Moon Knight, A Twist of Fate pt. 8

“…have been burning well into the morning.  The third such fire erupting since the predawn hours, we are still waiting word from Global Securities chairman Marc Spector, but to this hour no one has been able to reach Marc Spector.”

There hasn’t been anything new in the news since before I can remember.  Just a load of heartless hate mongers with their own agendas to push down peoples’ throats.  I wanted to relax for a Saturday, take a load off, rest up and plan my next move; but the phone will probably start ringing in the next few minutes and I’ll have to find something to say to the Press.

At least I had enough time to myself to get a shower, wash the blood of my hands and face before Amanda could see me.  One more warehouse, a training building, and my old fucking mansion are going up in smoke all displayed on my muted television.  All firebombed, at more or less the exact same time and the Police only think Arson has something to do with it.  Fucking brilliant, these half-witted detectives think they’re special when you sit down face-to-face with them; but ask them to figure something out on their own, you might as well buy them a donut and tell them not to worry about it.

No doubt you fuckers want to make this personal, I haven’t lived in that Mansion in almost four years, but you want me to care about the body bags of some shit-heads that won the lottery and wanted a piece of the American lie?  I’m supposed to care that you had to kill three people in order to get to me?  Trying to sully my name when Jameson’s tabloid does such a better job without going to this extreme, but they know what pisses me off.  They know what’s going to push my buttons and what won’t, those bastards got in your way and they paid for it.

It’s not enough to attack my business; you’re starting to trickle into what little of a personal life I have.

Thoughts of the pain I can bring to the criminals of this city are exhilarating.  They creep into my head more and more lately and its times like these the doctors say I should take my medicine.  I’m in the bathroom now, holding the bottle in my hand and the idea is temping.  I could shove a couple pills down my throat and the thoughts will vanish.

I can root them out, one-by-one, take off their legs and watch them squirm.  They’ll tell me what I want to know.  I’ll find their leaders; I just need to apply a little pressure to the underlings, the people with families to care about.  On the other hand, I can take a couple of pills and let the police handle it.  Take two of these little white, disgusting little buggers, and wash away every thought and emotion in my mind.

It’s just a little while, why not wait it out.  The police are trying.  I should let them go at this, no sense in breaking my hands over this and finding a temporary silence.

I sit on my bed, so much the better than pacing around the penthouse.  Twirling the silver blade of my favorite knife in right hand, I open and close the folding blade with a simple swipe of my hand.  Then there’s the medicine bottle in my left.  Visions of Ricky and Randy fill my head, turning to pictures of this blade severing someone’s jugular.  I have to admit, the thought of slicing through someone’s jugular at this point has its own appeal, an appeal that I should be thinking.

I’m a sick man, I need my medicine.  “You’ve got a daughter to think about this, Spector.”  I tell the tired man staring back at me from my mirror.  Popping the top of the medicine bottle, two pills slide into my right hand.

Both the knife and the pills stare up at me from my open palm.  I can feel my heart pounding in my chest.  It isn’t moving any faster, but I can almost hear it trying to climb out of my chest.  It’s the pills or the knife, justice or Amanda.

Nothing is clear anymore, and it used to be.  Marlene had to die, Amanda had to need her father, and the fires had to start.  My stock is falling; I’ve already beaten and killed too many people, why should I care.

The knife flies all on its own, I realize it only after I throw.  Watching the perfect movement, it doesn’t turn; the weight carries it right into the wall just beside the door.  The shaking in my hands all but ceases when I lighten my choice.  I can do the right thing here.  Watching myself in the mirror, I’m not frightened or surprised.  My daydreams filter out everything but some imaginary kid.  Some nameless kid of my imagination, screaming in pain and terror as I peel the skin from his bones, I can almost smell the blood in the air.

I empty the bottle in the toilet and flush.  There is no choice anymore, if I don’t stop the bastards they’ll come after her.  Marlene had to die, they almost had Frenchie, and I yank my knife from my wall, wiping the bits of drywall from the otherwise perfect blade.    Tonight I will bring them pain they have never known.

They know I’m coming, and all the better.  They still have no idea what is in store.  For their sakes, they had better be ready.

“Either way,” I speak to no one but myself, rummaging through my closet and finding the false wall and the evils that my own personal Pandora has left me to discover.  I swore, never again.  Nevertheless, I tear the box apart with my bare hands.  Splinters tear my fingers into all sorts of shreds, I didn’t intend for this box to open easy.  I hid this junk, I might have hopped never again, but it was an eventuality.

The silver mask is the first thing I see.  Its white eyes glaring at me, and now my heart is speeding.  A smell of mothballs and memories flood into my brain the moment I touch it, and I move on to the very expensive weapons that my hidden safe hides.

Silver, adamantium, stainless steel, I lay out every piece on the bed.  A careful inventory enters my mind; this is not anything I could ever write down.  Putting together the belt is easier than assembling the Christmas tree Marlene made me put up for Amanda after she was born.  Everything fits just as it should, and it fits around my waist like I never stopped wearing it.

