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Somebody Up There Likes Me


The_Dancing_Cat
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The_Dancing_Cat

Alright, well, this is a fanfiction I'm writing at the moment. I posted it here coz I saw some other fic threads that hadn't been deleted/locked/flamed so figured it'd be OK.

If you want to leave criticism, be constructive with it, ya hear?

Thanks, hope you enjoy the first bit (this is a kind of prologue).

 

Somebody Up There Likes Me

 

A short, loud sound echoed across the empty expanse of golden corn fields. Crows which had settled amongst the crops suddenly took flight at this. The corn itself seemed to respond, too, swaying as though searching for the source of the noise.

Then the source came falling down heavily into the dry grass on the outskirts of the corn fields, with a hefty ‘OOF!’

A red parachute flittered downwards and landed on top of the thing.

Then it – whatever it was - stirred amongst the soft material. A few dust clouds flew about as the mysterious shadow got to its feet.

It was a young woman. She had dark, cocoa brown skin and jet black hair. She looked tough, but not professional as she wore a simple baggy sweatshirt, a pair of dirty trackpants and had her hair mostly covered by a black bandanna.

The woman abandoned her parachute where she had fallen, and then she started to walk, quite unsteadily, over to a nearby barn. The whole area was uninhabited – there were gloomy barns with no animals, golden brown corn fields with no harvesters, dusty ground with no flowers. There were, however, some trees and a few offerings of grass, and the woman thought she could hear cars every so often which meant that there must have been a road somewhere.

Finally reaching the barn, the woman ventured inside. It was dark and cool, and only a few rays of the setting sun crept in through the doors at either end. There were a few old hay stacks inside, so the woman sat down on one of those to inspect her painful ankle.

This young woman was called Denise Robinson, and she lived in Los Santos, San Andreas. She inhabited a small house just off Grove Street, where her boyfriend lived.

This was why she was out here in the middle of nowhere - Her boyfriend Carl Johnson had mysteriously disappeared from the ‘hood after a lot of gang wars with the Ballas gang. After he was gone, Ballas came in and took over Grove Street, and nobody knew where CJ had gone...And if they did, Denise doubted they would tell her. CJ’s family and friends didn’t even know she existed, yet CJ was very special to her. She loved him, although she wasn’t sure he knew it, and was prepared to do anything to find him.

So she had taken a taxi to the airport, but it was shut. Taking a deep breath, she had vaulted the high fence and run off into the vast, empty cage of concrete.

She had found a plane, and the engine ran smoothly. Taking a deep breath, Denise had pulled on the parachute in the back of the jet, and then hit the controls and taken off into the sky.

Trouble was, the police found out she had stolen a plane, and they came after her. Seeing as it was her first time flying on her own, Denise didn’t manage to avoid the gunfire that attacked her jet, but she did manage to bail out as her plane exploded, thankful for her parachute.

Now she was sitting on a lump of hay, nursing her wounds, and with no idea where she was. The sun was almost gone below the horizon now, light fading fast. With that thought in mind, Denise decided it would be better to spend the night in the barn than blindly look for God-knows-what in pitch black darkness. She sorted out a bed of hay, and then ventured out into the pink-lit landscape. She retrieved the tattered parachute and then took it back to the barn.

Denise lay down on the hay and pulled the parachute material around her. It was pretty cold at night, even in sunny San Andreas.

Shivering, Denise slowly fell asleep.

 

--------

I'll post the next chapter in a few days.

Edited by The_Dancing_Cat
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The_Dancing_Cat

Thank you biggrin.gif

Here's the next chapter...

 

Chapter 1

Morning broke at 6 o’clock AM. Denise stretched out her arms as she sat up, yawning.

In need of refreshment, Denise wrapped her parachute around her and wandered out of the barn, in search of water. She was sure she had seen a lake on her descent into the fields, so she headed in the direction she thought it was.

She ducked through a couple more dark barns, sidestepped around stacks of hay, and eventually came to a grey, concrete road.

Across the road there was grass and, indeed, a lake. Denise checked for traffic before crossing over to the water.

As she washed her face and drank from the lake, many cars and bikes zoomed past behind her. Denise wondered if one of them might give her a lift into the nearest town, but due to her appearance, she thought the odds would be unlikely.

Nevertheless, when she was done washing, she went to the side of the road and held out her arm.

Several trucks and cars went past – none welcomed her. So Denise stepped out into the road and—

Screeeeeeech!!

A tattered blue car hit the brakes and stopped right in front of her.

“Excuse me,” Denise walked around to the window of the car. “Could you take me into town, please?”

“After what just happened? No way, lady, you’re crazy,” snorted the driver, and he put his foot down and zoomed off.

Denise, quickly spying he had a wooden rack at the back of the car, leapt in and crouched down amongst the empty beer cans and milk churns, hoping he hadn’t seen her.

 

After a bumpy ride into town, the truck started to slow down. Denise took a chance and leapt from the back of the rack into a clump of foliage.

Now covered in even more mud and dirt, Denise pushed her way out of the ferns and finally saw people and buildings. She ventured over the road to the opposite side of the street and walked along to the first building.

As she neared it, she could see it was called The Well Stacked Pizza. There were many of these fast food joints in Los Santos, so she walked inside to grab a bite to eat.

There were no queues in the pizza place, and only a few people sat at the sticky tables, munching drooping slices of pizza and limp salads.

Denise ordered the largest meal and sat down to eat. It was really foul food – the cheese on the pizza was slimy, the base soaked in grease. Even her favourite drink of Sprunk didn’t taste good.

“This food sucks!” she exclaimed loudly.

The employees looked up from behind their tills. They glared at Denise until she got up and stormed out.

Already she was beginning to hate the countryside. As she walked further down the street, she got stares and whispers directed at her from passers-by. Denise guessed they didn’t think much of city folk.

“Hey,” She stopped a shrunken little man wearing nothing but a pair of tattered brown trousers. “What is this place?”

“We don’t want none of your types roun’ here,” the man snarled.

“Look, you stupid little old man, I don’t think much of your types either, but I wanna know where I’m at!!” Denise said in her high-pitched, Los Santos tone.

“This here town is Montgomery. A suggest you hit the road and go back where you came from!” With that, the dwarfed man scurried off.

“Montgomery, huh,” Denise looked around. The streets were all but empty except for a couple of country-looking women chatting to one another.

Denise walked around the corner. There were some shops lining the opposite street and a few cars, motorbikes, and bicycles trundling along.

“Riff-raff,” said a voice behind Denise.

Denise span to see another little man hobbling away from her. Wow, she hated this place. She needed to get out of here, but thoughts of the Ballas back home prevented her from heading back.

She had to find CJ.

She ran out into the road and punched a woman off her bicycle. She pedalled fast onto the street and rounded the corner. She carefully bunnyhopped over someone in her path, and then sped up a nearby hill. The wheels kicked up dirt and grass, and then suddenly the hill steepened and dropped.

“AAAAAAAAAAH!!!” Denise screamed as she fell downwards, and then BANG! The bike’s wheels hit solid earth and continued down a dirt path.

