Moon Knight, A Twist of Fate pt. 6

Orange burns through the overcast gray the best it can, only succeeding in small efforts to defeat the coming rain.  Across the four-lane street from an old friends’ house, the suns’ last grip on the daylight hours cause my eyes to strain.  The wind is slow and as quiet as the sidewalks are empty.  It’s a ghost town here and an impending sense of dreads takes the forefront of my mind.

All the foot traffic ceases and changes direction before the people come near Manny’s place.  And just like it is some Middle Eastern village in the middle of nowhere, I know something violent is coming.  All the signs are here.  There are no witnesses, no bystanders, even a cops’ cruiser makes a U-Turn at the intersection not twenty yards east of Manny’s small house.

I don’t like this one bit.

He’s done well for himself with that startup money I loaned him all those years ago.  A nice two-story to rent out, and I hear his garage is loaded full of cabs and smelly drivers.  Yeah, Manny’s come a long way since he was just another tub of lard that had his ear in everyone’s business, chauffeuring hit men and playing them into my hand for a couple hundred a head.  He always knew how to make a buck.

I stand across the street, taking in all the sights and they still don’t suit me.  A jacket and tie stick out in this neighborhood almost more than clean cut Mormon, and I count two standing plain as day on either side of Manny’s door.  Their long jackets obviously hiding some heavy weaponry, and an off chance I catch a third perched on the roof.  The third makes no effort to hide his weapon.

So much for this being an easy chat.

I’ve no weapons on me, didn’t think I’d need one, and with three armed dolts standing outside god only knows how many are inside. This is going to get pretty nasty, there’s probably no way to play this any other way than bloody.

Walking along the sidewalk I keep the two men on the ground just within my sight, trying not to be obvious.  At the crosswalk, I try to watch their movements, but it’s mostly a moot point.  In the setting sun I can barely see shit at my distance.  I don’t have much of a plan even as I cross the street, just my sights set on the scrawny thug and his gun.

The laws are pretty clear in this sort of business, always prey on the weakest.

I duck into the alley behind the house next door to Manny’s place.  Stalking my way around the back, I see just what I hoped for.  The skinny kid has his back to me, I’ve got maybe a hundred feet between myself and him and a smile grows on my face, though I’m not sure why.

There, behind a dumpster, a mostly rusted out pipe is hiding behind some newspaper and trash.  The metal makes a small racket as I move it from its hiding place, scraping against the asphalt, my fingers wrap comfortably around the base, a foot and a half lower than the right angled top.

The kid turns for a second.  A rat or something scurries across the alley and he laughs away whatever he was thinking.  He turns back, facing the street, leaving me to take him by surprise.

I don’t have any second thoughts before I stand.  I jump into a sprint.  My feet make no noise; it feels almost like I’m flying.  The brown-haired kid is well within my sight, and the bar almost rises all on its own.  There is no weight, all I feel is vibration.

The shock travels up my forearm, an almost numb pressure follows, as the right angled elbow of the metal pipe creates a hollow smack across the rear of his skull.  A gash splits his scalp, bits of skin, blood and hair fall to the ground just after the twenty-something kid.

There isn’t time to think, the adrenaline courses through my body, every muscle craves it like would an addict.  I collect the two magazines he kept in one pocket and stuff them into my own and I chamber a new round and turn the corner.  The other thug is hardly curious; he’s more interested in the noise pouring from his headphones than the comrade not hundred yards away that lay dying.

I plug him twice.

The silencer is a beautiful things, its whisper isn’t as musical as the steel pipe; but something silence can be its own brand of music.  He doesn’t scream, the round in his throat sees to that.  He simply falls over.  The world is less one savage, and I turn my sights to the roof.

He might fancy himself a sniper, but no self-respecting professional would perch with a shotgun.  He’s there to scare people, he’s probably never killed a man in his young life, and with that thought I cover his chest with my front sight.  His frame goes out of focus.  One stead squeeze follows another, and my double tap takes him down.  Zero noise falls from the roof, and the third body tumbles backward.

