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.
Darkness had fallen in two different places. The first place was outside. The second? Inside Marc. The detective stood in front of the creepy looking house clutching his pistol. Marc made his way to the front door and he opened it. To his luck the door was unlocked.
Slowly and quietly he walked inside the house. No one was home yet so he had no clue as to why he was being so quiet. Anger, maybe? Perhaps. Or perhaps it was because he didn't realize that Grace's death was an accident. Billings didn't intentionally shoot her. When the bullet grazed Jack's arm, he yanked his arm back and pulled the trigger. The shot that was intended to blow Marc's head off went to the side, and instead hit Grace. Unbeknownst to Marc, Grace's death had been a complete accident.
Marc walked inside a small office in the room. He sat down at the desk that stared at the door that Marc had come through. He knew that the man who owned this house would be here in just a few minutes. Marc leaned back in the chair and placed his feet on the table. Inside one of the drawers, Marc found a steel flask. He opened it and took a sniff. Gin. Marc's favorite. So he took a large gulp of the whiskey. Without hesitation, he placed the flask inside his jacket pocket.
Within minutes, Marc heard the front door open. Two people walked in. A man and a woman. They were laughing and sounded as though they were having a great time.
Marc cursed himself. A woman was in the house. If she saw him kill her husband, or what ever the hell he was to her, how would he keep her quiet. Would he knock her unconscious before anything happened? He wasn't sure.
Several thoughts raced through his mind. Just as he was making his decision, she left and the man came upstairs. As planned, he came right in his office and flicked on the light to find Marc sitting in his chair with a gun out. His elbow was bent and the gun was at chest level. There was no escaping this time.
"Marc Lacrimosa...what are you doing here?" Jack Billings asked.
"I came to talk." Marc said. "Have a seat." Marc motioned to the chair with his gun and Billings took a seat. "Billings, you and I have some unfinished business." Marc continued on. In truth, they did. They both wanted each other dead. But Marc was tired of this. Two people, both his friends, were gone. One was buried the city's cemetery where as, Marc was unsure of Molly's whereabouts. On his way to Jack's house, Marc decided it was time to end it all. And here he was. But was he going to kill Jack? He thought about it as they sat in the chair staring at each other. He could pull the trigger and his enemy would be forever gone. But then he would have to worry about Molly. This was of course, her ex-husband. Would killing him make things right? Maybe. But then again, maybe not. For all Marc knew, it would make things worse.
"You hat me, and I hate you, Jack." Marc said after a moment of silence. Marc lowered his pistol placing it on the table. He slid it over to the man on the other side of the table, and Jack picked it up. "What the-"
"Jack, I want you to shoot me. Let's make this right, Mr. Billings. I know you hate me. And so, I'm giving you the free chance to take me out of this world right here, right now." Marc said.
Lyra burst into the room and saw a look of surprise cross Jack's face. Marc saw it, and turned around; he looked shocked. Lyra's left cheek was bleeding, and her shoulder was soaked with the blood.
"I... got... shot," she panted, gesturing towards the door. Both the men rushed outside, and after a few moments, they seemed to realize what was going on: A few men were shooting in all directions, not caring who they shot, and no one was trying to stop them, they were all terrified. A few had already been shot dead.
Suddenly Lyra screamed in horror. "Jack! Jack!" she exclaimed, running forwards. Jack had been hit by a bullet, right on his forehead.
(Um, we're going to change that to Jack's arm, as I'd rather not die if its all the same to you.)
Jack had just been about to respond to Marcs curious request- he didn't care either way and it seemed the man would be an obstacle in what had become Jacks new plan- get his wife back where she belonged. As he opened his mouth, the door flew open and Lyra Cornwallis, an unlikely associate of his flew in, covered in blood.
"I...got...shot." she panted, and pointed towards the door. With a sense of dread, Jack drew his pistol and advanced, to see a group of men shooting wildly as many of his other associates attempted to flee.
He fired into the center of the group, and Marc joined him. He could only assume it was some kind of raid-
Agony ripped through his upper arm as a bullet grazed him. The momentum spun him awkwardly and he fell against the doorjamb just as the cacaphony of bullets abruptly stopped. Silence descended.
He opened his eyes to see two of the attackers lying dead on the floor. The other two had presumably fled.
"What the hell?..." he groaned, examining the damage. It was the second time he'd been shot!
*I'm posting here as Lyra's twin*
Louise burst into the room. "Where's Lyra? I thought she was going to come -" She broke off, looking at Jack Billings.
Jack managed to raise himself into a sitting position. He did not say anything for while, but just looked at Louise, who was standing near the door, gaping.
"She went," was all he said.
"Went? Went where?" Louise looked around wildly.
"No idea, but I don't think she's here right now," Jack replied.
"What about you? How did you get into this state?"
"Turn around and look down," he said, without directly answering the question. Louise raised her eyebrows and turned around, not expecting what she saw at all: there were two people, both dead, on the floor. Her hand flew to her mouth.
"But... are they the people who shot you? How are they dead?" she managed to speak, still looking quite shocked.
"Think they got hit by a bullet themselves," Jack muttered. "Do you know where Marc is?"
