you need to get so violent?”
Fett released him… slowly… and placed him in his chair once more. For a few moments Buzz adjusted his greasy shirt in a way that eerily reminded me of Faye and her nervous hands. “I could get you beat just for ruining my supply.”
“Where is she?” Fett growled.
Buzz looked up at him incredulously but caught himself before asking him the same question as before “Man, I don’t know…she’s not been around for awhile…and what she was on she wouldn’t last a day without some serious medical help.”
“What kind of stuff.” Fett’s patience was wavering.
“I can’t tell you.”
Fett stood there for a moment and I knew that at any moment something really bad was going to happen. He quickly went to the shelves and began knocking more raw materials down. With each one that shattered Buzz’s heavy bulk quivered.
“Was it this?” Fett asked with each one and each time Buzz said nothing he threw it to the ground.
“Why do you care so much?” Buzz shouted through each shattering container.
Buzz looked up at me, “Are you his partner or something? Why don’t you do something?”
“What about this one?” Fett held up a vial this time that contained a very dark thick liquid in it. Buzz’s eyes widened and he shook his head fretfully. “ahhhhh.” Fett sighed, “We have a winner.” This time he didn’t break it, but held it over an open flame mixing stuff in another vat. It bubbled and turned into a much brighter color until clear. He very meticulously loaded it into a syringe.
“Now, wait a minute…you’re not serious…kid,” he looked at me pleadingly “…what’s this—why—now, Fett.” Buzz grew more obsequious as Fett walked over, each footstep taking away Buzz’s life. Fett came within inches of his face and Buzz sat frozen with terror. He yanked a fat arm towards him and exposed the flesh, placed the needle above a vein…
“Stop!” I shouted. “Fett, don’t do this.”
Boba Fett still waited, poised and ready to inject him with the serum so concentrated that it would kill.
“She’s…last I heard she—she—was in the Dead Zone. Anyone that goes there is never heard from again. It’s where the dope fiends go to die.” Buzz stuttered.
Fett pushed him away so hard he toppled to the floor.  Fett smashed the vial to the ground and upon being exposed to the air the serum evaporated.
“What the hell!” Buzz called after us as we turned to leave. “That was worth thousands! You destroyed everything in my shop! And just for some stupid remnant of a performer! What is she worth? Why all this, huh? HUH? You’re dead Fett, and just for some dumb whore!”
I didn’t turn when Fett did and I don’t know what he did when he went back in there. I waited for him at the foot of the crooked spiral staircase. He followed after a short time. I expected bloody handprints left from a struggle on his armor or some tattered sleeve. But I didn’t see anything, I didn’t even hear anything upstairs either…and I didn’t want to know.

