Ace of Silence

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of a mysterious man that we get to know through various "sub stories" and real-time encounters. The more actions he commits, or flashbacks that he has, the better we understand him

Submitted: July 27, 2016

A A A | A A A

Submitted: July 27, 2016

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A A A


 

Checks his cards with certainty

Poker face that shows no sign

Of the best cards he has and holds

Structured so, flawless design

 

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He lays the King of Spades

The story goes he digs your grave

A brutal, merciless, powerful lord

On par with Satan’s' desire to destroy

 

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Spreads his hand, checks again

The end is nigh for you, my friend

He smiles a little, it fits the moment

When he lays the dreaded Joker

 

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Word has it, the Joker, a clown

Is the one who underneath his smile, a frown

He jests and contests with others simply for smiles

No currency has he, amusement his one bright fire

 

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The final card, Uno, one claims

The one thing society brutally maims

For each is unique, a vital part

When he plays the Ace of Hearts

 

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"Thank you for playing me

Not many accept my challenge, you see

They call me Silence, the Blank Card

And my skill with words vastly admired"

I just don't talk so much

He doffs his hat, midnight black, fitting his black suit, shirt and tie. His boots, black too, a walking silent silhouette. He carries openly, something only select few dare do. Everyone has heard of Silence, the Blank Card. Everyone has heard of the living legend, which has a sword across his back, so strong and so very deadly, made of a black metal nobody recognizes, with black leather binding and no crosspiece. Everyone, though Silence regularly, has forgotten the traditional Japanese katana. He carries two pistols, with integrated suppressors and handled with an ease that causes unease in those who live long enough to tell others what they witnessed. It is said his skill is unmatched. His aim, unopposed.

No-one knows much about him. They only know two things, definitely: his skill is unsurpassed in any and all card games, and he has a good taste in beers and various other brews. In a place like Kortal, where anything can be used to start a fight, a good taste of beer is pretty much a necessity to ensure two perfect, unblackened eyes.

Not that anybody in their right mind would mess with the Silence. Unfortunately, being a pub where everyone goes to get drunk, not everybody is in their right mind.

The pub doors burst open, and six men come in, firing shots into the air and screaming for everyone to get down. “Nobody move! We don’t wanna hurt you, actually we kinda do, but don’t give us an excuse and you won’t get- hey!” The last was exclaimed at Silence, who unlike the rest, was not on the ground. In fact, he was still drinking. Time to awaken, the voice whispered. “Yes”, he murmurs aloud, and as he does so, his eyes go from that startling blue to deep black. He realizes the robbers are still talking, and he turns a little. “You hear what I said, deaf and dumb? Get. On. The. Fucking. Ground!”

Silence stands, back still to the men who have shaking hands on triggers, ready to pull at the slightest provocation. He turns his head, smile on his lips. “The police are coming. What are you going to do?” His head tilted a little, the smile more obvious, he laughs a little. “Dude, don’t laugh. You sound like a fucking serial killer”, the leader shakenly mutters. “Oh boy. Don’t you know me?” and with this they open fire as he laughs louder.

Drawing his sword from his back, he cleanly shears through the bullet aimed for his head, and it splits around him. His eyes appear to have black smoke drifting across them, as he twirls and whirls about the room, slicing and deflecting bullets in an impossible, inhuman way. The robbers stop, shocked, when their guns click with every pull of the trigger. He sheaths his blade, picks his hat up from the ground with gloved fingers, and places it back onto his head. He looks up more. “My turn”. All that could be heard was cries of pain and laughter.

