The Darkness Of Today
Every second that is wasted on the battlefield in a war, is every second that a wounded soldier is bleeding to death. Every chance a medic got to save a life, they got killed. As I sit in a bar and reminisce about the days in the war, I realized just how much my life changed.
I watched in horror as people died. I held people as they died in my arms. I came home from the war. And no one, not one person, knew the horrors that me and my fellow brothers in arms saw. No one even thanked us for serving our country when we came home. So here I sit, inside this bar with my flask in my hand drowning myself with pure alcohol flashing back to the war.
I start to feel the alcohol taking affect as it runs through my body. Someone comes in and sits down next to me. It is a scum bag of the streets; a scam artist who steels what little money the poor and those in poverty have and keeps it for himself.
"How 'bout it?" He says as he sits down next to me. I merely stare at him and look away. He orders a drink. Gin. He orders shot after shot as I gulp the whiskey from my flask.
"You might want to slow down there, chief." The bartender says.
"Oh shut up!" I snap. I can't even remember his name or the name of the bar I'm in. I then look over at the dirt-bag next to me. How neatly dressed he is. With his crisp hat and pressed suit. I compare myself to him and realize I am dressed no different and smile to myself. But as I sit and stare at him, something in me changes. I become angry. A little voice in my head starts to talk in a dark, deep whisper.
"Do it," it says to me.
"No," I say to it. "I can't do it."
"Yes, you can," it says to me, "you know you want to. He's scum. He won't be missed."
An argument starts in my mind. My pure thoughts fighting that little voice. The small whisper wins.
Something in me snaps and I crack my neck with the turn of my head.
"Hey buddy, you okay?" the scum bag asks.
"I'm fine," I snap.
(Vince; Vinny; Vincent; it's the same name so don't sweat it. It's all good)
The night hung heavy on this particular street.
Jack Billings wondered if it were perhaps his general outlook on life that made it seem so- after all, he had made a living dealing in shadows, working in corners, and back rooms, and alleys. His work was his life, perhaps it followed him this way, creeping at the edges of his vision, dimming the world before him.
He thought this was rather poetic, until one roving blue eye saw the outdoor lamp with the smashed lightbulb.
Or that might account for it as well.
With a sigh, he adjusted his suit and entered the glass doors, not bothering to look at the doorman. He knew exactly where he was going, and Molly knew it. She was a shrewd one, and didn't feel the need to play games. It was one of the many things he found attractive about her these days.
Of course, the fact that she continually defied him and escaped when he set fire to their old penthouse counterbalanced it with murderous rage.
But she had managed to offer him a deal he couldn't refuse. Besides, as much as he was loath to admit he liked anybody, Nicholas had been a good friend of his for many years. In fact, he was one of the reasons Jack had met Molly, then Amelia, in the first place. That and her money-hungry dim-witted socialite parents. The lie to them had been effortless to maintain, and he was set in style when he got access to her funds.
It seemed that one of her detective friends, a man who had pointed the business end of a gun at him many times had killed Nicholas. Maybe he finally snapped. Jack didn't particularly care. He didn't like people defying him, and this Marc was just one more person he didn't mind ridding the world of.
Silently, he let himself into her apartment. He had bribed a locksmith to double the key the last time he was in New York. Childs play, really. Molly had already figured on this as well, because he had been asked to meet her in her apartment.
He roved around, looking at the spotless floors and tasteful furniture. It reflected the elegance that had been bred into the woman, but the deep reds and gleaming blacks on the same token spoke of her silent rebellion.
Here and there were framed photographs, some of strangers he didn't recognize, some with Molly in them- always caught in laughter or looking off thoughtfully. Such delicate, beautiful features. And that hair- the shiny coppery silk that nearly blinded in sunshine, and the flashing light green eyes that were so like a cats. Despite her notorious temper, Molly didn't have a drop of Irish blood in her veins. Or so her parents said, but they had definitely kept worse secrets.
He found himself presently in her bedroom, and couldn't help but smirk as he caught that floral scent she had always carried about her. It permeated the room, lingering on her clothes, and he imagined wryly, on the sheets of her bed.
It brought back good memories.
After staring around thoughtfully for a few moments, he went back into her living room and settled, straight-backed, on the couch to wait.
Marc left the bar pulling out his pipe. It was dark outside and the full moon lit his path down the lonely road. Vinny had left just after Marc had. He watched Vinny get into his car and head out toward the Tricky Mister. Vinny often had business deals there.
Marc started to walk that way himself. Maybe Shady knew something. As corrupt and strange as Shady was, he always helped the detectives for a small fee so he could drown himself with whiskey and gin. Mist began to form in the darkness as Marc made his way into town. He emptied his pipe and put it away.