Everything is tight; I don’t make a sound with any step I take.  Amanda has no doubt taken a look at everything in the spare bedroom, not that I attempted to hide the gun cabinet or hunting camouflage I keep for appearances.  Though if anyone knew of the devices I have, the ATF would turn this place into their next Waco.

The modifications I made to the Belgian police rifle I acquired the last time I was in Israel will make it easier to leap around.  It won’t be as accurate as I like, but I’m not Frank Castle, I prefer the up and close feel of a face breaking in my hands.

* * *

A dull pain doesn’t keep him from sitting up.  He’s felt worse, he keeps telling himself.  The nurses walk in and out, and he pays little attention to them, the newspapers he requested against the doctors’ advice file in slowly.  The stock market keeps him occupied, without a TV, he charts the decline the company has felt in the week he’s been unconscious.

“Excuse me, sir.”  A young nurse sheepishly breaks his concentration.  “But that little girl…”

“She stays here,” his French accent, commands.  “She is not to go anywhere, let her sleep.”

“This is not…”

“A place for children, I know that.  She can handle it, she’s seen much worse in the last few weeks, believe me.”

She attempts to bring another sentence to the air, his judging eyes kills her will to speak.  Turning back to the nurses’ station down the hall, Frenchie flips open the current day’s paper, his eyes stop on the large picture of a familiar house burning in a color photograph on the front page.  “Un cher dieu, they’re drawing him out.”

“Drawing who out?”

The tired voice of a young girl labors though a tough night with little sleep.  Frenchie sighs, “I wish I could tell you.”

“Let me guess, I’m too young to understand?”

He can’t even bring his face to smirk at the comment, “On the contrary, and that is what I’m afraid of.  There are just some things you shouldn’t know.”

Amanda Spector slumps in his chair, “has he even called, I bet he doesn’t even care where I am.”

“Is that what you think?”

Her eyebrows push up and her eyes roll to the tops of their sockets, “he was a different person when we were in Seattle.  He actually cared, we talked everyday, he told me everything.”

“No, Amanda, there is precious little you don’t know.  And I’m not the one who can tell you.”

Behind her crossed arms, she almost pouts.  “This has to do with this werewolf thing, doesn’t it?”

Frenchie puts forth the best fake smile he can muster, “Come now, you can’t seriously believe in Werewolves.  Those are just for stories.”

“Come on Uncle John, we live in a world with people who dress up as Spiders, mutants who can shoot lasers from their eyes, and men with enough money to fly in suits of armor.”  She says flat out, “Why can’t Werewolves and Vampires exist?”

“Point taken,” Frenchie stops himself from laughing; pain shooting from his abdomen causes him to wince.  “But there is enough more wrong with this world than what you can read in the newspapers.  Trust me; there are some things you just don’t want to know.”

She stares him right in the eye, the determination she wears in her face is a frightening combination of Marc and Marlene.  “Uncle John, I wish you, or somebody would just tell me what all this has to do with Marc.  Why are people setting these fires?”

“Criminals, Amanda, they live to hurt all the good people that would rather make their own way through life.  They steal; kill and rape, and most of the time the Police are helpless to do anything about it.  The public cries out for them to act, but that same public ties their hands.  These criminals that prey on the sympathies of the good people, they are drawing your father into their world for someone he used to be.  For whatever reason, they’re trying to undo everything he’s worked hard to erase.

“Moon Knight.”  Amanda whispers.

His throat dries, nearly hanging wide open, her eyes return to his after a brief absence.  “My mother never told me, Marc either.”  The eleven-year-old girl points out as just another fact.

He brings a finger to his lips and turns his attention to the open door and the same nurse from before.  “I told you,” he forces out a harsh tone, “She’s not leaving.”

“That isn’t it, Mister DuChamp, a Police detective won’t take no for an answer, he wants to speak with you.”

“Lieutenant John Phillips?”

She nods, with a certain fear in her movement, “it’s fine, send him in.”

The girl walks away and Frenchie sets down all the papers he’s collect over the hours he’s been awake.  A gentleman about his age steps into the doorway, wearing a long brown coat and a badge hanging from his neck.  “It’s nice to see you’re up among the living.”

“It is nice that you have enough respect to pretend to care.”  The patient balks at the feigned concern, “you came down here to question me?”

“And listen to you lecture me about our arrangement?  I think not.”

The officer wears no expression on his face.  Leaning in the doorway, he doesn’t bother entering the room, “Your boy is making a real mess out there.  He’s out of practice and it’s getting harder to clean up after him, not that I don’t appreciate the cleaning he’s doing to the streets, you wouldn’t believe it by the news, but even drug dealers are afraid to come out at night.”

He waves his right hand to bring attention to the girl sitting beside the bed, “May I introduce, Amanda Spector.”  Frenchie offers with a sarcastic tone.

“Right, fine.  But look at it this way; if he doesn’t end this soon, I’m going to have trouble keeping my mouth shut.  I’ve got a career to think about here.”

