A/N: I sure put a lot of time into this fanfiction. I really hope you enjoy reading it!
"What you can do in Incredible. It makes you very special, Jane" – Kali Prasad.
February 8th,1985. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Raymond Curt wandered through the corridors with large, though sluggish steps. The keys attached to his belt jingled along with the rhythm of his torpid march. His black boots produced little dry taps every time they hit the grey concrete floor, but the sound was surpassed by the dozens of voices that came from behind the iron bars and filled up the air in the prison interior. Some sobbed, some mumbled to each other and a few ones occasionally screamed. The dark-blue uniform he wore offered little protection against the chilling cold of the very end of the winter.
Almost all of his co-workers had left, but he and a few more officers stood in the place for the nightshift. Compared to what that building was on busier days, it could be said that it was relatively quiet, with fewer people inside the cells than usual and no other guards to interact with. It was almost like the very walls emanated cold and emptiness. Not for the first time since he had been working there, Raymond felt like he was the one who was trapped.
"It's alright, Ray", the nearly bald man mumbled with clenched teeth as he shivered "Just two more hours until weekend".
"How about we shorten that time?"
Raymond's hand went to his holster and sprung back with a pistol on it. The voice came from mere inches behind him, sudden enough to startle the man and shake off the somnolence and the cold from his body.
The voices around had changed. Some of the ones that screamed now went quiet. Some of the ones that sobbed and mumbled were now screaming. With an instinctive move, his hand went to his holster and sprung back with a gun in his fingers. Some of the inmates pointed at something, others yelled like they were talking to someone a few feet away from Raymond.
But there was nothing there.
Raymond looked all around, with the gun still in hands and quickly scanned every inch of the prison. The people around refused to go quiet.
"Shut up, will you?", he ordered to the inmates, with little response but some swears he was used to hear every few hours.
The guard stretched his neck to get a slightly clearer view of the corridor, but he saw nothing. His next instinct was to look inside the cells, but all the prisoners around were men.
"What the hell?", he mumbled to himself, putting the gun away.
"Big mistake", the voice returned just as he put the pistol back in the holster.
Four brick walls blossomed from the floor all around Raymond and blocked the pale lights of the jail. A solid ceiling was formed on top of the walls, throwing the man into complete darkness. Before he could recover from the shock, a vague silhouette appeared in front of him, which caused him to blink a few times, trying to discern the shape in the darkness that felt almost solid inside the brick confinement.
"Peek-a-boo!", she said with a mischievous smirk on her face.
He jumped back in horror and reached for his gun with shaky hands. He was about to pull it out of the holster when a surprisingly fast and strong fist hit his face and his body went numb. Unable to do anything against it, he didn't witness as the keys and the pistol were taken from him. The fingerless gloves of the hand that carefully checked every pocket, every compartment of the man's clothes in search of useful tools or props weren't long enough to cover the little tattoo on the girl's wrist: 008.
"I would kill you right now, but I'm trying to be a better person from now on", Kali said, wiping the blood from her nose "For my sis".
She looked around to make sure no one but the confused and alarmed inmates saw her and started running down the hall.
"Way to go on that getaway, Mick", Axel's sarcastic words joined the chaotic choir of voices of the other people in the hall.
The man rested his head against the wall and opened a crooked smile with his misaligned teeth. His colorful Mohawk had faded to a dirty yellow tone due to the many days he had been unable to preserve it. Now his hair leaned to the right side of his head like a bizarre fringe.
"Oh, was it my fault now?", Mick responded to the provocation.
"Yeah, it was and you know it!", the pale man snapped "You should have turned right when Dottie said so instead of driving straight!"
The woman scratched her head, sinking her fingers in her wild afro.
"Oh, not this again!", she said, looking away in frustration.
"Oh, yes, this again. You know it was your fault!"
"They shot our tire, you asshole!", she defended herself "They were going to outrun us eventually!"
"So what, you just thought 'screw it' and kept driving straight?", Axel said, looking down from the ceiling right into Mick's eyes.
She got up from the thin mattress that served as one of the four beds of the claustrophobic cell and raised her voice:
"If you're so good at getting away from the cops, then why don't you do it from now on?!", her voice echoed through the long corridors with striped iron walls.
"Yeah, maybe I should!", Axel shouted, spitting his words on his leader's face.
"Guys!", a fruity masculine voice called.
Partially shocked by the sudden interruption, the thieves stood still and looked to the corner of the cell, where a very tall and robust man with a little yellow goatee that contrasted his dark skin color sat on the floor with his legs crossed. He wore a light blue t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
"It's not Mick's fault. We did have the time to escape", Funshine said "Or at least we would have, if someone didn't stop to chat with her little sister".
The man's usually calm behavior had changed drastically since the events of the past months. He had never been through the experience of getting arrested and it had been a large shock to him. To aggravate his helpless anger, Dottie, the second youngest of them all, had been shot during the failed attempt of getting away from the cops and died a few minutes later. All of them were deeply sorry for the loss, but Funshine had felt a much bigger weight, as if he had failed to fight for his friends.
