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.
Marc watched Molly leave. He did not expect her forgiveness. When he came to realize that she may never forgive him, he decided he didn't care any more. If he lost a friend because of this, then so be it. He could make more friends.
The man stood up and walked to his car. Whether or not the others were still in that room, he didn't care. He got inside and with out a word, he drove to his house, where he cleaned up. He took one last look at the bloody gray suit that he wore.
Out of the wardrobe, Marc pulled out a black suit. One that he often wore. He put on his shirt and tie. He pulled out his shoulder holster and put it on. He reached into his closet and took out his newest toys; two pearl white .45 caliber automatics. He pressed the release button on both guns and the magazines fell out, both revealing a full metal jacket. He slammed the magazines in the gun and slid the charging handles back, charging a round in the chamber. He holstered both of them.
He checked to make sure he had everything he needed before walking back to his car. He got in. Only he knew where he was going. There was one last thing to do. Before the night would be over, someone was going to be dead.
"I honestly don't know." Molly said quietly, tucking a strand of red hair behind her ear as she poured some champagne into the glasses. It was an unspoken gesture; she remembered that it was his favorite drink of choice. "It's gotten so very complicated."
"Champagne?" he raised one aristocratic brow. "Are we celebrating?"
"No." she said softly, thoughtfully. "I'm just being ironic."
She came and sat next to him on the couch, placing both glasses on the low coffee table before them. Immediately, the familiar electricity crackled through the air, burning through her blood and charring her senses. Briefly, she closed her eyes, then picked up the glass, knowing alcohol would probably make it worse, but after todays events, she just needed a damn drink.
After a moment, he reached for his too, and she couldn't help the smile that twisted her lips. So he was feeling it too. It was such a strange thing, she mused. The pure magnetism between them, charging each breath like a stick of dynamite, until it seemed the very air they breathed could explode at a seconds notice.
Hate was as strong an emotion as love. Maybe when they mixed together, this is what happened. Strangely, they spoke, but Molly couldn't remember what they were talking about, she was merely noticing how they sipped their respective glasses and slowly, cautiously closed the distance between them, until with a muttered curse, he lost a hand in her coppery hair and dragged her mouth to his.
Well, Molly thought to herself dryly before she closed her eyes, some things never change.
Around her 5th or 6th glass, and a fresh new bottle, she led him to her bedroom, sufficiently intoxicated not to dwell on the repercussions. And when she accidentally tipped the bottle of champagne, and it poured over her satin sheets and pooled in a small lake of bubbly liquid, she decided to let the maids worry about it in the morning; she was busy.
Riza took a long look around the safe house. It seemed deserted now. “Hey,” she said, turning to Grace, “I think you should go now.” Grace nodded and swiftly left the room. Riza left as well, slamming the door shut behind her. There was someplace she needed to be.
The car pulled up in front of Riza’s house. She quickly made her way inside and upstairs, where she put something on under her clothes. There was an unsettling feeling that she could not shake. Something was going down tonight. And she knew just where she needed to go.
Fifteen minutes later she eased her car into a small open space across the street from Molly’s house. It was dark inside, save for a small glimmer of light which Riza assumed to be the from the fireplace. The front door was locked, but she could hear some sort of movement inside. Heavy movement. Her eyes narrowed. A man, or men, perhaps?
Standing back and looking at the building, she found an open window on the left side of the building. She effortlessly and soundlessly flipped herself inside, landing on the tips of her stilettos and her fingertips, almost catlike. From the next room over, most likely the living room, emanated the sound of muddled voices speaking.
Riza reached into her jacket and pulled out her pistol. Its metallic quality made it shine in the moonlight. A million thoughts raced through her mind as she braced herself against the dimly lit archway. Namely, who to shoot first.
A small pang of hurt raced through her as she remembered Molly’s eyes watering. The pain was very real, and very relatable. “Roy,” she whispered. But the feeling went as quickly as it had come. This was no time to be thinking about that.
Bracing herself, Riza flung herself into the open archway, gun cocked and ready to shoot. “Nobody move!” she shouted. She almost lost her grip, for standing right in front of her were Molly, Jack, Marc, and Grace, all with guns out and aimed. Everybody turned to look at her.
Two shots fired simultaneously.
Everything moved so fast it seemed to Molly that the world was a blur. And then she realized it was because she had been yanked from the place where she was standing to be clasped against her husbands chest, his other arm pointing a gun at Marc.