Denise opened her eyes, which she had screwed up tightly during her descent, to see a highway – and the cars and trucks were speeding along it incredibly fast.

A deafening noise hit Denise’s ears – and then hit her bike. She was flung onto the side of the road, her bike mangled under the wheels of a truck that had failed to stop.

Another car crumpled her bike – and another, and another. But as she wearily got to her feet, Denise saw a car stop and its driver climb out.

“Are you alright, lady?!” shouted the driver.

Denise wandered over to them, almost getting hit by another speeding car in her dazedness. “Yeah, for sure, I’m fine.”

“You don’t look fine,” said the man, whose face was blurred through Denise’s eyes. “And I don’t think you’ll be going anywhere on that bicycle.”

Denise turned to look at her bike – and blacked out.

Edited by The_Dancing_Cat
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Methodman187

its good, but can u put some space in between lines, i ended up readin the same part a couple times cuz the lines are all together, so could u try some spacing between places. others than that, its good

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Yeah, I agree with Method Man.

 

The story is the best out of all the fanfics on the forum. The grammar is the best out of all the fanfics on the forum. But it was a bit difficult to read because there weren't too many paragraphs. I suggest for the next chapters, could you please add some space between lines?

 

-Stef

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thanks!

It's probably my font that's the problem, so I'll edit the old posts and add some more spaces or a different font wrap and see if that helps.

I'll post the next chapter tomorrow some time.

 

Edit: Apparently, not the font that's the problem. I tried putting a big space between every sentence, but it ended up looking stupid and more like a poem. Is there some kind of code I can use to just double space everything?

Edited by The_Dancing_Cat
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It's a combination of things. The font you use looks like it's been resized horizontally 80%. My guess is that it's a font most likely to be used in headers, not body text. Your interline is a bit too narrow too. Why don't you just use the standard font setting...that's readable smile.gif .

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thanks a lot, dude. colgate.gif

Okay, the font is changed, hopefully it should look a bit better now.

Thank you for bringing it to my attention! =)

 

Here's the next chapter.

 

Chapter 2

 

...

Denise slowly opened her eyes to see a blurry grey ceiling staring down on her. It sure was grotty. So where was she?

As she tried to sit up, her head started pounding and her back ached. Despite the pain, she dragged herself up into a sitting position, and then examined her surroundings.

She was lying in a little bed, covered with a scratchy, grey blanket, and next to the bed was a little table. There was a battered-looking alarm clock on it that said it was five-thirty. Whether it was morning or evening, Denise couldn’t tell because the only window was covered by shutters, and it was dark either way.

The walls were a dirty white colour, and the carpet was worn and brown. The only other thing of interest in this room was a door. It was brown, like the carpet, and looked like it had been through the wars. However, there was light seeping under it, and that was what intrigued Denise the most.

Forcing herself to get out of bed, Denise groaned and threw back the blanket. She slowly got to her feet and hobbled to the door, her head still aching and her back still hurting.

She grasped the tarnished doorknob and opened the door. It creaked slowly until she could step right out onto more worn carpet. It was a sort of hallway. There was another door which was open, revealing a dingy bathroom, and down the hallway was an equally grotty living area. The light came from a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, and from her position in the hallway, Denise could just see the back of a tatty couch.

She shuffled off towards the living room, and when she got there she saw a man sitting on the couch and watching television. He hadn’t heard her enter the room yet, so she was free to look around before making herself known.

Straight ahead was a tiny little kitchen, and to the right were windows with old lace curtains trimming them. The only other objects in the room were the TV, the couch, a scratched coffee table, and the door that led outside of this tiny accommodation.

Darkness showed through the curtains, although the sun was beginning to rise. It was five-thirty in the morning, and Denise had awoken in a strange man’s bedroom. What the Hell was going on?

Suddenly, the man switched off the TV and got up from the couch. What was she going to do?!

Denise darted into the bathroom and hid behind the door, cursing quietly due to the pain. She watched through the crack of the door hinges as the man walked into the bedroom. He stood in the doorway for a long time, seemingly wondering where something had gone...Or someone...

Suddenly thoughts flashed through Denise’s head – she had had a crash on her bike...And someone had tried to help her...And she had blacked out. She remembered seeing a man. This must be him.

Denise felt guilty for trying to hide from him.

She opened the bathroom door and stepped into the hallway. The man span around. He was actually quite good-looking, tall with blonde hair and wearing a chequered red shirt. He looked like a country man. So why had he helped her when she was so clearly from the city?

“Um, hi,” Denise said awkwardly.

“Hi, I was wondering where you’d gone,” He seemed relieved.

“I was just using the bathroom,” Denise said, gesturing vaguely behind her. “So you’re the guy who saved me from a fate worse than death?”

The man laughed. “Well if you count getting squashed flat on a highway as worse than death, then I guess so. How’re you feeling?”

“Woozy, achy, thumping headache,” Denise smiled. She looked around. “So this is your house?”

“Trailer,” the man corrected. “This is Angel Pine.”

That name sounded familiar to Denise...But she couldn’t place it. So she smiled again and asked, “Isn’t this where Mount Chiliad is?”

“Sure,” he nodded. “Taller than all these here trailers stacked up.”

“You live in a trailer park?” Denise didn’t intend it to sound rude, but it did.

However, the man took no offence and smiled. “My name’s Guy Hill.”

“Oh, ur, for sure. I’m Denise,”

“Denise...?”

“Robinson,”

“So why are you out here?”

“What?”

“Going across the motorway on a bicycle?”

“Oh...I’m looking for ma boyfriend. Carl Johnson. You heard of him?”

“I don’t meddle much with city folk,” Guy sat down on the bed. “He gone missin’?”

Denise nodded. “How did you know?”

“Just a guess. People disappear all the time, y’know. Mysterious circumstances...”

Denise watched him suspiciously. He seemed to know more than he let on.

“Hey, if you know where CJ is, you better be telling me now or I’ll shove the whole of Mount Chiliad up your ass!” Denise exclaimed.

“Whoa!” Guy backed away. “Chill out. I don’t know anything. I swear.”

“Then why are you being all mysterious and sh*t?” Denise asked, still unsure.

“Was I being mysterious?” Guy’s face was one of innocence.

“I didn’t jack a plane for nothing, ya know,” Denise said angrily. “And A know you know something.”

Guy gulped. He could see Denise was extremely angry and desperate, and he didn’t want to make her any madder, on pain of death, as it seemed. So he took a deep breath and beckoned her to come closer.

Denise sat next to him, her heart thumping. Did he really know anything of use, or had she just been too harsh?

“I know of a couple of...rumours, which have flying about,” whispered Guy. “Some says there’s a Bigfoot up in these here mountains...Some say there’s some corrupt cops from the city that come here just three days ago.”

“That was when Carl went missing,” Denise relayed, her eyes glinting.

“Sure...People say they saws these cops take a young lad out here to the trailer park...But no one has been brave enough to knock on the door in case those cops are still there. We country folk, erm...We gots some secrets too, you understand.”