Axel let out a humorless laugh and sat back on his bed.
"You're damn right, buddy", he said "That little bitch cost us way too much time. It was her idea to go out again and avenge her mom or whatever the hell we were supposed to do".
Mick crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, pressing her cheek against the concrete.
"Well, Kali has no fault that the damn kid ran off", she said, looking at the rows of cells filled with people across the hallway.
"Then what? We should just forgive her even after she got away and never came back for us?", Axel asked, angrily throwing his hands up and letting them fall back to his seat "We're just going to pretend that the little brat didn't leave us to rot here?"
"I didn't leave anyone", said a much younger voice.
Axel flinched when a teenager girl with piercing black eyes and a long haircut that fell to her back like a crest simply appeared out of thin air in front of the cell, proudly displaying a bunch of keys like a fishing trophy on her right hand with a proud smile on her face. She wore the very same black overcoat and the same gloves she wore on the night she met Jane. The man laughed again, it was a loud guffaw full of humor this time.
"You nimble little slut", he said "Why'd you take so long? I thought you weren't going to show up".
"Give me a break, Axel. I had a rough time getting in here", Kali explained.
"Nice job, Kal. I always knew I could count on you", Mick said, holding one of the bars.
"What's wrong with the big guy?", the young girl asked, glancing at Funshine.
The man sat still on the corner. He somberly stared at the floor like a sorry kid and didn't show any reaction to Kali's presence. Mick looked at him and shook her head.
"He's mourning Dottie. Give him some time", Mick explained, looking back at the girl.
Kali closed her eyes and nodded, then moved away from the cell and put the keys on the pocket of her jacket.
"What the hell are you doing?", Axel asked.
"It's just… I need a huge favor from you guys", the girl said, calmly picking up the keys from the pocket and moving them through her fingers.
Mick frowned and stared at Kali, challenging her to stare back. She accepted the challenge with a devilish grin on her face, like an eagle that knows it's about to catch it's helpless prey.
"What are you talking about? We're forgiving you for screwing us up! That's our favor!", Mick started to talk in a very low voice, but raised her tone as she spoke.
"You better listen if you want those, Mick", the other girl said, playfully making the keys spin with her index finger "I want to leave the gang".
"It's your call", the watcher had raised her tone to the point of almost screaming as she stretched her hand beyond the bars to get the keys "You know we won't stop you".
"Yeah, but if I simply leave, it won't do much good for me. I want five thousand bucks in cash and a car", Kali demanded.
Mick pursed her lips and kicked the bars as hard as she could with an expression filled with hatred on her face, making the iron rods shake and fill up the air with a metallic clank.
"Fine! Just give me the god damn keys already!", she asked.
"Here ya go!", Kali said, throwing the keys to Mick.
The group leader caught them in the air and quickly started to try them in the lock. It took a few failed attempts before the right key slid in and let itself turn to the right with a dry click. Once the door was open, Mick discarded the keys and walked outside, gesturing for the others to follow her. Kali walked up to her and crossed her arms.
"Now I want my part of the deal", she said.
"Not happening, Kal. I know you want to go back to that little bitch you call your sister", Mick spoke "Fun?"
Without thinking twice, Funshine grabbed Kali by her arms and threw her against the wall. His anger drove his hand from her right arm to her neck.
"What's wrong with you? We were supposed to be a family, to stand up for each other!", he yelled.
"Bad decision, Kal", Axel said with a gloomy smile "You know we don't really need you, right?".
"Wrong…", she managed to hiss despite the iron strong grip of Funshine on her neck "I don't need you… You bunch of assholes".
A cloud of black smoke emerged from the floor and involved them, obscuring their sight from all sides. It took each one of them a terrifying moment before they realized it was Kali who was doing it. A gunshot was heard and Funshine yelled. Another two shots pierced the air and Mick and Axel felt the impact of the bullets in their legs.
The smoke faded.
"I tried to give you all a chance", Kali said, rubbing her aching neck. Funshine's hands had left a red mark on her throat.
She threw the gun away and it hit the floor with a dry thump of metal against concrete. On the ground, Mick stretched her hand to grab it, but the younger girl simply kicked it to the side and it slid all the way down the corridor until it hit a wall.
"Little bitch!", Mick yelled in pain.
Kali knelt next to her former partner and looked her in the eyes.
"I'm going to find Jane with or without you. Don't come after me", she said in a dangerously low tone.
She got up to leave when the guards arrived at the opposite end of the corridor, drawn by the gunshots. They didn't seem to see her, however. Instead, they ran down the hallway towards the three wounded inmates to check on what happened, giving commands through their radios and scouting the place in search of the invisible shooter. Kali walked away like a ghost, trying to ignore the screams of her former gang as she left them behind. She didn't need them where she was going.
Next Chapter: El is adapting to her new life as the chief's daughter and she's still strugling to accept Max as her friend. Meanwhile, Hopper recieves some unusual news that could mean that the battle against the Upside Down isn't over just yet.