    The Dead Zone was even more disturbing than the shantytowns. Here, there seemed to be no life whatsoever. Rows of mud and brick buildings stretched endlessly and the distinction between the trash and the bodies of the dead and dying was hard to define. I could hear the rain from above pounding away at the underground’s ceilings and every once and a while I felt a cold drop hit my face. Most the buildings were empty or dark. Where in the world could she be in all of this? The indifference I had displayed during this whole trip was being replaced by a sense of extreme loneliness. Fett scanned the streets for life and we’d come across someone every now and then, but not her. The air was cold and the occasional street lamp gave everything a blue color. A wet mist was always up to our waists and we trudged through it like a swamp.
    We finally came to a string of houses at the end of a street called Mercy. There was one that had lights on and for we went to the door. I knocked, not really sure why but maybe out of a pitiful sense of courtesy I felt I had to, or maybe it was out of instinct—I don’t know. The door opened and a creature emerged. A small girl with wild eyes and mangy hair came to greet us. She had to have been my age but she looked over a century and in an instant I knew it was Miryam. Her eyes, off at some distant place slowly turned to us and she gasped from parched and scabbed lips that slaved over the air she breathed. She wore only a ragged shirt and underwear and they were covered in excrements. With her wafted out rotten smells and had to fight the urge to vomit. Fett immediately had her in his massive arms and she seemed to shrink in size.
“Oh God…” I could hear him under the helmet and even the filters couldn’t hide his horror. We ushered her into her room and laid her on what used to be a bed. Fett hastily kicked away fodder and layers of feces and waste. Miryam’s head bobbed about weightlessly as if she were a doll. She looked up at me and I felt hollow inside. A thin smile spread across her face and I could see she had little teeth left. Her hair, full and golden as it was in the past was now ashen and clung to her in threads.
Fett tore off the rags that clung to her skeleton and moved her into the bathroom. I just stood by and watched him deteriorate. His hands could barely grasp the handles to turn on the water. “She’s freezing…she’s freezing…she’s freezing.” I could hear him mumbling.
I could just see her mangled and bruised leg propped over the side as the steam rose from the tub and Fett shielded me from the rest of her body and I could hear her whispering incoherently.    
“Fett…” I choked, “Boba…”
He turned to me suddenly and held out his arm. “Give me your coat.” I gave it to him without a question. He tore her from the water and wrapped her in my heavy coat and walked outside. The air was cold and refreshing even though it was in such a horrid part of the Coruscant underbelly.
I felt my heart leap up into my throat when I heard Fett say: “she’s not breathing.” He removed his helmet and I stood behind him feeling like I was bolted to the ground. The world seemed to slow as he tried to resuscitate her. He finally jammed adrenaline into her arm and she lurched forward coughing and vomiting bile. I stayed put as my spirit stepped from my body and I slowly lifted my blaster to the back of Fett’s head. Here I was, I could kill this man at any moment and get away with it. This was the most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy and I was a nobody. I could kill him in this place and no one would ever find him. Why didn’t he stop me? He had to know. Was he toying with me? He’s going to kill me, right? That’s what he does to everyone else who has ever worked for him. What’s stopping me from only protecting myself? The seconds crawled by agonizingly.
    Time began to normalize and I sidestepped around Fett until I could see Miry’s face that turned directly…at me. I lowered my blaster and broke into a cold sweat. Fett gathered my coat around her tighter and she seemed to shrink even more. Her faded blue eyes blinked away salty tears and she began to smile again. She looked up at Fett, whose face I could still not see and she said: “It’s like a dream isn’t it?” In the next few minutes I watched as she slipped away once more…the light going away from her eyes before she could say anything else.
Fett donned his helmet once more and he rose, slowly and turned around to face me. “You will contact her parents. You will tell them that she is gone; that she left off world with others for prospects and that she is doing well. I will write a letter in her own hand sampled from autographs and give that to a droid to create…it’s inexpensive and won’t take long to do. You are in turn going to give this letter to the Periy’s and they will accept this.” He said like a commander to his soldiers.
“Boba…no…no…I can’t. That’s wrong. I can’t do that.” I was thinking of the gun I was still holding in my sweaty palms.
“You can and you will.”
I looked down at Miry…small and bruised and bound in my coat like an infant. She was still staring up at the rocky ceiling and still had that odd smile. Lying to her parents…it’s what they need isn’t it? To move on, to stop living in a fantasy world of the past only create a new one created out of hope for their little girl.

    I rode the elevator to their condo, gripping the letter in my hands. It looked so perfect and clean. I reread it again and again, it was so hopeful and unlike anything she would do and her parents were going to soak in everything like a plant to water. But that never ending feeling of dread and guilt washed over me and every time I tried to lie to myself and I felt a lump get bigger and bigger in my throat. This wasn’t me—bounty hunting—what was this? A dirty secret made from a dirty hunt. I couldn’t shake her ghost out from my jacket, which was still damp. I shivered. The elevator chimed upon its final destination. I walked to their door and rang the bell. Their doors opened and there stood Mister and Missus Periy with their old and worn faces.
“Mr. Periy, Mrs. Periy…I am here to tell you about your daughter.”

It was the denial of God, the denial of man, and the destruction of the world in miniature form.

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

Please feel free to leave any criticism. I am always eager to improve on my writing skills. smile

It was the denial of God, the denial of man, and the destruction of the world in miniature form.

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

W. O. W.  That was fantastic!

"Ke barjurir gar'ade, jagyc'ade kot'la a dalyc'ade kotla'shya."--
Train your sons to be strong, and your daughters to be stronger.

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

thank you! Please let everyone else know and to leave some feedback!

It was the denial of God, the denial of man, and the destruction of the world in miniature form.

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

An interesting story RS, I just found it a bit hard to read with the paragraph spacing. If you could put an enter between each paragraph it would make it easier on the eyes.

Hope that helps, keep up the good work!

BFFC Moderator
It was like thousands of voices cried out for a sequel and were suddenly silenced...

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

* sorry about spamming *

Mel, why aren't you posting on Anything and RF?

You are here, but just wondering. smile

Btw, Happy 2009 everyone! big_smile

You've been holding out on us again haven't you? Since you haven't given us enough money, I'll guess I'll have to take it out of you piece by piece! - Unknown Mandalorian.

Re: Fan Fiction: Mercy Street

Thanks for all of those that are reading. I haven't written in a long time, and so it's nice to see that people are reading it and I hope are enjoying it. I'm a bit rusty, but now that I'm done with school I can get back to writing more.

It was the denial of God, the denial of man, and the destruction of the world in miniature form.