Three down, maybe two minutes and my heart is throbbing in my chest.

A smile still on my face, there is not a soul on the street.  I drag the bodies out of view, not caring how long it takes the buzzards to peck at the moron on the roof.  I collect a few more rounds, these little punks were loaded for something big and terrible and they hadn’t a chance.

The front door is my new target, and it all seems so unreal.

My body moves without command, without a single thought.  Violence is familiar territory, but the scary part is that I’m only along for the ride.  I’m a spectator in my flesh as the soul of my shoe hits the door.

All of anyone I ever knew to be associated with Manny’s family runs through my brain like a light speed slide show.  The door hardly hangs on its hinges; I turn right and fire a shot into some black man’s forehead.  Manny only had one brother, never married and had two illegitimate kids.  The first guy is about a decade too old to be one of those kids, and the second is some pasty white kid in the wrong neighborhood.  I plug a third guy before he has a chance to stand and pull out his own gun, mid-thirties, mostly bald and packing a little more heat than the first bunch.

I tear the shot gun from the pudgy soon-to-be corpse and turn on my heels.  A squeeze of the trigger and a load of buckshot fill another man’s belly.  He’s not quite dead, but he’s got more to worry about than me.  As I step into Manny’s living room, another thug is hanging out an open window, trying like hell to follow the buddy that got out before him.  Lead balls fly from the shotguns’ mouth; they cut his torso to ribbons.

The fog lifts from my mind shortly after I pull the body from the window.  Right in the corner of my eye I see something that makes my heart heavy.  Another friend I couldn’t save.

Manny’s fat ass is slumped in his easy chair, his body cold and stiff.  He’s been dead a while now, so why all these thugs?  I slip back inside myself, looking for the trap, but these pieces of shit had no clue who they were waiting for.  Most of them were lightly armed, save the two shotguns; all the others carried handguns and barely enough ammunition to wait for cops.  I flex my hand around the grip of one of the punks forty-fives I stole, peering down the hall leading into the rest of Manny’s place.  It’s quieter than any backwater Chiquita banana shit-hole I’ve stepped foot in.

Pushing away my nerves, I step it out, slow and easy.

I don’t have a lot of time.  The cops should show any minute now, after making this place my own personal war zone.  There is only a single door left closed, the bedroom at the rear of the hall.  I test the knob, and it’s locked.

Rearing back I flare out my right leg and send the door flying into the room.  The forty-five is at eye level and I move my eyes around before I step a foot inside.  Turning a small corner I planned to move down the wall at my left, but I stop dead in my tracks.

A pistol is pointed at my body, with not much of a steady hand.  Easily a glock nine-millimeter, a year or two old judging the corrosion at the barrels mouth.  Though the gun isn’t at all interesting, rather the young man holding it has my undivided attention, “What the hell are you doing here?”  My voice doesn’t even sound my own.

“Bleeding,” the smartass replies, showing me the blood soaked palm of his free hand.  “Got clipped by one of my own, your crazy ass scared him so bad.”

I stare at his face through the sights of the handgun I stole from one corpse or another, “Got something of an effeminate streak these days Ricky?”

“Nice Lockley, I’m surprised you even remember my name.”

“Easy to remember the name and face when someone points a gun at you.”

He smiles and tries to laugh, but the bleeding wound in his side keeps the laughter mostly at bay.  Ricky’s pretty brave, letting the weapon drop from his eye, but his puny ass probably can’t hold the weight anymore.  “What’s your business with this motherfucker, he owe you money too?”

“Manny never owed a dime to anybody,” I can at least say that with confidence, I never expected him to pay me back.  “He’s probably the only deadbeat that paid child support to his bastards.”

A muffled explosion causes my muscles to tense.  The bullet doesn’t fly anywhere near me.  “What’s the matter, boy, your aim a little off on account of those limp wrists?” I smirk, let my words stab him right in the pride.  If there was anything that wouldn’t change about my little snitch, he and his brother were proud sons of bitches.  “So who’s paying you these days, Ricky?”

