Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wish You Were Here (1.10)

the tables turn

He was taking it personally.  That's the only excuse for such a mundane choice of approaches to offing me.  A failed mugging, and a club to the head?  Why wouldn't he break out the hellfire right off the bat?  Because he wanted it to be intimate, wanted to get up close and personal, to toy with me.  Well, I showed him the kind of man he was dealing with.

Surprised at the sudden turn of events, he didn't even have the sense to ditch his weapon.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Though he may have been unnaturally fleet-footed when possessing the upper hand, he wasn't so quick when caught unawares, and carrying a – what was that?  A crowbar?  Length of steel pipe?  It didn't matter;  it was working to my advantage now, slowing him down.  My head may have been starting to sting, but a bit of pain wasn't about to keep me from tracking this monster down.

Breathing heavily, tearing through moonlit alleyways, my lungs were about to climb out of my goddamned throat.  With each breath, I could feel them clawing their way a little further up the soft flesh of my oesophagus.  But I kept going.  I was thinking about the terror.  It drove me.  His terror.  The terror I would bring when I caught him.

Giving chase, I witnessed him flicker out and back into existence several times, each time triggering an intense wave of nausea and awful muscle cramps in my own mortal shell.  Enough to make me stumble, to lose a bit of ground.  Not enough to force me to give up, however.  I kept on him, refusing to give him opportunity to focus on whatever diabolical machinations he had at his disposal.

Closing in.  Little prick.  I registered a loud clang as he finally thought to ditch his weapon, letting it fly into a brick wall.  But it was too late; he was growing tired and I was right behind him.  There was a desperate shuffle of soft shoes on gravel and the metallic rattle and clatter of chain link.

All at once, my hands were on the back of his light suit coat, pulling him off of that fence and hard onto the ground.  I kicked dirt in his eyes, throwing him further off his game, and my hands were at his throat crushing his Adam's apple.  Causing damage, that was sure.  I could feel his evil heart beating faster and faster in his carotid artery.

“Please—” he pleaded.

But I wasn't hearing him.

With each punch to his face, I was pushed closer to absolute abandon, only planning to stop when he either took his last godless breath or I grew tired.  I had him, I thought.  I really had him.

He went limp, stopped trying to defend himself, and I broke to wipe my bloodied hands on his white slacks.  I rose, standing over the brutalised monster, drawing my Browning to finish him off, and indulged in a moment to fancy the slight glimmer of pale moonlight in the shiny mess of groaning flesh that was his face.  Truly, he'd messed with the wrong guy.

I levelled the Browning and took aim.  Peering down the barrel, across the sight, I saw a slight twitching from the mess of his face where a mouth once was.  Something was growled, long and slow, in a language some primordial part of me immediately recognised as one indefinitely old and equally unholy.

Suddenly weakened, my insides, all of my organs, contracted violently, while my consciousness madly fluttered like a dying flame.  Then there was a deafening blast as the fabric of time and space tore all around me, and just like that, I felt twelve tons of steel, a veritable tractor trailer, slam into me.  Heat on my face, all over me.  A sheen of sweat broke out across the whole of my ravaged flesh.  I smelt sulphur mixed with my own flesh burning.  I heard it sizzle like a steak.

When I opened my eyes he was gone.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Wish You Were Here (1.9)

briefing room

The place was a small, hot, dimly lit back room of a nondescript dry cleaner's in Manama with clean white walls; the only adornment was a white clock, ticking, displaying the wrong time.  There were no windows, but there was a simple door with white-frosted glass filling the top half.  I could barely make out the shadows of some backward lettering: CUSTODIAL.

I was bored.

“You sure you wanna do this?” Agent Conrad asked at last, with practised bravado, arching a dark manicured eyebrow.

I smirked.  “As sure as I've ever been, boss.”

At a small table in the middle of the concrete floor, the agent and I sat across from one another, a flowery lamp drooping impotently between us, and an empty tin ashtray sitting unused, new, off to the side.  Agent Conrad, a hotshot up-and-comer: his suit was too new, his tie likely making its first outing.  His obvious greenness aside, I knew it could only be a lack of seniority which would see a man heading up such a remote branch office.  My eyes flitted from this manboy to the corner of the room where a stylized fan's blades rotated lazily.

I had already briefed Agent Conrad about my impromptu visit to Bahrain, and had nothing left to say.  I took a sip of lukewarm coffee, and we traded a few idle remarks about the heat.

“Love to be a fly on the wall back at headquarters right about now,” Agent Conrad clucked, shaking his head.  “So close to breaking this case, and we've got one agent hellbent on going maverick.”

I folded my arms across my chest, leant back in my chair, and measured the man before me.

“You happy here, boss, doing everything by the book, playing by their rules?”  I surveyed the tiny, stiff room.  My eyes met his.  “You've one life,” I continued, “and if you're not doing exactly what you want, then what's it all for anyway?”  I stood up, readying to leave, returning my hat to my head.  “If you found out today that your time was up, would you be happy with the life you lived on this tiny ball of mud?  I know I would be.”