Last night, somebody died. It was not gruesome, but subtle. Merciful, not spiteful. It was executed perfectly and with precision. Why? Because I was a monster that needed to be stopped.
I had said they would never do it, that they were just gutless pigs concerned with parking fines and speeding tickets. I had spat in their face that they didn’t have the balls to take me down. It was a challenge. I was right and they knew it, but they wouldn’t take an insult laying down. Especially when they had just had their pants pulled down on the world stage. They came, with their cars and their trucks. Helicopters thudded in the distance, they would make sure I couldn’t run. But I was tired, very tired.
I watched in my high back leather chair, as the scene unfurled across multiple security screens. I watched as they all scurried around, in lines and with purpose, like ants. Getting their orders from a superior and while some took positions elsewhere, a sizable group was converging at the front door. The leather stuck to my skin when I tried to get comfortable. Though I abandoned the effort when I saw the cold magnum staring back at me. It came as a subtle reminder that comfort was the least of my worries. Eventually a larger ant made his way up to the door. With him, came a large door knocker.
The large man lined up the ‘Enforcer’ with the door. I knew that these men were not pure. I knew these men were not officers, but simply mercenaries with a day job. The Enforcer swung back once, a practice swing. Wouldn’t want to miss the door. I knew that the badges those men wore were only pieces of metal, that they were nothing but a simple part of the uniform. The large man’s face hardened as he threw the battering ram back. It peaked quickly and seemed to hover in the air. These men had to be destroyed. With one final push, the ram came crashing down into the door. On contact, there was a fiery explosion shooting out showers of wood and shrapnel.
The man with no hands and the other injured were carried away and were quickly replaced. Simply more ants pouring out of the hill, not men who fought for justice. That is why I fought back, with men of my own. Every bullet was a redemption. The blood, a sacrifice to a power above. I wondered if it would be enough. Would the deaths of all these sinners suffice? Could their destruction lead to my salvation? Would it overshadow the lives that I had ruined. Could all the meaningless murder and senseless destruction possibly be forgiven? Even if it could, or would, I would never let me in.
Below, a tiny war raged on while above the sun set on the horizon. Although feet from my door many were dying, I found myself ensconced with the piece on the table. It seemed to fill the room with a deep chill, the material reincarnate of death itself, responding to the expanding graveyard below. Funny, what a man thinks when he is surrounded by death. How everything takes on such a different meaning and his life replays before him. Being born in a poor latin neighbourhood, not knowing any kind of father. Growing up, watching friends and siblings either join gangs, die, or make the run for America only to do the same things. Watching as a business opportunity creates junkies and shells of people you once knew. Seeing your own daughter become one of them. Seeing your wife, floating in a crimson pool amidst everything that you never had and worked so hard to provide. Funny, the things a man thinks of.
While lost in thought, the fighting eventually died down, and one monitor caught my eye. In it was not a man, but an animal wearing a badge and holding a gun. The man in him had died years ago with a fatal transaction, where the heads of men became of monetary value. It had no prejudice of whose side the head came from, as long as someone, somewhere, paid. Even if the job was only supposed to be five heads, he would take ten and hope for a bonus. I would know. For amongst those ten heads he was found, with no survivors or witnesses. He was heralded, canonized and ultimately made sergeant. The only person who knew differently, he had come to eliminate.
I listened as the footsteps slowly climbed the final set of stairs. The leather chair finally let go as I rose to my feet. The heavy combat boots couldn’t hide the distinct sound of empty cartridges hitting the floor. The cold magnum burned in my hand as I loaded the cylinder. The door was not kicked in but opened slowly, a mutual understanding between dangerous men. One, a man who had spread terror and addiction throughout many nations and had powerful friends in just as many places. The other, a shell. A skin drawn across where a soul used to be. That soul which was brutally murdered and left to rot in a shed with ten other corpses. One, a criminal acting in the face of justice, the other a devil hoping to still see the light.
We stared at each other a long time. A buzz came over his radio, to which he responded by slowly and promptly turning the ‘off’ switch.
“Something you don’t want them to hear?” My voice was calm and clear, without accusation.
“Just thought we might have a... private discussion.” A thin smile sliced open his face.
“We won’t have long you know. They’ll think the worst has happened and will send more.”
“Makes for an even better story, besides, it gives me even further reason to make this quick.” His hand reached down to pick out another clip from his tactical belt.
“Before you do, you need to tell me something.”
He was only half listening, “anything for a shriveled up old ma-”
“-why?” the cartridge was in his hand, halfway to the gun when he paused, a confused look on his face.
‘Why? Why what?”
The next words came out slow and delicate, “why did you kill them? Why did you kill All of those men when you were only supposed to watch the deal?” Realization crept across his face, reopening his thin smile. A joke that takes time to understand.
“Same reason you did all of this, “ he made a sweeping motion of the room with his free hand, “for the money.”
A hole opened up in the middle of his forehead, and a tiny trickle of his life trailed down his face before his body hit the floor, “...thought so.”
I let the smoking gun fall to the floor, the failing sunlight reflected the carved insignia, ‘Reaper’. I returned to my chair where I was met by the whir of a helicopter announcing that I, “had the right to remain silent...” Good, I was done talking anyway.
That night, somebody died. It was not gruesome but subtle. Merciful, not spiteful. it was executed perfectly and with precision.
Why? You tell me.