Tearing his eyes from the girl, Frenchie glares back at the cop on his payroll.  “If you think you have problems now, just remember who has the more expensive lawyers.”

The cop holds up his hands, “fine we’re not going to get anywhere with threats.  Just reel in your boy before he winds up creating a bigger mess.”  He says and storms out of the room, both the occupants watch him through the glass.

The girl looks up to the man she considers and Uncle.  “How much trouble is this?”

“A lot,” he whispers, “they’ve made a real mess to come after your father, whoever wants to drudge up all this old business is doing a fine job.”

* * *

The rental car doesn’t have the same feeling as the cab used to, but who knew this makeup would itch so badly.  The advances they made seem to mean about dick right now, I just want to scratch the skin off my face; it’s definitely not the good old days.

I’ve driven circles around the same block every fifteen minutes or so for the past two hours.  There’s absolutely no activity anywhere near Manny’s place, and not a single strip of police tape.  I should be more concerned with returning to the scene of this crime, but I’m not going to find Randy or Ricky any other way.

Stopped at a light as I’m about to finish my latest circle around his block I finally lay eyes on a break that I wasn’t looking for.  I feel my face pull with the smile that forms, “Hello there, Jimmy-Boy,” I whisper, “You’re looking very well.”

I pull around the block and shove six quarters in the closest meter I could find.  The kid on crutches can’t get too far and I speed walk my way to the alley I saw him walking toward.  Just as I wanted, he’s not far ahead of me when I catch sight of him again.

“Hello there,” I speak in a low voice as I walk up on him.  “Do you think you could help me find someone I’ve lost?”

He turns slowly and the fear in his face is exquisite.  Hyperventilating the second he heard my voice, “I.  I.  I don’t want no trouble, man.”

“I’m looking for a set of twins.  Two black kids, barely out of their teens who think they’re big shit.  Their names are Randy and Ricky.  Know ‘em?”

His eyes tell can’t lie to me, he’s not holding back on me for a matter of pride.  Not after that beating I gave him last week, he’s afraid of what they’ll do to him and what he knows I have for him if he lies to me.  “They’ll kill me, please.  Please, I just want to leave.  I’m done with this shit, don’t make me tell you.”

“Where are you going?”

“South,” is the only thing he’s willing to tell me.  The little shit is leaving town and I feel lucky, as hell, I’ve caught him.

“I don’t want to see you dead, kid.”  I fish out two fresh portraits of Benjamin Franklin from my wallet and wave them in front of his face.  “How about you tell me, you take this cash and leave town on the earliest bus and I take care of those two so you don’t have to look over your shoulder anymore?”

He’s tempted.  The money is more than enough to get him to the bus station and damn near cross-country on the next bus.  But he’s thinking, “They expect you to find me, they’re watching me.  I don’t know why their so interested in you, and I don’t care.  I just don’t want this shit anymore.”

Jimmy-boy doesn’t take the money; he hobbles along down the rest of the alley.  Moving as fast as his crutches will take him, its days like these that makes me with I jumped on the techie bandwagon and forked out enough cash for some GPS tracers.  I’m annoyed but I follow him to the end of the alley, “take the money kid, and just give me something that’ll help the both of us.”

I could get this kid killed if I keep following him, then again I could get him killed faster if I let him leave the city without putting the fear of Spector in Ricky and Randy.  He has that same look of fear in his eyes and I know he’s not jerking me around, “down at the shipyards, there’s a guy there who pays us to set the charges.  He never goes to the buildings, he sets the timers and we come back to get our money.”

He snatches the money from my hand, “lots of buildings in the yards, be kinda hard to find it.”

“The windows are all blacked out.  It’s easy to find, they’re expecting you to find it.  It’s almost like they think you’re Daredevil or something.”

He turns away, back to hobbling across the street.  I have what I came for at least I hope so.  Now it’s time to bring the fight to their house.

* * *

Waiting for the night to fall was the worst, but finding that building was just as easy as Jimmy-boy said it was.  There are goons all over the perimeter and tonight promises to be messy.  Rolling out the contents of my pack I double check to make sure everything I need is loaded in the belt and set it aside.

I switch out the clothing I had been wearing all day with the Kevlar undergarments that I haven’t worn in the past five years.  They’re a bit heavy and I don’t remember them being this uncomfortable before.  The white cloak fits over my frame; it doesn’t restrict a single movement.  The hood at my back and the mask in my hand I watch yet another car ease to a stop in front of the entrance.

I’ve got enough clarity in my mind to grab my binoculars and take a peek.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding.”  I don’t even need to magnify the view to know how personal this fight just became.  Tossing the binoculars down I snap the belt in place and pull the mask over my face, standing there with a crescent moon holding over the building, everything seems to fit.

I lay behind the rifle, confident with the placement of the zip line I set up before I slipped this get up on.  Everything is in order for the chaos to unveil; the two guards standing out front don’t live long enough to feel the shots fired into their skulls.

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