Entertainment Magazine

Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron – Chapter 4

By Rohan @rohanforsale

Hello and welcome to Chapter Four of Gyaros: The Mice Eat Iron! If you missed out on Chapter One, Two or Three you can find them by CLICKING HERE. The Mice Eat Iron is the first book in the Gyaros trilogy which is being co written by myself and my brother Alex Healy. I will be posting the first five chapters of the book here on my blog each week until the book is out! We hope you continue to enjoy the story and look forward to the release of the full book late in March 2013. Please note that small changes may still be made to the final book before publishing. All comments and feedback are very welcome :)

WARNINGThis book is adult fiction and contains violencecourse languageadult themes and horror elements. If you find any of those offensive or disturbing you might want to avoid reading this post. Gyaros is meant to be thrilling and fun escapism, but don’t say I didn’t warn you about the adult content 

;)

Not official Gyaros artwork. Any artists interested in helping with the book cover? :)

Not official Gyaros artwork. Any artists interested in helping with the book cover?

:)

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Chapter 4

‘So this is it?’ Miles thought to himself as he looked up at the faulty neon sign of Le Cinema Magnifique. Surrounded by petty criminals and yet more mysterious half naked women, in a part of Elissa which he’d never had the slightest desire to visit much less work in. Miles’ briefcase which usually contained important documents and other work related necessities now carried nothing more than his ham sandwich and his packet of lightly salted potato chips. He stepped through the double doors and into the main lobby. The cinema lobby was empty except for a young employee behind the counter with a pair of large headphones on, apparently drumming along to the music with a couple of long red candy strips on the counter top. He had spiky blonde hair, tattoos covered his arms and he was wearing what appeared to be the cinema’s uniform. Miles let out a soft sigh and approached the counter. The employee had his eyes closed and seemed to be miming the lyrics to the song as he continued to drum, not noticing Miles. With a disgruntled look on his face, Miles stood at the counter for a few more seconds before becoming impatient and yanking one of the colourful sweets from the young man’s hand. The employee looked up startled and removed his headphones, Miles could hear the fast punk rock music still playing through the speakers of the headphones and wondered how anyone could listen to music at such a volume.

“Uh…hey, can I help you?” the young man asked looking slightly embarrassed. Miles took a deep breath, contained his frustration and replied.

“I start work here today.”

“Oh,” said the cinema employee taking a bite of his remaining candy, “you should talk to Mr Grayson, the manager guy. I’ll go get him for ya.” With that, the young man disappeared into a door behind the counter leaving Miles standing in an empty lobby with his lunch in one hand and a piece of stale candy in the other. Miles took this time to examine his surroundings, taking in the atmosphere of his new workplace. The dark green carpet, riddled with popcorn and countless stains from a variety of beverages was certainly a change from the clean white floors of The Elissian Energy Department. Even the smell of the cinema seemed off, Miles always enjoyed the familiar scent of the theater when he would go to see a movie with his family, but this place wreaked of old popcorn and alcohol, a smell quite unfamiliar to Miles as Hellen would rarely let him drink other than to have a glass of wine on their anniversary each year. After a short while, the blonde haired employee returned with an older man whom Miles presumed to be Mr Grayson, ‘the manager guy’.

He was a few inches shorter than Miles and a few pounds heavier by the look of it. He had a slick comb-over in an attempt, entirely in vein, to hide his balding head.

“Mr Stanton is it?” the older man asked.

“Please, call me Miles,” Miles replied with a strained smile as he quickly put the piece of candy in his back pocket and extended his right hand.

“Well Miles, I’m Ellis Grayson, the owner and manager of this fine establishment,” said Grayson somewhat ironically as he took Miles’ hand and shook it roughly. “When you’re ready, grab one of those uniforms from back here and start cleaning this place up, gotta look nice for the customers!” Miles could hardly believe that Mr Grayson even knew what a customer looked like judging from the state of his ‘fine establishment’. He simply continued to fake a smile and said, “it’ll be a pleasure to work here Sir.”

“That’s what I like to hear from my employees Mr Stanton! Now, if you have any questions, I’m sure Ryker here will be able to fill you in,” said Mr. Grayson, briefly putting his hand on the young employee’s shoulder before returning to his office.

Miles took his uniform from behind the counter. It was a medium sized blue and red polo shirt with the Le Cinema Magnifique logo on the front pocket, he threw it on over his white short sleeved shirt which he would usually wear under his expensive suit. As Miles buttoned up the polo shirt Ryker looked at him for a while before asking, “so you lost your real job huh?” Miles paused and stared at Ryker with a look of frustration before answering,

“that’s none of your god damn business.”

