The dark angel looming overhead, watching, judging. The light shines bright enough to jar me from my sleep. I feel morning cold grip me. The pale blue light pours in through the window blinds and hits me hard. My head is pounding, my veins ache and I just remembered what today is:
Today is the day…
Today is the day that my integrity pays off. Today is the day that my commitment is fulfilled. Today is the day that justice is served. Today… that bastard will be sent to hell where he belongs.
I’ve seen many things in my life. In my line of work I have come face to face with more then my fair share of atrocities. Few people have ever seen the true ugliness that life has to offer. No one will ever know the truth of it.
It all started with the Wake Point Murders. I was one of the detectives assigned to the case. As heinous as those murders were, the real terror started in a cheap motel room. There, a man who lost everything he had in his life took his heartache and loneliness out on a prostitute who reminded him a bit too much of his ex-wife. She died in the hospital a few days later and since then, he’s been on death row.
After I arrested him, I went down to the factory he used to work at to talk to some of his co-workers. They said that when she left him, he was never the same. Rumor has it, she left him for their drug dealing neighbor and now she’s a junkie who turns tricks on the side.
Then, I went to go have a word with his old boss, seeing as he was the one who fired him and sent him over the edge. He didn’t seem too bothered by the news of his former employee’s predicament. He was busy packing up his belongings, getting ready to move to the corporate office. Firing the lonely soul got him a big promotion. His lack of concern for the matter at hand was overwhelmingly absurd. He kept bragging about moving into a big house by the beach with his son and new wife. I left before he could crack open his wallet and show me photos of his family that he probably had taken at Sears or some such place. I had my own wife and son to worry about.
Three months later, he drives his wife and son off a cliff because they were having an affair. They both died, and he was in critical condition.
That’s when things started to connect for the first time. The factory that he worked at manufactured medical supplies. But, that was just one of the many things that the company who owned that factory produced. Many household items were made in other factories, making this a multi-million dollar company. Now, Laius here, he was being cared for in a hospital that exclusively used the medical supplies made by this company, which means they owned the hospital. So, acting on a hunch, I went downtown to Holy Redeemer to check up on him. And more importantly, his doctor.
I wasn’t surprised to find out that the doctor caring for Oedipus’ father was the same doctor who cared for the hooker from the motel room. I had a suspicion that I dared not to speak aloud that he might have euthanized her. One day he was telling me she was going to pull through. A few days later she flat lined. She was pretty banged up and the possibility of her losing the fight to survive had crossed my mind. And without any solid evidence that he pulled her plug, I couldn’t make any accusations. The only question left is if his patients conveniently die to benefit the company, or if he thinks of himself as some type of angel of mercy.
Next on my stop, the companies head office. I had to have a chat with the boss of this Greek tragedy. The promotion he had boasted to me about was some job as an assistant to the vice-president of sales for the company. Which means I had to have a few words with the vice-president of sales. And that’s when I met him. At first he came off as an arrogant corporate snake. A backstabber. Some sycophantic suck up who would slit his own mothers throat for the sake advancement. But to his credit, he hid it well behind a fake tan and a bleached smile. Needless to say, he gave me nothing useful about his assistant.
I couldn’t help but think there was something much more to this man. Something in his eyes. A blackness. I know now what I could have never guessed then. But my intuition was locked on him long after I left his office.
Seems like that case was wrapped up and done with. Then, suddenly a break in the Wake Point Murders had dropped into my lap. A few days after my chat with the corporate snake, I was cleaning blood off the floor of a church and waiting for a priest to wake up from a coma.
Three days later, he finally snapped out of it and told me that the dead man in his confessional had admitted to being the Wake Point Murderer. The powers-that-be deemed it necessary to leak the story to the press. The murderer had been murdered and the case was closed. I don’t know if they did that to make sure they had the real killer or not. Maybe if they didn’t have him, this would be his chance to stop while he was ahead. If no one was looking for him, then all he had to do was stop killing and slip into obscurity. But, to me, that wasn’t justice. Those girls deserved better.
Sure enough, my gut instinct was right. A limo driver came directly to me with a story just crazy enough to be true. So I had the case re-opened and I went after the real killer. The priest was off the hook for murder and the real Wake Point killer was in custody.
I know I did the right thing. Even after the driver’s warnings. Even after the death threats to me and my family. Even after they burned my house to the ground with my wife and son asleep inside, I did the right thing. I got justice for all those girls and their families. And today is the day I get justice for my family as well.
Today is the one year anniversary of my family’s murder. It’s only fitting that he dies today. At midnight, he will be strapped down to a chair in a six foot glass bubble and then gas will be forced into the ventilation system of that room. He will finally die for all of the misery and suffering he has caused this town. First thing I need to do today is visit my family. I need to let them know that they will be avenged. Their deaths won’t be in vain. The morning is cold and empty. The graveyard is pale, white on grey stone. Trees loom overhead, twisted and dark. All that was once green and filled with life has faded to brown and been covered over with snow, falling gently on the gravestones of the departed.
