Five Deaths That Never Happened to Kenny
By Marcus L. Rowland Introduction
Some people find it hard to believe that one of the occasional characters in the Highlander TV series was Kenny, an immortal child, born in 1172 AD and first killed when he was ten, one of the most vicious headhunters on the show. But Kenny was real, appearing long before South Park had introduced his more famous namesake, and made it into two episodes, The Lamb and Reunion. He probably has fewer fanfic credits than any other recurring character in the show, maybe because he was thoroughly unlikeable. This collection of crossover ficlets sets out to correct that omission. But with a name like that there's only one way these stories could go...
All characters belong to their respective creators - this story may not be distributed on a profit-making basis. 1: London
(Crossover with The Borribles
by Michael de Larrabeiti)
Kenny's on the run from MacLeod when he hears the rumours. They say there's an underworld, a race of killer kids, immortal but not part of the Game, living wild in the streets in London. It sounds like Kenny's idea of heaven. He decides to go looking for them.
Getting to England's difficult for a kid on his own, but eventually he finds a ship heading there from Boston, and manages to stow aboard, stealing food from the lifeboat supplies as it slowly wallows across the Atlantic. For once luck is on his side and nobody sees him or finds his hiding-places, so he doesn't have to kill anyone. He hates that, but aboard ship it's best to keep a low profile. By the time the ship gets to London he's spoiling for a fight.
The first night in port Kenny's waiting to slip ashore when he hears a slight rattle of one of the mooring chains. There's someone climbing aboard, child-sized and cat-nimble. He can't feel a Quickening, but there's something about the visitor; maybe a faint trace of the same power. Kenny waits, and eventually the boy(?) climbs into his lifeboat. Transfixed in the light of Kenny's torch his ears have pointed tips, his skin a faint tinge of green, his eyes a little mad.
"Who the hell are you?" asks Kenny, drawing his sword.
The kid has a mean-looking dagger, probably a better weapon in the confined space. He stares at Kenny, then grins and says "I'm Shrinkage." He seems to be waiting for Kenny to say something, when he doesn't he looks at him suspiciously and says "Show me your ears."
"If you have to ask you're not Borrible."
"Okay," says Kenny. "Maybe I'm not. But maybe I'll want to be, if you tell me more about it. Let's just put the weapons away first..." Kenny's persuasive and likeable when he has to be.
He spins a tale of a boy abused by his parents, stowing away on a ship to get away from them. By morning he's helping Shrinkage to row his old rubber dinghy, and has heard the story of Shrinkage's name three times. It was boring to begin with, a tale of pilfering on the docks, and doesn't get better with repetition. He knows a little more about Borribles; there are tribes, and one of them comes from the Wandle, an underground river that flows into the Thames. That's where they're going now, to meet the tribal chieftain, a warrior called Flinthead. Kenny has a theory... the leaders probably have the most power, the best Quickenings. Probably not as much as someone like MacLeod or Amanda, but enough to give him a much-needed boost... and easy pickings for someone who's been fighting adult immortals for eight hundred years. The lightning and explosions will scare the Wandles, make them obey him. After that he'll go after the chieftains of the other tribes, and unify them under his leadership. In the end they'll probably thank him for it, he's already heard enough to know that Flinthead's a paranoid psychopath, ruling by fear. Of course they'll eventually fear Kenny even more...
He's still plotting when Shrinkage moors the boat on the banks of the foetid underground stream and they head down a sewer. Three minutes later they meet the first patrol, four kids that look about nine wearing waders, orange jackets and metal helmets made of cut-up beer cans, carrying wooden sticks tipped with sharp spikes, and Shrinkage says "This bleeder says he wants to be a Borrible, but I don't think he's even a kid. I reckon he's one of them midgets the rozzers 'ave been trying to plant on us."
"That right?" says one of the yellow-jacketed guards. Kenny feels something jab his back, and looks down. Shrinkage is holding his knife to Kenny's kidneys. As he reaches for his sword someone grabs his arm. Before he can get free something hits the side of his head and knocks him out. As he falls one of the Borribles puts a hunting catapult back into his pocket, but Kenny doesn't see it. * * * * *
Kenny wakes in a great underground hall with his hands tied behind his back, facing another of these strange creatures, like the others but wearing a gold-painted jacket and a bronze helmet, his misshapen nose half-concealed by the metal. "All hail Flinthead!" shouts one of the guards.
To Kenny's dismay even Flinthead doesn't feel like a true immortal; there's the same faint buzz he got from the others, but nothing like the power he'd feel from even the newest of his kind. There's nothing for him here.
"So this is the police spy?" says Flinthead.
"Says his name's Kenny," says Shrinkage. "'Course, that's not a name he's earned,
not a real
"Well, nameless?" says Flinthead, "Are you a spy?"
"No!" says Kenny.
"He had this," says one of the guards, holding up Kenny's sword, well out of reach.
"An assassin then," says Flinthead. "Kill him."
"I came to challenge you," Kenny says hastily. There's only one way to handle maniacs like Flinthead. "Wanted to see if you had the guts to fight me for yourself."
Flinthead smiles, and says "Did you, indeed?" He takes one of the poles from a guard. "Untie him, and give him a rumble stick."
Shrinkage cuts the cable ties around his wrist, and the guards back away. At least a hundred Borribles are watching as one of them throws one of the sticks to Kenny and the fight begins. It's at this point that Kenny realises his mistake; everything he knows about combat is geared towards fighting adults, who are usually reluctant to kill a child. He's never fought someone his own size before, and never with a weapon like this, and his reflexes are hopelessly wrong. Flinthead's fought like this a hundred times, and there's no trace of compassion in his mirthless grin. The fight lasts less than a minute, then the spike is through Kenny's heart.
"Throw him in the river," says Flinthead. "Let the rozzers find him drifting on the tide." The guards scurry to obey. * * * * *
Kenny finally comes back to life as he floats along the filthy stream. It's still night, but he can see something that looks like shore to one side, and swims towards it. It's a mud flat. Kenny scrambles ashore, and starts to plod towards higher ground, the real bank of the river. A few yards and he knows he's made another bad mistake, but by then he's already sunk to his knees, and flailing to get free just makes him sink faster. He struggles, but in a couple of minutes he's going under for the last time, his nostrils and mouth filling with filthy muck.
They say that anything that sinks in the Wandle mud-flats never returns, but that's probably an exaggeration. Maybe one day the channel would shift and wash Kenny free. But a few months later a dredger is sent up the Wandle, clearing some of the muck that blocks an important sewer outlet. On the third day one of the operators feels an odd explosion under the boat, and sees zig-zags of lightning flash across the mud. He doesn't notice the bloody razor-sharp edge of one of the dredging buckets before it goes underwater again, or see the grisly debris it drops into the hold before the next bucket-load covers it. In the end the log says that they must have hit a pocket of methane gas and somehow ignited it. Even the Watchers never learn the true story.