“Sorry, man,” Ryker apologized, “it’s just that, I’ve seen guys like you before…they usually don’t last too long,” he added, taking another bite of candy.

“Well,” said Miles, “that’s because ‘guys like me’ don’t belong in places like this. Guys like me find respectable jobs and make something of our lives no matter what circumstances arise.” Ryker laughed as he chewed what was left of his candy strip.

“No dude, guys like you don’t last because they get shuttled, you know, to Gyaros.” A sudden spark of panic rushed through Miles as reality briefly broke through his ego but he quickly reinforced himself.

“I’ve devoted 5 years of loyal service to The Energy Department of Elissa, I hate to disappoint you Ryker, but I’m not going to be sent anywhere near that moon,” he said with an intense look on his face.

“Alright,” said Ryker, “but hey, if you do end up over there one day, I know some guys who might be able to help you out,” Miles looked at Ryker with a confused and doubtful expression before replying.

“Firstly, let’s get one thing straight: I do not need your help because I am not going. And secondly, how can anyone, let alone a lowlife such as yourself have contacts on Gyaros?”

“Wel,l” said Ryker, “cuz I’ve been there.”

Now Miles knew for sure that Ryker had to be lying.

“Do you seriously expect me to believe that?” he asked.

“Not really,” replied Ryker, “but it’s true.” Miles rolled his eyes as Ryker continued, “see, I was a second child. My parents tried to keep me hidden. And they did, until I was five that is. I got shuttled over with my Mom…she died a couple of years later though.”

“You can stop lying to me now Ryker,” Miles said impatiently. “Even if you were sent over, there’s no way off Gyaros, not for you or anybody else,” he added.

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you,” Ryker said with an excited look, “I know someone who can send people back!” Miles was tired of listening to Ryker and he refused to let himself believe a word of what he had just been told. He turned to Ryker angrily.

“Do you have any fucking idea what I’ve been through in the past twenty four hours?” he asked rhetorically with an intense look on his face. “I don’t think you do, Ryker. You see this place?” he continued, looking around at the empty cinema lobby, “this disgusting, run down, pathetic excuse for a cinema? This, Ryker, is the last place I would ever want to spend a minute of my time.” Miles paused, looked Ryker straight in the eyes and added, “and yet, here I am. Getting ready to bend down on my knees and sweep up old pieces of popcorn from a rotting carpet, and the only thing I can possibly do to make this any easier, is to tell you to shut the fuck up!” There was a moment of silence as Miles continued to stare fiercely into Ryker’s bright blue eyes.

“Yeah, whatever,” mumbled Ryker as he turned away and put his headphones back on. Miles took a dustpan and broom from behind the counter and began to clean the floor of the lobby. With Ryker sitting quietly behind the counter and Mr Grayson remaining in his office for the rest of the working day, Miles had several hours to himself as he cleaned the various rooms of the movie theatre, which given the recent turn of events, wasn’t entirely a good thing. Hundreds of thoughts raced through Miles’ mind as he worked, thoughts of his family, his job, his future. The hours seemed to tick by slower than ever that day as Miles waited anxiously for his shift to end. The cinema finally closed at around 10pm. Miles saw Ryker packing his bag on the way out of the lobby. He felt a little bad for snapping at him earlier but couldn’t bring himself to apologize, instead, Miles just made his way to the tram station a few streets down in the heavy Yellow District rain with his now empty briefcase to wait for a ride back to the motel.

The next day was much the same as the last, though the tension between Miles and Ryker had subsided somewhat and they found themselves engaging in light conversation throughout the day. Ryker had learned to avoid the subject of Gyaros, talking instead about sports results and recent news stories. Miles was actually thankful to have something to distract him from the current events in his life, even if he still considered Ryker to be somewhat of a loser. At one point during the day, they found themselves on the topic of video games, something that Miles had enjoyed greatly during his days in high school and college though had not had any time for in recent years.

“You look way too serious to be into video games man,” said Ryker jokingly.

“Oh yeah?” Miles replied, smiling. “In my college years, I put a solid two hundred hours into Legends of Red District 4!”

“No fuckin’ way dude, I can’t even get halfway through an rpg like that without getting bored to shit,” Ryker said with a surprised look on his face.

“That’s the problem with your generation, Ryker. You have no patience. It’s all first person shooters and mindless action games. You’ll never know the simple joy of grinding for hours on end, slowly but surely levelling up each member of your party in preparation for an epic battle of wit and perfectly executed strategy,” Miles explained philosophically.