By the time the police arrived, Silence was gone. Everyone in the pub was talking about the fight, how the men got what they deserved, and was The Blank Card’s eyes a smoky black, or was that just me? The police got the full story from the bartender, who unlike the guys with an easily shaken mindset, steadily and without hesitation told the full story. The robbers wanted money, had a go at Silence, who defended himself with nothing but a sword- and then proceeded to kill them. “I get the feeling he knew he should’ve killed ‘em. Heaven knows I woulda’ but if you check ‘em you’ll most likely find out why he shot ‘em rather than knock’d ‘em out.” Sure enough, the police removed a bomb from each person. And they also noted all the bullets the men had taken were extremely close to where the bomb was located on each person. The only evidence, aside from the carnage, that Silence was ever there was the blank, white card stuck to the bottom of his drinking glass.

Silence watched from the hotel rooftop, tie fluttering in the wind. He knew some of the police were corrupt, he just had to figure out which one the Contractor wanted dead. He had a fair idea, but as he saw a policeman quickly look around, pocket his calling card and run out, he knew who it might be. Time for the questions. Silence looked up at the stars, smiled, and stepped off of the 52-story hotel.

The policeman in suspicion was walking through the dark alley toward his patrol car when a figure hit the ground with enough force to knock him off his feet and onto his ass. Suddenly afraid, he looked up at the strangely threatening and familiar figure as he drew his sword and held it under the policeman’s chin. His mouth suddenly dry, he managed to croak a question. “Whaddya want?”

Silence smiled. “I want to know if you have a connection to the Kursed” he whispers. “Are you corrupt?” He issssss, the voice whispered. “Actually, never mind. I already know. You cheat on your wife every day with local sluts, you beat her and your kids when you’re drunk, which you are except for when you’re on duty, and you tried to set me up. This I have found out, through means that you will never understand. I’m giving you three days… actually; my Contractor is giving you three days… to clean up your act. Otherwise, your wife and kids’ll be happy, you’ll be six feet under and I’ll be rolling $500,000 dollars total. Your choice.” And within the blink of an eye, he was gone.

Silence chuckled a little as he stepped into the shadows and appeared from them, five hundred metres away and in roughly 0.33 seconds. “He should really watch his step. Keep tabs on him, will you?” he asked his other self, mentally. Of coursssse, Shadowed One, the voice responded.

He then whistles softly, a two-tone tune, and runs off into the night on all fours, wisps of shadow trailing behind his canine form.

Sun rises, and Silence staggers from the shadows, black blood oozing from his many wounds. Turns out the Kursed don’t like it when you eat all their hunting dogs, and without access to his sword, a few of them got lucky. He leans against an alley wall, holding his shredded side, wincing at the scatter shots still embedded in his body. "I need you… Mesmer…” he whispers, then whistles a four-tone part as softly as possible. A dark red smoke, with tendrils that reach out to grasp his face, swirls out of the shadows and forms a rather attractive lady. She wears a red dress, slim but sexy, black boots, black hair and piercing blue eyes that currently shone that deep, crimson red. “Heal, my love”, she whispered, and the metal scatter fell out of his skin, the wounds closed and healed, and his clothing was restored to usual good look. Her face, pale with a tribal tattoo covering one half, looked up into his as she leaned in to kiss him. “Stay safe, my dearest Silence. I have need for your skills. What are you up to tonight?” she asked, the rising sun making her blue eyes gleam. “I await further information from the Contractor” he whispered. “I wish to hunt together again”. “And that’s why I asked,” she murmurs. “I’m free tonight” and she stepped into the shadows and was gone.

SUB STORY: KILL, MAIM, RECLAIM

The girl couldn’t have been older than eight, a pale pink dress, dirty white skin, pale blue eyes and red bow in her long, blonde hair. Yet despite Nature gifting her with beauty, luck was not with her. She had been taken from her mother two weeks ago, and had been dragged and hauled over rough terrain. Now, on the shoulder of a rather mysterious man they called Reaper, she looked down on a city filled with neon lights, dark alleys and shifty people. She was surrounded by a small group of eight, Reaper included, and as far as she could tell, the only one who felt like he had any real power was the one carrying her, who was not dressed like his companions. They all had desert camouflage army attire, whereas he had a dark brown outfit that reminded her of the cloaked Reaper of myth, just made for a city on the outskirts of a desert. He also wore a mask with red eyes, and to her it looked like a gas mask. Regardless, her heart was heavy. These men were not nice. She was to become a slave, they had told her. “And a pretty price they’ll pay for a lovely like you,” the soldier-men had said, laughing. Reaper did not speak. He just looked.

