The Search for Macko: Part 3

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: War and Military  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 14, 2016

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Submitted: August 14, 2016

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Chapter 3

Hal woke unsure of his surroundings, physically exhausted, he was unable to even open his eyes. Blurry memories danced on his eyelids as he tried to piece together the events from last night, though he couldn’t be sure of reality after such vivid hallucinations. War drums, he remembered the war drums. He was even hearing them now along with the unmistakable sound of the Huey that dropped him off in the Jungles of Saigon. This was beyond a hangover, it was the visceral terror and cold sweats only a night spent hiding in the rice paddy, fighting for your life could bring. So he was back he thought privately, eyes still closed. He was back in Saigon, ready to be released from the mortal coil. It was a preferable ending, a fitting one even, for the life he had lived.

As he waited he began to suspect something, the war drums were slowing and the helicopter blades sounded different from his memories. In fact, it was the blood throbbing through his temple that was causing the sound of the drums, and the blades of a fan mimicking the helicopter. He opened his eyes to his dull and dirty apartment. “Shit” he said loud enough for only his demons to hear.

The silver lining to surviving after so thoroughly giving up on life, was of course the cigarettes. Even some vodka left to sharpen his mind. After proper respite, he began piecing it together. He remembered the door to 212, a resolute monolith barring him from sanity while he was falling down a tunnel, the door shrinking to a pinprick and the only hope to escape the terrors sure to come. Upon landing, he was in a familiar location, the village of My Lai. He was watching his own memories as though he were separate entirely. He watched himself grab the napalm, watched his NCO crawl across the ground through blood and glass, unable to speak with the gag in place. He knew what happened next, and tried not to watch, but in his current state he could not close his eyes or look away. The whoosh of the napalm engulfed his NCO and caught his past-self unprepared as the tool of war crept up the left half of his body, licking his hair. A guttural roar escaped himself, both past and current, as the magnitude of his sins and pain of the napalm brought both versions of Hal to their knees simultaneously.

The scene changed, where he had been holding his head in grief, he was now surrounded by light on a beautiful beach stateside, and he was holding a 1 year old boy.

Max

Happiness, both welcome and foreign, flooded him as he looked at Max and heard her voice. “He’s beautiful” his late wife whispered, the wonderful woman who loved him unconditionally. Scars both visible and invisible did not deter her, she who had learned to love her husband and the family they had built. The tempest approached quickly darkening the beach and blowing his wife into a thousand tiny fragments. He clutched Max tightly whispering through the whirling winds “I won’t let anything hurt you”, but despite it all, the stranger wrestled Max from his grasp. Plucking him away into the darkness, bellowing with the force of a thunderclap “YOU KNOW WHAT YOU MUST DO”

The beep of the cell phone brought him back to the apartment. A text message.

 

“Tonight is the night”

The group from Kentucky would not be long for this night. He got to the hotel on his off night. Avoiding Sal and the others he equipped himself with the usual, Kool Ultra’s and Heaven Hill vodka and began the hunt. He saw the shuttle arrive and the wedding guests depart. Easy targets, the group was all dressed the same in their wedding attire. The mere sight sent him into a furious bloodlust, it was all pounding through his head, the war drums, the blades of his Huey, the screams of anguish. Unable to focus clearly, he was bent on capturing his one ticket back to Max.

His strategy was to wait for stragglers to break off, as he knew they would. This way he could thin the herd. It wasn’t long before one went outside to smoke, wild eyed and particularly insane looking, this looked like a good starting point. He was watching from just around the corner when a few others carrying beer joined him. He had missed his window but decided to observe. They talked, occasionally cackling like mad men, and before long a girl joined them. From what Hal could see, this was the type of girl that would try and sit in your lap while you were standing up. She must have been important, because they all kept calling her ‘Viceroy’.

They all went back inside as a group, but not before burning the beer box outside as some sort of inebriated effigy to wanton destruction.  And so the game continued, Hal never got a clear chance to begin and his inner rage kept building to a crescendo. Finally his desperation at a fever pitch, he concocted the perfect plan. He called room 212.

“This is John”

“John – Front desk, your pizza is here”

“Coming down”

Now he had one walking directly into his trap. The only part left was execution, literal and figurative.

“There you are you worthless shit, where the hell have you been al-“ Sal’s rage quickly turned to fear as in one smooth motion, Hal pulled the bottle of Heaven Hill out of his back pocket and broke it over his head. Blood gushing out of one eyebrow and the stench of vodka and menthol cigarettes is one of nature’s clearest warning signs – Do Not Fuck With Me. Hal lunged and tried to bring the bottle to Sal’s throat. Sal – not for nothing- pulled the switchblade from his blazer pocket and stabbed Hal directly in the foot while dodging the wild swing of the vodka bottle. A drunken lunatic fighting a meathead punk in the antechamber to the lobby went unnoticed by everyone, particularly the shitfaced groomsman at the front desk picking up pizza. Hal saw him grab the pizza and head back upstairs, making another desperate attempt to get away from Sal, he ran after him. But Sal tackled him around the midsection and stabbed the switchblade right through his thigh. Not feeling pain, only contempt, Hal grabbed Sal by the face and pushed him thumbs into each eye socket until the screaming stopped.

All of Hal’s nerve endings were dead, he felt nothing but a singular goal to get to the groomsmen. Unfortunately, his body was incapable of moving. That’s when he saw the stranger in the light for the first time. Extremely fat and rosy cheeked, he emanated of strong smell of sewage. Thin glasses framed his pumpkin face and settled in right above the permanent sneer. “You’ve failed Hal”

“Just, let Max go”

“Idiot, he was dead weeks ago”

Two rounds directly into Hal’s head, quickly and without preamble. Macko thought to himself that it was a mercy kill. He had watched the man’s existence crumble away into nothingness, thinking he had played the perfect game to motivate Hal to his ends. He hadn’t bargained on the frayed ends of sanity unraveling at the most inopportune moments. There were other ways to exact his revenge. All he needed was more time.

 


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