“Yeah, and thank god for that,” Ryker replied, making Miles laugh for the first time in the past three days. During the conversation, Ryker brought up the idea of stopping by the arcade down the street after work. Miles thought it was a childish plan but eventually agreed, deciding that it would be a good distraction. Miles’ shift continued rather uneventfully with only about five or six customers showing up to the cinema that day. He tried to keep himself focused on work but with little to do, Miles often found himself slipping into anger, frustration and regret as he recalled recent events. Though now on moderately friendly terms with Ryker, Miles was still alone with his dark thoughts for most of the day. ‘I wish I’d fucking killed him,’ Miles thought to himself, referring to Tyler. ‘I wish I’d finished the damn job.’ As closing time was approaching, Miles returned to the lobby to meet up with Ryker who was already out of his uniform and looked eager to get to the arcade.

“You ready?” Ryker asked excitedly as he saw Miles leave cinema 2 with a bag of trash having just cleaned up after the final showing of the night.

“Just a second,” Miles replied as he brought the bag to the trashcan by the front window. Although embarrassed to show it, Miles was also quite eagerly awaiting the night out. Even at his job in The Energy Department, he had rarely spent time with his colleagues outside of work. Miles dusted his hands and took his briefcase, which served as little more than a lunchbox these days, from behind the counter as Ryker hoisted his backpack over his right shoulder and the two left the cinema leaving Mr Grayson to lock up for the night.

The sights, sounds, and smells of the Yellow District were still foreign and disturbing to Miles as he and Ryker walked down 12th Street to the Gamer’s Paradise Arcade arguing light heartedly about their drastically differing tastes in music. Upon passing a small and cheap looking fast food restaurant Ryker said, “hey man, I’m gonna get a burger, you want anything?” Miles shook his head lightly and Ryker disappeared into the burger joint alone. As Miles waited impatiently out the front of Mike’s Burger Palace, an old woman with ragged gray hair and a long brown trench coat began to approach him from across the street. Beginning to feel uncomfortable, Miles glanced through the restaurant window at Ryker who seemed to be waiting for his order. The old lady began to mumble incoherently as she drew closer, Miles stared at the ground, trying to avoid eye contact. ‘God damn it Ryker, hurry up…’ he thought to himself as the woman started shouting what sounded to Miles like complete gibberish. Moments later, Ryker returned with a greasy paper bag and a large drink under his arm. He casually pushed the old lady out of the way and continued towards the arcade. Miles followed, slightly disturbed by what had just happened.

Ryker spent the next minute and a half comically attempting to unpack and eat his meal while keeping hold of his large soda which slightly amused Miles.

“Aw fuck it, I’ll eat it when we get there,” he said, finally giving up. Ryker didn’t have to wait much longer as they soon reached their destination. Nostalgia swept over Miles as he stepped through the doors of the arcade. Although much smaller and more poorly maintained than the great arcades of The Green Entertainment District where Miles had spent the majority of his childhood, the familiar sounds and flashing lights were a welcome reminder of a carefree age.

“Oh sweet, there’s hardly anyone here!” said Ryker with a grin. “So, what do you wanna play first?” he added excitedly. Miles carefully scanned the small, dimly lit arcade, all of the games were new and unfamiliar. Except for one. Miles’ eyes fell upon a small worn out machine at the back of the building. Enforcer 2, a famously unforgiving side scrolling shooter which Miles had spent countless hours, and credits, playing every day after school.  Miles jogged towards the machine with the excitement of a twelve year old child and Ryker followed.

“God, I haven’t seen one of these in years!” said Miles with a subtle smile stretching across his usually serious face.

“Not too many people play this one anymore,” Ryker said as he looked at the bright flashing title screen of Enforcer 2 which displayed a heavily armoured Carthage Enforcer wielding dual magnums and blasting away green aliens.

“What do you say?” Miles said, positioning himself at the player one controls, and smiling suggestively at Ryker. Ryker placed his burger and drink on the machine and answered, “let’s do it!”

Miles placed the palm of his hand on the machine’s dusty credit transfer terminal and purchased lives for himself and Ryker. He stared down at his controls, it had been so long since his hands had assumed this position. A large joystick was accompanied by three small buttons, one for shooting, one for jumping and the final button performed a powerful melee attack. In the center of the machine there was a large red button labelled “START”. Without further hesitation, Miles pressed it down hard.

The title screen was quickly replaced by a scrolling 2d landscape. Miles’ character spawned in at the far left of the screen, flickering for a few seconds before becoming solid, Ryker soon joined the game, playing as a female enforcer. Miles had rarely seen the player two character as he had almost always played alone. Remaining dead silent, Miles and Ryker began to make their way through “Mission 1: The Streets”. The first enemy of the game, a mercenary with a large purple Mohawk approached from the right and fired a slow moving red bullet at the enforcers. Miles and Ryker both jumped over the projectile with ease and shot back at the enemy who fell to the ground, flashed briefly and then disappeared. The second foe was perched on a high ledge and was lobbing grenades at the players from above.