But all of a sudden, a figure appeared, in black suit and tie, sword across his back and two pistols out. He stepped out of the shadows, swirling from nowhere in the middle of the day and with both guns raised shot the soldier-men before they could draw. He holstered his pistols, drew his sword with a metal “shhhiing!” and twirled it before him, ending his stylish unsheathing by pointing at Reaper. Reaper reached his hand out to his side, and a scythe appeared from dark purple mist. Gloved hands grabbing it, he too twirled it, and rammed the end into the ground.

Reaper bows slightly toward this new person. As did the other, to Reaper. Then they fought. It was all too quick to capture, but she saw sword heading toward head, being blocked and retaliation by Reaper with a quick swing that didn’t hit as this other, so fast and deadly, appeared behind Reaper. Reaper began to turn but was a bit too slow, and this resulted in a fatal blow. The figure in black flicked his wrist at the neck of his opponent and sheared his body, neck to arm.  She stood in disbelief as the figure wiped the blood off with a gloved hand, sheathed the sword and pointed at the body. From the ten metres between the man and her, all she heard was mumbles and hisses. The body of Reaper vanished into shadows, as did the other soldier-men. He turned, and she huddled on the ground in fear. He pulled his gloves off, revealing long and slender hands, and held one out to her. “Come on, get up. I came here to release you from those men.” He says so with a certain degree of warmth in his voice. It takes a while, but eventually she looks up, into his bright blue eyes, and slowly reveals a small smile.

“You came here for me?” she asks a little while later, as they sit on the sand dunes. They were eating Kortals’ World Famous Cheeseburger. He looked at her. “You’re the one who called me”, he said, sounding slightly puzzled. “Pardon me, but do you have a… strange background? Family history? He asks her quietly. “My Father was a Blessed, as was my Mother, if that’s what you mean”, she says, looking at him curiously. “What’s that tattoo on the back of your hand?” she says, pointing to his left hand, resting on his knee. “It proves that I am a Shadowed One”, he says to her. “It also protects me”. He looks out across the city of Kortal. “I sense Shadowed blood in you. You may have parents of the Blessed, but what about their parents?” Oh, you mean Grandma and Pa? Oh, Grandma was just a normal citizen. Pa was a Shadowed One, but he said something about being a thief so he tried to be normal? Why do you ask?” It took a while for the man she had come to know as Silence answered. “Only a Shadowed One can communicate through emotion”, he whispered. “And the call was faint. I only just heard you. Must be your predecessors.”

“What happens now?” said the girl. “Well,” started Silence. “Would you like me to tell you a story whilst we walk?” “Walk where?” she asked. “I think you should come to a safe place I know. Only Shadowed Ones, or those of Shadowed blood, can pass through. It is called the Rift.”

Return to Present Day, Rift

Silence walked through the double doors, pushing the oaken resistance aside as he walked into the foyer. He went straight to the only floor-level door, ignoring the two spiraling staircases and walking straight through. Inside was an armoury, filled with various handguns and rifles, and all the ammunition they required. He placed his current two suppressed pistols, named the Hellhounds, into a scanner. The scanner informed him, through a screen attached to the tabletop, that the Hellhounds required servicing. “Mk II Hellhounds, currently 87.9% operational. Requires barrel reconfiguration and full-body check-up,” stated the message. “In the meantime, recommend utilizing the speed, stealth and lack of tracing to effectively subdue targets with the Akimbo Cobra.” The Cobra match is perhaps your favourite, yesss? The voice asked. “Indeed it is”, Silence murmured. Checking the barrel of both handguns, he unsheathed his sword, Shiruetto, and placed “her” in a special rack. Turning back the way he came, he locked the armoury door behind him, went up the right-hand staircase and proceeded to his room. Along the way he passed the room of Rose, who was reading a book on Martial Arts.

