Gross Out

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Helix Hawthorne was born in the small, dark city of Archers, where bums, gangs and riots were around every corner. Fear was a constant for the citizens, and they learned to keep to themselves and ignore what was not their business, even if that meant ignoring a mugging, rape or murder in the alley across the street. What was worse is that young Helix was born to a widowed, single mother amidst the chaos, ensuring he would have a tough life. He never knew his father, who worked in the police force, as he died during his mother’s fourth month of pregnancy. Dying because of his duties to protect others put stress on Helix’s mother, teaching him to be a quiet boy and to never get into trouble. In middle school, Helix had no friends, for he lived in fear of getting into the wrong crowd, or being viciously beaten by the out of control bullies. He had seen many unattended crimes in his young life, which influenced him to be anything but everyone else.

In high school, he finally made a stand against a bully, picking on the shy, dark haired girl in the cafeteria. He instigated his own beating, but he figured he couldn’t protect someone without getting a little hurt and broken in the process. Helix and the girl immediately became friends, and he was brought into her small group of friends who shared his views against bullying and the city’s crime. Through the first year of high school, the four initiated another schoolmate into the group, fearlessly defending the bullied kids of their school. By the time their freshmen year came to a close, the five friends were known as the group who bullied the bullies, even if it meant getting detention.

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The group stayed strong during their sophomore year, where they invited their last member, a freshmen, into the group, and they grew even closer when a virus outbreak occurred. The virus was airborne, and only a handful of citizens managed to evacuate in time. The rest weren’t so lucky. Instead they were quarantined in the city, and the SWAT teams kept a close eye on the city as some died, others became putrid mutants, and few discovered wicked powers. The citizens of the city were immediately issued several pills that would hopefully reverse the viruses mutating effects, and even more pills to cure them of the virus altogether. While more died because of the plague, or overdosing due to the amount of pills they were given, others used their newfound powers to take reigns of the city; attempting to control like an empire. Yet they also died trying at the hands of others, for their own selfish gain. The city soon became known as the Wasteland.

For the next five years, the six high school drop-outs were infected with the mutating virus; half of the group gained powers, yet they didn’t leave the others in the dust. They refused all of the pills assigned to them, becoming suspicious that the outside forces were harmfully drugging, brainwashing, or purposely killing through the medicine.

They adopted the gang name Outlanders for themselves and went by gang codenames; Krunk, Vex, Moody, Perch, Loudmouth, and Helix became Gross. The gang also lived by their own motto; that if things were looking bleak, they would stick together, even if it meant the death of all of them.

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The Outlanders gang became almost super heroic in the Wasteland of Archers City, moving on from protecting school kids from bullies, to citizens from the mutants gone mad. Doing so, they made many enemies, especially the newfound group called the Haunted.

The Haunted were a large group of mutants who used their virus given powers to attempt control of Archers City, even going so far as to attack hospitals and install hidden cameras throughout the city. It was one day that the Outlanders grew tired of the Haunted’s cowardly games and destruction, figuring they could infiltrate their underground base and turn them over to the SWAT, finishing them once and for all. It wouldn’t be hard, for they knew such close distance to the virus’s explosion sight and the rank smell of the sewers would have dimmed their perception. The Outlanders demanded SWAT teams gather outside every underground escape hole in the city, while the gang shook them out.

All was going well for the first hour; in fact, it looked like the plan would be a success, truckloads of the Haunted had even been captured and sent to the prison outside the city, but their good luck took a dramatic turn when a Haunted member tackled Gross from behind, pinning him down away from his pistols and baseball bat. The delusional Haunted member cackled at his victory of ‘capturing’ one of the Outlanders, going into the long speech of how the Outlanders should ‘retreat now or the funny grey one gets it’. He was caught in surprise when Gross spat right in his face, but it was Gross who was surprised when he began screaming and thrashing, his face melting from behind his hood. When Gross finally kicked him off, the Haunted’s power was unlocked due to his pain and rage; growing bigger and stronger like something you would see in a cartoon show.

In his beast-like rage, the Haunted member began destroying the underground base from the inside, planning to crush the Outlanders under the impact of the falling city. By the time the Outlanders fled to the outside, a portion of the city roads had crumbled and fallen, killing Haunted, SWAT, and citizens. Outraged by the destruction of the city, the remaining SWAT called treason on the Outlanders; believing that this was their plan all along. Trying to explain only angered the SWAT more, and they fled before they could be arrested along with the Haunted, or bullets started flying. The Outlanders broke off contact with their remaining family in fear they would be accused of treason as well, or harassed by the Haunted. They lived in shacks and on rooftops, avoiding the people of the city. The citizens of Archers no longer thought of them as heroes, but they feared them, hated them.

Despite their efforts trying to keep their family safe, the news broadcasted the names of the deceased in the Haunted’s latest overnight massacre, and the Outlanders became their only family that night. With their family dead, they had finally had enough of the city, the mutation, the Haunted, the SWAT, the citizens, everything. If they wanted the Outlanders gone, maybe they would just leave.