“Up there!” shouted Miles, Ryker pushed his joystick diagonally up and to the right, aimed his weapon at the grenadier and fired, eliminating the enemy. Two more mercenaries attacked from the right side and were quickly dealt with by Miles. Then, from the left side of the screen, a small attack dog came running. Ryker turned and shot but his bullets went over the dog and in a split second both Ryker and Miles were defeated.

“Fuck!” exclaimed Ryker as the continue screen appeared with a 10 second countdown.

“You have to crouch-shoot,” Miles said calmly.

“I know, I know,” Ryker replied taking a bite of his burger before restarting the game. On their second attempt, Miles and Ryker were ready for the attack dog. As it approached Ryker quickly turned, held his joystick downwards – crouching his character – and fired a shot low enough to kill the smaller enemy. They continued on, soon dying once again, this time at the hands of a flying enemy. After several attempts, Miles could feel himself regaining some of his skill from his childhood years as he swiftly dodged projectiles and eliminated countless enemies. By the time they had reached the Mission 1 boss, Ryker had finished his meal, having had plenty of opportunities to eat between lives. The boss was a giant bipedal mech that fired rockets, which are quite easy to dodge if you can recognize the patterns.

Miles’ and Ryker’s hands moved like lightening as they rapidly mashed the shoot button, occasionally jumping to avoid the incoming rocket attacks. On their first attempt, they managed to bring the mech down to about half health before being defeated. They quickly fought their way back to the boss, having memorized every detail of the first level by now. This time around, Miles remembered that if you hold down all the buttons at once, you can call in an airstrike that kills all enemies currently on the screen. When used on the boss, the airstrike instantly knocked a solid 25% off its health bar.

“How the fuck do you do that!?” Ryker shouted over the loud noise of the arcade.

“You have to press all the buttons at the same time!” Miles shouted back. Ryker called in his airstrike, bringing the boss once again down to 50% health. However, after a few more shots, the huge mech entered its second phase, moving faster and attacking more consistently. Within seconds, Miles and Ryker were once again killed.

“This is fuckin’ impossible, dude!” Ryker shouted, angrily slamming his hand on the side of the arcade cabinet.

“Okay, here’s how we do it,” said Miles in his usual, serious tone. “We battle it down to half health with regular attacks. Then, once it’s at 50%, we both use our airstrikes.”

“Yeah, good idea,” replied Ryker equally as serious. Miles transferred another two credits to the machine and returned his sweating hands to the game controls. Upon reaching the boss for the third time, Miles and Ryker both looked at each other.

“Let’s kill this son of a bitch,” Miles said intensely before turning his focus back to the screen. The mech slowly approached from the right while the enforces prepared for battle. A variety of projectiles shot across the screen in all directions as the boss fight raged on. Time seemed to slow down for Miles as he skilfully evaded missiles and fired back at the enemy with almost perfect accuracy. Ryker was no less formidable, refusing to let the boss damage him as he attacked with a consistent stream of bullets which brought the large mechanical enemy’s health down at a steady rate. Quickly glancing at the mech’s health bar at the top right corner of the game screen, Miles shouted,

“Now Ryker!”

Ryker slammed his palm onto the controls, pressing all three buttons, the first airstrike rained down upon the boss leaving it at just below 25% health. Miles did the same, finishing off the mech with a second aerial attack. The mighty enemy began to shake crudely, as older games tend to do, before bursting into flames and finally exploding.

“Yes! Suck my dick you mechanical asshole!” Ryker yelled emphatically as the two grown men jumped up and down in a celebration that culminated in a loud and sweaty hi five. By now, they were the only ones left in the small arcade.

“Shit!” Miles said as he checked the time on the large clock on the wall, it was 01:34 on a work day, Miles couldn’t afford to be late so he made his way to the exit in order to rush home.

“I’ve gotta get some sleep, I can’t be late for work!” and with that, Miles sprinted out of the building and towards the tram station, leaving Ryker alone in the arcade.

“But mission two’s where the aliens show up!” he said in a disappointed tone.

It was 2:05 by the time Miles made it back to his room, he was lucky enough to catch a tram just seconds after reaching the station. Exhausted from a day of work and a night of gaming, Miles collapsed onto his bed without undressing or even turning out the light, he laid there for about a minute with aching hands and sore eyes before softly drifting off to sleep.

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Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for Chapter 5 next Tuesday. Let us know what you thought in the comments below 

:)

Take care, all the best!


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