“Yeah, for sure. Go on,”

“Well, um, I guess you could go ‘n’ call on this here trailer...But I warned ya, those bent cops could still be lurkin’ around these parts. But ya never know, your ‘CJ’ could be there,” Guy got up quickly, as if he had said too much already. “Now I’m goin’ to have me some sleep. I’ll go on the couch if you wanna catch some winks.”

“No, I got too much to do,” Denise replied. “Thanks for all your help, um...I’ll be back later, if that’s cool witchoo?”

“Sure is,” Guy smiled. “Good luck.”

“Thanks,” Denise answered, walking out of the room. “I’m probably gonna need it.”

 

Edited by The_Dancing_Cat
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WOW!!! This is so good! Bring on Chapter 3! Please, I love this story and I love you, but in a totally non gay way.

 

-Stef

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The_Dancing_Cat
WOW!!! This is so good! Bring on Chapter 3! Please, I love this story and I love you, but in a totally non gay way.

 

-Stef

Totally non gay, seems how I'm a girl. biggrin.gif

 

Thanks for the comment, I'll get chapter 3 posted either later on today, or tomorrow.

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thank you smile.gif

 

I may not get online much today, and probably not tomorrow too much either. So here's Chapter 3 now.

 

Chapter 3

 

Denise stepped outside into the cool morning. The sun had all but risen by now, highlighting the clouds in a pale pink against the bright blue sky. There was an early morning breeze blowing slightly, making the trees and shrubs shiver as if they were cold. The dewdrops on the grass nearby glittered in the sun like diamonds.

However, Denise was too nervous to enjoy the beauty of nature. She slammed the trailer door shut and headed off across the dirt towards the other trailers. She would have known where she was going had Guy told her the trailer number, but as it was, she would have to ask someone else.

She knocked on the door of a randomly-picked trailer and waited for a reply.

It came soon – and angrily.

“What the Hell do you want?!” shouted an angry old woman as she threw open the door. She held a shotgun in one hand and a ginger Tomcat under her other arm.

“Um...” Denise stared uncertainly at the cat as it hissed at her. “I was, ur, wondering where Carl Johnson lived.”

“There ain’t no dirty city folk around here,” snarled the woman – and her cat snarled, too, as if imitating her. “So why don’t you just bugger off home to your own kind!” And with that, she slammed the door.

Denise was startled, but decided to forget it and try someone else.

She rang a homemade-looking doorbell that was stuck next to the door of the next trailer. Someone answered, but this time they didn’t slam the door.

“I’ve never heard of a Carl Johnson...Can you describe him?” asked the kindly woman.

“Um, for sure...He’s black; about this high, got black hair...Cornrows I think,”

“Wait a minute...I think I’ve seen him,” said the woman, deep in thought. “He lives in that trailer just over there. Got here about three days ago.”

“Oh ma God, thank you!” Denise exclaimed. “I’ll check it out.”

The woman smiled and shut the door.

Denise practically ran over to the trailer, but when it came to knocking, she hesitated. What if he wasn’t in there? What would she do?

She slowly knocked on the door. She would just have to think about what to do later.

There was no reply after five minutes, so she knocked again.

Another five minutes passed. Again, Denise hammered on the door.

But after a further ten minutes, no one had come to the door. Denise wanted to sit down and cry, but she didn’t. Instead, she stepped back, and then ran at the door.

BANG! Denise collided with the corrugated metal but it didn’t budge. However, her shoulder was as painful as Hell.

Cursing, Denise took a small step back and then kicked out at the door.

BANG! This time the door fell into the trailer. Denise stepped over it and went inside.

It was pitch black except for the rectangle of light that swept in through the hole where the door used to be. Denise reached out for where she hoped a light switch was – she found one and flicked it on.

The bulb above lit up and showed a room in complete disarray. Papers were flung about everywhere, spilled and empty cans littered the floor, and worst of all, there were blood stains smeared across the walls.

Denise’s eyes were wide. Trying not to imagine, what had happened here, she stepped over the mess and went in search of other rooms.

She found a bathroom, which was surprisingly clean, and then found the bedroom.

The bedroom was tidy as well, except for one drawer in the bedside table that was only shut partially. Denise knelt down and pulled it out.

The draw was full of papers, and as Denise examined them further she saw they were maps. The maps had big, fat, red X marks on certain locations. One of the maps had an X in Balla territory. There was one showing a mark at a train station. Another was marked with an X at a place near the docks.

And a final X mark was placed near the top of Mount Chiliad.

Denise grabbed a black briefcase from the corner and stuffed the maps in. Then she left the trailer and looked around for some sort of transport. She spotted a Sanchez trail bike resting against the side of a tattered fence nearby. She ran to it, hung the briefcase on the handlebars, and then leapt on. The engine buzzed into life and Denise brought the bike round to face the huge hulk of rock that was Mount Chiliad. Then she sped off towards it.

There was a footpath winding up the face of Mount Chiliad, so Denise manoeuvred the bike up it. It was a thin path, though, and the rock was crumbling in places, but Denise didn’t care.

The bike seemed to have a mind of its own as it hurtled up the mountain path, swerving around risky corners, wheels kicking up dirt and throwing loose stones over the edge of the path as it went.

After an age of wind-swept travelling, clouds started to form around Denise and her metal steed. The cloud swirled around the mountain like an eerie mist, swallowing it whole and obscuring Denise’s view.

Treetops reached up out of the clouds, groaning menacingly, their branches waving in the sharp wind and reaching out to grab Denise and drag her back down into the soup of fog.

But suddenly the path flattened out and the crumbling corners no longer threatened. The trees sank down back into the misty clouds and the air cleared.

Denise had reached the summit.

 

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FelipeVinhao

Cool, this story is getting interesting, fo'real. Keep the good work. icon14.gif

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black_mcgrath

Wow how old are you? I thought there was just young kids on these forums but this story is too well pieced together. I like you choice of vocabulary.

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thanks very much, y'all.

 

@black_mcgrath: I am 15 years old, but I read a lot and have been writing stories since I was 6. Thanks for the comment colgate.gif

 

I'm not going to be online for maybe a day or two now, but I'll leave you with Chapter 4.

Back on Tuesday/late Monday with any luck!

 

Chapter 4

 

Denise got off the bike and lay it down carefully on the ground. Then she peered across the expanse of rock which had been flattened out for tourism purposes. There was a minivan and a caravan parked near the bizarre ‘spire’ of rock that was the very top of the mountain. There was also a BMX bike leaning against a cluster of rocks.

Breathing in the cool air, Denise headed over to the parked vehicles. Her shoes kicked aside pebbles as she walked. It was eerily quiet and no one else seemed to be up there.

She reached the first vehicle - the minivan - and examined it. Through the mud-splattered windscreen, she could see old cans of Sprunk lying on the floor, road maps scattered across the seats. The dashboard wa gathering dust. This van had not been used for a long time.

Denise wandered over to the caravan, hoping to find something more interesting. She peered in through the window to see that everything was very tidy and showed no signs of neglect.

Denise went to the door to see what was inside the living area. She was about to open it when BANG! It was flung open, knocking her to the hard, rocky ground.

Denise looked up as the small dust clouds cleared – and rolled quickly out the way as a shotgun released a shell.