“I’m going to sleep Rose. Try not to make too much noise, okay?” he whispered to her. “The Contractor has assigned me a mission. Some illegal drug traffickers have found a way to arm themselves, and their transport. They killed a few of his friends last night when they tried to stop the trafficking. I won’t be home until the morning.” The eighteen-year old looks up from her book, with her pale pink shirt, black long pants and blonde hair tied up in a ponytail. Her hair swishes when she moves her head. Her blue eyes pierce the room. “No problem, Silence,” she responds quietly. “When can I join you?” she asked. “After your final assessment”, he tells her. “You are too valuable for me to lose, so you understand the preparation.” She had been training since her rescue, ten years ago. She was thankful for that, because it gave her what she had always wanted- a life where she can do what she wants. And she wanted to fight for what was right. There was a sub-war raging on, and she wanted to lend a hand to end it. They both understood that at any moment it could break out into a full-scale war. The Kursed had been quieter for some time now, and it wasn’t because they were winning. There were too few “good guys” and too many “bad guys” for that to be possible. Even with the Blank Cards’ one-man every-night slaughter, it would not have been anywhere near enough to defeat them. There was something big about to happen, and they both knew it. “It’s okay, Mr. S”, she murmured. “I don’t think I can be loud, even if I wanted to. Which I don’t”. “Very well. I will oversee your final assessment tomorrow. Good night.”  Appropriate, the inner voice of Rose whispered. It’s always night time here”.

Silence lay on his back, the pistols on the bedside table and staring up at the black ceiling. The blinds were closed, even though there was not enough light outside to make the room any brighter. The Rift was a jagged and rocky place, in another dimension and only accessible through a portal that only the Shadowed Ones could invoke. He had taught Rose how to do it. The voice had taught him. And he had taught Mesmer. A story for another time, yes, Master? The voice whispered. Indeed, he responded. Mesmer and his meeting was a rather exciting story, before either of them knew they were of Shadowed Blood. They had known each other since childhood, and had been partners in two different senses for a rather long time. She retained her youth, as did he. Both of them looked anywhere between twenty and thirty. The reality being they were far older than that. They had known each other since the age of ten, and they were approaching one hundred years old. Rest now, Master, it whispered. Reminisce later. And then he slept.

He woke roughly ten hours later, swinging his legs off the bed and holstering his pistols. After showering, he chose his NightRider outfit, consisting of military style pants, a not-quite-civilian but definitely not fully military hoodie, with a brown leather belted sword carrier crossing his chest and connecting to his black snake leather belt. Black military boots finished the lower half and an eyepiece covered his left eye. He knew tonight was a Demon Moon, and a shining red eye would give away his position. He checked the load of his pistols, satisfied, and spun them back into their holsters. Boots clinking on the black marble floor, he walked down the stairs and met Mesmer in the foyer. She looked stunning, in red shirt with three buttons undone at the top, black slightly flaring long pants and matte-black combat boots. They nodded to each other and headed out. They knew they were ready.

Hiding behind two large barrels in the light rain, they looked out at the head honcho and his duo of armed guards, who owned this section of the Kursed drug trafficking. The Big Chief was here! Such was their luck. They had no previous intel saying he would be here, since his movements were closely guarded. This had become larger than a revenge mission for the Contractor- this had become a full-scale operation, with the potential to end illegal drug supply in Kortal! Mesmers’ Whisper cut through his thoughts, and it sounded excited. We can end this all tonight, she said. An amazing opportunity. Better make the most of this, so come on. She made a beckoning gesture, and they snuck through the chain-link fence via “Phasing”, becoming solid and less ghostly once through. I will take out his two guards and eliminate the target. Protect me from the reinforcements, she said. Then she nodded and vanished.