At the ages of twenty and twenty-one, the group finally decided they would escape the city to the deserts; what they called the Outlands. Being anywhere would be better than living like caged rats, they figured.

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The abandoned room of the radio station was uncomfortably quiet. Only the faint noises of fingers tapping the keyboard and frantic breathing could be heard. It had been a game to the six punks who accompanied the room; a race to the finish line, to the outside world, or a game of cat and mouse with the police, but now they were experiencing just how much trouble they were in. They had planned to leave their slum of a city; leave the selfish gangs, starving civilians and dastard mutants behind as they ride off into the distance, cheering and cursing their hearts out. They were no different from the gutter rats of the city, but things were only getting worse. As the stench of blood filled the small room, they silently wondered if they could keep up the escape.

A soft beep rang from the computer, causing the group to flinch at the sudden noise. The stress of the chase was wearing on them. Two of the gang members, Gross and Loudmouth, stood by the barricaded door, metal baseball bats in sweaty hands and over their shoulders, prepared to fight back against the SWAT team they knew would be close by. The largest of the group, Krunk, stood at the computer, tacking away at the keys and turning the dials of the radio board, desperately searching for a signal. Then there were the three in the far corner of the room, Moody, Perch and Vex. Safest from any intruding SWAT, they treated an injured and bloody Vex. All six of the punks kept themselves hidden behind hoods, bandanas and shade glasses, concealing their identities and sick mutation.

After several minutes of uncomfortable silence, Perch spoke from his spot in the corner. Voice shaking and angry, he held his injured friend in his lap, watching the blood spill from his stomach and shoulder.

“Hurry the fuck up, Krunk! I don’t think Vex is gonna make it!”

Perch yelled to their gang leader, ripping the bandana from his chin to press it against the injured punk’s bleeding stomach. To anyone, Perch would sound threatening or annoyed, but in truth it was all the redhead could do to keep himself from crying out. They may be just another rebellious street gang, but they weren’t emotionless brutes, especially not when a dying friend was in their presence. Moody, the only female of the gang, did what she could to stop the intense blood flow, yet her drenched hands couldn’t stop shaking. Tousled black hair fell over her face, clinging to her cheeks from the sweat.

Krunk’s typing never ceased, until he finally found what he was searching for. Static and jumpy speech blasted from the speakers, startling those in the room.

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“Ou-out-- … --ders, p-p-p-- … --k up!”

The voice blurted through the static, unclear, yet the group silently cheered and gave sighs of relief as they finally found a signal. Without giving a response to Perch, Krunk, the apparent leader of the gang, picked up the microphone from the radio board and quickly hit the speaker button.

“Joey that better be you! We’re close to the wall, but Vex… oh man… Vex is really fucked up, Joey! Tell me you’re in the Outland!”

He yelled into the microphone, removing his hand from the speaker button and resting the microphone against his moist forehead, waiting anxiously for a reply.

No response. Only static.

Krunk ground his teeth together when no response came, pressing the speaker for another try.

“C’mon, Joey! Can you hear me?! Pick up!”

He yelled again, before slamming the microphone onto the desk in front of him. Without Joey knowing their location, they could be stuck outside the city, and he wouldn’t risk letting his gang die in the smoldering heat of the desert. That is, if they managed to get past the city walls and SWAT teams in the first place.

“Yo, dudes…?”

One of the punks by the door, Gross, spoke quietly, tightening his hold on the baseball bat as he and Loudmouth took a step back from the door.

“Flatfoots are here… we gotta leave! Fuckin’ now, guys!”

He yelled past his white bandana, catching the attention of his gang as the storming footsteps outside the door grew louder; making their way up the stairs. The gang cast each other glances, before looking to the fallen Vex. In his condition, he wouldn’t even make it across the street. His jacket was covered in bullet holes, and thick blood seeped past his chapped lips, practically drowning him.

“Just go, you dickheads…” he groaned, pausing only to cough up a blob of blood onto his jacket, “I’ll only slow you down, just get to the fuckin’ Outlands.”

No time for goodbyes. With silent nods, the gang secured the bandanas around their mouths, heading for the only exit in the room; the window. As Krunk quickly ripped away the wood planks barricading the window, Loudmouth looked back at Vex, lying on the dusty floor. He gave a two finger salute to his brother, hiding the tears behind his shades.

That’s when the door broke in.

-

-No One Gets Left Behind by Five Finger Death Punch
-Pour Me by Hollywood Undead

-Due to being shunned and judged because of his mutated appearance, Gross is very polite, hoping he can convince others to think twice about judging a book by its cover. He has even gone so far as to live by the ‘Good Samaritan’ tale.

-Is strictly a vegetarian, claiming to have had a dark time in his life that made him convert.
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