A human shield. She realized with surprise, then surprise that she was surprised. This was Jack Billings. Of course he wouldn't think twice about using her as a human shield-
she felt his arm move from the kick-back of his gun, he had fired a shot. So had, it seemed, Marc, who had aimed before Billings had pulled Molly in front of him.
White-hot pain exploded high on her right shoulder. She saw Marcs expression of horror before Jack released her and she fell awkwardly to her side.
Oh dear. She thought.
Because someone else had gone crashing to the floor as well.
Marc parked his car in front of Molly's house. Not in her driveway but at the edge of if. Jack Billings' car was there which meant trouble. And Grace's car was there.
"Oh boy.." Marc said. He lit up a cigarette and stepped out of his car. As he walked up the driveway, the two women and Billings stepped out. Billings was not particularly happy to see Marc and Marc wasn't happy to see Billings for he was on the top of Billings hit list.
"Marc, what the hell are you doing here?" Molly asked impatiently.
"Well..I came here to talk-"
"Talk about what?" Billings snapped. "You've killed her brother, shot at her, and now you want to talk? Listen, dick, why don't you go home while I let you live-"
"Billings, shut the f**k up!" Marc snapped.
"Why? What are you going t-...." Billings looked at Marc and then Molly then back to Marc. A smile spread across his face. "Oh I see...you like her don't you, Marc? Oh this is just touching."
In truth, Marc did like Molly. He didn't have any type of crush on her or have "the hosts" for her. The thing was, he liked her personality. He liked how, in the heat of things, they had each others' backs in the past.
"Forget it Marc. She won't forgive you, so go home, and don't talk to her again" Jack said.
"Jack-" Molly started. "Please-"
"She hates you now Marc. And so do I. You are on the top of my hit list, and I'm giving you the chance to go home before I kill you myself."
"Damn it, Jack. I said for you to shut the f**k UP!" Marc snapped. He quickly reached into his coat with both hands and pulled out his pistols and aimed them at Jack.
In quick succession, Jack's pistol was drawn at Marc. Molly pulled two pistols, one at Marc and one at Jack. Grace, not to be left out, pulled her .22 out. Everyone had a gun aimed at each other.
"Well, well, well," Jack said, "Marc wants to play with guns-"
"Jack if you don't shut up-"
"What are you going to do? Shoot me? Go ahead and put one in my leg-"
"I'm not going to put one in your leg, I'm going to shoot you in your f**king mouth!-"
"Then put your money where your mouth is, and do it!" Jack yelled.
Silence filled them. This now the fourth time he had a gun pulled on him. He was ready for any sudden movement by Jack. Marc came to talk to Molly to try and make amends.
But here was Jack Billings, the one man Marc hated more than anyone in the world, making things worse.
For what seemed like minutes was only seconds. Marc's right finger moved for the trigger. Jack saw the twitch and quickly grabbed Molly as a human shield.
"No body move!" A woman screamed from behind Marc.
It was at that instant; Jack grabbing Molly and pulling her in front of him, someone screaming from behind, Marc squeezed the trigger twice rapidly.
The first shot went wild but the second shot hit the wrong target. It ripped through Molly's right shoulder. The bullet exited the back of her shoulder and grazed Billings' arm. Molly fell to the ground, bleeding from her arm. Billings stumbled backwards and pulled the trigger. His bullet too went wild.
Everything happened too fast for Grace McDowd, 29 years old, to react. His stray shot hit her square between the eyes. Blood sprayed from the back of her head and she dropped like a rock.
At the moment her body fell, all hell broke lose. Shots were fired from all directions.
Riza had almost no time to react. Grace was standing just a few feet in front of her. She watched as a stray bullet from Marc’s gun went straight through Grace’s head, exiting out the back and then…
A sharp gasp erupted from Riza’s lips as the bullet continued on its path, straight into her chest, knocking her backwards to the floor. She heard her gun fall with a clatter to the ground beside her.
Her eyes bugged out as she clutched at her chest. Riiiiiiipppp. She tore off her jacket and ripped off the bulletproof vest she had put on earlier that evening. Lodged straight where her heart should have been was the bullet. Riza winced. It hurt like hell anyway.
She heard a groan issue from Marc. He must have gotten hit too. Riza was suddenly, inexplicably angry. This couldn’t happen. Not again. She sprung to her feet and grabbed her pistol, dodging sideways and aiming a couple of shots at both Marc and Biliings. “You f*cking bastards! STOP IT!” Riza screamed at the top of her voice.