She jumped up and rolled behind the caravan, just as another bullet flew past her. She looked desperately for something to save her – and saw it.

POW! Another bullet scraped the paintwork from the caravan as Denise darted away from it. She ducked and rolled to avoid another shot, scooping up the object she needed as she went.

Slipping it on, she sprinted to the spire of rock, bullets chasing her all the while. Denise ran to the top of the spire, took a quick look behind her and then jumped.

The wind ripped at her face and clothes as she plummeted towards the ground. Crumbling rocks were falling all around her, loosened no doubt by her feet pounding on them. She was too scared to open her eyes, but she had to. She felt her eyeballs would be torn straight from their sockets as they watered furiously.

It was then she saw the trees closing in on her and the leafy brown ground below; she barely had time to open her parachute before—

CRASH!!

Denise landed in a large pine tree, the branches creaking and groaning with her weight. She breathed heavily, looked about frantically. All she could see was the sky and branches above her – and she didn’t want to move to investigate below.

But then, with a sharp, splintering noise, the branch cracked and Denise slid downwards, screaming. She covered her face with her arms as she fell, wondering if this was ever going to stop—

It did.

As she hung just a few centimetres above the ground, Denise almost laughed. She was getting herself into some really deep sh*t here. She had been insulted by country folk, almost been squashed flat on a highway, almost been attacked by a woman and her cat, had just been chased by a shotgun-wielding maniac and then base-jumped straight off the top of the biggest mountain in the state! Now she was suspended by her parachute in a tree, her feet dangling a few centimetres off the ground, with no idea where she, or CJ, was.

Denise slipped free of her parachute and fell to the earthen, leafy floor. Shaking her head, she got to her feet and looked around.

There was a large wooden hut right next to her. No lights were on, no sound or movement coming from inside. She guessed whoever had built this hut had no intention of sticking around...And if they did, they were obviously mad. Why would someone want to live on Mount Chiliad? As Denise had just discovered, it was hardly the safest place to explore, let alone live on.

Nonetheless, the hut intrigued her so she moved onto the rickety porch and knocked softly on the door.

Denise was used to getting no reply from these places, so when no one answered the door after five minutes, she was hardly surprised. So, she tried the door – and it was unlocked.

It was dark and gloomy inside, and it smelt of musty damp. Denise highly doubted there would be electricity, so she headed to a tiny slit of daylight that was struggling under a pair of wooden shutters. She threw the shutters open and the light scampered into the hut, dust dancing joyously in it.

Denise opened the rest of the shutters and soon she could see everything clearly. There was a tiny little table with a single chair; a manky-looking bed with thin sheets; a gas stove in the corner; and a desk with another chair in front of it. There was also a door leading to a tiny bathroom, which Denise didn’t really want to investigate.

Instead, she headed to the desk. She pulled open a draw to see documents and papers. She picked up a manilla folder marked ‘Witness Relocation Scheme.’ She looked inside to find official-looking documents, notes paperclipped to them. Denise wasn’t really interested in reading the documents, so she put the folder aside and searched through the rest of the desk.

More folders about witness relocation and the FBI were unearthed. Whoever lived in this hut was clearly into something serious.

Denise took the FBI and Witness Relocation Scheme folders and put them into her briefcase. She was gathering lots of information now; about what, she didn’t know. But whatever they meant, they could lead her to CJ, and she wasn’t about to pass up that chance.

Careful to leave everything as she found it, Denise left the hut. It was still quiet outside, save for the tweeting birds and the breeze slipping through the trees.

And then a sudden, sharp click came from Denise’s right. Slowly, Denise turned to look.

There was nothing there.

Denise was a bit freaked out – so she went over to the tree where her parachute still hung and decided to try and get it down. She took the handle of the briefcase between her teeth and then jumped up to grab onto a tree branch. She pulled herself up amongst the leaves and set to untangling the parachute and its strings.

But as she dropped back to the ground, parachute on, she heard another clicking noise. And then another...And another.

Denise suddenly recognised the noise – it was the sound of a safety-catch being taken off a gun.

Or, as in this case, several guns.

And then, suddenly, all Hell broke loose.

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FelipeVinhao

U're young but u write very well. Of course it's cuz u practice since u were 6. The vocabulary is good, the story is awesome. Well, keep it up! wink.gif

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thanks for all your comments biggrin.gif

Here's the next chapter.

 

Chapter 5

 

Denise leapt behind the tree trunk as a hail of machine-gun fire rained down on her. Bark flew from the tree as bullets hit it, and suddenly Denise had no other option: the edge of the mountain was right beside her, and she was wearing a parachute.

She took a run-up and jumped, stealing a glance at her assailants – the FBI!!

But that no longer mattered; at least not for the moment. Denise was falling fast – very fast – and as she tugged on the string to open her parachute, the material billowed out in a cloud of red, and Denise saw there was a huge hole ripped right through it.

“Oh shi--!!!!”

SPLASH!!!

Pain lashed through every corner of Denise’s body, pounding across her skin, tearing at her internal organs. She plunged to the bottom of the river, the parachute strings tangling around her as the material, which had previous been floating above the surface, was sucked down into the darkness.

Kicking her legs frantically, Denise began her ascent to the surface. The water stung her eyes but she had to keep them open – the promise of light above was the only thing keeping her swimming. Her lungs seared in agony as she struggled to hold her breath, kicking and wriggling as the parachute that had twice saved her life now threatened to drag her back down and take it.

The surface of the water rippled tauntingly above Denise, and she grew angry. With the strings of the parachute tugging at her arms and legs, Denise grabbed her knife from her boot and SNAP! She cut through the strings.

Then she kicked out harder than she ever had before and broke the surface.

Denise gasped for breath, swallowing down the cool mid-morning air. It revived her lungs and felt amazing on her wet face.

Despite this saviour, however, Denise was exhausted and she didn’t know how much longer she could swim for. She looked about hopefully: a cliff face confronted her from one side, too high too climb; on the other side was another rocky ledge, smaller than the other but still too high; there was nothing but water behind her; but ahead of her she could make out a shore.

Denise paddled along, making sure to breathe correctly. Her muscles were aching and tired, but she knew she had to keep going.

The water started to become swampy as she neared the shore. Dead trees leered from the misty gloom ahead, snarling at Denise as she swam for her life. Large rocks also rose out of the swamp, goliaths made from stone.

And then Denise felt her feet scrape the earth beneath the swampy water. As the water became shallower still, Denise fell onto her hands and knees and crawled up to the dirt that signified the shore.

Finally, letting out a breathy cry, Denise collapsed onto the dirt, the water still lapping at her feet.

 

Denise awoke.

She was covered in mud and dirt. Her face was painful on one side where she had been lying on some stones. Her muscles still hurt, but she managed to drag herself up into a kneeling position so she could better survey her surroundings.

Evil-looking trees blocked out all but a few rays of sunlight from rescuing the swamp from its gloomy fate. The dirt continued on as a path, leading into some trees which looked healthy in comparison to these swamp ghouls.

Denise decided to follow that path, so she pulled herself onto her feet and started walking – well, hobbling – towards this forest.

