People always expected the aftermath of a great war to be a time of quiet, peaceful reflection. This never happened, but it was always expected. Children who dreamed of the glory of war were disappointed to find it was over. So in the spirit of times they tried to keep that dream alive.
To control the constantly changing culture, traditional parents had announced the Prohibition, unintentionally changing what is yet to come…
The building in the town square of Mobotropolis looked innocent enough a building. It was where young Mobians went to dance and have fun. It was a way to escape their parents' traditional ideas, and it was a way to become modern.
Among the people who came to be modern and have fun were two girls. One was a tall hedgehog with red quills and emerald green eyes. The other was a purple fox with brown eyes and a blue tipped tail. Both of them had stylishly short hair and short, white dresses.
They emerged from the dance floor and walked over to the bar. They took the empty stools next to two gentlemen they'd never met before. These men would change their lives forever.
One man was a red echidna with spikes on the knuckles of his gloves. His comrade was a black and red hedgehog with an air of negativity around him. Both men wore fabulous suits and were handsome enough to attract the attention of many girls in the club. The two next to them didn't seem to be among them, though. They were too busy gazing at the dance floor they just escaped.
"Can you believe how crowded this place is, Jenny?" the purple fox asked, awestruck at the fantastic display of colors.
"Well it is a Saturday." the one called Jenny remarked. They turned their attention to the bartender who awaited their order. "Two waters, please."
The bartender smirked at the goody-goody choice, knowing this was probably their first time dancing out.
One of the gentlemen sitting at the bar, the hedgehog, snickered loud enough for only them to hear. "Really? Water is what you want? You'd have thought a couple of independent girls like you would be more adventurous. You might as well have stayed home." He sneered.
The girls flustered at the insult. "We are free to drink whatever we wish, for your information." the purple fox snipped.
The hedgehog's smirk grew, "Then you won't mind. Bartender, two emeralds on me for these lovely ladies." He said with a wink to the girls.
The bartender happily obliged, putting on a show as he mixed together the drinks. With this distraction, the echidna spoke to his friend so none could overhear. "Are you sure this won't backfire?"
"Hey, we're just having some fun, Knuckles. What could happen?" the hedgehog smoothly reassured him.
When the drinks were presented, the purple fox took the first mouthful. Her eyes widened and she spat back into the glass. "The taste burns!" she cried, pushing away the glass like it was a ticking bomb.
Jenny's facial expression transformed from disgusted at her friend's behavior to suspicion. She took a sip just enough to wet her tongue. "It's alcohol, Becky." she revealed calmly with a touch of disgust for the drink.
"Alcohol!" the one called Becky yelped. She jumped from her seat and rushed to the powder room with a look of panic on her face.
"What's wrong with her?" the offender asked with a barely contained smirk.
Jenny turned to the men and threw her drink at his face. "Someone like you should have more sense. She's the Sheriff's daughter!" she retorted before following her friend.
As soon as she was out of hearing distance, Knuckles whirled to his companion with a stern expression on his face. "Sheriff's daughter?" he repeated angrily, "This game just became too dangerous for us. Let's back out while we still can, Shadow."
Shadow wiped his face and waves his hand as if to swipe away the echidna's worries. "This just makes it all the more interesting to play." he contradicted.
Knuckles looked around nervously and leaned closer so only the hedgehog could hear. "Have you forgotten that we are wanted criminals? Her father would like nothing better than to see us behind bars because of our business." he hissed.
Shadow glanced at Knuckles with unfazed, calculating eyes. "Don't you see that this is a golden opportunity? We can avoid the fuzz and backstab our rivals by getting the dirt from these girls. I'm sure they know a thing or two that might be useful already."
"Yeah? So how do we get them to spill?" Knuckles asked harshly
Shadow just smiled cruelly and said, "You just got to persuade them properly. Girls can be like putty in your hands when you romance them right."
Jenny stared intently at her reflection in one of the mirrors in the girls' restroom. At the sink beside her, Becky washed out her mouth so noisily that the ladies tried to stay clear of her. Checking her appearance in mirrors never seemed important to her, but the fox would feel pressured if her best friend was hovering in an obvious way. So she was hovering in a non-obvious way.
The red hedgehog didn't need to wear makeup, except tonight her friend persuaded her, saying she would look more grownup and defined. Right now, the makeup felt sticky and unnatural. At least she was better off than the little fox.
Becky was wearing makeup as well, but as she kept fussing over her mouth, the rouge was starting to smudge and smear down her chin. Her tail hid between her legs in shame and embarrassment at the scene she was creating.