Silence was by her side in an instant, watched as she slashed the two guards down with Shadow-Blades, and then stuck one through the throat of the Big Chief. He was gurgling blood, and some of the blood spattered onto her face. ‘Mmmmm, tasty,” she said as the Big Chief fired off a pistol shot. Due to his current state, it inevitably missed. The noise attracted reinforcements, as expected. Silence drew his sword. Time to eliminate, the voice whispered. YESSSSSSSSSS!

After a brief and bloody fight, Silence notified the police of the coordinates leading to the Kursed drug encampment, something they had been trying to find for over a year. Long before the authorities showed up, Silence and Mesmer were back in the Rift. Before they opened the doors, Mesmer turned to him and kissed him full on the lips for a long time. And then they entered, composure regained. After all, they didn’t have to be professional when they weren’t fighting.

SUB STORY: MEETING MESMER

Mesmer was an unexpected and rather pleasant addition to Silences’ life. At the age of ten, he was in class, learning about deep sea creatures, when the teacher announced they had a new classmate. Silence, true to his name, rarely spoke and the other kids didn’t like him because he seemed to know everything. He also creeped them about because he could never raise his voice above a whisper for very long without breaking out into a cough. He was different, and was therefore treated poorly. Sitting at the back, he looked at this new visitor and felt something click in his mind, like an instant connection. She must’ve felt it too, because her eyes immediately snapped to his. Hey, a voice whispered in his mind. And like a sudden revelation, as if it were a sleepy cub, his magic awoke and responded. Hey.

From then on, they were inseparable. They introduced each other that very day, and she liked the fact that he was quiet. It meant she could focus on her work. He, too, liked that she rarely spoke out of turn. It meant he could talk to her through their telepathic bond and thus strengthen his magic, if ever so slightly. Whilst their views might have been slightly different in this regard, she didn’t mind. He rarely spoke through telepathy either. Old habits die hard, they say, and when you don’t talk very often, it tends to carry. Teachers noticed this, and when they talked about their two best students, they said it was like the pair was joined at the hip. If they ever had a project, the two would immediately decide the other was to be their partner. But the real start of a perfect pair occurred the day the Quarantine Zone walls were lowered.

In a post-apocalyptic world where zombies still existed, Quarantine Zones had been set up all over the world. This allowed a normal life for the living, and education could continue, and a life could be had. If you were close enough to the wall, you could sometimes hear the zombies growling and making various other horrific noises from the other side. But as long as those walls remained standing, those ten-feet thick walls and ten metres high protection, the barrier between the living and undead would enable a safe life.

It isn’t so safe when the Kursed slip a man inside to flick the switch.

And the gates opened. The school was on the outside skirts of a town called Drakolt, located in a place once called the Nevada Desert. Hordes of close to ten thousand zombies were allowed to enter this safe zone, and the school was one of the first to engage in conflict with these viral creations.

This was four years after Mesmer and Silence had “connected”. So two fourteen year olds stood their ground as a raging tidal wave of carnivorous bloodlust staggered for them. The others had run. Only a couple adults, armed with various automatic machine guns, stayed back to kill as many as possible. Both Mesmer and Silence entered a combat stance. Ready? she whispered. Yes, he replied. And then the zombies hit them.

Twenty-four hours later, a crow, perched upon the school roof, cawed. Tumbleweed drifted across a street filled with corpses. Vultures pecked at the decaying flesh of a mass of shredded undead victims. And both Mesmer and Silence lay in the centre of the Town Square, some fifty kilometres from where they had first engaged the zombies in combat, covered in coagulated blood that was not their own. They were dirty with desert sand, undead blood and tattered clothes. The originally beautiful, glossy shoulder-length hair of Silence was greased and filthy. Similar conditions had been placed upon Mesmers’ hair. They lay still, with bodies at their feet, scattered across the stairs leading up to the Town Hall. All was quiet.

And then Silence coughed.