Her sneakers and socks were soaked with water and it was uncomfortable to walk in them. Denise now wanted nothing more than to be back home – with CJ.

That thought kept her moving through the forest, until a loud noise startled her.

WOOSH!!

Denise span about, looking for the source of the noise.

WOOSH!!

There it was again! What the Hell was it?

BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!!!

Denise almost jumped right out of her skin – until realisation hit her.

They were cars. There was a road somewhere!

WOOSH!

This time Denise followed the noise. When it faded, another came to take its place. Denise started to run. Her feet kicked up earth as she sprinted to the noises, her muscles groaning in protest but moving anyway, unable to stem Denise’s determination.

And then the trees parted and—

WOOSH!!

SCREEEEEEECH!!

BEEP BEEP!!

For the second time in as many days, Denise had almost been run over. Thank goodness this wasn’t a highway. She smiled hopefully at the driver, who was staring angrily at her.

“MOVE OUTTA THE WAY, LADY!!!!” he shouted.

“Sorry, sorry...” Denise was about to step out of the way when she had a better idea. “Hey, I know we got off on the wrong foot, but can you take me to a town?”

The man frowned in thought – but he luckily nodded.

“Great, I owe you one, man,” Denise smiled, as she opened the car door. She clambered into the small vehicle and the man started driving.

The car smelt of old hay and manure, and there were several old parking tickets and receipts scattered across the dashboard, as well as numerous empty food packaging hiding on the floor. It certainly wasn’t the sort of car Denise wanted to stay in for a long time, so she asked the driver, “How long is it to the nearest town?”

“Dillimore? S’about a half hour drive from here...maybe more.” The man replied. He looked away from the road for a second and leered at Denise.

Denise pulled a face. “Keep yo eyes on the road!” she screeched as the car almost smashed into a tractor.

The man ignored her and turned off the main road onto one made of dirt. There were trees all around, their numbers growing denser as the man carried on into the shadows.

Suddenly, he stopped the car. He turned to look at Denise again, a crooked smile spreading across his face.

Denise glanced down at her door - no handle!

“What the f*ck you playin’ at, man?” she shouted. She stared out the window for a moment. “This ain’t even the way to Dillimore, is it? Sh*t! Lemmee out the damn car!”

“In a moment,” hissed the guy.

Denise widened her eyes as he reached over to her.

“A don’t think so!!” exclaimed Denise, and she punched him in the face.

He roared with pain, and Denise moved her legs up and pressed both her feet against the man’s chest, pinning him to the door on his side.

“You motherfu**er!!” Denise screamed at him. He tried to move towards her again, but she kicked him sharply in the chin. His head snapped backwards painfully.

Denise kept him stuck against the door as she quickly grabbed a map from the floor, examined it, and pocketed it. Then she grabbed the gear stick and pulled for all she was worth.

CRACK! The stick came loose and Denise stabbed at her window with it. The glass shattered all over the inside of the car. Denise cleared away some of the jagged pieces from the window frame, and prepared to leave the car.

She looked back at the man who now seemed to be gaining some more strength.

“You better have this back,” she quipped, and drove the gear stick into his eye.

The man screamed and blood spurted everywhere as the sharp stick penetrated his eyeball. Denise hurriedly turned from him and launched herself out through the small window.

She immediately set off running.

“Thanks for the ride!” Denise called back sarcastically as she sprinted down the dirt path back to the road.

Her feet back on concrete again, Denise shook her head and straightened out the crumpled roadmap, taking a quick look behind her to make sure the man wasn’t following her.

Nope. It seemed his perverted days were over.

Denise stared back down at the map. The lines squiggled along the paper like multi-coloured snakes, curling around blue patches of lakes, rivers and ocean, winding through hills of green, leaping across ditches of paper creases. It was enough to make anyone’s mind boggle.

Randomly guessing at which road she was on, Denise followed a dark squiggle to a gathering of more dark lines and green splodges. Shaking her head again, she tucked the map away and set off along the road.

WOOSH!!!!

“Damn!” Denise cursed, jumping further onto the hard shoulder as a car rushed past her. She brushed herself down, shaking her head again. She straightened out the map with a flourish and then started off down the road once more.

Edited by The_Dancing_Cat
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Wow, this is fantastic! That was really grotty when the rapist was stabbed in the eye...cool!

 

Hey, if you want, you can PM me and we can write a fanfic together ('cause I write fanfics to).

 

-Stef

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The_Dancing_Cat
Wow, this is fantastic! That was really grotty when the rapist was stabbed in the eye...cool!

 

Hey, if you want, you can PM me and we can write a fanfic together ('cause I write fanfics to).

 

-Stef

That might be pretty cool, yeah biggrin.gif

 

Thanks to everyone for your comments.

My sister will be back from a trip soon, which means the internet will probably be stolen from me, so it may be a little while before the next chapter gets posted.

Here's chapter 6 for you now...

 

Chapter 6

 

“Hmm...” Denise consulted the map again as she sat at the side of the road, deep in thought. She traced a finger along one of the lines on the paper. “So if I go...yeah...Hey, no sh*t!” She jumped up and stared into the distance - she could make out the shape of a lighthouse through the fog.

It was the lighthouse on Santa Maria Beach, Los Santos.

Denise watched wistfully as the grey mist swept out of her line of vision, giving way to views of white sandy beach, steely water, and the pier. She was considering running like Heck back into town, just to be home again, but the fog cleared further, rolling through the cool air like rain-filled clouds on a windy day, and Denise caught sight of several groups of gang members.

Gang members wearing purple.

Denise shivered. There were Ballas everywhere on the beach, strolling casually along with 9mm pistols and Mini-SMGs clutched lazily in their hands. Some stood in circles, laughing and joking, smoke from their joints mixing with the eerie mist that swirled around them. Others still were sipping from a bottle being passed around as they gazed at a Lowrider, complete with hydraulics, which one of their homies was showing off.

It was like some kind of a nightmare. Had the Ballas destroyed every last Orange Grove Families member in the city?

Denise unclenched her fists, which she had unconsciously balled while watching the scene before her, and sighed heavily. She now knew for certain she had to find CJ - he was truly the only chance Grove Street had of regaining power.

Glancing back at the map, Denise found the route she had to follow to get to Dillimore. She didn’t really know why she was still bothering to go there, but it was the only other village she had heard of aside from Angel Pine and Montgomery. Denise was a city girl, through and through. She couldn’t remember ever having left Los Santos before now.

Tucking the road map away once more, Denise started trudging along the hard concrete again. She was wary of how close to now-Balla territory she was, and found herself crouching slightly as she walked. She was unarmed and didn’t much fancy a firefight in the fog; although this was now slowly dissipating as though it realised Denise was using it to hide from the Ballas and wanted to spite her.

Denise broke into a run, hoping that nobody had spotted her. The sun was now a blurred white-yellow fuzz up in the sky, burning through the fog like a hot knife cuts through butter.

Luckily for Denise, she had sprinted on past the Flint Intersection and was now safely hidden under the wide struts of the highway above. She carried on across the grass, head down, thoughts melancholy, her hope and strength fading with the mist.