"It'll be fine. You only had a mouthful." Jenny pointed out.
"A mouthful's enough. Father will kill me once he hears. Then I won't be able to come out and dance again." Becky spat. She wiped her chin with a napkin Jenny handed to her, "He'll probably smell it on my breath. I can still feel it burning my throat."
Jenny sighed and smiled wearily at her friend. "It's not too late to go to a café. Coffee can wash away any smell or taste."
Becky grimaced at the suggestion, but nodded. "You're so smart. I'm so glad you came with me tonight, Jenny."
"Hey, that's what friends are for."
They left the restroom as soon as all traces of incident were wiped from Becky's face. Waiting outside for them were the two gentlemen they didn't want to see.
Shadow bowed his head sympathetically. "I apologize for my past behavior, ladies. I'm sure the bartender had misunderstood when I said 'emeralds'. Is there anything we can do to make up for this terrible mishap?" he apologized with confidence. Knuckles rolled his eyes at the hedgehog.
"No, so go away. We wish no more of your company. Be gone." Becky scowled, waving her hand at him as though she was shooing him away.
Shadow frowned at the unwelcome response. "Give me one good reason why I should just leave. You two came unescorted, right? Who's to say something might not happen to you." He threatened.
"For your information, my brother escorted us. We just got separated in the crowd." Becky retorted. Jenny knew this was an outright lie, but she didn't give anything away in her expression.
"If that is all, we shall be going." Knuckles said rather hastily, whisking his friend and himself back to the bar.
"What was that for?!" Shadow demanded, pushing the echidna away angrily.
"Do you hear yourself, Shadow? We can't threaten girls for no reason in public."
"That never stopped you before." Shadow pointed out.
Knuckles fumed at this angrily. "This time's different. Can't you see that? The fuzz is involved with them and if we try to dig ourselves in any further, I fear we will end up dead."
Shadow scoffed at this little speech. "If you fear death then you shouldn't have pursued this lifestyle. I however-"he said with a dangerous glint in his eyes, "am in this too far to bail now."
After Knuckles successfully distracted Shadow, Jenny and Becky felt that they should escape while they could. So they walked along in the night unescorted to their neighboring houses.
"What was that back there? About your brother, I mean." Jenny wondered aloud.
"Oh, I just panicked is all." The little fox answered sullenly. Jenny knew not to press at the subject, which would cut her friend's heart every time it was mentioned.
Let's take a moment to remember the men like Becky's brother. You probably know them better as the gallant heroes that fought and died for his country in the Great War. He was one of the many who had done just that.
Even though he was gone, Becky would forget every now and then. She would try to include him somehow, which was exactly what she had done not too long ago.
"So what now?" asked Becky as they neared their street.
"What does it look like? We're going home?" Jenny responded casually.
"I meant about the guys. The hedgehog seemed a bit scary."
"I don't know. Maybe we'll be luck and never have to see them again."
"Maybe," Becky agreed doubtfully. They waved goodbye as they parted on their individual paths. They didn't even notice the movements of shadows in the dark of secluded alleys.
In the light of day, the city was innocent enough if you ignored the staged gunfights in the streets. The high families tried to uphold the traditional Sunday routine, complete with a trip to church, a pre-made luncheon, and if the weather was nice, a walk in the park.
The park is where we find Becky with her suitor in the early evening. Since her suitor was chosen by her father, the young fox found him to be rather dull and disagreeable. Her suitor, on the other hand, found her to be quite childish.
"This tree is perfect for climbing." Becky pointed out as they passed beneath a massive tree with many tempting branches.
"What a thing to say! You are too old to attempt such a feat." Her suitor scolded her.
"One can never be too old. I'll bet you never even tried to climb a tree." The purple fox challenged.
The suitor pursed his thin lips in a scowl. His narrow eyes squinted in frustration. "Of course I haven't. It is foolish to even- Hey! W-what are you doing?!" His eyes widened and his voice upped an octave as his lady friend leapt at the base of the tree and started shimmying her way up.
"I'm climbing. What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Well, stop it instantly! It is hardly lady-like."
"I don't see what the problem is. Squirrels do it all the time."
"This is different. Your dress is riding up." The suitor turned his eyes away in disgust, for the last part was true.
Becky pulled herself into a sitting position on a high branch with her legs crossed and her dress fixed properly. "Is this better?" she called.