He coughed again, wheezing as he raised himself onto one knee. That magic really takes it out of me, he thought. Limping over to Mesmer, he slipped a hand underneath her to support her upper back, and slipped the other under her knees. Picking her up, he walked down the stairs and felt a tug in his mind. He turned, and a voice spoke in his mind. Massssterrr, it said. Come to the Rift. A swirling purple and black oval appeared before him. Come through the portal, the voice said again. You can rest in here. “Who are you?” he said aloud. The simple response from this familiar voice: Your Shadowed Instinct.

 

Seeing no other option, no other place to go, he went through. And found himself before a multi-story house, made of a stone that looked like Obsidian but had far more gloss to it. Approaching the doors, he winced as he had to extend his hand, using his arm as a makeshift rest for Mesmers’ back, toward the handle. But it was not necessary, as the doors opened up for him just as he was about to grasp the metal ring bolted into the dark, oaken door. He had to take several hurried steps back to avoid being hit in the face by the two-metre tall doors. He saw a crimson carpet laid on a dark, marbled floor. He saw dark wooden chairs lining the left hand side of the large corridor. He saw a receptionists’ desk on the right hand side. At the end of the corridor, two spiraling staircases and one lonely door set in-between the two, at ground level. He also noticed that it was perfectly clean.

This was once a hotel for the Shadowed Ones, the voice rasped. It has been a decade since it was used. There aren’t many Shadowed around anymore. You are a descendant of a long line of Shadowed Ones, along your Mothers’ side. There used to be thousands. The Kursed are responsible for the slaughter of innocent Shadowed. It is a history story for another time, perhaps. Speaking of your parents, I have news. Unpleasant as it is. The Kursed are responsible for opening the gates between the Undead and the Living. In the conflict everyone in Drakolt was killed. The only two survivors of the onslaught are you and Mesmer. Those who tried to run were met by Kursed resistance. They shoved them into the Undead, and then took a portal back to Kortal. And it is in Kortal that your future lies. The leader of the Kursed does not live there, nor the officers that ordered the basic militia to do as they did. But they acted on orders. They helped thousands die. Now, Karma must strike back. “When can I kill the leader of the Kursed?” he asked. When you have the strength, when the militia have payed, and when Kortal is safe again. In good time, my student. In good time.

Return to Present Day Rift

Silence stood behind the one-way viewing screen, watching Rose fight for three hours through varying terrain, against various enemies. From simulated Undead to simulated Kortal street thugs, to Kursed soldiers and the long-dead cyborgs, they barely left Rose any time to have a break. It was much worse the day of Drakolt, the voice whispered. “Three hours is appropriate”, he spoke aloud to his Instinct. “Twenty four hours almost killed me”.  Very well, Master, the Instinct responded. She performs well, it detoured away from the previous subject, sensing the Masters sensitivity. “Yes she does,” he spoke softly. “She has been taught well by Mesmer”. The final assessment finished, and Rose headed for the simulation chamber door. It slid upwards, and let her through. “Congratulations”, the Sim voice said over the speakers. “A pass of 100% grants you graduation from Student to Master.”

 

A very red-faced and happy Rose emerged from the door, running at Silence and throwing her arms around him in a celebratory embrace. “I passed with a full score! Oh my God, I passed with a full score!” Her happiness was bubbling away, and her wide grin and flushed face proved it. “You have completed an amazing feat that very many would struggle to complete,” Silence said. “And now for my favourite part of any celebration”, he started. “Ooooh, what’s that?” Rose asked eagerly, clapping her hands together. “The congratulatory dinner!” he said warmly. And he smiled as Mesmer walked in to see her student fist-bumping Silence. She stood in mock horror, and then laughed as Rose threw herself onto her mentor. “I passed with full marks! And we get dinner!” she shrieked. Mesmer couldn’t help it. She burst out laughing.

*****


© Copyright 2017 Ronin Okami. All rights reserved.

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