Louise nodded. "Yeah, he was outside, it looked like he was being attacked by two people - must be these, or someone else. Maybe he's still there." They went outside, Jack clutching his arm, because it was very painful. There were very few people outside now, most of them had fled. But Marc was nowhere in sight.
They stood there a few minutes, staring. Suddenly they heard a voice calling them. "Jack! Louise! Marc!"
Nothing but the sound of Marc's name made Louise turn around. Lyra was there. "Marc!" she repeated.
"Where can you see him?" Louise asked her. Lyra pointed to her sister's left - Marc was sitting down under a tree with his hands on the ground.
The three of them hurried over towards him. "Wounded?" Jack asked Marc.
"No, but look at this," Marc said.
They looked down. It was the body of a dead man, with a single word scrawled on the ground. Lyra read it out aloud: "Revenge."
Marc was bracing himself for the shot to the head. But it never came. Instead Lyra Cornwallis had burst into the room. Maybe it was a sign of God that all things can be forgiven. Marc unsure. But his death never came. Instead Jack Billings was shot in the arm and shortly after, Marc found himself standing over a corpse next to Lyra, her sister Louise, and his enemy Jack.
"This just keeps getting better and better," Marc thought to himself. He kept quiet not saying anything, hoping the end of his time was near. Someone spoke up asking a question but Marc ignored it. He slowly turned around fighting back the anger that raged in his mind and body. He walked away. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his pipe and let it fall to the ground. The ceramic stone bowl shattered like glass, falling into hundreds of pieces spilling ashes from the tobacco.
Marc pulled out his tobacco as he walked. He held the bag upside down, and the dried, long cut leaves, fluttered away in the wind. The detective made his way deep into the city. Staring at the ground as he walked. He loosend up his tie and unbuttoned his coat, then shoved his hands in his pockets. He had walked out by The Tricky Mister Bar and was making his way next to the alley, when someone grabbed him and pulled him into the darkness.
Marc fell like a rock when he was thrown into the pile of trash bags. It was the same spot that he had killed Molly's brother.
"You son of a bitch!" Riza screamed at him. "I trusted you and you left me for dead! What the hell?!"
((That should say Marc WAS unsure. Not Marc unsure.))
Riza stood in the alleyway, in the long shadow cast by the yellowish light over the bar sign, her ears perking up as soon as she heard heavy approaching footsteps. She watched bits of tobacco fly by through the cool dark air and allowed herself a small smile. Unmistakably, Marc was finally coming.
As a look of pure hatred flashed momentarily on her face, she watched as the dark figure slowly approached the bar. As he crossed directly in front of her, in a split second she seized both of his arms with a death grip and with a yell, half-launched him into the air to land on a pile of trash bags nearby with a loud “Oomph!”
Riza felt anger rapidly welling up inside her, and before she knew it, her legs moved towards him of their own accord and the words were already out. "You son of a bitch!" she screamed at him. "I trusted you and you left me for dead! What the hell?!" She grabbed him by the collar of his suit and pulled him to his feet, slamming him against the hard brick wall of the bar repeatedly as he got the breath knocked out of him.
“Riz-aghhh!!!” he cried out as he was punched in the stomach, surprised at who he was seeing. This man, this scum, didn’t deserve to walk the earth. Who would leave a friend to die in the street, after all she had done for him? Riza suddenly stopped, struck by memories of their shared past. She winced. It was happening again; her weakness was showing. In the half second she let her guard down, she instantly regretted it. Marc’s shoe came flying through the air and caught her in the chest, knocking her backwards, stumbling, into the opposite wall.
“Stop it, Riza, please! I had no other choice, I wasn’t thinking, I had to get away from there as soon as possible--” “What you mean is you were only thinking about yourself!” Riza screamed. The air fell silent for a moment as the truth thickened the tension. The scuttling of rats in the alleyway was the only sound besides the chatter coming from inside the bar.
“You’re sick, Marc. I saw you kill that man right here, so I waited here just for you. How does it feel, Marc? You killed him. Tell me, what right do you have to play God, to choose who lives and who dies?” Riza said quietly.
“Shut up!” Marc demanded forcefully. “Just shut up!”
Riza began to chuckle, then stopped. “At this point, I'm beyond helping you. But don’t worry, I’ll make sure that the man who murders innocents and dares to betray me doesn’t live to make that same mistake again!” Resolute, Riza swiftly ran towards Marc, raised her right leg high into the air, and poised to slam her heel down as hard as she could on his skull.
Before she could do that, however, she heard someone’s--Molly’s?--voice cutting through the air. “Riza! No!” Before Riza knew it, a sharp pain hit her in her left side and she went flying sideways, landing and scraping against the dirty ground. She tasted blood.
"Riza! No!" Molly cried out, swinging a board into Riza's side with all her might. Thrown off balance, Riza went down and Molly tossed the board aside, noting grimly the familiarity of the alleyway they stood in.
"You've no leave to play God either, Riza." she said quietly, her eyes full of sympathy rather than anger. But when she looked at Marc it was with cold indifference.
"Perhaps if Marc here has any sort of conscience," she spoke calmly and clearly, "he'll turn himself into the authorities for the crimes he has committed. But as he has shown himself shockingly lacking in conscience even where his dearest friends are involved, I imagine that one will be left entirely in Gods hands as well."
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