The scowl hasn’t left his face since I uttered my insult, “No one, this is my neighborhood now, rich man.  For all your preaching, you left us blind, we had to fend for ourselves.  Now we got real power.”

I smirk again, “Get off it.  You have less sense than most homeless.  The only thing you know how to be is a puppet, a rich man’s puppet.”

He’s pissed.  The look in his eyes is almost enjoyable.  I’m under his skin and he can’t even form a word, and I keep it coming.  “You were always good enough to take my money, Ricky.  It’s not like you’re too proud for the ‘man’ to hand you cash, but god forbid you admit it.  I’m wise to your game, so who the fuck is paying you?”

Ricky’s left hand is occupied with holding the wound; his bleeding has just about stopped as far as I can tell.  “You don’t understand.  I’ve got power…”

I cut him off, “Don’t play with me, you’re just another thug!  A limp wrist thug with shitty aim, you’ve got no ability to lead, hell, look at the way your junkies ran when the bullets started flying.”  Laughing slightly just to send him over the edge I keep adding it on, thicker as I go.  “You got yourself a new boss, I wish I could say I’m disappointed; but I was done with you in the first place.”

He smiles a wide, toothy smile full of fake gold.  My weapon falls from my hand and my vision goes instantly white.  I’ve been fucking played, no other thoughts run through my brain as the synapses only fire pain.  I’m on my knees as the pain travels down the rest of my body, I try to read something in Ricky’s face, but I’ve only got time to reach for the gun before more pain echoes.

The gun is too far out of reach, and I almost hear someone say something behind me.  The ringing in my ears mixes with the laughter of two voices, one of them Ricky’s and I know exactly what happened.  I feel blood trickle down the back of my neck and I start to fall….

* * *

“Marc?”  Amanda’s voice calls from the front door, without an answer Amanda turns up the volume.  “Marc!”

She lets her bag fall to the ground, caring little for the books inside.  She tucks her hair behind her ears, “Seriously, you were supposed to pick me up from school!”  Her voice trails away into the depths of a dark and uninhabited penthouse.

The young girl walks slowly down the main hall, calling his name time and time again.  She never receives any answer.  Stopping at his bedroom she peers into the room and calls his name gain, “Marc?”  Almost a whisper the final time, she slips through the open door and finds the room empty.  Spotlessly clean from her rampage the night prior, she isn’t surprised to confirm once again the detail of clean freak that is Marc Spector.

She moves her eyes all about the room and wonders why the light in the bathroom is left on.  He wasn’t one to leave any of the lights on, but she slips her head just past the door and the room is light as day, and not a soul inside.

She catches a small odor in the room, some kind of cleaner.  A heavy amount of bleach.    A small piece of cloth catches her eye, caught between the doors of the cabinet under the sink.  She’s not sure right away, but hovering just above the floor is the cuff of one of Marc’s shirts, stuffed under the sink.

Curiosity gets the best of her and she pulls the garment from its prison.  Removing a blood-stained button down shirt from the sink she falls back against the wall.  Amanda lets the shirt fall to the ground, her eyes affixed to it.  She stares as the shirt opened revealing more blood spots, surprising herself she kneels down to take a closer look.

The shirt reeks of bleach, the smell filled the room almost immediately after the shit hit the ground.  The spots of blood are only discolored, he tried to scrub them out but failed, curiosity gets the better of her.  She tosses the shirt into the shower stall, a small noise rings across the tile floor and Amanda moves to take a look.

“The hell is this?”  She bends down to pick up a small molar, and removes a second from the shirts’ breast pocket.  With two teeth in the palm of her hand, Amanda takes a seat on the toilet and looks about the bathroom a second time, looking more overtly this time around.

Out of place, a brown plastic bottle with a white lid catches her eye on the vanity.  The only one of its kind sitting out and tipped over on the otherwise organized countertop; she picks up the bottle and raises it to read the label.  She tries several times and she’s only barely able to pronounce, “Aripiprazole?”

* * *

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