 

Half an hour later, Denise took her first step into Dillimore.

It was very similar to Montgomery: hillbillies wandering around; a few cars and lorries driving through the narrow streets; lots of small houses with tiled roofs and battered Ranchers, Waltons and Caravans sitting in the drives; and a large General Store, which was closed. There was also a Police Station, a Steakhouse (another property not doing business today), and a Gas Station.

Denise felt dazed and fatigued. She dragged herself around the bend to the Police Station. She wondered if she should tell them about the old pervert back near Angel Pine - but she decided against it. After all, she had stabbed him in the eye with a gear stick. She didn’t think the police would appreciate that very much.

But as she turned the corner, she noticed a lot of yellow police tape. It fluttered in the wind, cordoning off the gas station. Denise wanted to know why, so she subtly moved a little closer.

There was a man babbling on about a ‘robbery’ that had happened. He was leaning against a red car - Denise couldn’t tell whether it was a Sabre or a Clover. She walked almost right next to the police tape as she came around the other side of the gas station, straining her ears to hear what else the man had to say.

There was cop asking him questions, a pen poised in his hand above a notepad. “...like?” Denise heard him say.

“...she had reddish kind of hair, b-b-brown maybe,” the guy stuttered. “Had a shotgun I think. She tried to--“

At that moment, a policeman walked into Denise’s view.

“Step away from the perimeter please, miss,” he said in a country drawl.

Denise looked over his shoulder at the babbling man, and scanned the rest of the gas station. She spotted a Sprunk vending machine - she was pretty thirsty and also thought it to the perfect way to eavesdrop on what the gas station dude was saying.

“A just wanted a drink, officer,” Denise told him innocently. “I walked a long way, y’hear? A come all the way from Angel Pine, I’m thirsty as Hell!”

The cop watched her closely, appraised her grubby appearance and tired eyes.

“Fine. But make it quick.” He lifted the police tape and Denise ducked under it and scurried over to the vending machine.

Her ears were alert as she fumbled in her pockets for a dime.

“...stole it. Just hooked it up and drove it off!” Denise listened intently the man’s story. “Me and me son gave chase in the old car, but she ain’t what she used to be.” There came the sound of a car bonnet being patted. “Please catch ‘em, officer, y’know how hard it is to make money around here. I can barely rub two cents together runnin’ this place.”

“I understand your predicament, sir,” replied the cop. “We’ll do our best to find them both, and your tanker.”

Denise slipped the coin she had found into the machine. She turned around to see the police officer from over by the police tape staring at her. She smiled at him hopefully, then looked back at the machine to choose what drink she wanted.

“...he look like again?” Denise caught the end of the policeman’s next sentence.

“I told you, he’s dark-skinned, got black hair, wearing a black vest and trackpants... Sorry I can’t be more helpful. I couldn’t see his face, he were wearing shades.” The gas station owner answered.

Denise’s heart skipped a beat. That sounded like CJ!

“Could you tell me where they were headed?” asked the cop.

“Not sure, naw. Me and my boy managed to follow ‘em past that farm near to Beacon Hill, but then the crazy woman popped our tyre and we lost control of the car.”

Denise’s can of Sprunk hit the tray of the vending machine with a thud. Denise was going to take her time retrieving it, in order to hear more of the conversation going on, but she suddenly felt a strong hand grip her underarm.

“Time to go, miss. Get yer drink,” boomed the policeman behind her.

Denise shook her arm free. “Getchow hands off of me. A was just leavin’ anyway.” She snatched her can from the machine and left the police area. Blood pounded through her veins, her heart thumping. So CJ had stolen a tanker and headed on past Beacon Hill, wherever that was. Why? And who was this reddish-brown-haired woman the gas station owner was speaking about? Denise had a bad feeling about her, especially since she not only sounded crazy, but seemed to be accompanying CJ.

Walking on past the Steakhouse, Denise arrived in its car park. There was a Freeway motorbike parked there.

Denise glanced around to make sure nobody was walking by, and then jumped onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine to life. She’d driven bikes before, but they were BF-400s or PCJ-600s. This vehicle was like a Harley and its engine growled like a beast. It was difficult to manoeuvre out of the car park and through the winding streets, but Denise soon got the hang of it.

When she was on the outskirts of Dillimore, she pulled over and stopped an old woman in a pink floral frock.

“’scuse me, lady, can you tell me the way to Beacon Hill? Ma map ain’t got no names marked on it,” Denise pleaded.

The woman paused, but then nodded. Denise retrieved her map from her pocket and straightened it out. She showed it to the hick who jabbed a finger at a small ‘raised’ location which was a slightly lighter green than the rest of the grassy areas.

“Here’s yer hill. Now go on, get outta here.” The woman said in a witchlike, crackly tone.

Denise grinned her thanks, then stared at the map for a moment while the old woman hobbled off down the street. Denise pocketed the road map, leapt back onto the bike, and zoomed off to investigate Beacon Hill.

 

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That might be pretty cool, yeah biggrin.gif

 

 

OK then. I'll add you to MSN.

 

By the way, good chapter. Can't wait for the next one!

 

 

 

-Stef

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x0x h3ll x0x

[colour=red]still cant wait till next chapter how many chapters are there going to be?....

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The_Dancing_Cat

 

I'm not sure how many chapters it will have, I am writing it as I post it so who knows? I have just written Chapter 8, but I don't know if, when, and where Denise will find CJ...

Thanks for all your comments.

Here's the next thrilling installment... lol

Note: There may be spoilers to the game in this part, so if you haven't played past the first few Badlands missions, do them now so you can carry on reading! tounge2.gif

 

Chapter 7

 

By the time Denise arrived at the mysterious hill, it was fast becoming dark. Denise guessed it was about five or six o’clock. She was about to turn the Freeway bike onto the dirt path leading to the hill, when she spotted a smear of black on the road behind her. She left the bike on its prop and went to look at the smear. She knelt down on the grass next to the road and touched the dark substance.

Denise smelt the black mark on her finger - it was petrol.

There was a slim chance that it belonged to the aforementioned tanker, but Denise had learned not to ignore such a thing. Her eyes flitted around the area, searching for any more streaks of oil. She looked back at the dirt path and saw that there were a few drops there.

The Freeway roared up the path, kicking up clouds of dust as it went. Denise narrowed her eyes and pushed the bike onwards. The dirt road wriggled around like a snake, twisting and turning. It even crossed over a train track at one point. Denise saw two glinting eyes of a freight train in the distance as the motorcycle bumped over the rails. She then looked to her left and saw her next big lead - a large offering of petrol trailing off over the grass and onto a road. On the other side of the road was a sign that said ‘RS HAUL’. Denise could make out two hangars with corrugated metal doors, and a little wooden shack connected to a slightly larger building, all inside an ‘enclosure’ of small walls. She veered the bike off the path, onto the grass, and then skidded in a full spin over to the RS HAUL place.

Denise got off the bike and looked around. She had time to see the door of the wooden shack slam shut, and then everything was quiet. She went to the shack and knocked.