The suitor didn't even bother to look up. "I want nothing more to do with your foolishness. Good day, Miss Fox." He said curtly before walking away.
Becky squirmed happily at successfully getting him to leave, but she gasped as she looked down. She didn't realize she had climbed that high. Also the sky was darkening rather quickly.
After waiting a moment in the hope that her ex-suitor would return, she gripped the branch with sweaty hands and dangled her feet to touch a branch below her. Once she got her footing, she cautiously lowered herself down.
"What are you doing up there?" an unexpected voice called up to her. The fox looked down to see the hedgehog from last night.
"What are you doing down there?" she countered.
"I asked first." Shadow said unemotionally.
"Fine. I'm trying to get down without cracking my head open."
"I can see that, but why are you up there in the first place?"
"I wanted to prove to my suitor that I could climb a tree." She explained, "But once I was at the top, he said I was foolish and ran away."
"You mean he left you alone out here? Your suitor?"
"Yes," she said, lowering herself carefully again. "But I was getting sick of him anyways. He only had an eye for profit."
"I see." Shadow murmured as he watched her descend. She was still high enough that a fall could snap a bone.
Just as he thought this, her moist fingers slipped on the branch before she could get her footing. She shrieked as she fell to the ground.
Shadow swore, leapt up, and grabbed at her before she could make impact with the ground. He landed smoothly on his feet with the little fox in his arms. "Are you hurt?" he asked as he set her down.
"I should be asking you that." She replied.
"Never mind then." He said rather quickly. "It is late. I'll take you home." He offered his arm to her.
The fox glanced at the arm and stammered, "A-alright," before tucking her hand in the crook of his arm. Shadow hid a smirk and let her direct them towards her house.
In the shadows of Mobotropolis, unnoticeable silhouettes shift in silence. They had become part of the night, predators that hunt the prey. They were deadly with only the finest weaponry. They were considered the best only because they did what they felt had to be done.
The watched silently as the purple fox and dark hedgehog ambled onto their turf. The teeth gleamed from their maniac smiles as they aimed their weapons and opened fire. They left no survivors and no witnesses.
"This is a warning." Said their leader, "Now, everyone knows that to threaten our Family is to be faced with death."
They nodded in understanding and fled without a sound before the police started showing up.
A small house on the street sat in a reasonably peaceful neighborhood. It seemed like another quant middle class house, but to its residents it was home. The family had furnished the rooms with loving care to make up for the uninviting exterior.
Jenny sat comfortably next to her mother with her book while her family listened to the radio. The jazzy music queerly reminded her of the night before.
A hesitant knock at the door interrupted her out of her thoughts. Jenny's mother left the comfort of the sofa with grace and went to answer the door. "Ah, Tom! Won't you come in?"
"Thank you May. I'm sorry for inconveniencing you at this hour uninvited." Sheriff Tom Fox shuffled in the living room shyly behind Jenny's mother.
"Can I get you some coffee?" May asked politely.
"That would be fine. Thank you."
May whisked away into the kitchen. Jenny's father turned down the radio and gestured for him to sit. Tom sat in the only unoccupied chair left, his hands twitching anxiously.
"What brings you here at this hour, Tom? And doesn't your daughter come along on your visits?" Jenny's father asked curiously.
"I came over tonight because- well- I-" Tom sputtered out before his breathing hitched to the point where he couldn't say complete sentences. It was the closest Jenny had ever seen him to crying.
"Oh!" May exclaimed as she re-entered the living room with the coffee.
Tom shook his head as he tried to control himself. "I apologize for my rudeness. It's just that you have always been there for us when the family grieves…"
"As you have for us." Mr. Hedgehog assured him, "Now tell us what happened."
Tom shook his head again sadly. "I don't even know where to begin… It was so sudden. It started with a report of gunfire around Rosewood St. We were sent to investigate. There we found two corpses. One was a no- good criminal. The other one was… was my sweet little Becky!"
Crash! The coffee cup smashed on the floor, the brown liquid splashed all over. "Oh no!" May gasped in horror.
Jenny sat paralyzed for a second as realization of the news hit her. Then she stood in a flash and ran out of the house without heeding to her parents pleads and demands for her to stay. She didn't stop until she came to the police station.
Inside the station was one officer at the desk who glanced up at Jenny's entrance. "How may I help you, miss?" he asked formally.
"I need to see the body of Rebecca the Fox." She demanded.
The officer drew back in surprise, "I'm sorry, but you are not allowed to see it. The image is just too horrifying."