With six blocks to go, Marc pulled out his pocket watch and held it up under a street lamp. 10:30 p.m. Sammy's Greek Restaurant closed two hours ago. Marc's stomach growled out of hunger as he walked through the thin mist and fog toward the bar. The building loomed closer and Marc pulled out a cigarette. As he flicked his lighter, something fell in front of him, spraying his face and a small part of his suitwith blood. Marc froze instantly and dared to look down at the body.
The first thing Marc saw was the face of Vinny Gambini. His knees were blown from being shot. Vinny's lifeless eyes stared back at Marc who was shocked to see his friend fall from the sky. The cigarette dropped from Marc's mouth and he threw his lighter back into his pocket and looked around for witnesses. Marc felt every ounce of life within him fall. Yes, Vinny was an organized crime boss. But he and Marc had become friends over the past couple years. And to see his friend like this, set Marc in a rage.
He looked around and saw a familiar car parked outside the bar. It belonged to one person; Molly. Marc's neck twitched, and soon his whole body shook with anger and rage.
He stepped into the alley just behind the entrance to the bar. He could hear Molly and Riza talking and one more person. The voice...it was Grace! Damn it! She had gone to them!
As I listen to them talk, I hear the voice in my head yet again. And it starts to take over. Telling me to do it. "Do it! Do it now!" it hisses. "No," I say to it. "No! She's my friend. I can't!"
"Yes, you can! Kill her! Now! Think, stupid! She just killed your friend. For all you know she's just pissed that you killed that scumwad and she got mad. She's just jealous that you killed him before her!"
I try to fight it. It soon starts to overcome me. I feel my eyes roll back into my head. Then they come back to where I can see what is in front of me. I'm more than furious now. I step from the alley with my automatic .45 drawn. I shoot out the street light and the three women jump and turn around with their guns drawn.
"Drop it!" One of them screams at me.
But who cares now? They can't see who I am.
"Drop it, or I WILL kill you!"
I aim for the girl on the far left and scream at her. "This is for you, Maltese!" My voice is deep and unrecognizable. "Just like your scumbag brother!"
I fire three shots at center mass. But they miss because of distance. I jerked the trigger instead of squeezing it. I step back into the alley angry because I missed. They are running toward me. I can hear them yelling something incoherent. "Do you think it was him?" One of them asked. "I don't know. I didn't recognize his voice, did you?" "No," She says. "And neither did I," the third person says. I see them from where I am. And they get closer and closer to me as I walk backward around the building.
I walk around the neighboring building, losing the three women and disappearing into the night.
The group made their way to the car and was just about to get in when off to the right there came the sound of heavy footfalls.
Turning, a pair of red eyes was all Riza saw before a shot rang out and they were plunged into complete darkness. The tinkling of glass falling on the pavement was the only sound. Within seconds guns had been drawn, and trained on the mystery figure. “Drop it!” Riza screams.
A distorted, dark, demented voice screamed something, but Riza couldn’t hear it through the pounding in her ears. Stupid alcohol. But Molly seemed to. A look of shock registered on her face for a split second before it disappeared. Then, anger. The chase and the speculation. But the mystery man was nowhere to be found.
“What happened back there?” Riza asked as she drove. “And where are we going?”
Molly repeated back the address of the safe house. “I’ll explain, just step on it.”
Riza grinned and pushed the gas. The car shot through the dark streets, narrowly missing other cars multiple times. Screams and angry shouts could be heard echoing through the night. Grace’s fingernails dug into the backseat, her face pale with terror.
Molly recapped what had happened on the roof, smirking with some degree of satisfaction at the memory. “And did you enjoy your drinks?” she asked nonchalantly.
“Yes, and I got more than drinks.” Riza pulled a neat little silver switchblade out of her pocket. “Men never suspect anything when your hands are roaming all over them. Isn’t it so sharp-looking?” she said, admiring it. Grace shrieked as Riza very nearly drove into a pole, her eyes not focused on the road.
Soon they pulled up slowly to the address. The street was unnaturally quiet. The grocery store had closed for the night. It must have been around 4:30 in the morning.
Riza parked the car a couple blocks over, just to be safe. It wasn’t too hard to locate the entrance to the apartment above and find Marc’s room. Riza put her head to the door and listened for sounds of movement. But there was only silence.
“If that really was him we saw before,” Grace ventured, “He’s probably not back yet. We should come back another ti-“
She was hushed by the look of irritation in Riza’s eyes. “We’re gonna wait for him inside. We just have to open this door. I could break it down, but we want to be inconspicuous.”
Molly pulled a pin from her hair and jammed it into the lock of the door. In mere seconds it swung open. She gave a little sound of approval. They made their way inside and relocked it. They chose hiding spots close to the door; it was clear that Marc would bolt if confronted.