“A saw you go in there, foo’! Time to stop playin’ Hide ‘n’ Seek!” Denise called.

Nothing.

“I just wanna talk! I’m... interested in doing some work for ya!” Denise lied.

There was a short silence, and then the door opened. A small, toothless old man stood in the doorway. He held out a wrinkled hand and grinned.

Denise shook his hand before he hobbled out of the building and stood before her. He wore a little cap and grubby overalls. He wore a pair of spectacles, which the glow of the setting sun glanced off.

“I’m Mr Whittaker, how’s ya doin’?” he said with another smile.

“Fo’ sho’. I’m Denise Robinson,” Denise replied.

“Nice example ye have here,” Whittaker gestured to the Freeway. “Used to have one like it when I was a lad. That was some time ago now, as you can see.” He laughed, wheezing.

“What kinda place is this?” Denise asked.

“Why, this is the one and only truckin’ depot I’ve run for half o’ my life,” Whittaker answered nostalgically.

“I saw petrol smears back there. You had any recent deliveries?”

Whittaker kicked a pebble on the ground and looked down, avoiding the question. He looked up, squinting in the orange twilight and shrugged. “Dat’s all confidential, miss.”

“I ain’t no cop or nothin’, I was just lookin’ for someone,” Denise tried to reassure him.

“Someone, huh? Where you from, miss?”

“Los Santos. Ma boyfriend’s gone missing.”

“Arrr, that’s a darned shame. What’s his name?”

“Carl Johnson. But we all call him CJ,”

“I ain’t never heard nothin’ ‘bout no ‘CJ’ fella,” Whittaker stared off into the distance. “I don’t really get to know ma clients too much.”

Denise sighed and followed his gaze to the slowly setting sun. She would soon have to look for somewhere to stay for the night, and this place just seemed to be a dead end. It was time to leave.

“Oh well. Thanks anyway. I guess A just followed the wrong lead,” Denise wandered back to her motorbike, clambered on, and started it up. “Bye now.”

Whittaker watched her for a moment, then said, “I might know somethin’... Ehh, but it’ll cost ya.”

Denise turned around to look at him again. She killed the engine and got off the Freeway. “You know somethin’? About CJ? You better be tellin’ me, old man!”

“I’ll tell ya, sure, but I’ll be needin’ your bike there.” He nodded at the vehicle.

Denise stared from the motorcycle to Mr Whittaker and raised an eyebrow. “Tell me what you know first. I’m in no mood for games.”

“Sure thing, miss. Step inside, will ya?” Whittaker beckoned her over to the wooden entrance to the building.

Denise now knew better than to go along with strange guys, so she folded her arms and shook her head. “Out here. You can have the damn bike, but this conversation’s gonna be on ma terms, y’hear?”

Whittaker chortled and looked at Denise with narrowed eyes. “Whatever you says, miss. Whatever you says.”

“Tell me,” Denise urged him.

Whittaker leaned casually against the shack. “I’s had a delivery today, sure. Young‘uns from Dillimore. One of them, she done some business for me before. The other, young city lad, I ain’t seen him before, but I offered him some work here. He says he got too much else to do right now, but he’d come back ‘nother day.”

“This city guy... He black?”

“Yup, wore a cap he did,”

“That’s CJ!”

“Well, your ‘CJ’ went off with Catalina. Who knows where they’s headed?”

“Catalina? Tell me more about her. She sounds like some bitch,”

Whittaker laughed again. “Catalina sure is fiery. She likes things done her way, the old country ways. She got some cousin from the city, though. Name’s Cesar. Don’t know if they’s still in touch,”

“I don’t think I’ve heard of him,”

“Naw? Well, Catalina’s been helpin’ this CJ lad get on his feet. We didn’t get much catchin’ up time, but my guess is she’s got herself a new stooge.”

Denise paused before asking her next question, thoughts whirling in her brain. So Catalina was helping CJ. That didn’t seem too bad. But stealing a tanker? Was that really help? And who was Cesar?

Denise strained her memory. There was something in her mind that had clicked at that name, but she couldn’t place it.

Suddenly she realised - Cesar was the leader of the Los Aztecas Varrios gang. They were a Hispanic gang, wore blue and hung around El Corona and Little Mexico back in Los Santos. Denise felt a pang of sadness as she thought of her home city and its gang warfare.

“Now’s about dat dere bike...” Whittaker cut into her thoughts.

Denise stepped in front of the motorbike. “Not yet. Where’s this Catalina hang?”

Whittaker grinned his toothless grin. “Now why would I be tellin’ ya that?”

Denise sighed in exasperation and looked to the sky, as though searching for answers. It was getting late, and the sun was just a small sliver of light on the horizon. The sky was growing from orange to purple, and clouds the colour of deep mauve were scudding through the air.

“Listen you stupid ol’ man! I wanna find out where ma damn boo is, and if you ain’t gonna be tellin’ me where that Catalina bitch has taken him, imma gonna be goin’ East Coast on yo’ ass!” Denise screeched.

Whittaker looked shocked, and actually scared. He held his hands up in front of him in a gesture of peace, as Denise balled her own hands into fists and moved threateningly towards him.

“Catalina lives up on Fern Ridge!” Whittaker rasped.

Denise breathed hard through her nose and grabbed Whittaker by his lapel. She lifted him off the ground, then put her face to his and said slowly, “That’s all A wanted to know.”

Denise dropped Whittaker and headed over to her bike.

“You... You remember our little deal?” Whittaker asked hopefully.

“Nope.” Denise replied; and then hit the gas and zoomed off into the night.

-----------------------

I better get cracking on Chapter 9 now, so if I'm absent for a few days/hours, you know why!

Thanks for yer replies!

 

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I love your work, its gold! But in deeper thought, couldn't denise just ring CJ and ask where he is like she does ingame? Lol, but continue your work you're a bomb at this biggrin.gif

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The_Dancing_Cat

LOL, yeah, I did think that, but I figured his battery might have run down... That never happens in-game, which means I guess he must keep it switched off most of the time.

Thanks for the comment icon14.gif

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No problemo. By the way, I used to always want to know what denise thought and did when CJ left Los Santos, lol. You've really covered that up for me ^_^. Cant wait for following chapters! Keep 'em coming!

 

-dingleman

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The_Dancing_Cat

Thanks again biggrin.gif

I'd post the next chapter, but I'm going to have to post them further apart otherwise I will run out! I must get on and write chapter 9 some time today.

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The_Dancing_Cat

Time for a bump, and the next chapter.

colgate.gif

Note: Possible plot spoilers. Have you done the Badland missions yet?

 

 

Chapter 8

 

An owl hooted high up in the forest trees, watching the world below with glassy amber eyes. It ruffled its feathers and turned on its lofty perch on a branch, as a roaring sound echoed from the distance.

Vroommmmm. Vroommmmmm.

The wise bird saw headlights coming from over the hillside. It hooted softly, and then took flight into the air as the growling monster tore down the road.

The metal beast turned off the road onto a dirt path. The path led all the way up a grassy hill, forking near the top and giving its follower the choice of left or right. This time, left was picked, and brown clouds of dirt flew into the cool evening air behind the wheels of the Freeway motorcycle, which was now slowly ascending the path.