Jenny could feel the burn of tears flood to her eyes, making her vision fuzzy. "I don't care. She's my best friend. I deserve to know!" she shouted as the tears started to leak free. "I deserve to know…" she whispered.
The officer stared at the crying hedgehog with caution. His attention turned to the opening door as two more police officers came in with a man in handcuffs.
The apprehended criminal was the red echidna Jenny met just last night. "Stand back miss, this is a dangerous criminal." One of the officers told her as they walked past.
Jenny gaped at the newcomers as they disappeared into the back room. "Who was that, pray tell?"
The officer behind the desk turned back to his paperwork. "That was Knuckles the Echidna. He is charged for illegally making alcohol and homicide."
Jenny paled at the thought of homicide, the death of her friend still fresh on her mind.
"No need to worry about it, miss. He's been given the death sentence for his actions. He has tonight and tomorrow night before he gets the chair." the officer continued.
"Would it be alright if I visited him tomorrow before he's to be executed? I have a few questions to ask him."
The officer gave her a puzzled look, but shrugged his shoulders. "I guess it would be fine. I'll let him know that you're coming."
Jenny nodded at him and left. The two police officers who brought Knuckles in came out of the back room, whispering excitedly. The one behind the desk got up and went to the holding cells.
He stopped at the one now holding Knuckles. The echidna glanced up at the approach of the officer. "What do you want?" he asked halfheartedly.
The officer smirked. "You're getting a visitor tomorrow. That pretty girl, although why she should want to come is a mystery to me."
Knuckles didn't respond, much to the police officer's disappointment. He walked away with a huff, leaving the prisoner to his thoughts.
Jenny awoke later than usual to a grieving household. Even though they were of no relation, the Hedgehog family always grieved the death of a Fox child. The same was with the Fox family for a Hedgehog child. It was this way when Becky's brother died.
Jenny put on her black frock and skipped breakfast to leave the house. Her absence was unnoticed by her sad family.
She went to the police station boldly. A different officer was behind the desk, but he had been informed of the visit ahead of time. "This way, miss." He said, directing her to the holding cells.
Knuckles looked up at them when they entered. "Here he is." said the officer as he pulled up a chair for Jenny. "Now if you need anything, let me know."
"Thank you." Jenny answered politely. The officer left, leaving the door open for her to leave when she was done.
Knuckles stared at Jenny almost without emotion. "What brings you here? Pity?"
"No," Jenny replied curtly, "I just wanted some answers. That man who was with Becky when she died, that was your friend, wasn't it?"
"Why were they killed?"
"Why do you care?"
"She was my best friend! She was murdered and I want to know why! I know this has something to do with you because she was found next to him." She cried out. Tears threatened to leak again. "Please, you have to know…"
Knuckles scooted closer to her despite the wall of bars. "I know why, but it's not a nice answer." He told her softly. He waited for her to calm down before continuing. "There are two main bosses for our trade in this city. Now, the city is big enough for both to make enough money, but they both want more. The city is under a war over who gets to stay and become rich beyond his wildest dreams."
"What's this got to do with Becky?" Jenny interrupted.
"I'm getting to that. Shadow and I were serving under Mr. V. We were really good at making money, too. We got offers to join the other boss, but we refused. I guess he put a price over our heads." he explained.
"You're saying Shadow and Becky are dead because you wouldn't join the other gang?"
"That's the gist of it."
"So it's your fault my friend is dead."
"Shadow's fault too." he agreed.
Jenny took a calming breath while Knuckles warily watched for her reaction. "Why did you even take part in this lifestyle?" she asked.
Knuckles shrugged. "We just wanted to live the good life. To have money and anything we wanted at any time. We weren't even thinking of the consequences."
Jenny stood up. "Well Knuckles, I'd better go. I have some mourning to do. I'd ask you to tell Becky on the other side that we all miss her, but I doubt she will be where you are going. Goodbye." she walked over to the door and stopped. "I hope for your sake that you had no regrets, Knuckles the Echidna." she said before shutting the door and leaving his life.
Knuckles leaned back against the wall with a small smile on his lips. "I never regretted meeting you, Jenny the Hedgehog." he said, even though no one else could hear him.
This is a mix of what I think of America 1920s based on old gangster movies and my modern Mobias story. Mobotropolis, Knuckles, and Shadow are not mine, but Jenny, Becky, and their families are.
I know it isn't completely accurate, but I tried. Please tell me what you think.
I know it isn't completely accurate, but I tried. Please tell me what you think.