After what seemed like hours of crouching in the darkness, but in reality was only about twenty minutes, footsteps started approaching, accompanied by a low grumbling. As the steps came closer, Grace began to whimper. Riza slapped her hand across Grace’s mouth.
The door rattled as the key was inserted. A yellowish beam of light made its way across the room as the door opened more and more. Those red eyes became visible again. It was clear he was the one who had shot at them before, and hadn’t calmed down.
Molly and Riza traded glances. “Now!” The two of them jumped up while Grace remained on the floor. Riza went behind Marc and dropkicked him to the floor simultaneously as Molly jammed her elbow up against his windpipe, holding the barrel of her pistol to his temple.
“You killed my brother and now you try to kill me, huh?!?” she screamed at him in fury, tears starting to rim her eyes. “Deny it, I dare you!”
Marc lunged forward, roaring in anger and throwing punches in the semidarkness. “Marc. Get. Down. Now!” Riza said forcefully. A sudden pain in his arm made him freeze and fall back.
It felt wet, and there was a familiar smell in the air. Marc groaned as he tried to get up off the floor, but he couldn’t. Looking over, he saw that Riza’s new switchblade had found a nice new home in his shoulder blade. “Bitch,” he growled.
SMACK! The taste of iron followed the feel of cold metal hitting his face. “Be nice now,” Molly said in a mock sickly sweet voice.
He spit blood at her.
“Well. I tried,” Molly said, wiping the blood off her face. Her eyes flashed and she suddenly jammed her knee down hard on his windpipe. The force of Molly’s knee was cutting off air from his body. Slowly, slowly, Marc lost consciousness.
I leave through the back alleys. It's a long walk to my safehouse. As I try to calm down, I can't help but think of my friend's body falling in front of me. I can't stop thinking about it. The horrific sight of blood gushing from the posterior part of his entire body; smashed from the force of falling to the ground.
I get to my safehouse and open my bedroom door. It is now extremely late. Early morning at the latest.
I take a deep breath as I try to calm down to get some sleep. I open the door and I hear someone scream, "NOW!" Someone grabs me from behind and another hits me in the throat. I cough and fall limp to the ground. A gun is placed at my head.
"You killed my brother!" She screams, "And now you try to kill me, huh?!"
I try to fight back. I try to say. "Molly!" I try to say, "you have to help me! This isn't me! I can't control it!" But that doesn't come out. Something different does. It says, "If you're going to hold that gun against my head, THEN PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS, AND PULL THE DAMN TRIGGER!!!" I can't control my actions when I lunged for her.
"Marc! Get down now!" Another woman screams, and I feel the sharp pain of something being jammed into my arm. I feel the blood rushing down to my fingertips and drip onto the floor. "Bitch" I growl to the one who stabbed me.
WHACK! Something hits me in the face and I fall over. "Be nice, now" the one with the gun says, as she pistol whips me in the face. The anger becomes worse. As I make another move, perhaps a move to kill, her knee comes down to my throat.
I can't breathe. My breathing becomes difficult and heavy. It hurt to inhale. My throat feels as though it is collapsing and I am having a slow and painful death. Slowly my body's reaction to the lack of air, causes me to fall unconscious and everything is swallowed up in darkness.
"Ugh, I do not get paid enough to do this." Molly said grimly, climbing off of Marc and dusting herself off. "Do we have a rope or something to make sure this bastard doesn't start swinging again? Don't worry, I stopped one of his fists with my stomach."
She winced, moving delicately as she went to find something to tie him up with. The adrenaline was mostly wearing off, and she noticed a dull throbbing high on her left arm. Curious, she looked down at her arm, examining the rip in her sleeve, the blood gushing down the fabric, making it stiff and unyielding. She had been clipped with one of Marcs bullet.
She studied it for a few seconds more.
"Huh." she nodded, then turned around and kicked Marc square in the gut.
"You...stupid...crazy...bastard...this...was...a.new....suit that....cost...an...entire...paycheck!" she grunted, kicking him with each word. Then, smoothing her hair, she sighed and tossed down a length of rope she had found in his bedroom closet.
"Don't ask me why he had this in there." she sniffed haughtily. " I don't know what devious purposes its been used for."
Presently, they had fixed the unconscious man to a chair, then Molly leaned down in front of him, studying his features that looked peaceful, as if he were sleeping.
"Hey you." she slapped him. "Wake up a**hole. Hey."
She slapped him a couple more times, and he stirred with a groan. They paused, watching his eyes open, and then Molly smacked him again for good measure.
"I don't like you anymore." she informed him politely, then straightened up. The three women stood around him.
"You better start explaining."
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