As Molly sunk to her knees and stared at her arm in disbelief, the sound of hot metal hitting flesh could be heard in the cool nighttime air. Billings spun backwards and collapsed on the ground, clutching his right arm. Marc gave an excruciating yell and grabbed his midsection, eyes turning red.
Riza hit the ground hard. She saw Molly get up and heard the click of the safety on her gun being released. A lone gunshot rang out. Then Riza blacked out. There was silence.
Marc felt the white hot pain rip through his mid section as a bullet from an unknown gun was fired. He grabbed his side, yelling and falling. The adrenaline rush was too much and Marc staggered back up. Jack Billings also staggered to his feet. Both men shooting at each other. Marc limped behind a tree, where as Jack ran to his car. Marc fired two more shots. One bullet scored a hit and Jack fell but was not dead. Marc didn't want to kill him. Not yet. Jack crawled to his car, bleeding from somewhere in the waste.
He looked around. Riza was there; out cold. Grace was dead. Her beautiful blue eyes, now a cold gray color stare at the sky. Marc knelt down. The pain in his side tore through him and she grunted. He closed her eyes and looked back at Molly who was also unconscious.
"My god," he said as he got closer to her. The bullet damage was bad. She'd be badly scarred for the rest of her life, and it would be a miracle if she didn't get arthritis in her arm because of this. Blood still poured from the wound. It was good and bad.
It was good because that meant she was still alive. But bad because that mean barely. She lost a lot of blood and was now in a state of shock, which caused her to pass out. He hefted her with his one good arm, and placed her in the backseat of his car. He left.
Marc pulled Molly, who was still barely alive, and losing too much blood now, out of his car at the hospital. "My friend here has been badly injured. She needs help, now." Marc said.
Three doctors and two nurses took her immediately. "Sir," another doctor said, "If I may say so, I'd say you need to be looked at."
"I'm fine," Marc said.
"No, you're not" the young doctor said.
After an argument, Marc agreed to have the bullet pulled out with a set of tweezers and six stitches. The bullet had pierced but had not gone very far. It dug into his skin and stopped instead of just grazing like it should have.
Marc went back to Molly's house. Riza was gone. She had probably woke up after he left. She was probably pissed at him for several reasons, one in which he left her here with Grace's body. And well..frankly, she had every right to be mad at him. Grace's body had been removed as well. Investigators and police officers, taped off the scene. Marc turned and left with out a word.
Grace's funeral was two days later. Marc showed up but kept his distance. For an hour, everyone said something good about Grace. Marc looked around but didn't see Riza or Molly. They were probably here but closer up front in some spot he couldn't see. When everyone started to clear the area, Marc made his way toward the casket.
He pulled out of his pocket, a rose and placed it upon the casket. "I'm sorry I put you through this Grace. I'm sorry I let you down." And that was it. He turned, pulling out a cigarillo and lit it walking back to his car.
Unsure if Molly had showed up to Grace's funeral, Marc went back to the hospital to see if Molly was still there. "What room is Molly Maltese in?" Marc asked the receptionist.
"Maltese..Maltese..." She repeated looking at the paper. "It looks like she checked her self out earlier this morning, sir." The young woman said.
Marc nodded and walked away thinking about the past few days. He could never go back to his safe house any more. Not after all this.
Marc went home and changed clothes then went to sit in his office. It was quiet without Grace there to talk to. He sat staring at his desk. In front of him was a piece of paper; blank, and a pen. As much as he wanted to write that note to Molly, he couldn't. She had been through enough. And it was his fault.
He reached into his desk drawer and pulled out a flask full of whiskey and took a big gulp of it. The alcohol burned his throat as he swallowed. After a few large swallows, he could feel the alcohol starting to take affect. He put the flask away.
Marc pulled out his two pistols and unloaded them, placing them in his desk drawer. He sat there in silence for hours, thinking about what he could do. Thinking about what he SHOULD do. He placed his elbows on his table and buried his face in his hands. He didn't cry but he felt every urge to.
He didn't expect Molly to forgive him. If she did, that would be her decision. But the trust..that would be completely different. She wouldn't trust him for a long time. And he knew that. So he accepted that.
Riza would probably be the same. Marc wasn't sure how forgiving either of them were. He had never angered them like this. Let alone, let his anger take control. One thing was for certain. He wasn't about to let that happen again.
Just as Marc was going to pack it in and go home, someone knocked on his door. "Come in," Marc mumbled. The door opened, and in walked a familiar face.
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