The engine spluttered in protest as it was forced upwards, whining and shrieking, hungry for more petrol. Finally, it gave a last mechanical cry, before dying completely.

“Sh*t!” Denise clambered off her ride and kicked it hard, loosening one of its metal panels. It had never occurred to her to top up the gas tank at Mr Whittaker’s while she had the chance, and now she was regretting it sorely.

Denise looked at the road map she still had with her. She was still going the right way, and thanks to help from another hillbilly back in the small town of Blueberry (which was also experiencing a crime surge after a liquor store had been robbed), she realised she was definitely at Fern Ridge.

Denise had no choice now but to continue on foot. A breeze fluttered past her, ruffling the leaves on the bushes and trees around her the same way the owl had ruffled its own feathers earlier. Denise started along the path, hugging herself for warmth.

It wasn’t long before she saw light coming from somewhere between the huge forest trees. She quickened her pace and soon a small cabin came into view. There was a weathered old fence around it, beaten and rotting with age. There was also an old pick-up truck lying forlornly, with no wheels and coloured yellow-orange with rust, next to the shack. The cabin itself had hubcaps dangling from the roof, and despite the windows being boarded up in place, a few fingers of artificial light escaped outside through cracks in the boards.

As Denise drew nearer, she saw a spade lying against the fence. And in the proximity of the spade was a charming trio of mounds in the grass.

Graves.

Denise shivered. Her pulse started to race. She had no weapons - her knife had been long lost in the swamps in Whetstone, and that gear stick was, for all Denise knew, still well-lodged in some pervert hick’s eyeball.

But wait a second... There was a weapon she could use, however primitive it was.

Denise grabbed the spade from over by the fence, skirted around the graves, and headed onwards to the door of the cabin. She gritted her teeth, then took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

The muffled voices that had been barely audible from inside the shack now stopped completely. It was as if the rest of the forest had been silenced as well. No more owls hooting, no more wind whistling, not even the sound of a car engine from the road below. The only noise was Denise’s heavy, ragged breathing.

Then a new sound broke the quiet - bolts and locks were being removed from the door of the cabin. And all of a sudden, the door was opened ever so slightly. More light scurried out of the shack, illuminating Denise’s puzzled face.

As her eyes finally adjusted to the outburst, she realised she was now staring down the barrel of a very mean-looking shotgun - and straight into the eyes of an equally mean-looking woman.

Her eyes were dark, almost black, and her hair was a reddish-brown.

Denise drew a sharp breath. Catalina.

“Who the f**k are you?” snarled the woman, presumed Catalina. She had an accent, sort of Spanish, but Denise knew now Whittaker was telling the truth about her cousin being Cesar.

“I’m sorry, A was just wanderin’ around, got a little lost, y’see, and A was wonderin’ if y’all could put me up for the night?” Denise decided to keep her identity as CJ’s girlfriend a secret for the moment.

“No trespassing,” hissed Catalina.

“Aww, c’mon, man, A been walkin’ ‘round all night,” Denise pleaded.

“Get off my property before I put a bullet in your pretty face!” Catalina shouted.

“Who’s it, Cat?” A slightly dazed voice came from somewhere inside the cabin.

The accent was unmistakably from Los Santos.

The voice was unmistakably CJ’s.

“CJ, sh*t, it’s me, Deni--!” Denise didn’t get the chance to finish screaming the rest of her sentence before she had to dive clear of Catalina’s weapon firing off a fat shell.

Rolling in the dusty soil, Denise took cover around the other side of the cabin, adrenaline coursing through her, her body’s natural defence system of ‘Fight or Flight’ taking effect.

This was definitely one Denise wanted to fight.

However, she realised she had dropped the spade when she’d jumped clear of the hostile Catalina. Footsteps from around the corner pulled Denise back to the current situation with a thump.

Catalina was clearly prepared to kill her.

Denise hurried off around the back of the cabin, hoping to find a window through which she could talk to CJ.

Nothing.

Damn...

The footsteps grew closer, now accompanied by a slightly manic and hushed cackle, along with rasps of, “Come out, come out, wherever you arrrrreeee...”

Sh*t, Catalina was completely crazy!

Denise stealthily went on around the other side of the shack. She peered around the corner nearest to the front of the house, and saw Catalina wasn’t there. This was her chance. She dove forwards and snatched up the spade, hoping she’d not made too much noise and would have time to grab CJ and get out of here--

“Hah!” yelled Catalina from behind Denise.

Denise was about to turn when she felt cold metal press against the nape of her neck.

“Don’t move,” Catalina said warningly. “And drop the spade, bitch.”

Denise let the spade fall to the ground. Catalina didn’t retrieve it.

“Shoot me then, hoe!” Denise screeched. “A don’t care!”

“Oh, don’t worry, I’ll shoot you eventually. It’s just I have these new, sharp things I’d like to test out, first. And my current guinea pig is much too precious to bleed,” Catalina laughed, her breath blowing across the back of Denise’s neck.

“You’s one Hell of a motherf**kin’ fool to do this. I ain’t never done nothin’. A just wanted a place to stay,” Denise lied.

“But you know CJ?”

“Erm, yeah, he from the ‘hood back home. Y’know, Los Santos? Where your cousin Cesar’s from.”

“You know Cesar, too?”

“Yeah, he... He sent me!” Denise had a sudden moment of inspiration. “He need to talk to CJ, but, ur, he couldn’t get down here, got too much sh*t happenin’ right now. Mind if I pass on his message?”

“Why don’t you tell it to me instead!” Catalina snapped, ordering Denise rather than asking.

“Fine, fo’ sho’. Tell him to not forget ‘bout his girl... An’ to get back to Los Santos. Ballas taken over the whole damn place. The Grove needs him. You tell him that?”

“Consider it done,” Catalina said, although there was something in her tone that said otherwise. “Now get off my land!”

Catalina didn’t wait for a reply. She shoved Denise roughly forwards, towards the edge of the hill.

Denise knew what was over that edge, having passed it on the way up the path. She wasn’t surprised, then, to find the grass give way to nothing but air as she plummeted down towards a big, cold river...

SPLASH!

Denise rocketed downwards through the icy water, but quickly regained her senses and began kicking back to the surface. She was soon breathing in the fresh oxygen as she made her way to a pebbly shore nearby.

Denise climbed onto dry land and squeezed the water from her hair and baggy clothes. She looked up to where Catalina had pushed her over the edge of Fern Ridge and saw a shadowy figure move away and head back to the cabin.

Denise made her way up the pebbly path to the road again, her whole body aching with tiredness and despair. Having learned her lesson about getting into cars with hillbillies, she simply jumped into the rack of a Walton as it trundled by. She knew it was useless going back to Fern Ridge to try and rescue CJ - if he even needed to be rescued - so she lay down amongst the crates of eggs and shut her eyes to get some rest, a tear slipping out and hitting the wood below her with a thud.

The owl, having returned to its favourite tree, watched her go, the bright moon reflected in its glassy amber eyes.

 

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