I walk over to the angel watching over my family. Wings spread, hands folded in prayer, head down in reverence. I stand over them, close to tears.
“I tried my best. I only wanted to do the right thing.” I take a deep breath and collect myself as the wind picks up and whistles an ominous tune.
“He dies today. And after I see this one last thing through… we can be together again.” My right hand grips the gun on my hip. I then begin to contemplate what awaits me in the next life. I close my eyes and face the heavens as the wind and snow sting my face and my life flashes before me. I begin to wonder, “What if?”
What if I had just left it alone? What if I would have listened to the warnings? What if I left it for someone else to clean up? None of that actually matters now. The only real question is how can I atone? The onus will follow me to the end, for it is mine to bare alone. The are no choices left.
Then I am jarred from my anguished serenity by the sound of approaching foot steps… behind me. My hand still on my gun, I turn and draw my weapon to face three men armed with assault rifles, all in black, and masked. The wind bites at my face while the snow loosens its grip on the air. He wasn’t done with me. Killing my family wasn’t good enough. He wants to have one last victory before his death. I won’t make it that easy. Before I can blink the tension finally breaks as the first shots are fired.
The weather is working to my advantage along with those masks narrowing their vision, as the first shots miss. I dive behind a tombstone as the others open fire. I then spot a forth man coming from my left. It was my blind spot until I decided to use the stone as cover. Before he can raise his rifle I fire two shots into his chest.
As he hit’s the ground, I get up and fire three blind shots as I make a run for better cover. One of the men had tried to flank me from my previous position, but he was struck in the gut with one of my stray bullets.
I could now hear one of the remaining two men had stopped to reload his rifle only a few feet away. Quickly, I dropped down to get under the other mans line of fire and peaked around the stone I was using for cover and shot him in the face before he could load the fresh magazine into his AK. As I get back behind my cover I narrowly avoided the wild and poorly aimed shots of the remaining man.
It’s hard to count the shots of a fully automatic weapon. If he hasn’t reloaded yet, he will need to very soon. He is careless. He has little concern for counting his shots or aiming precisely. I had to take a chance and go on the offensive. I had fired six shots from my 45, which means I have two left. More then enough. I doubled back and went around the other side of the tombstone I was behind. He sees me move, and I see him, but I don’t have a clear shot. I start to strafe to the right to get a better view as he fires in my direction. The wind was in his face as the snow began to intensify again.
In one brief moment, he blinked… and I fired.
The bullet casings glisten slightly in the snow. The suns rays struggle to break through the clouds. I was in front of the angel that watched over my family. The sun behind her, making her silhouette glow with a heavenly essence.
I dropped to my knees, unable to feel, finding it difficult to breathe. My eyes wandered to my hand as my gun falls to the ground, slide locked back. I see a small pool of blood being absorbed by the snow, slowly trickling from my chest. I look up to the angel again, wings open in welcome, consumed by light.
A transient, horrible, fantastic dream,
Wherein is nothing yet all things do seem:
From which we're wakened by a friendly nudge
Of our bedfellow Death, and cry: "O fudge!"
Ambrose Bierce (1842 - 1914),
As routine your script ends in unexpected ways without warning. I suppose this is where the term "expect the unexpected" might be used.
Half way through, an abundance of idea at what might happen next, entered my mind. I thought I had a pretty good idea at what would happen in the end. And of course as usual with these stories I was surprised. Thankyou.
It’s hard to count the shots of a fully automatic weapon. If he hasn’t reloaded yet, he will need to very soon. He is careless. He has little concern for counting his shots or aiming precisely. I had to take a chance and go on the offensive. I had fired six shots from my 45, which means I have two left. More then enough.
There are tense issues here. The story is in present tense, but there are two lines here in past tense. 'I had to take a chance' and 'i had fired'. Also, the last bit needs to be 'more than enough' - not then.
Actually, reading over the whole thing - you change tense completely, even in the last stanza. This is confusing... choose either past or present tense and stick with it.
Why don't you post these in s&l ? you'd get proper critiques for them there, if you want them.
Snowblind 911: I see your point. But it depends on perspective. The story is being told from a first person perspective... imagine this guy speaking to you. He's an adult male, college educated, but not amazingly smart. Average intelligence. This is just him speaking to you, laying out the story bare. That's why all these stories are so short. People in real life rarely mince words or attempt poetry or flashback to a childhood memory mid-chapter like in many books. Just a story with a mild flare for drama simply for effect or tension.
But, I write all the stories from that mind set. Who is this person? Are they well educated and articulate? Are they from a poor background and hardly concerned about what words they use? So I make certain errors on purpose just to add to the character so that you can hear this persons voice in your head dictating the story just like they do in my head.
I hope that makes sense, but, thanks for reading and I honestly appreciate your candor.
Ah, I see. Well, I haven't been reading any of the stories, I stumbled upon your profile by chance and decided just to point out what I saw. I get it now though. I probably should've read through them all before making a comment like that, but I figured any words were better than none.