“Welp, we’re officially broke.”
Kitt climbed into the van’s front seat as he spoke, clearly anxious but doing his damnedest to hide it. Spade lifted the sleep mask off of his eyes and propped himself up on his elbows. They shook slightly with the effort, but he didn’t seem to care.
“We’re not broke yet, Kittycat. We got a show tonight. Oughta rack up a least a few bucks there.”
“Oh, yeah, ‘cause that’s gonna pay for gas, food, and your meds. We’re fucked, Spade, just admit it.”
“Nah. We got hope yet, trust me.”
Spade reached for his guitar and began to practice a few cords. He hummed along to one of their songs, trying to get the timing just right for a particularly tricky part in the bridge.
“Come on Kittycat, sing along. All that sulking has gotta be bad for your health.”
Kitt sighed and started the engine. He was silent as he drove out of the parking lot and on to the road. After a minute, though, he began to softly sing the lyrics along to the music. He knew the lyrics well and didn’t really need the extra practice, but it made Spade happy when Kitt participated. A lot of things made Spade happy, despite his issues.
Kitt drove down the streets of the small town, occasionally pausing his singing while Spade corrected something or felt he needed another go. The streets were mostly bare, save for a few old cars and rusty bikes. The place was practically a ghost town, which is a bad place for an aspiring band to be, but Spade insisted on coming here.
“It’ll be a hit, promise! What else are those hicks gonna be up to anyway? We’ll be the event of the century down there.”
Kitt found it hard to believe, but it wasn’t like they had anything else booked. They set out the day before yesterday, and ever since everything’s been going to shit. Spade’s health took a turn for the worse, their admittedly small amount of spending money had been completely flushed, and their van had issue after issue after issue during their drive over. Kitt wasn’t sure what was trying to kill him and his boyfriend this time, but whatever it wasn’t pulling any punches.
Spade suddenly stopped playing. Kitt took a look at him through the rearview mirror and saw him clutching his guitar with a pained expression. His eyes were squeezed shut and his teeth were clenched as he took a few shaky breaths. He took his hand from the base of the guitar and rubbed the back of his neck as he waited for the surge finish. Once it did, Spade opened his eyes and removed his hand, giving Spade a glimpse of the sigil. For just a second, a fiery red glow danced and weaved within it, before dispersing throughout the rest of Spade’s body. Kitt frowned, but stayed quiet. Spade never liked talking about it, especially not before shows. The sound of the guitar resumed, but this time it wasn’t any song that Kitt recognized. Spade was staring ahead, looking beyond exhausted. He groaned.
“We’ve been found. They’re in town, somewhere.”
Kitt’s breath caught. His heart stopped and jumped down into his stomach.
“Already? Are you sure?”
“Sure as sure can be. It only gets like this when They’re around, after all.”
Kitt took a moment to try and steady his breathing. They were so far out, away from any major city in a town no one’s heard of. They shouldn’t have found them out here, let alone this quickly.
“Alright, let’s go back to the motel, gather our shit, and get out of here.”
Spade looked shocked.
“What? But what about the show? You were the one talkin’ about how broke we are, we can’t just skip out on it.”
“I’d rather be broke than have you killed, Spade. We need to leave, now.”
“If we have no money, then we’re dead either way. We’ll perform, then skip town. Besides, They aren’t on our ass just yet, so we’ll have enough time.”
“I’m not risking your life on some shitty gig in some ghost town, Spade. More jobs will come, but there’s only one of you. I’m not losing you here.”
Spade went silent, a small tint of pink going across his cheeks. He smirked.
“Aww, you love me! That’s so cute."
The tone of his voice was dripping with fake sincerity, but it made Kitt smile despite himself.
“Exactly. That’s why I won’t let you get killed over one concert, okay?”
Spade brought himself to his knees, scooted over to the van’s front seat, and wrapped his arms around Kitt’s shoulders in a weak hug. He lazily kissed Kitt’s cheek.
“Fine, fine, only ‘cause I love you too. But if we end up starving to death on the side of the road, I’m blaming you.”
Kitt drove off to their motel. It was right in the middle of town, just next to the town hall and the Houston Pizza. The motel was pretty small, with just six rooms across the two floors, though they were all empty when the two first arrived. That wasn’t much of a surprise, though. This town didn’t seem like much of a hotspot for tourists. Kitt jumped out of the front seat while Spade pushed himself out of the back door. It was empty inside. There wasn’t even anyone at the front desk.
“Y’know, the old man never charged us yet. If we’re quick, we can be out of here before he tries to get us to pay.”
“That’s a crime, Spade.”
“Well then how are we gonna pay him? With smiles and thankfulness? We were gonna pay him with the concert money, but that’s off the table now.”
Kitt frowned. Leaving without paying the owner didn’t sit right with him, but they were out of other options.
“Fine, fine. Come on then, lets go.”
They scrambled up the stairs and to their room. It was small, but surprisingly homey. It was furnished with antiques in fairly good condition, though the bed did creak like it would collapse any day now. Worn clothes and miniature toiletries were strewn across the room. Kitt and Spade got to work shoveling everything they brought back into their bags. Without the time to fold anything, it took a bit of effort to get everything to fit, but they managed to gather it all. They were out the door and back outside in a flash, quick to climb into the van and start the engine. However, they didn’t start driving. Kitt sat at the front seat, frozen.
“Hey, Kittycat, what’s the hold up? We gotta sprint!”
Spade sat up to look out the windshield, but he was brought to his knees with a sharp, burning pain in his neck. He reached back to it instinctively, hissing through his teeth.
“Shit, shit! God damn it, how’d They find us already?”
Kitt gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. He stared ahead at nothing, eyes wide and arms shaking. He tensed, trying to stomach the fear, before slamming on the gas. The van surged forward, bumping over the sidewalk and racing down the street. Spade was sent flying back, ramming into the back door.
“Ow! Watch it!”
Kitt wasn’t paying attention. He took off down the old road, ignoring street lights or signs. By the time Spade had hoisted himself back up and checked himself for any real damage, they were already out of town.
“Jesus Christ Kittycat, lucky you didn’t kill us before They got the chance.”
Kitt didn’t speak. He stared forward at the road, expressionless.
“Uh, Kittycat? You there? Babe?”
Spade hesitantly poked Kitt’s cheek. Kitt jumped in his seat, making the van swerve before he realigned himself. Tears began to freely flow from his eyes.
“I saw Them.”
Spade’s heart dropped.
“What? No, no, you…”
Kitt slowly took a hand off of the wheel and pulled down the neck of his shirt. There, lying just below his collar bones, was a sigil, just like the one Spade had been cursed with years ago. Spade just stared at it, horrified. Kitt looked back at Spade.
“Well? You think we still got hope yet, Spade?”